Friday, April 25, 2008

Pork Chop

Here's a quick dinner idea! Pork chop that's pre-marinated during the weekends and chucked onto a grill/pan fried on a weekday. I normally have this with packed salads that requires no washing or cutting, but since mum was here to help with the preparatory work, we had stir-fried cabbage with carrots as our sides. Carb was omitted since everyone's been complaining that they're packing on weight!
Here's what i marinated my chops with(about 6 pieces):
-Sesame oil enough to coat ever piece of chop
-Salt rubbed onto every piece
-A big dash of Chinese cooking wine
-Ginger juice - about 2-3 tbsp
-Some cracked black pepper
I normally don't make sauces to go with my chops but my dad is strictly on to sauces when it comes to meat, so i made a quickie sauce with an onion, flour, chicken granules, sugar and soy sauce. Just heat up some oil and add in the onions and fry for 2-3 minutes before adding in plain flour, just enough to lightly coat all the onions, give it a good toss before adding in water. Leave it to simmer and add in the chicken granules to taste. Sugar gives a little balance to the savouriness of the dish, but i usually go sparingly like 2 tsp and a dash of soy sauce. Soy sauce is more for the color here though :)

Hokkien fried noddles

Aside from achieving a near black color and having lard in my noodles, this is as authentic as I could get towards this Malaysian fare of ours. I thought it tasted really authentic and it was a great quick and easy meal to have.
Here's what you need:-
A packet of yellow noodles
Some 'choy sum'
Pork slices - marinated with soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, oyster sauce and some corn starch
Pork liver

For the sauce:
Sufficient dark soy sauce to achieve the desired color that you want for your noodles
Chicken granules/chicken stock -to taste
A dose of sugar
A dash of light soy sauce
A dash of sesame oil
Some chinese cooking wine-nothing more than 2-3 tbsp

Heat up some oil and fragrant some chopped garlic till it turns brown and then add water/chicken stock to the wok (if you use water, then add in chicken granules). Once it comes to a simmer, add in the noodles and let it cook till its soft to your liking, when almost done, add in the pork & veges, leave it to simmer for about 3minutes before adding in the liver and lastly the prawns. Once prawns been added, don't cook for more than 3 minutes otherwise the liver and prawns will be overcooked. Serve HOT and best with Sambal! Yummmmm

Cotton Spongecake

The baking bug bit me again, so i had to make something! I chance upon Baking mum's blog and was thrilled to find this recipe. I've never baked a sponge cake before but i've always loved good sponge cake, so I decided to try it out. It turned out FAB!!! Best texture i've ever had from a sponge cake, was so so cottony soft it feels dreamy when you eat it.

Just to share my experience on this cake, the cake comes out from the oven looking absolutely fabulous but sinks a little once it cools down, here's a picture for comparison. Had some cream in the fridge which is about to expire so i had it whipped up with some frozen raspberries and sugar to sandwiched my cake. I covered the whole cake with cream in a rustic manner (no effort home food for me)

The downside to creaming this cake is the cream gets too heavy for the cake once its cut and it wouldn't keep especially if you had frozen fruits in it cause it tends to get watery. Best consumed within the day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Beef Stew/Casserole

This is a totally wholesome meal with all the nutrients and flavor, best thing is its suitable and great for babies.
800gm of diced beef
2 big onions
3 large potatoes
3 carrots
1 brocolli
1 can of tomato sauce/puree
2 tbsp of plain flour
Water to stew
Oregano to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Chicken granules to taste
Heat oil in the wok and saute the diced beef for a minute or two before adding in the flour. Make sure the beef has been well coated before adding in the onions, carrots, potatoes, brocolli, give it a good toss and then add in the can of tomato puree. Add water sufficient to cover all ingredients and cover the wok and leave to stew till tender. Normally takes anything within 30-40 minutes. If you desire your veges to be less mushy, then reduce cooking time and vice versa. Add the seasonings half way through cooking and adjust to taste when the dish is almost ready. This can be made the casserole way, simply put the sauteed beef and all the other ingredients including the seasoning into a large casserole, sufficient water to cover all ingredients as well and put into a 180C oven to bake for 1-1.5 hour.Love this on its own or served with rice/bread/pasta even.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Taking her first steps

Little Alyssa's got a new obsession lately, ie standing up and waiting for an ovation from her audiences! She's just a few steps shy from being declared that she can walk, today's the first time she took 1.5 steps unaided, BRAVO!!! Silly parents tsk tsk tsk...if you haven't got a bub yet, you probably wouldn't understand yet hehe...look at her trying to balance herself up, soooo cute. Sorry this is a proud mum's self indulgence hehe...She's very active for a girl, maybe cause she's been playing with too many boys at day care, funny that her age group has a majority of boys. I'm quite excited about her being able to walk on her own but on the other hand, she'll be even more demanding on our time where we'd have to watch her every second then. That would mean no more cooking once my parents have gone home :(

Nasi Lemak

I think Malaysians can never stay away from Nasi Lemak for too long, and so i decided to once again indulge!

