Sunday, January 31, 2010

Orange Cream Cake

I had been eyeing this particular recipe from Tish Boyle for god knows how long! Every time I click to the internet site, I would say "yes, I'm going to bake this soon". Well this procrastination lasted for about 3 months .. what had it been that long! Well enough is enough! I decided to attempt this cake finally.

This recipe is really long so I made the sugar syrup first and followed it up with the cake. However with so many things going around at the same time and my kitchen being tiny, I took the wrong cake pan. I was suppose to bake it in a 6" pan as I halfed the recipe. Instead I grabbed a 7" one and poured the batter into it. In it went into the oven, whilst I tried to clear the mess I had already made. I make it a point to wash whilst batter is being beated or something is being baked in the oven. As I took a peek into the oven door, I realized that the cake was not rising much at all. This was odd as the ingredients and method of blending is a sponge/chiffon cake style. The cake baked in less time than required and this really got me wondering. When the pan was taken out, I then realized that it was 7" instead of 6". This answered all my looming questions. But guess what I didn't have the height at all to slice this cake into two layers. Instead I switched gears immediately and decided to make smaller versions of layer cakes - 3" instead. What a relief that the final outcome came out pretty good after all!

Orange and Cream Cake
Recipe from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle
Makes one 9" cake - serves 10

Ingredients for the orange cake:

1 cup sifted cake flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled – 57g

For the orange syrup:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Cointreau (optional - I used an orange liquer)

For the orange mousse:

1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Cointreau (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

For the candied orange zest:

3 oranges, scrubbed with a vegetable brush
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar for coating

For the garnish:

Whipped cream
Candied orange zest

Method for the cake:

1) Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan. Dust the pan with flour.

2) Sift together the cake flour and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine, and set aside.

3) In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs and sugar by hand. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and heat, whisking constantly, until the eggs are warm. Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer stand and, using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume, about 8 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the orange zest and vanilla extract.

4) Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the batter and gently fold it in with a rubber spatula. Sift in the remaining flour mixture in two more additions, again folding in gently. Put the melted butter in a small bowl, scoop about 3/4 cup of the cake batter into the bowl, and stir until blended. Fold this mixture into the remaining cake batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

5) Bake the cake for 18 to 22 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

6) Invert the cake onto the wire rack and cool completely.

To Make the orange syrup:

1) In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the orange juice and liqueur, if using. Set aside to cool.

To Make the orange mousse:

1) Pour the water into a medium saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let the gelatin soften for 5 minutes.

2) Whisk the orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, and yolks into the gelatin. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and reaches 180°F (82°C) on an instant-read thermometer. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Stir in the orange liqueur, if using, and vanilla extract.

3) Set the bowl containing the orange mixture in a large bowl filled about one-third of the way with ice water (be careful that the water doesn’t splash into the orange mixture). Stir the orange mixture frequently until it is completely cool, about 10 minutes.

4) In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream at medium-high speed to firm peaks. Fold in the orange mixture. (The mousse should be used immediately.)

To Assemble the cake:

1) Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place a cake layer cut side up in the bottom of a 9-by-3-inch pan, centering it in the pan. Generously brush the cake with half of the orange syrup. Scrape half of the mousse onto the cake and, using a small offset metal spatula, spread it into an even layer, letting the mousse fill the gap between the cake and the side of the pan. Center the remaining cake layer, cut side up, on top. Brush with the remaining orange syrup. Scrape the remaining mousse on top and spread it into an even layer as before.

2) Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours, until set.

To Make the candied orange zest:

1) Using a sharp paring knife, remove the peel of each orange in vertical strips, trying not to include any of the bitter white pith. If any of the pith remains, place each strip, pith side up, on a cutting board and use the paring knife, with the blade parallel to the board, to carefully slice it off. Cut the zest into fine julienne strips.

2) Half fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add the strips of zest, reduce the heat to a simmer, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse the zest.

