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Blueberry Flower Pastry

>> Jan 29, 2010

I was feeling lazy one Sunday…that’s why they call it lazy Sunday…(hahaha!) and was thinking of making the quickest and simplest to serve with afternoon tea. Hah…I have some leftover blueberry pie fillings and some frozen puff pastry in the freezer. Why not?

6 slices frozen puff pastry square, thawed
120g blueberry pie filling

 1.      Each slice, divided into 4 squares. It is easier to cut them before they thaw. Thaw for 10 minutes.
2.      Lightly grease the mini muffin pan.
3.      Gently press each piece of puff pastry into the mold.
4.      Spoon 1 tsp of pie filling into the pastry.
5.       Bake at 200C for 13-15 minutes till golden brown.
6.      Remove and cool on wire rack.

Serve each dainty pastry in paper cup liners individually.


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Coffee Hazelnut Bites

>> Jan 27, 2010

I found Malaysians and some Asians are tempted by the aroma of coffee in their drinks, chilled dessert and baked goods. Probably that's why you see many Cafes mushrooming in addition to the traditional kopitiams.  And, I too began to include this flavor in some of my stuff and found it somewhat pleasing. I admit that coffee is growing on me… hmmm, am I turning to be a coffee person? J

Perhaps I shall experiment more…

I made some Coffee Hazelnut Bites last year for Chinese New Year and received favorable comments. Here’s the recipe, which I have made some adjustments.

Coffee Hazelnut Bites
(Coffee Hazelnut Cookies, original recipe by Chef William Tan)

175g butter
100g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2/3 tbsp instant coffee powder dissolved in 1½ tbsp of boiling water (I use Nescafe classic)
45g ground hazelnut
225g + 2 tbsp self-rising flour
15g chocolate chips

1.      Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
2.      Beat in egg yolk, coffee mixture.
3.      Stir in ground hazelnut
4.      Mix in flour till combined.
5.       Using a teaspoon, spoon dough, press and insert in 3 pcs of chocolate chips. Arrange on a greased baking sheet.
6.      Bake at 170C for 15 minutes. (I usually remove the tray after giving it 5 minutes once I the aromatic smell of coffee started reaching me). Do not overbake.
7.      Cool on wire tray and store in air-tight container.

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Bright Monday

>> Jan 25, 2010

What a beautiful Monday morning, bright beautiful sunshine after a light shower last night…the air so fresh and clean.

There are some trees and greens in an empty plot of land near our house ear-marked for future development, providing the much needed ‘green-lungs’. Sigh! But for how long? Hopefully, it won’t be developed yet. There are some mornings on weekends, we’ll go for brisk walks, some stretching and breathing in the fresh clean air makes us feel great.

I feel good today though it’s been a busy weekend… tending to my little jungle of 6x8 sq feet green patch, replacement class for the little guy so the kids get additional day off during Chinese New Year week, chauffeuring the little guy to a nearby library, taekwondo class and monthly grocery shopping.

Spending a couple of hours in my green patch has brought me closer to nature, that’s why I feel good!

I hope you had a great weekend too.

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>> Jan 24, 2010

It’s the season of mini tangerine, or “Emperor Mandarin”… small, golden orange in color, just like kumquats, 2-3cm in diameter. These sweet, tangy fruits remind me of Chinese New Year and “Kam” (mandarin orange)…

Carton cases of mandarin oranges can be seen stacked in some supermarkets and hypermarkets since Boxing Day. I remember when I was small, mandarin oranges are sold quite close to the actual CNY festival. We’ll bring a bag of 6 or 8 oranges when visiting relatives or friends together with some sweet candies or treats.

I caught a lion dance performance yesterday as I was out for my monthly grocery shopping. 

There’ll be many more around beginning now till the 15th day of CNY, or Chap Goh Mei which is 28 Feb. As this coming Lunar new year is the year of Tiger, it’s Tiger Dance rather than the traditionally Lion Dance. 

The arrival of CNY also signals the arrival of spring though in many countries you’ll still see winter and snow… I’ll start decorating our home as soon as I finish my spring-cleaning. Many Chinese like to decorate their home with flowers during CNY welcoming spring and Chinese also believe that when plants bloom during CNY, the home will be blessed with prosperity throughout the year. Fondly used in many homes and business establishments is the pink plum blossom (in Malaysia, we use plastic ones, :-( unfortunately). Chrysanthemums and orchids are popular here too. The local plant nurseries will enjoy brisk business these few weeks selling flowers and some lucky bamboo, well, lots of plants have been given names bearing good & positive meanings. But I hope my hibiscus will bloom beautifully in this festival.

