Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Potato Salmon Cakes

Creamy mashed potatoes and salmon covered in crispy breadcrumbs makes this fishcakes simply delicious!

Potato Salmon Cakes
(makes 8)


250g potatoes, peeled
350g tinned pink salmon, drained (or freshly cooked salmon)
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
40g flour
80g dried breadcrumbs (I use panko)
1 egg
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp oil


1) Cut the potatoes into 5cm pieces. Half fill a saucepan with water. Add the potatoes and a pinch of salt. Bring it to the boil and cook for 12-15 minutes.

2) Drain off the water and mash the potatoes until smooth. Leave to cool enough to handle.

3) Break the salmon into small pieces in a bowl, removing the skin and bones. Stir in the potatoes, spring onions and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

4) Lightly dust your hands with a little flour and shape the mixture into 8 cakes. Place on a plate.

5) Beat the egg lightly. Put the flour and breadcrumbs on separate plates. Coat each fishcake in flour, then egg and then the breadcrumbs.

6) Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a large pan on medium heat. Shallow fry 4 of the cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

7) Serve with tonkatsu sauce or lemon wedges and mayonnaise.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Dragon Cookies

I love these dragon cookies as they have such a buttery and milky taste that simply melt in the mouth.  Another must have for Chinese New Year!

Dragon Cookies
(makes about 30 pcs)


60g butter
60g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
5g custard powder
10g milk powder
135g cornflour
red colouring


1)  Beat the butter and icing sugar until creamy and fluffy. 

2) Add in the egg yolks and beat until combined.

3) Fold in custard powder, milk powder and cornflour and mix to form a soft and pliable dough. (If dough is too wet, add a bit more cornflour)

4) Put a star nozzle into a thick piping bag.  Fill it with some of the dough (do not fill in too much for easier piping) and pipe out "S" shaped patterns on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Dot eyes with red colouring.

5) Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for about 15 min or till light yellow.

Please note:

1) Cover the batter in the bowl with a wet cloth while you are piping out the patterns as the batter tends to harden up due to the cornflour.

2) If the batter does harden up, add a little bit of water to soften so that it's easier to pipe out.

I use a Wilton nozzle 32 to pipe out the cookies

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Strawberry Custard Tart

Strawberry Custard Tart
(serves 4)


2 sheets ready rolled frozen puff pastry
400g strawberries, hulled, thinly sliced

Custard filling
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup custard powder
2 cups milk
1/2 cup thickened cream


To make custard filling

1) Whisk egg, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl. Stir in custard powder.

2) Gradually add milk and cream, stirring constantly.

3) Transfer to a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking continuously, for 8 to 10 mins
     or until mixture boils and thickens. Boil for 1 min.

4) Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Cover surface with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool.
     Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled.

To prepare pastry base

5) Lay out a sheet of puff pastry and cut into half to become 2 long rectangles. Using a knife
    (or a roller cutter if you have one), score along the inside of one of them (about 1.5cm from
    the edge) to make an inner rectangle line, pressing 3/4 of the way through the pastry,
    taking care not to press all the way through. Do the same on the other rectangle sheet.
    Repeat the procedure on the other sheet of pastry. So, you should have 4 rectangle
    scored puff pastries. Refrigerate for 20 mins or until firm.

6) Preheat the oven at 200C. Bake the pastry shells for 15 mins or until light golden.

7) Using a small, sharp knife, carefully cut around the inner rectangles and remove the top
     layer of pastry (leave the pastry bases intact). You can use the round end of your knife
     handle to flatten the puffed up bases. Leave to cool.

8) Spread custard over the base of the pastry case.

9) Arrange strawberry slices over custard.

10) Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Mini Blueberry Cheesecake

Blueberry season is here and with loads of them getting cheaper and cheaper at the supermarkets, I can't help myself stocking them up in my freezer for later use. Incidentally, I also have a block of cream cheese in my fridge which has been screaming for me (every time I open the fridge) to use it before it reaches its expiry date. Hmm.... what should I make then?

Blueberries and cream cheese ....yes! Just the perfect combination. What else to make but Blueberry Cheesecake!

These scrummy little cheesecakes are so dainty, cute and pretty ... but you know what? The great thing about it is that the size of it makes me a "little" less guilty about its richness!