3) In the same saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and cream of tartar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Add the zest, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low. Let the zest simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool completely.

4) The zest can be stored in its syrup in an airtight container for up to a month. When you are ready to use it, drain it well and toss it in the granulated sugar, breaking up any lumps of sugar with your hands. Spread the zest out on a baking sheet and let dry at room temperature for at least 2 hours before using.

To Unmold the cake:

1) Run a thin-bladed, sharp knife under hot water and wipe dry. Run the knife between the cake and the side of the springform pan to loosen the cake; reheat the knife as necessary. Remove the side of the pan. Use a small metal spatula to smooth the mousse on the sides of the cake if necessary. Refrigerate the cake if not serving immediately.

2) To serve, garnish the top of the cake with the whipped cream (either piped or dolloped) and candied orange zest. Slice the cake using a thin-bladed, sharp knife. Store in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Breaded Rack of Lamb

Lamb is not a meat that I have cooked before but I could not resist adding this particular recipe to my Christmas eve menu when my family visited me in Singapore. It was on sale as well so that was the other added push. I decided on a quick and simple recipe and roasted the rack over a bed of cubed potatoes and carrots which I had partially cooked over the stove. The vegetables were seasoned with salt and black pepper only.

I must say that the lamb turned out extremely well. In fact the flavours of the breadcrumb crust permeated the vegetables as well and there were bits of crispy breadcrumbs that gave it a bit of texture. Since then I have cooked this dish one other time. Lamb does not taste good if cold so make sure that you serve it immediately after it has been rested.

Breaded Rack of Lamb
Serves 4


1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (I used left over store bought croutons)
1 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (I also added a dash of Italian dried herbs)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (you can also use wholegrain mustard)
1 (7 bone) rack of lamb, trimmed and frenched


1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Move oven rack to the center position.

2) In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, garlic, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss in 2 tablespoons olive oil to moisten mixture. Set aside.

3) Season the rack all over with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and a dash of black pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy oven proof skillet over high heat. Sear rack of lamb for 1 to 2 minutes on all sides. Set aside for a few minutes.

4) Brush rack of lamb with the mustard. Roll in the bread crumb mixture until evenly coated. Cover the ends of the bones with aluminium foil to prevent charring. (Silly me, I covered the entire bone with foil)

5) Arrange the rack bone side down in the skillet. Roast the lamb in preheated oven for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness you want. With a meat thermometer, take a reading in the center of the meat after 10 to 12 minutes and remove the meat, or let it cook longer, to your taste.

6) Let it rest for 5 to 7 minutes, loosely covered, before carving between the ribs. Serve with your favourite vegetables or salad.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

BBQ Pork Ribs (My Home Cooked Version)

Although I love eating pork ribs, especially BBQ ones, it is something that is not shared by my hubby. Frankly I do not know why! He just does not like pork all that much, in any form or other. He gives the same treatment to beef and lamb dishes as well. So most of the food I would cook or try out at home would be something that he would eat as well. However for this particular occassion I could not resist buying a small slab of pork ribs just to have my home-cooked version of BBQ ribs. I marinated it with whatever I thought would go well as a BBQ sauce (so if you are not adventurous, I seriously would discourage you from trying out this recipe) and also with whatever I already had in my kitchen.

The ribs turned out really well with charred bits at the end .. just the way I like it! It does seem quite sinful having all of it .. but heh a girl's got to give in to indulgence once in a while.

BBQ Pork Ribs (My Home Cooked Version)


1 rack baby back pork ribs

Marinate Sauce:

1 1/2 Tbsp marmalade orange jam (you can substitue with apricot jam as well)
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce (or substitute with your favourite BBQ sauce)
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp of worcheshire sauce
1/2 Tbsp of chillie sauce (I used Thai sweet chillie sauce)
1/2 tsp white pepper powder
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
1/2 tsp sesame oil
Salt to taste


1) Add all ingredients in a bowl and using a whisk, stir to enable all ingredients are combined together.

