"The only stumbling block is fear of failure.
In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." - Julia Child

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Sings heaven, I'm in heaven.... follows by a happy dance.... eats another slice, yet another, and another.

As I read this from Almost Bourdain - "it has to be the richest, moistest, butteriest and yet lightest orange cake in the world." - I am sold! The ingredients are all so basic and you probably have it sitting in your kitchen right now. If you do, go whip up this cake. You won't regret it.

I ate almost the whole entire cake! I got too carried away with the light texture and forgot that it contains more than a block of butter. So, be warned!

Recipe adapted from Almost Bourdain

Makes 1 x 22-cm cake, to serve about 8


250 g lightly salted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
250 g caster sugar (I reduce to 180 g)
4 medium eggs
1 1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
250 g self raising flour
85 ml freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)

For the icing: (I omit this)
125 g icing sugar
5 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice


1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line a 22-cm clip-sided round cake with non-stick baking paper.

2. Using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together for 4-5 minutes until very pale. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating very well between each one, if necessary adding a spoonful of flour with the last egg to prevent the mixture from curdling. Beat in the orange zest. Add the flour all at once and mix in well, then slowly mix in the orange juice.

3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer, inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean. If it starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with a sheet of lightly buttered foil.

4. Leave the cake, in its tin, to cool on a wire rack, then carefully remove the sides and base of the tin and peel off the paper. Put it onto a serving plate.

5. For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the orange juice until you have a spreadable consistency. Spread it over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides, and leave to set. Serve cut into slices, and store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Ah! Fond memories of eating siew pau (baked buns) from the bakery in Seremban (a town in Malaysia) which created the famous "Seremban Siew Pau". These paus are so delicious that you can't stop at one. Sadly, I can hardly find good siew pau in Singapore. I am deprived.

Thanks to the world of blogging that I managed to find a couple of good recipes and step-by-step guide to making the pastry. I have the knack of combining recipes and the result is very satisfying. I will definitely make this again.

I got too carried away and made these pretty round ones exposing the spiral-layering of the pastry. I got the inspiration from Corner Cafe.

Hmmm... why not try the parallel-layering too? Great tips from Corner Cafe.

Here are the recipes.

Pastry recipe adapted from Jo's Deli & Bakery

Water dough:
235g all purpose flour
80g cooking oil
35g sugar
7g golden syrup
120g water

Oil dough:
125g all purpose flour
75g shortening

Water dough:
1. Rub oil with flour until crumble.
2. Dissolve sugar and syrup in water and add to the above. knead dough until smooth and rest for 15 mins.
3. Divide dough into 20x23g pieces.

Oil dough:
1. Sift flour on the table and blend in shortening. Using the plams, rub in gradually to form a soft dough.
2. Divide water dough into 20x10g pieces.

Make up:
1. Wrap oil dough into water dough and pin it out into a thin rectangular sheet.
2. Roll the sheet down ino a swiss roll shape. Turn 90deg and repeat once.
3. Press dough with palm and roll out into a circular sheet.
4. place filling in the middle and pleat pastry upwards towards the centre.
5. Egg wash and bake at 190 degC for 20-25 minutes.
6. Egg wash again halfway through baking.

(I got a little bit of here and there, and honestly I don't know the links anymore. If you see anything familiar, please let me know the links. Tnx!)

1 cup char siew (BBQ meat - either pork or chicken) - cut into small cubes
1/2 cup frozen peas
2/3 cup onions - minced
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp tomato sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp chicken stock
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp Shaoxing wine
1 Tbsp oil

1. Heat oil and saute onion until slightly brown.
2. Add char siew and stir fry for about one minute.
3. Reduce heat to low, add wine and mix well.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook till thick and bubbly.
5. Remove and let cool.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I think we all have our favourite chocolate cake recipes (ahem, am referring to those who love to bake). I would like to share mine with you. The result of this cake is super moist and keeps well in the fridge and the best part of it all it requires no complicated techniques. A balloon whisk is all you need.

