Monday, November 25, 2013


It's seemed like yesterday that I see my eldest child attending formal education. Such a cute looking boy in school uniform and carrying his school bag running around. Last month, I was this teary eye proud mother witnessing this "little boy" graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Finance & Accounting). At that moment, I finally understood how my parents felt when they attended my Convocation eons ago.

Walking down memory lane, it reminded me of a rather old recipe. If my memory did not fail me... this must be one of the very 1st cake that I ever baked. Learnt it in school and revisited this recipe a few months ago.

...Pineapple upside down cake -
 Hardly see this cake around..
It's such a moist and dense cake..
It's definitely on the sweet side... thus I cut down on the sugar.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE ( adapted from Nigella Lawson's recipe)

Butter (for greasing)
2 tbsp sugar
6 slices canned pineapple in juice (plus 3 tbsp of the juice)
11 glace cherries
100gm plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100gm butter (soften in room temperature)
100 gm caster sugar ( I reduced to 60gm)
2 large eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400ºF.
  2. Grease a 23cm / 8-9 inch cake tin (not loose bottomed or springform tin)
  3. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp sugar on top of the buttered base and the arrange the pineapple slices to make a circular pattern.
  4. Fill each pineapple ring with a glace cherry, and dot one in each of the spaces in between.
  5. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, butter, sugar and eggs into a food processor and run the motor until the batter is smooth.
  6. Pour in the 3 tbsp of pineapple juice to thin the mixture a little.
  7. Pour this mixture carefully over the cherry studded pineapple rings. It will only just cover it, so spread the mixture out gently.
  8. Bake for 30 mins, then ease a spatula around the edge of the tin, place a plate on top and turn it upside-down.

The cake is buttery.
 Love the aroma of the cake. 
Super easy to make.
If not the the load of calories piled in this cake... I'll probably bake it again :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I'm back

Wow! Just noticed that I have not been posting here for over a year. 

Many things had happened during this year long hiatus. 

My life has changed since my last post.

I neglected this blog as I needed to spend more time to care for my mother who was battling cancer. 

Sadly, early last November we lost her (due to this illness). 

Mom's demise affected me and I lost my mojo in blogging. 

It took me quite awhile to get up on my feet again... 
However, I could not bake any chiffon cakes for the last 6 months...
Each time I attempt to bake it, the cake would deflate and I often get emotional  when baking it.
Mom loved my chiffon cakes and they would be her breakfast everyday till her last days.

On the family front, the nest is gotten emptier too! 
DS 1 is away attending the National Service Camp for 3 months.
DS2 on the other hand, currently away from home (some 1300 km or 850 miles apart). He is pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering in Curtin University, Sarawak. 
Only DD is home with us for the time being.

... Hope to be able to write more soon ....

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fried Shallots


I absolutely love fried shallots as a condiment to my dishes. No not those store bought fried shallots… I meant those authentic homemade ones.

I remember growing up eating them especially with my fried beehoon, fried noodles, porridge and anything possible. These crispy thin slices of shallots will transform a simple dish to a culinary delight.

To make them you only need 2 ingredients ie Shallots and sufficient oil to deep fry them. However, not many people are keen in making them as it is tedious (slicing all those shallots into thin and even slices). The deep frying timing has to be precise as too short a time will result in soggy shallots while too long in the fryer will yield burnt shallots.

Here is how I do it…..

P6030587Peel shallots and rinse them before slicing. Dab dry with a kitchen towel then slice thinly and uniformly to ensure even cooking. (Quantity is up to you). Leave this in room temperature for a couple of hours so that the moisture will dry up.

P6030591Heat up the wok. Pour in sufficient cooking oil. The oil will be ready for frying when you see bubbles coming out from the bamboo chopsticks (see above).

P6030592Pour in the sliced shallots.

P6030593Keep stirring and you will see the shallots slowly changing colour. Do not add anymore oil once you added in the shallots.

P6030596Once the shallots turn light golden brown, get ready to remove it from the wok. This is the most important and tricky process. If you let the shallot turn brown, they will be burnt as the shallots will continue to cook even when you remove them from the wok.

P6030597Remove the shallots from the oil using a slotted ladle.

P6030598 Blot out excess oil by draining the shallots on kitchen paper towels or tempura paper.

Cool. Store the fried shallots in an airtight container in the fridge.

