Monday, August 31, 2009

Peach Tarts

I have tons of peaches from my recent Peach Picking trip with Diana. Besides eating it fresh I have to find ways to finish it up quick as they are getting over ripe and they don’t keep well in the fridge. I gave some to my neighbor Nancy and also some to Diana’s friend and I still have quite a bit of it.

Who can pass an easy to prepare dessert using the fresh peaches and store bought puff pastry? All you need is just a few other ingredients that you can find in your pantry. There is no fuss, no rolling out pastry here. If you don’t have peaches you can use other type of fresh fruits like apples, pears, plumps or mix berries. You can eat the tart as it is or smothered it with vanilla ice cream. Heaven!!


1 box of puff pastry – 2 sheets
4 fresh peaches
3 tbsp of sugar – more if you like it sweeter
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp of apricot jam + 2 tbsp of hot water (for glazing)

1. Thaw the puff pastry for about 30 minutes. Peel and pit the peaches. Slice them into wedges. Toss it lightly with sugar and cinnamon powder and set it aside.
2. Line the baking sheet with some parchment paper. Pre-heat oven to 375 degree F.
3. Cut the puff pastry sheet into third and then half. Lay it out on a baking sheet. Arrange the peach slices on the puff pastry. Bake for 20 minutes or it puff up and golden brown.
4. Take it out of the oven and brush the top with some apricot jam. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.

Note : If you can't find fresh peaches you can replace it with can peaches.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mini Apple Cakes

I just love cute little cakes. Cakes in miniature size can make a person feel special. It's like you're getting a whole cake to yourself. Diana got me these fancy little paper cups from Japan and I thought I should use it for these cakes.


185 grm butter
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ cup self-raising flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (80ml) milk
2 apples (any kind, I used granny smith)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare some paper cups of 8 mini cake pans. Grease 8 mini loaf pans (greased with some butter) Peel and coarsely grate the apple. Mix it with the lemon juice to prevent it from turning brown.
2. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time until well combined.
3. Fold in the flours, cinnamon and milk until well combined.
4. Fold in the apples. Divide batter among the cups or pans. Smooth the surface. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave in pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Oven Baked Chicken Wings

Chicken wings have become so popular that they are serving it at a lot of restaurant but I am not a fan of their wings. I find them too hard and too dry for my taste. I like my wings to have crispy skin, fall off the bone, and finger licking good. These easy wings are crispy without being fried. What is great about this dish is that you can serve them hot or cold. It works great wheather you are having a Super Bowl Party or just a something delicious to snack on. They only take 10 minutes to prepared and let it marinate for an hour or two and pop it in the oven. For this recipe you can add more cayenne pepper or sugar if you like it spicier and sweeter.


10 – 12 chicken wings
3 tbsp of soy sauce
½ tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash and clean the chicken wings to make sure there are no stray feathers. Cut wings into portions through the joints, discarding wingtips (I left wingtips on).
2. Combine all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Add wings and coat in mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degree F. Cover a baking dish with aluminum foil. Drizzle it with some olive oil. Spread wings over the base, brush liberally with marinade. Roast for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the wings half way through the baking. Serve warm or at room temperature

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kuih Koci/Glutinous Rice Cake with Coconut Filling

Here is another favorite kuih in Malaysia. Kuih Koci is steamed glutinous rice flour filled with sweet grated coconut or sweet peanut paste, wrapped in banana leaf, the shape is like a pyramid or cone, is a delicious and a classic Malaysian dessert that is suitable for breakfast or tea time snacks. Usually, the color of Kuih Koci is either white or green.

Definations of Kuih


300 grm glutinous rice flour
½ tsp of salt
1 tsp of pandan paste – if you like it green
1 cup of coconut milk – you might need more or less
About 16 pieces of 6”x 8” banana leaves - blanch in hot water, wipe dry and grease with oil

Ingredients for Filling :

300 grm of fresh grated coconut
130 grm of palm sugar (gula Melaka) or brown sugar – cut into chunks
4 tbsp of water
2 tsp of cornstarch + 2 tbsp of water

