Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas

So it is Christmas again! I have just come back from my trip to Sydney and need sometime to unwind myself before I'm ready for more food and laughter!

It has been a very busy month of the year with my son's graduation from primary school and attending our cousin's wedding within the same week.  I was totally exhausted after looking my son from food poisoning and lucky he was just able to get onto the plane to attend the wedding.  He has missed out the last two days of school but he is looking forward to meet his friends and making new friends in high school next year!  I have to stop regarding my son as "my little boy" as he is catching up my height and I don't know where does the time fly!

One of the highlight of our trip is to visit the Zumbo at the Star City.  They have a dessert bar opens from 6pm.  We bought some takeaway cakes and macaroons then went to have gelato at the other store.  You can see the eight layers clearly after cutting the mini V8 cake, I'm just amazed by the combination of flavour and technique.  If you are Adriano Zumbo's fan from Masterchef, this is one of the place to visit!

This Christmas would be an easy one and I'm not cooking any new recipe as my energy level is still charging!  Have a Merry Christmas and lets hope everyone have a great 2013!
mini cake

Donut and chocolate flavours

V8 and Chocolate Mousse Cake

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Strawberry Devil's Food Cake

It has been two years since I decide to bake birthday cake for my family.  I really regret that I do not make cakes for my kids' first birthday and all these years relying on buying cakes from the store.  Cakes from the bakery may taste better or look nicer, however home bake cake is always special that you make it with your heart! Don't you agree!

I have been longed to make Devil's food cake so I take the chance to make it for my son's birthday as chocolate is his favourite! He also love strawberries and it is such a good match to the chocolate.

The name of angle food cake comes from the white colour from the egg white while devil's food cake comes from the dark colour from the chocolate.  It is interchangeable with rich chocolate cake, the only different is that it is made with soda bicarbonate and water (my recipe used soda bicarbonate and milk) Originally it is made with grated beetroot to get the red colour so some recipes would add in red colouring as well.  So it is quite liked the red velvet cake with dark frosting!

My kids has started the summer holiday and we'll be going to Sydney for a wedding next week!  I'm so looking forward for a break!!

Strawberry Devil's Food Cake

90g dark cooking chocolate
115g unsalted butter
90g dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
175g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
90ml milk

For the icing:
150ml milk
100g caster sugar
60g dark chocolate
60g butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
fresh strawberries and chocolate flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 170c and paper-lined a 20cm round cake pan.
  2. Melt butter, chocolate, sugar and syrup in pan, let it cool aside.
  3. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, then add the chocolate mixture, stir in beaten eggs, vanilla essence and milk.  Mix well.
  4. Bake 30-35 mins or until the skewer comes out clean after inserting. Cool cake at the cake wire.
  5. For the icing: boil milk and sugar until syrupy, it will look like thinned condensed milk.  Do not stir once the sugar is dissolved. Remove from pan and stir in chocolate, butter and vanilla essence.  Beat until thick, keep the icing mixture into the fridge until spreadable.
  6. To Deco the cake: cool cake completely, spilt the cake into half horizontally. Spread 1/3 of the icing on the top of the first layer, then lay around with sliced strawberry.  Top with another layer and spread the rest of the icing on the top and side of the cake.  Sprinkle some chocolate flakes over and deco with some fresh strawberries in the middle.  Keep cake in fridge till the icing is settled.
Source: Adopted and modified from the cookbook "Easy Baking - Cakes, biscuits, pies & bread" from Linda Collister

Friday, November 16, 2012

Orange Chiffon Cake

I have given up making chiffon cake years ago as I never be able to make a good one.  It is such a simple looking cake without icing and what you only need to succeed making it is to get the airy texture and stay in shape.  Overlooking my failure is due to not having the right baking tin and good recipe.  My luck finally comes after searching through the internet and get a few tips, then combined two recipes to make this first ever so called a "passed" chiffon cake! (Well, it has been few hours after making the cake and it is still in good shape)  The tip to achieve a good result is to invert the pan on the cake rack and leave it cooled before release the cake from tin.  The gravity helps to keep the cake in shape.

