Friday, May 30, 2008

Orange Poppy Seeds Cake

Another cake recipe from Donna Hay's Modern Classics Book 2. This cake is really moist and crunchy of the poppy seeds. I reduced the sugar for the syrup to half a cup which turned out well for me. I didn't taste much of the orange flavour in this cake. Maybe the next time I will just use lemon.

Ingredients :
1/4 cup poppy seeds
3/4 cup milk
200g butter, softened
2 tbsp finely grated orange rind
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Place the poppy seeds and milk in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
2. Place the butter, orange rind and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well.
3. Sift the flour and baking powder over the butter mixture and add the orange juice and poppy seed and milk mixture. Stir to combine and spoon into a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
5. While the cake is baking, make the syrup. Place the sugar, orange juice and orange rind in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and boil for 5-6 minutes or until syrup thicken.
6. Pour the hot syrup over the hot cake. Set aside to cool.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Prawns Sambal

After a few days of mild western food I need my dose of hot and spicy Malaysian food. I don't think I can survived without it for too long. This dish is cooked in sambal paste and tamarind juice. I found by adding some lemongrass to the paste it add some extra 'kick' to the dish.

Ingredients :

300 grm of prawns - clean
2 tbsp of tamarind pulp - soak with 1/4 cup warm water
1 small onions - sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp of sugar

Spicy Paste - Blended

6 red fresh chilies
4 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
1 stalk of lemongrass - sliced thinly
3 candle nuts or almond
1 red tomato - quartered

1) Put all the paste ingredients in a food processor withs some oil or water and blend into smooth thick paste and set aside.
2) Sieve the tamarind pulp, get rid of the seeds and set the juice aside.
3) Heat up frying pan with some oil. Add in paste and stir fry until fragrant and oil separates. Add in slice onions and stir fry for 30 seconds.
4) Add in prawns, stir fry for 30 seconds and add in tamarind juice. Continue to stir until prawns cooked and sauce thicken, add in sugar and check seasonings.
5) Dish out and serve with warm rice.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I whip up a batch of warm scones for our Memorial day breakfast. Scones are lovely when cut into half and spread it with butter and jam. A perfect scones has a crispy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. I used my favorite recipe which is simple and quick and calls for ingredients I always have on my pantry.

Ingredients :

2 cups of flour
4 tbsp of cold butter - cut small
2 tbsp of sugar
2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt
1 eggs
2 tbsp of sour cream
1/3 cup of half and half or milk
a handful of raisins and dry cranberries

1) Pre-heat oven to 375 degree F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2) Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Combined egg, sour cream, half and half and set aside.
3) Rub butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or fingers until it forms coarse crumbles. Add in raisins and cranberries.
4) Add in the wet ingredients, mix lightly until everything combined.
5) Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball. Pat or roll dough to about 3/4" thick and cut into round shape with a cookie cutter.
6) Brush top of the scones with some milk and bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly brown. Serve warm.

Note : If the dough is too wet just add a little bit more flour. You can add any flavoring to the scones like spices, dried fruits, nuts, fresh berries, etc. The scones can be re-heat by putting it in the oven for a few minutes and they still taste as good.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Homemade Granola Bars

Carlos and I just love Quaker Oats granola bars and I will pack one in his lunch bag everyday but they can be pretty expensive and not all granola bars you buy in stores are healthy. Some of them are loaded with fructose corn syrup. So I decided to make some myself and it work deliciously well as I get to put my own healthy ingredients in it.

Ingredients :

2 cups of oats
3/4 cup of slice almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened dry coconut
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
2 cups of chopped dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, currants, cherries)
1/2 cup of honey
1 cup of unsalted crunchy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

1) Butter a 9 by 9-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper or aluminium foil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Spread the oats, almonds onto a sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in coconut and sesame and toast it for another 2 minutes.
3) In the meantime, combine the honey, peanut butter, vanilla and salt in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until everything combined.
4) Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and immediately add it into the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine.
5) Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish
6) Cool completely and cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Note : I like my granola bars toasty and after cutting it I lightly toast it in a 300 degree F oven for another 10 minutes. I also find that if you toast it again it will keep longer than a week. You can add crush peanuts, sun flower seeds, wheat germs and other dried fruits to your bars.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mini Apple Turnovers

If you like apple pie then you should like this turnovers. Apple turnovers are awesome pastries perfect for breakfast, tea time, a snack with a cup of coffee or dessert. They are extremely simple to prepare and very yummy. Here is an easy, but tasty recipe.

