Sunday, October 23, 2016

23 Oct 16 (Sun) - Buttery Sour Cream Muffins

Had some leftover sour cream and wondered what to do with it. Googled for recipes that use sour cream and self-rising flour and this "Buttery Sour Cream Muffins" by Taste of Home popped out. Tried the recipe and made two muffins. This was the first time that I made savory muffins. I think it will be better if they were in bite-size instead of muffin size because it was very filling. And because it was so buttery, I ate it with a dollop of sour cream to balance the taste and I ate it as a meal.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

16 Oct 16 (Sun) - Pumpkin White Cake

Today I did an experimental bake using pumpkin and egg whites. Modified my usual butter cupcake recipe and the result was a bit unexpected. Basically I substituted one egg with the egg white of the same weight and added pumpkin puree. Instead of baking in cupcake cases, I used a springform cake tin plus one cupcake case.

Baked at 160 degree celsius for 20 minutes like what the recipe calls for but the centre of the big cake was still wet while the smaller cake was moist. So baked for another 5 minutes before testing again. This time, the toothpick came out clean for the smaller cake but not so for the big cake. Got a bit impatient, so took out the small cake, left the big cake in the oven and set it to bake for another 10 minutes at 200 degree celsius. This time, the cake was done but the top was browned and slightly crispy. Wondered if it was due to the egg white.

Let the cakes cooled down before trying the small one. The cake seemed to be sweeter than usual and instead of pumpkin taste, the cake tasted more like carrot cake. Wondered if there's something wrong with my taste bud.

Packed the big cake in tupperware box to bring to office tomorrow for taste test. Hope reviews will be favorable.

50g butter - soften
50g castor sugar
50g self-rising flour
54g egg white
15ml milk
1/3 tsp vanilla essence
65g pumpkin puree
pinch of salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 160 degree celsius
2.  Line a 4" springform bake tin and 1 silicon muffin case with cupcake case
3.  Mix egg white with milk and vanilla essence with a fork till just blended
4.  Beat butter and sugar till fluffy
5.  Sift flour with a pinch of salt
6.  Add to butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mix on low speed till blended after each addition
7.  Stir in pumpkin puree till well combined
8.  Pour batter into cake tin and cupcake case
9.  Bake for 30-40mins until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean*
10. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool

* For cupcake size, bake for 25 mins

---------------- Edited on 17 Oct 2016 ----------------

Brought the big cake to office for the usual group of testers to try. Didn't tell them the flavour and ask them if they could tell after eating. Just as I thought, they couldn't tell. After I told them it was supposed to be pumpkin flavour, they all suggested that perhaps I should up the pumpkin puree amount and down the sugar and butter amount. Worth a shot. Maybe on next try.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

15 Oct 16 (Sat) - Baked Sweet Potato & Pumpkin with Sour Cream

It had been a long time since the last post back in mid-June. My kitchen underwent a revamp after that for a few months and now it is back in "business". Bought a Panasonic Combi-oven (Model: NN-DS592B) and decided to try recipes that I had never been able to do before. As this is my very first combi-oven (I have been using microwave oven all this while), I had to read the manual very carefully before using it for cooking.

Today I attempted something simple, baked sweet potato and pumpkin. Modified the "Quick Baked Potatoes" recipe that I found on "She Wears Many Hat" by Amy and the result was pretty good. First look at the dish, I think one would think that it was meant to be some sort of a dessert, with sweet potatoes and pumpkin as ingredients. However, it was actually a savory dish which I ate as lunch. Heh.

1-2 tbsp olive oil (I used lemon-infused oilve oil)
2 Japanese sweet potatoes, washed
1 wedge of pumpkin, rinsed
some salt (I used himalayan salt)
some mixed herbs
a dash of cinnamon powder

1.  Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius
2.  Line metal tray with baking paper
3.  Drizzle the lined baking paper with olive oil
4.  Cut sweet potatoes in half length wise and pumpkin into big chunks
5.  Coat sweet potatoes and pumpkin evenly with the olive oil on the baking paper
6.  Place sweet potatoes cut side down and pumpkin skin side down on lined baking paper
7.  Sprinkle sweet potatoes and pumpkin with salt, mixed herbs and cinnamon powder
8.  Bake at 180 degree celsius for 20-25 mins and check with fork for doneness
9.  Serve with sour cream and some spring onions

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

11 Jun 16 (Sun) - Mango Ice Cream (Improved Version)

It is thick in the summer and there are mangoes everywhere so what's a better to scream summer than having mango ice cream!

