Saturday, December 28, 2013


This biscotti recipe by Delia Smith is so simple, and the results marvelous. Really yummy with tea/coffee. I think it'll be delicious to incorporate some cranberries and pistachios as well next time.

Almond Biscotti
110g plain flour
3/4 t baking powder
pinch of salt
25g ground almonds
50g almonds, skins on
75g caster sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
a few drop of vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
2. First sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Then add the ground and whole almonds and sugar. Give it a good mix, then add the egg and almond extract, and mix it together first with a spoon and then using your hands to bring the mixture together to form a smooth dough.
3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, using your hands, roll it into a log about 28cm long. Put on lined baking sheet and bake near the centre of oven 30 minutes. After that, transfer log to a cooling tray and leave until completely cold.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 150°C.
5. Using a serrated knife, cut the biscotti into slightly diagonal slices about 1 cm wide. Then place them back on the lined baking tray and bake for another 30 minutes until pale gold and crisp.
6. Transfer them to the cooling tray and when cold, store in an airtight container.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Melting moments

I've been as busy as an elf in the kitchen, baking up batches of cookies (often late into the night) as gifts. This christmas, I'm making 'melting moments', biscotti, and shortbread.

They are all so much fun to make, but melting moments were my favourite as I absolutely love the outcome of this recipe. It does not 'melt' as such, but is deceptively 'light' despite the amount of butter required. It tastes better after leaving it overnight in the fridge. Bossman rated it 9 out of 10 stars. I hadn't made the jam to go with it, but I think if I did, it would push it to 10 stars :p.

Here's a picture from the melting moments test run batch. 

The next day, little toddler gobbled one up in 2 seconds during afternoon tea.

Another batch, all wrapped up, and ready to go!

Melting moments by Julia Taylor (Original awesome recipe by Julia Taylor here)

180g unsalted butter
60g icing sugar, sifted
50g custard power
1 t baking powder
180g plain flour

Vanilla buttercream
100g butter, softened
2 t vanilla bean paste
1 cup icing sugar, sifted

1. Preheat oven to 180c. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
2. For biscuits, cream butter for 2 minutes with paddle attachment. Add icing sugar and custard powder and mix until combined. Sift the baking powder and flour together then add to the dough and mix well. Roll dough into approx 15g (1 teaspoon), place on baking tray and press each ball with a fork to leave an indent. Bake biscuits for 16-18 minutes or until light golden. Stand on tray 5 minutes to cool then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
3. For buttercream, whisk butter and vanilla until smooth. Add icing sugar and beat until mixture forms a paste, the consistency of thick icing. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle.
4. To assemble, pipe buttercream in a circle onto the base half of the biscuits. Gently press one of each biscuits together to form a melting moment.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Almond Tuiles

This little recipe for almond tuiles is a keeper! It's so crispy and yummy- ALL of the crispy tuiles were gobbled up by Boss Man and toddler in 10 seconds.

(Ingredients for 18 crispy tuiles)

2 egg whites (66-70g size eggs)
50g caster sugar
1 pinch salt
40g low gluten flour
25g melted butter (microwave for 30 seconds)
100g flaked almonds

1. Using a whisk, mix egg whites, caster sugar, and salt until combined. Add flour and mix until combined. Stir in melted butter. Lightly stir in flaked almonds. Leave in fridge for 30 minutes.
2. Spread a tsp of batter thinly on a tray lined with baking paper using the back of the fork dipped in water. Ensure all almond flakes are separated and are not on top of each other.
3. Bake in 150°C preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
4. Working quickly, lift the tuiles off the tray using a knife. Allow to cool and hardened.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cauliflower Soup

This recipe by Neil Perry is truly delicious and is a success (Thanks to recipe tip off from mom's group friend!). I'll definitely be making this again and again. It is perfect for cold and rainy days. The recipe below is slightly tweaked for my future reference.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan (For the original recipe, click click!)
1 whole cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
2 fresh garlic cloves, finely diced
900ml vegetable stock
50g light cream
1 T unsalted butter
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
sea salt

1. Heat butter. Add garlic, onion, salt and pepper, saute for 10 minutes.
2. Add cauliflower and sweat over low heat for 10 minutes, until florets are soft and golden (the browning of cauliflower is essential for flavour of soup).
3. Add stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes or until cauliflower is very soft.
4. Process soup until very smooth.
5. Over low heat, stir in cream. Add mustard and cheese in batches tasting as you go. Add more stock if necessary to give the desired consistency. 
6. Serve with warm bread. Enjoy!

ps: Dinner roll in the picture above was a homemade addition from the Boss man. I'll get him to write it up one day =)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Steamed Chicken Bun (Gai Bau)

This steamed bun project ranks pretty high up on my to do list because the boss man loves 'Dai Bau' (translation: 'Big Bun') and other Baus from Nam Loong.

