Sunday 31 August 2014

Traditional Mooncakes (廣式月餅)


I was contemplating whether should I post this as I was rather disappointed with the appearance of these mini mooncakes.  You know what?  I could hardly see the design on the surface of the mooncakes when they were out from the oven.  Not only that, the skin was hard, dry and crack too! L    
But I was so surprised that the mooncakes has transformed "miraculously" after 3 days!  The recipe mentioned it will turn soft and shiny after the “回油” (literally means “returns oily and soft”).  So I waited 3 days and amazingly, these mooncakes really turned out to be soft, glowing and look “a bit” nicer now.
So out of about 20 over pieces, I have selected these 4 “good looking” one to form “中秋月饼”.  Can you see that? J
After the “回油”, I don’t feel so disappointed.  I could feel at least a little achievement for making it 1st time.
This mooncake is adapted from Christine Ho’s Recipe



100g       Plain flour
60g         Golden syrup (I used Tate & Lyle’s Golden Syrup)
½ tsp       Alkaline water
28g         Vegetable oil

420g       Lotus seed puree/paste
6 pcs       Salted egg yolk
1 tbsp      Rose-flavoured cooing wine玫瑰露酒

Egg wash
1 no.        Egg yolk
2 tbsp      Egg white


(1)Use a large bowl, mix the golden syrup, alkaline water and oil well. Sift in the flour. Use a spatula to combine all ingredients. Don’t over-stir. Knead into a dough. Cover with a film wrap and rest for 40 minutes.

(2)Mix egg yolks with wine. If the salted egg yolks are homemade and freshly broken from the shells, you’ll see the egg whites would turn opaque after mixing with the wine a few minutes later. Wipe dry the yolks with kitchen paper. Cut each into two halves. Set aside. Roll lotus paste into a long tube. Cut into 12 equal portions, each 35 grams. Roll each portion into a ball shape. Set aside.

(3)Preheat oven to 180C (356F). Prepare the egg wash: whisk the egg yolk with the egg white. Sift through a fine sieve.

(4)Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a small ball shape. Cover a dough portion with a plastic film and roll into a thin disc. Then take a lotus paste ball and poke a hole in the middle with your finger. Place egg yolk inside. Roll and shape into a ball. Wrap and seal the lotus paste ball with the dough disc. Spray the mooncake mould and place the stuffed mooncake into the mould. Lightly press the mould handle, then remove the mooncake from the mould. Transfer the stuffed mooncake onto a lined baking tray. Repeat this step to finish the remaining dough and lotus paste.

(5)Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. Brush the mooncakes with egg wash, at about 5 minutes before removing from the oven. Continue to bake until the pastry turns golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight container. The pastry will become soft, called “回油literally means ”returns oily and soft’ and shiny in one or two days.

Note from Christine
How important is the alkaline water in this recipe?

(a)It neutralizes the acid in the golden syrup.

(b)It helps to give nice browning on the mooncake pastry. If adding alkaline water too much, the colour will be too dark. If adding not enough, it’s very difficult to brown the mooncake pastry. In this recipe, the amount of alkaline water is very balanced. Please take note that if you use other kind of golden syrup, the amount of alkaline water might need to be adjusted accordingly in order to give a nice browning effect. You might test run with a small amount of dough to see how many alkaline water has to be used properly with your own golden syrup.

(c)In this recipe, you might've noticed that no baking powder is needed. But the mooncake pastry is soft with a bit fluffy texture, that's the effect produced by alkaline water.

I’m submitting this for Cook-Your-Books #15.
Cook-Your-Books is organised and hosted
by Joyce of Kitchen Flavour.

I’m also linking this post to Little Thumbs Up and the theme for August is Flour .  Little Thumbs Up is organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Doreen from My Little Favourite DIY and for August, it is hosted by Diana from the Domestic Goddess Wannabe.

I'm joining Best Recipes for Everyone August 2014 Event Theme: Mooncake hosted by Fion XuanHom's Mom.

Saturday 30 August 2014

Pork Chop with Sweet and Sour Peppers (Gordon Ramsay)


This Pork Chop with Sweet and Sour Peppers was featured in Episode 1 of Gordon Ramsey’s Ultimate Cookery Course.  You can find video clip everywhere on You Tube.
After watching a few episode of his Ultimate Cookery Course, his recipes and skills have impressed me a lot and I decided to give it a try on this dish which is simple enough for a kitchen novice like me.

Anyway, I have all the ingredients except fresh thyme.  So I used dried thyme to sprinkle around the pan since I didn’t have a sprig.

This dish is really beyond my imagination of good.  It’s so fantastic.  It has real flavor and tasted awesome.  
Look at the red peppers, they are so beautiful and the green from the basil made it pop out even more.  I’m happy that I managed to get the beautiful golden brown for the chop.

Yes!  Finally I have cooked something from Gordon Ramsey for Cook Like A Star.  Cooking along to the theme with the rest bloggers really make cooking so fun.