Bought four mangoes for $5 from the market and they smell heavenly. Used the three ingredients recipe but this time round, I added 50g more mango puree and a twist to the usual method. And the results? Simply divine! 

Those who tasted the ice cream shouted "Nice!" and "Fresh!". A few of them commented that the mango taste was very strong and not too sweet. Guess this will become the new improved recipe for the three ingredients mango ice cream.

200ml whipping cream
200g diced mango
80g icing sugar

1.  Place diced mango in a blender and pulse 2-3 times
2.  Add whipping cream and 1/3 of the icing sugar then pulse 2-3 times
3.  Add another 1/3 of the icing sugar and pulse 2-3 times
4.  Add the remaining icing sugar and blend the mixture for about 10-15 seconds
5.  Pour mixture into a container of your choice and put into the freezer
6.  Remove from freezer after 3 hours to churn* with a fork
7.  Repeat step (6) for another time before freezing it overnight

* Try to churn the mixture in a whisking manner to try to incorporate as much air into the mixture as possible

Since I have some diced mango, pomelo and strawberry sauce, tried to do plating and I think I need to work on my plating skill. Nevertheless, after I was done with it that I realized that the combination was that of the Mango Pomelo Sago (杨枝甘露) dessert minus the sago and coconut milk. Haha....

Sunday, April 3, 2016

3 Apr 16 (Sun) - Avocado Ice Cream

Suddenly had craving for avocado and bought three from the NTUC last Friday. At the same time also bought a bottle of gula melaka syrup and a pack of oat milk. Initially I wanted to get the HL milk but my colleague recommended the oat milk by Magnolia, saying that the milk has the oat fragrant which is really nice. My first reaction was that it may not go well with what I intend to make, but then I decided to give it a shot. My plan was to make avocado milkshake. Then I went on to explore the idea of making it into an ice cream. Didn't google for avocado milkshake, but I did a search on avocado ice cream. Read a few which looked similar and then decided to use my previous beetroot ice cream recipe as a base.

Started off with the ice cream and the first step was to make the avocado puree. Didn't follow the amount of the ingredients per the beetroot ice cream recipe. Instead, I used my own estimations on the amount of avocados to use, the amount of gula melaka syrup to add, and so on. The puree turned out to be rather good on its own. Then the final step was to add in the whipping cream and pulsed it with the avocado puree for some twenty seconds before sending the mixture into the freezer.

Ingredients for Avocado Puree
180g avocado flesh, chopped
120ml gula melaka syrup
1-2 tsp lemon juice
130ml oat milk

1.  Add all ingredients in a blender and process till smooth
2.  Sieve the mixture to remove any bits and chunks that are still present

Ingredients for Avocado Ice Cream
350g avocado puree
200g whipping cream

1.  Pour avocado puree and whipping cream in a blender
2.  Process the mixture for about 15-20 seconds
3.  Pour mixture into a container of your choice and put into the freezer
4.  Remove from freezer after 2 hours to churn** with a fork
5.  Repeat step (4) for another three times before freezing it overnight

** Try to churn the mixture in a whisking manner to try to incorporate as much air into the mixture as possible

Next up was the avocado milkshake. This was easy because it was simply a matter of blending the avocado flesh, the oat milk and gula melaka syrup. Just needed to adjust the amount of milk and syrup to my preferred consistency and taste. As I still had half an avocado left, I kept it in an airtight container till I found a recipe to use it later on.

Googled for a savory avocado recipe and found one called Avocado Egg Salad by Two Peas and Their Pod. Didn't follow the recipe exactly, just in general. So made one hard-boiled egg, mashed it together with the remaining avocado and some mayonnaise, seasoned with some salt, black pepper and mixed herbs. Added some spring onion since I had some left from last weekend. Though it was called avocado egg salad, it was more like a spread which I used it for my bread. Turned out to be rather delicious.