To use, simply take them out from the fridge and sprinkle sufficient amount to topped over almost any dish.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Not everyone’s cup of Tea (Sambal Petai Ikan Bilis)


Many people do not like eating Petai aka Parkia speciosa (bitter bean, twisted cluster bean, or stink bean) due to its peculiar smell.


In my family only DH and me like it. My children will not touch any dishes with Petai in them. So I hardly cook this dish at home.

Mom loves Petai especially when cooked with sambal (chill). She yearned it, so my sister bought back some Petai recently and I dished it out for Mom.

Sambal Petai Ikan Bilis

Mom is so happy to get to taste this dish despite the fact that it’s a wee bit too spicy (hot) for her.

Sambal Petai Ikan Bilis

Ingredients :
1 cup peeled petai seeds
1 cup ikan bilis
i big onion (cut into small wedges)
Salt & Sugar to taste
1/2 cup asam jawa juice

2 tbsp cooking oil


Chili paste :
15 dried chillies
5 shallots
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp belachan stock granules

1. Wash and strain ikan bilis. Place on a microwavable dish and microwave at high for 3 mins or till crispy and golden brown. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in the pan and saute the onion till fragrant.
3. Add in the ground chilli paste and fry until fragrant.
4. Put in petai and stir-fry briskly.
5. Add in asam jawa juice and and seasoning.
6. Simmer till gravy becomes thick.
7. Add in crispy ikan bilis, Mix well and dish up. Serve with hot steam rice.

Fry big onions Add grounded paste






Stir in Petai

Add tamarind juice

Add ikan bilis

Sambal Petai Ikan Bilis


Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Walk Down Memory Lane

A fortnight ago, I drove over 300km to my hometown, Penang with childhood friend.
Purpose of the trip….
to celebrate our 50th years of living with our school mates.
We had 45 girls congregating there ..from all over Malaysia and many parts of the world (some as far as The United States of America). A number of us were out of touch for over 3 decades (since we left High School)
It all started here….
Over 40 decades ago, a bunch of carefree and chatty girls enrolled in the Primary Schools of Convent Green Lane, Penang. Over the years, we laughed together, fight amongst ourselves and had the most wonderful time of our childhood here.
We went our separate ways after High School to pursue our individual careers. We may have changed in our physical outlook but we still remain the same ole chatty and noisy girls.
A group of us met in the school to take some photos and reminiscent of those good old schooldays .
CGL 17 
Lots and lots of hugging, laughters and catching up to do.
We must have made so much noise that if we were still attending school we would definitely be sent to Detention!
CGL group
This is where we would assemble every morning before class starts.
There were a number of smaller gatherings during this weekend (depending on availability of each individual). However, the main function was our Dinner in GHotel, Gurney Drive, Penang on 9th June, 2012.
We had managed to rope in a total of 45 girls… I refer to ourselves as “girls “ because despite most of us having experienced motherhood (a couple even have grandchildren), we still acted like 17 year olds. Giggling, laughing out loud at each others jokes and even some pranks.
Thanks to the organising team, the food was good and ambience was perfect.
ghotel spread1 ghotel spread5 ghotel spread2 ghotel9
A cake to celebrate our Big 5O!
We are proud of it…
After all.. quoting some of us “50 is the NEW 35!!!”

What was most significant that night is how we network with each other.
No hard feelings, no bitchiness at all.
It was all good.
ghotel mingle
Mingling and catching up was the main agenda for the night.
ghotel group
We wondered why it took us so long before we had this get-together.
Kudos to the organising team for the job well done.
Let’s hope our next meet will not be another 3 decades from now!!!!
In the meantime, let’s stay in touch.
Thanks to all my dear friends for the wonderful time.
The long drive back was worthwhile :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Crispy Oven-Baked Roasted Pork (Siew Yoke) 脆皮烧肉

Mum has cut down on red meat for almost a decade. While fighting Cancer, she has taken out pork from her diet.

Lately, she has mentioned to me that she has not tasted “siew yoke” for quite awhile and missed the taste.
Thought I should make some for her. Making my own, I could at least control the amount of salt used (so that it will not be so salty).

Mum loves it. The skin was very crispy while the meat was still juicy. It is also not as salty as those that we buy.

This is really a very easy recipe. Only 4 ingredients needed with a ratio of 1:1:1:1 (1kg pork : 1 tbsp salt : 1 tbsp pepper : 1 tbsp 5 spice powder.