Ingredients :

Shortcrust or puff pastry - store bought

Filling :

3 big apple
4 tbsp of brown sugar
a handful of raisins
3 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of cinnamon powder
1 tbsp of butter

Egg Wash

1 egg + 2 tbsp of milk - beaten

1) Combined all the filling ingredients except cinnamon in a pan and cook until the apple tender and the filling almost dry. Add in cinnamon and set it aside to cool down.
2) On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry dough thinly and cut into round shape with cookie cutter.
3) Spoon the cooled apple filling onto the pastry and ightly moisten the edges of the rounds with water and fold the dough over the filling to form semicircular
turnovers. Press down on the edges to seal.
4)Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Brush turnovers with egg wash and bake for 20 min or until golden brown. Let cool on rack.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

BBQ Ribs ( II )

The way of making this ribs is similar to this except I change the marinate to some fruity Asian flavor.

Ingredients :

3 pounds ribs
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 tbsp of tomato ketchup
1" fresh ginger peeled and grated
1 tbsp of minced garlic
2 tsp. lemon zest grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Some heavy duty aluminium foil - big enough to wrap the ribs

1. Trim excess fat from back ribs. Combine all other ingredients. Mix well and pour over ribs. Cover and marinate in refrigerator overnight or at least for 3 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Remove ribs from marinade. Reserve the marinate. Put the ribs on the aluminium foil and wrap it up with double foil.
3. Put the ribs on a baking tray and bake in the oven for at least one an a half hour or until its tender.
4. Put the reserve marinate in a heavy saucepan. Bring the marinate to boil and cook over low fire until it reduce to a glaze-like consistency (about 1/3 cups).
5. Reduce oven heat to 325ºF. Open the foil and brush ribs with glaze, continue to bake (open) until golden brown.
6. Serve with corn or some salad.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Vegetable Curry

I cooked this vegetarian dish for my family Doctor. She told me she tried this curry at a recently open Indian & Malay Kitchen here in Exton but it was too bad they closed down the Malay kitchen not long after that. Since she like it so much I told her I will cook some for her and brought it to her on Tuesday. She told me it taste even better than the one she had at the restaurant :)

Ingredients for the curry paste

10 dried red chilies - soak in hot water
4 shallots
4 cloves of garlic
1" of turmeric
1" of galangal
1" of ginger
2 stalk of lemongrass
3 tbsp of curry powder

Blend all the above ingredients with a bit of water and set aside.

Vegetables: (or add your own ingredients)

1 cup of french beans - cut to 1" length
2 zucchini - cut to 1" length
4 potatoes - quartered
2 carrots - cut to 1" length
1 piece of Tempe - slice thinly and pan fried until brown
2 pieces of fried tofu - cut to cubes

2 cups of coconut milk
2 kafir lime leaves
1 tsp of sugar
salt to taste

1) Heat up some oil and add in curry paste. Stir fry for 1 min or until fragrant.
2) Add coconut milk, kafir lime leaves and stir. Add in the vegetables that required longer time to cook like carrots and potatoes. Stir well and bring to a simmering boil. Turn down heat to medium, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Add in seasoning.
3) Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and cover, allowing to cook for another 5 minutes or until all vegetables are cook.
4) Check seasoning again and serve warm rice.

Note : You can add vegetables like eggplants, asparagus, cabbage, long beans, cauliflower or peppers to this dish. If curry is too dry add more coconut milk or water to it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Steamed BBQ Buns II

I have this very bad habit of eating steam bun or we Chinese called it Pau. I will break the pau into half and then start digging out all the fat meat. As you know most of the pau at the dim sum place has a lot of fat in it. So the best is to make it myself where I can put whatever I want for the filling. I made 12 of these and will give some to Diana so she can just steam them and eat it before going for her class.

I used this ready-mixed steam bun flour for the dough. You can get this at Asian Store.

