Monday, January 30, 2012

Double Deck Rounds

I made this rounds after Christmas last year by using the left-over from the Christmas feast.  My son doesn't like wholemeal bread but I can fool him with these rounds.  They are very simple and fast to put together which is great for entertainment without too much of a fuss.  I use tinned tuna and cheese for the fillings but there is no limits to your imagination with what you can put in!

Double Deck Rounds

wholemeal bread
tinned tuna
shallot, finely chopped
coconut and apricot cheese
tomato, cut in small wedges
Balsamic glaze, for plating


  1. Place the bread into the toaster.  Use cookie mound to cut the bread into rounds.  Lightly butter the  rounds.
  2. Add a little mayonnaise to the tuna and mix well.  Top it over a piece of round and then put another layer of round over it, then add more tuna over and garnish with some shallot.
  3. Put a piece of cheese on the rounds and topped another piece of round. Topped with a wedge of tomato.
  4. Squeeze some balsamic glaze over the plate in a desirable pattern, then arrange the rounds onto the plate.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Surely we have a lot to celebrate this week with CNY on Monday and Australia Day on Thursday!  The summer holiday is finished and the kids also go back to school this week so I'm back to my mode packing lunch, dropping off and picking up kids for school.  My son was watching a video in class about Australia.  When the teacher mentioned about lamingtons, he told him that it made him feeling hungry! (especially it was close to the end of school)  When he was little, I brought him some lamingtons from the supermarket.  He ate a few and told me that they tasted alcoholic and was NICE!  It was not out of date but definitely it was OFF!  Luckily he was not sick after that!  Since then, I only buy fresh lamingtons from the bakery.

It takes me a long time to find a good recipe for lamingtons although it is so popular here.  This recipe is taken from our local community cookbook with the recipe shared by the wife of our local councillor.  Many recipes for the icing uses cocoa powder but I prefer to use cooking chocolate to give a richer flavour.

Have a great day on the Australia Day!


125g margarine or butter, soften
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup milk

For the icing:
2 tsp margarine
200g dark cooking chocolate
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup milk
desiccated coconut (for coating)


  1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, then add in half sifted flour, salt and half milk.  Stir well and add in vanilla and remaining flour and milk.
  2. Spread into a lamingtion tin lined with baking paper and bake on 180c for 25-30 minutes.
  3. For the icing: melt margarine, chocolate and milk in a small saucepan.  When the chocolate is melted, stir in icing sugar to make a thin icing. 
  4. When the cake is cool, trim the edges and cut into rectangles.  Dip the cake into the icing and roll into the coconut. 


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy Year's of the Dragon!

Sesame Balls

Happy Chinese New Year to you all!  Wishing this year will bring along good fortune and many lucks to you!  For those living in Asia with a public holiday for CNY, have a safe holiday going home visiting family and enjoy a great feast!

I made the sesame balls last year.  This year I make four of my favourite sweet treats for the Chinese New Year.  There are plenty of gifts to my family and friends to celebrate the greatest festival of the year!

Peanut Cookies
Pineapple Tarts
Chinese New Year Cake

It's a delighted that Christine from Christine's recipe (簡易食譜) allow me to post some of her traditional cooking for the Chinese New Year.  She is a an inspiring and talented cook and her blog also featured many delicious Asian and Western cooking.

These are some of Christine's mouth-watering celebration food for the Chinese New Year you may wish to try.  I made the New Year cake from her recipe and I'm very please with the outcome .  Please click here for more recipes and click here for her English blog.

港式臘味蘿蔔糕 Chinese New Year Turnip Cake
港式臘味蘿蔔糕【賀年食譜】(Chinese White Radish Cake)

炆冬菇 Braised Shiitake Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce02
炆冬菇【爽稔兼備小秘訣】(Chinese Mushroom in Oyster Sauce)

蒜香茄汁蝦碌 Fried Prawns in Tomato Sauce
蒜香茄汁蝦碌 (Pan-fried Prawn with Garlic and Tomato Sauce)

椰汁鯉魚年糕 Coconut Glutinous Cake
椰汁鯉魚年糕 (New Year Fish Cake)


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sesame Balls with Lotus Seed Paste (蓮茸煎堆仔)

Apart from the steamed New Year cake, these sesame balls are the ultimate Chinese New Year's treat.  Traditionally, Chinese food is steamed or stir-fry rather than deep-fried.  However, Chinese housewives like to make deep fry treats for the New Year as the golden colour from deep fried food resemble "gold" and "fortune."  They especially like the round shape as round means "full" and "united" which is a lucky sign for the family.

