Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lemon and Almond Slice

This recipe consists of three things that I want to have and it suits my greedy desire perfectly!  First, I want the base with coconut, then I want it to have lemon filling and lastly, I want it to have crunchy almond topping with a sweet glaze.  I actually combine three different recipes to create this and I'm really happy with the result.  Sometimes I feel that working in the kitchen is liked working in the lab.  While I have been trying many recipes with trial and error, occasionally I could make something that really surprise me!  And I wonder how people write cookbook, is that how they create new recipe?  This slice  tastes like cheesecake so it could be a "no cheese" cheesecake dessert.  I'm sending this to Anu's and Raven's September Event

Lemon and Almond Slice

1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
145g butter, melted
1 can of 400g condensed milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon rind
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons plain flour, extra
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 almond flakes
2 heap tablespoons apricot jam


  1. Preheat oven to 180c.  Place the 18cmx28cm lamington pan with baking paper.
  2. Combine plain flour, desiccated coconut and icing sugar in a mixing bowl.  Add in melted butter and mix well.  Press mixture into pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Mix condensed milk with egg in another bowl, beat well and then add in lemon juice and rind, extra flour and baking powder.  Pour over the base and sprinkle almond flakes over the top.  Bake for a further 30 minutes or until it starts to slightly brown.
  4. Heat the jam in microwave for 10 seconds or until it is thin to spread.  Brush it over the slice and let it cool in pan.  Cut into slices and keep in fridge when it is cooled. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Strawberry Granita

You wouldn't believe that the temperature had gone up to 28c over the weekend.  It felt like summer rather than early spring.  I tried to make granita for the first time and I could tell you that it was the best thing to cool down the heat.  You don't need a big bowl of it as a few spoonful is enough to make you feel good.  My son told me to make more and I'm sure I'll try different fruit in the future.  How about watermelon granita or honeydew granita with midori?  It's natural fruit blended with water and a bit of sugar with only 4 ingredients.  You can add some cointreau into it to make it a gourmet dessert.   

The kids has started their spring holidays, we're taking ourselves off the line from computer for 2 weeks and do some outdoor activities.  I've been blogging regularly for 6 months and it's a good excuse to take a break.  See you when I get back!

Strawberry Water Ice
(serve 4-6)

250g fresh strawberry
1 cup boiled water (cooled)
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 tablespoon passionfruit juice or lemon juice


  1. Put water, sugar, passionfruit juice into electric blender.  Wash and hulled strawberries.  Blend on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  2. Push strawberry mixture through fine sieve into a 28cm x 18cm lamington tin.  Freeze until well frozen.
  3. Brush the side of the glass with egg white, then roll along a plate with sugar.  When ready to serve, run fork across ice so that it flakes and separates.  Fork into individual glasses and decorate with extra strawberries.

Source: "Best Ever Recipes' from the Australian Women's Weekly, Home Library.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

French Toast with Strawberry and Maple Syrup and HK Style French Toast

French Toast with Strawberry & Maple Syrup
I made this french toast with strawberry on Monday for breakfast and I thought I should write something about french toast in Hong Kong style.  And this also reminded me of this special man, my old neighbour from Hong Kong.  When I was little, he took me to the cafe and french toast was my favourite food.  He would tell me not to put too much syrup as it's not healthy.  It is so easy to pour too much syrup on french toast just like dipping hot chips with tomato sauce.  Then on Thursday night, my sister rang and told me that he'd pass away at 91 years old.

We called this beautiful man Uncle 4, as he was the fourth child in his family.  Many Chinese call their senior, uncle or auntie rather than Mr. or Mrs.  Although my family had no relation to Uncle 4, he was like a god father to us.  Every Sunday, he would take my sibling and I for outings.  We would go to western style cafe, then we would go to different places like museum, botanic garden or playground.  He taught me how to use knife and fork, helped me with my English homework, spoiled me with things that my parents won't get me such as expensive running shoe and a BMX.  At Christmas, he would take us to have Christmas Feast.  When I was small, I liked to sit on his lap to watch TV together.  When he knew that we were moving to Australia, he was very sad as he had no children and his wife had passed away few years ago.

