Sunday, 14 December 2014

Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Prunes and Almond

My French lady boss will be leaving Singapore for a new job assignment in Morocco.  I am totally clueless about Morocco until someone mentioned Hollywood movie Casablanca. Oh,  Casablanca is in Morocco! Well, that's all I know about this exotic country.  My boss is so nice that she wants to give us a feel of Moroccan.  So, she invited us to her house one day,  and prepared famous Morocco chicken tagine for lunch.  Served together with couscous, this plate of spiced chicken just hit the spot. We are so impressed as if we were under the Moroccan sun!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Cheat's Cheesecake with Blueberry Jam

Greek yogurt is much thicker and creamier because it's strained three times to remove more whey and lactose. It has high protein and lower carbohydrates as compared to regular yogurt.  I have been using Greek yogurt to replace sour cream in dipping sauce, and it tastes really good. Never thought of making "cheesecake" with Greek yogurt until I chanced upon this recipe from Pinterest. A cheesecake without cheese?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Air-fried Smoked Paprika Chicken 我的“宠物”情结


Monday, 6 October 2014

Italian Dessert Tiramisu

My elder daughter suggested me making Tiramisu last month.  I told her give me some time to find a good recipe first. I knew nothing about Tiramisu except that it uses Mascarpone cheese and ladyfingers. So, I bought these two ingredients, and stored them in the fridge. Two weeks have passed,  I have not found the right recipe yet.  One day, my Italian colleague Giulio gave us a pleasant surprise in the office. He brought his homemade Tiramisu to the office !  Italian dessert made by an Italian,  do I still need to search for the "right" recipe?   Giulio was so nice to translate his recipe from Italian to English and shared it with me. He asked me to send him the pictures after I have tried his recipe. Here you go, Giulio!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Air-fried Banana Fritters with Golden Breadcrumbs
炸香蕉 (空气炸锅版)

Ever since I bought Philips Airfryer, I have been trying to replicate my favourite deep-fried food with Airfryer. Some food can be perfectly done in Airfryer without hassle, such as chicken, while the others require try-and-error to achieve the desired taste and outlook.

Banana Fritters, one of my favorite local snacks, are typically deep fried in a pot of sizzling oil. The taste differs largely due to the batter used in frying. As you know, Airfryer cannot fry food with wet batter. How to make this popular snack at home with Airfryer?

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Fruit and Almond Clafoutis

I have quite a bit of canned fruits such as pineapple slices and apricot halves leftover in my fridge.  They need to be used to empty the containers.  What to bake?  My family seems have been spoilt for choices of French desserts lately,  apricot flancrème brûlée, and now clafoutis.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Fish Paste Stuffed Bell Peppers

My mother always says eat with the seasons. Not only we will get the most nutritional value of the vegetables and fruits, they are at their peak of flavor. Though most foods here are imported, it's still healthy to eat when they are in season. At least we know they are the fresh new growth of the season.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Apricot and Almond Flan

Bakerzin's lovely fruit flans are all almond cream based, which reminds me of a galette baked by my French colleague last Easter. She also used almond cream or frangipane as the filling, which tastes wonderful!  I learned that frangipane is one of France's many traditional foods, which is normally made of butter, sugar, eggs, and ground almonds. My initial intention was to make a galette. Bakerzin's attractive dessert menu makes me finally decide to bake this Apricot and Almond Flan.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Grilled Corn with Feta Cheese and Lime (Airfryer Version)

My daughter teased that my oven would be very "sad" after I bought Philips Airfryer. Well,  I may have spent more time on Airfryer to explore its functions, it does not mean Airfryer can totally replace traditional oven. They are both my kitchen helpers. Oven arrived much early, and it's very reliable, just like my old friend.  Airfryer is like a new friend, need to spend more time together so that our "friendship" can go a long way.  "Make new friends and keep the old, one is silver and the other gold."  This old saying on friendship also applies here in my kitchen.