The Crispy Oven Baked Roasted Pork
(Recipe source: Angel, of Cook.Bake.Love )

Ingredients: -
1 kg pork belly (take the whole slab - do not cut into thin strip)
1 tbsp salt (I used fine Sea salt)
1 tbsp of the white pepper
1 tbsp at five-spice powder

1) Clean the pork belly and pat dry with the kitchen paper towel
2) Score the meat about 2cm apart both vertically and horizontally (do not score, the skin).
3) Prick all over the skin with a sharp skewer (I used the tip of a small Knife). Prick as much holes as possible This the step is very essential to ensure crackling on the skin.
4) Rub the skin and meat with salt all over.
5) Mix the white Pepper and five-spice powder and rub into the meat including the scored areas (do not rub on the skin ).
6) Keep the pork belly in  the fridge uncovered (skin side up), for a few hours. This is to dry up the skin so that it will become crispy after baking.
7) Take out pork belly 30 mins to 1 hour before baking to thaw in room temperature. Put the pork belly on a grill with skin side up (remember to place a tray lined with aluminium foil below to catch the oil).
8) Bake in preheated the oven, upper the rack at 200C for 50 mins , Adjust to 220C and continue to bake for another 10 mins. Check the skin, if there is still spot that is not crackling, switch to upper fire (so that the meat won't be over baked), bake for another 10 mins at 220C. Repeat this step (check every 10 mins), turn the position of pork belly if necessary, until there are  cracklings all over. If there is certain spot where the crackling is not so well done after prolonged baking, try to wipe away the oil and rub some salt on the skin before baking. Scrape away the charred part with a tong or knife before serving.
8) Rest the pork before cutting it into bit size pieces.

Making roast pork is easy. All you need is patience. However, the challenge is always the aftermath ie the cleaning up (as the oven will be coated with oil from the pork.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chai Kueh (Steamed Vegetable Dumplings) 菜粿

A couple of days ago Mum mentioned that it’s been a long while since she last tasted “Chai Kueh”. Chai Kueh is a traditional dumpling with vegetable fillings.

I have never made this dish before. Googling for the recipe brought me to Nasi Lemak Lover’s blog. The recipe looks manageable for me. With all the ingredients in hand. I made Chai Kueh yesterday.


Gave half to my parents and got thumbs up from them. 
The texture of the skin was just perfect. Soft and chewy. Delicious. Only downside is my mistake of shredding the jicama (sengkuang) and carrot too finely. This has resulted in the absence of crunch for the filling. I should have used the coarser shredder.

My skill of wrapping the chai kueh has great room for improvement. (look …my chai kueh have odd sizes and shapes!)

The dough is rather sticky and difficult to handle. I find the dividing the dough into small balls and then rolling them flat (individually) makes it easier for wrapping.

I love seeing how these little “package” in white OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         miraculously turn translucent (showing off the golden fillings) after steaming

(Chai Kueh) Steamed vegetable dumplings   菜粿
(recipe adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover)

For the filling
Ingredients :
1 large jicama (sengkuang), shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1 firm tofu, pan fry till brown, shredded
20g dried shrimps, soaked in water, chopped
Some chopped coriander ( I used cilantro/ spring onions)1tsp salt or to taste
2tbsp light soy sauce or to taste
1tsp sugar or to taste ( I omitted this) Pepper

Method :1. Heat oil in a wok, sauté dried shrimps till aroma.
2. Add in jicama (sengkuang), carrot and fried firm tofu, continue to cook for 15mins or till dry.
3. Add in seasonings and chopped coriander, mix well. Set aside to cool.

For the dumpling skin
Ingredients :
100g Tang Mein flour (Wheat starch)
200g tapioca flour
10g sugar
A pinch of salt
20g cooking oil
450g hot boiling water

Method :
1. Mix two flours in a mixing bowl, stir to combine.
2. Add sugar, salt and cooking oil in the hot boiling water.
3. Pour hot water into the mixing bowl and quickly stir to combine to become dough. Set aside to cool.
Other ingredients
banana leaves
fried garlic oil

To make steamed vegetables dumplings
1. Dust tabletop with a lot of tapioca flour (dough is very sticky), roll dough to form a thin circle.(using a round cutter or a small bowl to cut out thin circle as to standardize the size)
2. Wrap 1 tbsp of filling with each skin. Fold into semicircle and seal the opening by pressing the edges together.
3. Place each dumpling on a small sheet of banana leaf, place on a steaming tray, steam for 15mins.
4. Remove the steamed dumplings and brush the surface with some garlic oil. Serve hot.

The Chai Kueh tasted good even when cold. If you want to eat it the next day, just steam it again and it will taste as good as fresh!