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

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I have a weakness for egg tarts. Period. It comes in either puff or shortcrust pastry. Although I like 'em both, but I gotta admit I prefer the shortcrust version. These tarts are satisfaction guaranteed, and I could not believe I ate almost all of 'em.

I chose an egg custard recipe which used fresh milk instead of evaporated milk. It is a matter of preference, and I think the latter will yield a delicious egg custard too.

Pastry recipe adapted from Christine's Recipes

225 gm plain flour
125 gm butter
55 gm icing sugar
1 egg, whisked
a dash of vanilla extract

Custard filling adapted from Aunty Yochana.

280 gm. fresh milk
160 gm. sugar (I reduced to 140 gm)
3 nos. eggs
1 tsp. rum (I omitted it)
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence

For pastry:
1. Place butter at room temperature until softened. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer over medium speed until the mixture is smooth, fluffy and light in color.

2. Add in whisked egg, half at a time, beat over low speed. Add vanilla extract, mix well.

3. Sift in flour in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions with a spatula, and make sure all ingredients combine well. Knead into dough.

4. Roll out the dough to a 1/2 cm thickness. Cut dough with a cookie cutter that is just a bit smaller than your tart tin in size. Line dough in the middle of tart tins, one by one. Lightly press the dough with your thumbs, starting from the bottom then up to the sides. While pressing the dough, turn the tart tin clockwise/anti-clockwise in order to make an even tart shell. Trim away any excess dough.

For egg custard:
5. Heat sugar and milk together. Once sugar dissolves, off heat.

6. Whisk eggs and pour into the milk mixture. Do not whisk till frothy.

7. Add in rum and vanilla essence.

8. Sift the egg custard and pour into tart moulds and bake at 175C till egg custard sets.

Baking tarts:
9. Preheat oven to 200C. Position rack in lower third of oven. Bake tarts for 10 to 15 minutes until the edges are lightly brown.

10. Lower the heat to 180C. Keep an eye on them. Once you see the custard being puffed up a bit, pull the oven door open about 2 to 3 inches. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until the custard is cooked through. Just insert a toothpick into the custard. If it stands on its own, it’s done.


Who wouldn't love short cuts especially when it tastes good? These sardine puffs are just what I am talking about.

If you do not want to go through the hassle of making pastry, use frozen parathas instead. It is a great alternative to the store-bought puff or shortcrust pastry. There are so many varieties of frozen parathas out there, and the best part of it is that you can choose any flavour you want to go with your favourite fillings.

I chose the parathas with green onions - can you see those tiny green spots on the puffs? For the sardine filling I chose Happyhomemaker88's, which has a mixture of sardine and potatoes.

I tweaked the recipe by adding 2 cili padi and a squeeze of lime juice to add a punch to the taste. Try it and you know what I mean.

Recipe adapted from Happyhomemaker88

Ingredients for the sardine filling

2 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
200g canned sardines, mashed coarsely (I used Ayam Brand)
1/2 cup of tomato sauce from the canned sardines
250g potatoes, cut into fine cubes and boiled until cooked
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 bird's eye chili (cili padi)
1/2 lime juice
salt, sugar and pepper to taste

1. Heat up oil and fry onions until fragrant.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for a few minutes until they are incorporated.

3. Set aside to cool down.

4. Divide the paratha into half, wrap with the sardine filling and use a fork to seal the edges.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


This is a traditional savoury meat bun I grew up eating and I could eat two at a time. The baked buns are soft and sweet which goes well with either chicken or char siew (BBQ pork) fillings. Perfect for breakfast or tea time. Try it!

Recipe adapted from No-FrillsRecipes

Ingredients for Filling

300 gm chicken fillet, diced
4 shallots, diced
3 pips garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp light soya sauce
1/2 tsp of - salt and dark soya sauce
2 tsp cornflour + 1 Tbsp water to thicken
Dash of pepper


1. Heat up a pan with the sesame oil, saute the chopped garlic and diced shallots till fragrant.

2. Toss in the meat, stir-fry, add in the sauces, sugar, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup water, cook till meat is cooked.