2) Marinate the ribs with 2/3 of the marinate sauce for 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

3) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with heavy aluminum foil, lay the ribs on top, and tightly cover with foil. Roast for 2 hours.

4) Preheat the grill and remove the ribs from the oven and uncover. Transfer the ribs to the hot grill and grill over direct heat for 5-10 minutes or until the surface slightly charred to your liking. Brush both sides of the ribs with the remaining char siu sauce plus some oil while grilling. Serve hot.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Red Velvet Cake

What a coincidence that the Cake Slice Bakers first challenge for 2010 happens to be a Red Velvet Cake! Why you would ask me ... well I've seen so many bloggers posting about this cake or cupcake and I have yet to taste or bake it. I had in fact been meaning to add this to my "to bake list" and was somewhat pleased that it has surfaced as a challenge instead.

Usually I'm pretty good with challenges and would get it out of the way as early as possible. But I've been pretty slack over the last two months and have kinda of rush through my challenges. This particularly one is the same as well. I actually baked these cupcakes on Sunday afternoon. I was back in my hometown in Kuala Lumpur over the last 3 days to catch up with my sister. She's currently residing in Melbourne, Australia and was home for about a month and half. This would be her last weekend in Kuala Lumpur before she flies back home. It was good to catch up with her as well as spend a few days back home, not forgetting eating local food as well.

Rather than attempt a layered 9" cake, I halfed this recipe and turned out a dozen cupcakes instead. I didn't do the original pecan coconut icing and used some left over white chocolate buttercream which had been sitting in my fridge for more than a month now. I would have thought the buttercream would have gone off as it was really "old" but surprisingly it was still good. I just needed to thaw it slightly and rewhipped it. The Red Velvet cupcakes were surprisingly good, with really moist, tender crumbs. I believe the standard icing for this cake would have been cream cheese frosting but I guess if you want to deviate from it, just make sure you choose a frosting that really goes well with this cake.

Red Velvet Cake
Makes a 9" layered cake or 24 cupcakes
(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)

Ingredients for the Cake:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (see note below)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp red food colouring
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cider vinegar or white vinegar

Ingredients for the Pecan Coconut Icing:
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts


1) To make the cake, heat the oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line them with waxed paper to kitchen parchment. Grease the paper and flour the pans.

2) Prepare three separate mixtures for the batter. Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl and use a fork to mix them together well. Combine the cocoa powder and the red food colouring in a small bowl, mashing and stirring them together to make a thick smooth paste. (I found it easier to add the cocoa to the dry mixture. For the food colouring I added this directly into the batter after the addition of the eggs.)

3) In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer at low speed for 1 minute until creamy and soft. Add the sugar and then beat well for 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl now and then. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each one until the mixture is creamy, fluffy and smooth. Scrape the cocoa-food colouring paste into the batter and beat to mix it in evenly.

4) Add a third of the flour mixture and then about half the milk, beating the batter with a mixer at low speed. Mix only enough to make the flour or liquid disappear into the batter. Mix in another third of the flour, the rest of the milk and then the last of the flour in the same way.

5) In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar and stir well. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to quickly mix this last mixture into the red batter, folding it in gently by hand. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.

6) Bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes until the layers are spring back when touched lightly in the centre and are just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pans. (For cupcakes bake between 15 - 18 minutes. Check to see if ready - if not bake for another minute or 2.)

7) Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels for 15 minutes. Then turn them out onto the racks, remove the paper and turn top side up again to cool completely.

Method for the Coconut Pecan Icing:

1) Combine the milk and flour in a small or medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking or stirring often until the mixture thickens almost to a paste, around 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and scrape it into a small bowl to cool completely.

2) Meanwhile, beat the butter with a mixture at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar in thirds, beating well each time until the mixture is creamy and fairly smooth. Add the cooled milk and flour mixture and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides now and then to combine everything well. Using a large spoon or spatula, stir im the vanilla, coconut and pecans, mixing to combine everything well into a thick, fluffy, nubbly icing.

