Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mango cheese cake

500g cream cheese (Woolie's homebrand's fine. Trust me, I just did a presentation on cheeses in Australia..:P )
mango flavoured jelly powder x 2 pack
2 can mango slices in syrup (425g)
200 ml hot water
1 cup crushed sweet biscuits
50g butter, melted
3 tbs brown sugar

1. Add jelly to 200ml HOT water. Stir to melt.
2. Drain the mango slices and add the syrup to the jelly. Cut mango into small cubes. Set aside.
3. Leave jelly in fridge for 1 hour to set.
4. In the meantime, prepare biscuit base by combining crushed biscuits, butter and sugar. Press firmly onto a lined 20cm springform pan. Leave in fridge for at least 30 mins to set.
5. Combine jelly and cream cheese in a blender and mix throughly.
6. Pour 1/3 onto the base.
7. Add mango cubes to the cream cheese mixture and pour everything into the cake pan.
8. Leave overnight in the fridge, yes, you guessed it, to set. :)

Comments: this recipe is inspired by Berry Simple mandarin cheesecake which i made a fortnight ago...used mango instead of mandarin orange and reduced the amount of liquid from the last time...the cake was nice n firm-er....and I loved how the cubes added texture n interest to the cake...was quite pretty to look at..
the crumbly stuff on top of the cake is shaved chocolate by the way....we had an issue with bubbles on the surface of the cake.....and we wanted to conceal it somehow.. ;) Anyone has a better solution for next time??

This is an updated comment: just spoon the bubbles off...i think the bubbles were from the jelly solution which i had not done properly... and I have doubled the quantity for the i think it was too 'shallow'....'taller' looks better...the biscuit base reminds the same.

apricot walnut muffins

another great recipe from my trusty 'Muffin Bible'...made a couple of modifications though...mainly used thick cream instead of butter...just cos i wanted to finish the cream...hee..

12 dried apricots
2 tbs brandy
2 cups flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 egg
150 ml thick cream (originally 1/2 cup milk and 50g butter)

cook apricots in brandy for five minutes and then roughly chop.
Sift flour and baking powder and stir in sugar, chopped apricots and chopped walnuts.
Combine egg and milk and add melted butter.
Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients and pour in milk and butter. Stir quicky until just combined.
Three quarters fill greased muffin pans and bake at 200 degrees for 15-20 mins.

makes 24 tiny muffins, 18 small ones OR 12 big ones.

comments: I think it tasted more like a scone then muffin cos of the cream....made the outside more crispy/ crusty than regular muffins...brought it to Carrie's birthday brunch...most people liked it and thought that the sweetness was just right.. :) Happy Birthday once again Georgeous girl!!! What a pleasure to have finally met Homer!! ;D

sushi n jap curry rice!!

so this is what i have been up to.. haa havent been updating cos been really busy with uni work..wont post the recipe up cos i think everyone knows how to make them. The jap curry just follow the instruction on the box! haaa..suhi.. hum.. abit tricky but most websites teach u how! -x


1 can chickpeas (liquid reserved)
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chicken salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
dash of chilli powder
dash of pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried chives (optional; doesn't do much)

puree the chickpeas with some of the liquid. (I used a hand blender n slightly less than half of the brine.) Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again. Rest in fridge for at least an hour for flavours to mingle.
Serve with pita bread, vegetable sticks or crackers.

Comments: 'Original' hummus recipes have some tahnini (sesame seed paste/ butter) added too .... but my tahnini is somewhat bitter so i didn't want to add can experiment though...came up with the recipe cos i needed to prepare some munchies for friends who are dropping by's quite tasty n comparable to store-bought versions....lower in energy too.. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mom's achar!!

2 cucumber, julienned
2 carrots, julienned
dried chilies 6 pc
tumeric powder 1 tsp
shallot 1 medium
Roasted Sesame seeds 2 tbs
Roasted Ground peanuts 2 tbs
white vinegar 4-6 tbs
Sugar 6-8 tbs
Pineapple, diced, ½ cup

1. Marinate cucumber with salt for 30 mins. Wash off and dry with paper towels.
2. Fry shallots, chilis and tumeric powder til fragrant.
3. Add cucumber and carrots
4. Add rest of ingredients in order.
5. Chill overnight to allow flavours to fuse.