3. Fine tune taste to your liking and add in the thickening.

4. Dish out and cool before using. (Best to cook this a day before and keep refrigerated).

Ingredients for Bun

300 gm high protein flour
50 gm superfine flour
1/4 level tsp salt
15 gm skimmed milk powder
50 gm caster sugar
25 gm butter/margarine
1 egg, about 50 ml Egg glaze - 1 egg yolk + 1 Tbsp water + a pinch of salt

1.1/2 flat tsp dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
150 ml lukewarm water


1. Combine lukewarm water and yeast in a small bowl, sprinkle over with sugar, stir till dissolved. Set aside for 10 mins for it to ferment.

2. Sift flours together, mix in salt, milk powder in a mixing bowl. Mix with the dough hook for about 10 -20 seconds.

3. Pour frothy mixture into the combined flours, add butter and egg.

4. Beat @ low speed for 10 - 15 mins. or until a soft pliable dough is formed and it doesn't stick to the sides of the mixing bowl. Remove the dough hook.

5. Cover the mixing bowl with a damp cloth and let dough proof for 50 mins. till double in bulk.

6. Dough is ready for shaping once an indentation of a finger is left. Place dough on a floured top.

7. Gently knock back the dough and divide into 12 equal pieces, around 2 oz each. Let dough rest for 10 mins.

8. Flatten a piece of dough, wrap up with some filling, plait the seams, place seams down onto a paper lined tray. Continue with the rest of the dough.

9. Cover with a damp cloth, let rest for another 30 mins. or till double in size.

10. Brush with egg glaze and sprinkle on some sesame seeds.

11. Bake in preheated oven @ 180 deg C for about 15 to 20 mins. till golden brown.

12. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

Friday, April 15, 2011


As the name suggests, you have to try making these cupcakes. It is easy to make which guarantees light, moist and rich looking cupcakes that you have been looking for all these while. Use good quality cocoa powder, and need not cut down the sugar. As the cupcakes are not so sweet, it allows you to top off with your favorite ganache or frosting, without feeling the guilt. Wicked!

Recipe adapted from Anncoo Journal

Makes 18 cupcakes

100g Butter, softened
200g Sugar
2 Eggs
3/4 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (125ml)
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 cup Boiling water (with 1 tsp Nescafe Classic Instant Coffee powder)
190g Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
3 tsp Baking powder
40g Cocoa powder

1. Sift flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder in bowl. Dissolve baking soda in milk.

2. Cream butter and sugar until light. Add essence and eggs, continue beating.

3. Add in the rest of the ingredients (milk, coffee liquid and flour ingredients), beat till smooth.

4. Spoon batter into greased paper cases to 3/4 full.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for about 20 mins or until skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

6. Leave to cool on rack before icing.

7. Ice with whatever type of icing you prefer or dust lightly with icing sugar.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Homemade cookies are such pleasurable morsels. This is yet another lovely cookie I enjoy eating. Do get good quality raisins which gives a plump and juicy texture to the contrasting crisp cookie.

Recipe adapted from Her World Cookbook Vol.53
by Rohani Jelani


120g soft brown sugar
100g softened butter
1 egg
180g plain flour
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 level tsp ground nutmeg (I omitted this)
1/2 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 level tsp salt
50g raisins
2 Tbsp roughly chopped almonds (I used walnuts instead)

1. Cream the sugar and butter together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well until incorporated. Mix the flour, spices, soda and salt together and stir into the mixture, along with the raisins and almonds.

2. Using two teaspoons, drop small dollops of cookie dough onto a lightly greased baking tray, arranging them in neat rows. Leave a little room in between each cookie to allow for slight spreading.

3. Bake in an oven preheated to 190C for 15 to 18 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Cool cookies on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.


Curry puff, karipap, epok-epok, whatever you choose to call it, this local snack is sure to stay for a long long time to come. This is possibly the only snack which stays true to the test of time and accompanies us from childhood to adulthood. I felt a great sense of achievement for making my own curry puffs for the first time, finally!

Recipe adapted from My Kitchen

makes 24 pcs

250g all-purpose flour
50g rice flour
50g tapioca or corn flour
50g butter
50g vegetable oil
130ml icy cold water + pinch of salt

600g potato, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
2 Tbsp curry powder (for seafood)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
some curry leaves
1 cup water (+/-) salt to taste

1. Heat oil in wok, add in curry leaves and onion. Stir-fry onion until translucent then add in potato.
2. Cook until potato has changed colour on the edges then add in curry powder. Cook for 1 minute, add in water and bring to boil.
3. Add salt to taste, then turn the heat down and cook with lid on until potato is softened and the liquid is reduced.
4. Cool completely before use.

