Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Year End Parties (with Pasta Salad & Air-fried Roast Chicken recipes)

Hosting a party can be pretty stressful especially when you need to cook for many people. Planning is important and if things can be done in advance it does help a lot so that you being the host is able to mingle with your guests. Honestly speaking I am very lousy when it comes to cooking for a big crowd as normal days I only cook for my hubby and I. Hence I still have a lot to learn on the art of hosting parties. For example a cake or cream puffs could be done a day in advance. Freshly baked bread is an ideal starter especially if you have a bread machine. Start the machine 3 hours prior to the meal time and when the timer beeps you that the bread is ready, that's the ring for the meal commencement. Serve with some butter, cheese or balsamic vinegar over some wine. Doesn't that sound great? If you have more time, soup will definitely be a crowd-pleaser when served with bread.

Another item that you could prepare earlier is the pasta salad. It has carbohydrate being the staple food and vegetables to balance the diet. If your party is for dinner, you could prepare this as early in the morning and leave it in the fridge. Recipe of Pasta Salad is found in this page.

For meat item I will go with a roasted whole chicken and this can be done in 30mins in a air fryer and an hour in the oven.


1/2 box of pasta (any shapes, I used bow tie)
2 hard boiled eggs (boiled, remove shells and sliced)
2-3 potatoes (boiled till soft and cut into big cubes)
1 box of cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 Japanese cucumber (1/2cm sliced)
100g streaky bacon (cut into small pieces, rinse with water, squeeze dry and fry/air fry till crispy)
10 grey prawns (remove shells & veins, boiled till cooked)
1 box of raisin to sprinkle

Salad sauce
1/2 bottle of mayonnaise
About 5 tbsp of fresh milk (depends on how runny you want the sauce to be, amount can be adjusted)
Few drops of fresh lemon juice

1) In a pot of boiling water with few drops of olive oil and salt, cook pasta till Al dente. Drain the water and leave aside to cool.
2) Separately prepare all other ingredients.
3) When all ingredients are cooled, prepare the salad sauce and toss everything together lightly in order not to mash the potatoes.
4) Keep in fridge until ready to serve.

These ready-cooked baby back ribs are so good, they are tender and flavorful. I got them from Foodie Marketplace and all you need is to defrost them and bake at 160 degree for 20mins. If you don't tell your guests these are store-purchased, they couldn't tell. All they will see is you bringing the tray out from the oven and serve right to their table ;) Shhhhhhhh.....


The air-fried roasted whole chicken is easy and quick. About 30mins at 180 degree C and another 5mins at 200mins C is all it takes to impress my guests. Timing varies according to the size of the chicken. The advantage of air fryer is having the flexibility to pull out the basket and check as often as you like.

1 spring or small chicken (that can fit into Air fryer)

1 tsp Oyster sauce
1/4 tsp Dark soya sauce
1/2 tsp Chinese cooking wine
1/2 tsp Sesame oil
Pinch of pepper

Note: I am using kitchen measuring spoons, they are bigger compared to cutlery spoons.

End year is all about parties and food, from Christmas's eve all the way to New Year day. One whole week to celebrate with food. Here are some photos of what I had cooked up with:

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Homemade Avocado Dip & Teh Tarik

Weird or interesting combination? It wasn't my intention to have such an exotic match, I just happened to buy some nice ripe avocados and tea dust from Sheng Siong Supermarket so churn out these for afternoon tea break. Learn the easy dip from my friend's hubby who is a good cook and this goes very well with tortilla chips.

2 ripe avocados
Lime juice
Salt & pepper to season

Simply dice the avocados and mix with the rest of the ingredients to taste. For the mayonnaise, I added about 3 tablespoonful to make it creamy. Prepare a pack of tortilla chips and savor with the dip.