This year Chinese New Year will fall on 14th February 2010…a double celebration with Valentine’s Day. How nice! 

There’s less than 3 weeks. I hope I can have some time to do some baking, cookies, cakes and stuff besides spring-cleaning.

As this is my first CNY since I started blogging, perhaps giving me an opportunity to share some cookies recipes with you very soon.

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Steamed Chicken with Black Fungus and Mushroom

>> Jan 20, 2010

One favourite dish of Hubby is Steamed Chicken. It’s quick and simple, busy Moms and working ladies may find it easy and elderly folks may like it too.

Sigh! My little guy is not fond of meat and I have to try ways to incorporate meat into his diet. Cooking for a family is not an easy task, (Mom, I can’t say how much I appreciate you for what you were & are now capable of doing - and now I know… :-), thank you!), where the cook of the family needs to strike a nutrition balance among the members, and it’s even tougher if you have an unwell or elderly family member joining in the mealtime.

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Tofu with minced pork

>> Jan 12, 2010

One very simple and appetizing dish I serve on weekday is Tofu with minced pork.

Tofu is a highly nutritious, protein-rich food that is made from the curds of soybean milk and very low in calories. It is also a good source of B-vitamins and iron, calcium and is low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol. Tofu, I understand is also very low in sodium, making it a perfect food for people on sodium-restricted diets.
Sources, click here to find out more on Tofu and its nutritional benefit, Soyfoods and World's Healthiest Foods

1 box of soft white tofu
1 tbsp of minced bean paste
80g minced pork
1 packet of fresh Enoki mushroom, chopped small (1cm in length) – rinse thoroughly, after chopping off ends. (Or you can substitute with fresh Shiitake mushroom, chopped small)
3 pips of garlic, chopped small
½ cup water
1 tbsp Sunflower seed oil

1.      Steam tofu for 10 minutes.
2.      Meanwhile, heat oil in wok, add in garlic, fry till fragrant but not brown.
3.      On medium heat, add in bean paste, stir fry till fragrant, add in minced pork and stir.
4.      Add in water and let it come to a simmer for 2 minutes.
5.       Add in Enoki mushroom last, let it come to a boil.
6.      Turn off flame. Drain off excess liquid in steamed tofu.
7.   Dish up minced pork gravy on top of steamed tofu.
7.      Garnish with chopped spring onions – optional, which sometimes I do not bother.
8.   Serve hot with white rice.

There, a simple, quick, delicious weekday nutritional Tofu dish for the family. Enjoy!

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Coffee Cake

>> Jan 8, 2010

I enjoyed this Christmas very much probably because I baked more than I did the previous year. I injured my arm in late 2008 but have since recovered, somewhat. Hehehe...I enjoyed probably because I ate a lot too the past few weeks. Oh my, it's going to be tough with Chinese New Year barely 5 weeks away... how can I resist the festive food?

Here's some of the Xmas stuff... mouth-watering stuff! I made 2 small 6” cakes and presented 1 to my friend for Christmas this year. A white cream cake with chocolate & strawberries are normally kids favourite. I think I didn’t do too good a job on the decoration but we love the chunky & tart strawberries and chocolate combined with coffee sponge cake.

(This Coffee Cake decorated with chocolate shavings was given to a friend)

Sponge Cake
1 packet sponge-cake mix 250g
Eggs, water and melted butter, please follow instruction per packet
1 tsp of mocha or coffee paste

Topping & Cream filling
2-3 tbsp of ice-cold water

100g strawberries, hulled and cut into small chunks
75g dark chocolate
2 tbsp double cream
2 tsp of butter
1-2 tsp fresh milk

1.      Prepare sponge cake as per instruction. Beat all ingredients in a mixing bowl till soft and fluffy. Add in mocha paste and continue beating till well combined.
2.      Pour in (2 x 6” round pans) or 1 pan of 9”. Lined bottom with baking paper and lightly grease the sides.
3.      Bake at 180C for 35-40 minutes till golden brown and when the cake has pulled slightly away from the sides of pan.