Every time I travelled to Hong Kong, I would visit him and I tried to call him every now and then.  He told me that his friends list was getting shorter as many had passed away but he was looking forward to reach 100.  Then this year on his birthday, he told me not to call him again.  Two months ago, he told me that he had been feeling weak and I could only tell him to take care and eat plenty.  I am feeling sad as I can't hear his voice again but I believe that his spirits is always there.  Angels would look after him.  Let's celebrate his life with two of the french toast.

French Toast with Strawberry and Maple Syrup

1 slice of white bread
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon sugar
fresh strawberries
maple syrup

Beat eggs and mix with milk and sugar.  Heat 1/4 cup oil in pan.  Dip the bread into the egg mixture and pan fry till golden brown on both sides.  Serve with butter, strawberries and maple syrup.

HK Style French Toast 

Hong Kong Style French Toast

2 slices of white bread
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon sugar
golden syrup

Butter one of the bread and sandwich it.  Beat the eggs and add in milk and sugar.  Dip the bread into the egg mixture.  Pour enough oil in pan and deep fry the bread till golden.  Serve with extra butter and plenty golden syrup.

Note:  HK french toast is deep fry with a crispy texture, you can use thick toast instead of 2 slices of bread.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Spring Salad

We all look for a fresh start for Spring, I make this salad using snow pea sprouts, pepitas, violet flowers and mandarin which is light and crispy to have for the warmer weather.

I have recently join the gym and starting a training program.  First my trainer measures all my "FAT" everywhere in my body and then he asks if I used to have nice legs.  Huh!  Honestly I'm not looking for losing weight, I wouldn't mind losing 2 kg and tone up a bit.  What I really want is to improve my overall fitness after a year long battling with illness.  Then he shows me the food chart of what I should be eating such as low GI, low fat, low sugar, plenty of greens and protein etc. I think he will be shocked reading my blog with all these cake and dessert recipes!  So from now on, I'm working on fitness food as I don't want to waste the effort on the workout.  I should co-operate with him and see if he can bring me back my "nice legs" and get rip of my muffin top.  Hahaha!

At the moment, I go to the gym 3 days a week for the work-out.  Once a week I go the yoga/pilates class which I enjoy a lot.  You get to stretch the muscle and joins that you don't use much.  My trainer doesn't allow me to go to other classes such as Zumba until I'm fitter.  On my free day, I may do extra walking or just have a rest.  My figure may not have changed much yet but I'm already feeling good for myself.  I keep asking myself: Why didn't I do that earlier?

I'm going to work on salad in September.  The best food to have after workout is to have a salad and plenty of water!

One of my friend from Hong Kong mentions that it will be easier for her if my blog is written in Chinese.  Instead of having a new blog, I'm going to add Chinese to the recipes starting from blog number 1, which is Apple & Cinnamon Muffins.  Hopefully this will attract more Chinese readers that are interested in western cooking.  Because I haven't written Chinese for so long, please excuse my slow progress.

Spring Salad

red cabbage (sliced)
onion (sliced)
snow pea sprouts
mandarin (skin and seed removed)
violets flower

Apple Cider Vinegar
2-3 Tbs low-fat mayonnaise
1 Tbs tomato sauce
1 Tbs low-fat Dijonnaise

Toss the lettuce, cabbage and onion in a bowl, add the sprouts and drizzle with some vinegar.  Mix the mayanise, tomato sauce and Dijon mayanisie and drizzle over the top.  Arrange the mandarin, flowers and sprinkle some pepitas over the top.       

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ice Mooncake with Pineapple Fillings

The Chinese Moon Festival also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival falls in the mid-August in the Lunar Calendar.  It is one of the biggest festival besides the Chinese New Year and this year it falls on 12th September.  Besides China and Hong Kong, many south-east Asia countries and Korea also celebrate this festival.   I remembered my Grandmother prepared fruit such as pomelo, starfruit and persimmon to pray for our ancestor.  Then we would gather together for dinner and enjoyed some mooncake.  The traditional mooncake is made from lotus seed filled with salted duck egg yolks and baked with pastry.  The highlight of the night was to play with the kids from the neighbourhood with our lanterns.  Each year, my mum would buy me a new one.  There were many choices such as lanterns made in rabbit, dragon or starfruit shape.  We carried our lanterns and had an adventure in our buildings running up and down the storey.  It's as fun as going to "trick or treat" at Halloween as you would imagine.  It is also a popular day for marry as it is full moon, this day represent good family relationship so many people like to tie their knots on that day.