Here's a picture for the Sambal, for the recipe click here don't know how to just show the title and not the whole link, if anyone has any idea, please share. Scary isn't it seeing the amount of oil bubbling away.
Here's my mum's Beef rendang, recipe to come soon. Better learn up on my mum's good eats before she goes home to KL.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


There are days when you just totally run out of ideas on what to cook for dinner, fret not there's always takeaways! Last night was one of those nights, sent me hubby out to get some sushi for dinner from St.Pierre's here at Botany Town Centre. Being asian and into raw stuff (to a certain extent) salmon has got to be my favourite sushi of all times. The rest of the chicken teriyaki sushi and BEEF was a little too dry. To be fair, it was hours and hours since they made the sushi so can't penalise them on that.
This dinner put me off sushi for at least 2 day i think (at most). Sushi is just one of my favourite healthy food yummmm....

Rich Dark Chocolate Cake

185g unsalted butter
250gm dark chocolate bits
1 3/4 cups (220gm) self-raising flour
1/3cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1cup water = 250ml

Buttercream icing (this recipe is from Wilton)
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar aka icing sugar
2 tbsp milk

Method for cake:
Heat oven to 160C, lightly grease a 9inch springform tin and line with baking paper
Melt butter and chocolate bits in a double broiler or in a microwave for the easy way out :) (be very careful not to overheat it though)
Sift flour and cocoa powder. Combine the chocolate mixture, sugar and eggs, then add 1 cup of water and mix well and add into the flour and cocoa powder mixture. Mix until well combined and pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 1hour 30minutes, this varies oven to oven, so keep a close eye on your bake. Test with a skewer. Tip: Must not overbake and overmix this cake otherwise it'll crack. Very light mixing will do but do ensure its well mixed otherwise the cake will have crumbs of flour.

Method for buttercream:
Cream butter and shortening till light and add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a times, beating well on medium speed. The icing will appear dry once all sugar have been added, add the milk and beat till light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
Add any colors to your buttercream according to the pattern that you'd like to do.
Tip: Buttercream icing will harden after a while and this makes it difficult to pipe out, all you'd need to do is put it back into the mixer for a quick whip.

Alternative chocolate frosting if you're not in the mood for cake decorating:-
20gm unsalted butter
125gm dark chocolate (you could use those for eating)
Melt the above in a heat proof bowl sitting over a saucepan of simmering water making sure the base does not touch the water. Spread over the cooled cakes in a swirl pattern.

The teddy bear cake was made with the Wilton cake pan, you'd need 1.5 portions of this recipe for that cake pan.

Verdict: This cake is quite yummy but it could be quite crumbly. If you're into very fine textured cake, this will not be one for you.

Malaysian Curry Laksa in 1-2-3

Curry Laksa quick you say? YES quick Curry Laksa here for this busy mom who again have no maids at my expense :( Sorry for being so whinny about this maids issues, but this is one of my very big sore here in NZ! Why won't the government here allow maids to come? Even Canada allows it. The typical Kiwi answer to this question is 'Oh its just not our way of life' Bahhhh i detest! Sorry spoilt child here hehe...

Anyway coming back to Curry Laksa, I've been craving this for a long time here and have never had the guts to make it in fear of all the extensive stock making that would be needed for the soup to be nice. Weather here has been pathetic over the last few days, its been raining non-stop for 3 days and that just made me crave for something rich and spicy and gives you the satisfaction at the first bite! Nothing better than curry laksa i say.

So i decided that's what we shall have for dinner at 12pm while at office, so called mum (who's here with dad for a 3 months visit at the mo) to get some hard boiled eggs ready and cut up some onions and ginger.

Rushed home after work and pre-warned my parents who can be pretty fussy with their eats that its going to be a quickie Curry Laksa, so don't get your hopes up high.

Here goes:
-3 big onions
-3 inch of ginger
-3 tbsp of dried shrimps
-1 heaping tbsp of shrimp paste aka belacan
-4 HUGE fresh red chilli's-can substitute with dried ones and even chili powder

Blend the above till it become paste.