I love Teh, Teh Si and Teh Tarik. These are easily available in Singapore at any coffeeshop but when I was in Australia for whole 2 weeks I couldn't find any. Really miss these Teh so much when I was away. After I am back in Singapore, besides developing a liking for dessert wine I also want to make my own teh. Purchased a small pack of tea dust (Coconut brand) from Sheng Siong Supermarket for less than $2.00 and using a tea sock. Happy with my result and now I can enjoy my pulled tea whenever I like.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Happy Halloween

Wishing all a spooky good time on Halloween.
Have fun dressing up and partying.
Don't get too scared though.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Hairy crab 大闸蟹 season is here

What is your indulgence for the Autumn season? How about these seasonal freshwater hairy crabs 大闸蟹 which make their appearance around October. These crabs are small, hairy and the roe is the one we are looking forward to. The best way to cook these crabs is steaming in order to savor the original taste. We chanced upon Cold Storage selling the crabs at a promotional rate of 2 for $9.90. It was definitely a steal compared to restaurant pricing at $30+ per crab. We bought 2 pieces and had them steamed for supper indulgence.

Hairy crabs is the easiest to prepare, they are very clean from freshwater so don't need much hassle in cleaning. And since they are so small you don't even need to chop them up. The best way to eat them is to steam. Doesn't that sound absolutely easy to prepare?

Hairy crabs
Ginger slices
1 tbsp of Chinese wine

1) Do not untie the string, use a brown husk scrub and clean the crabs inside a bowl/pail of water. You will notice that the water is hardly dirty.
2) Place the crabs and ginger slices into a steaming plate and steam for about 15 mins.
3) Drizzle Chinese wine a minute before switching off the flame.
4) Serve hot and you can either eat it on its own which is the way I prefer to savor this delicacy. Or dip into Chinese black vinegar with shredded gingers.

Hairy crab has a "cooling" properties so Chinese believes that it should be consumed with ginger tea after the feast to balance the body system.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Gruesome Severed Fingers for Halloween

It's Halloween season again and you will start to see bakes with Halloween theme appearing on the internet. Last year I did the cute stuffs like Oreo Spiders, Frankenstein Pops and Wedding Mummy Pops. Link is here if you are interested ( For this year I have decided to go for something gruesome and here you are, the severed fingers with bloody nails. I dare you to eat it!!!

Chopped, baked and ready for consumption ;)

They looked even more gross before baking, show you the picture:

The unbaked, ready to pop into the oven

95g icing sugar (3/4 cup)
170g softened unsalted butter (3/4 cup)
1 small egg
3 tsp vanilla extract

255g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Almond slices
Raspberry jam or food coloring (red & brown mix to give a really closed to blood color)

1) Beat the wet ingredients together.
2) Stir in the dry ingredients and mix well until it forms a dough.
3) Cover with cling wrap and fridge for 30mins.
4) Use a teaspoon to scoop a dough ball and roll it into a thin & long finger with floured palms.
5) Place the finger dough on a lined baking tray.
6) Dab an almond slice with jam or coloring and stick it into the finger dough.
7) Use a knife or anything sharp to press a few lines on the finger dough as knuckles and lines.
8) Bake at  pre-heated oven of 160 degree Celsius for about 25-30mins depending on your oven.

The dough will expand while baking so when rolling the dough, it should be shaped into really thin fingers.
I baked twice, the first round I rolled the dough into my own finger size and they expanded resulting in sumo fat fingers...LOL. Second round I rolled the dough into thin fingers skinner than the almond slice and the result was better.

These are the fat ones, cute?

For the above recipe, I could made about 80 fingers including 45 fat & 35 OK-sized fingers. So it's your choice whether you want fat or thin fingers ;) But guarantee they are freaky gruesome.....


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Pandan Chiffon & Rainbow Pandan Chiffon

Pandan chiffon, this is the second recipe that I have tried. The first one although is good but is a tad drier, leaving a dry aftertaste. Blame it on my fussiness, others probably couldn't tell. Got this second recipe from a friend who attended a baking class to learn to make this. I love how light, spongy yet non-drying the cake texture is. So far besides Bangawan Solo, this is the best that I had. Thanks for sharing.

