Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bento for the family

I finally made dinner bento for us all. Bought 3 bento sets around the Chinese New Year period. I didn't pick them up personally, but according to friend, they were quite cheap so I got her to get them for me. They seemed too big at first, but after using them this evening, they aren't too bad. I just wish there weren't so many gaps in-between. Anyhow, I thought it'd be fun, for a change, to serve dinner this way. The girl was excited and ate everything except the baked teriyaki wings. There is a serving of black pepper salmon, xiao bai chye with crabsticks, some maki, green kiwi for her and a slice of orange each for hubby and me. I sprinkled some seaweed pork floss on our rice , whilst hers had some beef furikake, a mini pack of Milo and to round off, we all had a Ferrero Rocher each.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fluffy pancakes

Sharing a pancake recipe which I found in It's my to-go place for any recipe under the sun. I'd been wanting to make some pancakes lately to serve with my homemade jam, along with some freshly whipped cream. I finally did them yesterday for tea, but have no photos to show. Photos were taken very quickly using my iPhone and the quality was terrible. I had to hurry in case the cream melted, and it did slide off the pancakes as I was trying to capture a good shot of it. So I gave up, and instead, borrowed this picture from the site.

I had been using a buttermilk recipe before this and though nice, I felt the pancakes were too wet and soggy. This one turned out really nice, and I didn't have to go out specially to buy a carton of buttermilk which I would then have had to think what else to do with it after making pancakes. Vinegar in milk has the same effect as buttermilk and creates bubbles, which is what contributes to the fluffiness of the pancakes. Don't worry about the vinegar, you won't be able to taste it.

Ingredients: (makes 8 regular sized pancakes)

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • cooking spray


  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.
Serve with jam and fresh cream or banana and strawberries, drizzled with some chocolate sauce.

Lemon Curd muffins

I have been itching to bake lately and have been spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen. From jams, to pancakes, to now, muffins. There were cakes along the way, and biscuits too.

I have limited butter in the fridge, actually after this recipe, it's 'had'. To be exact, only 33gm left and it was just perfect for this half recipe which I found in Noobcook and made my own variation based on her base recipe.

Instead of blueberries, I made use of the lemon curd I had made 3 months' back. I liked the end product and it was very easy to do. However, I didn't bother sifting the flour, as a characteristic of muffins is density and not a cake-like, airy feel. I'm glad it turned out well.

Ingredients: (Makes about half a dozen muffins )

- 3/4cups plain flour
- 3/4egg, beaten
- 1/4 tbsp baking powder (oops I made a mistake and used a tsp but it still rose perfectly)
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 6 tsp lemon curd for filling
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence/extract
- 33 grams butter, melted


1. Mix flour, baking powder and sugar together.
2. Add in milk, vanilla extract, eggs and butter and stir until just blended (and lumpy). Be careful not to over mix as it will result in a tough texture.
3. Place baking cases in muffin tins. Spoon a teaspoonful of mixture into the cases. Fill with a teaspoonful of curd and then top it up till cup is 3/4 full.
4. Bake for 20 minutes in preheated oven of 190 deg C or until slightly golden brown. Allow to rest for several minutes before serving. Store for a day in an airtight container.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hello Kitty moonie bento

I made two simple bentos for the girls this morning. Nothing that needed any cooking. Just the pandan cake I baked 2 days ago, mooncakes which I bought yesterday and sliced apples. My girl's bento had cherry tomatoes, and J's one had some biscuits to fill the gaps. I'm not sure if J eats mooncakes, but they were too cute to resist even though they don't look like the real kitty. :)

Strawberry Blueberry Jam

While on Facebook the other day, I saw that a friend was attempting to make some jam to give as gifts to the teachers in her boy's school as Teacher's Day is round the corner. It seemed very easy, so I decided to give it a try. Blueberries are still at a low price while the American strawberries are what we find on the shelves now. As they come in bigger boxes, they cost more than the Korean ones. I can't wait for Korean strawberries to be in season again. They are almost always guaranteed to be sweet. And cheaper. I wanted to make a jam with a combination of blueberries as well as strawberries and while hunting for one, came across Happy Home Baking's jam recipes. I think making jam is an addiction. Once you've tried it the first time, you will want to make more. The downside is that since we don't consume a lot of jam, I can't try out a variety of flavours as they don't keep for long, probably 2 weeks at the max.