While continue baking with my oven,  I have been trying new recipes on my Airfryer lately. I just shared an amazing and simple recipe on Grilled Salmon with Airfryer, and now I am here to tell you one more recipe I enjoyed very much with Airfryer. Grilled corn!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Grilled Salmon with Lemon, Soy Sauce and Brown Sugar (Airfryer Version)

My whole family love salmon, especially grilled salmon. There are many ways of marinating salmon, and my family's favorite marinade is lemon, soy sauce and brown sugar. 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Air-Fried Buttermilk Chicken

My taste buds are fond of fried foods.  The pleasure of eating deep-fried food is irresistible to me. I like the tender interior and crisp exterior, which remains crisp even as the food soaks up the tangy sauce. However, for my family's health, I seldom deep fry food at home. I usually replace deep frying with baking, e.g, baked potato sticks, chicken wings and pork ribs.  Baked food tastes good, but sometimes, deep-fried food still tastes better.

To satisfy our craving for deep-fried food,  we bought a Philips Airfryer recently. Now I can air fry! We have air-fried some "forbidden" snacks at home, and this buttermilk fried chicken is one of the top recipes we have tried so far.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche

Do you feel that time is flying every day? Can't believe it's end of July already. I asked my younger daughter the same question the other day, she told me she felt time has been very slow!  Well, I understand how she feels. She can't wait to go for an overseas cultural immersion trip organized by her school in November.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Leek, Ricotta and Mushroom Frittata

There are sometimes when I just don't know what to do with vegetables.  I usually stir-fry them with meat. However,  my daughters are getting more and more fussy nowadays.  One just takes Chinese cabbage, and the other just takes broccoli.  What about those vegies in my fridge?  That's when I turn to baked frittata as I can add whatever vegetables I have on hand.

Baked vegetable frittata can be served as a vegetarian main course or a tasty side. It's easy to make and delicious.  In this recipe, I used two long leeks, 1 can of button mushrooms, and 1 pack fresh oyster mushroom.  My daughters loved it and asked for seconds!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Savory Crème Brûlée With Tomatoes

I enjoy making delicacies from different cultures in my kitchen.  It gives me a feeling of having an exotic vacation without travelling.  When I browse through Über mich's blog,  it feels like I am on a French food tour. The beautiful array of French food in her blog look so tantalizing. 

The blog is written in German and French, I used Google Translate and managed to get a few recipes in English.  I started "food sampling" with this Savory Crème Brûlée. The traditional Crème Brûlée,  which is also known as burnt cream,  is topped with hard caramelized sugar.  Über mich's recipe creates a savory version by adding herbs and cherry tomatoes.  Simple ingredients, pleasant and rich taste! Egg yolk, whipping cream, cherry tomatoes and some dried herbs are all you need to make this famous French appetizer.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Peach Cheesecake with Digestive Biscuit Streusel

How much a slice of cheesecake cost in Singapore nowadays? $6-$8. Quite steep to me,  which gives me a good excuse to watch the calories.  However,  as a fan of cheesecakes, I can't help baking at home occassionally. 

I have tried different flavor of cheesecakes at home, e.g blueberry cheesecake , chocolate cheesecake, Oreo cheesecake and peach cream cheese cobbler. By far the most popular one is still peach cheesecake with digestive biscuit streusel. 

Lemon Garlic Baked Fish Fillets

Everyone seems to be getting sick right now!  In fact, it is very common to get sick during this warm and humid period.  Outside temperature is as high as 34-35°C, while the air-conditioned room is at 23-25°C.  Really have to take extra precautions when walking in and out the air-conditioned rooms as sudden changes in temperature affect the respiratory system.

Other than regular exercise to keep our immune system up and running,  we need to watch out our intake to have balanced and healthy meal.  You probably know that lemon is high in Vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system. Do you know that garlic is powerful against infectious diseases like cold and flu? It all thanks to its antioxidant , antiviral and antibiotic properties. 