Ingredients for filling

300 grm of BBQ meat (pork or chicken) - cut to small cubes
1 small onion - cut small
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
2 tbsp of hoisin sauce
1 tsp of dark soy sauce
2 tsp of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of green peas - optional
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp of cornstarch + 2 tbsp of water
14 piece of square greaseproof paper - about 1 1/2" x 1 1/2"

1) Prepare the dough according to the instruction on the ready-mixed flour.
2) Heat up oil and stir fry garlic and onions until lightly brown.
3) Add in BBQ meat, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sugar, salt and pepper and stir fry until well mix. Add in the water. Lastly add in green peas.
4) Add in the cornstarch solution and bring to boil again. Dish out and set aside to cool.
5) Divide dough into 12-14 pieces and roll into a ball. Flatten it and put a tablespoon of filling and seal the edges. Put the bun on top of the greaseproof paper and set aside to proof for 15 minutes.
6) Prepare a steamer with rapid boiling water and steam the buns for 20 minutes.
7) Serve warm.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dulce De Leche Cheesecake

I made this cheesecake specially for Carlos as he is crazy over this sinful sweet. Dulce de leche is very sweet caramel flavored, thick gooey custard that is very popular among people from Latin America. It is made by blending milk, sugar, and vanilla and cook for hours until it becomes thick, smooth and brown in color. Another way of cooking dulce de leche is to boil the whole can of sweet condense milk for at least 6 hours. It can be eaten alone or as a topping for waffles, flan, bread or ice cream. It is also used a lot in cakes and other pastries. You can get it from any Latin American groceries store or some supermarket. I bought mine from Amazon online but recently I found it at Wegman’s supermarket at the international section.

Carlos told me a funny story about his love of Dulce De Leche. When he first moved here from Argentina he and his housemate just crave of this sweet and they decided to make some. They bought 4 cans of sweet condense milk and a big huge pot. Start boiling it and after an hour they completely forgotten about it and went out for a movie. When they came home the downstairs neighbor told them that he heard some loud bang like something exploded coming from their unit. They still have no clue what was happening. When the open the door it was like a scene coming out of a horror movie. The 4 cans of dulce de leche exploded and the gooey brown stuff was all over the apartment from the ceiling to the wall and furniture. They only realized that they had forgotten about the boiling cans and with the intense heat from the dry up pot it creates gas inside the cans and it exploded. It took them 1 whole week to clean up and give a new coat of paint to the apartment. After that they stay away from Dulce De Leche for a long time. I laugh so hard when he told me the story.

So if you want to cook your own dulce de leche do be careful. Keep adding water to the boiling pot and do no open the can right after you take it out from the pot. Let it cool down for a few hours before opening the can or else it will explode on you and you might need to go to emergency room because of that.

Ingredients :

Base :
12 pcs of graham crackers
5 tbsp of melted butter

Filling :
250 grm of low fat cream cheese
4 tbsp of sour cream
4 tbsp of sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla
4 tbsp of light cream

some dulce de leche

1) Prepare a spring form pan and greased it with some butter. Pre-heat oven to 325 degree F.
2) Blend the graham crackers finely in a food processor and add in melted butter. Press firmly to the baking pan and set aside.
3) Put all the filling ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the filling on top of the crust.
4) Drizzle some dulce de leche over the cheesecake filling then use a skewer to swirl the leceh around.
5) Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until the center of the filling set.
6) Cool complete and drizzle more dulce de leche on the top before serving.

Note : If dulce de leche is too thick warm it up in the microwave oven until it soft enough to drizzle.

Wishing all mother's A Happy Mother's Day!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Lemon Chicken

Carlos and I are not a fan of Chinese take-out as we find their food tasted bland, loaded with MSG and too oily. Since moving to PA we can’t find a good decent Chinese restaurant around our area. So if we want good Chinese food I will normally cook it myself or we drive all the way to Delaware for it.

I was invited by Rita of Mochachocolata to take part in her first virtual party to celebrate her 88th post at her blog. She wanted us to prepare a dish that resembles a Chinese take out. I actually had to crack my head to think of what to cook so I went through my kitchen drawers to see if I have a take-out menu there. Lucky I found one and look through it and decided to cook this dish.

Ingredients :
3 pcs of chicken breast - pound thinly
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of cooking wine
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 egg white
5 tbsp of cornstarch

Sauce (combined)

Juice of 2 lemons
3/4 cup of chicken broth
1 tsp of corn starch
3 tbsp of honey or sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
Salt and pepper to taste

1 clove of garlic - chopped
some lemon slices

1. Marinate chicken with the cooking wine, soy sauce, salt and pepper and let it marinate for 15 minutes
2. In small bowl, beat eggs and mix in cornstarch to form smooth batter (if it is too day add a bit of water). In wok or large skillet, heat up some oil.
3. Coat chicken with batter; fry until brown. Drain the oil on paper towel. Remove oil and leave about 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok.
4. Add in garlic and stir fry until lightly brown. Add in the sauce and bring to boil. Add in the lemon slices. Cook until sauce thicken. Check seasonings and see if the sweetness is to your likings. Turn off the heat.
5. Slice chicken and pour the lemon sauce over chicken. Serve immediately.