Since we migrated to Australia, we still have mooncake every year.  Few years ago, people were tired of traditional baked mooncake and ice mooncake was created and it got very popular in Hong Kong.  I actually prefer it than the traditional one as it has no egg yolks and less fat.  One year I went to Hong Kong for holiday and brought back a few with different flavour such coffee, mango and durian.  You eat it half-frozen which is a new experience to me then.  My mother-in-law gave me a mooncake mould few years ago that I nearly forgot about it.  This year I finally make mooncake and that is fun!  I added pineapple to the filling from the recipe I got from the newspaper and I adopt the pastry from Christine's Recipe.

Ice Mooncake with Pineapple Fillings
(make 10-11)

For the pastry:
25g glutinous rice flour
25g rice flour
20g wheat flour
59g caster sugar
100ml milk
20g condensed milk
20g vegetable oil
extra 3 tbsp cooked glutinous rice flour (for dusting the bench)

100g yellow split peas
50g caster sugar
50g milk powder
1 Tbsp chopped canned pineapple
10g butter
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
1 tsp egg yolk


  1. For the pastry: mix the three rice flours with sugar onto a shallow dish, then add in two milk and oil.  Steam with hot water for about 15 minutes.
  2. When the dough is cool enough to handle, knead a little and divide it into 10-11 equal portions.  Dust the bench with a bit of cooked flour and roll the dough thin and flat with a rolling pin.  Place filling into the centre of the pastry and seal.  Put it up side down into the mooncake mould and press to flatten the bottom.  Tip it upside down and place onto a lightly floured tray and freeze.  When it is ready to eat, leave it stands for 15-30 minutes when the cake is thawed but still hold its shape, not mushy.
  3. For the fillings: wash the peas and soak it with water for 30 minutes.  Drain.  Cook the peas with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes or until it is soft.  Add a little of water if needed.  Blend the cooked peas in a blender until smooth.  Return it to the saucepan and add in sugar, milk powder, salt and pineapple.  Stir it with low heat for about 8 minutes or until it is very thick.  Add in egg yolk and butter and stir until combined.  Cool before use.
  4. For the cooked glutinous rice flour:  pan fry the flour in a saucepan (don't add oil) until it is slightly yellowish.
mooncake mould and fillings

Friday, September 9, 2011

Guest Post: Bombe Alaska for the 100th post and Awards Giveaway

Throughout the journey of blogging, I am so please to learn so much from other people and also sharing some of my cooking that is loved by my family or new experience to my kitchen.  There are too many people to thanks for to show my appreciation, I am giving the awards to those that truly deserved the encouragement.

 First, I would like to thanks:
1. Spoon and Chopsticks to be my first follower
2. Peggy from My Fiance Like it, So It Must Be Good, to give the first comment
3. Jessica from Kitchen Belleicious to give comment on nearly every post since she starts following me
4. Elisabeth from Food and Thrift Finds to give me the awards
5. Anu from ANU's Healthy Kitchen for hosting monthly events that is fun to participate
6. Jane from Jane's Corner for me to learn making swiss roll, egg tart and chiffon cake that I always fail to do so.
7. Christine from Christine's Easy Recipe for her inspiration for me to start blogging and good luck with the publication of her first cookbook.
8. Julie from Tasty Treat, Vardhini from Zeasty Palatte, Hemalata from Helm's Kitchen, Purabi from Cosmopolitan Currymania and Priyas's Now Serving for all those delicious and healthy Indian dishes.
9. Yin from Yin's Homemade and Ping from Ping's Picking to let me knowing more about Malaysia Food so that I can surprise my husband with some of their Malaysian recipes.
10.  Christine from Christine's Panty of her interesting food histories and Ming from Ming's Food Corner of his scrumptious food critics.
11.  For my following bloggers: Angies from Angies Recipes, Veronica's My Catholic Kitchen, Food Glorious Food's My Personal Food Journal, Karen from Contemplations and Ruminations, Devilicious Chef's Foodlicious, Hannah's Eaternity and dada's flavors. Thanks you for supporting this blog, your blogs are unique and fantastic.

