Friday, April 16, 2010

Holiday I - Tian Tian Seafood

I went up North in the past week with my family in tow. Armed with a GPS and a well-fueled car, we went to hunt for this "ulu" restaurant that is over 20km away from our hotel. This simple restaurant was introduced by my local colleague at my last trip... we supposed to meet up again to have a nice meal there but he was unfortunately ill at the very eleventh hour. So we were left to venture there on our own.

Apart from the 2 cemetries that we past, the journey is quite pleasant.

This is the restaurant menu:

We ordered stir-fried sliced fish with spring onion (薑蔥魚片), 300g of steamed prawns(清蒸鮮蝦), oyster egg (蠔蛋) and green vegetables (菜心).

Fish, prawns and veg are great - very fresh. The cooking is very home-style, which my family loves. The oyster egg is very special - it is crispy type. The only other place I eaten this type of oyster egg is at Beng Hiang, a local hokkien restaurant. But if you are expecting the big fat oyster that is commin here, then this may be a wee bit of disappointment.

The total bill came up to RM64 (~S$28), including drinks.

There were a few more dishes that we are keen to try, but the lady boss kept telling us 4 dishes was just right for us. 谢谢你, 老板娘!


Restorant Tian Tian Seafood
Kuala Lukut Chuah
71960 Seremban
Tel: 06-668 1233, 016-926 3881

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Soul

I was feeling a little blue with the daunting thoughts of living in a brand new city shortly. For some it may thing it is a dream comes true. For me, it was more jittery than excitement. And trust me, i am still looking for loophole how I can myself out of the decision I made in haste.

After stumbling upon Mary's blog, I spent hours reading thru all her dated posts and, boy, I was glad I did. I felt rejuvenated and empowered like I just walked out of a session with my life coach! Only that it didn't leave me a cent poorer! Ha.

Aside from feeding my soul, I also picked up a good recipe that fed my stomach well!
Since I have only oranges in fridge, I use that instead of oranges. Here's my version of the orange cake:

Simple Orange Cake
Recipe adapted from here
125g butter
grated rind from 2 big oranges
1C castor sugar*
3 eggs
1/2C milk
1 & 1/2 C self-raising flour
1/4C orange juice (I used the ready-to-drink type)
3 tbsp poppy seeds.

Put everything (except poppy seeds) into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and changed in colour. Fold in poppy seed.
Pour into a tin lined with baking paper and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes or cooked. It’s cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. You can dust with some icing sugar or pour syrup over it.
  • Syrup - I read from The Cake Bible that syrup helps to keep the cake moist and tender. Simply use water/orange juice + sugar to make simple sugar. Cake that has been basked with syrup also keeps better than those without. If you are not serving the cake to kids, you can also basked with Cointreau or Grand Marnier - I used this - I love liquor in my cake!
  • * Sugar - I reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup since I used sweetened orange juice (ready-to-drink type).
  • Poppy seed - I only added 1 tbsp in the cake... that why you do not see many "spots" in my cake. I am gonna triple the amount next time round!
This is a very easy recipe for beginners, and you have only 1 bowl to wash! A simple yet reliable recipe.
If I must complain, I think the orange flavour is too subtle. Maybe I will need to use more orange zest.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cheddar Cheese Cupcake

I had been wanting to use up the balance cheddar cheese but have been sitting on it. My excuse? No good recipe.

Well, I found a couple of recipes which are largely based upon a pound cake. I do not like the heavy dense type of cake.

Just before the cheese going to past the shelf good, I decide to improvise a good butter cake recipe.

I packed a few for Sheen's tea break. He came home to tell me that his Kiffer (his classmate) said there are worms on top of the cheese. "I know he said this cos he wants me to let him eat the yummy cake! His mummy dun know how to make this."
That's why motherhood is a never give up job! I gladly slave my life away for my baby.
Most kids love cheese. Hope you try cake this for your baby too... it is so moist and tender. Your love ones will thank you for these cuppies!


Cheddar Cheese Cupcake
170g unsalted butter, softened
180g castor sugar
200g self rising flour
1 large egg
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
150ml evaporated milk or dairy whipping cream
90g of cheddar cheese, finely grated

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Prepare cupcake cases/muffin pan.

  2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle, on medium speed, cream butter and sugar until fluffy for about 2 minutes.

  3. Beat in egg, egg yolk, vanilla and golden syrup until well-combined.

  4. On low speed, add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with evaporated milk/whipping cream.

  5. Switch mixer to medium and beat for 10 to 15 seconds, just until batter appears uniform.

  6. Gently fold in 80g of grated cheddar cheese.

  7. Pour batter into cupcake case and sprinkle balance cheese on top.

  8. Bake for about 18-22 minutes, or until it a skewer comes out clean. Do not overbake.


  • I usually use salted butter for butter cake cos I find that little salt actually bring out the flavour better than unsalted butter. However unsalted butter is preferred here cos the cheese has pretty high salt content already.

