Sunday, 28 September 2014

Pandan Sago Pudding

Many years ago, my family used to run a korean barbecue restaurant and one of the desserts we served was sago pudding. I remember whenever I helped out during the weekends, my job was to cook the sago and I just loved doing it cause it's so easy to make! (Not to mention, I also loved helping myself to a bowl of the pudding after it's done!)

This pudding is so refreshing especially when served cold. The combination of pandan, coconut and gula melaka makes it a delicious dessert to enjoy!

Pandan Sago Pudding
(serves 5)


3L water
1 cup sago
1/2 tsp pandan paste
vegetable oil, for greasing
150g gula melaka (palm sugar), sliced
2-3 Tbsp water
400ml coconut milk
1/4 tsp salt


1) Boil the water in a medium pot and pour in the sago. Keep stirring and cook until the pearls become translucent.

2) Drain the sago in a sieve, then rinse through with cold water to wash off excess starch.

3) Transfer to a mixing bowl and add in the pandan paste. Mix until combined.

4) Lightly grease moulds and fill with the sago. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

5) Melt the palm sugar with the water in a small saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool to room temperature and chill in the fridge.

6) Bring the coconut milk and salt to the boil in small saucepan and leave aside to cool and chill in the fridge.

7) Turn out the sago puddings from the moulds onto small bowls and serve with the palm sugar and coconut milk.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Lemon Sherbet

I have a small lemon tree in my backyard and the first year I moved into my house 2 years ago, I found one single forlorn lemon on the tree.  The following year, ever so hopeful, I was again disappointed as it didn't bear a single fruit. 

Then one day, I had a visit from my aunt and she noticed that the leaves on my lemon tree were a bit yellowish. On her next visit, she brought along some epsom salts and advised me to dilute them in some water to water the plant. Epsom salts (also known as magnesium sulfate) actually provide soil nutrients to citrus plants and support the health of lemon trees. I also learnt that the yellow leaves on my tree were actually a sign of magnesium deficiency.

And what do you know? This year, I was pleasantly surprised to find my little lemon tree absolutely blooming with fruits! There were at least twelve lemons on that little darling! I was thrilled and could hardly wait for them to ripen so that I could make something out of these homegrown citrus fruits.

I chanced upon this following lemon sherbet recipe the other day and knew straightaway it was just the right thing to make out of my precious lemons.  There's a good balance of sweet, sour and saltiness in it. A great dessert to follow after a full and especially, fatty meal. I just love the tangy and lemony taste it brings and I could actually feel the zesty sherbet dancing on my tongue! Ivan Orkin sure wasn't kidding when he said this sherbet kicks ass! 


Lemon Sherbet
(Makes 1 Liter)

Adapted from Ivan Orkin's cookbook, Ivan Ramen

100g sugar
zest of 2 lemons
300ml whole milk
300ml heavy cream
150ml lemon juice
7g (2 tsp) salt   (I use 1/2 tsp)


1) In a food processor, process the sugar and lemon zest together until the sugar takes on a yellow hue.

2) In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk and cream, then stir in the lemon sugar until it dissolves, Stir in the lemon juice, then the salt. Mix until the salt is fully dissolved, about  a minute.

3) Churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

4) Let the sherbet fully set in the freezer for at least an hour or two before you eat it.

My little lemon tree

Monday, 8 September 2014

Potato Crusted Pizza

This pizza is definitely made for potato lovers. Instead of bread dough, layers of sliced potatoes is used as the base of the pizza. It makes a wonderful light and healthy meal and of course, you can top it with all your favourite ingredients!

Potato Crusted Pizza


4 medium potatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
dash of white pepper
1/2 cup pizza sauce
3-4 white button mushrooms, sliced
2 sausages, sliced
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


1) Preheat oven to 200C. Lightly grease a pizza pan.

2) Remove the skin of potatoes with a peeler. Using a mandolin, slice potatoes thinly, wipe them dry and place them in a large mixing bowl. 

3) Add in the olive oil and toss the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again.

4) Lay the slices of potatoes on the pizza pan, overlapping the slices in concentric circles. Cover the pan completely. Lightly brush with some olive oil.

5) Bake the potato crust for 10-15 minutes or until edges are brown and potatoes are tender.

6) Remove the potato crust from the oven and spread with pizza sauce using the back of a spoon.

7) Top the pizza with sliced button mushrooms, sausages and Parmesan cheese.

8) Return the pizza to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a spatula to loosen the potato crust from the pan.


Friday, 5 September 2014

Cream Cheese and Cherry Strudel

I was drawn to this strudel recipe when I first saw it in a pastry cookbook I bought and quickly bookmarked it so that I can try it when cherry season is in and I can get hold of some cherries. As it turned out, I didn't have to wait till summer as I came across some imported cherries in the supermarket. Not wanting to wait any longer, I grabbed some and could hardly wait to try out this lovely strudel.

Incidentally, this was also the first time I handled filo pastry and I felt quite excited trying something new. I find them quite flimsy and had to be careful when laying them out and it tends to break easily. (I was glad to have some help from my daughter in this task - two hands are better than one!)

The result of this strudel is just ... yum! With the multiple layers of filo pastry, it was amazingly crispy on the outside while the cream cheese on the inside provide a rich and creamy texture. Mmm ... nothing I like better to go with my cup of tea in the afternoon!

Cream Cheese and Cherry Strudel


10-12 cherries, pitted
250g cream cheese
110g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp plain flour
125g butter, melted
8 sheets filo pastry, at room temperature
70g almond meal
35g flaked almonds
icing sugar, to serve


1) Preheat oven to 160C. 

2) Put the cream cheese, castor sugar, vanilla extract, egg and egg yolk in a food processor bowl and process until just combined, scraping down the side of the bowl occasionally.

3) Add the flour and process until just combined. Take care not to overprocess the mixture.

4) Lightly brush a large baking tray with some of the melted butter. Lay the filo on a work surface and cover with a slightly damp tea towel. 

5) Place one sheet of filo on the greased tray, brush well with butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of almond meal. Cover with another sheet of filo, brush with a little more butter and sprinkle with another tablespoon of almond meal.

6) Continue layering with the remaining filo pastry, almond meal and butter - you should still have a little butter left at the end.

7) Use a spatula to spread the cream cheese mixture down a long side of the pastry, about 5 cm (2 inches) in from the edge, to form a log shape. Press the cherries gently into the mixture.

8) Carefully roll up the pastry to enclose the filling. Trim the edges of the strudel to neaten. Brush well with the remaining butter and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. 

9) Bake for 1 hour or until the pastry is crisp and deep golden and the filling is set. Cool on the tray.

10) To serve, use a serrated knife to slice the strudel. Serve dusted with icing sugar.


* If you cannot get hold of fresh cherries, you may also use canned pitted cherries. Do not waste the cherry syrup in the can. Bring it to the boil and reduce heat and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes or until reduced by half. Leave to cool and drizzle the syrup on served strudel.

* You may also use puff pastry instead of filo pastry for this strudel. Just lay out your ready-rolled puff pastry and spread the cream cheese mixture along the longer side of the pastry and fold it around the mixture. Seal edges of pastry by using a bit of water on your fingers, and rubbing the edges together. Brush with egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp of milk/water, beaten together). Bake in preheated oven at 200C  for about 35 to 40 mins or until golden brown.