 I looked through the post link and saw Lian from Whatever You Do also cooked this dish and she was very pleased with it too.  
Now she’s an ardent fan of Gordon Ramsay and so am I J



2 pcs pork chops
Olive Oil, for frying
2 garlic cloves, skin on, crushed
Small bunch of thyme (I used dried thyme)

The sweet and sour peppers
Olive oil, for frying
1 red onion, peeled and sliced 2 red peppers deseeded and thinly sliced
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Small bunch of basil leaves, shredded.


(1)First prepare the peppers.  Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan, then add the onion and peppers.

(2)Season with salt and pepper, add the sugar and sauté over a high heat for 4-5 mins until soft and coloured.  (make sure you can hear the vegetables hissing in the pan.  If not, the pan isn’t hot enough and you’re in danger of boiling the vegetables instead of frying them.

(3)Add the vinegar and let it bubble for a minute or 2 until the peppers are soft.  Turn down the heat, add the tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and cook for a further of 2-3 minutes.  Stirring the shredded basil and continue to cook for 30 seconds then turn off the heat.  Decan into a bowl and set aside to infuse.  Wipe the pan clean, ready to cook the pork.

(4)Using a sharp knife, make cuts into the fat of the chops, about 5mm deep and at 3-4cm intervals, making sure you don’t cut into the meat.  (this will stop the meat from curling up during cooking and will make it cook more evenly).  Season the chops really well on both sides, pushing the seasoning into the meat.

(5)Place the cleaned frying pan over a high heat until hot and add a dash of oil.  Add the chops, garlic and thyme and fry for 2-3 minutes until coloured.  Turn and fry for a further 2-3 minutes on the other side, pushing the thyme under the chops and breaking up the garlic a little.

(6)Towards the end of cooking time, add 3 knobs of butter and bastle the chops with it as they are cooking, to speed up the cooking process and keep the chops moist.  (Push the fatty edge of the chops towards the back of the pan to help render the fat).  Squeeze the garlic out of it skin and place with the herbs on the top of the chops.

(7)Transfer the chops to a plate, and rest for 5-10 minutes, spooning over the basting butter now and again.

 (8)Serve the chops on the top of the peppers with the resting juices and a little juice from the peppers.

I’m linking this post to Cook Like A Star – Gordon Ramsay
which is hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Yen from Eat Your Heart Out and Mich from Piece of Cake

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Baked Spaghetti With Meat Sauce 焗肉酱意粉


This is supposed to be for the Bake-Along for baked pasta.  But I was too tight up with my work that unable to post it in time for it.
I have baked something similar to this one previously.  It was Baked Pork Chop with Rice and adapted from Lena’s blog too.
Be it whether Baked Rice or Baked Spaghetti, this is the type of dish which I cook regularly for lunch on weekend when my boys and I are too lazy to leave house for lunch.  So I’ll cook whatever it is available in the fridge and mince meat (both beef and pork) and cheese are always available in my fridge.
This is an easy and fast dish which is well received by my family.

(for 2 servings and I have increased the portion accordingly for my family)
150g               spaghetti
150gm            ground pork
½ of 1             Onion, cubed
1 clove            Garlic, minced
1 box              Cherry tomatoes, halves

¾ cup              Tomato sauce
1 tbsp              Oyster sauce
½ tbsp             Worcheshire sauce
80-100ml       Anchovy Stock (I used chicken stock)
                        Salt to taste
1 cup               Shredded mozzarella cheese (I replaced shredded cheese as I was running out of mozzarella cheese)

(1)Cook the spaghetti, drain and transfer to a baking dish.  Heat up some oil in a frying pan, cook the onions and garlic till sizzling and add in the ground pork.  Stir and cook the meat till almost done and add in the cheery tomatoes. 

(2)Pour in the sauce and let the sauce simmer for about 2 minutes, can mash the tomatoes a bit.  Season with salt if necessary.  Remove from heat.

(3)Pour the sauce over the spaghetti and scatter the cheese all over.  Grill on a preheated oven at 210ºC for about 10 minutes or till the cheese is brown.

Sunday 24 August 2014

KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer


After 1 year of admiring, I have finally “bring” her home.
Unlike when I bought my oven, I have done so much research and was confused at one point which oven to get.  But I didn’t have 2nd thought when the red KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer was on sales at Tott for S$699.  I simply grabbed it without hesitation.

Every time, I look at my counter top, I couldn’t believe that I actually owe a KitchenAid Mixer.  But it’s true fact that I own it!  I’m now the owner of this new red and shiny KitchenAid Stand Mixer.

Now, with this powerful mixer, I should be able to make bread confidently.

Thursday 21 August 2014

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts


Zoe could witness how many times I had attempted to make egg tarts.  Finally, I had succeeded in making it.

