The dining table is the heart of a home

Monday, January 31, 2011

Date and Walnut Scones

Well I have a problem and it's quite serious. I have a craving, and I really need to find a solution to satisfy my cravings. I'm addicted to scones!....*blush* I have been making scones after scones, and searched up and down for the best scone recipe because I love those scones at my workplace so much ( I believe I mentioned this many times before in my previous posts....). Since I'm going back to Melbourne next week, probably won't be coming back to Ballarat anytime soon, I need to find a recipe I can replicate at home and make scones whenever I want to.

I think I've found "The One". The scone recipe that I shared last week was great. But date and walnut? The best so far...Well I might change my mind when I come up with a new combination, but so far this one is the best for me and my hubby. Well I found out that hubby doesn't like savoury scones. But he loved these date and walnut scones. He thinks they are better that bakers delight's. I'm not sure if they are better than bakers delight's but they sure were yummy. I used the same basic recipe that I used for my savoury scones, except that I added sugar, a little bit more butter and used dates with walnuts instead. The tops stayed crispy after 1-2 days which was great, and we just put them in the microwave for about 2 mins to warm them up and they were as good as coming out fresh from the oven. Hope you like them as much as we do.

Date and Walnut Scones

  • 2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 100 grams cold butter, cubed

  • 1/4 cup dates, chopped

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 180mls or 3/4 cup thickened cream

  • Pinch of salt

  • Milk to glaze prior to baking


  1. Add flour, baking powder, salt and sugar to mixing bowl. Mix well.

  2. Add in cubed butter and mix together until small clumps form. You can use hand or food processor if you have one

  3. Then add in dates and walnuts.

  4. Add in thickened cream and use a fork to mix together until the dry ingredients are moistened

  5. Pour out all the ingredients onto floured surface and lightly mix until the dough comes together. Be careful not to overmix the dough or the scones will become really hard

  6. Form a ball and cut into 6 triangles or you can use cookie cutter and cut into small rounds as well.

  7. Glaze the scones with milk before baking

  8. Bake in preheated 220 degrees celcius for 15-17 minutes until tops are browned and crunchy

  9. Serve with butter


  • I found that my scones spread out a little bit when I baked and became a bit flat. What I noticed from this cafe at my workplace was they flipped the scones sideways halfway through baking. I will try this next time. So halfway through baking maybe after 5-6 minutes, I will try to change the position of the scones so that the sides are facing up. This might help to keep the scones tall. I have not tried this before but saw the owner of this cafe doing this and has maintained good height for their scones. =)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chinese New Year Bake #2 - Kue Putri Salju

This is another traditional Indonesian Chinese New Year cookie. I don't think I have ever seen this sold in Malaysia. But I might be wrong. It's called kue putri salju ( snow white cookies) because it's dusted with icing sugar which makes it looks like it's covered in snow. Why snow white? I have no idea, maybe Indonesian loves fairy tale....?? ahhaha....I'm not sure but I guess it makes sense to call it snow white cookies as it looks pretty covered in snow-like icing sugar....=)

These cookies are usually shaped like a moon or we call it bulan sabit in Indonesian. If you feel lazy to make it moon-shaped then just make small rounds like peanut butter cookies. Try to leave some space in between cookies when you bake because it will expand in the oven and might stick to one another which will be troublesome to separate later on. What I did to shape these cookies was to roll a dough longitudinally and then bend it to make them look like moons. Also, just like my recipe for peanut butter cookies, the dough is quite sticky especially if you make it in hot Malaysia/Singapore weather. I suggest you get a bowl of flour handy next to you and dust your hands every now and then to make it more workable for you.

I'm also submitting this to Aspiring Baker #3- My favourite CNY cookies hosted by Jess' Kitchen.

Kue Putri Salju- Snow White Cookies

  • 250 grams unsalted butter
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • 250 grams plain flour, sifted
  • 200 grams ground roasted cashew nut
Icing sugar for dusting

  1. Beat butter and sugar until soft and fluffy
  2. Add in ground cashew nuts and plain flour alternately until well combined
  3. Leave dough in fridge for 1 hour (I didn't leave it in the fridge when I made it and it still came out well). I guess leaving in the fridge will make the dough easier to work with.
  4. Shape dough into moon shapes. Dust your hands with a pinch of plain flour after rolling 3-4 cookies to make it more workable.
  5. Bake in preheated 160 degrees celcius oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown
  6. Leave cookies to cool
  7. Once cookies are cooled, dust both sides with icing sugar

Wish all of you a wonderful and Happy Chinese New Year

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chinese Herb Salt Baked Chicken - Dong Quai Hong Cou Yim Kok Kai

I love Yim Kok Kai. When I was young, my dad would buy special " salt chicken " from a famous shop in Jakarta whenever he went there for business trip. We call it "Kiam Ke" in Hokkian aka salty chicken. I believe it's similar to yim kok kai in Malaysia. It was so delicious and my mom being a great cook herself would use the left over bones to boil the best chicken congee ever. I think it was the saltiness of the chicken and the fragrance of salt in it, it was just so good to have it with plain rice. And the congee that was made out of the bones was divine. I always looked forward to have the chicken congee the next morning for breakfast. Gee, can't believe I have been a foodie since I was like 10 years old.

