Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkin Buns with Red Bean Paste

Noticed that I have not post any bread/bun recipe for awhile. Since I made some pumpkin buns this week, I will share the recipe with you today.

Pumpkin Buns with Red Bean Paste

Ingredients :
  • 350gm High Protein Flour (I used Unbleached)
  • 1 tbsp Horlicks
  • 50gm sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 5 gm instant yeast
  • pinch of salt
  • 120gm pumpkin (steamed and mashed/pureed)
  • 130ml milk
  • 30gm butter

Method :
    1. Mix all ingredients together (except the butter) in a mixer till a smooth dough is formed.
    2. Add in butter and knead till dough is elastic.
    3. Prove dough for 1 - 2 hours or till it doubles in size.
    4. Punch down the dough and divide into 8 portions.
    5. Shape into balls and rest the dough for 15 minutes
    6. Flatten the dough and place some red bean paste in the center.
    7. Shape it into a ball and snip the sides with a scissors to form a flower shape.
    8. Prove for an hour or until the dough double in size.
    9. Egg wash the buns and bake at 190C for 15 - 20 minutes

    Sunday, October 25, 2009


    When I moved into my current neighbourhood, I brought along my favourite hibiscus plant. It bears a pretty yellow flower with thick petals daily. Over the years, my hibiscus collection has increased to 4 now. (thanks to my very kind and friendly neighbour). My neighbour (a 70 year old man of Indian origin) who stays directly opposite my house is an avid gardener. He loves flowering plants especially hibiscus. He can be seen tending to his garden everyday in the morning and evening. At times, he would pop over to talk to me while I am tending to my garden.We would normally exchanging ideas on gardening and updating each other on the neighbourhood news. He has given me 3 different species of Hibiscus and they are thriving well in my garden, adding colours to my garden daily. See how beautiful my hibiscus are :

    This bright red hibiscus has a flower within a flower. So pretty.

    This is a dwarf sized hibiscus with sweet pink flowers.

    My yellow hibiscus that blooms daily.

    A unique peach, pink, yellow hibiscus.

    I believe my hibiscus collection will continue to grow in time to come. So keep coming back to this blog... I will continue to update you on my striving garden.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Pumpkin Chiffon Cake

    A friend gave me a pumpkin recently. Since it was quite large, I have decide to use some for bread and cake. baked a Pumpkin Chiffon Cake yesterday.

    Here is the recipe, if you want to try.

    Pumpkin Chiffon Cake

    4 nos. egg yolk (size : grade A)
    40ml corn oil
    110gm superfine flour
    80 gm pumpkin (steamed and mashed)
    60ml warm water
    5 nos egg white (size : grade A)
    50gm sugar (add more if you prefer)
    0.5 tsp lemon juice)

    Method :
    • Preheat oven at 170 C.
    • Combine egg yolks, oil, flour, pumpkin and water. Mix till well blended and set aside.
    • Whisk egg whites till frothy.
    • Gradually add in sugar and lemon juice. Continue whisking till stiff peak is formed.
    • Mix 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk batter with a whisk.
    • Fold in the remaining egg yolk batter.
    • Pour batter into a chiffon cake tin and bang the tin a couple of times to release the trapped bubbles.
    • Bake in the oven at 170C for 30- 35 mins or till cooked.
    • Remove cake from oven and invert it immediately to cool for 30 mins before slicing.

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Steamed Drunken Prawns

    Being of Chinese origin, it is normal to see me cooking Chinese dishes. There are hundreds of Chinese dishes that will satisfy our palate to the fullest; be it Cantonese, TeowChew, Fujian, Shanghainese etc. What never fail to amaze me it the very interesting names given to the dishes.