1. To make the filling cook the palm sugar and water until sugar dissolved. Add in the grated coconut, stir and cook until almost dry, then add in the cornstarch mixture and stir until the mixture thickens. Set it aside to cool.
2. To make the dough, put the glutinous rice flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Slowly add in the coconut milk; knead well until it forms into smooth dough. If you like the dough to be green adds in the pandan paste. Continue to knead until the color blend into the dough.
3. To make the kuih, pinch a small piece of dough (size depend on how big you want), roll it into a smooth ball and then flatten the dough. Add 1 tbsp of filling in the center of the dough. Gather up the edges to seal the filling inside.
4. Fold a piece of banana leaf into cone shape, oiled side inside. Place the filled dough ball in it, pushing gently to fill the tip of the cone as much as possible. Fold the edges over the base to close (you may secure it with a toothpick) Repeat the same to the rest of the dough.
5. Arrange the cone on a steamer tray and steam for 15 minutes in a slow boiling water.
6. Remove from steamer and allows to cool before serving.

Note: The steamer heat should not be too high. If not the kuih might burst out of the cone.

I am submitting this recipe for Merdeka Open House 2009 - MY SWEET MALAYSIA hosted by Babe in the City - KL. This is a great way to introduce Authentic and Traditional Malaysian sweet dessert to the world. Happy 52nd Birthday Day, Malaysia. Do check out Babe in the City - KL blog on 31st August 2009 for the round up.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Baked Chicken Samosas

I love samosas, but it’s hard to find a good one here in my neighborhood. They do sell it at our local Indian grocery store or serve it at the Indian restaurants but they are either too greasy or the filling was flat-out tasteless. So the answer to this problem is to make it myself. I made a lighter version of it. I used the spring roll wrappers and instead of frying I baked it. The end result, a delicious healthy snack that’s probably better than the ones from your local Indian restaurant.


2 medium size potatoes – peel and cut into small cubes
1 small onions – finely diced
1 small carrot – finely diced
1/4 cup green peas
1 small piece of chicken breast – finely diced
1 clove garlic
2 tsp of curry powder
1 tsp of chili powder
A small handful of fresh cilantro/coriander – (chopped finely)
1/2 tsp of sugar
Salt to taste
12 - 14 sheets of large spring roll wrappers
1 egg - beaten

1. Mix the curry powder, chili powder with 3 tbsp of water. Mix well until it becomes a paste. Set it aside. Heat about 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Sauté onion and garlic until fragrant and lightly brown.
2. Add in the curry paste. Stir-fry until fragrant. Add in the chicken and stir-fry until it changes color. Add in the carrot and potatoes. Stir-fry until well mix and add in about 1 ½ cup of water. Bring it up to a boil. Cover and slow simmer until the potato tender and mixture is dry.
3. Add in seasoning and green peas and cilantro. Mix well and dish out. Cool the mixture before using. Take a sheet of the spring wrapper and cut it into 3 equal size strips. Put some filling to one side and fold to one corner to make a triangle. Keep folding triangles up toward the end. Brush some egg to seal (refer to pictures)
4. Place the samosas in a well greased baking sheet. Spray or brush some olive oil on the samosas and bake in a pre-heated 400 degree F oven until lightly brown.
5. Serve with some sweet chili sauce.

Note: You can make this into vegetarian but omitting the meat.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Spinach/ Artichoke Dip

This is a great recipe for any occasion. Whether you're watching the big game, invited to your in-laws, or pot luck, spinach/artichoke dip is always a winner. It can be served with crackers or baguette slices. It’s versatile enough to be made ahead and refrigerated for 2 days before the party. All you have to do is warm it up in the oven or microwave oven.


1 packet (8 ounce) cream cheese - softened (I used low fat cream cheese)
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3 tbsp of milk (optional)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (optional)
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a small baking dish.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach. If the mixture is too stiff or thick mix a few tbsp of milk.
3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pulut Inti/ Glutinous Rice Packet

I made these when Zue came to visit me last week. She did most of the wrapping. Aren’t they cute? Pulut inti is steamed glutinous rice topped with grated coconut flesh cooked in palm sugar and then wrapped in banana leaf to resemble a square pyramid. It is a Nyonya and Malay traditional kuih (cakes) normally eaten at breakfast, tea time and as dessert. This popular kuih can be found at the food stalls, or sold at the road side stall in Malaysia.


1 1/2 cups glutinous rice – wash and soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight
1/2 tsp salt
150 ml coconut milk
1 pandan leaf, tied into a knot

Coconut filling:

120g palm sugar or gula Melaka
4 tbsp water
1 pandan leaf, knotted
1 1/2 cup grated coconut

Banana leaves – 10-12 pieces - cut into 4 x 6 inch, blanched in hot water to soften for folding.