Yim Kok Kai really reminds me of this kiam ke from Jakarta. I always wanted to try making it. Then I saw this recipe from the malaysian cuisine and I set my mind to make yim kok kai for dinner yesterday. I made my own adaptations to the recipe. I added some chinese herbs to it, namely dong quai and red dates. You can get them from any asian groceries. I just thought it would add a really nice fragrance to the whole dish. Something different from the traditional one. And boy was I right, the dish came out delicious. My whole family enjoyed it so much. It was so simple to make, yet so tasty and went so well with a bowl of rice. I would definitely keep making this again in the future. I also took some step-by-step photos on how I wrap the chicken in baking paper and aluminium foil with coarse salt. Hope you enjoy it.

Chinese Herb Salt Baked Chicken - Dong Guai Hong Cou Yim Kok Kai

  • 3 chicken marylands - each chopped into 3 smaller pieces OR 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 500 grams coarse salt
  • Baking paper and aluminium foil
  • 15-20 pieces of red dates
  • 8 pieces dong guai
Marinade ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup shao tsing cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce ( I used ABC kecap manis)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic ginger paste ( you can refer to yau fan for recipe OR you can just use 1 tablespoon grated ginger)
  1. Marinade chicken with all the marinade ingredients for at least 2 hours
  2. When you are ready to bake the chicken, preheat oven to 220 degrees celcius
  3. First of all take a big piece of baking paper and put the chicken pieces ( without the marinade sauce) on it. Then add the dong quai and red dates.

  4. Put another piece of baking paper on top and wrap the chicken pieces by folding in the sides, top and bottom. I used stapler to staple the folded sides so that they stay in place like this.

  5. Place the aluminium foil in a baking tray and spread half the coarse salt on the foil. Then, add the wrapped chicken on top of the salt.

  6. Add the remaining of the salt on top of the chicken.

  7. Lay another piece of aluminium foil on top of everything and wrap it all up.

  8. Bake in oven for 60 minutes
  9. Take chicken out of the baking paper and serve with rice.

  • You can reuse the salt if you want so that you won't waste it. The only thing will be to wrap the chicken in another layer of baking paper if you really want to recycle the salt because the sauce from the chicken sometimes will leak out of the baking paper and the salt might become wet from the sauce. So to prevent that I'll just wrap the chicken with another layer of baking paper before putting it on top of the salt.
Another CNY bake coming up tomorrow. Kue Puteri Salju - Snow White Cookies, another traditional Indonesian CNY cookies.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Scones take 2 - Chives, Bacon and Sundried Tomato

My second attempt on savoury scones. This time I put chives, bacon and sundried tomatoes. I tried a different recipe this time. The last one was adapted from Masterchef of which did not require butter. But I was really curious if it will make any difference with butter added as that seems to be a usual ingredient in scones. The verdict? I prefer the ones with butter in them...ahhahahaa....It just somehow tasted better, lighter, fluffier with a more crunchy top. I think it was the butter that made the difference.

You can certainly make them into sweet scones, just add 1/3 cup of sugar and cut down the salt to the dry ingredients and the rest remains the same.

Chives, Bacons and Sundried Tomatoes Scone
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 90 grams cold butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup dried chives
  • 1/4 cup diced bacons
  • 6 pieces of sundried tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • Pinch of salt and ground black pepper
  • 180mls or 3/4 cup thickened cream
  • Milk to glaze prior to baking


  1. Sift flour and baking powder to mixing bowl. Add in cubed butter and mix together until small clumps form. You can use hand or food processor if you have one
  2. Then add in chives, bacons, sundried tomatoes, salt, pepper and mix well
  3. Add in thickened cream and use a fork to mix together until the dry ingredients are moistened
  4. Pour out all the ingredients onto floured surface and lightly mix until the dough comes together. Be careful not to overmix the dough or the scones will become really hard
  5. Form a ball and cut into 6 triangles or you can use cookie cutter and cut into small rounds as well.
  6. Glaze the scones with milk before baking
  7. Bake in preheated 220 degrees celcius for 15-17 minutes until tops are browned and crunchy
  8. Serve with butter


  • Other variations: Cheese and chives ( just add one cup of cheddar cheese), cheese and olives, mediteranian ( olive, cheese, sundried tomatoes and bacon). Sweet scones: date and walnut, apricot and coconut ( use shredded coconut), etc etc. Just need to change the ingredients added and you can make a whole lot of different varieties.
  • If serving the next day, just put in microwave for 30 seconds to warm it up.
  • For plain scone: just add 1/3 cup sugar with pinch of salt. Serve with whipped cream and jam....perfect for afternoon tea.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kue Kacang Skippy - Peanut Cookie

I have a confession to make. I love peanut and this is my favourite peanut butter cookies.

