Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Banana cake to share with my neighbour

This banana cake is so moist and you must use four cavendish bananas and not less for the recipe.  I've used two bananas or added chopped walnuts and it got too dry or too lumpy to eat.  The best is to add a few walnuts on top and keep it as simple as it is.  Nice to go along with a cuppa and it really remind me of the banana cake we had in Hong Kong.

I took this freshly baked cake to visit my neighbour for morning tea.  He was diagnosed with a very rare cancer and undergoing chemo. His taste buds were gone but he could taste the bananas of this cake.  I'm so pleased that he enjoyed my baking. It's only a little thing I could do to cheer him and his wife up. His wife had just recovered from cancer a few years ago and they decided to retire and enjoyed life a bit more. Unfortunately, bad luck has come along for them! Let's hope thing will get better for them after the treatments and God bless for them.

Simple Banana Cake

4 ripes bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4-1/2 cup milk
a pinch of salt
3 walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven at 175c. Sift plain flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.
  2. Combine butter, egg, sugar and vanilla in another bowl, add the mashed banana, milk, salt, then add the flour mixture.  Stir till well combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into a paper lined loaf tin. Top cake with three walnuts.  Bake for 45 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean after inserting into the cake.
Source: banana cake from Christine's Recipes

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Perfect Poached Eggs

On the Sunday Market, there usually a stall run by the local community group selling sausage in bread or bacon & egg burger for fundraising.  Egg is a cheap food with lots of nutrient.  We love a big breakfast which consists of egg, bacon, sausage, toasted bread with tomato and mushroom for brunch or lunch on a lazy Sunday.

I have to thank Julie Goodwin for her advice in her cookbook, Our family table on how to make perfect poached eggs as I have given up making poached eggs so long ago.  I think it's such a fuss playing with something so soft with hot water. She has a simple way to do to make a smooth egg with running yolk and if I'm not beware of my cholesterol, I could eat more than one egg! Opps!

Julie also mentioned that there are so many names for poached egg breakfast such as eggs Benedict is served with ham and English muffin in hollandaise sauce, eggs Royale is served with smoked salmon and eggs Florentine is served with spinach.  I prefer my poached eggs with bacon with low fat honey mustard sauce on toasted turkish bread. What about you?

Perfect Poached Eggs

  1. Pour water into a large non-stick deep pan till it is about 4cm of water (that would be enough to cover the egg), bring to the boil then lower the heat so the water is barely simmering. 
  2. Crack one egg gently on the side of the pan and carefully lower it into the water with a spatula.  Then leave the egg by itself as the egg will gather the bilk of its white to itself and don't worry about the stringy floaty bits.
  3. Crack another egg and do the same. Julie suggests you can cook 4 eggs at a time but I only do one or two at a time. You need to strain the water or replaced with fresh one after few batches.
  4. After 3 minutes or when the egg whites looks cook through, lift the egg out with a slotted spoon  and drain the excess water.  Slide them straight onto the serving plate.   

Friday, February 8, 2013

Last Minutes Almond Cookies for Chinese New Year (賀年杏仁餅)

Happy Chinese New Year!  If you are still busy preparing dinner for today but still want to make some homemade cookies to celebrate CNY, this is an easy recipe that don't need any cookies cutter, roasting and grounding nuts or jam making.  And I can tell you these last minutes cookies taste better than the one that needs lots of effort to prepare!


Chinese Almond Cookies (杏仁酥餅)
(make about 45)

120g almond meal
180g plain flour
60g caster sugar
60g icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup canola oil
beaten egg for brushing
almond flakes (optional)


  1. Preheat oven at 180c. Lined baking trays with baking paper. 
  2. Sift the flour, icing sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the mixing bowl, add the almond meal, sugar and salt. Combine all the dry ingredients and make a well in the middle.  Gradually add oil to form a moist dough, add a little oil about 1 tablespoon at a time if needed until you shape into balls. 
  3. Roll cookies dough into small balls and press slightly with the back of a fork. Brush with egg and topped with almond flakes, then brush with more egg over.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Note: The original recipe uses 120g caster sugar, it works well as well if you don't want to use two different types of sugar.

Source: adopted and modified from The Kitchen 70's

Friday, February 1, 2013

Salted Caramel Fudge

 With Chinese New Year around the corner (Feb 10), people that celebrate this biggest festival would be busy cleaning their houses for visitors, prepare delicious food for family and friends or planning a special trip for a holiday.  To try to keep the Chinese tradition, I would prepare a candy tray at home for the visitors and make some cookies as gifts.  Then there would be a special dinner on the New Year's Eve.  Kids are looking forward to receive the red pockets filled with money given from the seniors.  Chinese candy are dried and preserved fruit & nuts such as sweeten coconut, lotus seeds, pineapple and winter melon.  My westernised candy tray usually filled with kids favourite from the lollies and chocolate in the supermarket.

Since I like fudge but never make it before, I think this would be something nice to put into my candy tray or wrap up as a gift.  My husband takes them to work and people already giving it a thumb up!  If you love something sweet, especially salted caramel, you'd love this recipe!  You can omit the salt to make it as plain caramel instead.

Salted Caramel Fudge

I can condensed milk
1 cup less 2 tablespoons brown sugar
125g butter
2 tablespoons glucose syrup

(put later)
100g white chocolate bits
1/3 teaspoon rock salt

Put all ingredients except the chocolate and salt in a microwave safe bowl.  Cook on high for 6 minutes,  stir, then cook again for 2 more minutes till thick and golden.  Remove from heat then add the white chocolate.  Stir till all the chocolate is melted.  Pour into a square pan and stand for 1 minute before sprinkle with rock salt.  Set aside till set and cut with a warm knife.