    Let's take today's dish that I cooked. Steamed Drunken Prawns.... pretty humorous name isn't it? If you if Chinese Kung Fu, you must have watched or heard about this famous Chinese Kung Fu movie called "Zhui Quan" or "Drunken Master" before. This Hong Kong movie starred the famous Jackie Chan. Now.. there is no connection between the Drunken Master (in the movie) with the Steamed Drunken Prawns that I made today. The Drunken Master did not get himself drunk after consuming Steamed Drunken Prawns!!! LOL

    Actually, Steamed Drunken prawns got its name through the process of immersing the herbs into the wine and having the prawns steamed in this concoction. This is a very simple dish. Minimal preparation and since it is steamed you can be assured of a healthy and delicious restaurant like dish in 10 minutes
    Steamed Drunken Prawns

    300g large / medium size Prawns with shell(the fresher the better)
    5-6 slices of Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica
    6 Red Dates (seeds removed)
    2 tsp Qi Zi (wolfberry)
    50ml Hua Diao Jiu (or any type of liquor eg brandy, rice wine, sake)

    Method :
    1. Pre-soak the herbs in the liquor for at least 30 minutes to an hour to enable the liquor will absorb the aroma of the herbs.
    2. Trim and wash the prawns.
    3. Pat dry and arrange then in a steam tray or plate in a single layer. (Do not overlay as it will results in uneven cooking time during steaming.
    4. Arrange the herbs on top of the prawns and pour the remaining liquor on it.
    5. Steam over boiling water for about 4-5 minutes, remove and serve immediately.

    Notes :
    You could also microwave it by covering it with plastic wrap an cook on Medium power for 5 minutes. Be sure you use microwave utensils while steaming it on a microwave.

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Pong Teh Chicken (my version)

    Pong Teh Chicken is Braised Chicken in Fermented Paste. This is a typical Nyonya (Straits Chinese or Peranakan) dish.

    The Straits Chinese are the descendants of the Chinese traders who came to Malaya in the fifteen century and took Malay (local) wives. The Nyonya's way of life, language, food, customs and dressing have become an amalgamation of Chinese and Malay and they have even developed a style uniquely their own.

    Pong Teh Chicken is a popular Nyonya dish in Malacca. To me it is a kind of comfort food and a one dish food which you can serve with steamed plain rice.

    The basic ingredients in this dish is chicken, potatoes and fermented bean paste. Mychildren like carrots, so you will find carrots in my version of Pong Teh Chicken. I opt to omit sugar in this dish as I prefer the taste of natural sweetness of the carrots.

    Pong Teh Chicken (my version)

    1/2 chicken - cut into bite-sized pieces
    2 potatoes - cut into small pieces
    1 carrot - cut into small pieces
    10 shallots
    4 pips garlic
    1 big onion - cut into wedges
    2 tbsp fermented soy bean paste
    2 tbsp cooking oil
    2 cups hot water
    1 tsp thick soy sauce
    salt to taste

    Method :
    1. Pound / blend shallots and garlic till fine.
    2. Stir fry the shallot and garlic mixture and fermented soy bean paste in oil till fragrant.
    3. Stir in the big onion till soft.
    4. Add in chicken and stir fry for about 3 minutes.
    5. Add in potatoes and carrot. Stir fry for another 2 minutes.
    6. Pour in 2 cups of water and thick soy sauce. Bring to a boil.
    7. Lower the flame and continue to cook until chicken is tender.
    8. Add salt to taste.
    9. Serve hot.

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    Burn those Calories

    The gym is normally where I would hang out in the morning on weekdays (except of holidays and school breaks).
    I would use the treadmill and some elliptical machines for my cardiovascular exercises before I proceed for weight lifting, etc for muscle toning and building.

    Many people have the impression that to lose weight all you have to do is to get on the treadmill and run/walk (at a constant speed and inclination) as long as you can to sweat it all out and burn away all the unnecessary calories. However, I find that spending more than 30 minutes on the treadmill is monotonous and down right boring unless you have gym buddy there to chit chat with. I have found that there is a more effective workout regime that you can do on the treadmill for less time and yet yield a better result. Found it a few months back on Bob Green's Best Life (Oprah's personal trainer).
    Tried it and proven to be effective. Just with 20minutes on the treadmill, I am able to burn close to 300 calories!

    I do this at least once a week.

    Treadmill Walking Workout.