I got the following bun skin recipe from a Chinese cook book.  I have altered the original recipe so that I can use the usual supply in my pantry and I don't need to buy any extra ingredient from the Asian grocery.  That is, I have used low-gluten flour instead of "Hong Kong" flour; I also have used rice bran oil instead of shortening/lard.

Ingredients for 16 buns

(A) Bun Skin
300g low gluten wheat flour
7g dry instant yeast (1 satchet=7g)
5g baking powder
70g sugar
25g light oil (I used rice bran)
120ml water

(B) Filling
500g chicken mince
Half an onion, diced finely and stir fried till soft
1/2 cup sweet corn
Seasoning (Salt, sugar, oyster sauce, sesame oil, pepper)

1. Combine ingredients (B) for filling in a large bowl and set aside for later use.

2. Combine all ingredients (A) for bun skin in a large bowl and knead until smooth. Divide to 16 equal parts, press and roll flat, thicker in the middle and thin at sides.  To make the paper base, just cut baking paper into the size you want.

3. Place a tablespoon of filling on bun skin and wrap. Set aside for 30 minutes to let rise.

4. Steam over high heat for 15 minutes (Put a few drops of white vinegar in the water in the steamer. This will prevent the buns from turning yellow!)

This is my 1st attempt, so please pardon the lack of bun wrapping technique.  As I practice more, I hope to make the buns into rabbit-shape, pig-face-shape, or basically any shape that could entice my little boy to eat more of these buns.  The dough is really forgiving, and can be stretched and patched as you please!

For the filling, I've used minced chicken and sweet corn.  But you can use pretty much anything you like.  Here are some ideas:

- Jap Chae (Health Score= 9 out of 10)
- Red bean or sesame paste (7 out of 10),
- Curry (5 out of 10)
- Chocolate (3 out of 10)
- Peanut butter (3 out of 10)
- Braised pork belly and mushrooms (1 out of 10)
- Nothing (a.k.a. "Man Tau") (0 out of 10!!!)


Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Gratitute Kitchen is closed for renovation.

Yup, for real! We are renovating our 70s style kitchen, Woo hoo!

Will resume cooking once we're done! Can't wait X

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Boss man told me he was craving for Oyakodon, so I quickly googled 'Oyakodon recipe' and tried the first one on the search result!

...and it worked! What would we do without technology these days?

It was yummy and I was surprised how easy it is to make at home (all the ingredients are common pantry and fridge staples!), oh why did I only start doing it now?

3 chicken thigh fillets, diced
1 onion, sliced finely
1 2/3 C dashi stock
7 T soy sauce
4 T mirin
3 T sugar
4 eggs
steam rice
spring onions
sengiri shoga (pickled ginger)

1. Combine dashi stock, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in sauce pan over medium heat bring to boil.
2. Add chicken and simmer on low heat until partially cooked. Add onion slices and simmer until chicken is just cooked.
3. Lightly beat eggs in a bowl, bring soup to boil, and pour eggs over chicken and onion. Turn heat down to very low, and cover with lid for about one minute, turn off heat.
6. Serve on hot cooked rice in individual serving bowls. Garnish with spring onions and sengiri shoga.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Mini Quiches

We were invited for a picnic yesterday, and were each asked to bring a plate.

Inspired by Julia Child's Quiche Lorraine, I decided to bake a mini version for the kids! And because it's only cream, eggs, and bacon, I thought it would be healthier if there's some veges in it as well.
These were served cold. The children, or rather, the parents gobbled most of it down. We had a lovely time!

