Friday, December 4, 2015

Cherry Cheese "Christmas Wreath" Pound Cake


This cake was inspired by the cover of this month's Coles magazine, which actually uses an instant butter cake mix. I decided to make the cake even more festive by making a cream cheese pound cake bursting with fresh cherries, drizzled over some orange glaze icing and decorated it with more cherries! A generous dusting of icing sugar always creates a pretty snowflake effect, and to complete the Christmas wreath look, I added a sprig of mint leaves which I picked from the garden.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Galbi Jjim (Korean Braised Beef Short Ribs)


I've been eating too much Korean Fried Chicken lately it's not funny. I decided to try a healthy Korean dish this time which is a stew made with beef short ribs. It's cooked in a light soy-based broth that reminds me of bulgogi, but made into a stew instead. It contains honey and mirin, and so tends to be on the sweet side. It's a nice change from the salty braised pork belly stew that I'm so used to at home. Galbi in Korean translates to "shortrib" and "jjim" refers to dishes made by steaming or boiling.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Soboro Don (Japanese Ground Chicken Rice Bowl)



Loving this simple dish that's kid-friendly, yet perfect for a weeknight family meal if you're looking for something quick and easy to prepare. I love eggs, and especially scrambled eggs. This chicken mince rice bowl is served with an egg crumble, which is made by scrambling the eggs with a pair of chopsticks until it turns into crumbs (of course!). Leftovers also make great lunchboxes for kids the next day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Crispy Deep-Fried Chicken Curry Puffs


Curry puffs are a staple teatime snack in Malaysia and Singapore, along with other tasty favourites such as banana fritters (with chili soy sauce!), sweet potato donuts (and many other deep-fried snacks!). Maybe it's just me, but whenever I'm in Malaysia, I'm constantly eating round the clock - breakfast, mid-morning snack, brunch, lunch, dessert, afternoon tea, evening snack, dinner, snack again followed by supper. Fortunately, there's a wide variety of food to choose from across different cuisines, plus there are different food stalls that operate from early morning till past midnight, and some even over 24 hours. Curry puffs are also known as epok-epok or karipap in Malaysia. I've made various types which you can find here, here and here. The recipe below is another version that uses oil and margarine, which gives it a firmer yet crispy texture, and equally delicious.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Ultimate Pad Thai Recipe


I was pretty excited when I saw that Lorraine had posted this wonderful recipe for Pad Thai on her blog. The photos simply said it all. The almost deep and rich orange hue of the noodles was the sign of a winner and it's as authentic as it gets. None of the dry, pale-looking noodles with dry chunks of chicken meat and scattering of chives, egg and tofu that I usually get in Sydney. For the record, I never order pad thai though Mr TFWL likes to always give it a chance. My preference is still to order pad kee mao (my favourite pad kee mao is from Pom's Thai in Burwood, now Strathfield).

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mascarpone Cheesecake with Nutella Sauce


I go through phases once in a while.  When I try a food that I really like and think that I could replicate it at home, I would do tonnes of research on the internet (I can't imagine how that would be possible 20 years ago, thanks Dr Google) and try out different recipes and variations until my mission was complete. To think of those times I had to eat char kuay teow 3 weekends in a row, the different versions of Korean fried chicken I had to go through, and all those swiss rolls and chiffon cakes (the good, the bad and the downright ugly) - I don't know why I do it, but perhaps it's determination, or maybe I just don't know when to stop. This time, I went through a cheesecake phase. Ever since I tried the New York cheesecake from Lorraine's Patisserie, I totally fell in love with its light, fluffy and cloud-like texture. Never mind that the cake was so delicate that it kept falling apart when I tried to slice it. It was like eating cheese-clouds and gingery spiced biscuit crust - simply heavenly!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Masala Dosa (Far Flung wtih Gary Mehigan)


I have a weakness for all things caramelized, golden brown and crispy. Take for example, this Okonomiyaki Pancake-style Gyoza which was featured in Adam Liaw's Destination Flavour Japan two years ago. How could anyone resist those crispy charred-bottom dumplings doused in Kewpie mayonnaise? Well, certainly not I! Nor could I resist the temptation of the golden crispy dosa that Gary made in his latest cooking show "Far Flung with Gary Mehigan" which started airing on Channel Ten two weeks ago.