Comments: yay! I tot i had lost the recipe!! Made this last year....definitely a keeper!!! Serve with Hainan chicken rice....or Coconut rice (nasi lemak)....or rendang...or any spicy dish with rice..... :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Salmon fettucine with mandarin orange ginger paste

:) own recipe cos it wasn't that fantastic...the salmon was too fishy....but the madarin orange peel ginger paste idea pairing was interesting....might try that again as a topping when baking some other fish...
Just take fresh mandarin orange peel, chop it up with a roughly equal amount of ginger as fine as you can and add a teaspoon of olive oil...

curried carrot soup

from Allrecipes.

2 tbs vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp curry powder
900 g carrots, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water, or as needed

1 Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion until tender and translucent. Stir in the curry powder. Add the chopped carrots, and stir until the carrots are coated. Pour in the vegetable broth, and simmer until the carrots are soft, about 20 minutes.
2 Transfer the carrots and broth to a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour back into the pot, and thin with water to your preferred consistency.

comments: i omitted the water altogether...and cos the curry powder was extremely spicy, the final concoction tasted like a very fiery curry!!! This is excellent to make in a hurry for Indian food cravings. Serve with nann/ baguettes!! Yum! Oh...and the carrot flavour wasn't that strong, surprisely... :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

essential condiments

When I first came to Australia, I THOUGHT I was a pretty decent cook but quickly realised that that was not the case...even simple dishes like rice porridge with century egg stumped I started my journey with exploring forums like Makansutra and cooking websites (mainly Allrecipes;thanks Ann for the introduction!)...but the most help and inspiration, I have found are still from cooking blogs...which is one of the main reasons why this blog was birthed...

In my first year, I wanted to know what condiments to buy..but wasn't really sure...

after 2.5 years of trial and are my essentials...

For Asian cooking:
sunflower oil
light soy sauce
dark soy sauce
oyster sauce
sesame oil
white pepper
rice wine (hua diao/ shao xing)
fish sauce
corn starch
thai sweet chilli sauce
dried shitake mushroom (can be used in so many dishes....and the soaking water can be used as stock too..)
sesame seeds
rice flour

nice to have:
dark vinegar
dried chillies

'Western' cuisine: (means most of the recipes i get from Aussie magazines/ All Recipes which is US based)

olive oil (extra virgin for drizzling over salads, 'regular' for cooking)
black pepper
white wine
chicken salt
cumin powder
parprika powder
chilli powder
dried mixed herbs
dried parsley (good as garnish on most everything and helps with garlic breath too!)

nice to have:
dried dill (great with tuna and salmon dishes)
sliced black olives
sun-dried tomatoes

my messy side cupboard..herbs and spices on the top 2 racks..flours and nuts on the bottom.

for desserts and baking: (my regular stash)
Sugar: brown, white, icing + rock sugar
flour: regular + self-raising
vanilla essence (i use the imitation type; find the flavour good enough...)
baking powder
baking soda
cocoa powder
dessicated coconut
cinnamon powder
dried black dates

stuff that feature regularly in the fridge/ freezer/ pantry:
coriander greens
greek style yogurt
chicken thigh fillets
pandan leaves
frozen spinach
crumbed fish (great as backups when unexpected guests arrive, just bake and drizzle thai chilli sauce on top)
bean sprouts (just learnt that they can be FROZEN! I have been wanting to cook lasksa for the longest time...that's why they r in the freezer..)
puff pastry
mixed frozen vegetables
crabsticks! (chawan mushi, stir frys, noodles, all-rounder filler)
dried pasta
rice (Jasmine/ long grain best for chinese/ thai/ indian cooking, short grain good for korean/jap/rissotos)

canned goods:
water chestnuts
mixed fruits
coconut cream (Please note distinction between coconut cream and coconut milk. 'Cream' is from the first pressing and much richer, ie: higher in fat!!! Most recipes call for coconut milk. To make coconut milk from coconut cream, just add water to 3 tbsp of coconut cream to make up a cup. Coconut cream, unlike dairy cream, can be stored in the freezer.)

my new dried chinese foodstuffs collection for chinese desserts and soups:
nan xing/bei xing (sweet n bitter almonds)
dried red dates
huai shan
wolf berries
mandarin peel (home-made, just leave 'regular' mandarin peel out til they are dry and crispy.)
green beans
red beans
dried logan
rock sugar

These are just essentials??? Seems like alot of ingredients right....hmmm.....