What makes this so magical? (excerpts from Chef Tallyrand, here)

1. The correct ingredients are easily and readily available

2. The techniques and methods used are very simple. There is no complicated whisking over bain maries, there is no doubling of volume through aeration . . . in fact this is a no fuss, no nonsense recipe

3. The final cake is soft and moist in texture, and that texture will hold for at least two weeks! Not that I can imagine anyone wanting to hold a cake for that long. But it does mean if you make up a batch for the family's lunch boxes etc you know its going to be there when you need it

4. The flavour is just so decadently chocolate and rich

5. The end result is all but guaranteed with no complicated techniques to master

Recipe adapted from here


300 gm castor sugar (I reduce to 160 gm)
175 gm flour - soft (hi-ratio)
50 gm cocoa powder - Dutched (I use Valrhona and reduce to 35 gm)
5 gm baking powder
5 gm baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs - small
100 ml olive oil
2 tsp vanilla essence
165 ml milk
165 ml water - boiling

1. Combine dry wet ingredients and sieve at least three times (to evenly distribute ingredients)

2. Combine all wet ingredients (omit the water)

3. Pour the wet onto the dry and combine together thoroughly using a balloon whisk

4. Add the boiling water and combine

5. Pour into a prepared cake tin (22cm round)

6. Bake at 160°C for 75 to 90 minutes approximately

Chef's Tip for making Chocolate Cake:

All cooking times are approximate only and variables will always have to be factored in. No two ovens are the same so the temperature will vary slightly form oven to oven.

Individual tube moulds will take approximately 25 - 35 minutes

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Pies is something that I hardly bake and yet love eating it but yet can't eat it often, simply because a good-rich pie is never a healthy option. However, baking your own pie from scratch is definitely healthier than the frozen ones, which gives me a good reason to indulge, ha!

What makes a good pie?

#1 The pastry. Soft and flaky with the clever addition of yogurt.

#2 The filling. Great short cut to a creamy yummy filling by adding a can of soup.

I may have found the best combination (yet).

adapted from Baking Mum

200 gm butter (I reduce to 180 gm)
250 gm plain flour
110 gm plain yoghurt (I reduce to 90 gm)
1 tsp sugar
1 egg yolk
A pinch of salt

1. Put all the ingredients into the mixing bowl except yoghurt, and mix to a crumble.

2. Add in yoghurt and mix to a dough.

3. Dough will be very soft so need to keep it refrigerated for at least 30 mins.

Chicken Filling
adapted from My Kitchen Snippets

2 cups of cooked chicken meat
2 carrots - cut into small cubes
2 stalk of celery - cut into small cubes
1 cup of green peas
1 potatoes - cut into cubes
1/2 onions - finely diced
1 cloves of garlic
1 can of low sodium cream of chicken or mushroom soup
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg - beaten

1. Heat up the pan and lightly brown the onion and garlic. Then add in the celery and carrots, saute for 2 minutes.

2. Add in cream of chicken or mushroom soup and add in about 2 cups of water. Mixed well and bring to boil and add in the potatoes. Continue to simmer until potatoes soften and add in the chicken and green peas.

3. Stir well, cook until sauce thickens. Check seasoning. Dish out and let it cool.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degree F. Prepare a pie dish. Roll out the pastry 1" larger than the pie dish.

5. Put in the filling and cover the top with another piece of roll out pastry and crimp the edges. Cut a few slits on top of the pastry for venting air.

6. Brush the top of the pastry with beaten egg and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.

7. Let it cool down for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I have wanted to make spiral curry puffs a year ago but kept putting it aside as I thought of the challenges ahead! I mean preparing the curry fillings ahead, then the two types of pastry, then the technique of rolling out the pastry, then the crimping edges of the pastry, then the deep frying - pretty challenging I'm telling ya!

But after this attempt, I am definitely doing it again. It is really not that difficult after all. I have so many recipes on hand, but finally decided on this one which is lip-smacking good.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Crave

Puff's Fillings Recipe:

150 g chicken breast - diced, marinate with some salt and curry powder
200 g potato - diced
20 g carrot - chopped
30 g tomato - diced
250 g shallots - minced
1 stalk lemon grass - crushed
5~6 piece curry leaves
2 tbsp spoon curry powder - mix with some water
sugar and salt to taste
some water
2~3tbsp thick coconut milk (I use low-fat evaporated milk)

Dough Recipe:

Water Dough:
350 g all purpose flour/plain flour
40 g margarine
180 ml hot water
1/3 tsp salt

Oil Dough:
120 g all purpose flour/plain flour
60 g margarine


Puff's Filling:
Heat the wok/pan with some oil, stir in the minced shallot and cook until it's fragrant.

Add in lemon grass, curry leaves and curry powder, stir for about 2 minutes.

Add in potato dices, carrot and tomato, stir and cook for another 5 minutes or until potato sightly tender.

Slowly add some water for better cooking.

Add the chicken and cook until they are done

Sugar and salt to taste.

