Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Moo Moo Milk Cookies

Once in a while, I like to make interesting snacks to surprise my daughter when she comes home from school in the afternoon. It always makes me smile to see her face light up when she sees those surprise snacks.

These adorable cow cookies are one of those treats that I made to surprise her. They are fun to make and taste absolutely yummy too!

Moo Moo Milk Cookies


100g butter
80g icing sugar
1 egg
220g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
30g custard powder
1 Tbsp milk powder

black food colouring


1) Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2) Beat butter and icing sugar till creamy.  Add in the egg and continue to beat until light and fluffy.

3) Sift in the flour, baking powder, custard powder and milk powder.

4) Mix together and knead into a dough. 

5) Roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper until about 8mm thickness.

6) Use a cow-shaped cookie cutter to cut out shapes and place onto the baking tray.

7) Using a toothpick, dip it into black food colouring (you may also use cocoa powder diluted in hot water, but I find the effect using black colouring is better) and dot patches of black colour onto the cookie dough.

8) Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes.

Have fun and enjoy!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Green Tea Snowskin Mooncake with Red Bean Paste Filling

Mid-Autumn Festival is just two weeks away and having a new set of mooncake moulds sent over to me by my sister in Malaysia earlier this year, I just can't wait to try them out. I was really thrilled with the result of the pretty prints!

I had initially intended to use lotus paste for my snowskin mooncake filling but after searching a number of asian supermarkets here near my home in Auckland to no avail (except one place where they only have it in a huge pack of 5kg!), I have decided to use red bean paste filling instead. And it tastes just as good too! And since my daughter is a big fan of green tea, I decided to incorporate that into the snowskin as well. Green tea and red bean are known to go well together.

If you haven't tried making snowskin mooncakes before, do give it a try. It's really easy as there are no cooking or baking required.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival and enjoy your mooncakes!

Green Tea Snowskin Mooncake
(makes 12 mooncakes)

200g cooked glutinous rice flour (gao fen)
160g icing sugar
60g shortening
300ml ice cold water
2 tsp green tea powder

600g red bean paste, divided and rolled into 12 balls of 50g each


1) Sift the cooked glutinous rice flour and icing sugar together into a bowl.

2) Add in the shortening and rub into the dry ingredients.

3) Dissolve the green tea powder with 1 tsp of boiling water. Mix it into the cold water.

4) Pour the green tea mixture into the flour and combine together.

5) Mix until a soft dough forms and continue to knead for another 5 minutes.

6) Divide the dough into twelve parts and rolled into 45g ball.

7) Place one dough ball in your palm and flatten it. Put a paste filling ball onto it and wrap the  dough skin around it, pulling the edges all the way round and pinching it to close the gap.

8) Dust the surface with some gao fen before placing it into the mould. This will prevent it from sticking onto the mould.

9) Press out the mooncake and place on floured surface.

10) Store them in an airtight container and leave to chill in the refrigerator.  They can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.

Note : The ratio of dough skin to filling is really up to individual preference.  Weight of skin and filling also depends on the size of the mould used.

* For the pink snowskin, I added 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 2-3 drops of red food colouring to the cold water.

The mould set that I used for these pretty mooncakes

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao)

Whenever I think about xiao long bao, it inevitably reminds me of Din Tai Fung, the chinese restaurant famous for its signature xiao long bao, where devouring the dumpling is an explosion of rich, steaming, hot soup oozing onto your tongue.

Today, I have roped in my good friend to help me with my 1st attempt at making these delicate dumplings. She has had some experience with pleating dumplings in the past so I see this as a good opportunity for me to learn the skill from her.

We were quite pleased with the results of the dumplings especially after tweaking with the flour mixture for the skin upon finding the initial batch of skin mixture slightly on the dryer side. They say that the perfect soup dumpling would take at least 18 pleats to complete and I'm proud to say that we finally managed to reach that after some practice!

The dumplings are best eaten straight off the steamer while it's steaming hot and dipped into the vinegar sauce. With the hot soup oozing over in your mouth .... it's just heavenly!

Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao)
(Makes 30 pieces)

10g spring onion, chopped
1 Tbsp cooking oil

Gelatin mixture
400ml chicken stock
15g gelatin powder

Meat filling
300g minced pork
1 tsp oyster sauce
5g potato starch
a pinch of salt
3g chicken powder
10g sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
a dash of ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ginger juice

100g pastry flour
150g potato starch
50g plain flour
a dash of salt
a dash of cooking oil
120ml water

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup black vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
finely shredded ginger


1) Prepare gelatin mixture. Mix stock with water in a saucepan. Add gelatin powder and bring to a boil. Set aside to cool.