1. Drain the rice in a strainer. Place the rice in a heatproof dish. Mix in the salt and coconut milk to the rice. Add pandan leaf in the rice and steam over high heat till it is cooked for about 20-25 minutes. Check from time to time and stir. Remove from heat.
2. For the coconut filling, in a heavy saucepan dissolve sugars in the 4 tbsp of water. Simmer until liquid starts to thicken and become syrupy. Add grated coconut and pandan leaf. Cook till the mixture is soft and dry about 10 to 15 minutes. Most of the liquid should have evaporated. Remove from heat and let it cool.
3. To assemble, place about 1 1/2 tablespoon cooked glutinous rice on the center of the banana leaf. Flatten it slightly in the middle. Add a generous teaspoon of filling on top of the rice.
4. Fold both ends of the leaf over the kuih; ensure that the top is slightly open to show a bit of the filling. Tuck both ends under the packet. When all the mixture is used up, serve on a plate. Enjoy with a cup of hot tea!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Almond Biscotti

This twice baked Italian specialty has become very popular here. Unlike other sweet cookies we are used to, biscotti are crisp and crunchy and taste really great when dunking it in coffee or sweet wine. These traditional biscotti do not contain any butter or oil. It uses eggs to bind all the ingredients together. You can add any types of nuts, dry fruits and flavor that you like to it.


2 cups of flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract or ½ tsp almond extract
1 cup whole almonds - toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combined flour, salt and baking soda together. In your mixer whisk eggs and sugar until well combined. Add in flavoring.
3. Gradually add in the flour into the egg mixture until dough is form. Add in almonds. With floured hands divide dough into half. On a lightly floured surface roll each half of dough into a log.
4. Transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet, spacing the logs about 3 inches apart, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until firm to the touch and lightly brown.
5. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Transfer logs to a cutting board and using a serrated knife slice log into 1/2 inch thick. Arrange evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake another 10 minutes or until lightly brown and crispy. Remove from oven and let cool and store in an airtight container.

Note: I added some dry cranberries to the second log.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Crispy Baked Shrimp

Most of us love fried food. Who doesn't? Unfortunately, I am trying to cut down on that. So the next best thing to do is to bake them. Sure baking might not give you the exact crispiness but this shrimp is still a crowd pleaser. Lightly breaded with panko bread crumbs and baked within minutes in the oven. This baked crispy shrimp is one dish that everyone will love. Serve it alone or add your favorite sauce to make this a perfect appetizer or entrée.


20 large shrimp – peeled, deveined with tails intact
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 egg white
1 cup of panko bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle it with some olive oil.
2. Marinate the shrimp with salt and pepper. Beat the egg white and pour it into the shrimp. Mix well.
3. In a plate combined the bread crumbs with ½ tsp of salt. Mix well. Coat the shrimp with the bread crumb. Lay the shrimp on the baking sheet, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the shrimp and bake for 6-8 minutes until golden brown.

Note: If you like coconut you can add ¼ cup of it to the bread crumb.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Mango Sago Dessert

This is such a refreshing dessert to have on a hot and humid days like what we are having here in PA. Temperature here can go up to over 90 degree F and having this for dessert is just pure heaven. It’s not too sweet, thick and with huge chunky fresh mango in it.


2 sweet mango
4 tbsp of sago pearls (soak in cold water for half an hour)
125ml evaporated milk
200 ml mango juice
50 ml water
2-3 tbsp sugar (more if you like it sweeter)

1. Bring about 4 cups of water to boil in a saucepan. Add in sago pearls and bring it up to boil. Once it boils, continue to stir for a minutes and then turn off the heat and cover the saucepan. Leave it for 20 minutes. At this stage the sago pearls should be transparent.
2. Drain the sago from the hot water in a strainer, rinse under cold running water until it cools down and water runs clear and set aside.
3. Peel and cut mango into cubes. Set aside some of the cut mango for garnish.
4. Blended the rest of the mango, sugar with the 50 ml of water until smooth.
5. In a mixing bowl, mix the blended mango, cubed mango, mango juice and milk. Stir well. Add in the sago pearls and stir until well combined.
6. Chill before serving.