6 egg yolks (I use 55g egg)
60g castor sugar
Pinch of salt 2g
40g corn oil
72g coconut milk/ cream
108g cake flour (sieve)
2g Pandan paste (I used more)

6 egg whites
80g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1) Hand whisk yolks, salt, sugar A, coconut milk, corn oil and Pandan paste and mix until smooth.
2) Machine whisk egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy, add in sugar B gradually till
peak. Stop when hook shape is achieved.
3) Add sieved cake flour into yolk batter and mix until smooth.
4) Scoop 1/2 of white meringue onto the yolk batter and fold in gently with a spatula in one direction, be careful not to deflate the whites.
5) Scoop in the balanced 1/2 meringue into the yolk batter and fold in until smooth. Do not over fold.
6) Pour the batter into a chiffon tube pan, hold the pan firmly and give few bangs onto table to remove trapped bubbles.
7) Bake at pre-heated oven at 140 degree Celsius using top & bottom with fan mode at lowest rack for 50 mins. If your oven has no fan mode, set temperature to 160.
8) Cool the chiffon pan by turning it upside down with a stand below, you could use a bowl or can or cup as long as it is stable.
9) Once the cake is completely cooled, unmould.

Have you ever thought of the shape of half a chiffon cake actually looks like a rainbow bridge? 
Look at what I have come up with half a chiffon cake?

 Mixing the 7 colors with first and last band doubled the amount of cream.

What do you think? Like a 3D rainbow?
The 7 rainbow colored cream were piped without using any piping tip, I achieved it by trimming off the tip of the piping bags.

Packed my rainbow and off we go for celebration!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Coffee Sponge with Kahlua Cream

How about some caffeine and liquor to give you the extra kick? You will not get insomnia or drunk on this, only a small quantity is added for the fragrance. Kahlua is a coffee-flavored rum-based liquor and it contains vanilla beans as well, no wonder is a favorite choice for making desserts.

Coffee Sponge Cake (7")
150g Phoon Huat spongecake mix
3 eggs
30g unsalted melted butter
30g coffee (dissolves 1 tsp of instant coffee powder with 30g water and leave till cool)
1. Whisk spongecake mix, eggs and coffee at high speed for 10mins. Reduce to medium speed and continue to whisk for 3-5mins.
2. Fold in melted butter.
3. Pour batter into a baking tin and bake on pre-heated oven at 160 degree Celsius for about 35-40 mins or until skewer come out clean.
4. Cool the cake and unmould, use a cake leveler to halve the cake.

Kahlua Cream
120g frosty whip cream powder
120g cold water
1-2 tbsp Kahlua

1. Whisk the frosty whip with cold water until stiff peak and add in the Kahlua, you could adjust the amount according to how much of Kahlua taste you prefer. You could also use fresh whip cream (water not needed) instead of frosty whip cream powder. The reason I prefer the frosty whip cream powder is I can keep the package and use only the amount I need. You could purchase it from
2. Spread a thin layer of the Kahlua cream as the filling.
3. Gently place the top cake layer over the Kahlua cream filling and spread the remaining cream generously over the top.
4. Decorate the cake if you wish to. I made used of some dried pineapple flowers that I did over the weekend. Here are some websites I took as reference in case you are interested:

Monday, 15 July 2013

Shark's Fin Melon with Clam Soup 鱼翅瓜啦啦汤

A very interesting vegetable and not many people is aware of its actual name 'Cucurbita ficifolia'. In Asia, it is commonly known as the Shark's Fin Melon as the pulp strands are used to make soup, quite similar to shark's fin soup hence the name.