1 1/2 C thickened cream
3 eggs
3 slices of bacon , cut into little squares, simmer in water for 5 minutes and browned slightly in skillet.
One onion, diced finely
Handful of diced pumpkin, roasted with olive oil
Handful of spinach
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of pepper
1 T butter, diced finely
1 T butter, for cooking
Puff pastry x 3, cut into 4 rounds per sheet

1. Preheat oven to 200c. Butter the inside of a 12 hole muffin pan and line with puff pastry rounds. Weigh it down with pie weights. Partially bake the the puff pastry for 8-9 minutes.
2. Turn oven down to 190c.
3.  Press bacon pieces into bottom of pastry shell.
4. Cook the onions in butter. Add spinach and stir over moderate heat for several minutes to evaporate all its water. Stir in pumpkin, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and taste carefully for seasoning.
5. Beat the eggs and cream in a mixing bowl to blend. Gradually stir in the onion, spinach, pumpkin mixture. Check seasoning.
6. Pour into pastry shell and dot with diced butter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in oven. A knife plunged into the center should come out clean. It will stay puffed for 10 minutes in the turned off hot oven with door ajar. As it cools, it sinks down.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

French Pear Tart (II)

Baked a pear tart for Good Friday. This time, I've arranged the pears the proper way. To quote Dorrie Greenspan: 'Thinly slice each pear half crosswise. Lift each half on a spatula, press down on the pear to fan it slightly and place it over the almond cream, wide end toward the edge of the crust. The 6 halves will form spokes'. (Although, I think I've sliced them abit too finely). Recipe here.

Hope you had a great Easter weekend x

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Soy happy!

In the past, this is how I make soy milk at home. It's messy, and time consuming as you have to blend the soaked beans, stand in front of the stove to cook the milk, and I haven't mentioned the amount of washing up after! I love soy milk, but this is much too fussy.

One day, after hearing me out, my colleague who's from China suggested: 'Why don't you get a Jo Young soy milk machine? Everyone in China has one! And everyone drinks fresh soy milk everyday!!!'. I did my research online and was intrigued- all you need to do is add soaked beans and water, and the machine will work its magic. Wow! I wanted it, but it was expensive and I can only buy it online.

Fast forward 3 years later, I took the plunge and 'invested' in a soy milk maker (mainly because someone imports the product to Melbourne now and I can see it in person, and plus.... I have a soft spot for kitchen gadgets)!

The machine looks good and doesn't take up much space on my kitchen benchtop. All you need to do to get soy milk is:

1000ml water
1 cup of soy beans, soaked overnight

(1) soak a cup of soy beans overnight in the fridge
(2) add soaked beans and water to machine, press 'soy milk', then 'soaked beans'. Wait 20 minutes, and voila, fresh soy milk!

I experimented a little last night, by mixing in the following:
5 Tbsp black sesame
1/2 rice bowl of white rice
1 Tbsp white sesame
4 Tbsp caster sugar
900ml water

(1) Press 'rice paste', wait 20 minutes, and voila, instant smooth and velvety black sesame pudding!!!

Boy was I pleased, and soy happy! :D

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

BBQ Honey chicken wings

OK - these are heavenly! This is probably THE dish to bossman's heart (via the tummy). He hehe! It tastes better than KFC, in fact it's so easy to make that it's easier than going out to buy KFC. The cooking time is 20 minutes, the prep time is 5 minutes. can it be easier than that?

2kg chicken wings/wingettes/drumettes
4 T oyster sauce
4 T fish sauce
dash of black pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
thumb size ginger, chopped finely
4 T honey
2 T olive oil

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and let marinade overnight.
2  Bake in 200°C preheated oven for 20 minutes until golden brown, turning once.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nian Gao with Coconut 椰丝年糕

I am not a fan of Nian Gao, and if you are not too, you're going to be left with a pile of Nian Gao after Chinese New Year. What to do with them? I decided to prettify it to make it at least abit more appetising to the eyes. So I coat the steamed sticky sweet rice cakes in desiccated coconut for a simple dessert to go with dinner. The result was a yummy dessert which tastes alot like  'Nyonya Kuihs'. The recipe below, as you can see, is incredibly simple.

1 round block of 'Nian Gao', cut in to 2 cm x 2cm pieces
Some desiccated coconut + pinch of salt

1. Steam desiccated coconut for 10 minutes to rehydrate.
2. At the same time, steam Nian Gao pieces for 10 minutes as well.
2. Toss in desiccated coconut. Serve warm.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lunar Chinese New Year 'Yee Sang' (Sashimi Salad with Plum Sauce Dressing)

Where I grew up, Lunar Chinese New Year wouldn't be complete without 'Yee Sang'. It is a salad of sashimi, various thinly julienned fresh and pickled vegetables, crunchy crackers, nuts, with plum sauce dressing. I have been planning this dish for a while as there are a lot of ingredients to shop for.  Magimix did most of the work for me. The end result is an extremely fresh, yummy, and healthy salad!