Rita, thank you for inviting me to your Chinese Take-out Party and hope you like the dish I prepared. For those of you who are interested in participate do check out her blog. Closing date is on the 12th of May.

Note : You can add in more honey or sugar if you want a sweeter sauce.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Beef Rendang

Diana came home from Japan last week and the first dish she asked for was something spicy and the dish that came into my mind was Beef Rendang. Since I am not in the mood of preparing too many ingredients and spending too much cooking it, I just used the Delimas Rendang Paste. It's so easy nowadays cooking this authentic Malaysian dish as you can get the ready made paste from Beside that you can get Curry, Rendang, Asam Laksa, Prawns Mee, Malaysian snacks, etc from them online and it will be delivery to your doorstep in no time.

Since we like our Rendang spicy I added extra chili powder to the paste and for extra oomph I add some kafir lime leaves and a stalk of lemongrass to this dish. The paste is really good and I will definitely cook with this paste again.

I served this dish with Nona brand Ketupat Palas given to me by my good friend Zue . I really like the shape of the ketupat:) Aren't they pretty?

Note : This not a sponsor post :)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Nonya Chicken

I made this dish a few weeks ago and completely forgotten about it until I found some of the pictures in my file. I saw this wonderful recipe from Jun's blog and I just have to try it out and I was not disappointed. This dish turns out really delicious.

Ingredients :

500gm chicken
1 medium size onions - quartered
some curry leaves
1 red chili - slice thinly
1 green chili - slice thinly
1 tomato - quartered
1 egg
1 tbsp of cornstarch

To be blended

1 lemon grass
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 clove of garlic
1 shallot
1" of galangal or ginger

For the sauce - combined

1 tbsp of plum sauce
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
1 tbsp of tomato ketchup
2 tbsp of water
salt and pepper to taste

1) Cut chicken into bite size pieces and marinate with the blended ingredients, egg and cornstarch and set aside for 15 minutes.
2) Heat up some oil and fry the chicken until golden brown and drain off excess oil on paper towel. Remove oil from pan and leave about 1 tablespoon.
3) Add in onions, chilies and curry leaves and stir fry until fragrant. Add in chicken, tomato and the sauce. Continue to stir fry until sauce thicken.
4) Serve with warm rice.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Zebra Cake

I got this recipe from Jo's Deli & Bakery with some minor changes. I didn't do the swirl properly and it didn't turn out as pretty as Jo's cake. I really like this cake as it's really light and soft. The next time I am going to use the same recipe but replace the cocoa powder with green tea powder.

Ingredients :

6 eggs
110g sugar
150g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp emulsifier/ovalet (optional)
100g butter, melted
30g condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
2 tbsp cocoa powder )
1 tsp of instant coffee )Mix this 2 ingredients with 3-4 tbsp of hot water

1. Preheat oven at 350 degree F. Prepare and grease a 8 inch round cake pan.
2. Sift flour and baking powder. Set aside.
3. Beat eggs, flour, sugar and emulsifier on high speed for 10 minutes or until batter turns light and creamy, i.e. thick ribbon state. To test, lift beater. Batter drops from beater should disappear when you count from 1 to 10.
4. Pour melted butter, condensed milk and vanilla essence (if any). Mix at slow speed.
5. Divide batter into 2 equal portions. Fold chocolate solution into one of the batters.
6. Using tablespoon, scoop 3 tbsp of uncoloured batter into centre of cake pan. Then, scoop 3 tbsp of chocolate batter on top of uncoloured batter.
7. Repeat until you have finished about half of the batter. Reduce to 2 scoops each now and continue layering
8. Reduce the amount of batter gradually until you only pour 1 scoop of each batter finally. The circles become smaller and smaller as your pour.
9. Bake int he oven for 40-45 or until golden brown. Let cake in pan for 10 minutes before turning it on to a wire rack to cool complete.

Note : Emulsifer is a stabilizer for cake batter when beaten rapidly, provide delicate and soft texture to cake.