2) In a mixing bowl, mix all ingredients for meat filling. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate for about 1 hour in the refrigerator.

3) Add gelatin mixture to meat filling and give it a good stir. (I added it in while the gelatin mixture was still a bit lukewarm).

4) Mix in spring onion and oil. Set aside. (I pop it back into the fridge to let the mixture thicken up faster. The meat and gelatin mixture should be gel-like once the gelatin sets)

5) Combine dough ingredients. Mix well until a smooth dough is formed.

6) On a floured surface, roll dough into a long cylinder. Cut dough into 30 equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece into thin dough rounds.

7) Spoon combined meat and gelatin filling onto each dough round. Pleat to seal up filling. Repeat until all ingredients are used up.

8) Line a steamer with greased baking paper. Place dumplings on top and steam for about 5 minutes over high heat. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Dumplings ready for steaming

Eat it while it's hot!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Strawberry Swiss Roll

When I first saw those swiss rolls with pretty and colourful decorative prints on them, I was both fascinated and curious as to how they made it. I have always love a nice, soft and light swiss roll and having this lovely prints on them makes them even more inviting to me!

Then one day, I came across a book I borrowed from the library that revealed the secret behind those swiss roll prints! Wow, and it wasn't that complicated either. I had so much fun making them, I can't help myself trying out different patterns on my cake! 

I just found out recently that they even have swiss roll pattern mats sold in the market nowadays.  Well, I guess with a little creativity, you don't really need them to make your own personalised and charming swiss roll! Have fun and enjoy!

Strawberry Swiss Roll

Swiss roll sponge
5 egg yolks (medium)
50g corn oil
50g milk
20g caster sugar
85g cake flour

5 egg white (medium)
1/4 tsp lemon juice, optional
50g caster sugar

red, green and black food colouring

Whipped Cream Filling
120g dairy whipping cream/thickened cream
20g icing sugar
(Whip fresh cream until thick.  Add in sugar and whisk until stiff. Chill before used)
2 big strawberries, cut into small pieces 

To prepare pattern on parchment paper
1. Line a rectangle swiss roll pan with parchment paper.
2. Remove the parchment paper and turn it around so that the bottom is facing upwards.
3. Using a pencil, draw the outline of strawberry shapes on the surface of the parchment paper.
4. Now return the paper back to the pan with the pencil drawing facing the pan. You should still be able to see the outline of your drawing.

To prepare the batter
1. Lightly whisk egg yolk with sugar.
2. Add in corn oil, stir to combine.
3. Add in milk, combine well.
4. Fold in cake flour, mix well, set aside.
5. Add lemon juice into egg white, beat till foamy.
6. Gradually add in sugar, beat till stiff peaks. 

7. Take 1/3 portion of egg white mixture and use hand whisk to mix with egg yolk mixture till

8. Fold the balance of egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture, combine well.

9. Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture into a small bowl and add a drop of red food colouring. Blend  to make a pinkish red mixture.
10. Using a small spoon with pointy tip, scoop bits of the batter onto the pattern on the parchment paper. Use the tip of the spoon to drag the batter to cover the outline of the strawberry pattern.

11. Bake in preheated oven at 160C for 1 minute.
12. Remove pan from oven and pour in the rest of the batter to cover the strawberry parts and carefully level the surface.
13. Continue to bake for 25 minutes.

To assemble swiss roll
1. Once out of the oven, carefully turn the baked sponge cake onto a piece of parchment paper.
2. Slowly peel off the attached parchment paper from the cake to reveal the strawberry pattern.
3. Using a toothpick, dip into black food colouring (or you can dilute some cocoa powder with a drop of hot water) and dot on the strawberries to resemble the seeds. Paint the stalks with green food colouring (or green tea powder mixed with a drop of hot water).

4. Place a new piece of parchment paper over the sponge. Flip the cake over gently so the pattern faces down.
5. Peel the parchment paper off and use a sharp serrated knife to trim the two opposite ends of the cake at a 45-degree angle so that the ends will fold in neatly at the end of rolling.
6. Make a few long slits across the surface of the whole cake about 2cm apart to prevent the cake from breaking when rolling up. 
7. Spread evenly with a layer of whipped cream. Leave a 3cm gap at the end to keep filling within the roll.
8. Place cut strawberries on cream filling.
9. With the shorter side of the cake facing you, roll the cake up tightly to form a swiss roll. 

Have fun with creating your own prints on your swiss rolls.  Here are some of my other pattern attempts.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

My daughter was really excited when I first told her that I was going to start a blog. In fact, she was the one who first encouraged me to do so.