Also, to my subscribers, my new followers and everyone who have giving comments or visiting this blog, I'm giving you a sincere thank you.

I have just got another award from Elisabeth so I'm giving the Hundred Hearts and One Lovely Blog Awards to the following 12 bloggers, please grab one or two and pass it on.

Благодаря Зиче!!!

  1. Christine's Pantry
  2. dada flavors
  3. Eaternity
  4. Foodilicious
  5. Hema's Kitchen
  6. Contemplations and Ruminations
  7. My Personal Food Journal
  8. Now Serving
  9. ping's pickings
  10. Spoon and Chopsticks
  11. Tasty Treat
  12. Zesty Palette

With the Cherry on Top Award, I'm giving it to the following 10 bloggers. Please pass it to another 10 bloggers.  To Elisabeth, I could not give you the same rewards again but I would like to give you a big big hug!

  1. Angie's Recipes
  2. Anu's Healthy Kitchen
  3. Christine's Recipes
  4. Cosmopolitan Currymania
  5. Jane's Corner
  6. Kitchen Belleicious
  7. Ming's Food Corner
  8. My Fiance Likes It So It Must Be Good!
  9. My Catholic Kitchen
  10. Yin's Homemade

Now back to the cooking, my daughter has been writing an assignment on Bombe Alaska for her journalist schoolwork.  I made this for her birthday this year and we re-made it again for her assignment.  I'm inviting her to be my first guest post and hope you enjoy her article.

Bombe Alaska

The Bombe Alaska, also known as omelette a la norvégienne (Norwegian Omelette), is an ice-cream encased in meringue dessert.  It was original in France in the mid 19th century when a Chinese delegation was visiting Paris.  The Master-cook of the Chinese mission was staying at the Grand Hotel in 1866, and the French chef at the hotel, learned how to bake ice-cream in a pastry crust in the oven from the Chinese cook.  By putting the Bombe Alaska into the oven to cook the meringue, the egg whites mixture and the sponge act liked an insulator, preventing the ice-cream from melting in the oven, yet the heat cooks the meringue, leaving a lovely brown colour and soft, marshmallow texture of coating.  This recipe uses the blowtourch to cook the meringue resulting a quick and even browning of the meringue.  It serves 2-4 people.

250g frozen raspberry
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
sponge cake
vanilla ice-cream

For the meringue:
130g caster sugar
1 tsp glucose syrup
4 tbsp water
2 egg whites

2 x 400ml ramekins
rum or whisky for making the flame

  1. Blend the raspberries with sugar in a "pulse" action in a blender until it is coarsely blended.  Add in some lemon juice.
  2. Line the ramekins with glad wrap that is large enough to cover the top of the mould.
  3. Cut sponge into rounds and small rectangles that fit the base and sides of the mould about 1.5cm thick.  Lay the base first and then the sides with the sponge overlapping a bit making sure there is no gap in between.
  4. Fill 1/2 of the mould with raspberry puree and 1/2 with ice-cream.
  5. Put the round piece of cake on tip to seal the ice-cream cake and cover it with glad wrap.  Repeat this process to make one more ice-cream cake.
  6. Place them into the freezer for at least 1 hour.
  7. For the meringue:  Using an electric mixer, whisk egg white until soft peaks form.  While it is beating, place 130g sugar, glucose and 4 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan.  Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves, then boil without stirring until syrup reach 120c on a thermometer.  It should be a thick runny syrup, if it is too hard add more water and vice versa.
  8. With the motor running, slowly pour in sugar syrup down through the side and beat until meringue becomes stiff and shinny.
  9. Lift the frozen ice-cream cake out of the mould onto a plate, upside down.  Discard the glad wrap.
  10. Coat meringue around the cake, and use a blowtourch to go around the cake until the meringue turned lightly brown.  Repeat this process for the other.
  11. Pour a little rum or whisky around the side and light it with matches.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Butterfly Chicken