Mini Blueberry Cheesecake
(12-13 cupcakes)


1 cup crushed digestive biscuits
55g butter, melted
1 1/2 Tbsp castor sugar

225g cream cheese
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream (or thickened cream)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup  blueberry pie filling (or make your own blueberry sauce*)


1) Preheat oven to 175C and line a muffin pan with paper cups.

2) To make the crust, combine the crushed digestive biscuits, sugar and melted butter together until well blended.

3) Press the crumbs onto the bottoms of the paper cups. Set aside.

4) To make the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth using a mixer on low speed.

5) Gradually add sugar and salt while beating, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl.

6) Add in the egg and mix till incorporated.

7) Add in the vanilla extract and heavy cream and mix well.

8) Let the cheesecake batter rest for 10 mins to remove any air bubbles formed during the mixing process.

9) Scoop the cheesecake batter into the prepared crusts and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until firm but the centres of the cheesecakes should still be a bit jiggly.

10) Remove from the oven and let cool, then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

11) Serve with chilled blueberries and sauce on top. 

Blueberry Sauce * 

75g castor sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornflour
pinch of salt
80 ml water
250g fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste

1) Place the sugar, cornflour, salt and water in a medium sized saucepan and stir until smooth.

2) Gently stir in the blueberries and place the saucepan over medium heat.

3) Cook (simmer) the sauce until the liquid thickens and becomes clear, stirring gently occasionally (about 10 mins). Some of the blueberries will break down but others will remain whole. The longer you cook the sauce the thicker it will become. (if sauce is still too thin, add a little cornflour diluted in a bit of water to it to help thicken the liquid)

4) Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed. Let cool and then cover and refrigerate. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

* Leftover of this sauce taste great as blueberry jam on toast or waffle too!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Cashew Nut Cookies

Chinese New Year is always an exciting time as there are so many delightful and tempting goodies that come with this festive season.

One of my favourite bites is cashew nut cookies and I must say it's on my baking list every CNY.  Rich, flavoursome and full of nutty goodness, it's definitely a must-have!

Cashew Nut Cookies

250g butter
180g icing sugar
400g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
180g ground cashew nuts
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g cashew nut halves, for garnishing

Egg wash
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten


1) Preheat oven to 150C.

2) Sift plain flour and baking powder together.

3) Cream butter and icing sugar together. Add in egg yolk and vanilla extract.

4) Add in the flour and ground cashew nuts. Mix well until dough forms.

5) Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into desired shapes using cookie cutter.

6) Press a cashew nut on top of each cookie and brush with egg wash.

7) Bake at 150C for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

My stack of Golden Stars!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Black Forest Cake

Cherry season is here! And to celebrate it, what better way than to make a Black Forest Cake!

Black Forest Cake
(makes a 7-inch cake)

4 egg yolks
20g castor sugar
50g corn oil
60g milk
15g cocoa powder
75g cake flour

4 egg white
1/4tsp cream of tartar
60g castor sugar

For decorations
400ml heavy cream
1/2 cup icing sugar
30 fresh cherries (reserved 12 cherries and cut the rest into halves)
30g dark chocolate, melted and cooled


1) Lightly whisk the egg yolks with the sugar.

2) Add in the corn oil and stir to combine.  Pour in the milk and continue to mix till well blended.
3) Sift in the cocoa powder and mix well.

4) Add in the cake flour.  Mix well and set aside.

5) Add cream of tartar to the egg white and using a cake mixer, beat till frothy.  Gradually add in the sugar and continue to beat till stiff.

6) Take 1/3 portion of the egg white mixture and add to the egg yolk mixture. Use a hand whisk to blend well together.

7) With a spatula, fold in the rest of the egg white mixture until well blended.

8) Pour into a 7" removable bottom round pan and bake in a preheated oven at 140C for 25 min (at lower rack), then increase to 170C and bake for a further 25 min.

9) Remove cake from oven and cool on a wire rack.  Once cake is slightly cool, remove from cake tin by running a spatula around the side and bottom of the pan to loosen the cake.  Cool completely on the wire rack.

10) Add the icing sugar to the heavy cream and whipped till stiff peaks.

11) To assemble the cake, slice the cake horizontally into halves.

12) Place one half layer of the cake on a cake plate or stand. Spread an even layer of the icing cream over the cake and top it with the halved cherries. On the bottom of the other cake layer, spread a thin layer of icing. Place the layers together.

13) Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of icing to contain the crumbs.  Refrigerate the cake for about 20 minutes or until the frosting has firmed slightly.

