Saturday, November 14, 2009

Homemade Snack Bars

Food 4 Tots is one of my favourites blogs. The blogger shares some simple-to-follow recipes and suitable for kids. And the photos taken are great! I really learn a lot for this blog. Thank you very much, Food 4 Tots! The 1st recipe I tried out from this blog is the "Homemade Snack Bars" - simple ingredients and straight forward methods. No electrical mixer, no oven, minor cleaning up! And yet taste good and healthy!

(From Food 4 Tots)
40g rolled oats
40g sunflower seeds
40g pumpkin seeds
Handful of black and white sesame seeds
3-4 tbsp clear running honey

  1. Heat up the pan.
  2. Put the black and white sesame seeds in a non-stick and dry fry (without oil) over a medium-low heat until they are fragrant. Set aside.
  3. Dry fry the oats for 3 mins. Turn the oats occasionally to make sure they cook evenly.
  4. Add the sunflower and pumpkin seeds and dry fry for another 2 minutes or until light golden. Take care – the pumpkin seeds may pop a little!
  5. Return the roasted black and white sesame seeds to the pan and dry fry for ½ min.
  6. Take the pan off the heat. Stir in the honey – it will sizzle at first but keep stirring until the oats and seeds are coated. Allow to cool slightly.
  7. Line a 20cm x 10cm baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  8. Spread the mixture evenly on the paper and line another one on top of the mixture.
  9. Use a presser (or chopping board) to apply pressure to the mixture.
  10. Chill for at least 1 hour, or until solid. Turn it out of the tin and peel off the greaseproof paper. If you have problem to peel off the paper, leave it at room temperature for 1 min and try again. Cut into bars.
  11. Keep it in an air-tight container and store in the fridge. Best to be consumed within a week.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ribena Marble Cheesecake (non-baked)

When I first tried to do the non-baked Oreo Cheesecake, i failed to whip the cream. So I am quite phobia when it comes to preparing cake with whipped creams. When I found this non-baked cheesecake recipe from Happy Home Baking and Loving Baking, I know I must give it a try. The recipe seems simple. The comments I received from my friends who tried it, they simply love it!

(From Happy Home Baking)


150g digestive biscuits, finely crushed (I used Marie Biscuits instead coz don't have digestive biscuits at home)
60g butter, melted

100ml water

20g (2 tablespoons) gelatin granules/powder
250g cream cheese, soften at room temperature

75g caster sugar
250ml natural plain yogurt

75ml Ribena blackcurrant juice cordial

Topping: (i omitted this. You can refer to
Loving Baking who tried the topping.)
100ml water

2 teaspoons gelatin granules/powder
80ml Ribena blackcurrant juice cordial


  1. Line the sides of a 20cm round pan with aluminium foil (which extends out 2-3 cm at the side of the pan for easily lifting after the cake is chilled), set aside.
  2. To make the crust, combine crushed digestive biscuits and melted butter together in a mixing bowl.
  3. With the back of a spoon, press the biscuit crumbs onto the base of the prepared pan. To ensure the crust is even, use the base of a flat-bottom glass to press down the crumbs.
  4. Chill in the freezer compartment for at least 1 hour.
  1. Measure water into a bowl and sprinkle in the gelatin (without stirring with a spoon). Set aside to allow the gelatin grains to swell (10 mins) before setting the bowl over a pot of simmering hot water. Swelling will make the granules melt much easier & faster.
  2. Stir with a spoon and once the gelatin melts, remove the bowl from the pot and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth (either using electric mixer or hand whisk also can).
  4. Add in the gelatin solution and yogurt, beat till the mixture turns smooth.
  5. Divide mixture evenly into two bowls (about 1 cup each).
  6. Add 75ml of Ribena into one of the bowls and mix well with a spatula.
  7. Spoon the two mixtures in alternate blobs into the chilled crust, i.e. Spoon one blob of coloured mixture (with ribena) onto the crust, then spoon one white mixture blob beside it, followed by the coloured mixture and so one. Just alternate the mixtures.
  8. Smooth the surface and use a knife (hold vertically) and swirl through the mixtures to create the marble effect.
  9. Refrigerate until set.
  1. Measure water into a bowl and sprinkle in the gelatin. Set aside to allow the gelatin grains to swell (10 mins) before setting the bowl over a pot of simmering hot water. Stir with a spoon and once the gelatin melts, remove bowl from the pot and stir in 80ml of Ribena. Set aside to cool. It is important to allow the cheesecake to set before pouring the jelly topping. Also, when pouring the jelly topping, do be gently. If possible, spoon the jelly mixture. This it to prevent the pressure of the jelly mixture from "eroding" your cheescake. In which, you might end up with floating bits of cheese.
  2. When completely cooled, pour mixture over the cheesecake and chill for several hours or overnight until set.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Woof! Woof!