-2 stalks of lemon grass bashed
-1.5tbsp of chicken granules
-3tbsp of fish curry powder-Baba's brand the best
-4 litres of water-you can add more or less up to you
-1 can of coconut cream - for lucky people who gets fresh coconut cream, I'd say cream from 1 coconut or more if you desire a very rich soup
-salt & msg to taste

-Balanced noodles/meehoon/mix-personally fresh egg noodles are the best with Laksa
-Blanch beansprouts
-Shreded chicken meat, can cook this in the soup together-I used leftover KFC, it was gooooooddd...
-Hard boiled eggs
-Fish cakes

Saute the paste in a wok/pan with some oil, ooh and chuck in 2 stalks of bashed lemon grass and the curry powder. If you're trying to keep guilt to the lowest level, go sparingly with the oil otherwise the more oil the richer the soup will be. Saute it till it becomes very fragrant and you'd know this when the color turns really dark. Then add in water and chicken granules and leave it to boil for 20 minutes before adding in the coconut cream. Add seasoning to taste. Assemble your bowl of noodles and top up with the soup. I swear it was really nice, i mean the next best thing besides getting it back in Malaysia from a reputable hawker :) Got my parents approval too *wink* I was too hungry and eager to dive in to my noodles hence forgot to snap a pic or 2, darn.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Betty Crocker's Chocolate fudge cupcakes

I've never been one who's much into baking till my baby Alyssa's birthday crept near. Not that i know nothing about baking or have not baked before, i just don't invest much time into perfecting anything. My mum was a home science girl back in school days, so naturally i'd have picked up a few tips here and there along the way.

After having baked a few cakes for Alyssa, its gotten me totally hooked on cakes/cupcakes and everything chocolatey and sweet. But i got to tell ya, I'm shamelessly lazy what with a baby and no maid in NZ! So while i was picking up some groceries the other day, i wandered into the baking aisle and picked up a box of ready mix. Never heard anyone complained about it before so i decided to give it a go. Besides i had to justify my investment into my Kenwood cake mixer, its a life saver and an absolute pleasure to possess.
Look what turned out, I overfilled the baking cups cause i was errr lazeh to wait for this batch to finish baking and put in another batch, i've only got this 1 muffin pan :~ despite my greedy overfilling of the cups, there was still some left. Feeling rather smug, i filled it into the baking cups and just placed it in the open, i'm sure the picture would have proven that it doesn't work, so don't go about being any smarter than what i did.
But those aren't important, what's important is if it tasted decent. Tasted totally artificial, can't explain the taste. The packet also came with ready mixed chocolate frosting as well, so i thought might be decent once its frosted, but the frosting tasted just as artificial!

I had some cupcakes that thankfully didn't make the ready frosting simply cause there wasn't enough. In order not to waste food, i had to think of some remedy to make it edible, aha i have some Nestle chocolate melts and whip cream in the fridge! Placed some melts into the microwave for 30 sec and added in some cream so that the melts wouldn't harden immediately. Iced it and ate it immediately and it was heavenly! If you ask me if i would buy this again, i have to say NO not only to this but to all ready-mixes. Somethings are just not worth being lazy over sigh...Lesson learnt.

Monday, April 14, 2008


This is one of my hubby's favourite thang to have in the fridge, he eats it in all kinds of fashion that he could think off, weather its with his instant noodles, plain rice, cracker, toast you name it he would devour it! I only make this occasionally cause the amount of oil needed for it to be nice is insane! You could do it a little more healthily by minimising the oil, but my mantra here is 'its all or nothing'.

Shrimp paste or belacan is the essential ingredient here, I've never ever cooked any dishes with belacan when i was in Malaysia, there's just simply no need too, but when i came over to NZ, i realised a lot of our favourite Malaysian fares uses it and i stumbled upon this particular brand (Trachang Brand) here that is just ooohhhhhhh so goood...mum says its not available in Malaysia though. I guess other brands will just be as nice though, just got to play around with the amount to use.

-3 giant onions (that's what i get here in the land of the giants)
-1 small handful of dried anchovies aka ikan bilis
-3 tbsp of dried shrimps
-3 tbsp of shrimp paste
-4 tbsp of sugar - lessen if you don't desire your sambal to be sweet
-2 tbsp of chilli powder-phhphhh 2 tbsp are for babies, go for 4? It'll open up your sweat glands
-salt to taste (no salt needed with my belancan here)
-OIL-should cover all ingredients in the wok by at least a centimetre

Place everything into the blender and chop it finely, then heat oil in the wok and saute everything till soft and well mixed. Add seasonings to taste.

p/s: the way everyone likes their sambal is very different, so adjust the amount of belacan,sugar, chilli powder and salt to your liking.