14) Spread the rest of the icing over the cake until you have a smooth layer. Pipe little dots of icing around the bottom edge of the cake with a small round piping nozzle.

15) Pour the melted and cooled dark chocolate around the top of the cake so it runs over the edge a little. Decorate with whole cherries on top.

                                                                    Cherries galore!

Hainanese Chicken Pie

The other day when I posted my Hainanese Min Chee pie on a cooking facebook, somebody asked if I happened to have the recipe for traditional Hainanese chicken pie as well. From what I know, this pie is basically chicken stew topped with puff pastry.

Being a Hainanese, chicken stew is one of the favourite dish on our family meal menu and I always look forward to my mom's pot of good old stew! Yum!

Hainanese Chicken Pie
(serves 6)

300g chicken
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
3 large potatoes, cut into cubes

2 large carrots, cut into cubes
1 large onion, peeled
3 shallots, chopped
6 button mushroom, cut into halves
50g frozen peas, thawed
1.5cm cinnamon stick (optional)
3 cloves
1 Tbsp oil
300ml water

1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten


1) Cut the chicken into pieces and marinate with salt, pepper and soy sauce. Sift the flour over the chicken to lightly coat them.

2) Fry the chopped shallots with a tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. Add in the chicken pieces and cook them for 10-15 mins until browned.

3) Add the water to the pan. Put in the whole onion, carrot, potatoes, mushrooms, cloves and cinnamon stick and cook until the stew is boiling.

4) Lower the heat and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are cooked.

5) Stir in the peas and remove from the heat.

6) Pour content into a large oven proof dish (or 6 small individual pie dishes) and leave to cool.

7) Cut out pastry to a size slightly larger than the rim of the dish. Dampen the rim with a bit of water and lay the pastry over the top, pressing down firmly to seal the edges. Cut out another 2 or 3 long strips (about 2cm width) and lay them along over the edges. You can use a fork to crimp these edges. Cut out any remaining pastry trimmings to make decorations on top.

8) Brush the pastry top with the beaten egg.

9) Bake in a preheated oven at 220C for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown.

Serve and enjoy!

Friday, 9 January 2015

Hainanese Min Chee Pie

This dish brings back fond memories for my mom as my late grandpa used to make this chicken potato pie for the family when she was young. It was a dish he learnt while cooking for the British during the Malayan colonial days.

Local Hainanese had adapted the common Shepherd's Pie (which uses lamb) or Cottage Pie (which uses beef) to suit local taste and made this their famous version of chicken pie.

Served warm right off the oven, deliciously inviting, it's definitely comfort food for the whole family!

Hainanese Min Chee Pie
(serves 6)

250g chicken
100g potatoes, peeled
100g carrots
100g button mushrooms (fresh or canned)
100g onions, chopped into small squares
100g frozen peas, thawed
1 Tbsp soy sauce (or Worcestershire/Lea & Perrins sauce if you have)
dash of pepper
1 tsp salt
3 cloves
1.5cm cinnamon bark (kayu manis)
3 tsp oil
150ml water

Potato Mash
300g potatoes
20g butter
salt to taste


1)  Cut the potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and chicken into small cubes.

2) Marinate the chicken with the soy sauce and pepper.

3) Stirfry the carrots with 2 tsp of oil. Add in the potatoes and continue to fry for about 3
     mins or until cooked. Set aside.

4) With a tsp of oil, stirfry a small portion of the onions for a minute and add in the chicken.
     Continue to stirfry until the chicken is cooked.

5) Add in the mushrooms, cinnamon and clove, and fry for 5 mins.

6) Add the cooked carrots and potatoes and the rest of the onions and continue frying for
     another 5 mins.

7) Add in the water and the peas and let the mixture boil and simmer for about 5 mins.  
     Test taste, add salt if necessary. If the mixture is too watery, you can add in a tsp of
     diluted flour in a bit of water to thicken the gravy. You should still have a bit of gravy in
     the mixture. Set aside on a serving dish.

8) For the mash, clean the potatoes and boil them in water until they are soft. Use a fork to
     test if they are cooked. They are ready when you can pierce them easily. Peel and mash
     the potatoes, adding butter and salt to taste.

9) Transfer the Min Chee to an oven proof pie dish (or a few small individual pie dishes)
     and spread the potato mash on top. You may also add some grated cheese to the topping.