Last Friday I took a day off to attend Jaden's graduation ceremony in the morning and busy baking in the afternoon for Caden's playschool concert on last Sunday. There was a pot luck after the concert. I promised to bring the Horlicks Doggies Cookies on that day. Since this was the second attempt, I was confident that I would baked nice doggies cookies this time.

Unfortunately, things went wrong. I over-baked the 1st batch of cookies, about 30 of them. The cookies were burnt and cracked, as if the doggies put on masks like Zorro. They looked awful. I had to throw away the whole 1st batch. I monitored closely while baking 2nd batch, luckily it was ok, but only less than 20 pieces of them. Why over-baked? I suspect I stored the choc chips in the fridge, and they are burnt faster than room temperature choc chips while in oven. Not sure.

I decided to go for 3rd attempt to bake more cookies on Sat night. But before that, I baked a cheese sponge cake using the Buffalo Smart Cooker, since this can yield a high successful rate. Then I moved on with the Doggies Cookies. 1st batch ok. While 2nd batch, I ran out of baking papers! Left with 2 thin stripes only. I had to place the cookies near to each other, and brushed some butter on the tray for those cookies without baking papers. Luckily all cookies were nicely baked. What a busy night. I didn't even have time to go for dinner. Let's see my hard work :

Hope you like these cookies. Woof woof!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cola Chicken

Last night I prepared simple dishes for dinner: 1) Chicken & corn soup, 2) Cola Chicken, 3) stir-fry mix vegetables. Thanks Ohbin for the Cola Chicken recipe. My kids finished all their meals in a record breaking time, without having me to scream at them to finish their meals.

(From Ohbin)

1 whole chicken (I used 6 chicken wings)
Cola 1 can (i used half can only I only used 6 chicken wings)
Anister 2 pieces
Cooking wine 1T
Soy sauce 2T
Dark soy sauce 2T
Onion, ginger & garlic


  1. Rinse chicken in hot water. Put oil in wok/pan, fry onion, garlic & ginger until fragrant.
  2. Put in chicken and fry. Pour Cola in.
  3. Stew the chicken with low heat, until gravy is thicken and ready to serve.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What Can My Kids Do For Me?

- Protect me with their kungfu fighting skills.

(errr... this one not really protect me la. More on protecting his precious lantern.)

- Help to wash the plates after dinner.
(even though I need to wash for second time
to make sure all clean).

- Help to wash my car.
(errr.. with their pants!!! Wow, butt-naked free car wash, anyone?)

- Surprise me with their creativity or skills.

(Actually he does not know how to play piano. But he knows how to pretend he knows how to play.)

- Make me laugh with their funny faces.

They are my Superheros!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Family Portrait II

This time is Caden's masterpieces:

So cute, huh? Without the teacher's caption, I don't think I can understand his drawing at all.
And this one:
Huh!? "The Mummy", "King Kong", "Hancock" ???
Uh-Oh! I think he watched too many movies on HBO. May be it's time to unsubcribe the Movie Package on Astro.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Family Portrait

Jaden's masterpiece :)

Not bad huh?

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Greenie Cake" / "Incredible Hulk Cake"

My last weekend baking project:

Huh!? What is that? Greed tea cake or pandan cake? No, no, no. Not so ordinary ya.

Fresh from oven:

without flash:

with flash :

When I first look at the cake, it does look odd. For those who tried it, none of them can tell what the green stuff is. This is a Spinach Cheese Cake. Who knows after you eat this cake, can get muscles like Popeye or Incredible Hulk. Haha. Spinach + cheddar cheese = odd combination. But taste great! Oh yes, I am an advanterous person, even in baking. Dare to try out odd recipes

Spinach (chopped) 100gm
Butter 150gm
Icing sugar 150gm
Eggs 4 nos
Flour 150gm
Corn flour 25gm
Baking powder 0.5 tsp
Cheddar cheese 50gm

  1. Whisk butter + icing sugar until light and fluffy, then slowly add in eggs one by one.
  2. Next add in sifted flour + corn flour + baking powder + spinach and mix well.
  3. Stir in grated cheddar cheese
  4. Pour into a oblong bread tin (lined & greased)
  5. Bake at 170c for 40 minutes

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tips That May Bring You A Beautiful Life!