That's one of the reason I decided to cook fish fillets with lemon and garlic today. Both lemon and garlic are powerful immune boosters. They are the best cold remedy at home.  I love this recipe also because it is quick and easy. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare and if you serve with pre-prepared brown rice, you can have a super healthy meal done in just about half an hour. 


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Chinese parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 6 grouper fillets (500g)
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Directions :
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. Pat fish fillets dry with paper towel and dust with salt and black pepper.
  3. Place the fish fillets in a baking dish. Sprinkle with minced garlic, parsley leaves, lemon zest. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper. Serves 4.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Fresh Lemon Bundt Cake for Sizzling Hot Summer


新加坡的气温常年在26 -30 摄氏度之间徘徊,可是最近骤升到34度。看看家里的电费快要爆表了,就知道躲在有空调的地方是我们"防暑" 的唯一方法。在家开空调,上班公司也有空调。出门无论是驾车还是搭地铁巴士,一路上都有空调。反而在空调的环境生活久了,难得出汗。只好去Gym 做做有氧运动,出出汗,排排毒。

天气热,周末大部分时间躲在家里。去了趟超市采购了一周的水果蔬菜之后,闲来无事, 正好烤个蛋糕。买了几个新鲜的柠檬,驾轻就熟地做了个孩子们最爱的柠檬蛋糕。鲜艳的黄色,看起来很配合夏日的氛围。最喜欢淋在上面的柠檬糖汁,酸酸甜甜,使整个蛋糕绵软润泽,既有牛油的香浓,又不失柠檬的清。 用了Bundt 烤盘,这款家常蛋糕,华丽大变身,成为一道正餐后亮丽的甜点。

坐在藤制的躺椅上,手里端着杯lemonade , 品尝着自己亲手烘烤的美味蛋糕。看着夕阳西下,此刻才真正体味到“心静自然凉”。。。


For the cake
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 250g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 200ml sour cream
For the glaze:
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar

To make the cake:
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 DegC
  2. Mix flour, baking powder and the salt in a bowl.
  3. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs one by one. Beat well after each addition. Add sour cream and mix well.
  4. Gently fold in the flour mixture. Mix thoroughly and then add the lemon zest.
  5. Pour the batter into greased baking tin. Bake for 40 mins or until cake tester comes out clean.
  6. Leave cake to cool completely before removing from the tin.
To make the glaze:
  1. Combine lemon juice and icing sugar until smooth and white.
  2. Add melted butter. Mix well.
  3. Make sure your cake is completely cool before drizzling with the glaze.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Cake Muffins Worth Queueing for at Shunfu Market

Knowing that I bake muffins, a friend recommended me to try the muffins from Chocolat N' Spice at Shunfu market.  He said Shunfu market - a neighbourhood hawker center,  is famous because of the muffin store.  The snake queue in front of  the muffin store has become an unique scenery of this quiet hawker center.

People queueing for muffins? Out of curiosity, I dropped by the store one day during lunch time. Over the one hour stay at the hawer center, I observed an average of 8-9 people in the queue. It has never shortened until all the muffins were sold out.  I bought one box of 6 muffins of different flavours,  priced from $1.30 to $1.60 each.  I chose Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate, Banana Walnut,  Blueberry, Mocha and Cheese . These freshly baked muffins are large, soft with golden domed top, so enticing. Shared with colleagues, everyone was asking me when I would make the next the trip down. Each of them would like to order one box!  The following week, I brought 6 boxes of muffins to office. That should tell you how much we like it.

As a home baker,  my story does not just end here. I started my own muffin baking experiment.  Unlike the muffins I baked in the past,  which have bread-like texture, Chocolat N' Spice muffins are more cake-like. I tried several recipes, adjusted here and there.  It took me a few batches of muffins before finally setteled with my own recipe.  I use butter, yogurt and brown sugar, which make the muffins soft, moist, and spongy. With nicely browned mushroom cap, Little Joy Factory muffins are also hard to resist!