Many people said that chiffon cake was liked angel food cake (one of the cake I've never made either).  The cooking steps are very much the same except that angel food cake is cooked without oil and egg yolk.  Chiffon cake is very poplar in Asia as many Asian prefer vegetable oil than butter as used in most western cake.  When I went to Malaysia the first time, I found out that many of their cakes are green in colour.  My husband told me that they were pandan cake which use pandan leaves to make the juice to give the fragrant and colour as what they called Asian vanilla.  As pandan leaf is not easy to get here and my husband is never happy with the taste of pandan essence, I choose to use orange flavour this time.

Although Asian has created many flavours in chiffon cake, it is actually created by an American Insurance Agent, Harry Baker in 1927 and he kept the recipe as a secret until he sold it to General Mills in 1947.  He must be very determined to keep a secret for 20 years and make a profit from it.  If you're interested in the history of chiffon cake, please click here.

Orange Chiffon Cake

Egg yolk mix:
5 egg yolks
20g caster sugar
100g cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
60g orange juice
1 tablespoon orange rind
3 tablespoon vegetable oil

Egg white mix:
5 egg whites
80g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


  1. Preheat oven at 170c.  Beat egg yolks with sugar, add oil and mix well.  Stir in orange juice, rind and sifted flour and baking powder.
  2. Beat egg whites with electric mixer until frothy, gradually add in sugar and cream of tarter in 2 batches. Beat until stiff.
  3. Fold egg white into flour mixture in 2 batches.  Pour mixture in a lightly greased tube pan (some say don't grease the pan but I still grease a little, just in case the cake got stuck) Tap the pan at the kitchen bench a few time to release bubbles.
  4. Bake about 35 to 40 minutes.  Gently invert pan on cake wire and leave cool.  Run a spatula around side of pan to release cake. 


Monday, November 5, 2012

Beetroot Chutney

After making several bottles of jam a few months ago, I want to try making chutney and preserve.  Beetroot is one of my favourite purple vegetable, however it does stain your hand after handling.  So if I only get my hands dirty for once and enjoy the chutney for a few months in a bottle, that's not a bad idea! It's also a nice gift for Christmas.

I serve it with turkey minced burger and it is tasty enough that you can skip the tomato sauce!

Beetroot Chutney
(make 2 bottles, about 3 cups)

3 beetroot (500g)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 cardamon pods, bruised
2 green apples (400g), chopped
1/2 red onion (85g), finely chopped
1 cm ginger, chopped
1 garlic glove, finely chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Keep the skin on the beetroot and cook with boiling water in pan or microwave till cook.  Use a fork to poke into the beetroot, if it gets in then it's ready.  Drain.
  2. Cool then peel the skin off.  You can wear gloves to prevent the juice stain on you hands.
  3. Chop half the beetroot into fine dice, blend the remaining beetroot till smooth.
  4. Put the beetroot puree, apple, onion, ginger, garlic, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and salt in a saucepan.  Add in spices (you can tie spices in muslin bag), make it to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chopped beetroot and simmer for 10 minutes more.
  5. Store chutney in sterilised jar and it can keep in the fridge for 3 months.
Source: modified and adopted from the cookbook, "The Australian Women's Weekly: Classic Preserves Jams Chutneys Relishes"


Friday, October 5, 2012

Almost a Vegan Chocolate Cupcake and Pink October

A little while ago I went to a friend's birthday party and tried her daughter's vegan cupcakes and vegan birthday cakes.  It looks not much difference to the other non-vegan cakes and it tastes moist and nice.  I like the glossy shine of her icing using extra virgin coconut oil which you won't get from any other kinds of oil.  I always think that vegetarian are good cook as normal restaurant may not meet their needs, and they have made their life healthy and be kind to the animals.