Today my sis forward me a PowerPoint file with some meaningful messages below. Happy reading.
  • Take a 10-30 minutes walk everyday and while you walk, smile.
  • Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  • When you wake up in the morning, complete the following statement, "My purpose is to .... today."
  • Live with the 3 E's - Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy, and the 3 F's - Faith, Family, Friends.
  • Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6
  • Dream more while you are awake.
  • Try to make at least 3 people smile each day.
  • Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn, pass all your tests. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  • Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.
  • Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
  • Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  • Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  • You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagreements.
  • Make peace with your past, so it won't mess up the present.
  • Don't compare your life with others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  • Burn the candles, use the nice sheets. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
  • No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  • Forgive everyone for everything.
  • What other people think of you is none of your business.
  • Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
  • However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  • Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will stay in touch.
  • Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
  • The best is yet to come.
  • No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  • Do the right thing!
  • Call your family often.
  • Each night before you go to bed, complete the following statements: "I am thankful for..." or "Today I accomplished ..."
  • Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
  • Enjoy the ride. Remember that this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. Make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homemade Char Sau 叉烧

Last Sat I had my second attempt on Homemade Char Sau using the Buffalo Smart Cooker. During the first attempt few months ago, the taste was ok but the Char Sau looked too MJ (not black enough) since the recipe did not mention putting in dark soy sauce and I followed strictly. But for this second attempt, I put in dark soy sauce and lots of it. And the results look more like Char Sau. Taste wise? I give myself two thumbs up!

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Is This ?

Take a good look of these pics. Can you tell what this object is?

Floral? Coral?

A ball?

A type of durian?

The answer is ....

This is a tropical fruit available in Sabah called Buah Tarap (or Talap?). This fruit is especially found in Sabah only. It cannot be found in Peninsular Malaysia, and some said not in Sarawak too. It has a strong scent and tastes sweet. I believe this fruit is part of the Jackruit family. I asked around my Sabahan friends for its English names or Chinese names, but no one can tell me the answers.

Pic below shows the fruit is opened.
The skin is covered by soft thorn-like spines and the flesh is whitish, somewhat similar to Jackfruit.

Pic below shows the core (on the left) and the seeds (on the right). The seeds are edible after boiling or roasting. I only know about this the next day from Ryn. I had already finished eating the whole Buah Tarap and throw away all the seeds. What a waste!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tips for Marvelous Muffins

Found some helpful links in making muffins. If you are a novice baker or like to bake muffins, these tips given are very informative. Please read on :
  1. How to make muffins by Food 4 Tots
  2. Dome Secrets by The Prepared Pantry
  3. Making Muffins by All
  4. Cupcake vs Muffin by Pei Chyi

Raisins & Chocolate Chips Muffins

After I tried to bake muffin for the first time last week, I found that making muffins is a lot easier than baking cakes. Not only less ingredients to prepare, the methods are much simpler and small serving (usually 6 to 12 muffins) which is just nice for my family size. I think I should focus on baking muffins, instead of trying out fancy cakes since I am still a beginner in baking.

For this week baking experiment, I selected the Raisins & Chocolate Chips Muffins, recipe from Happy Home Baking.

My results:

Look ok!

Taste ok too!

(makes 8 muffins)

250g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup raisins

1 egg, beaten
60g unsalted butter, melted
175ml milk

125g caster sugar

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220°C (I followed one of tips stated in Food 4 Tots, i.e. start off the oven hot at 220°C then turn it down to the right temperature (200°C). This is to achieve the nice looking crunchy top. And it works!)
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan, over low heat, set aside to cool.
  3. Sieve together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl.
  4. Add chocolate chips, raisins and mix with a spatula. Make a well in the centre.
  5. Place egg, melted butter, milk and sugar in another bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined. (To cut down on washing up, I mixed these ingredients into the saucepan which I used to melt the butter).
  6. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour. With the spatula, gently fold all the ingredients to form a wet batter. Just mix until the flour are incorporate into the batter. DO NOT Over mix.
  7. Spoon batter into paper muffin cups. Bake for 20mins until muffins turn golden brown or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack.