Recall the first time when I brought home one box of muffins from Shunfu market, they were gone in minutes. Yesterday, I bought another box home. After one day, there were still 4 left in the box.  I was told that my Little Joy Factory muffins now taste better! That's really a nice compliment :)

The recipe I shared with you here is for the basic cake-like muffin.  Just add your favorite  toppings such as walnuts, dried fruits,  chocolate chips ...  it will work wonderfully.  Thanks Chocolat N' Spice for the inspiration!


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter,  softened
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (200ml) sour cream / plain yogurt (full or reduced fat)
  • Dried berries or any toppings as you like

  1. Preheat oven at 200 DegC.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. 
  3. In the bowl of electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract and sour cream or yogurt.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and dried berries. Mix until just combined.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin and fill until rim. Sprinkle some dried berries on top of the batter.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes. Tune oven temperature down to 180 DegC, continue for another 8-10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

French Apple Cake

One apple a day, keeps the doctor away!  Be it a fact or friction, my family can never get enough of apples. We love Fuji apples, juicy and crisp. We also like Royal Gala apples, sweet with pleasant flavor and texture. When there are extra apples at home, the first thing that comes to my mind is always French apple cake.  Just like any classic French dessert, the apple cake looks elegant, and tastes incredibly delicious!

The recipe asks for mixed types of apples. I used 2 large Fuji apples, and 2 medium gala apples. With a few tablespoons of rum, the apple cake smells so nice amid baking. This is a great dessert for your family and guests during holiday.

(Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz)

  • 3/4 cup (110g) flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large apples (a mix of varieties)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum (* I used white rum)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (115g) butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled to room temperature
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.
  2. Line a  9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Peel and core the apples, then dice them into 1-inch (3cm) pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy then whisk in the sugar, then rum and vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the melted butter
  5. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.
  6. Fold in the apple cubes until they’re well-coated with the batter and scrape them into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top a little with a spatula.
  7. Bake the cake for 50 minute to 1 hour (*I baked 45 minutes), or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the cake.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Pizza Muffins

Do you like pizza? do you like muffin? How about pizza muffin? When I saw the recipe from Donna Hay's website, I can't help but "Wow"! How come I have never thought of making these easy and delicious pizza muffins?   Just replace whatever sweet stuff in muffins with your favorite pizza toppings, there come the savoury pizza muffins!

Soft, moist with cheesy filling, yummy yummy...! A good treat in the midst of the busy week.

I am submitting this post to March Potluck at I Heart Cooking Clubs.  Come and join the fun party !

(adapted from Donna Hay's recipe)
(make 6 large muffins)
  • 1 cup self-raising flour       
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (60g) grated Parmesan cheese       
  • 50g ham, chopped
  • 50g chopped pineapple, drained       
  • 50 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons pasta sauce       
  • 1 egg       
  • 80ml milk

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place the flour, baking powder,  cheese, ham and pineapple in a bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Place the oil, tomato paste, egg and milk in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  3. Spoon into muffin tins and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Makes 6.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Homemade Black Sesame Tangyuan (Sweet Rice Dumplings)

Today is the fifteenth day of Chinese New Year , Chinese celebrate it as The Lantern Festival (元宵节). This year, The Lantern Festival is also the The Valentine's Day! It's reported that 243 couples in Singapore will be tying the knot today. What an auspicious “double happiness” date! 

The Lantern Festival symbolises family togetherness. Eating tangyuan, or sweet rice dumplings,  is an important part of the day in my family.

Back in my home town in Northeastern China,  tangyuan is usually filled with sugar, walnuts, sesame, rose petals, sweetened tangerine peel, red bean paste, dates, or dried fruits.  A lot of combinations of these ingredients.  It feels so good to enjoy a bowl of warm tangyuan with your family on a cold winter day.

This year, I decided to make my own tangyuan for the first time. One reason is, I have one whole pack of glutinous rice flour, leftover from making Chinese New Year niangao (rice cake).  Another reason is,  the tangyuan recipe looks really simple! With homemade black sesame powder, I bet my tangyuan would be super! .