My wonderful mommy passed this recipe down to me. It's one of my favourite Chinese New Year cookies ever. I'm sure my sister mydatewithfood will agree too. It's a bit different from the usual peanut cookies we find in Malaysia or Singapore I think. In Indonesia we just use peanut butter, good old Kraft Skippy Chunky Peanut Butter. Hence the name Kue Kacang Skippy. I'm not sure if you only find this in Indonesia as most of the peanut cookies recipes I read from foodblog use roasted peanuts that are processed to powder form ( which is equally delicious too). Call us Indonesians lazy...ahhaha...but these cookies are oh so good and easy to make. Only 4 main ingredients needed. The moment you put them in your mouth, it just melts away. That's one of the difference with the peanut cookies using roasted peanuts, I find those to be a bit on the crispy crunchy side which is really yummy too, but this one is more on the "melt in your mouth" side. Give it a try and see if you like it. It definitely saves me the time roasting and grinding the peanuts.

I'm also submitting this recipe to Aspiring Bakers #3: My favourite CNY cookies hosted by Jess' Kitchen.

Kue Kacang Skippy - Skippy Peanut Butter Cookies


  • 500grams Chunky Peanut Butter
  • 900 grams plain flour, sifted
  • 400 grams vegetable oil
  • 400 grams pure icing sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks to glaze the cookies before baking

  1. Put all the ingredients ( oil, peanut butter, flour, icing sugar and salt) except egg yolk in a big bowl and mix well.
  2. Form the dough into small balls of 2-3cm diameter
  3. Glaze with beaten egg yolks and bake in 180 degrees celcius oven for 15-20 minutes until the tops are browned.
  4. Well, that's all you need to do really. SEEEEEE??? Told ya it's easy...=)
  • The dough will be on a sticky side. So get a bowl of flour ready just next to you, and after rolling 3-4 cookies, dust your hands very lightly with just a pinch of flour. Justttt a pinch, like this. Repeat dusting every 3-4 cookies.
Dust your hands with a bit of flour after rolling 3-4 cookies.
This will make the dough easier to handle.

  • With the full recipe I managed to make 3 big containers like this. And a bit more to munch before CNY..=)...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Molten Chocolate Cake

Who doesn't love a good serving of molten chocolate cake? Unless if you really hate chocolate or allergic to it or had bad experience with it, I really can't find a reason to NOT like molten chocolate cake. Personally, I think it's the best way to serve chocolate in all its glory. Sweet, warm, melty, goey, all in one serving of this wonderful dessert. Whoever created this cake would be a GENIUS.....I was thinking maybe it came out as an error.....Maybe the founder did not even plan to make it molten but took out the cake a little bit too early and was still a little undercooked in the middle and thought " actually tastes even better than getting it fully cooked...." Whatever it is I'm glad this cake was created.

Molten chocolate cake is my favourite cake of all times. Whenever I go to restaurant, I will always choose this over any other deserts if it's available. I found this wonderful recipe from again, Ree " The pioneer woman ". The recipe was actually shared by one of the members of Tasty Kitchen ( Ree's food recipes sharing website). I have to say, it's absolutely gorgeous. You can whip it up in less than 15 minutes, and just need to bake in oven for 12 minutes and you've got yourself the BEST dessert of all times. It's elegant, tasty and sofisticated. Your guests would adore you and asks for more dinner parties at your place. =)

Molten Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen
  • 112grams Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate
  • ½ cups Butter
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2 whole Egg Yolks
  • 6 Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 cups Real Whipping Cream (seriously It's So Much Better!)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees celcius
  2. Spray 4 custard cups with oil or butter the custard cups and place on cookie sheet.
  3. Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl on high for about 1 minute, until butter is melted. whisk until chocolate is also melted.
  4. Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.
  5. Divide between cups.
  6. Bake 12 minutes until sides are firm and center is soft. Let stand 1 minute.
  7. Combine sugar and heavy cream and whip until stiff.
  8. Invert cakes on dishes and top with whipped cream.


  • The baking was stated as 13-14 minutes on the original recipe, but for my oven I found that 12 minutes is perfect. Just the right amount of goeyness and set on the outside
  • I served with vanilla ice cream. I prefer ice cream better than whipped cream. But that's just my personal preference...=)
  • Sorry the dessert was too good that I finished it all up in like 5 minutes and didn't get or bother (*blush*) to take the photos of the cake when it was out of the oven. So impatient of me, but I promise if I make it again I'll post it up. So the photo was actually taken before it went to the oven. It was that good you see? You just can't wait to dig in.

Hope you enjoy it too

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Garam Masala Noodle

This dish was inspired by Neil Perry's pressure test recipe on last year's masterchef " Garam Masala Poached Fish with Semolina Noodle". What a long name ha? But I adapted this recipe from his recipe and make little adjustments here and there. Of course, I don't have the patience to make my own noodle so I just bought the usual yellow hokkien noodle from any asian groceries. It's still really satisfying. A bit of fusion between Indian/Thai flavour. I served this for one of the dinner parties we had at home and my friends loved it too.