Double Berry Jam

(yields about 300ml of jam)

200g fresh strawberries (I used 275g)
200g fresh blueberries (I used 125g)
120g granulated sugar*
2 tablespoons lemon juice** (I think this can be cut down to 1tbsp)


  1. Wash and remove the stems from strawberries, cut into halves or quarters(for bigger ones), leave whole for small berries. Wash and drain blueberries.
  2. Mix strawberries, blueberries and sugar in a bowl. Cover and leave in fridge over night, or let it sit for at least 30mins.
  3. Transfer the mixture (including whatever juice that was drawn out from the berries) in the bowl to a stainless steel pot or a large saucepan. (Note: use non-reactive pots made with stainless steel, glass or enamel, avoid pots made with copper, aluminum or cast iron which would react with acid).
  4. On medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula or a wooden spoon, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (when the bubbles do not stop or lessen when you stir it). Once the mixture starts to boil, skim away any excessive foams or bubbles (I didn't bother skimming off as the fruits were in the way and the foam goes off eventually), stirring constantly all the time.
  5. Keep at a slow rolling boil for another 5 ~ 10 mins, stirring constantly till the mixture thickens, becomes clearer and transparent (no more foams).
  6. Drizzle in the lemon juice and cook for a further 2~3 mins.
  7. Remove from heat. The jam will be a little runny when hot but the consistency will be just right after it has cool off.
  8. Ladle hot jam into hot sterilised jars, fill to the brim. Secure lids. Let cool. Once opened, store in fridge and best consumed within 1~2 weeks***.
Sterilisation of jam jars -

Wash glass jars and lids in hot, soapy water, rinse well. Place jars and lids in a pot. Fill with enough cold water to cover the jars. Place over high heat and bring water to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently for 10 minutes. Remove jars and lids from boiling water and drain upside down over a clean tea towel. Fill with jam once jam is done and put cover back on. Boil covered bottle till you hear a pop in the cover. Turn off flame and leave jar to cool down before storing in fridge. If consuming jam immediately, there is no need to reboil it after filling.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pandan Chiffon Cake

It sure took me a loooong time to get round to baking my very first chiffon cake. Have been obsessed with the thought of baking it lately, and did quite a bit of homework before deciding to try this one I found through baking mum's blog. The part in the recipe that bought me over was, "I actually like this recipe better than the other one I have shared. When I do this recipe, I only need one bowl to beat the egg whites. As for the egg yolks I only need to use a whisk and whisk it by hand. No need to be thick and creamy texture". I knew this had to be the one for me. I love doing things the simple way. If it works, why bother with complications, right? ;)

The only thing wrong with this recipe is that it is enough for an 18cm tin while mine is a gigantic 23cm. And just when I was about to get the baking tin ready, I noticed a part in it had a dent and that was bad! I did not have a receipt and I was dying to bake it after putting it off a whole week, and now that I had everything I needed in the recipe, I couldn't wait. So, I had to make do by using some foil to cover the outside of the tin. I do feel so cheated as the tin didn't come cheap. It was partly my fault for not having checked thoroughly before my purchase.

While preparing the mixture, the smell permeating from it was heavenly. There's nothing like the combination of pandan and coconut. Absolute match made in baking heaven.

This was what my cake looked like when ready. It wasn't all that bad. It's just shorter by half than the usual size you get at the bakeries.

Once out of the oven, it had to be turned upside down to cool. Now I know the purpose of those little feet jutting out of the tin.

The end result? I managed to get it out perfectly in one piece, and it had a lovely golden colour on the bottom which is now the top. Texture-wise, a bit denser than what you get at the bakeries. It's a great challenge, but really much cheaper to buy it from the baker's. Haha. Flavour-wise, I think sugar could be increased by another 20gm as it was a bit short on sweetness.