Note: If mixture is too thick you can always add extra milk or mango juice to it.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Cheesy Pine Nut Rosemary Cookies

Have you try making savory cookies? Now here is something different for you. They are actually great for appetizers or snacks. Maybe a little bit better than all the other sugary treats in our cookies jars :). This cookies are nutty, buttery, cheesy and with a little hint of rosemary. You can replace the rosemary with other herbs like chives or thyme and you can add other spices like cumin, garlic, paprika, chili power to these cookies. The options are endless!


1 stick/113 grm/1/2 cup butter
1 ½ cup of flour
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup ground pine nuts
1 egg – separate yolk and white
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup of pine nuts – for decoration

1. Cream butter and salt and light and creamy. Add in the egg yolk cream until well combined.
2. Add in parmesan cheese, ground pine nuts and chopped rosemary. Mix well. Add in the flour and continue to mix until the mixture comes together into a ball.
3. Take out the dough and lightly floured work surface, give the dough a few knead and let it rest for half an hour.
4. Roll the dough out thinly about 1/8" thick. Cut out into desired shapes. Brush the top of the cookies with some egg white and sprinkle some pine nuts on it.
5. Baked in a pre-heated 325 degree F oven until lightly brown. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Steamed Eggplant with Meat Sauce

I think by now you should know that I love eggplant as I had quite a few eggplant dishes here. If I see some nice firm eggplant at the Asian store I will definitely buy it. As for Carlos he is not a fan of it. There is no way I can make him eat it no matter how I cook it.

This is a relatively simple dish to cook. Normally I will just stir-fry the eggplant together with the minced meat but this time I did something different. I first steamed the eggplants and then cook the meat sauce and pour over it. As usual I added some chilies to the sauce to give it a bit of spicy kick to the dish and it goes really well with rice.


2 Japanese/Asian eggplants
1 piece chicken breast/or any type of protein – minced
2 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
2 shallots - sliced thinly
2 small red chilies – sliced thinly
1 tbsp of fermented bean paste (tau cheong)
1 tbsp of sugar
1 tsp of dark soy sauce
2 tbsp of soy sauce
½ cup of water + 1/2 tsp of cornstarch
2 spring onion – diced small

1. Clean and cut the eggplant into 1” length. Season with some olive oil and salt and steam on high heat until soft.
2. While the eggplant is steaming, cook the sauce. Heat up a tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan, stir fry garlic and shallots until fragrant and lightly brown.
3. Add in the fermented bean paste, stir-fry for a few second and add in the meat and chilies. Continue to stir-fry until the meat changes color.
4. Add in all the seasoning and the water. Bring it up to boil and cook until sauce reduce and thicken. Check seasoning.
5. Pour sauce over the steamed eggplant and sprinkle the top with some spring onion. Serve warm.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Mini Cottage Pies

Aren’t these the cutest little pies you’ve ever seen? Believe me; they tasted even better than they look! These savory little pies make great hors d’oeuvres for party or any gatherings and I am sure it will impress your guests. These mini pies are really simple to make and you can prepare them ahead of time before the party. Feel free to make a one large pie if you want to. Either way you will not be disappointed.

(adapted from Women's Weekly Cookbooks)

Shortcrust pastry – refer to the recipe here (you can use the store bought pastry)

250 grm ground beef
1 medium onion – chopped finely
2 cloves garlic – chopped
2 tomatoes – cut into small cubes
½ cup of beef stock or water
¼ cup frozen peas
1 tbsp of chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp of chopped parsley
2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

2 large potatoes or 3 medium size potatoes (500 grm)
¼ cup milk
1 tbsp butter
1 egg yolk
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Lightly greased some muffin pans or tartlets pans. Roll out the dough to about 1/8” thickness. Using a round cutter cut out rounds and places the dough to the pans. Prick the tart shells all over with a fork and blind bake until golden brown. Remove and let it cool.
2. Heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan. Cook onions and garlic until soften and lightly brown. Add in beef, cook, stirring until beef changes color. Add in tomato, water, Worcestershire sauce and thyme. Bring it up to boil. Reduce heat, simmer until liquid has evaporated. Stir in peas and chopped parsley. Check seasoning and remove from heat.
3. Boil potato until soft. Remove and drain. Mash potato in a large bowl. Stir in butter, milk, and egg yolk, salt and pepper until well combined.
4. Spoon potato mixture into piping bag fitted with a large star tips.
5. Put the pastry casing on a baking sheet, fill about 1 tsp of beef mixture, and pipe potato over the beef. Set your oven to boil and broil the tarts until the tops slightly brown.
6. Serve warm or at room temperature.