    Warm up at 3.0 incline and 3.0 speed for 2 minutes, then continue with the following :
    • Minute 3 - 6 : Increase incline to 12.0 and speed 3.2
    • Minute 7 -10 : Decrease incline to 7.0 and increase speed to 3.6 to 4.0
    • Minute 11 -14 : Increase incline to 15.0 and decrease speed to 3.2
    • Minute 15 -18 : Decrease incline to 7.0 and increase speed to 3.6 -4.0
    • Minute 19 -20 : Decrease incline to 3.0 and maintain speed of 3.6 to 4.0
    • Cool down for 5 minutes

    The object of this regime is to vary the inclination and the speed to yield a high calorie burn out.
    It is not monotonous as the body has to adjust to the frequent change in speed and inclination.

    Try it the next time you hit the gym... you might find it revitalizing.

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    The Ugliest looking cupcake frosting

    It is Dear Hubby's birthday today. Instead of baking a normal cake, I have decided to bake cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate chips to be exact. The children's favourite. Normally, when I bake cakes or cupcakes I do not put frosting as we are not a fan of creamy sugary stuff. Moreover, I find it very messy and I am not good at cake decoration. However, since today is DH's big day, I decided to make an exception. Whipped up some frosting and played with it together with my daughter. We had fun despite the mess we made. Just look how ugly they are!!!

    Nevertheless, the cupcake taste good. Soft, light and chocolatey, It is very easy to whip up too!!

    Double chocolate cupcake

    A :
    170gm self raising flour
    70gm cocoa powder
    1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

    150gm chocolate chip
    150 sugar

    2 eggs
    240ml buttermilk (If you do not have buttermilk, use 8ml lemon juice + milk = 240ml
    120gm melted butter
    1 tsp vanilla essence

    Method :
    1. Preheat oven to 180C
    2. Sift (A) into a bowl.
    3. Stir in (B)
    4. Whisk (C) and pour everything into the dry mixture.
    5. Use a balloon whisk to mix everything till well blended.
    6. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop batter into muffin/cupcake cups (2/3 full).
    7. If preferred, top with more chocolate chips and/or nuts (of your choice).
    8. Bake for 20 minutes at 180C

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    Mantou (Chinese Steamed Bun)

    Mantou is a kind of steamed bun originating from China. It is similar to white bread in the West except that instead of baking, mantou is steamed. Mantou is considered a staple food in Northern China.

    I tried making Mantou today. Intended to steam some for breakfast tomorrow and give some to my Mom. In fact since I made about 24 mantou(s) I had stashed some in the freezer for future consumption. However, they were such a hit in my family that I had to pull them out from the freezer, else there would not be enough for tomorrow!!!

    My mantou(s) is rather flat but they taste good. Soft, light and fluffy even when cooled. Taste heavenly when dipped in curry.

    It is a keeper.
    Here is the recipe.

    Steamed Mantou (makes 24)

    Ingredients :
    Starter Dough
    150 gm low protein flour (cake flour)
    50 gm plain flour
    1/2 tsp instant yeast
    pinch of salt
    110 ml water

    Method :

    • Mix all the above ingredients together in a mixer.
    • Knead until the dough is smooth.
    • Let the dough prove in a covered bowl for a minimum of 45 minutes.
    • Set aside 140gm for use.
    • Keep the balance in a freezer bag and freezer for future use. (Starter dough must be defrost before it can be used)

    Main dough :
    Ingredients :
    350ml milk
    100gm sugar
    400gm plain flour
    200gm low protein flour (cake flour)
    140gm starter dough
    2 tbsp corn oil
    2 tbsp black sesame powder

    Method :

    • Put all the ingredients except the oil and black sesame powder into the mixer and mix till a ball is formed.
    • Add in oil and knead till the dough is smooth and elastic. (the dough will not stick on the wall of the mixer).
    • Remove the dough from the mixer and and divide into 2 portions.
    • Add black sesame powder into 1 portion and knead till well blended.
    • Roll out both portions into a flat rectangular sheet.
    • Put the black sesame powder portion on top of the other portion.
    • Roll them up together like swiss roll.
    • Cut into pieces of about 50gm each. (approximately 24 pieces)
    • Place it piece on a square piece of greaseproof paper to prove for another 45 minutes in room temperature .
    • Steam on medium heat for 15 minutes.