Have you seen the tigers shuffling with the dragon?


There are 3 more days to go for the Chinese New Year.  You are welcome to celebrate the event by sending a picture of your Chinese New Year cooking (sweet or savoury) with/without a link to Then I will post all on 23rd January (Australian time). Blogger and non-blogger are both welcome.  Let's celebrate our biggest festival together!    

Sesame Balls with Lotus Seed Paste (蓮茸煎堆仔)
(make about 28)

150g glutinous rice flour
40g lotus seed paste
1/4 cup white sesame
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp sugar


  1. Boil water in a small saucepan and stir in sugar until it is totally dissolved.  Let it cool a bit.
  2. Add the syrup into the flour and knead into dough.
  3. Take half of the dough into a microwave safe bowl and cook the dough on medium heat for about 70 seconds or until the dough started to turn transparent.
  4. Knead the cooked dough with the remaining dough until well incorporated.  Divide dough into small pieces about 1 inch in diameter.
  5. Press flat the dough and warp it with lotus seed paste and roll into balls.  Dip in water and coat with white sesame.
  6. Heat oil in the frying pan, deep fry the sesame balls until golden and floating on the surface.  
Source: Adopted from the cookbook: Chinese Desserts 100 中式甜品 by Winnie 姐.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Which Pineapple Tarts Would You Like? (百變鳳梨酥)

It all started when my sister was living in Melbourne and she sent me a box of Taiwanese Pineapple cookies (鳳梨酥).  It was in cube shape wrapped with golden paper.  The pastry is buttery and the filling is moist and sweet.  I restricted myself to eat one a day until they were all gone.  I can never find any pineapple cookies as good as those from where I live.  Then when I got marry, my mother-in-law brought some homemade pineapple tarts to serve our guests for the wedding.  I was surprised that the taste of the pineapple tarts (黃梨撻) were very similar to the Taiwanese's.  Later I found out that both Taiwanese and Malaysian make them for the Chinese New Year.  For those Fujianese living there,  pineapple sounds similar to prosperity (旺利) so that it is widely use for decoration as well as for celebration food.

Over the years, I have been searching for the best recipe for those cookies and I have found many interesting cooking method. My mother-in-law would grate the pineapple and cooked it till dry and glossy and one of my friend taught me a short-cut way to put the pineapple into the juicer, take the blended fruit (not the juice) and cooked as above.  However, I still think that pineapple cookies or tarts are hard to make especially if you're using homemade jam.  If the jam is too wet or burnt, then they won't be good.  It's also hard to keep them fresh as days old one will lost its flavour and started to go soggy.  Therefore, freshly baked one is the best!  And the store brought jam is easier to handle if you want me to tell you the truth! These cookies are filled with store brought jam brought from my mother-in-law.  I couldn't decide which shape I'm going to make so I make all the shape I've known.  They are all made from the same dough, same jam only with different shapes but I love them all. Which one would you like?

I'm going to post some tradition sweet treat for the Chinese New Year.  You are welcome to celebrate the event by sending a picture of your Chinese New Year cooking (sweet or savoury) with/without a link to Then I will post all on 23rd January (Australian time). Blogger and non-blogger are both welcome.  Let's celebrate our biggest festival together!    

The pastry recipe is adopted from Forbidden Garden, please click here for her Chinese blog.