Last weekend, I made my first batch of  tangyuan.   Based on the recipe, I added some water to the glutinous rice flour. The dough is soft and smooth, quite easy to handle.  I took one small portion of the dough ,  add the filling on top,  and tried to wrap it up. It became kind of messy with cracks here and there.  Not easy to roll into a ball. I managed to make about 10 tangyuan, and gave up.  In order not to waste the ingredients, I simply mixed the sesame paste into the dough,  put into a steamer, and there became my black sesame niangao (rice cake). Taste good though!

I knew there must be something wrong with the wrapping method.  For someone like me, who is dumpling "expert",   I used the same way to wrap tangyuan and dumpling.  A Shanghainese friend told me the difference.  To wrap a dumpling,  you need to press the dough flat and round, add the filling on top, then wrap it up. It works perfectly fine as the dough is elastic.  However, the dough for tangyuan is not elastic,  but a bit sticky. You need to roll the dough into a ball first, hold it, and press in the center to make a hole with your thumb. Add the filling inside, close it.  Roll slightly to round it up. Do things in the right way, and it would be effortless. It's so true! I made these tangyuan today for my family. They are smooth, round, and delicious! Happy 元宵! 

(Recipe adapted here)

(make 20 medium-sized tangyuan)
  • 200g glutinous rice flour
  • 180g water
  • 100g homemade black sesame powder ( recipe refers to here)
  • 80g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil ( I used peanut oil) 
  1. In a big bowl, mix the glutinous rice flour with water until it forms a smooth and soft dough.  Divide the dough into 20 portion. Set aside.
  2. Mix the black sesame powder, sugar and grind in a food processor until fine and moist (the moist is the oil from black sesame). 
  3. Add vegetable oil to the fine mixture until just combined.
  4. Take one portion of the dough, roll slightly into a ball. Hold the ball in your left hand and press into the center to make a hole.
  5. Use a small spoon to put the black sesame mixture into the hole. Close it and roll slightly. Set aside.
  6. Repeat 4-5 until finish the ingredients.
  7. Heat up a a pot of water and bring to a boil. Drop the dumplings into the hot boiling water.  Once the water is boiled, add one bowl of cold water. Do it 2 more times until the dumplings float to the top.
  8. Transfer them out to another bowl together with the boiled water. Serve warm.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Roasted Pork Ribs - IHCC Potluck Week

Joining I Heart Cooking Clubs provides me a good chance to try different ways of cooking. The most exciting part is to prepare an everyday dish in a totally new way, such as steamed coconut curry soup, baked fish fillet,  roasted pork ribs etc.

We all like that fall off the bone, melt in your mouth rack of ribs. That's why I often boil pork ribs soup, easy and nutritious. Typical ingredients go well with pork ribs are fresh corns, lotus root, apple, pear.  Never roasted pork ribs at home,  simply because I am afraid they would be too dry.

Asian ribs, one of Donna Hay's recipe suggests using hoisin sauce (海鲜酱), five-spice powder (五香粉), soy sauce (酱油) , sesame oil (芝麻油), Shaoxing (绍兴酒) to marinate the ribs. These seasonings are readily available in my kitchen.  It's so convenient to prepare this dish. To achieve tender roasted ribs, I first pull the membrane off  the ribs before marinate them. The membrane can get hard and chewy if you leave it on.  After that,  season the ribs and leave the ribs in the fridge overnight.   During baking, cover the pan with aluminium foil to form a tent.  Make sure there are no holes.  The roasted ribs turned out to be tender and juicy.  We really enjoyed these delicious pork ribs at dinner today. 

(Recipe adapted from Donna Hay's website)

  • 500g pork rib        
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine)       
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Chinese Walnut Cookies (核桃酥)

Chinese New Year is approaching, food bloggers here are busy baking CNY cookies.  I have baked pineapple tarts, almond cookies, peanut cookies. How about you?