5. In a large mixing bowl, bring 3 types of flours together and mix well. Set aside.
6. In a small sauce pan, melt and heat butter with oil.
7. Pour hot oil over flours in the mixing bowl. Then, mix thoroughly with a wooden spatula or chopsticks.
8. Add in water and knead to form soft dough. Cover dough with plastic wrap and rest for at least 15 minutes.
9. Divide and shape dough into 24 equal balls. Then roll out each ball into a 8 -10cm circle, wrap in a heap tablespoon. Pinch edges to seal, then deep-fry in medium hot oil until golden brown.

Friday, April 8, 2011


This is an extremely light and fine cookie, and it really melts in your mouth. The easiest way to shape the cookie is by shaping into teaspoon-sized balls, and press lightly with a fork. But I got a little more adventurous and used a cookie pump with a flower-shaped nozzle. The bake results turned out so pretty.

Recipe adapted from Small Small Baker


125g butter
40g icing sugar, sifted
125g potato starch
80g superfine flour (I used plain flour, which is just fine)

1. Beat butter and icing sugar till fluffy and lighter in colour.

2. Sift in potato starch and flour, mix to form a soft dough.

3. Roll into small balls (about 2cm in diameter), arrange on lined baking pan and press lightly with a fork (dip the fork in water after each press to prevent cookie dough from sticking to the fork).

4. Bake in preheated oven at 170C for 15 mins, upper rack (need not bake till cookie turn brown).

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I dig oatmeal cookies big time! It is my favorite on-the-go breakfast before I hit the gym in the morning. I will make sure I have enough stocks in the pantry all the time... but this time round, I decided to make it my own. Wholesome homemade cookies, all natural and free from preservatives. C'mon and get it, baby!

Recipes adapted from Her World Cookbook Vol. 53


200g plain flour
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 level tsp salt
200g soft brown sugar
200g softened butter
100ml milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
250g rolled oats

1. Sift the flour, soda and salt together.

2. Cream the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy, gradually adding the milk until it is incorporated into the mixture.

3. Add the vanilla, oats and sifted flour. Roll cookie dough into 1cm balls and place them well apart on lightly greased baking trays. (I just used greaseproof paper to line the trays)

4. Using the base of a glass dipped in water, flatten the cookies until they are quite thin. (Alternatively, you may use a fork dipped in water to flatten the cookies)

5. Bake in an oven preheated to 190C for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


If you are looking for a good old-fashioned chocolate cake which guarantees you perfectly rich and moist texture, look no further. Give this recipe a shot and you will agree with me. If you are a first time baker, you may ditch those ready-mix and try this one. As what Nigella Lawson says, "The fact that it is scarcely harder than making one out of cake-mix (only worlds better) is an added joy."

I had omitted the frosting as I was craving for just a simple chocolate cake to go with during my coffee break. But please remember to include sour cream. This is the secret ingredient to having a moist cake.

This gorgeous cake is adapted from Nigella Lawson. For the complete version which includes frosting, hop over to Nigella's website.


For the Cake:
200g plain flour
200g caster sugar (I reduced to 170g)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
40g best-quality cocoa (I used Valrhona)
175g soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 tsp real vanilla extract
150ml sour cream

1. Take everything out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C and line and butter two 20cm sandwich tins with removable bases.

2. Now all you have to do is put all the cake ingredients - flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream - into a food processor and process until you have a smooth, thick batter. If you want to go the long way around, just mix the flour, sugar and leavening agents in a large bowl and beat in the soft butter until you have a combined and creamy mixture. Now whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, vanilla and eggs and beat this into your bowl of mixture.

3. Divide this batter, using a rubber spatula to help you scrape and spread, into the prepared tins and bake until a cake tester, or a thin skewer, comes out clean, which should be about 35 minutes, but it is wise to start checking at 25. Also, it might make sense to switch the two cakes around in the oven halfway through cooking time.

4. Remove the cakes, in their tins, to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before turning out of their tins.

Note: For Step #3, I used a 9" round cake pan and baked one whole cake without separating it.