I search the recipes for the vegan cupcake and frosting from the internet.  I decide to use butter and milk for my frosting as I know the name of vegan cupcake may scare my family away.  The rich ganache goes well with the light moist cake, so next time when you want to make a cake but there are no eggs in the fridge, try this vegan chocolate cake.  It won't make you disappointed!

October is dedicated to bring the awareness for breast cancer, I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to do a simple thing.  Do a self breast examination and keep it as a monthly routine.  If you're over 40, take a mammogram and ultra-sound for your breasts.  If there is any suspicious lump or discharge from your nipples, seek for medical advice without hesitation.  Don't ask your husband as they just don't know!  I have been through that and it's only early detection can saved your life.  Breast cancer don't only happen to old people or a particular race!  Let us all beat the cancer and support those that are having treatment be well and healthy soon!

Please share this message with your girlfriends to bring out more awareness of breast cancer!

Vegan Chocolate Cupcake

1 1/4 cups plain flour
3/4 cup castor sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon apple cider

For the ganache:
1 cup dark choc chips
1/4 cup evaporated milk or more if needed
2 teaspoon butter or margarine
1/2 cup icing sugar


  1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Then mix the wet ingredients in another bowl.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.  Spoon the batter into cupcake cases and baked about 30 minutes in a preheat oven at 180c.
  2. For the ganache: Microwave the choc chips and butter in a bowl, add the evaporated milk and icing sugar.  Stir until the frosting is well mixed, add a little bit more milk if needed to get the right consistency.  Garnish the cake with some coloured choc chips.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Blueberry Muffins and Pink October

If you have tried to bake with fresh blueberries then you'll know the difference between the fresh and the frozen one.  You won't get the cloudy blue in the batter with the fresh one.  Blueberry is high in anti-oxidiant with many health benefits and my favourite recipes for blueberry include blueberry pancake with maple syrup and blueberry with yoghurt and muesli.

My blueberry trees are blooming and when fresh blueberry is available, I alway make blueberry muffin as you know the fresh one always taste the best!  I make this muffin using the recipe of my first post apple and cinnamon muffins, please click for recipe.  I use it as a base recipe for various muffins, simply substitute the apple for blueberries.  The other good combination is mixed berries with white chocolate.  One of the blogger mentioned that muffin was liked a country girl (true and honest) and cupcake was liked a city girl. (dressing up)  Which one do you prefer?

October is dedicated to bring the awareness for breast cancer, I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to do a simple thing.  Do a self breast examination and keep it as a monthly routine.  If you're over 40, take a mammogram and ultra-sound for your breasts.  If there is any suspicious lump or discharge from your nipples, seek for medical advice without hesitation.  Don't ask your husband as they just don't know!  I have been through that and it's only early detection can saved your life.  Breast cancer don't only happen to old people or a particular race!  Let us all beat the cancer and support those that are having treatment be well and healthy soon!

Please share this message with your girlfriends to bring out more awareness of breast cancer!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Red Bean Moon Cake with Flaky Pastry (紅豆螺絲酥皮月餅)

Last week I went to school to help out the hospitality students to understand cultural diversity.  Six of the parents participate all came from different background including Thai, Indian, German, South African, Italian and Chinese.  One of the thing we were taking about was the festival celebration, and I mentioned that lots of Chinese dessert for celebration was round as the roundness mean smooth and harmony.  The Chinese Moon Festival is coming up on 30 September and I got the idea making this flaky pastry mooncake from my mother-in-law when she posted her taro mooncake on FB.

I always have difficulty in making the swirl looking flaky pastry and I got the step-by-step instruction from Cherri, ch3rri blossoms.  I use canola oil instead of shortening as it is a healthier oil and I baked it instead of deep fry.  The other popular flavour for the mooncake include taro, green tea and lotus.  Moon cake usually has an salted duck egg yolk inside the filling, I have opted that out as I prefer it eggless.

The Moon Festival is the second biggest festival besides the Chinese New Year.  People give mooncake as a gift and everyone gather together for a family dinner on a full moon night.  A true happiness for me is to enjoy the time with my family, just as simple as that.