---------------- Edited on 6 Apr 2016 ----------------

Brought some avocado ice cream to office for my usual group of tasters to try. I guess it is either you like it or you hate it. To quote my brother-in-law, "It is an acquired taste". So the feedback I got were pretty wide ranging from “Wah... I love avocado + gula melaka!” to “Honest opinion… not a big fan”.

NYP was the one who loves avocado, especially those creamy avocado drinks one can get in Indonesia. So she commented “It’s nice. Not too sweet. Think can put more avocado.”

CC, on the other hand, was the one who is not a big fan. She commented that the ice cream was very buttery / creamy. So suggested that maybe next time can replace oat milk with coconut juice and add in some grated coconut.

TYY was somewhere in between as she doesn’t eat avocado so doesn’t know how it really tastes like. However, she did comment that “the avocado lends a nice creaminess without actually feeling heavy like cream” and that she could taste the gula melaka.

I read from one of the avocado ice cream recipes that the ice cream tastes very well when eaten with some shaved dark chocolate. So suggested that to my tasters and one of them, SWT, actually tried that. She commented that the ice cream was very creamy and the addition of the shaved dark chocolate actually brought out the smoothness of the avocado ice cream.

Well… guess it really is a case of either you like it or you hate it.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

26 Mar 16 (Sat) - Meringue

Was researching for recipes on pavlova and wanted to try it out during the weekend. However, I didn't want to buy whipped cream and fruits and then end up with a fail product eventually. So I modified a few of the pavlova recipes and omitted the cream and fruits.

The recipe was a very simple one and when the end product came out, I realized that I had made meringue instead.

Well... technically pavlova is a meringue-based dessert so by omitting the cream and fruits, I was essentially left with just the meringue.

Ingredients (make 8 2.5" meringue):
2 egg white
110g caster sugar
2g corn flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp red food coloring

1.  Draw 8 2.5" circles using a pencile on a baking sheet and lay it face down on a baking tray
2.  Preheat oven to 150 degree celsius
3.  Mix caster sugar with corn flour and vanilla with red food coloring and set them aside
4.  Beat egg white with electric mixer at low speed till foamy
5.  Add caster sugar/corn flour mixture in three batches and increase the speed of the electric mixer after each batch till it reaches maximum speed when all the mixture is added
6.  Add vanilla/red food coloring mixture
7.  Continue to beat the mixture till thick and glossy
8.  Spoon the mixture onto the circles on the baking sheet on the baking tray
9.  Bake for 25 mins and then leave to cool completely in the oven
10.  Store the meringue in an airtight container and they can keep for a week

Sunday, March 13, 2016

13 Mar 16 (Sun) - Steamed Beetroot & Banana Cupcakes

Last night I copied the “Steamed Banana Cupcakes” recipe, halved the portion and modify it to use beetroot instead of banana. So went about preparing the ingredients and realized that I did not have enough beetroot residue. Didn’t know what came over me and I went straight for the banana that I have in the kitchen and used it to top up the balance. The result was a very unique flavor of earthly-sweet. Texture wise, they were not as fluffy as normal steamed cakes. Either the beetroot residue and banana were too heavy or there wasn’t enough rising agents to help the cakes to rise or I didn’t incorporate enough air into the cake mixture. Nevertheless, they were still edible though texture was dense.

1 egg
45g caster sugar
95g sweeten beetroot residue
30g mashed banana
75g self-rising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp cooking oil

1.  Sieve flour and baking powder then set aside
2.  Whisk egg and sugar till white and fluffy
3.  Add sweeten beetroot residue and mashed banana and mixed well
4.  Gently fold in the flour followed by the cooking oil
5.  Spoon into cupcake cases
6.  Steam over high heat for 15 minutes

Beetroot-themed desserts for the weekend. How that?

Happened to see this particular article “This Genius Sunday Prep Idea Will Help You Lose Weight All Week” on the Internet and after reading up as well as seeing a few of my friends eating overnight oats, I finally pluck up the courage to try. Bought the ingredients listed and prepared four bottles for the week and will start my first bottle tomorrow. Hope it tastes good! 


Since I had time, I cooked some steamed pork balls too for today’s meals. A yummy dish that my folks used to make.