Today, she made her own smoothie and insisted that I post it on my blog. Oh well, why not? As long as she gets herself involved in the kitchen and make something up, I'm happy and proud! Awesome girl, keep it up!

Chocolate Banana Smoothie


1 large banana, sliced
1 1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
3 scoops vanilla ice-cream
Chocolate shavings


1) Place banana, milk, cocoa powder and ice-cream into a blender and blend until smooth.  

2) Pour into 2 glasses. 

3) Shave some chocolate on top.

4) Drink!

Monday, 18 August 2014


My family loves Japanese food and okonomiyaki is one of those food that we prepare again and again especially on a lazy weekend for a quick and easy lunch.

Okonomiyaki sauce and toppings

(serves 4)


1 1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup dashi or water
pinch of salt
4 eggs
4 cups packed cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup carrot, grated
1 spring onion, chopped
1/2 cup prawns or squids, chopped
1/2 cup bacon or ham, diced
Oil for frying
Okonomiyaki sauce
Japanese mayonnaise
Bonito flakes
Dried seaweed


1) In a large bowl, mix the flour, water, salt and eggs with a whisk to form a batter.

2) Add in prawns or squids and chopped bacon or ham and mix together.  Lastly, add in cabbage, carrot and spring onion and mix evenly.

3) Heat some oil in a pan. Scoop 1/4 of the mixture into the pan. Cook on medium heat until golden brown on both sides.

4) Once cooked, removed from pan and onto plate. Top with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes and dried seaweed.


Green Tea Cheesecake

My daughter is a fan of anything made of green tea. Cheese is also another one of her favourite ingredients so when I saw this green tea cheesecake recipe, I knew she was definitely going to love it!

Green Tea Cheesecake

150g Digestive Biscuits, crushed
35g Butter, melted
Sesame Seeds
250g Cream Cheese
60g Sugar
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
100g Plain Yoghurt
1 cup Cream, whipped
15g Gelatine Powder, dissolved in 50ml Warm Water
1 tsp Matcha Powder, plus 1/4 tsp extra

1) Mix biscuits and butter and press into base of a 20 cm round cake tin. Spread evenly and press with the palm of your hand. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and refrigerate to firm up.

2) Mix together cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and yoghurt until smooth. Mix in whipped cream. Add dissolved gelatine and mix together gently.

3) Pour half mixture into cake tin over biscuit base. Spread with a rubber spatula and return to fridge.

4) Mix matcha powder with 1 tablespoon water until smooth. Pour into remaining half of cheesecake filling and mix well. Pour into the tin, keeping 1 tablespoon of filling mixture to use for decoration. Use rubber spatula to spread and smoothen the surface.

5) Add 1/4 teaspoon extra matcha powder to the 1 tablespoon filling to darken it for decoration.

6) Use a teaspoon to draw lines on the cheesecake with the darker matcha mix. You can make any patterns on the surface as you wish. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Open Pie

My family is a lover of pies and this is certainly one of our favourite comfort food.  I just love the rustic look of an open pie and the visibility of the creamy and delicious fillings makes it ever so inviting ....  yum!

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Open Pie
(Makes 4 pies)


For Creamy White Sauce
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp plain flour
pinch of salt
2 cups milk

4 tsp olive oil
1/2 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
6 button mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
ground black pepper to taste
2 chicken breast, cooked and sliced
2 sheet ready-rolled shortcrust pastry, thawed
1 small egg, beaten


1) To make creamy white sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and a pinch of salt to make a roux or paste. Slowly add milk, lower heat and stir constantly until sauce simmers and thickens. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes until sauce is creamy and thick.

2) Preheat oven to 200C.

3) Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook leak and mushrooms for 5 minutes to soften. Stir cooked vegetables into the white sauce along with the Parmesan, parsley, pepper and sliced chicken. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

4) Using a 20cm bread and butter plate as a guide, cut a round from the pastry sheet and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

5) Mark a 4cm border around the edge. Spoon filling into centre of pastry, then turn border up over the filling, pleating pastry as you go.

6) Brush pastry generously with beaten egg and bake for 40 minutes until pastry is cooked and golden. Serve hot.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Kitty Macarons

A while back, my daughter came home from school asking for my help with her homework.  Her assignment was to prepare a food item, package it and advertise it to its best advantage. Hmm .... now what shall we prepare then? Cookies? Cupcakes? Brownies? ......  Ahhh .... Yes! Macarons!! That should be exciting! And to make our product more attractive we decided to make kitty macarons. Aren't they just adorable?

Colourful and cute kitty macarons

Meow meow meow ....