I didn't cook it as long as Neil's recipe, and I made some changes to it as well. The colour looks a bit different too from his recipe. Haahahahha... but it's still good. I used Basa fillet, I kinda like this fish as it has nice firm flesh and a distinct flavour to it. I don't need to be afraid of overcooking it really. But you can replace it with any white flesh fish you like. Neil used snapper fillets.

The recipe I made is for about 8 servings. But you can cut it down to half of course.

Garam Masala Noodle with Fish
Adapted from Neil Perry's Masterchef pressure test recipe
  • 1kg Yellow Hokkien Noodle
  • 200-300 grams snow peas
  • 5 Basa Fillets, cut into 5-6cm pieces
  • 5cm piece ginger, shredded
  • 1L coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 can diced tomato ( you can just use fresh tomato if you want. I was too lazy...=)..)
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 bunch Thai sweet basil leaves
  • 1.5 big piece of palm sugar ( mine was a 5cm diameter piece, you can adjust accordingly)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons salt

Spice paste:

  • 2 red shallots
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 5cm piece ginger
  • Red chillies, optional ( you can add more if you like it spicy. I didn't add any chillies for mine)

Dry spice:

  • 2 heaped teaspoon garam masala ( you can get it at any big supermarket or asian groceries)
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon whole black pepper, dry roasted
  • 8 green cardamom pods - dry roasted, cracked and black seeds removed
  • 2 cloves, dry roasted
  • 2 star anise, dry roasted


  1. Grind all the dry spices together until fine. Make sure you dry roast the cardamom/cloves/star anise and black pepper first before grinding. And crack the cardamom pods with your mortar and pestle to remove all the black seeds after you dry roast them before grinding.
  2. Process the shallots, ginger and garlic into smooth paste and mix in all the ground spices
  3. Heat up oil in frying pan, and fry the shallots/spice paste on low-medium fire for 10-15 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Then add in the canned tomato and fry on low fire for another 5-10 minutes until slightly dried up.
  5. Add in the coconut milk, water, kaffir lime leaves, shredded ginger and boil on medium fire for another 20-30 minutes until all the flavour of the ginger and lime leaves are infused into the stock.
  6. Add in seasoning ( sugar, salt and fish sauce). Adjust seasoning accordingly.
  7. You can just switch off the fire now if you're not ready to eat yet and put in the fish whenever you're ready to serve the noodle.
  8. When you're ready to serve, reheat the stock and put the fish into the stock and simmer on low fire for another 15 minutes until the fish is cooked.
  9. Blanch your noodle and snow peas in hot water until soft
  10. Arrange noodle and snow peas in a bowl

11. Put all the basil leaves into the curry stock and switch fire off.

12. Pour the stock with some fish on the noodle and serve warm

Bon appetit!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thai Style Risotto Ball

It's been a great weekend for me. A fun-filled weekend with great company and lots of cooking, just the way I like it. I really enjoy having friends over for dinner actually. We had dinner party at home on Saturday with some of my husband's uni friends and my friends as well. We had such a great time. Was really good to meet up with all of my husband's friends. Such a lovely and friendly group. Also got to meet up with some of my friends which we have not had a chance to meet up for a while. Really nice to catch up with all of you. And on Sunday I invited another group of friends over for dinner. A smaller group this time and I made these risotto balls to serve as started. I was inspired to make this after having dinner at one of the restaurants at Ballarat with my collegues last Tuesday. I loved it so much I had to make this for my friends too. So I made my own variation of it. It tasted wonderful, all of them loved it.

It's basically making risotto and rolling them into balls and covered in panko breadcrumbs. See, I love my panko breadcrumbs, it has never failed me yet. For those authentic Italian food lovers please forgive me for making a twisted version of risotto. =) still tastes nice though. A bit of fusion Thai-Western food.

Great as starters or finger food in your party next time round.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Thai Style Risotto Balls
Makes around 18-20 medium-sized risotto balls

  • 2 cups uncooked arborio rice
  • 4-5 cups beef or chicken stock

  • 1/2 chopped brown onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons tomyam paste

  • 150 grams mince pork

  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables

  • 1/4 cup canned tomato

  • 1 egg


  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar ( you can use shaved palm sugar if you want)

  • 1 tablespoon salt


  • 1-2 eggs, beaten

  • Plain flour

  • Panko breadcrumbs

To make the risotto

  1. Heat up oil in frying pan. At the same time warm up the stock in another saucepan, keep warm on low fire.
  2. Once the frying pan is hot enough, add in onion and garlic.
  3. Fry for a few minutes until soft. Then add in tomyam paste.

  4. Stir for 10-20 seconds, then add in minced pork

  5. Once the pork is cooked through, add in arborio rice and mix well

    6. Next step requires a bit of patience. Add in stock to the rice one ladle at a time, wait until the stock is absorbed before adding in the next ladle. Stir well after each addition and make sure you check the bottom of the pan so that the rice is not burnt. Make sure you keep the stock warm in the saucepan over low fire as well. Cook until the rice is al dente.
    7. When the rice is almost cooked to al dente, add in the canned tomato, all the seasoning and mixed vegetable. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Set aside and let cool. It should be a little bit sticky at this stage.