Pineapple Tarts (Cookies)
(make 44)

200g butter, soften
40g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
300g plain flour
25g custard flour
1/2 tsp salt
300g pineapple jam (I use store brought)


  1. Beat butter and sugar until pale, then add egg yolk and mix well.
  2. Then add flour, custard powder, salt and mix into a smooth dough.  Rest 20 minutes.
  3. Divide jam into balls about 10g each and divide dough into 15g each.  
  4. Flatten the dough into round and fill with jam.  Make into apple-shape with a clove on top, cube shape, pineapple shape or if you have the moulds, shape into flower and coil shape.  Brush with egg for the apple and pineapple shaped one before baking.
  5. Bake about 20 minutes at 180c or until golden brown.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chinese New Year Cake (賀年年糕)

Every Chinese household in Asia will have one of this New Year Cake to celebrate Chinese New Year. My Grandmother made them every year but I never get to know how to make it before she passed away.  She would place the cake at the altar to pray for our ancestor.  Then she would cut it into pieces and pan-fry with egg to serve as a sweet to serve our visitors during the New Year.  My husband's grandma told me once that I shouldn't make this cake if I don't know how as a failure in making it would cause bad luck for a whole year!

Since I have had 2 bad years already, I don't really care anymore bad year!  I just feel that if I haven't made one of this cake, I couldn't call myself Chinese!  So, it comes out perfect even though I don't have enough Chinese brown sugar.  The texture of this cake is sticky and chewy.  Lots of Chinese cakes are steamed and made from rice flour, glutinous rice flour or tapioca flour without butter which are less fat and gluten free.  I got this recipe from Christine's recipe and if you want a Chinese version please check her post here

Chinese New Year Cake

200g glutinous rice flour
70g wheat flour (Tang flour)
250g brown sugar in pieces (I didn't have enough so I added in some brown sugar and raw sugar)
1 cup water
80ml coconut cream
30ml vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten ( for pan frying cake)
dried red date and sunflower seeds for decoration


  1. Bring water to boil in a small saucepan, add in brown sugar and cook until sugar completely dissolved.  Stir occasionally.  Then add in oil and coconut cream.  Sir well and drain syrup through a fine sieve and let it cool.
  2. Sift glutinous rice and wheat flour together 2 times.  Make a well in the middle and pour cool syrup into the bowl and stir until it is well mix.  Drain the batter through a fine sieve again to make a smooth batter with no lumps.
  3. Grease a 18cm baking tin with oil.  Pour batter into the pan. cover it with glad wrap.  Steam with high heat for about 70 minutes.  Place a red date into the middle during half-time.  The cooked cake should be firm but has a sticky surface.
  4. Let cool and put into the fridge before cutting into pieces.  Dip the pieces of cake with egg and pan fry until both sides are golden brown.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Grandma's Peanut Cookie (花生餅)

After the 2012 New Year, I have another New Year to celebrate in 2 weeks.  The Year of Dragon for the Chinese New Year falls on the 23rd in January.  Although I have been living offshore for many years, we still keep our Chinese Tradition to celebrate the New Year such as having a good feast on New Year Eve, giving kids the red pockets (money pockets) and visiting and greeting our senior for good health and prosperity.  As my husband family comes from Malaysia, they celebrate a bit differently to the way I was brought up.  After all these years of learning his culture, I now celebrate the New Year with a combined culture.  These peanut cookies come from my husband's grandma that she used to make many New Year's treats and sold them at the shop. When my husband was a little kid, he used to help her a lot in the kitchen that made him now a chef.  These peanuts cookies are my favourite Chinese cookies.

For the next 2 weeks, I'm going to post some tradition sweet treat for the Chinese New Year.  You are welcome to celebrate the event by sending a picture of your Chinese New Year cooking (sweet or savoury) with/without a link to Then I will post all on 23rd January (Australian time). Blogger and non-blogger are both welcome.  Let's celebrate our biggest festival together!    