To Assemble:

Place one cake layer top side down on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread a third of the icing on top. Place the second layer, top side up, on top. Frost the sides and then the top of the cake with the remaining icing. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to help the icing set.

NOTE: If you can’t find buttermilk, stir 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar into 1 cup of milk and leave to stand for 10 minutes before using.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chewy Chocolate Brownies

When I received a box of chocolate brownies from my colleague after Christmas, it made me realized that I hadn't baked brownies for a long, long time.

I personally like my brownies to be chewy and plain. Although sometimes I may get urges for nuts to be added to my brownies. The other thing I like about baking brownies is that there is really little effort in putting this together as there is no creaming method involved. Everything gets dumped into one bowl and mixed together. You can even freeze some of the brownies once baked for another day ... one of those evenings when cravings for dessert suddenly set in. Believe me I do have these on some rare occassions!

Chewy Chocolate Brownies
Yields 24 squares


1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar for dusting


1) Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

2) Combine granulated sugar, butter and water in large bowl. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; stir into sugar mixture. Stir in nuts. Spread into prepared baking pan.

3) Bake for 18 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into bars.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


The January 2010 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

Early this month I decided that I wanted to do something different for this year and stray away from Daring Bakers to which I have been an ardent member for more than a year and a half. However I am not totally out of this group yet as I have decided to sign up as a Daring Cook instead. This group concentrates more on cooking rather than baking and it's something which I hope to do more this year. And their past challenges such as dumplings, sushi and vietnamese pho have inspired me a lot. I am really looking forward this new adventure!

When Cuppy posted up that this month's challenge was satay, my immediate thoughts was this would be a breeze. For us Malaysians we have practically grown up with a satay in our mouths (metaphor only ok). In fact satay can be said to be one of our national dishes. It can be found easily along street walks, coffee shops, restaurants and even hotels. Heh I forgot to mention that they now come frozen as well - not that this existed when I was young.

Although Cuppy's original recipe seems more Thai, I have decided to do my own "national" dish version - Malaysian satay. And how is this served? It's accompanied with a peanut sauce, ketupat (which is a Malaysian version of cooked rice cake specially wrapped in coconut leaves) and a side dish of raw sliced cucumbers and red onions. Different types of meat are used in Malaysian satay such as beef, chicken, lamb, mutton and pork (which is only sold by the Chinese satay vendors). The satay is cooked over a charcoal grill and the meat is constantly baste in oil using a lemongrass brush (read below to understand what a "lemongrass brush" is)


Ingredients for the Satay

1 lb beef [tenderloin, rib eye or flank steak]
1 lb boneless chicken [preferably dark meat]
1 tsp turmeric powder
4 Tbsp sugar
12 shallots **
6 cloves garlic **
1" turmeric root **
1 tsp white peppercorn **
1 tsp coriander seeds **
2 tsp fennel seeds **
2 tsp cumin seeds **
1 tsp belacan

** ingredients to be grounded together finely

Ingredients for Satay Peanut Sauce:

3 candlenuts (This is called buah keras in Malay. If you can't find this, you can substitute with macadamia nuts)
2 Tbsp tamarind pulp
3 cups coconut milk (fresh or canned)
2 cups roasted peanuts, coarsely pounded
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup warm water
3 Tbsp sugar
salt to taste
2-3 med red onions **
6 cloves garlic **
5 Tbsp chili paste **
2 stalks lemongrass, 4 to 6 inch of the ‘white’’ ends only, coarsely chopped **
1 tsp belacan [dried shrimp paste] **

** ingredients to be grounded together finely

Miscellaneous :

2 seedless cucumber, cut into bite-size wedges
2 red onions, cut in bite-size wedges
about 50 bamboo skewers, soaked in water 1 hour (this is to present the skewers from burning whilst on the grill)
4 Tbsp oil combined with 1 tbsp sugar [This is the oil mixture for basting]
1 lemongrass stalk - cut the leaves or blades end straight across. Use a string to tie it into a basting brush [optional]