    8. Once the rice is cooled, mix in 1 egg and stir thoroughly. This is to bind the mixture together so it's easier to form.
    9. Form the rice into 18-20 pieces of 4-5cm diameter risotto balls.
    10. First coat the rice balls in flour, then dip them into beaten egg and then the breadcrumbs. Line them on baking tray and spray with a little bit of olive oil.

      Risotto balls ready to go into oven

      11. Bake in preheated 200 degrees celcius oven for around 20-25 minutes until the breadcrumbs become crunchy and golden.

      12. Serve with Thai sweet chilli sauce.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Cinnamon Rolls

    The weather in Melbourne has been really humid and a bit yucky the past few days. Non-stop rain. I'm sure those who live here in Australia have all heard about the flood in Brisbane. Please keep Brisbane in prayer and pray that the rain will clear away soon. For those who are living there, I pray for strength and comfort during this difficult time. It's quite a shock to the whole nation at this stage to have this flood happening but I'm sure everyone's keeping Brisbane in prayer and the sun will surely shine again after the storm.

    Back to this post, I believe that if one person would claim her recipe to be the best, that will be HER. Ree, from the pioneer woman. What a genius! I tried her cinnamon rolls recipe and oh wow, they did take me up to cloud 9. It was the easiest bread I have ever made, and they were so tasty and soft. I was just so amazed I could make cinnamon rolls so easily, without using up my biceps and triceps much at all and yet the result was phenomenal.

    I love this recipe. I sure am going to keep making them in the future. My husband and brother in law love them too. The only advise I'll give is to make sure you put the pre-baked rolls into a tight fitting pan, like a square pan or round pan. I put some of them on baking tray, and instead of proofing upwards, they proofed sideways. So the buns did end up flat and a little bit dry. The other batch where I put the rolls in a square pan, proofed so well and I guarantee you they were oh so soft and nice. It was not the dough's fault. It was my fault for not putting them in the correct pan. So choose a pan where you can JUST fit the rolls in, of course giving a bit of space in between the pre-baked rolls to have their final proof. When they have their final proof they'll start sticking to each other and proof upwards. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say, I do have the tendency to be unclear sometimes...=)

    Instead of making the maple flavoured icing as per her recipe, because I didn't get to buy maple flavouring, I made lemon-flavoured icing. The result was still satisfying. Oh yea, I halved the recipe as well. The full recipe probably yields around 60 cinnamon rolls, don't think my family can finish that much of cinnamon rolls. So half recipe yielded around 30 rolls. Still a lot but trust me, it's just enough for a family of 3-4 coz they're that good.

    You can visit Ree's page for step-by-step instructions which are really helpful. I suggest that you have a look at the step-by-step instructions first actually.

    The Best and Easiest Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
    Adapted from the pioneer woman's recipe

    for the dough:

    • 2 Cups whole milk
    • 1/2 Cup vegetable oil
    • 1/2 Cup sugar
    • 3/4 tbsp instant yeast
    • 4 Cups flour
    • Extra, 1/2 Cups flour
    • 1/2 heaping tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 scant tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tbsp salt


    • 1 Cup melted butter
    • 1 Cup sugar
    • 1/2 Cup cinnamon (or more depending on preference) or chocolate chips ( I made a different batch with chocolate chips. I prefer the cinnamon ones)


    • 1/2 bag Powdered Sugar
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 1/4 cups Milk
    • 1/8 cups Melted Butter
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • pinch of Salt


    1. Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in instant yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
    2. After rising for at least an hour, add 1/2 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down. I just let it rise for another hour and the result was beautiful)
    3. When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1/2 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.
    4. Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it. Finish up the other half of the dough in a similar way.
    5. Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.
    6. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees farenheit until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

    For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls.


    • The photo below showed the ones I put in the wrong pan. See how they're quite flat in comparison to other batch on top left corner of my first photo where I put in a square pan? So yea, put the rolls in the correct pan.

    • I used instant yeast for this recipe. If you want to use active dry yeast, then just use 1tablespoon of active dry yeast. The proportion for instant:active yeast is approximately = 0.75 : 1. So 1 tablespoon active dry yeast = 3/4 tablespoon instant yeast.

    Make these rolls! You won't regret it. Takes no time to prepare, and I assure you you can even get your ironing done while waiting for the dough to rise. =)

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Tofu with Minced Pork and King Oyster Mushroom

    I prepared this dish for dinner last Saturday. I had some left over king oyster mushrooms that my mother in law bought when she was here. So I invented this recipe because I was craving for silken tofu and at the same time am a big fan of mushrooms as well. Any kinds of mushrooms will make Leny happy. But king oyster mushroom has really nice texture and flavour to it. Sometimes I even just bake them in oven with some homemade japanese marinade. It's simple and good for health.