4.      Remove from oven, gently remove from pan and set to cool on wire tray.
5.       Once cooled, chill in the fridge while we set to prepare the whipped topping and chocolate fillings
6.      In a double boiler method, melt chocolate, cream and butter, stir till combined, add milk little by little. Let cool, thicken slightly but enough for spreading & piping but not harden at all.
7.      Whip Topping : Beat whip topping and iced water, in a chilled mixing bowl and beater, till lines start appearing. (Do not overbeat)
8.      Remove the cake from the fridge and slice across into 2 layers.
9.      Decorate with cream, add strawberry chunks and melted chocolate, as desired. Or, you can add chocolate shavings too.

I hope you have enjoyed eating as much as I did during the holidays. :-D

By the way, this is my present from my Hubby... nope, not the Estee Lauder... but I was also eyeing this CUPCAKE by Joanna Farrow when we visited the bookstore the last 2 times. :-)

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Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake

>> Jan 6, 2010

I like Cheesecake, the baked and the non-baked, the creamy, cheesy, firm, mousse-like, with or without fruits, the sinfully rich and calories laden, irresistible...there, I like Cheesecake! I'm being totally honest about this, honest confession!

They are the perfect dessert for potluck, BBQ parties, children parties or just a weekend get-together with some friends for tea/coffee. I made these for some friends who dropped in for a quiet New Year count-down without the partying, fireworks...guess we are getting too old for the countdown parties! We went out for a simple 6-dishes chinese dinner and came back for some cheesecake and coffee.

I hope you'll like, I think it's just sweet enough with blueberry pie filling swirl giving the added sweetness needed.

Base crust
150g McVitie’s Plain Digestive Biscuit
70g Unsalted butter, melted

Cheese fillings
2 tbsp Unflavoured Gelatine Powder
3 tbsp Boiling water
250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
70g caster sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp of lemon zest (optional)
200 ml whipping cream, whipped
100ml low-fat milk or plain yoghurt
150g blueberry pie filling

1.      Process the biscuits till fine with food processor or place the biscuits in a medium-size plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin till fine crumbs. Add melted butter and mix well.
2.      Line the base of a 21cm square pan which has a removable bottom with baking paper or you can use aluminium foil with enough length to go over the 2 sides for ease of removal when you are ready to serve (if you do not have a loose bottom pan)
3.      Lightly grease the sides with butter.
4.      Press the biscuit mixture to the bottom evenly and chill in the fridge till needed.
5.       Soften gelatine powder with boiling water in a small bowl. Keep warm by placing the small bowl in a larger bowl with very hot water, till gelatine melts.
6.      Beat softened cream cheese with caster sugar till smooth. Beat in gelatine mixture and lemon juice.
7.      In a separate chilled mixing bowl, beat whipping cream till soft peaks form. Fold whipping cream gently into the cream cheese mixture.
8.      Gently add milk 2 tbsp by 2 tbsp till combined or plain yoghurt.
9.      Pour cream cheese mixture onto the chilled biscuit base. Drop small teaspoon of blueberry pie filling over the cream cheese filling.
10.  With a chopstick or a clean stick, swirl to make some nice marbling design.
11.  Cover and chill for 6 hours or overnight for it to set.

Cut into small pieces, I got 16 and serve.

Hubby enjoyed it with a cup of coffee, as with a couple of others… yes, at midnight and he was snoring away at 1am when all guests left. (Chuckling)… coffee or espresso has never been able to keep hubby awake when it comes to sleeping time. Hahaha!

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Happy New Year 2010

>> Jan 5, 2010

I’m sorry I’ve been away for more than a week and not being able to post…my hands were full, literallyJ.

Here’s wishing you a very Happy New Year, to all my friends out there, including those whom I’ve not had the opportunity to meet but have connected via the weblog and flickr J. Thank you for being my friends.

May this new year be special and brings new meaning to each and every one of you. May you have a good beginning, achieve your dreams, conquer new heights and find success this year. I pray the good Lord will keep you safe, healthy and happy always.

2009 has been a busy year and enriching for me. I’ve just celebrated 3 months of blogging (Congrats to me! Jheheheh…), made new friends around the globe and learnt much about blogging & photography.

I wanted to try something new in 2009 and I did – blogging and photography! I’m glad I did but strangely I’ve not given 2010 new resolutions much thought… It's high time I do something or find something to do...

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A place to share my thots, my experiences, my dreams, my musings, my tips...
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