1 slice shark's fin melon (about 1/4 of melon)
1 carrot
Handful of dried anchovies
1 honey date
800g-1kg white clams

1) Soak live clams in a bowl of salted water to keep them fresh and split out sand. Rinse and remove from water only just before you want to cook them.
2) Remove skin and seeds of shark's fin melon, cut into big chucks.
3) Peel carrot and cut into big chucks.
4) Bring a pot of water to boil, add in honey date and dried anchovies. I will put the anchovies into a soup stock bag before adding in. Boil for 2-3 mins and simmer for 1.5 hours or until the melon flesh turn to shark's fin texture.
5) Turn the flame to high bringing soup to boil and add in the clams, cover the lid and once you see all the shells open up. Off flame and serve immediately. Do not overcook the clams, they will chewy if cooked for too long.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Hairy Gourd with Meatball Soup

1 hairy gourd
1 carrot
150g minced pork (could use lesser depends on which much meatballs you want)
1 honey date
Handful of dried anchovies (buy those meant for soup)

marinade for the meat :
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp Chinese cooking wine
1 inch ginger (minced finely)
Dash of pepper
1 tsp cornflour 

1) Marinate the minced pork for 30mins or leave it overnight.
2) Peel the hairy gourd and halve it lengthwise, use a spoon to scoop and discard the seeds, slice into small piece.
3) Peel the carrot and slice it.
4) Fill a pot of water and bring it to boil. Rinse the dried anchovies and put into a stock bag then add to the water.
5) Add in the honey date, hairy gourd and carrot. Boil for 2-3 mins and simmer for 30 mins.
6) Roll the marinated minced pork into small balls.
7) Bring the soup to boil and add in the meatballs. Once the meatballs are cooked, add a pinch of salt to taste.
8) Serve.  

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Pan Fried Salmon with Homemade Teriyaki Sauce 照焼三文鱼

I always enjoy eating Salmon Teriyaki bento set, to me a piece of fish with a bowl of rice is good enough as a satisfying meal.  But often that piece of salmon from the bento is just too slim or without skin. Yes I do enjoy eating with the skin especially when it's crispy, isn't that the best part?

This is not a difficult dish, the trick to fry the fish is to make sure that the base side on the pan is cooked before you flip it over. If it is not cooked, the meat or skin will stick to the pan and you will risk breaking the piece.

Arrggghhhh.... just when I need it most my bottle of Teriyaki sauce has finished. Did a search online and to my surprise it is very easy to make your own. Alright, ho-say liao (Singlish of great/ good) no more buying of the bottled sauce from now on ;) There are many recipes online, some added more than 6 ingredients and I took reference from one of the easiest and modified from there. This evening I only used 3 ingredients (sugar, Mirin 味醂 and light soy sauce), you could purchase Mirin from any supermarket at the Japanese section or Daiso. Mirin is a Japanese rice wine which has lower alcohol content and higher sugar content. 

Did I mention that the homemade sauce is as good as what you could get from restaurant/ supermarket? Try it, it is so easy! Besides being a sauce for salmon, can use it for squid, hamburger steak, meatball, Enoki mushrooms wrap with shabu, etc.

A piece of salmon about 250-300g (prefer not to use steak)

Teriyaki sauce (step 7)

1.5-2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp Mirin
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sake (optional, I didn't add)

1) Rinse the salmon and pat dry with kitchen towel.
2) Smear salt onto the salmon.
3) Just before cooking, coat the salmon with a thin layer of cornflour.
4) Heat the pan with little oil and place the salmon with skin side down using low-medium flame. Use your fingers to gently press from the top so that skin is fully in tact with the pan.
5) When the bottom side is done, flip over to cook the other side. Follow by the 2 sides for a short while.
6) Dish out the salmon.
7) In a bowl mix the sauce ingredients. Pour away the oil from the pan and over low flame add the sauce, it will bubble up immediately. Let it heat for a few seconds and off the fire, do not burn the sauce. Drizzle the sauce over the fish and serve while its hot.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Cordyceps Militaris Steamed Hairy Gourd with Minced Meat