    I also love all kinds of tofu. It's a great source of protein and tastes wonderful as well. There are many different kinds of tofu that you can get in asian groceries. Unfortunately as we live overseas we don't have the luxury of buying fresh tofu from the market. But I suppose the ones we get from asian groceries which are sold in packets are as good as well. I'm not sure if I can really taste so much of a difference. I prepared this dish with a bit of salted fish as well. Just add that extra taste to the whole dish. Hope you enjoy it too.

    Tofu with Minced Pork and King Oyster Mushroom


    • 1 small block of silken tofu

    • 300 grams minced pork
    • 3 pieces of king oyster mushrooms, cut into long slices
    • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger

    • 1 tablespoon dried salted fish, diced into small pieces ( you can substitute with dried prawns too if you're not a big fan of salted fish, or just omit it altogether)
    • 1/2 cup water
    • Mixture of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and a bit of water to thicken the sauce

    • 1/4 cup chopped spring onions and a bit extra for garnishing


    • 2 tablespoons shao tsing wine
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • pinch of salt and ground white pepper


    1. Steam the whole block of tofu for 5 minutes and set aside. I used a deep pyrex pie dish so that it can hold all the meat sauce without spilling them all over the place

    2. Heat up oil in a wok

    3. Once the wok is hot enough, add in garlic,ginger and salted fish. Stir fry until fragrant.

    4. Then, add in minced pork. Stir fry until the pork is cooked through

    5. Add in king oyster mushroom and cook until slightly softened

    6. Add in water and all the seasonings.

    7. Once the seasoning is done according to your liking, add in the cornstarch/water mixture to thicken the sauce

    8. Lastly add in chopped spring onion and cook for another minute

    9. Once the meat sauce is ready, pour them on top of the steamed tofu
    10. Garnish with extra spring onion and serve with rice

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    Garlic Rice ( Yau Fan)

    I made Bak Kut Teh for dinner yesterday night. For my readers who don't know what Bak Kut Teh is, it's basically a soupy pork dish where we usually use premade herbal packet to cook cubed pork meat and add in some mushrooms or fried tofu puffs. Bak Kut Teh basically means "pork bone tea" if you translate it directly from hokkian to english. Why is it called bak kut teh? I'm not sure myself. Probably should do a bit of research around it, but one of my friends told me it's because pork is usually a little bit oily, so after having this dish the perfect accompaniment is to have a cup of hot chinese tea to wash the oiliness down. It does make sense to me. Maybe that's why they always serve jasmine tea at Bak Kut Teh stall in Malaysia? =).....But if you know why the dish is called Bak kut Teh, do share it with me. I'm curious to know as well.

    It's a popular dish in Asia, especially Malaysia and Singapore. I'm not going to share the recipe for Bak Kut Teh today as it is pretty easy to prepare with the premade packet, which you can get in any asian groceries. There's no rocket science to it, just put some meat and the herbal packet with a pot of water and let it simmer for 1-2 hours. You can add mushrooms ( usually shitake or enoki) and fried tofu puffs. My favourite brand is Seah's Singapore Bak Kut Teh mix.

    What I'm going to share today though, is the perfect accompaniment to Bak Kut Teh. The garlic rice or we call it in cantonese " yau fan". This rice is perfect to have with bak kut teh or hainanese chicken rice as well. It's simple to make and it's one of my family's favourite. I can eat bowls of it if I want...ahahha...but I have to watch my waistline I suppose.

    Garlic Ginger Rice ' Yau Fan '

    • 3 cups uncooked rice. Washed and drained well

    • 2.5 cups low salt chicken stock or if you want to use chicken stock powder, use 1 tablespoon chicken stock powder with 2.5 cups water

    • 3 tablespoons sugar

    • 1/2 tablespoon salt

    • 1/2 cup fried shallots ( I told you I love fried shallots....;)..)

    • 1 tablespoon cooking oil, extra for frying garlic paste

    Garlic Ginger paste:

    • 10 cloves garlic

    • Two 5 cm knob of ginger

    • 2 tablespoons vegetable/cooking oil


    1. Process the ingredients for garlic-ginger paste in food processor or mortar and pestle until smooth.

    2. Heat up the extra 1 tablespoon cooking oil in wok or frying pan over low-medium heat. Add in the garlic ginger paste and fry over low heat until slightly browned and thickened.

    3. Once the paste is ready, add the uncooked rice into the wok/frying pan and mix well.

    4. Put the rice into your rice cooker. Add in stock, sugar and salt.

    5. Cook rice in the rice cooker as per manufacturer's instructions.
    6. Once the rice is ready, add in fried shallots.

    7. Adjust seasoning. The rice is meant to be a little bit on sweet side. So you might want to add a little bit more sugar/salt if you want

    8. Serve with bak kut teh or chicken rice


    • You can make extra garlic-ginger paste and keep in the fridge or freezer so that it's ready to use anytime you want to cook this rice. You can use the paste to steam fish or chicken as well. Just add a bit of salt and chicken stock powder to the paste and layer on top of the fish/chicken. Add a bit of shao tsing wine and steam. Awesome dish to serve with rice.