So what are your cooking essentials??? :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Aglio Olio


(for 4 pax)

500g pasta (slightly undercooked)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
10 garlic cloves
1 cup stock
salt and pepper to taste.

1/2 cup pine nuts, slighted toasted
250g frozen spinach, thawed
1 teaspoon chilli flakes (more or less up to you..)
grated parmesan cheese


heat oil in pan. Add garlic and chilli. Fry til fragrant. Add spinach if using. Fry a couple of minutes. Add pasta, white wine and stock, stir and cover for 2 minutes.
Top with pine nuts and parmesan. Ohh yar, remember to add salt...!!

Comments: the original recipe called for 1 cup of oli, definitely nicer but...i was thinking about the health of my friends you see...

Sweet potato chiffon cake

Got the inspiration for this cake from Aunty Yochana's Taro Chiffon Cake...i know...Taro and sweet potato are not the same...but quite similar right? haha...i just substituted the same amount of sweet potato for taro and omitted the colouring and taro paste....see the swirl on the cake (have to look closely!)...i think it's due to not mixing throughly enough..but adds a nice contrast perhaps?? :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cucumber yogurt dip

1 cucumber, grated and drained of juice
200g greek style yogurt (this is the most important ingredient, pls do not subsitute for any other types of yogurt.)
2 garlic gloves, minced
1/2 tsp cumin powder
chicken salt/ regular salt to taste

minced coriander
parprika powder
chilli powder
thai sweet chilli sauce

mix all together and allow to stand in fridge for an hour for flavours to mingle.

comments: i get asked for this recipe alot...honestly the secret is the greek style yogurt...thick and creamy...not that high in fat too...don't worry.. it's much better than the cheesey dips..
if u r in a rush for time, just combining the greek yogurt and thai chilli sauce is good we discovered at Sik Yin's place the other day!

Monday, May 14, 2007

read me!!

So sweet!!! Click here to read a gorgeous love story which started over a cookie!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Orange Julius Cheesecake

Do you like Orange Julius? Yes?? Then this cheesecake will make you swoon!! I got the recipe from Berrysimple (it's found under the post 'my favourite dessert') and bought it along to Nemo's Korean meat feast...received rave reviews...think i made a mistake somewhere though cos it was way too wobbly...perhaps needs more cheese or less liquid...but in any case, it is GOOD and VERY simple!!! (only 6 ingredients and quite easy to assemble) Try it!! (and i mean you, Ehon!!) :D

grilled egg plant with tomato

tomato garnish
extra virgin olive oil
dried basil


1) cut the eggplants ito 5-6 cm in length and slice them in half.
2) slit individuall egg plant half in a criss-cross manner (to allow olive oil to be better absorbed)
3) preheat oven to 180 degrees, brush oilve oil on the inside half of each egg plant and place them facing down on the grill.
4) grill for 15-20 mins
5) dice the tomato and add olive oil that will just cover half the tomato, add basil (as much or little as u like), salt and pepper to taste.
6) after 20 mins serve the egg plants with the tomato garnish on top. good as an apetizer.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Crispy Pancakes!!

the recipe is from here (Lily calls it Apam Balik)

The pancakes turned out as promised! Very crispy and extremely 'authentic'!! Really reminds me of hawker food in Singapore!!! And it's so easy to make - with readily available ingredients!! Yay!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Lime Ricotta Cheesecake with passionfruit!!

modified from the packaging of ‘Perfect Italiano Ricotta for cheesecakes’

Serves 12


12 digestive biscuits, crumbled
50g butter
500g ricotta cheese
½ cup caster sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
juice and finely grated zest of 1 lime (or lemon)
1 tsp vanilla essence
icing sugar and fresh berries, for serving


1. Combine biscuit crumbs and butter and mix well. Press into a lined 20 cm springform cake pan and chill for 30 minutes.
2. Place the cheese, sugar, flour, eggs, lime juice, zest and vanilla into a bowl and mix until smooth.
3. Pour ricotta mixture over base and bake at 180 degree for 40-50 minutes or until filling is almost set (the centre should look somewhat wobbly. Don't worry, that's normal.) Remove and chill for at least 3 hours.
4. Serve with berries or fruit of your choice and a dusting of icing sugar.

comments: This is my new favourite guilt-free dessert!! Yay!!!! Low in fat and lactose!! contains only 35% fat of regular cream healthy..relatively!! heehee!

white fungus chicken soup - quick and easy!!