Tip: Do not overfry the belacan as the color will become very dark and unattractive. Also do not be tempted to add too much anchovies too as this will cause the belacan to be very chewy.

Quick Tom Yum Chicken

Found a jar of Tom Yum paste in my pantry and discovered that its about to expire next month! Since i had no idea what to cook my chicken with, it shall be Tom Yum chicken then, this is an untested recipe, just a spur of the moment kind off dish but it turned out pretty pretty good i think.

Here's the recipe:
-1kg Skinless chicken pieces-there will be too much oil in the dish if the skin weren't taken off
-2-3 heaping tbsp of tom yum paste depending on the saltyness of the brand
-few dashes of fish sauce for extra kick
-lime juice to taste-i use lime juice extract that comes in a bottle, absolutely love the convenience -4 birds eyes chilli-more or less up to your taste buds
-2 stalks of bashed lemon grass
-2 tbsp sugar
-add some kaffir lime leaves if you have but not essential since there's lime juice already

Just dump everything into the pan/wok and cook with low flame with lid on to get smooth and juicy texture on the chicken. No water needs to be added especially so if the chicken has been pre-frozen.

I like this with fried meehoon, next dish that i shall make with the paste to finish it off before it expires will probably be Tom Yum fried Meehoon :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

ABC Soup

This is one of favourite soup of my mum's that i could remember without any recipe. Just in case i'd forget as i age, here are the ingredients:-
Pork Bones/chicken carcass-its your liking..chicken carcass gives a clearer soup and pork bones is all about hearty-nesss...

Tomatoes-depending on the level of sourness you like with your soup, i usually go for about 4 mid sized for a big pot of soup
Potatoes-as many as you'd like
Whole pepper corns
Salt to taste
Variation:- have been told bay leaves makes a better soup, yet to try but i definately will when my pantry have some :)
Secret to great soup:- It needs to be boiled for a minimum of 3 hours, the longer the better. Don't be too greedy and add lots of water especially during cooking, i don't know my grandma says that supposedly causes lots of 'fung'/'angin'/wind as you'd call it in english. Medically proven? Old chinese myths? Holds any water? You be the judge!

Home made beef burger

Burgers is one of my love hate kinda meal, love it for the satisfaction on the first bite but hate the guilt that comes with it. Over the years, i've made quite a few burgers but none was more satisfying that this recipe:
500gm lean mince beef
2 tsp salt
2tbsp oregano
dash of pepper
4 heaping tbsp of soft bread crumbs
1 grated carrot
1 diced onion
2 tbsp of worschetire sauce
1 eggs to bind
Just mix everything together and let stand for maybe 20 minutes for the flavor to infuse, make it into patties and pan fry them in vegetable oil.
I always have an egg with its yolk oozing with my burger. If pretty raw egg is not your thing, cook it really well then. If the patty is not too big, it would be nice to wrap it inside an egg with some cheese *yummmmmmmmmm*
The rest of the ingredients for the assembly is totally up to individuals. here are some ideas:-
-gerkhins *not my thing*
-Caramelised onions (pan fry some onions and add some sugar till it goes all soft and brown)
-Chilli/Tomato sauce (being Malaysian, hey hey its chilli!)
-whatever you could think off!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Growing up

31 years ago, this is what my parents got suckered into hehe...

Meet my then annoying bro Andrew the Tyrant!

Alyssa's party- 5/4/2008

My little bub's 1! Can't believe how quickly the last one year has gone by, parenthood is really challenging but most importantly really rewarding yesssss..... The amount of love baby Alyssa's brought into our lives is unsurpassed and today we are going to celebrate just that 1 year of bliss that Alyssa's brought with her...

Cakes, I've made for Alyssa, little Teddy went to Alyssa's day care and the tiered cake was divulged by our friends and family at our party at home. They're both rich dark chocolate cake iced with buttercream, but the tiered cake had an extra layer of raspberries cream sandwiched and some fondant accents. I would like to note the fact that I've put 12 hours of hard labour into that tiered cake, longer than i had been in labour when i had Alyssa *sweat*

Nasi Lemak was the theme for the mains simply for its simplicity in preparatory work since the mains could all be prepared way in advance and kept frozen. Had a healthy spread of desserts of Mango Pudding, Almond chocolate cookies, Strawberries dipped in chocolate, Tim Tam truffles (got the idea from Su Yin's blog), fruits and CAKE!