(Serves 10)

Part A (Body)
500g sashimi grade salmon, thinly sliced (I got mine fresh from a local Japanese wholesaler)
5 granny smith apples (2 cups), thinly julienned
1 sweet potato (2 cups), thinly julienned
6 carrots (4 cups), thinly julienned
1 cucumber (2 cups), thinly julienned
150g of instant natural jelly fish, drained and coated with sesame oil
1 cup of pomelo

Part B (Garnish)
few stalks of coriander
sprinkles of sakura denbu powder (pink fish floss)
1 cup chinese fritters, grilled lightly and sliced thinly
Toasted and coarsely ground cashew nuts
1 T of toasted sesame seeds
1 lime halved (half juiced, half for garnish)
8 pieces of candied winter melon, finely

Part C (Dressing)
1/2 cup plum sauce
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 t ground white pepper
1/4 t five-spice powder

1. Assemble Part A on a large platter as per picture.
2. Garnish with Part B (Garnish).
3. To serve, drizzle with Part C (Dressing).

4. Gather everyone around the table, and toss the salad with chopsticks ('Lou Sang')!!! The higher you toss, the better your luck will be! Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

1. There are some preparation work that could be done a few days in advance - toasting cashew/sesame seeds etc. There's also alot of ingredients to gather, so definitely plan ahead.
2. Use a food processor for perfectly julienned veges/fruits (I used the Magimix julienne disc).
3. Leave the julienned sweet potato, carrots and cucumber to dry in fridge 1 hour before assembling.
4. To stop apples from browning, soak julienned apples in salt water for 10 minutes and squeeze the water out.
5. Experiment with different combinations. For this recipe, I substitute the traditional toasted peanut for cashews, (yummier), peanut oil for extra virgin olive oil (healthier), deep fried crunchy crackers for toasted fritters (easier). I also garnished with 'sakura denbu' to give it an extra pop of color, for the wow factor.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Confinement Food, Yum!

Chinese believe in the healing properties of post partum confinement food. After the birth of baby ε, mom fed me delicious confinement food - laden with ginger, sesame oil, and DOM for the entire month post partum! It was DELICIOUS!

I recently cooked a few dishes for my friend after she gave birth ... and the smell of the food cooking was just incredible. Reminds me of home and comfort.

I'm also thinking of sharing these recipes in a confinement food series, so do watch this space!

From Top clockwise: Chicken Wine, Chicken Wine kept warm in thermal pot, Pork trotters vinegar.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Baby ε's congee

This congee is baby ε's favourite. The chicken and carrots gives it a sweet taste; the dried scallops, sesame oil, mushrooms and anchovy powder makes it umami!

250g of chicken mince
1 cup rice, washed
5 cups water
1/2 cup of enoki mushrooms, chopped
2 medium carrots
1 t anchovy powder
1 large Japanese dried scallop
1 egg
2 t sesame oil
small dash of soy sauce (omit if your baby is <1 year)

(recipe yields 3 portions of baby food)

1. Marinate chicken mince with the sesame oil and a small dash of soy sauce
2. Wash rice and dried scallop in medium sized pot. Add water to rice and bring to boil.  Add chicken mince.
3. Lower heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. Do not close lid. Stir regularly (every 10 minutes).
4. Add carrots, enoki mushrooms, anchovy powder and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
5. Lastly stir in the egg.
6. Let cool and store in 3 baby food containers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Baby chicken fingers with apple

This recipe was passed around in my moms group. It's a super easy and yummy snack for babies (suitable from 7+ months). Baby ε loves munching on it!

1 cup chicken mince
1 carrot, chopped finely
1 apple, chopped finely
1/2 garlic clove, chopped finely
1/2 brown onion, chopped finely
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
pinch of thyme
ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 200 Celsius. 
2.Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Scoop small balls of mixture using an ice cream scoop (to ensure even size), and roll into 8 little sausages.
4. Place into oven and grill for 10 minutes on each side.
5. Allow to cool.
6. Serve, or store in freezer for future use.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Part 3: Nasi Lemak - Coconut flavored rice + condiments

One of the most important components of Nasi Lemak is fluffy fragrant coconut rice. I've tweaked this recipe many times, and it is now heavenly! My preference is to use medium grain rice, and have it all cooked in an electric rice cooker (not over a stove as it burns easily).