1 white fungus
4 drumsticks
24 red dates
2 tbs wolf berries (gou qi zi)
salt and pepper to taste

1. soak the white fungus til soft (ard 30 minutes will do). Trim the yellow bits and cut into bite sized chunks.
2. Scald the chicken in boiling water and discard the water. (this is to remove the raw chicken taste)
3. Put all the ingredients into a slow cooker with 2 liters of boiling water. Cook on low for 4 hours (or on high for 2).
4. Season with salt and pepper.

comments: white fungus is supposed to nourish the lungs, wolf berries good for the eyes and dates...good for the blood?? Traditional chinese folklore is interesting..anything red..they will say it's good for the blood. ;P
oh yeah...and the secret to a 'sweet' / tasty broth is not too much water relative to bones....errmmm...say a chicken drumstick to 500ml or one kg of chicken bones to 2 liters of water. If you do not have a slow cooker, just use a normal pot and allow the soup to simmer for an hour or so. I think the time/ heat facilitates protein breakdown in the bones n flesh, releasing glutamates and impart the 'sweet' taste that is so charactistic of good chinese soups. The correct term would be 'umami' and it's exactly what mono sodium glutatmate (msg) tastes enhances the flavours of the other ingredients and leaves you wanting more...glutamates also occur naturally in cheese, milk and mushrooms..and soy sauce...learnt something new today?? :)

7up chicken!

1 kg chicken drumlets (abt 10 pieces)

1/2 cup 7-up or any lemonade soft drink
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
2 garlic, minced
4 slices of ginger, minced

1. Marinate chicken overnight.
2. Bake on a greased tray in a preheated 180 degrees oven for 20 minutes.
3. Transfer to a grill, three minutes each side or till chicken skin is slightly crispy.
Bon appetit!!

Comments: Of course, you can use any other cut of meat...if using a fillet, you can pop it on the grill straight. Why I baked it in the oven first? cos my grill burns food very easily...and baking shortens the grilling time considerably.. :)

Spicy braised eggplant

recipe inspired from Umami's dish of the same name

1 onion, VERY thinly sliced
5 dried chillies (can add more or less according to personal perference)
500-600g eggplant, sliced into 2 inch strips
200g chicken mince (can use any other type of meat as well)
tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar (can adjust according to taste)
2 tbsp dark vinegar

2 tbsp corn starch w/ 4 tbs water

meat marinate: dash of sesame oil, white pepper, dash of light soy sauce, 1 tbsp corn starch

1. Marinate meat and leave for 20 minutes.
2. Add oil into pan. Wait til it's hot. Add onions. Fry til light brown.
3. Add chillies and fry til they are BLACK. There will be choking smoke, this is normal.
4. Add meat and stir fry for a while. Add eggplant and the rest of the seasoning.
5. Add 250ml of water and bring to boil.
6. Simmer for 20 minutes and add the corn starch mixture. Stir and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve with white rice and a sprinkling of scallions.

comments: the picture is not very appetising, i know... But my dinner club friends and Louisa can attest to the yumminess of this dish!! Really comforting and goes so well with rice...MmmmmMmmm...give it a go....u'll be surprised how good it is!!!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

From salted eggs to tiramisu!!!

I started out wanting to make salted eggs (i've made some a month ago, they turned out great!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe Lily!!) but cos my fridge was too cold, the eggs froze (?!!!) so i had to do something else with them....decided to make a pre-packaged milk chocolate cake. Simple enough right...but i added nutella..thinking that it will impart a lovely hazelnut flavour...

Well...cos nutella is mainly the cake took longer than usual to bake and cos i was too lazy to line the pan with baking paper, it stuck onto the pan and wasn't too pretty...

So...i then decided to make a tiramisu...but i didn't have mascarpone...but heard that cream cheese plus sour cream and icing sugar would make a good i whipped up some cream cheeese, sour cream, added two egg yolks for creamy effect, two forthed-up eggwhites for volume, vanilla essence for flavour and gelatine so that everything would hold together....layered this with the coffee/rum soaked cake onto a glass dish....and left it to set in the fridge overnight...
There wasn't really enough of the cheese the top was quite bare and brown...thus the addition of chopped strawberries and shaved chocolate...

what a cooking misadventure...!!

tastewise? Ok i think....Moa liked it....but there was no comments from the rest of the party...haha...actually i quite enjoyed it too...mainly cos of the alcohol...would have been nicer if there were some cherries in the layers too...maybe next time!! hee...