1 hairy gourd (mao gua)
150g minced pork
Cordyceps Militaris
Spring onion as garnish

marinade for the meat :
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp Chinese cooking wine
1 inch ginger (minced finely)
Dash of pepper
1 tsp cornflour

seasoning for sauce :
1-2 drops of dark soy sauce
1 tsp cornflour

1) Marinate the minced pork for 15 mins.
2) Peel hairy gourd and cut into rings of about 1 inch thick. Use a spoon to remove the seeds at the center.
3) Place the gourd rings on a steamer plate and fill up the center with a scoop of minced pork.
4) Rinse the Cordyceps Militaris and place few pieces on top of the minced pork.
5) Steam for 10-15mins or until meat is fully cooked.
6) Remove from steamer and place the gourd rings on a serving plate.
7) Heat up the reminding liquid with dark soy sauce and thicken with cornflour.
8) Drizzle the sauce over the gourds and garnish with spring onion.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Wasabi Prawns on Skewers

Revisited this dish using the same recipe I had posted sometime ago, the difference this round is I coated the prawns with cornflour before frying and give it a cocktail style look by using skewers. Certainly looks more appetizing compared to previous post ;)

Recipe from:

Monday, 1 July 2013

Creamy Butter Crab

Simply love seafood and crab is definitely one of them. We were pretty lucky managed to get the female crabs full of roe. Yummy!

800g-1kg mud crabs
2 garlic (minced)
1 can evaporated milk
50g butter
5-6 stalks curry leaves (discard stalks)
1 red chilli or some chilli padi (cut into slices)
Dash of fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1-2 cheese slices

1) Melt the butter, sauté the garlic till fragrant.
2) Fry chilli and curry leaves till fragrant then add in the evaporated milk.
3) Add in the seasoning and cheese, stir well and add in the crab pieces.
4) Cover lid and cook until the crabs are cooked. The sauce should be thicken but not dry up.

Best to serve with hot deep fried/ steamed mantou (mini buns) to enjoy dipping the buns with the delicious creamy sauce. 

Friday, 28 June 2013

Winter Melon with Chinese Almonds Soup 南北杏冬瓜汤

My mum is a Cantonese so from young I am used to drinking Cantonese-style soup. To bring out the full flavor of  Cantonese-style soup and enjoy soft tender pork ribs we always cook the soup for at least 2.5 hours. I am still practicing this way when I cook on weekends, however for weekday the soup needs to be less time-consuming. So in order to achieve that I have replaced the pork ribs with anchovies.


Although lately it hasn't been so hazy but I believed that we had lodged in a fair amount of particles into our lungs during the hazy period when PSI shot up to 400. Brewing some cooling beverages and soups will help to relieve the heatiness and sooth our throats. Winter melon is good in relieving heatiness, it has a cooling property and the Chinese almonds will benefit our lungs and throats.

1 piece of winter melon 400-500g
1 carrot
Handful of dried anchovies (rinsed and put inside soup stock/filter bag)
1 honey date
6 red dates
3 tsp sweet Chinese almonds (nan xing)
1 tsp bitter Chinese almonds (bei xing)
Salt to taste

1) Bring a pot of water to boil.
2) Cut winter melon into cubes and slice the carrot.
3) Add all ingredients (except for salt) to the boiling water and boil for 5 mins.
4) Reduce flame to medium-small, cover the lid and cook for 30-40 mins.
5) Add a pinch of salt to taste.

Other dishes I have cooked to complete the meal, stir fry bayam spinach with egg and bulgogi.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Polka dots swiss roll

3 egg yolk
35g castor sugar
60ml water
40ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
70g sieved cake flour
1 tsp corn flour

3 egg white
30g castor sugar

Food coloring

Whipped cream/ jam/ cut fruits

1) Hand whisk egg yolks, add 35g sugar followed by water, oil, essence and mix well.
2) Add sieved cake flour and corn flour, whisk till smooth batter.
3) Mixer whisk egg white till foamy and add sugar until firm peak achieved.
4) Fold the meringue into the yolk batter in batches of 3.
5) Color a small amount of batter with food coloring and pour into piping bags. Pipe out the design either on parchment paper/ silicon mat placed inside a baking tray.
6) Baked at pre-heated oven of 180-190 degree Celsius for up to 4 mins depend on the design.
7) Once cooled, pour the remaining batter into the baking tray.
8) Knock out any bubbles by gently tapping the tray on the table.
9) Bake for about 10mins or until the cake is springy when touched.
10) Prepare another parchment paper and cover it over the tray, invert and remove the tray. The cake should be easily removed. Peel off the parchment paper/silicon mat carefully revealing the designed layer.
11) Prepare a new parchment paper and cover the designed side, invert the cake again so that now the designed side is at the bottom.
12) Spread a layer or whipped cream or jam and add cut fruits if you like.
13) Holding the parchment paper and roll the cake. Twist both ends of the parchment paper like a candy wrapper and place into fridge.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Lychee Lime Yogurt Mousse Cake