Coconut flavored rice

5 cups of rice, washed
250ml thick coconut cream
2.5 cups water
3 pandan leaves, washed and tied into a knot
2 stalks lemon grass, bruised
2 kaffir lime leaf
4 t salt
(Serves 10)

1. Place all ingredients in a rice cooker and cook until all liquid has evaporated.
2. Allow rice to stand for 30 minutes.
3. Fluff rice up with chopsticks before serving.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Part 2: Nasi Lemak - BBQ Turmeric Chicken Wings

Sometimes, the simplest ingredients make the best dishes. Turmeric chicken wings is my favorite go-to recipe for no fuss accompaniment to Nasi Lemak. Absolutely perfect to put on a summer barbeque.

Easy BBQ Turmeric Chicken Wings

1 kg chicken wingettes
1 T turmeric powder
1 t coriander powder
1 T salt
Juice of one lemon
(Serves 6)

1. Marinate chicken wings with all ingredients in a large container overnight.
2. Cook chicken wings on a BBQ until golden brown and cooked through.
3. Serve with coconut rice.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Part 1: Nasi Lemak - Sambal Udang

A Nasi Lemak Feast

We had 40 guests over last weekend for baby ε's 1st birthday, 40!!! I almost went nuts with the overwhelming task of shopping + preparing food for so many people on my own. Luckily everything went smoothly. There were quite a few components to my Nasi Lemak feast, most of them could be prepared several days in advance.

Part 1:  Sambal Udang (Prawns n Sambal Sauce) *
Part 2: BBQ Turmeric Chicken Wings
Part 3: Coconut Rice +  Condiments (Toasted Anchovies and Nuts/ Cucumber slices / Hard boil eggs)
Part 4: Curry Chicken
Part 5: BBQ Satay chicken

Watch out for Part 2 -5 in the next few weeks.

* Part 1: Sambal Udang (Prawns in Sweet Sambal Sauce)

Master Sweet Sambal Sauce

(A) 1 large brown onions, chopped
(A) 2 shallot, chopped
(A) 6 cloves of garlic
(A) 4 long red chillies
(A) 1 T toasted shrimp paste (belachan)
(A) 4 small dried red chillies (seeds removed)
4 T tomato sauce
1 T tamarind puree dissolved in 1/4 cup water
6 T caster sugar
1 T salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil

(The above ingredients yields approx 1 cup, I was catering for 40 people so I quadrupled the above ingredients).

1. Blend ingredients (A) using a stick blender into a rough paste (The traditional method would be to pound it using a large mortar and pestle).
2. Heat oil to medium heat, add rough paste, and reduce to low heat. Cook the paste for 15 minutes stirring regularly until the mixture is fragrant.
3.Add tomato sauce, tamarind liquid, sugar and salt, and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly until red chilli oil appears.

(1) When frying sambal, watch it like a hawk and stir regularly. I learnt this the hard way in the past by accidentally burning batches of sambal, one too many times.
(2) I toned down the level of chilli in the recipe. If you prefer your sambal spicy, I suggest replacing the dried chillies with 6 heap tablespoons of chilli powder.
(3) You can cook this days in advance and store it in a sterilised jar in the fridge.

Super Easy Sambal Udang (Prawns in Sweet Sambal Sauce)

1 brown onion
500 g prawns peeled with tail left intact, diveined
1 cup of Master Sambal Sauce
2 Kaffir lime leaves, rolled and sliced finely
2 t vegetable oil

(Serve approx 8-10. To serve 40, I quadrupled the above ingredients).

1. Heat oil, and fry prawns and onions until prawns start to cook (turn opaque).
2. Add sweet sambal sauce and toss with kaffir lime leaves, let simmer until cooked.
3. Garnish with sliced kaffir lime leaves, and serve with rice/coconut rice

Enjoy the beautiful (to me at least, pungent to some :p remember to close your kitchen doors and air your house thoroughly) south east Asian flavors wafting through your kitchen! ;) 
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