All packaged up with advertisement and ready to sell!

We had a busy but fun-filled weekend preparing the macarons and drawing cute kitty faces. Now why can't homework be this fun all the time?

Kitty Macarons
(Basic Macaron Recipe adapted from Macaron Fetish)

Yield about 24 macaron shells (12 filled macarons)

Macaron Shells
1 room temperatured egg white(39-40g)
50g icing sugar
30g ground almond
30g castor sugar
Drops of food colouring

1. Put ground almond and icing sugar in a food processor or a small blender. Blend them finely.

2. Sift the blended mixture and set aside.

3. With an electric beater, Beat the egg white, start from low speed and increase slowly to maximum speed. Beat until frothy (you will see lots of fine bubbles)

4. Now it's the time to add in the castor sugar, add half of the sugar, continue to beat in maximum speed for around 2 minutes, add in the other half, continue until you get very stiff peak.

5. Mix the dry ingredients into the eggwhites. This process is called Macaronage. Start folding with a rubber spatula. Add in drops of food colouring but not too much as it will cause the mixture to become too runny. When you get a smooth shiny mixture, stop folding, lift the mixture with spatula, if the mixture falls back slowly in the bowl means you're good to go. You could also check if the lines formed from the liften mixture, they should slowly disappear in within 30 seconds. At this stage you're good to go. Do not over fold, it will be too liquid and becoming very hard to pipe.

6. Line the baking tray with the parchment paper.

7. Fill your piping bag , pipe your macaron (about 2 cm diameter) it should spread a bit as it settles. The point should slowly disappear if the mixture is the right consistency.
If not you could hit the bottom of the tray to smooth the point out)

8. To make kitty macaron, I just use a toothpick to pull the batter slightly upwards to form two pointy ears.

9. Let your macaron sits for about 30minutes. This will depand on the humity in your house and the day. Try touching the macaron softly, after 30mins. it should not stick to your hand.

10. Heat your oven to 150 C on the (heating on the top only). When the oven is ready, put your macaron at the very bottom shelf. Bake for 12 minutes, check them in the mid time of 6 minutes, the feets should already start forming. Turn the baking tray to the opposite direction to allow even baking. When the 6 mins is up, change the heating setting of your oven to Bottom only. This will help cooking the macaron and rise the feet more. Bake for another 6 minutes. You can test if the macaron is cook, touch softly on the shell and when the macaron doesn't slide on the feet, it's cooked. if it's not add another 1 mins each time and check.

11. Let the macaron cool down before removing them. You could wet your working area and slide the baking sheet on it to speed up the cooling process, but do not let it sit there too long, if not the macarons will become soggy. Other wise you can leave them cool at room temperature and remove them.

12. To make kitty faces, use a toothpick to dip into black food colouring and draw on the macarons.

White Chocolate Ganache Filling
50g white chocolate
25ml fresh cream

1. Warm the cream over the stove, until it boil very slightly.

2. Remove the cream from heat, Add white chocolate, mix until the chocolate is melted completely and a smooth texture is obtain.

3. Refrigerate until firm and spread between the macaron shells.

Have fun and enjoy!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Rock Buns

Many years ago, not long after I started on a new job, I made some rock buns and brought them to work to share with my colleagues during tea break. My boss came over and I offered her some too. She tried one, ... said they were delicious, ..... couldn't help taking another, .... and then another. I guess they must have been addictive! They say the way to a man's heart is his stomach. I wondered then if it works the same for a boss?

Something quick, simple and easy to make to fill your cookie jar

Rock Buns
(Makes 20)

240g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
90g butter, softened
90g castor sugar
120g sultanas
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp castor sugar, extra

1) Preheat oven to 180°C. Line oven tray with baking paper.

2) Sift flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Lightly rub in the butter with fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. 

3) Add in castor sugar and sultanas, and mix until well incorporated.

4) Add in the beaten egg and milk and mix together to form a thick, lumpy dough. (If dough is too dry, add a teaspoon more milk to make the mixture stick together).

3) Drop rounded tablespoon of mixture about 5cm apart onto trays and sprinkle with extra sugar.

4) Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and well risen.

Stored in airtight containers, they can keep for up to 3 days.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcake

To be honest, I'm not such a big fan of cupcakes, especially those pretty ones with incredibly sweet icing toppings. I usually only made them for my daughter's birthday party or school events.