Since there is still one week away, I'd like to bake one more type of CNY cookies. Read a few posts about Chinese Walnut Cookies (核桃酥) recently.  Some recipes add alkaline water, some add shortening, some use vegetable oil, some use butter.  Despite the difference in recipes, I notice there is one thing in common:  food bloggers are trying to create the traditional taste of walnut cookies from their hometown, from their childhood memories.

In my hometown, Chinese walnut cookies are crunchy and full of walnut fragrance. There is no butter in it,  but for sure there are walnuts. They are so delicious that I have always been tempted to buy them whenever I see similar ones at bakery shops here.  However, the taste is not the same.  Pure peanut oil and walnut meal are the key ingredients to keep these Chinese walnut cookies crispy and addictive.

The easy recipe is from 君之, who I believe shares the same memory of Chinese walnut cookies as me.  I can't say these are the best-ever Chinese walnut cookies, but they are the best cookies of my childhood. It's amazing that my two daughters, who do not like walnuts,   love these walnut cookies !



  • 400 plain flour
  • 160g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sodium Bicarbonate
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ammonium (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 50g walnuts,  grounded
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup peanut oil

  • Egg wash
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 teaspoon milk
  1. In a large bowl, add flour, sugar and the rest of the dry ingredients, mix well.
  2. Beat the egg slightly and mix with peanut oil.
  3. Add the oil mixture into the flour mixture. Fold with a spatula until form a soft dough.
  4. Divide dough into 30g each. Roll into balls  and place onto a lined baking tray, 2cm apart.
  5. Flatten with your palm. Brush with egg wash.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 mins or until golden brown.

Recipe adapted here.


I am linking this post to Bake Along hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, Lena from Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. This month's theme is Chinese New Year Cookies.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Blueberry Buttermilk Panna Cotta (IHCC)

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubit's Time for Tea !  Friends have prepared  a good spread of tea time snacks such as delicious cakes, cookies, muffins, scorns.  I am running out of time as today is the deadline for submitting the post!  I don't want to miss the party again (sorry to say that, I have missed for two weeks).  To fit into the theme, I was thinking of making a quick and easy dessert with a Donna Hay's recipe.

Standing in my kitchen, with my fridge door widely open,  I saw half pack of leftover buttermilk,  one pack of cooking cream.  Buttermilk Panna Cotta ?  Yes!

Panna Cotta , which literally means cooked cream , is a traditional, easy, and delicious Italian dessert. It is made by simmering cream, sugar, and gelatin.  It took me less than 10 minutes to prepare. Garnished with blueberry sauce,  this silky smooth and wobble dessert tastes luxurious and looks beautiful.  Perfect for tea time! 

(Modified from Donna Hay's recipe)

  • 1/3 cup (80ml) warm water 
  • 3 teaspoons powdered gelatine 
  • 1 pack (200ml) cooking cream (* original recipe calls for 250ml single pouring cream, here  cooking cream is available in 200ml pack size)
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar  (* original recipe calls for 220g caster sugar, I cut down by half)     
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract  (* original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste)           
  • 375ml milk
  • 375ml buttermilk       
  • 1 tablespoon blueberry preserve (* my own addition )


Saturday, 11 January 2014

Best Melt-in-the-Mouth Pineapple Tarts (Sonia's Recipe)

Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) is still 20 days away, but Singapore is already getting ready for the Year of Horse. CNY decorations are all over the shopping malls, very pretty and impressive. As a home baker, it's time for me to bake CNY cookies. As usual, pineapple tarts are the top in my baking list.

This year, I decided to try a different recipe.  Actually, I saw this recipe from Sonia's blog (Nasi Lemak Lover) last year. She said it's the "Best Melt-in-the-Mouth" pineapple tart recipe. As I have already finished baking pineapple tarts with my own recipe then, so did not have the chance to try. 