  • Cheddar cheese is those comes in block. A blue box that comes under Kraft brand.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Baked Donut

I bought these donut pans as I was planning to bake some donuts (you know that the usual donut are deep-fried right?).
The first trial didn't turn out will - though the pan has been lightly greased, i had a hard time to remove the donut nicely from their cavities. Agh, these donuts have U.G.L.Y. bottoms!
Hope the next attempt goes better. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

芒果西米露 Mango & Tapioca Pearls Dessert

The last time I made 杨枝甘露 I only used 1 segment of the pomelo, saving the rest in the fridge. Pretty being forgotten, and ended up in the bin.

This is now the thai mango season. The saccharine sweet and frangrant thai honey mango is so toothsome!

So this time round I made a simplier version, leaving out the pomela. Awesome dessert. My family loves this!

Mango & Tapioca Pearls Dessert 芒果西米露

Mangoes ~300g,
Mangoes, puree ~200g,
Sago 100g
Marigold or any Mango Drink or mango yougurt 500ml
Evaporated milk 100ml
Sugar, if need

To make:
prepare sago: soak rinsed sago in a pot for 30min. Add it into a big (I mean BIG) pot of boiling water. You need a big pot cos the sago will expand thrice the volume when done. Leave it to boil until the sago turn translucent, off the fire. Run the cooked sago under running water. Drained and set aside. (see notes * below)

If adding sugar: Dissolve the sugar in evaporated milk & mango juice.
Put everthing into a big pot. Chill well before serving.


Notes *:I re-post the points on cooking sago here cos my colleague told me her's turn out to be soft and mushy:
1. do not soak for more than 30min. It will all turn mushy if too long. Can skip this step if no time, its ok; will just take a few more minutes to cook.

2. The water must be boiling when adding the sago, otherwise it will again turn all mushy.

3. The pot must be big – I use my tefal wok to cook 100g of sago. Besides having a large surface area, the back base also makes it easy for me to check if the sago has turned translucent.

4. Once it turn translucent, run it under cold/tap water to stop the cooking. This is to ensure the sago maintains the QQ texture.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter!

Hot Cross Buns are a seasonal yeast bread traditionally served on Good Friday. Like pineapple tarts to Chinese New Year. Tang Yuan to Winter Solastic.

The usual hot cross bun is made with spices like ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves and has lots of raisins or other candied fruit.

Sheen & daddy don't like the taste of a real hot cross bun. So I did my own version - using my favourite recipe here with custard filling. Ya, it is more like a pudding bread.

I only added the symbolical "cross" on top of the buns using the custard mixture (see C below) after the 2nd proofing.


Pudding Bun

~800g bread dough, of your choice.

(B) Filling:
100g instant custard powder
250g cold full cream milk

Combine the 2 ingredients and mix well.

(C) Topping:
Take 50g of (B), mix with 1tbsp of plain flour.

  1. divide bread dough into 40g each portion. rest for 10min. roll into round shape and rest for 5 min.
  2. flatten the dough with hand, wrap sufficient filling. Seal well.
  3. arrange the dough in a baking pan. proof until the dough double in size.
  4. Just before baking, using (C) pipe a cross on top of the bread.
  5. bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 20min.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Nigella’s Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chips

(pix from Nigella Lawson)

This recipe comes from an author whom I really like in my early days of baking. These days, I rather look at her less cos I was afraid I will soon end up with her generous size one day!

Well, I think it is difficult for anyone to resist piling on weight if you have a fantastic cookie recipe like this one here. It is so rich that you may think you are eating chocolate! Of course this is what you get when you have almost half a kilo of chocolate in a 150g-flour cookie dough!

These cookie are pretty awesome if you are chocoholic... it is so intense, you can't stop at one. Just good for me, but some of my colleague think it is chocolate overload for them.

Nigella’s Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chips

125g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
150g plain flour
30g cocoa, sieved
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon salt
125g soft butter
75g light brown sugar
50g white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, cold from the fridge - I omit this
350g semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 170’C. Melt the 125g dark chocolate either in the microwave or in a heatproof dish over a pan of simmering water.

  2. Put the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.

  3. Cream the butter and sugars in another bowl. Add the melted chocolate and mix together.

  4. Beat in the vanilla extract and cold egg (if you are using), and then mix in the dry ingrdients. Finally stir in the chocolate morsels or chips.

  5. Scoop out 12 equal-sized mounds – an ice cream scoop and a palette knife are the best tools for the job – and place on a lined baking sheet about 6cm apart. Do not flatten them.

  6. Cook for 18 minutes, testing with a cake tester to make sure it comes out semi-clean and not wet with cake batter. If you pierce a chocolate chip, try again.

  7. Leave to cool slightly on the baking sheet for 4 -5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to harden as they cool.

I did not reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe cos the chocolate I used is unsweetened & is very very bitter.