To Prepare Satay:

1) Using a blender, grind shallots, garlic, turmeric root [or galangal, or ginger], peppercorn, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and belacan into a paste

2) Add turmeric powder and sugar to the paste, and mix well. [This is the satay marinade]

3) Slice beef and chicken into thin long strips, and place into separate containers. To each meat, add half each of the satay marinade, and mix well to evenly coat the strips of meat

4) MARINATE the beef and chicken strips for at least 3-4 hours. Best if marinated overnight [refrigerated]

5) Tread 3 to 5 strips of meat onto each bamboo skewer, leaving 3 to 4 inch bare at the 'handle end'

6) Grill satays on a hot charcoal bbq grill, indoor grill or on a stovetop grill pan until golden brown. Turn and baste often with the sugar and oil mixture, preferably with your homemade 'lemongrass brush'

7) Serve Satay with a small bowl of satay peanut sauce for dipping, and with cucumber and onion slices. Malaysian satay is often served with Ketupat, [a Malay rice cake].

To Prepare Satay Peanut Sauce:

1) Using a mortar & pestle or blender, grind chili paste, onions, garlic, candlenuts, belacan and lemongrass into a paste

2) In a bowl, add warm water to tamarind pulp. Using your fingers, squish and mix the tamarind pulp to extract ‘juice’. Strain to discard seeds and fibers

3) In a saucepan, heat oil, add ground paste, sauté until quite toasted, and oil starts to seep out

4) Add tamarind juice, bring to a boil, add coconut milk, sugar and salt to taste. Bring sauce to boil again, then reduce to slowly simmer for 10 mins

5) Add pounded peanuts, simmer for another 5 to 10 mins, or until the sauce reaches a ‘thickness’ to your liking [Note: Add more coconut milk if sauce becomes too thick, and if sauce is too thin, simmer longer]

6) Serve satay peanut sauce warm, or at room temperature, in a small bowl as an accompaniment for dipping the satays. It is great for dipping the ketupat.

Note: To give Malaysian satay it's 'aromatic’ authenticity, a lemongrass brush is used to baste the satays whilst it is being grilled.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ayam Sioh (Chicken with Tamarind and Coriander)

Ask any local Malaysian what is Ayam Sioh and they'll probably tell you that it is a Nyonya dish. And how true it is! Ayam Sioh also known as Chicken with Tamarind and Coriander can be found on the menu in almost all nyonya restaurants. Nyonya food is actually a blend of traditional ingredients of Chinese food and Malay spices and herbs, Nyonya cuisine is eclectically seasoned and different than either Chinese or Malay food. It is fusion cuisine at it's best! As in Malay cooking, a key ingredient in Nyonya cuisine is belacan [or dried shrimp paste]. Nyonya cooking is not only about the blending of pungent roots but also the long marinating of meats and seafood before it is cooked. Fresh herbs such as lemongrass, lengkuas [galangal or wild ginger] and kunyit [turmeric root] are pounded, more often than not, by hand using a granite mortar & pestle. Chilies, candlenuts, shallots and belacan are a must in most Nyonya dishes.

When I was very young my grandmother would cook a variation of this dish using duck for Chinese New Year. If you are using duck, the dish would then be called Itik Sioh. In fact the original dish uses duck rather than chicken. But nowadays, most families would prefer to use chicken rather than duck due to hassle of prepping the duck and also a less gamey taste to the dish. In short, some people really do not fancy duck at all! Because of the amount of tamarind in the recipe, this dish is usually kept at room temperature for days. There is no need to refrigerate the left overs. The longer this dish is kept, the tastier it gets. I used to lick all the thick gravy from each piece of chicken bone simply because it tasted so good!