A few days ago, Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids shared her experience of baking pineapple tarts with 3 popular recipes. One of them is Sonia's.  Zoe provided a comparison table with ingredients and method used in each recipe, and concluded that Sonia's recipe yields the best melt-in-the-mouth pineapple tarts.  Though I have never doubt "baking master" Sonia, now with Zoe's recommendation, I am 100% confident in this BEST recipe.  Thanks to Sonia and Zoe for your generosity in sharing this recipe. These pineapple tarts are the BEST that I have ever had.

Regardless what recipe you use,  nothing can be compared to homemade pineapple tarts. No trans fat, no preservatives, no colouring.  Are you ready for baking your own pineapple tarts?   Here is the recipe, tested and proven.

(Recipe from Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover)


  • 350g butter
  • 100g (5 tablespoons) condensed milk
  • 510g plain flour
  • 2 egg yolks
500g store-bought pineapple filling

Egg wash
  • 1 egg yolk +1 teaspoon milk


Directions :
  1. Cream softened butter and condensed milk in a electric mixer. Add in egg yolk one at a time.
  2. Add flour, continue mix until it forms a soft dough.
  3. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  4. Take 1 tablespoon pastry and roll into a small ball . Flatten it using your palms.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of pineapple filling on the centre of each pastry skin and wrap it. Roll into a ball (patch with more pastry skin if needed).
  6. Place in a lined baking tray. Glaze with egg wash.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
  8. Transfer to wire rack and allow to cool completely.


I am linking this post to Bake Along hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, Lena from Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. This month's theme is Chinese New Year Cookies.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Roasted Pecans with Chinese Five-Spice Powder

Nuts are my favourite snack. I love pecans, pistachios, walnuts and macadamia the most.  While these nuts are not so expensive in U.S and China,  they are quite pricy here in Singapore.  One pack of 250g roasted pecans can be sold close to S$10.

To enjoy pecans at home,  I usually buy raw pecans from local wholesale market, and roast them in my oven.  Toss with some salt, sugar, and Chinese five-spice powder,  homemade roasted pecans  rival the top-quality nuts brands. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, we can enjoy a handful of  crispy delicious pecans anytime of the day. 

While there are many good things about nuts,  try not to consume them in excess.   Nuts contain a high amount of omega 6. It's important to maintain a balanced omega 6 and omega 3 ratio (1:1) in your diet.  Study shows a diet that is high in Omega-6 but low in Omega-3 increases inflammation. So, just take nuts as delicious snacks, but not a major part of our diet, we should be fine.

(Recipe adapted from Maomaoma Kitchen)

  • 250g pecan halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

  1. Preheat oven to 160 DegC.
  2. In a large bowl, soak pecans in boiling water for 15 seconds. Drain well.
  3. Sprinkle salt, sugar and Chinese five-spice powder over pecans.Toss to coat evenly.
  4. Spread pecans on a lined baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Take out the tray and stir with a wooden spoon. Bake for another 4-5 minutes , or until sides of pecans turn light brown.
  6. Let pecans stay in the oven for two more minutes before remove from the oven.
  7. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Moist Cinnamon Walnut Banana Cake

I love walnut and banana, the combination of the two is simply irresistible to me. This banana and walnut cake recipe was pinned from Cuisine Paradise. It stands out from the rest due to its rich and moist texture.

The secret lies in brown sugar, which has the taste of molasses, sweeter and richer as compared to white sugar. To make it suit more to our taste, I added cinnamon and chocolate chips. The cake is super moist and delicious. It smells heavenly during baking. It has become our "family cake".
(Recipe adapted from  Cuisine Paradise)


- 227g unsalted butter, soften
- 140g brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 2 1/4 cup (~275g) self-raising flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 240g  (2 medium-sized) ripe bananas
- 50g chopped walnuts (+ extra for decoration)
- 50g chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until fluffy.
  3. Add in the egg one by one, beating well after each addition . Add vanilla extract and bananas.
  4. Add flour, baking soda and salt,  mix until well combined.
  5. Stir in the chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the batter into a lined square baking tin. Place extra walnut pieces on top for decoration.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

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