Red Bean Moon Cake with Flaky Pastry
(make 16)


red bean paste (store brought)

Water dough:
200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
50g canola oil
30g sugar
100g water

Oil dough:
180ml plain flour
100g canola oil


  1. Roll the red bean paste into 16 golf ball sized balls.
  2. For the water dough; mix all together to form a dough, rest 20 minutes.  Then divide into 4 equal portions.
  3. For the oil dough; mix all together to form a soft dough, divide into 4 equal portions.
  4. Flatten the water dough and place the oil dough into the middle and wrap around it.  Do not flour the bench as the dough is oily enough and will not stick to the table.
  5. Roll out the dough into a long shape, fold half from the short side, then fold over to the right.  Roll out one more time.
  6. Then roll into a swiss roll from the long side, cut into 4 pieces.
  7. Roll each piece flat into a round shape, about the size of the dumping pastry.  Place a piece of red bean paste into the middle, wrap around to form a ball and seal the bottom.  Repeat for the rest of the dough.
  8. Preheat oven at 170c. Place the mooncake sealed size down onto the paper lined baking tray(s), bake 25 mins or until brown.

water dough and oil dough
Flatten water dough and oil dough on top
Oil dough wrapped inide of the water dough
1st time roll out 
roll half from long side
roll half to the right
2nd time roll out
cut into 4 pieces
Roll flat and fill with filling
ready to bake! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Honey, Peanut Butter & Tomato Drumsticks

This Sunday is Father's Day for the Australian.  Chicken is the most popular meat and my husband will not sick of having chicken everyday.  This chicken drumstick would be a great dish to give the male a treat!  The original recipe use tahini (sesame paste) but I replace that with peanut butter and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the roasted chicken instead of baked with it coated.  After all these modification, I could't think of a name to it but I love this Asian kind of twisted dish!

Have a happy Father's Day!

Honey, Peanut Butter & Tomato Drumsticks

6 Chicken Drumsticks
1 heap tablespoon peanut butter
1 heap tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
salt and pepper
few drops of sesame oil
1-2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted


  1. Marinate the chicken with peanut butter, tomato paste, honey, chilli powder, salt, pepper and sesame oil.  Let stand for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven at 200c.  Place the baking tray with baking paper, arrange the drumsticks onto the tray and spoon all the sauce over the chicken.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.  Turn over once or twice.  Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving.
Source: adopted and modified from the cookbook, "I Love to bake!" by Tana Ramsay

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Easy Banoffee Pie

Last time when I went to a morning tea gathering at school, one of the mum brought along a Banoffee pie.  They were saying that this was an American type of pie so I took a piece of it and it tasted pretty good.  It is basically a caramel tart topped with whipped cream and banana.  With the search of the internet, it is found that the birthplace of this pie actually come from The Hungry Monk restaurant from the UK.  The word banoffee means any food product that has the taste of banana and toffee.  It was created in the 1972 and it became popular in the America, Australia and India as well.  For more information please click here.  In Australia, caramel tart is very popular and it sometimes served with whipped cream.  When I went to boarding school, it would be everyone's heavenly day to have caramel tart for dessert.  To simplify the recipe, I use Top'n Fill caramel instead of the condensed milk.  If you wish, you can follow the traditional method to boil the tin for 1 1/2 hours to make the caramel.  Can you believe that such a yummy dessert only take 4 ingredients?

Banoffee Pie

1 tin of Nestle Top'n Fill Caramel
1 frozen pie crust
whipped cream
banana, sliced


  1. Bake the pie crust follow the direction of the package.  Just when the crust starting to turn brown, spread the caramel into the pie shell and baked for a further 5-8 minutes.  
  2. Cool pie to room temperature, spread with whipped cream and top with some sliced banana.  Chill before serving.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Homemade Orange and Lemon Marmalade

If you start making jam, it's unlikely that you'll ever stop.  I made enough jam to give to my family and to keep for myself.  Just when I want to pack up, my daughter's piano teacher gave me some homegrown orange and lemon again.  So this continue my jam making journey....

