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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