Dosa is one of my absolute favourite Indian foods, especially crispy paper dosa, which is a very thin and crispy dosa served with sambar and chutney. My trips back to Singapore are never complete without having paper dosa at least once at Little India.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Light and fluffy Ricotta Cheesecake (with homemade ricotta)


I made ricotta cheese. Did you not know you could do that, with only 3 ingredients in less than 10 minutes! And all with curds and whey, I felt like Little Miss Muffet now waiting for a spider to pounce at me. So why make ricotta? Apparently, homemade ricotta gives the cheesecake a fluffier texture, and it did turn out to be light, fluffy and creamy, with a subtle taste of ricotta. I used a gingernut biscuit base just to add some flavour and texture, although you can omit that to make a crustless version.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ebi Fry Curry Don (Fried Shrimp with Curry on Rice)


I posted a recipe for Ebi Fry back in February last year (has it been that long??) and I mentioned something about serving the shrimp (or prawn, depending on which country you're from) with thick Japanese curry. Well, it sort of slipped my mind because I was busy trying out other recipes at the time. One year and a bit later, here's the post, and it's still one of my favourite comfort foods, especially now that we're in the middle of winter (Down Under). Crispy and golden panko-crumbed prawns, coated in a thick curry sauce and served with rice, how can anyone resist?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Yurinchi (Deep fried chicken with sweet and sour sauce)


When I was little, I used to follow my mum to the Malaysian "wet" market in the mornings, where fresh meat and produce were sold. I have vague memories of those adventures, particularly how "smelly" the place was and I had to hold my breath every time we walked past the chicken section. There must have been hundreds of hens cooped up in their tiny plastic cages, clucking away noisily, awaiting their fate. I would cup my hand over my mouth to "filter" the air so that I didn't inhale any bits of chicken feathers floating around. I was relieved once mum finished her marketing and we could move on to the real purpose of the trip - which was to buy breakfast! There were street vendors outside the market who sold "yu tiao" (deep-fried dough fritters) and "muah chee" (glutinous rice balls with crushed peanuts and sugar) and getting to eat them always made the trip so worth it!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Simmered Pork Belly with Daikon


Most women [generally] get excited when they walk past a shoe shop or designer clothing store, especially when the word "Sale" is flashing everywhere. I don't think I fall in the "most women" category. I do believe in retail therapy as a form of stress relief or pick-me-up when things are looking down, but not when that designer jacket staring at you through the window has more zeroes than you'll ever see on your weekly paycheck. The only time my eyes light up with excitement while shopping is when I walk past the butcher (no, of course I'm not excited AT the butcher!), and then I'd stop to admire the different cuts of meats on display. That's my idea of window shopping. I enjoy browsing through the supermarket aisles or checking out the seasonal produce at the fruit and vegetable market.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Bak Chang" (Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Meat)


When I think of the word "multicultural", the first thing that comes to my mind is food (actually I think of food most of the time anyway, which is why I decided to have a blog to pen down all my foodie-related thoughts). In Malaysia, we are fortunate to be able to celebrate a myriad of religious and cultural festivities, and of course with every celebration, there is always food. There are two things I look forward to each year (and which I try not to miss!) which are the Mooncake festival and Dumpling festival ("Duan Wu Jie") or also known as Dragon Boat Festival. The latter was just over on 20 June, and better late then never, I decided to have a go at making these glutinous rice dumplings. Nobody makes better dumplings than my aunt (hers is simply the best!) and I haven't had them since I moved to Australia years ago. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Korean Fried Chicken with garlic wasabi soy glaze


If there's one thing I can't resist, it's crispy Korean Fried Chicken (see my earlier posts here and here). So far, this is one of my favourites, with a lightly battered yet slightly chewy and crispy skin. The sweet, salty and sticky garlic soy glaze has a hint of wasabi to give it some kick. Chew on that crispy skin smothered with the soy glaze and sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and you're in heaven. I almost forgot, every bite should be enjoyed with some of those thin ribbons of scallions. It helps to lighten up the dish, adds some freshness and makes the chicken taste more healthy than oily. Like, really. It's not just a garnish, it's a main ingredient. Don't skip it.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage)

 
I made this cake for the first time as part of the Australia's Biggest Morning Tea fund-raising event at work. It's rather stressful cooking or baking for other people whom you know are going to judge you and your food. I tried to think of what cake would appeal to most people, and the magic ingredient is *drumroll*.... coconut! Australians love coconut (the shredded type) which is probably why lamingtons are so...Aussie.. though not as Aussie as Tim Tams and Vegemite. Coconut is also widely used in Asian cuisine. In fact, some of the people at work commented that it was a Filipino cake, and I said no. This was a Danish Dream Cake. Totally different continents. (I think they might have confused it with Biko, a Filipino dessert made with sticky rice and coconut, though sounds delicious too).