I didn't have enough orange to work out a recipe for marmalade the last time when I had those unwaxed organic oranges.  For full story, please click here. This year I had a bit of a trouble as I mistaken an orange looking lemon making the first batch of jam too tangy. So I made another lot and mix it with the first batch untill I'm happy with the taste. The addition of lemon to the marmalade makes it tastes different (the taste that I prefer) but you can omit that if you don't like it too tangy.  Mrs piano likes to have her marmalade with bacon and egg, I'd never tried that though.  I'd prefer to make my marmalade almond muffins again.

Orange and Lemon Marmalade
(bread machine method)

1/2 lemon, flush only, chopped
About 4 oranges, included the grated zest and chopped flush to make up 550g with the lemon flush
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 1/2 tbsp Jam Setta

Put the chopped fruit into the bread machine followed by sugar and Jam Setta.  Press the "jam" button and finish the cycle.  Pour hot jam into sterilised jar and seal.  Keep into the fridge to keep it fresh. 


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

To celebrate my blogiversary with the Cafe au Lait Choc Cake and an Award

So I have made it, my 2nd year of blogging.  For the past few months, I have been trying to seek for other interests besides blogging.  But I find that blogging has become a part of my life, it is such an easy way to share recipes with my family and friends, and meeting like-minded people.  It is your comments that keep me going, it is your inspiring recipes that keep me logging I'm still here to share what I cooked in my kitchen, what I feed my family and what makes me happy.  I may not be able to read and comment your posts all the time but I do enjoy it when I have the chance.  If you want to connect with me at facebook, please click a like at my page here.

I baked this cake for my daughter's birthday as she loves everything french.  It is a lovely cake for celebration and only if I have some cachous (little silver balls) could make this cake even more beautiful!  I hope you like it!

I received this award from Andrea at Get Your Feast On just before my blogiversary.  Andrea has the interests in cooking and fashion and she has combined both of these elements in her blog.  I started blogging when I stayed home to recover from illness, so every blogiversary also mean another year of good health to me.  When I received my first award, I feel the satisfaction of the hard work I've done.  Therefore, I decide to give this award to any blogger(s) that has not received an award yet.  Simply grab it, pass it on and follow the rules below if possible and enjoy blogging delicious food!

The rules are: 
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link them back. 
  • Share a little bit about why you started blogging.
  • Copy and paste the award onto your blog. 
  • Nominate up to 10 other bloggers you think are addictive enough to deserve the award.

Thanks again for your friendship to accompany my journey of cooking!

Cafe au Lait Choc Cake

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup strong coffee (I use 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder mixed with 1 cup hot water)
2 1/4 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence

For the coffee cream:
300ml thickened cream
icing sugar
1-2 teaspoons instant coffee powder mixed with 1 tbsp hot water

For the chocolate leaves and decoration:
white chocolate
dark chocolate
rose leave
rose petal
a rose


  1. Beat butter with sugar until creamy and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and mix well. 
  2. Add coffee to the butter mixture. Stir in sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and vanilla essence.
  3. Pour mixture into a paper lined 23cm round tin and bake 25-30 minutes at 180c.
  4. Spilt cake into half, filled and decorate with coffee cream and chocolate leaves. Decorate the side of the cake with chocolate rose petals and topped the cake with a rose.
  5. For the coffee cream, whip the cream till thicken then add in few tablespoon of icing sugar.  Then mix well with the coffee mixture.
  6. For the chocolate leave and rose petal: melt chocolate in microwave at medium heat until smooth.  Use a paint brush to brush some chocolate onto the leaves or paint 1/2 of the rose petals.  Leave the chocolate to harden in the fridge if needed.  Then peel off the leaves and decorate as you wish. Don't need to peel for the rose petals.