    • Be careful of the type of chicken stock you use. If you use normal chicken stock liquid ( not low salt ones), then i will suggest to add the salt after the rice is cooked. Just so that it's not overly salty. At least you can adjust the seasoning after it's done.

    Saturday, January 8, 2011

    Thai Basil Mince Beef

    I am actually a big fan of Thai food. Thai food has very complex flavour that somehow works so well together. The combination of palm sugar, fish sauce, tamarind and various herbs just makes such perfect combination that the moment you have a bite of your favourite Thai dish you just get immediate satisfaction out of it. Regardless of what dish it is, whether it's green to red curry, tomyam, Thai food is definitely one of my favourite cuisine of all time. I am yet to find a dish I don't like.

    This dish is one of my favourite. I remember first having it at one of the most popular Thai restaurant here in Melbourne, Ying Thai. The moment I had my first bite I immediately fell in love with this dish and wanted to recreate it at home.

    Hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do. You can put some chopped red chillies in this dish if you like hot food.

    And oh ya, I saw some leaves coming out of my herb garden. So exciting. Hopefully it will start to sprout soon. I planted some sweet basil too. Hopefully it will grow well and I can just take some basil from my herb garden and use them in my cooking anytime I want. =)
    Thai Basil Mince Beef

    • 400grams minced beef ( again, if you don't like or eat beef, substitute with any kinds of mince meat)
    • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
    • 2 shallots, finely chopped
    • 1 red capsicum, sliced thinly
    • 1/2 cup basil leaves
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 3 birds' eye chillies, finely chopped ( optional)
    • 1/4 cup chopped spring onions
    • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 2 tablespoons ABC kecap manis ( thick soy sauce)
    • 1 tablespoon palm sugar ( you can use regular sugar as well)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    1. Heat up oil in your wok.
    2. Once the oil is hot enough, add in the shallots, garlic and chillies (if you are adding them)
    3. Stir fry until fragrant
    4. Add in minced beef
    5. Stir fry until the beef is cooked. Then add in water, capsicum and all the seasonings
    6. When the capsicum is cooked, add in the basil leaves and chopped spring onions, and stir fry for another 1-2 mins until the leaves have all wilted
    7. Adjust seasoning.
    8. Serve with warm rice.

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Thai Style Beef Patty

    I was in the mood for Thai food yesterday. Just got back to Melbourne from Ballarat and was thinking of what to cook for dinner. Kinda miss having Thai food, haven't had it for a while so I decided to cook Thai basil mince beef and this beef patty. Will post the recipe for basil mince beef tomorrow.

    Just for your information, I have just started my herb garden. I actually grow them in pots. Really looking forward for it to grow. Will keep you posted on the progress. Nothing seen yet so far as I just sow the seeds last week. Hopefully will start to see something in the next few weeks.

    Thai Style Beef Patty

    • 400 grams mince beef ( you can use mince pork or chicken as well, even fish paste will be nice)
    • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped and stir fried till soft and fragrant. I always stir fry my garlic to cook it a little bit before mixing them into patties / meat balls mixture because I don't like the raw taste of garlic. So by doing this you will avoid the raw taste from garlic when you cook the patties.
    • 2 shallots, finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup chopped spring onion
    • 10 green beans, cut to 3-4mm pieces
    • 1 stalk lemongrass, white bottom part only - finely chopped
    • 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tablespoon tapioca starch
    • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 2 tablespoons ABC kecap manis / thick soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1/2 tablespoon salt

    1. Mix all the ingredients for patty together with seasoning. You can add a bit more tapioca starch if the mixture is too watery.
    2. Form mince beef mixture into small patties of 10-12 cm diameter. You should be able to make around 10-12 patties

    3. Pan fry on frying pan until cooked through or you can also use your grill pan if you want.

    I made a side dipping sauce for this, but you can omit this. It's actually really nice with thai chilli sauce.

    Dipping sauce:
    • 1/4 cup ground peanut
    • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1.5 tablespoons lemon/lime juice
    Mix all the ingredients together and serve with beef patties.

    Hope you enjoy it. Bon Appetite. Basil mince beef recipe coming tomorrow.

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Sausage and Luncheon Meat/Spam Fried Rice


    Me: Dear dear, what do you want to eat for dinner tonight?
    Hubby: Anything, I am OK with anything.

    That's the usual answer when I ask my husband what he wants for dinner. =)....My hubby is pretty happy to eat whatever I cook.....But yesterday when I asked him the same question again ( I never seem to tire from asking him what he wants to eat hahaha)....He actually said that he felt like having fried rice.

    Of course I was more than happy to cook fried rice for him too. I always love fried rice. It's one of those dishes you can just put anything you want, chuck in any left over vegies/meat you have in the freezer. I made sausage / luncheon meat fried rice yesterday. And the result was satisfying. He loved it.

    For me, the key thing about fried rice will be to have enough heat for your wok and scramble the eggs before adding the rice. If you add the eggs after adding the rice you'll end up with soggy wet fried rice which is not very nice at all.