Grandma's Peanut Cookies
(make about 27)

100g raw peanuts, roasted and finely ground
100g plain flour
30g icing sugar
30g caster sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup peanut oil
1 egg yok, for brushing

  1. Preheat oven to 175c. Line baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Comine the peanuts, flour, icing sugar in a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre and slowly pour in the oil and mix in a sticky dough.
  3. Shape cookies into small ball shape, lightly flatten and place a halved raw peanut on top.  Brush with egg.
  4. Bake for about 8 minutes or until it's golden brown.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Purple Coleslaw

I like purple vegetable because of its colour and its health benefit.  We all suppose to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables with different colours everyday.  I am comfortable with some green, orange, red and yellow food such as Chinese vegetables, broccoli, green salad, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, corn, tomato and capsicum that we have all the time.  For the purple vegetable, I like to juice with purple carrot and beetroot, there are many ways to cook with eggplant and I work out the best way for purple cabbage is to make into coleslaw.  It really doesn't taste too much different than the other cabbage but it gives you a brighter colour of a dish!

Have you got any idea how to cook the purple or green cauliflower?
Purple Coleslaw

1/2 head of a small purple cabbage
1-2 apples
1 carrot
1/2 onion
low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons or more Japanese mayonnaise


  1. Shred the cabbage and soak it into some ice cold water to enhance crispiness.  Drain.
  2. Cut apple and carrot into fine strips and cut onion into fine small pieces.
  3. Mix all the cabbage, apple, carrot and onion in a large bowl, the add the low-fat mayonnaise and Japanese mayonnaise.  Toss through.  Add a bit more Japanese mayonnaise to enrich the creamy taste if needed. (I try to make it a low-fat salad, you can use normal mayonnaise if you wish.  Japanese mayonnaise is not low-fat so I only use a little)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Passionfruit & Lemon Curd Teacake with Blueberry Topping

I have been thinking what should I post for the 1st post in 2012.  I had this lemon curd cake sitting in my file for a long long time and it supposed to be my 1st post for the blog.  I had been ill when I acquired this recipe from the magazine at the doctor's office.  I never get to make this cake as I don't know what I should write about it and I want to have a blog that only contains happiness. The doctor told me that I needed surgery and another 12 months treatment.  So I went home and started blogging, as I knew cooking would help to turn my life back to normal, to help me find happiness.  "Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet but the fruit of the lemon is impossible to eat."  Somehow I could not forget this verse from the poetry I had learnt from school.  What to do when your life gets the lemon?  Life becomes sour and bitter and the future seems so uncertain.  When you are having such a great life, a terrible disease suddenly comes along and break nearly everything you have got.  In order to make life more enjoyable, I've learned to enjoy what I've got and achieve what I can do to make life worthy to live for.  The doctors save my life and I'm on my feet again. When thing has gone sour, simply think positive and that's like adding sugar and spice to your life.

So after 18 months, I am ready to make this cake, but I have changed the recipe adding in passionfruit to the curd and blueberries for topping as my life is not sour anymore! (or I won't let it be sour)  The taste of the curd is so subtle and the blueberries pop into your mouth, this is also the only cake that I want to add more cream to eat with.

This post is now featured at Sweets For a Saturday at Sweet as Sugar Cookies.


Passionfruit & Lemon Teacake with Blueberry Topping

1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 castor sugar
60g butter, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon rind
1 egg
3 tablespoon milk

Passionfruit & Lemon Curd for filling:
3 eggs, beaten
75g butter, melted
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup passionfruit pulp
3/4 cup sugar, or more to taste

(this recipe makes a small bottle of curd, store curd in a sterilized jar)

1 punnet blueberries
1 tablespoon maple syrup
icing sugar for dusting


  1. Crumble all the cake ingredients and press 1/2 of the mixture into the base of a 18cm small cake tin.
  2. Combine eggs and sugar in a large bowl sitting on a saucepan with boiling water, whisk until well combined, then add the butter.  Cook and stir for 20 minutes or until the mixture thicken and stick to the back of the ladle.  Pour the curd over the base and pour left over mixture into the jar for storage.
  3. Put the remaining 1/3 of the cake mix over the filling.  Bake at a preheated oven at 180C for about 20 minutes. 
  4. Wash the blueberries and drain.  Place it in a small saucepan and toss with the maple syrup.  Let it simmer for a few minutes before the berries is cooked and turn juicy.
  5. When the cake is cooled, topped with berries, dust with icing sugar and served with whipped cream.
Tip: To sterilize the bottle: wash the bottle, tip it upside down and place it in a 100c oven for a few minutes or until the water evaporated from the bottle.