Look at these beautiful egg tarts.  Did the photo speak for itself?  These wobbly egg fillings, was not sweet at all.  It’s soft but still holds its shape.  It had smooth and silky texture and the aroma, when hot from the oven, would make you mouth-watering and it really melted into the mouth almost instant.
You know what?  The first few times when I made these tarts, it was a complete failure.  I couldn’t remove the tarts from the mould as they were all stuck to it.  My children and I tried “shaking” and hoping it would fall off and they even tried tapping the mould with the spoon! Some bloggers have advised “knocking” against the table top.  But no matter what method I had tried, it simply refused to budge.  My children had given up and they decided to eat it directly from the mould.  LOL!
After so many attempts, I have finally understood how was it like to remove the tarts from the mould without much effort.  There’s no special trick or secret recipe to it.  Zoe highlighted many things to me and one of them was whether did I roll out the dough.  Haha! Gotcha!  This was the step which I skipped!  It didn’t seem significant at first, but this was the reason my egg tarts were failing miserably…
What I took away from this experience is that there is no easy way out and every step that each recipe mentioned has its purpose.
Here you go, the recipe adapted from Christine Ho, a very popular Hong Kong bloggers.  I got one of her cookbook Easy Recipes – A Selection of Simple Classics, during my last Hong Kong trip.


200g       plain flour / all purpose flour
25g         cake flour1
125g       butter
65g         caster sugar (I reduced it to 35g)
1 no.        egg, lightly whisked
A dash    vanilla extract

2 nos.      eggs
70g         caster sugar (35g)
150ml     hot water
75mil      evaporatoed milk

Custard Fillings
Add sugar into hot water, mix until completely dissolved.  Let it cool down.

Whisk the egg with evaporated milk, Pour in the sugar water and vanilla extract.  Mix well.

Sift the egg mixture to get rid of any foam.

Place butter at room temperature until softened.  Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer over medium speed until the mixture is smooth fluffy and light in colour.

Add the whisked egg, half at a time.  Beat at low speed.  Add vanilla extract, mix well.

Sift in the flours in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions with a spatula, and make sure all ingredients are combined well.  Knead into a dough.

Roll out the dough to 0.5mm in thickness.  Cut dough with a tart tin or a cookie cutter that is just a bit small than your tin in size.  Line dough in the middle of tart tins, one by one.  Lightly press the dough with your thumbs, starting from the bottom then up the sides.   While pressing the dough, turn the tart in clockwise / anti-clockwise in order to make an even tart shell.  Trim away any excess dough2.

Preheat oven to 200ºC.  Position rack-in the lowest part of the oven3.

Carefully pour in the fillings into each tart shell.  Bake for 10-15mins until the edges are lightly brown.

Reduce the heat to 180ºC.  Keep an eye on them.  Once you see the custard puffing up a bit, pull the oven door open ajar about 2-3 inches4.  Bake for another 10-15mins until the custard is set5.  Check by inserting a toothpick into the custard.  If it stands on its own, it is cooked.

1If cake flour is not available, you can use plain flour only, 225gm in total.

2The buttery shortcrust pastry is the perfect crumble.  Do not make it too thick or bake it for too long as it might turn hard.

3Placing the tarts on the lower rack in oven can help baking the crust bottom properly before the custard gets heated up too quickly.

4At the very last stage of baking, pull the oven door open a few inches.  This method is to avoid the custard from becoming puffed too high.  Otherwise, the custard would collapse once it cools down.

5The power and design of every oven is different.  Please refer to your own manual.

I’m also submitting this for Cook-Your-Books #15.  
Cook-Your-Books is organised and hosted
by Joyce of Kitchen Flavour.

I’m also linking this post to Little Thumbs Up and the theme for August is Flour .  Little Thumbs Up is organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Doreen from My Little Favourite DIY and for August, it is hosted by Diana from the Domestic Goddess Wannabe.

Friday 8 August 2014

Dried Longan and Qi Zi Cake 圆肉构杞子糕

I love dessert especially the Chinese dessert.  Dessert, of any kinds, are able to make people happy and relaxed.  For Chinese desserts, the older people believed that if it consumes properly, it’ll nourish the internal organs, energise the body, and add a healthy sheen to the skin.  Sheen to the skin?  Haha! Ladies, so much so that we should take! :D
Eat it when it is cold from the fridge.  It’s so refreshing.  If you would like to, you may add Osmanthus (桂花) to it.  Osmanthus will add fragrant to the agar agar. 
This is an easy and well loved desserts treat especially for hot weather like Singapore.


10g         Agar agar
100g       Rock sugar (I reduced to 70g)
1/3 cup   Dried longan
2 tbsp      Qi Zi (Wolfberries)
4 cups     Water

(1)Cut agar agar into short lengths and soak them in the water for awhile.  Chop dried longan.  Rinse and soak Qi Zi (wolfberries) thoroughly.

(2)Bring 2 cups of water to the boil.  Add dried longan and cook for 15 minutes.  Add Qi Zi and cook for awhile.  Put in rock sugar and cook until it dissolves.

(3)Bring the remaining 2 cups of water to boil.  Add agar agar and cook over low heat until it dissolves.  Pour in the syrup from step (2).

(4)Pour the mixture into moulds.  Set aside to let it cool and refrigerate until it is set.  Un-mould and serve in cool.

This recipe is adapted from 美食厨典第五版 – 100 中试甜品, which I bought it from Page One bookshop in Hong Kong.

I’m also submitting this for Cook-Your-Books #15.  
Cook-Your-Books is organised and hosted

by Joyce of Kitchen Flavour.