But I was instantly drawn to these chocolate cream cheese cupcakes which I saw in a recipe book. What's even better was that the pretty decorations on top of them were actually made out of natural nuts! No artificial food colouring or sweet sprinkles required to dress up these cute and pretty cupcakes! And with all my favourite ingredients in them, it ticks all the boxes ... how can I resist! Love 'em!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes
(Makes 8)


40g Unsalted butter
125g Cream cheese
90g Castor sugar
2 Large Eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp Milk

Dry Ingredients
20g Cake flour
20g Cocoa powder
80g Almond powder
1 1/3 tsp Baking powder

For Chocolate Icing
125g Cream cheese
20g Butter, melted
40g Icing sugar
1 Tbsp Cocoa powder

For Decoration
Almond Flakes
8 Whole Hazelnuts


1) Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with 8 cupcake cases.

2) Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

3) Place melted butter and cream cheese in a bowl and beat with a mixer till creamy.  Add in the  castor sugar and continue to beat until the mixture turns pale.

4) Add in the beaten eggs in 2 or 3 intervals as you beat the mixture, followed by the milk.

5) Add 2 tablespoon of the dry ingredients and beat into the mixture. Then using a spatula, gently fold in the rest of the dry ingredients.

6) Pour the batter into the cupcake cases until three quarter full. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. 

7) To make chocolate icing, beat together cream cheese and melted butter till creamy. Add in icing sugar and cocoa powder.

8) Fill chocolate icing into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe on top of the cupcakes and decorate with almond flakes and a whole hazelnut to form a flower.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Chocolate Eclairs

I remember there was a time when I went to a night market with my friend and her daughter and we came upon this stall selling chocolate eclairs. They looked very tempting but rather pricey. Nevertheless, my friend bought some for her girl to try. Disappointingly, it was quite dry and did not taste as good as it looked.

The next day, I invited them over for afternoon tea at my place. Pondering on what to serve for tea, I suddenly had an idea and decided to try my hand at making some eclairs myself. Surprisingly, it wasn't that difficult to make as long as you follow the right technique. I was thrilled that they turn out well and got a thumbs up from my friend's daughter! 

Today I decided to take a step further and dress up my eclairs with colourful melted chocolates. The result was ....  yummylicious, candylicious, chocolicious, "can't possibly stop at one" delicious chocolate eclairs!

My girl insisted that I should post this photo of her eclair creation!

Chocolate Eclairs
(makes 16)


For the choux pastry
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp castor sugar
125g plain flour
150ml water
60g unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature
3-4 large eggs, lightly whisked

For the chocolate topping:
50g dark chocolate, melted
100g milk chocolate, melted
red food colouring

For the cream filling:
300ml thickened cream (double cream)
1 tbsp icing sugar


To make choux pastry :

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

2.  Combine the salt, sugar and flour in a bowl and set aside. Put water and the butter in a medium saucepan and bring slowly to the boil; the butter should melt before it comes to the boil. 

3.  Working quickly, remove the saucepan from the heat, add the flour mixture all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to combine. Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring vigorously, for about 1 minute or until the mixture forms a smooth, thick mass that comes away from the side of the pan. Do not overbeat the mixture or the pastry will not rise properly.

4.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and set aside for 5 minutes or until cooled slightly. Gradually add the egg, beating constantly and ensuring it's mixed in well before adding more. Continue beating in the egg until the mixture is glossy and falls heavily from the beaters. The mixture should fold in on itself when cut through with a spatula. You may not need all of the eggs.

5.  Spoon the pastry into a large piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle.

6. Pipe 10cm lengths onto a lined tray, allowing room for spreading. Sprinkle the baking tray lightly with water to create steam in the oven and encourage the puffs to rise. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180°C and bake for a further 10-15 minutes, or until golden and puffed.

7. Transfer to a wire rack and use a small sharp knife to split each pastry in half to allow the steam to escape. Increase the temperature to 200°C and pipe the remaining choux pastry into 10cm lengths on the other lined tray. Cook the remaining pastries as before, then transfer to the wire rack and split in half. Allow to cool completely, then carefully remove any uncooked dough from inside each split pastry.

To make chocolate topping:

1. Melt the dark chocolate and white chocolate. Divide the white chocolate into 2 separate bowls. Add a drop of red colouring into one of them and mix until it turns pink.

2. Spread the eclair tops with the different colours of melted chocolate and lay them on a tray. Put them in the fridge for 10-15 minutes or until the chocolate is set. 

3. Remove the eclair tops from fridge and using a spoon, drizzle each top with a different colour of melted chocolate in zigzag pattern. Return to fridge to set.

To prepare the cream filling: 

1.  Lightly whip the cream and icing sugar until firm peaks. Do not overwhip. Using a piping bag with a star nozzle, pipe the cream onto the eclair bases. Place the chocolate covered eclair tops over cream and serve.