---------------- Edited on 15 Mar 2016 ----------------

Brought a couple of the steamed cakes to office for CC and TYY to try. As the cakes were based on a modified recipe with the main ingredient being beetroot, told them that if after one bite and they don't like it, don't force themselves to finish. Turns out that CC loves beetroot while TYY not so much, like most people. Despite that, both gave positive feedback and CC even nicknamed the cake as "BB Cake". Haha...

CC: Very strong beetroot taste. I like beetroot but maybe not accustomed to it being in a cake. Not enough banana. Very nice moisture but a bit dense.

TYY: I liked the cake! It tastes like a denser version of the colorful steamed cakes. the banana and beetroot actually goes quite nicely. I don't actually like beetroot taste itself, so for me mixing it with banana lifts it slightly and made it much more enjoyable.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

12 Mar 16 (Sat) - Beetroot Ice Cream

It has been a long time since I have made any desserts and after having tried cooking beetroot previously, I had this idea of incorporating it into ice cream. I know this is not a new idea so went about searching for a recipe on the Internet. Found a few but those require the use of eggs, dug around some more and found this Eggless Beetroot Ice Cream by Mayuri's Jikoni. Modified it a little to adapt to my own ice cream recipe and ended up with an earthly-taste ice cream with a slightly icy texture. The beetroot that I bought weighed about 270g and as to why I used soy milk is because I happened to have that instead of milk.

50ml soy milk
80g caster sugar
200ml whipping cream
200g beetroot, peeled and sliced

1.  Cook sliced beetroot using Happy Call Pan (HCP) with lid closed till soften over low heat
2.  Remove beetroot from HCP and place into a blender
3.  Add sugar and soy milk
4.  Blend the mixture till beetroot is completely crushed
5.  Sieve the mixture and press the residue to extract as much juice as possible
6.  Clean the blender and add back the beetroot juice into the blender
7.  Add in whipping cream and process for a about 15-20 seconds
8.  Pour mixture into a container of your choice and put into the freezer
9.  Remove from freezer after 2 hours to churn* with a fork
10.  Repeat step (9) for another three times before freezing it overnight

* Try to churn the mixture in a whisking manner to try to incorporate as much air into the mixture as possible

I was left with about half a bowl of sweeten beetroot residue, throwing it away seemed to be a waste, so I kept it in an airtight box in the fridge while I think of what other desserts I can use it for. Search the Internet for ideas and found this website called “My Baby Recipe” that lists recipes on steam cakes. Scrolled through the list, chose this one called “Steamed Banana Cupcakes” and decided that I would change the banana to beetroot instead.

---------------- Edited on 22 Mar 2016 ----------------

Brought a small tub of the ice cream to office for my usual group of tasters to try and received positive feedback. CC commented that the ice cream was nice and unique with a strong buttery initial taste that transformed into strong beetroot aftertaste.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

14 Feb 16 (Sun) - Laksa Fried Pasta with Blue Mussels Meat

Found this pack of laksa fried rice sauce in the pantry and decided to cook it with some pasta for a quick meal. Just needed to add four teaspoons of water to the sauce, add to the already cooked pasta and stir to mix well before adding other ingredients which in this case, I added some blue mussels meat.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

10 Dec 15 – Day 11 (Christchurch)

Flight back was for 12 noon so we didn’t have to wake up early like other days. Got up about 8+am, then ate breakfast about 9+am. Checked out and then we headed to the airport. Again Cynthia had problem with sitting arrangements and we had to inform her of our seat numbers so that she could rearrange. After we were done checking in our luggage and stuff, we browsed the shops inside the airport and I bought a pack of three small bottles of kiwi fruit jams. I was a bit worry initially because I wasn’t sure if they can get past the security checks. The sales staff assured me that there wouldn’t be any problem. We then popped into another shop and I saw a pair of silver fern ear studs and told SWT that they might be suitable for her ears and would most likely go well with her silver fern pendant. She looked at them and fell in love. Quickly made her purchase and then popped into the toilet to change the ear studs. Soon it was time to go to the boarding gate for our flight home. After 10+ hours on the plane, I was back to my home country.

Thoughts: Overall it was a really wonderful trip. I can strike an item off my bucket list. I hope I can go visit NZ again on my own so that I can explore the country slowly.