 It was my mum's 67th birthday and I wanted to bake her a cake. Spent the whole Saturday to work on this cake since it has 3 layers and requires hours of setting before you can proceed to the next layer.

I adore the color combination, very refreshing and lovely. Thanks to Nasi Lemak Lover for sharing the recipe ( 
I did quite a bit of modifications to the cake especially the base and the lychee quantity.

 Here's a mini version using a muffin liner since I don't have any cake ring. Just want to try out the taste of the mini cake before I gave it out as a gift. Mini one can see the 3 layers very clearly with vanilla sponge cake as the base, lychee lime yogurt mousse at the center and pink lychee jelly as the top.

Taro Hokkaido Chiffon

Lately I have been crazy over baking chiffon cakes. It used to be a nightmare for me as I simply couldn't get it right. It was really very dishearten to see failed cakes but now is different after I mastered the techniques! Hehehe now I can try all the different flavors for the chiffon cakes. Meaning more to come ;)

Here's something new from the original Hokkaido Chiffon Cake.I used Kevin Chai's yam chiffon cake recipe to make into Hokkaido Chiffon cake with cream heavily infused with yam taste, yes with real yam ;)
Check out my DIY mini cake stand, just use a saucer and invert the cup. That is all you need! 
Isn't it lovely to see 2 sweet little Yorkshire Terriers as decoration?!

Recipe adapted from Kevin Chai

6 large egg yolks (I used 7 small ones)
150 g mashed yam (steam, mash/blend)
150 g coconut milk
1/4 tsp salt
60 ml vegetable oil (I use corn oil)
1 tsp yam paste
50 g castor sugar
180 g cake flour (sift)
few drops of purple coloring (optional)

6 large egg whites (I used 7 small ones)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
100 g castor sugar

Whipped cream as filling (add in your favorite flavoring)
Icing sugar

1. In a wide mixing bowl, mix egg yolks, mashed yam, coconut milk, salt, vegetable oil, yam paste, sugar and lastly sift in the cake flour. Mix well.
2. Whisk egg white with cream of tartar until foamy, gradually add in sugar and whisk till close to stiff peak form.
3. Gently pour in 1/2 the meringue into the yolk batter and stir until combined with a large spatula.
4. Gently scoop in the balance meringue and use FOLDING method to fold in the meringue. Do not deflate the meringue.
5. Scoop into cup liners until 3/4 full.
6. Bake in 140 degree Celsius (top & bottom heat with fan at lowest rack) for 25-30mins or until skewer comes out clean. If your oven is without fan mode, you will need to adjust the temperature to 20 degree higher.
7. Remove and cool on rack.
8. Make your favorite whipped cream and insert the piping tip into the cake and pipe the cream all the way in and decorate the top as well.
9. Sift some icing sugar at the top and serve.

Tips on chiffon
Please refer to previous chiffon post at

It was fun to invite a few friends to bake the same cake over the weekend. No, we didn't get together to bake, we merely agreed on a baking theme and each of us baked the same cake but different flavors. See what we had come up with. I did the cranberry mixed tea chiffon, Cindy baked the colorful rainbow & raspberry chiffon. The meringue gets deflated very easily, really admire Cindy's skill of baking to challenge the rainbow chiffon. And we also have Molly who tried on the pineapple flavor, Rafidah on the orange flavor. Of course we didn't miss out the all time favorite pandan chiffon by Daphne. Really fun girls, hope to play another round ;)