Stir in coconut milk and cook for another minute or two.

Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the dough:

Water dough:
Melt the margarine, salt in the hot water.

Make a well in the middle of flour and pour in the margarine salt water

Mix well and knead to form a smooth dough. Let it rest for 15 minutes. If it is too dry to handle, rub your hands with some water to work on it.

Divide the dough to 8 portion.

Oil dough:
Rub margarine into flour until they mixed well, divide to 8 portion.

Wrapping the puffs:(for 2" diameter curry puff mold)
Wrap the oil dough with water dough.

Flatten it to a 4" X 6" piece sheet using the rolling pin.

Roll it up lengthwise like making swiss roll

Repeat the step #2 and # 3.

Cut the roll into 6 piece portions.

With the cutting edge facing down on your work surface, roll it to a "2.5~3" circle skin.

Place the skin on the mold, fill up with the curry filling, fold the mold and trim the extra skin.

Remember to keep the sealing edge clean and oil free, or your curry puff will "pecah"/breaks when we fry it.

Fry the curry puffs until it's golden brown.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


How do you eat your marble cake? When I was growing up I would chomp away the vanilla portion and save the chocolate portion for last, taking small bites and hoping it does not come to an end. Of course this has changed, now I simply enjoy the combination of the two flavours altogether.

The humble cake has come a long way. There are so many versions now with the inclusion of yogurt, melted white chocolate, ovalette, Grand Marnier and the list goes on.... and I believe it all tastes good.

As for me, I prefer the old-fashioned approach by using basic ingredients but of good quality. Just give more love to the two main ingredients butter and cocoa powder and you are guaranteed of a great cake.

This lovely recipe is adapted from Rachel Allen.


8 oz butter, softened
8 oz caster sugar (I reduce to 6 oz)
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract (I use pure vanilla extract)
8 oz plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
50 ml milk
Scant 2 oz cocoa powder - sifted (I use Valrhona and reduced to 1 oz)

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Butter and flour the sides of a 20cm (8in) diameter spring-form/loose-bottomed cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.

2. Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

3. Whisk the eggs and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Gradually add the eggs to the butter mixture, beating all the time. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in gently to mix, then add the milk and mix gently to combine.

4. Tip half of the cake mixture into another large bowl and, into this bowl, fold in the sifted cocoa powder.

5. Place the cake mixtures into the prepared tin by alternating spoonfuls of the vanilla batter with the chocolate batter, then with a skewer or similar implement, gently draw swirls through the cake mixture to ‘marblelise’ it. Don’t overmix or you won’t have that wonderful marble effect. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

6. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and allow to cool.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Mamamia! These buns are absolutely to-die-for. Very soft and with the perfect sweetness - you will end up feeling proud of yourself for making it. If you have never made buns before, this recipe will be a great one to start off with. It is very easy to make, but all you need is patience!

I used a dough hook to knead the dough, which really helps! The instructions below is by hand.

Adapted from happy home baking

(make around nine 60g portions)

150g bread flour
150g cake flour
5g active dry yeast
3g salt
125g milk
1 egg
60g castor sugar
50g butter
(1 egg, beaten for glazing)

1. Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add in milk, egg and butter. Mix into a dough.

2. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough until the gluten is fully developed (see tip below) and the dough is elastic, smooth and non-sticky. It will take about 25 mins to knead the dough by hand. Initially the dough will stick on to the work surface. Do not be tempted to add more flour or even give up kneading! After continuous kneading, the dough will no longer stick to the work surface.

3. Place the dough in the mixing bowl and cover with a damp towel or cling wrap to seal in the moisture. Allow the dough to ferment(or proof) until double in bulk. This will take about 1 hr. To test whether the dough has been fully proofed, press a finger into the dough and withdraw quickly. It should leave a deep impression and spring back very slowly. For an insufficiently proofed dough, the impression will spring back instantly.

4. Take out the dough and punch out the gas produced. Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes. Cover with a damp towel or cling wrap.

5. Divide the dough into 60g portions. Shape and add fillings as desired. Arrange dough in a greased or lined pan. Let the dough proof for the second time for about 30-45mins. Cover with a damp towel or cling wrap.

6. Brush the top with egg wash. Add almond flakes on the top of the buns, as desired.

7. Bake for about 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 190 degC. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

To check whether the dough is fully developed, take a small piece of the dough and stretch it with your fingers. If it can be stretched into a thin layer without tearing easily, the dough is fully developed.