Source: adopted and modified from the cookbook, "Great Cake" published by the Country Living.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mini Cheesecake Topped with Homemade Pineapple & Passionfruit Jam

I have been blogging for nearly 2 years but I have never had a post for cheesecake.  In an actual fact, I love cheesecake but nobody like it in my household.  Every time when I walk pass the cakes shop and my eyes will be loading onto the cheesecake.  I have this block of cream cheese in the fridge for so long (not expired yet) and it has been calling me to make into cheesecake every time when the fridge door is opened.  I decide to make into several small one so that I can give them away and I could still have some for myself, therefore I won't be too guilty eating the whole lot.

This post come with the pineapple and passionfruit jam recipe I mentioned from the previous post.  For the bread machine method to make strawberry jam to make the jam drop cookies, please click here.  If you ever wonder what's the different between preserves, jams and jellies, preserves resemble jams but have larger chunks of fruit while jams are mashed fruit cooked with sugar until thick.  Jellies are very firm, translucent spread made of fruit juice boiled with sugar.

Mini Cheesecake Topped with Homemade Jam
(make 8)

1 packet of Nice biscuits (or digestive biscuits)
100g margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the filling:
250g low-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs, beaten

For the topping:
Pineapple & Passionfruit Jam or Jam of your choice
300ml Thickened Cream, whipped with a tablespoon of icing sugar


  1. Process biscuits into fine crumbs through the processor.  Place crumbs into a bowl, add in melted margarine and cinnamon.  Mix well. 
  2. Spoon and press the crumbs into 8 x 12cm tart cases. Fill the side with crumbs as well.  There could be some leftover crumbs. Keep the base chill in the fridge while making the filling.
  3. Beat cream cheese and sugar until soft and creamy,  then add in eggs, lemon juice and essence.  Stir though till smooth.
  4. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150c for 20 minutes or until the filling is cooked.  Leave the door ajar and cool the cheesecake in the oven for 10 minutes.  
  5. Leave the cake cooled at room temperature.  Then spread a layer of whipped cream over the top and pipe some cream around the edge.  Spoon in some jam in the middle of the cake.  Keep the cheesecake into the fridge. 

Pineapple and Passionfruit Jam (Bread Machine Method)
( make about 700g)

460g net fresh pineapple flush, chopped into pieces
40g net passionfruit pulp (about 3 passionfruit)
1 2/3 cups of caster sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons Jam Setta


  1. Use the pulse action, coarsely process the pineapple. Don't over-process as the jam will be too smooth.
  2. Add the pineapple and passionfruit into the bread machine followed by sugar and the Jam Setta.  Select the "button" and start the cycle. 
  3. Meanwhile, clean the bottle with soapy water.  Switch on the oven at 120c and tip the bottle upside down into the oven rack.  Sterile the bottle in the oven for 10 minutes or until the moist is evaporated.
  4. Pour jam into the bottle, moisten one side of preserver covers (clear plastic) with vinegar and place over the damp side up over bottle while jam is still hot.  Cover with the lid and plastic band. If possible, keep in fridge to keep the jam fresh.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Almond Jam Drops with Homemade Strawberry Jam

So it is time to make some jam as the market is filled with delicious and sweet strawberries.  My mother-in-law is visiting us later this year and she has ordered two bottles of jam already.  Jam is a good gift as it always taste better than the commercial one, and it's made with your heart but doesn't cost you heaps! I  have made a bottle of strawberry and another one with pineapple and passionfruit from my bread machine.  The passionfruit tree in our yard grow like grapes and I think I have collected more than fifty passionfruit so far.  That's another good reason to make jam with seasoned fruit so you can enjoy them a bit longer.  I will post the recipes of those jam in my next post.

I'd say I have a collection of quite a few yummy cookies recipes but I don't get a good one from jam drops.  Such a simple cookie but I always have problem with the recipe that the cookies are either too hard or too sloppy and most of the time the jam goes all over the cookies.  Here is my new found from Tana Ramsay's cookbook!  It is the best I have so far, it's chewy, rich in butter taste and the jam sits in the middle of the cookie liked a jewel.