Look at that little face filled with total joy and excitement, all the hardwork and effort have been totally paid off by just that look on her little you lots bubba.

A big thanks to my mum for all the help and her wonderful beef rendang which has gathered rave reviews even from 'kwai lohs' hehe...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hokkien Mee recipe

Prawn mee has always been one of my favourite hawker fares, so naturally when i left Malaysia, i craved for it so badly i had to dream about it! (must be the hormones then, preggers craving). I immediately went online to search for prawn mee recipes and tried it out. That particular recipe did not turn out to be anything close to prawn mee but thank god i have my aunt Ivy's who's a great cook who rescued the soup and voila it turned out better than any prawn mee i've ever had in my entire life!

Here's my recipe for any brave souls out there:-


2-3 Chicken carcass
2 big pieces Pork bones
LOTS of prawn shells - prawn head is particularly good
3 big onions
1/2 tbsp belacan
5 tbsp chilli powder-depending on your ability to take hot stuff though
1 round palm sugar
2-3 tbsp chicken granules - adjust to taste
salt-to taste
msg (optional)
500 gm pork-rump/scotch
bean sprouts
hard boiled eggs
fried shallots

Put carcass and bones to boil
Saute ground onions with belacan and chilli powder, then add to soup
Saute prawn shells and add to soup
Leave to boil for at least 2.5-3 hours
Cook the pork rump in the soup till done and take it out to slice thinly for garnishing
Cook prawns with the soup-do not overcook, usually takes nothing more than 2-3minutes

Blanch noodles & meehoon with kangkung and bean sprouts
Add a hard boiled egg
Add cooked prawns
Add cooked pork rumps
Add fried shallots and finally the soup

Its difficult to list out portions of each ingredients accurately as it depends on the amount of soup that one's making as well as taste. What i list here is to make approximately 5 litres of soup.

Wished i've had some pictures to post for this 'darn'

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My baby gal's turning 1 this weekend

Over the last few weeks, i've been frantically planning for my baby Alyssa's first birthday party that's coming this Saturday. I so wanted it to be perfect for my little gem though she wouldn't know a thing nor remember it in time to come. But hey being blessed with technology nowdays, there's the camera for the pictures that would prove to her that we did throw her a little bash. I know a lot of people says the first few birthday parties are more for the parents than the child but i beg to differ.

When i was little, my parents have thrown my brother and me every birthday till we outgrew it ourselves when we turned teens. And now looking at all those pictures, it just made me feel really loved and cherished although yes i don't have any recollection of it other than what the pictures shows me. I guess what i'm trying to say is that i wish my daughter would someday in the future look back at all the memories we would have made for her and felt that she's been loved and cherished too.

I've baked and iced a few cakes by now can't say i'm really great at it but i'm trying :) hopefully she'll be proud of her mama for her efforts at the very least. The teddy bear cake was made with Wilton's novelty pan in case you're wondering how i achieved it opppsss there goes my little secret. I think little teddy looks a little naked here, will dress her up a little on the actual day. This cake will be made for her little party at her daycare centra 'Penguins' on Friday, i hope all the other bubba's and her teachers would like it, its a rich dark chocolate cake iced with buttercream. Will post some pictures of the finished cake soon.


I wonder what's gotten into me!!! Me starting a blog? As far as my life goes, i've never been one who's put my thoughts nor my everyday life into writting. When i was a little girl, i've was given loads of cute little diaries where i'ld go all ga-ga over for the first few days and it all goes downhill after. I reckon i've just got better things to do with my time than penning down my uninteresting day. Plus i'm an introvert, secretive and a highly personal kinda individual, i'd hate the fact that anyone including me parents and little busybody brother (he ain't little anymore) could potentially stumble upon my secret thoughts argghhhh no thanks, what's personal is best kept just in me harddrive brains. That was then :)

So what's gotten into me? Ummm.... maybe its the fact that i'm aging and the memory mechanism in me is failing me lots lately, maybe its cause i've gotten to a point in my life that i'd really like to remember as i go along and also i'd love to have a space to reminiscense my growing up years??? I really don't have just one concrete answer to my own question. This could be just a spur of the moment kind off thing? Who knows?

But while i do blog, i'd love to share my passion for food, adventure, travel and everything dear to me.