I was watching a Chinese cooking show the other day and this chef was cooking a butterfly chicken.  He called it African Chicken and the hostess mentioned that it was Portuguese Style.  That raised up my curiosity and after googling from the internet and that's what I found.  It was the Portuguese explorers and settlers took the chilli and BBQ method to the Africa long ago, this style of chicken is called Piri Piri Chicken.  If you are interested for further reading,  please click here

I don't want to make this chicken hot so I am playing around with the spices a bit with this recipe.  I also use the marinated chicken for easy roasting from the supermarket so I don't put extra salt onto the chicken and I can put the chicken straight to the oven after rubbing with the marinate.  I like the potato of this dish as it absorbs the flavour from the chicken.  You can roast the whole chicken instead of butterfly it or you may like to BBQ it.  I would use a smaller chicken for BBQ though.  Please click here to view the video if you want to know how to butterfly a chicken.

Butterfly Chicken

2.1 kg marinated chicken (if you are using plain chicken, add some salt and/or chicken powder and marinate the chicken 1 hour before hand)
3 heap tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 tablespoon turmeric powder
3/4 tablespoon piparka
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic
(you can add some chilli powder if you like it hot)


  1. Rinse the chicken and clean the inside.  Follow the video listed above to cut the chicken into butterfly shape.
  2. Rub the chicken with the tomato paste, herb and seasoning.  Place it into a baking tray.
  3. Lay the side with potatoes, drizzle some oil and season the potatoes with salt.
  4. Bake the chicken at 180c for 1hour and 40 mins or until the juice comes out clean when you insert a skewer into its thigh.  Serve it with steam vegetables.
Tip: for every 500g chicken, cook it for 20-25 minutes.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Italian Trifle & Happy Father's Day

I never miss any chance of getting good recipes.  Whether I'm in the doctor's waiting room, at the hairdresser, waiting at the check-out or even at the plane.  I have to admit that I'm always attracted to dessert recipe.  So this is one of my new found.  It is a quick and yummy dessert that would be great to make for Father's Day.  (In Australia, this Sunday, 4 Sept is Father's Day)  The original recipe only use ready made custard.  I make my custard using custard powder and milk but at the end there isn't enough and I have no more custard powder left.   I end up adding whipped cream and garnished it with strawberries.  Sometimes situation like that always causes something extraordinary to happen!  The best part is the strawberries mixed with the cream and the two flavours custard.  You just want more strawberries to go with this dessert.  It really is a nice "marriage" between tiramisu and classic trifle.  I'm calling it "Heaven in the Glass" and you should know why once you have tried it!

Here is some of the gifts my kids made to their dad a few years ago.  Aren't they cute?  This year they're making him pizza for lunch.

Have a good weekend and Happy Father's Day!

Italian Trifle (Heaven in the Glass)
(serve 4)

For the custard:
50g dark cooking chocolate
2 teaspoons custard powder
2 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

For the sponge:
150g Sponge cake
1/3 cup strong coffee ( I add 1 heap teaspoon of coffee powder into 1/3 cup of boiling water)
2 tablespoons Kahula
1 teaspoon Bunderburg Rum

For garnish:
150ml whipped cream + 2 tablespoons icing sugar
fresh strawberries
50g dark cooking chocolate
25g milk cooking chocolate


  1. Dissolve custard powder with a little of milk in a small saucepan.  Add sugar and the rest of the milk and stir over low heat until thicken.  Cool.
  2. Melt chocolate in microwave under medium heat for 30 seconds and repeat until it melts.  Add half of the custard with the chocolate and mix well.
  3. Cut the sponge into cube,  mix coffee with Kahlua and rum.  Brush the coffee mixture over the sponge.
  4. Place a tablespoon of vanilla custard over base of the glass.  Top with sponge cake then chocolate custard.  Put into the fridge and make chocolate decoration.
  5. For the chocolate heart or flower: melt dark chocolate in microwave at medium heat until melt.  Spread chocolate over a piece of baking paper.  Melt white chocolate in microwave at medium heat until melt, then spoon into a zip bag.  Cut a tiny corner at the bag and drizzle the chocolate over the dark chocolate.  Place the chocolate into the fridge until set.  Cut it into heart or flower shape with the cutter.  Top the trifle with whipped cream and garnish it with chocoalte and strawberries.
Source: adopted and modified from Super Food Ideas, August 2011, Issue128.