Almond Jam Drops
(make about 35)

185g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla essence
165g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
60g almond meals
1/2 tsp baking powder
strawberry jam


  1. Pre heat oven to 180c.  Line 2 baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Beat butter, vanilla and sugar until creamy and fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolks.  Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder, then almond meals.  Mix until all combined.
  3. Take a tablespoon of the dough and roll dough into a ball. Place onto baking tray and make a 1cm deep hollow with the end of a chopstick.
  4. Fill the cookies with jam and bake for 15-20 minutes until the cookies turn slightly brown.  Cool biscuits on a wire rack.
Source: Modified and adopted from the cookbook, "I Love to Bake" by Tana Ramsay. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Banana Cereal Milk

Every time when we finish a package of weet-bix, I always wonder what can I do with the crumb bits.  It is a waste to throw it to the bin but that's what I have been doing!  There are some recipes of healthy slices using weet-bix but I haven't tried that yet.  I have seen a video on You Tube making cereal milk and so the idea comes!  By chopping some banana, throwing in the weet-bix with some milk and honey, a healthy breakfast is done in a minute.  It has fruit, fibre and calcium all in one.  If you're not a big breakfast eater liked me, that is just nice for a quick fix.

Banana Cereal Milk
(1 tall glass)

1 banana, peel and roughly chop into chuck
1 cup milk
1 weet-bix or 1/3 cup weet-bit crumb
1 tbsp honey

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth, pour into a glass and enjoy!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thai Style Pumpkin Soup

There is no other time I would eat pumpkin so often except in winter!  I bake it with vegetable in roast, putting it as topping for pizza or as a filling for tart...and my favourite is pumpkin soup!  There are many recipes for different pumpkin soup putting in bacon, curry or turmeric powder, adding sweet potato etc.  And this Thai Style is my new favourite.  I had this recipe last year from a magazine and finally got the chance to make it.  The coconut milk makes such a difference and I love the spice from the curry paste.  The original recipe require blending pesto with coriander roots, lemon zest and juice but I have omitted this process by adding coriander powder instead.  That's the way to do it when you don't want to get out to the garden on a cold night to pick up the coriander root!

Thai Style Pumpkin Soup
(serve 2-4)

1 cereal bowl of cut pumpkin
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp Thai red curry paste (put less if you don't want it too spicy)
1 cup water
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
coriander to garnish


  1. Heat a little oil in the saucepan, saute onion and stir for a minute.  Add ginger, coriander powder and curry paste, stir through.  
  2. Add in pumpkin and water, reduce heat and let it simmer till pumpkin is cooked.  Cool slightly.
  3. Blend the pumpkin mixture till smooth in a blender.  Return to pan and add coconut milk and lemon juice then warm through.  Seasoned with salt and garnish with coriander leaves.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Food for the Gods

My son has been learning Ancient Egypt at school.  They have an archaeological dig at the school ground digging up some old cup and saucers, broken metal and materials that are buried by the teachers.  Then they visit the museum looking at the mummy and some Egyptian artefact followed by writing reports on what they find and what the life's liked during the ancient period.  That is a fun way to learn about history rather than reading and try to remember the fact like what I used to.  As they had been learning Ancient Greek and Roman before and I didn't know much about ancient history except the Chinese's.  So I borrow some books from the library on ancient history about the Egyptian, the Greeks, the Romans and the Vikings.  I am just amazed how the ancient time influences what we are today particularly in heath and medicine, and in art and architecture.  As the world is becoming globalized and you just wonder where things actually originally come from.  There is never too old to learn new things. (even history is old thing)

I went to the biggest morning tea, a fundraising for the caner council yesterday and I baked this cake to share with the ladies.  A lady came to me and ask for the recipe straight away.  I couldn't find out the meaning for the name of this cake and I assume that there are many Gods an Goddess in the ancient time and sugar is very precious.  The Egyptian uses grape and date to make wine and I just assume that they also use date and honey to make cake to pray for their Gods.  Or I think the cake just taste liked heaven to me!