PANDAN CHIFFON CAKE (recipe taken from Prima's website)

100g Prima brand Top Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tbsp Pandan Juice (I used 1tsp pandan paste)
100ml Coconut Milk
4 Egg Yolks
50ml Corn Oil
¼ tsp Green Colouring (omit this if using pandan paste)
5 Egg Whites
¼ tsp Cream of Tartar
100g Castor Sugar (can try adding another 20gm)
pinch of Salt

Instructions -

Preheat oven to 170°C. (I used 160-165deg on my fan forced oven)

Extract pandan juice from finely pounded pandan leaves and add to coconut milk.
(**) I did not use pandan juice but used about 1 tsp of pandan paste instead.

Add egg yolk, 50g sugar, oil, colouring and salt to the coconut mixture. Mix well using hand whisk.

Sift Prima brand Top Flour and baking powder and fold into mixture. Mix until smooth. Set aside.

Beat egg whites and tartar at high speed until foamy. Add remaining 50g sugar and
beat until stiff.

Add 1/3 beaten egg white to the yolk mixture and mix using a hand whisk.

Slowly fold in this mixture to the remaining 2/3 of beaten egg whites.

Pour mixture into an ungreased 18cm chiffon tin and bake for about 50mins. (I used a 23cm and it took me 40mins)

Turn tin over on a cake rack to cool before loosening cake using a sharp knife.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fried Fish Bee Hoon Soup

Before this, I never knew I could reproduce this dish at home. It is one of my favourite dishes at the food courts and I always thought that it was a difficult dish to prepare. The first thing being the soup stock, and second being the fried fish. Thanks to a friend, I now know that it is actually very simple to do. Best of all, girl and hubby gave the thumbs up! Dear princess even requested it for her lunch tomorrow. :D

Here's the recipe. Thanks M, for sharing it.

For fried fish

Use Ang Kor Li




Spring Onions

2-3 slices of ginger

1 tbsp each of cornflour and potato starch to coat fish before frying

For fresh fish -

Use Bak Tang Fish



2 tbsp of potato flour

Mix potato flour in water and put fish inside. Put in fridge for 20mins to season.

Ingredients for fish stock:

1 inch of ginger (bruised)

4 to 5 garlic (bruised)

Fish bone

1 tomato cut into wedges

Evaporated milk

Hua Teow Chiew (or Chinese cooking wine)


1. Fry in oil the fish bone, ginger and garlic till fragrant.

2. When fragrant, add water.

3. Add 2 cubes of chicken stock.

4. Salt to taste.

5. Add about 2 tbsp evaporated milk or slightly more if preferred.

6. Add 1/3 tbsp cooking wine and turn off the flame immediately.

For the noodles, I used laksa noodles or thick bee hoon. Garnishes include seaweed, spring onions and fried shallots. You might like to add Szechuan vegetable to the soup if you prefer a slightly tangy flavour. Tofu is sometimes added to this dish as well.

Super simple bento

I prepared this bento for school last week. It's rather sparse as the shortbread cookie was very fragile. If you look closely, you can see that the neck of the snail is broken. I couldn't possibly put anything under it as I was out of bread that morning. I love the cutie peas in a pod baran as well as the peapod food pick. In the bento were also blueberries, tamago sushi and homemade orange cake.

Some new toys

I'm a lucky gal. Dear friend, M, got me these on her recent trip overseas. These are a few things I've been eyeing for quite a while now, and the bonus was this Care Bear bento box. I love it, and so does she. It was tough trying to decide which colour to go for, but in the end, pink won!

Last Tuesday was a day off school to make up for the National Day holiday. We made plans with a friend from ballet to go for a movie and a playdate. As we had to leave home early that morning for my regular check up appointment at the hospital before going to meet her friend, I packed her a simple breakfast bento. I knew there was no way for us to have lunch before the movie began at 12pm.

In the bento was a lotus paste bao, blueberries, a Piglet biscuit, a slice of homemade lemon cake, a piece of Laughing Cow cheese and some pieces of bak kwa.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Spam filter on Blogger

I discovered something this morning as I signed onto Blogger. Maybe it's been there for a few days but I do not often go to the Dashboard page to approve comments, so it was with great delight that I discovered it today, that Blogger now filters junk spammy comments, such as the ones that Peony wrote about. So listen, you weird and annoying people, there is an auto rubbish bin now for all your nonsense. Yippee!