10) Grill at 200C for about 15 minutes or until the topping is brown. 
       (This grilling part is optional, as the Min Chee pie can also be served without it)

                                                                Enjoy! :)

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Red Bean Hedgehog Buns

These gorgeous little hedgehog buns are simply too adorable and irresistable, don't you agree? They're not just fun to make but I'm sure will bring delight to little ones in the family!

Red Bean Hedgehog Buns  (recipe adapted from Poh Ling Yeow's cookbook)
(makes 15)


Yeast Mixture
1 tsp dry yeast
20g caster sugar
100ml warm water

350g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
30g castor sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
100ml warm water

300g red bean paste


1) To make the yeast mixture, combine the yeast and sugar in a small bowl, adding a tiny amount of the warm water to emulsify into a rough paste before mixing with the remaining warm water.

2) Cover with cling wrap and set aside for 10 minutes or until surface of the mixture is covered in bubbles.

3) To make the dough, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk briefly to mix the dry ingredients and make a well at the centre.

4) If you are mixing by hand add the yeast mixture, vegetable oil and most but not all of the 100ml warm water to the well and gather the dry ingredients into the centre until mostly incorporated into a lumpy mass. Knead for about 5 minutes, adding a little extra water or flour if required, until you have a smooth, pliable dough that is not sticking to the benchtop.

5) If using an electric cake mixer, tip all the ingredients, withholding a small amount of the water, into the mixing bowl and mix with a dough hook on 1st speed for about 3 minutes or until smooth.

6) Transfer the dough into a large oiled bowl (glass is best) and cover with cling wrap. Allow to prove or rise in a warm, draught-free spot for 2-3 hours or until double its original size.

7) To make a hedgehog, punch the dough down and tear off a golfball-sized chunk of dough (about 40g), shape it into a ball, squash with the palm of your hand, then, using your fingers, ease the circle into a 5mm thick teardrop shape.

8) Place a teaspoonful of red bean paste (about 20g) at the round end of the tear, then gather the sides in and begin pinching into a ball but then follow the pinching to the pointy end to form a teardrop shape.

9) Sit it with the seam facing down, then with a very sharp pair of tweezers, position the eyes and nose at the pointy end with 3 sesame seeds and push in lightly to make sure the seeds are secure. (if the seeds do not stick, dab a bit of water on the dough before sticking in the seeds)

10) To create the quills, use the sharp tip of scissors to snip partially into the dough in arcs that begin around the face, then work gradually towards its bottom. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

11) Rest each hedgehog on a small square of baking paper and allow to prove for 30 minutes or until double in size, then place in a large steamer, cover and steam for 10 minutes over high heat.

12) Serve immediately.

Mini Wholemeal Burger Buns

Recently I read in the news that a mould test done on some fastfood burgers found that one particular popular cheeseburger remained unchanged even after 15 days left sitting at room temperature in a plastic container! There was no mould on it at all! I can only imagine how much preservatives must have gone into it to keep it looking good.

Determined to stay away from fastfood burgers after reading this bit of news, I decided to make our own burger buns to go with our homemade meat patty. We definitely can eat these burgers with peace of mind ...

Mini Wholemeal Burger Buns
(makes 20)

2 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 cup strong bread flour
1 1/4 cup wholemeal flour (or you can replace this with bread flour,
                                                  if you prefer normal white burger buns)
1/3 cup milk powder
3 tsp instant yeast
breadcrumbs or sesame seeds


1) Place warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle yeast over. Stir in sugar and leave to ferment for about 15 minutes.

2) Combine flours, milk powder and salt in a mixer bowl.

3) Pour olive oil into fermented yeast and add to flour mixture.

4) Knead with the dough hook using an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until smooth. Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with a damp, clean tea towel.  Leave in a warm place until doubled in size.

5) Knock the dough back and transfer to a lightly floured surface.

6) Divide into 20 equal-sized pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, roll in breadcrumbs or sesame seeds  and lay out on a baking tray lined with baking paper, cover and rest for 10 minutes.

7) Bake in 160C for 20 minutes or until golden brown.


Alternatively, if you have a breadmachine, you can follow these procedures:-

1) In the pan of the bread machine, add ingredients in the order listed above.

2) Select bread type setting to dough/pasta to make the dough.

3)When the cycle is complete, transfer dough into a lightly floured surface.

4) Divide dough into pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, roll in breadcrumbs and place in a baking pan.

5) Let rise until almost double in size.

6) Bake in 160C for 20 minutes or until golden brown.