Saturday, May 5, 2007

nutrition students have it good!!!

Remember a couple of weeks ago, we went on a field trip to Virginia, the food bowl of Australia?? Barely has the dust settled before we r going on another one! Yay! This time, we went to the Karuna living culture centre in Bedford Park. (Very near to Flinders, just 10 mins by foot)...I think the purpose of the trip was to educate us on Aboriginal i was more into the food....haaaa....

for the tea break, we had mini Quandong macadamia muffins with whipped cream (no pics cos they look quite ordinary, tasted beautiful/ v gourmet through.. )

and for lunch....

da-tah..!! Kangeroo stew!!!

Lasagne with some bush ingredients...!! what was inside....i also don't know... :P (Charlotte asked to be in the picture btw..)

There was lotsa salad and rice and scones as well... everything tasted good and very classy!!
What does 'classy' mean...erm...subtle flavours cooked with care? hehe....

a stroll to the lake nearby after lunch..

my very full and evidently happy coursemates...

The Living Kaurna Cultural Centre is open weekdays from 10-4pm...and is surrounded by a lovely parkland....well worth a visit if you r in the vincity!

basic shortbread

was bored and stress from assignments so decided to try out a recepi from food ideas

125g butter soften
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cups of plain flour
1/4 cup corn flour
1 egg white, beaten
2 tablespoons of white sugar

1) cream butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract till pale yellow. Add flour and corn flour and knead gently until smooth
2) place into a baking tray or pyrex glass, gently press flat. depth shld be abt 1.5cm. use a knife to mark the divisions (to cut easier later)
3) refrigerate for 20 mins, at the same time preheat oven to 160 degress
4) take it out from the fride, brush shortbread top with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. bake for 30-35 mins and allow to COMPLETELY cool before cutting right through and serve

looks very crispy outside cos of the caramalised sugar, but taste wonderful! no need to buy expensive shortbread! make them. To not have to crispy top and to look like a normal shortbread, i think don't add egg white n sugar on top and mark the shortbread with holes(using a fork)

Friday, May 4, 2007

easy chin chow drink

1 can of chin chow
800ml of water
2-3 big table spoon of honey OR rock sugar

1) shred the chin chow with a grater
2) put chin chow in the prepared sugared/honey water
3) refrigerate for a day!
4)drink it!!

See soo simple and i think it taste as good as those u can get in hawker centre.. ha!

ma po to fu

1 packet of tofu (500g)
minced mean (500g)
1 Tbsp of chili bean sauce (To ban Jan by Lee Kum Kee)
2 Tbsp of miso
1.5 Cups of water
2 Tbsp of cooking sakae

1)Mix water, miso and chilibean sauce together
2) Fry the meat, adding sakae in btw, make sure the meat dun clump together, when it is semi cooked, add mixture 1, stir and bring to a boil.
3) turn to a medium fire and add tofu, simmer for 20 mins
4) if a thicker consistency is desired, add corn starch~

what i think
taught to me by my jap housemates! very simple dish and yummy! chinese -flavoured!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Moroccan chicken (or briyani??!)

From ‘Best Ever Chicken Recipes’ by Bay books


8 large chicken drumsticks
3 gloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp turmeric pwd
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cardomom
1 tsp lemon rind, finely grated
2 tbsp oil
1 onion sliced
2 cups chicken stock
6 pitted dates, chopped
1/3 cup shredded coconut (i used dessciated coconut, revived with water)

1. trim chicken of excess fat and sinew. Place chicken in a large bowl. Combine the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, cardamom and rind in a small bowl. Add to the chicken and completely coat. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours / overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Heat oil in a large heavy based frying pan. Cook the chicken quickly over medium heat until well browned. Drain on paper towels. Place the chicken in an ovenproof casserole dish.
3. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring for 5 mins, or until soft. Add the cooked onion, stock, dates and shredded coconut to the casserole dish. Cover and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender, stirring occasionally.

The chicken was really tender...everyone liked it (i think) and commented that it smells n tastes like curry briyani!! i think it's the coconut. ActUALLY!! If it was called 'briyani', I would have like it better!!! Hmmm....add a handful of roasted chopped cashews and lots of chopped coriander in that case then... :)
I had a free sample pack of moroccan spices lying around around so i just stirred it into the rice...imparted a lovely yellow colour. The bits of stuff on top are dates and onions from the sauce.