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Sticky Baby Back BBQ Ribs


Costco is one of my favourite places to shop at (well, okay, most of my favourite shopping places revolve around food and groceries). I remember watching a documentary about Costco and how they source for only popular or quality that are tried and tested by them, and they carry a limited number of brands for each product line. This makes it easier for the consumer when deciding which brand to choose (as too many brands may confuse the consumer who might end up not buying anything!).

I saw a couple of brands for BBQ sauce and decided on Sweet Baby Ray's (after all, there's only a fifty-fifty chance I bought the wrong one!) mainly because the label stated "Award-winning", dotted with four red stars (not only my kids love stars on their homework, I have an affinity for stars too when it comes to food and product reviews). The other brand had some Japanese sounding name to it which I can't remember, plus there was a mad picture of a Japanese guy on it. My, my, my.... these ribs were possibly one of the best I've had, and almost as good as Tony Roma's. I highly recommend this, especially the sauce which turns lovely and sticky after a few minutes under the grill. It's easy to prepare, and easy clean-up afterwards too!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Nasi Ayam (Chicken Rice)

 

Hainanese Chicken Rice makes a regular appearance on our dinner table almost every Sunday evening. We would make a big batch of it so that it will last for the next couple of dinners. It's easy, simple and the kids hardly complain about it (unless it stretches out to the third or forth time in a row, then there'd be the occasional whining "Chicken rice? Again....?"). And so, I decided to try out a different version of chicken rice which is more Malay style, with the addition of spices like cinnamon and star anise. The chicken is rubbed with kecap manis before roasting it in the oven, which gives the skin a touch of sweetness.
 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Malaysian Satay Recipe

 
Mention the word "satay" and I am instantly reminded of my childhood years and years ago, how the Malay Satay Man would peddle his mobile satay stall on his bicycle in my neighbourhood, tooting his horn. Sometimes, I could even smell the aroma from my house, even though he could be grilling his satay down the road. I would get all excited at the prospect of having satay for dinner, and run to the window to see if I could detect any "smoke" signals in the sky. He made one of the best satays in town, and the fact that he peddled his stall around the neighbourhood meant that we could walk up to him with empty plates and bowls waiting to be filled with freshly made satay. Those were the simple things in life back then, though coming from a foodie family, food was and is a big deal, as to most Malaysians of course.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ayam Bakar (Indonesian Grilled Chicken)


I have a weakness for Indonesian grilled chicken (or Ayam Bakar as you will often find on Indonesian menus) - the char and smokiness from the caramelized chicken skin, the sweet aromatic spices, the distinctive taste of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) combined with the heat from the savoury sambal belacan, all complemented with a mound of steamed white rice. The preparation method involves first simmering the chicken in the pot with the spice mix (bumbu or rempah) so that the chicken absorbs all those wonderful flavours. I then reduced the sauce to a thick syrupy paste which I used to baste the chicken before placing under the grill. This gives it a more concentrated flavour and also helps form a shiny dark coating on the skin.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Easy No-Beat Red Velvet Cupcakes


With Valentine's Day just around the corner, one of the most popular cakes would be the Red Velvet - rich, red and luxurious and all that signifies romance. Bake some red velvet cupcakes for your loved ones this Valentine's Day. I've got the perfect recipe that's easy and super delicious - just whisk, mix and bake. Some of you might take a look at the recipe and think "Hmm....no butter in a cake?". This recipe uses oil instead, which makes it ultra soft and moist. The previous version of red velvet cake that I made used butter, and although it was delicious, it was relatively richer and denser, compared to this one which was light, moist, soft and fluffy. If you have to make red velvet cake, try this recipe first. It is so melt-in-your mouth heavenly good you'd fall in love with it.