    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    Pancakes for Breakfast

    I did not bake yesterday as I normally do not serve breakfast on weekends. We would eat out on weekends as yours truly here is just too lazy to prepare breakfast in the morning.

    Woke up this morning to a cool and winding day (just about to rain). Suddenly had this urge to make pancakes. I remember reading from Penny's blog about her thick, light and fluffy pancakes. Decided to give it a try and made the savoury instead of sweet.

    This is how I do it.

    Ingredients :

    2 eggs
    1 tsp sugar
    0.5 tsp salt
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 cup milk
    1/4 cup oil
    1 1/3 cup flour
    1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
    1/2 ground black pepper

    Method :

    • Whisk up the eggs, sugar and salt till light and fluffy.
    • Mix in baking powder but do not over mix.
    • Add in milk and oil and mix well.
    • Add in flour, parsley, black pepper till well blended.
    • Leave the batter to REST for at least 30 minutes.
    • Pour batter into a lightly oiled non-stick pan on low fire.
    • When bubbles appear on the surface of the batter, flip it over.
    • Brown the other side and dish it out to a plate.
    • Lightly brown the luncheon meat and assemble the pancakes into a burger with cheese and luncheon meat.
    • SERVE.
    It is really yummy!! Thanks Penny for the post. Check out her post for the original recipe. Would make it again with other combinations.

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009

    Red Bean Pai Pau Bun

    I pulled out my Pai Pau dough from the fridge today. Instead of making just plain buns, I have added some red bean paste into each bun. Sprinkled the top with lots of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, black and white sesame seeds.

    My family loves buns with grains as it gives it a very nutty flavour. Yummy.

    See how beautiful the dough is after the first proving.

    The texture of the bun is really fine and soft.

    Gave half to Mummy dearest. The rest will be for breakfast tomorrow.

    Saturday, October 3, 2009


    Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread. It is normally savoury (sometimes sweet), similar to a pizza. Focaccia is usually seasoned with olive oil and herbs. The toppings used on focaccia can be olives, onions, cheese, meat and sometimes vegetables.

    Focaccia is very popular as a snack in Italy. A favourite of school children as they often purchase slice from a baker on the way to school to enjoy at break time.

    The dough of Focaccia is similar to pizza dough in texture and style. Ingredients used are bread flour (high protein flour), oil, water, salt and yeast. It is rolled out by hand into a thick layer. Indentation is done on the surface of the dough to create multiple dimples in the bread. Olive oil is brushed on the surface of the dough to preserve moisture.

    Focaccia can also be used as sandwich bread. It can be stored for a long time frozen or in air tight containers.

    I baked Focaccia yesterday (from the dough that I prepared last Sunday). This is my first attempt baking Focaccia. The colour is not very appealing and the onions were slightly burnt. However, it is very aromatic and flavourful. Delicious and it was quite a hit.

    Here is how I made it. (Recipe from The World of Bread by Alex Goh)


    Ingredients :

    2 tsp instant yeast
    2 tbsp water

    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp sugar
    300 gm bread flour
    1/4 tsp ground black pepper

    170 ml cold water

    1/2 tbsp olive oil

    1/2 tbsp dried oregano

    Dried Rosemary
    sea salt
    coarsely ground black pepper
    Slice onion ring

    1. Mix (A) till well blended, set aside for 10 minutes. Add (B) and (C) and knead to form a dough.
    2. Add (D) and knead to form a smooth, sticky and elastic dough.
    3. Add (E) and mix till well blended.
    4. Place dough in a bowl, cover it with cling wrap and let it ferment for 45 minutes.
    5. Take the dough and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Mould them into balls and let them rest for 15minutes.
    6. Roll them into 6mm thick round shapes and place them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
    7. Let them prove for 20 minutes, brush with olive oil and use your fingertips to make indentations all over the dough.
    8. Arrange some onion rings on top and sprinkle with rosemary, sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
    9. Baked at 210C for 15-20 minutes or till golden brown. Serve warm