    The one important ingredient in my fried rice will be fried shallots. It just gives that nice fragrant to the whole dish. You can get them in asian groceries or even make them yourself by thinly slicing red shallots ( the small ones) and deep fry until golden brown. But just to be mindful that there's rumour going around saying manufacturers put plastic into the oil they use to fry the shallots to make them crispy for longer. I don't know how true that is but well that's the rumour. I am fortunate enough to have ongoing supply from my mother in law who prepares them whenever she's coming to Melbourne from Malaysia. Both my mom and mom in law are great cooks who always prepare food/special spice paste whenever they come. So we are indeed very blessed....;)

    So hope you enjoy this recipe too. Simple, easy and tasty at the same time. Feel free to adjust seasoning as you go.

    Sausage and Luncheon Meat/Spam Fried Rice


    • 3 cups cooked rice ( overnight rice is preferable)

    • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    • 2 large eggs

    • 1/2 cup frozen vegies

    • 1/4 cup diced canned pineapples

    • 1 sausage ( frankfurt) sliced to 1/2cm thickness

    • 1/2 cup diced lunchen meat or spam

    • 1/4 cup fried shallots

    • A handful of chopped spring onions


    • Lettuce leaves, finely shredded

    • Cucumber and tomato , sliced


    • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce

    • 3 tablespoons thick soy sauce ( I used ABC kecap manis)

    • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    • Ground white pepper

    1. Heat up oil in frying pan and brown the diced luncheon meat and sausage. Set aside.

    2. Heat up oil in a wok. Add in chopped garlic and fry until fragrant

    3. Add in the eggs and scramble until cooked

    4. Once the eggs are cooked, add in frozen vegetables. Stir fry for few minutes

    5. Add in cooked rice. Stir until the rice is well combined with the vegetables

    6. Add in pineapple pieces, browned sausages and luncheon meat

    7. Put in all the ingredients for seasoning and mix until well combined. You can adjust the seasoning according to your liking. Add a bit more kecap manis/ light soy sauce if need be

    8. Once the seasoning has been mixed well with the rice, add in fried shallots and chopped spring onion and cook for few more minutes.

    9. Decorate your plate with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. Put the rice at the side and top with lettuce and more fried shallots ( now you really know that I love fried shallots ei?)

    So what's your favourite combination of ingredients for fried rice? Feel free to share so that I have new ideas for my next batch of fried rice. Enjoy your week!!

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    Banana Mixed Berries Muffin

    As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm currently in this berry mood. It's summer, and for me when it comes to food I think nothing represents summer better than berries. Sweet, a little sour and refreshing. Mix them with lemonade, and you'll get the best summer punch.

    I made these Banana Mixed Berries Muffins yesterday. Had day off from work and I already miss the muffin from Cafe Cornucopia near my work place. I mentioned this cafe on my earlier post. We go there pretty much everyday when we are at work to enjoy our morning tea with a cup of skinny latte and their wonderful scones and muffins. They are all homemade which is what makes them taste so good I believe. It's a very cosy cafe, with a homey familiar ambience. The owners are very friendly and they have been well notified by yours truly that I love and miss the muffins when they were not open for Christmas. =)....They deserve a holiday though, it's a busy small cafe but very good business especially during lunchtime. I highly recommend those going to Ballarat to visit this small little cafe. It's located on Mair Street just opposite Ballarat Base Hospital. Must try their scones and muffins, you won't be disappointed.

    Back to this recipe. I love muffin. It's not hard to make and you can create any flavours you like. My favourite muffin from Cafe Cornucopia is their Banana Mixed Berries Muffin hence the reason why I made these. The result was satisfying. The muffins came out perfectly moist and had that crunchy tops. The top didn't stay crunchy when I kept them overnight, however, it stays moist. Anyone has tips on how to make your muffins stay crunchy ? =)......Please leave a comment if you do.

    Banana Mixed Berries Muffin


    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 8 tbsp unsalted butter (120 g), soften and cubed
    • 1 cup sugar , plus extra to sprinkle on top of muffins
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    • 2 cups mixed frozen berries
    • 1 large ripened banana, mashed
    1. Heat oven to 190 degree celsius. Grease muffin cups and cut 12 15 x 15cm sized baking paper to line the muffin cups.
    2. Shift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
    3. Cream the butter and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl, until light. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    4. Add in milk into the egg mixture then add in the mashed banana
    5. Add all the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. The key is not to overmix or the muffins will come out hard. So just mix lightly, I used two spatulas and lift the dough from bottom up. It's okay to have lump in there. The batter doesn't have to be smooth.

    6. Add in the frozen berries and again, mix lightly

    All the lumpy goodness ready to fill the muffin cups

    7. Fill the muffin cups with batter. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar over the tops of

    8. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

    Fresh from oven, moist inside and crunchy on top. Mmmm...yumm..

    9. Cool for 30 minutes before removing from the pan.

    I can't help but have one immediately. Satisfied from my craving. Happy Leny!