Friday, October 16, 2009

DOM Raisin Cake

I saw this DOM Raisin Cake recipe from the one of the Buffalo cookware newsletters. Looks like an interesting cake. Since I have a big bottle of DOM liquor, why not give it a try?

My results?

I expected my cake to look similar to this photo shown in the recipe. The cake looks browny with lots of raisins topping.

Freshly baked cake, still in the cooker. Hmm... my cake looks pale. And where are the raisins?

After take the cake out from the cooker, my cake looks like this ...
Brown sugar & raisins, where are you?

Cut the cake and see most raisins "sink" to the bottom of the cake. Texture of the cake looks not fluffy enough. It looks like a steamed cake texture rather than a baked cake.
How wonderful that I can use the Smart Cooker to "bake" cake which comes with a "steamed cake" texture. Haiya...

Definately not 100% successful cake. Border pass only. I personally do not really like it because of the texture. But it does come with a strong DOM aroma and can taste the DOM while eat the cake too. Anyway, my colleagues still thought it was a nice cake. Some of them thought it was a steamed cake! I will try to bake this cake again (since the big bottle of DOM still sits in my kitchen cabinet). I will make sure I beat the mixture long enough to get fluffy & smooth texture.

Butter 250g
Brown sugar 100g
Self raising flour 250g
Eggs 5
Baking powder 1/2 tsp
DOM 150ml
Raisins 150g (soak overnight with DOM. I used 3 boxes of Ligo raisin.)

  1. Whisk the butter and brown sugar until mixture is even, light and fluffy.
  2. Slowly add in eggs, one by one.
  3. Add in baking powder and continue to beat until even.
  4. Pour the soaked raisin into the mixture. Stir evenly.
  5. Apply some butter on the inner pot of the Smart Cooker, pour in the cake mixture, select the "Cake" function (the cooker by default set the baking time as 45 minutes).

Healthy Tips:
Raisin is good for rectum's health improvement. It contains fiber and tartaric acid, which can accelerate human's excreta passing through the rectum. Meanwhile reduce contamination in the intestines.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chocolate Walnut Muffins

I found some muffins recipes from other blogs and think that muffins should be simple to make and the small serving is just nice for my family size. After shortlisted few recipes, I chose the "Chocolate Walnut Muffins" from Grace Kitchen Corner as my first ever homemade muffins. Furthermore, I have a pack of walnuts came all the way from Ireland :D It was given by my sister-in-law who came back to KK for holidays recently.

During preparation, I was confident that my first ever muffins would be VERY OK and the kids would love them. Simple job. After I put in the baking powder, I noticed that the mixture became very thick. Then I realised that actually I put in the WRONG amount of baking powder. The recipe asks for 1 TEASPOON of baking powder and I put in 1 TABLESPOON instead. OMG!!! Straight away my confidence level dropped to zero. I was wondering whether I should continue on to send the mixture to oven or thrown to the rubbish bin. Then I decided to safe my stupid mistake by pu
tting in more milk. I did not even measure how much milk that I put it. I just poured and stopped when the mixtures became not so thick.

What is the used of baking powder? According to Wikipedia, "Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent used to increase the volume and lighten the texture of baked goods such as muffins, cakes, scones and North American biscuits."
Oh no! Increase the volume, huh!?

My results?

Hey, not so bad looking, huh? Not only they look OK, they taste good also. I guess the Irish walnuts do make wonders. My boys finished 4 muffins and I gave away 2 for my part-time maid. What an experience and a lesson well learnt too. In future I MUST READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.

Recipes from Grace Kitchen Corner:
(to make 6 muffins)
Unsalted butter 50g
Caster Sugar 70g
Egg 1
Plain flour 85g (sieved plain flour, cocoa powder & baking powder)
Cocoa Powder 15g
Baking Powder 1 tsp
Pinch of Salt
Milk 60g
Walnut 60g (toasted and chopped)

  1. Beat the butter with sugar until light & pale in color.
  2. Add in egg then pinch of salt, beat until well combine.
  3. Add half of the milk and half of the flour. Using a hand whisk mix until well combine.
  4. Add in remaining milk and flour and mix well.
  5. Combine walnut with the mixture. Fill the muffins cups. Bake at 170c preheated oven for 30 minutes.