I got the recipe from ping's picking and I have slightly changed some of the ingredient.  Please check out Ping's blog as she has many amazing recipes to offer.

Food for the Gods (Date & Walnuts Slice)

1 1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
225g butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup walnut, chopped
1 cup pitted dates, chopped


  1. Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add in eggs one at a time and mix well.
  2. Add sifted flour, baking powder, soda, salt, golden syrup, honey, vanilla, nuts and dates to the mixture and mix well.
  3. Pour mixture into a paper lined lamington pan and bake for 20 min at 170c.
  4. Cool cake in pan and cut into slices.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Winter finally arrived! My kids love tin soup as it is very convenience to heat up some soup for a quick meal.  It is actually not that hard to make homemade soup such as pumpkin soup and pea and ham soup as you can make a big pot and freeze the leftover for later for those who have a busy life.  Broccoli is my kids favourite vegetable and it has lots of nutrient from the little trees.  This soup is great for all ages from toddlers to growing kids and elder people.  And if you brought too much broccoli and the florets starts to turn yellow, this is best ideas to use up the vegetable into soup!  I also learned from a Low GI cookbook that baby potatoes are low GI and I have been using baby washed baby potatoes for my cooking ever since.

Cream of Broccoli Soup
(serve 2-4)

1 small broccoli
3-4 small washed baby potatoes
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon of grated cheese
1 tablespoon evaporated milk
1/2 cup or more milk
salt and pepper


  1. Peel potatoes and cut into small pieces.  Cover with 1 cup water with a little salt and boil until potatoes are cooked.
  2. Cut the florets from the broccoli, put the broccoli and onion with the potatoes when the potatoes started to soften and cook till both vegetable are well cooked.  Reserve 1/2 of the water and blend the vegetable into the blender till thick and smooth.
  3. Return the vegetable mixture into the pan, add the onion, 1/2 cup milk and the remaining reserved water to thinning the soup.  Add a bit more of milk and water if needed.
  4. Let the soup simmer for a few minutes, add the cheese and evaporated milk to enhance the flavour and seasoned with salt and pepper. Garnish with chives if you wish.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Carrot and Orange Cupcakes

This is another good recipe I get from the cookbook, "Easy baking" by the Australian Women's Weekly.  I have never thought of orange and carrot could combine so well.  I added some sultanas to add some nature sweetness for the cake.  I have been making these cupcakes for the school tuckshop and fundraising and received very good feedback from them.  Everyone loves the little sugared carrot on top.  When you cook for other people, there is always a concern of allergies and these cupcakes are good for those people allergy to nuts as it's nut free.

Carrot and Orange Cupcakes
(make 12)

2/3 cup sunflower oil
3/4 cup brown sugar (I put in a little less by adding some sultanas)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon orange rind
1 1/2 cups grated carrot
1/4 cup sultanas
1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Orange icing:
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
15g butter, melted
orange juice

For the sugared carrot:
Ready made and ready roll white icing
yellow and pink colouring for the carrot
green colouring for the leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 180c.  Line 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Beat oil, sugar, eggs and rind in a bowl with electric mixer until thick and creamy, stir in carrot and sultanas.  Then sift in dry ingredients.
  3. Divide mixture into paper cases and bake for about 30 minutes.  Cool cake onto wire rack before icing.
  4. Sift icing sugar in a bowl, stir in melted butter and add enough orange juice to form a spreadable paste.  Spread cake with icing.
  5. For the sugared carrot: add the yellow and pink icing onto a small ball of the ready roll white icing, rub and knead until you get the desired orange colour.  Then roll into carrot shape and using a knife to make some pattern onto the carrot.  Add green colouring to a small ball of icing, then make the leaves shape and use the knife to make pattern for the leaves. Only adding a few drops of colouring at a time to get the right colour.
Source: adopted and modified from the cookbook, "Easy baking" by the Australian Women's Weekly.