Ayam Sioh (Chicken with Tamarind and Coriander)
(serves 4 - 6)
Recipe from Traditional Malaysian Cuisine


1 large chicken - cut into 4 pieces
10 shallots - pounded finely
1 tsp white pepper
2 Tbsp thick soy sauce
1 Tbsp salt
10 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp coriander powder - roasted
250g tamarind - mixed with 1 cup of water and strained
2 Tbsp salt dissolved in water


1) Combine coriander powder, sugar salt, soy sauce, pepper and shallots with the tamarind juice and stir well.

2) Wash the chicken in the salt water and remove the chicken. Add the chicken to the ingredients in (1). Leave chicken to marinade overnight in the refrigerator.

3) Boil the chicken in the marinade for 20 minutes over medium heat.

4) Turn the chicken over, reduce heat and boil for another 20 minutes.

5) Remove and serve warm with white rice.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

I love making oatmeal cookies and simply like the crunch of the oats in each bite. One great thing about an oatmeal cookie recipe is that you can add and substract the so-called condiments that go into the recipe. Such as a raisin oatmeal cookie. If raisin is not your favourite dried fruit, chuck it out and replace it with another dried fruit. How simple can it be.

This particular oatmeal cookie recipe originally used dried sour cherries. Unfortunately I've not seen a sour cherry sold in any of the bake shops I have visited. So I decided to use cranberries and the addition of white chocolate instead. You can say that I practically used whatever was available in my kitchen well within arm's reach. But heh, it worked out fabulously. In fact this cookie recipe is so delicious that I've made it a lot more than twice. And whenever I bake these, I make sure I put some away in a small jar and bring it office. Nothing like a quick munch whenever I get bored staring at spreadsheets.

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking


113g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup of firmly packed light brown sugar (I reduced mine to 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I reduced mine by about 3 tablespoon)
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup old fashion rolled oats (not instant)
1/3 cup dried cranberries (you can replace with any other dried fruit)
1/3 cup white chocolate chips (you can replace with dark chocolate if you like)


1) Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking trays with parchment paper.

2) Cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed. Beat until smooth and blended, about 2 minutes.

3) Scrape down the bowl and add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat for about 1 minute.

4) In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture all at once. Turn mixer to lowest speed and blend slowly until there is no more patches of flour. Scrap down the bowl.

5) Add the oats, cranberries and chocolate. Blend on low speed until everything is incorporated. Remove and give it one final stir with a spatula.

6) Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop the batter onto the baking trays. Make sure you spread each cookie about 2" apart.

7) Bake the cookies for about 13 - 15 minutes until the cookies are golden brown at the edges but still a bit pale in the center.

8) Transfer to cooking rack and let cookies cool completely before storing away. Keep cookes in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 - 4 days.


You can make the dough 3 days ahead and refrigerate it in an airtight container. Soften the dough slightly before scooping it out to bake.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Crab with Sliced Ginger and Spring Onions

I made this particular crab recipe quite a while back but did not actually post it up until now. I usually do not cook crabs but I made this during a "moment" when I had crab cravings.

In Asia it is often that crabs are bought "live" from the market to maintain the freshness of the seafood. As I am not fond of killing my own food, I had the crab cut and cleaned at the supermarket where I had purchased it. The simple method of preparing this particular dish meant that the crab is not masked by much spices and ingredients. As with most seafood, this is best eaten immediately.

Sliced Ginger and Spring Onion Crab
(serves 2 - 3)


1 crab (Sri Lankan crab about 1 to 1.2kg in weight)
2 inches ginger (peeled and sliced into 10-12 pieces)
3 stalks spring onion (cut into 2-inch length)
3 tablespoons corn starch (for frying)
1 tablespoon cooking oil for deep frying

For the Sauce:

1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
6 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon corn starch
1/8 teaspoon fish sauce


1) Mix the sauce and set aside.

2) Clean the crab and cut into pieces. Pat dry with paper towels and put into a big bowl.

3) Add the corn flour to the bowl and lightly coat the crab pieces with it.

4) Heat up a wok and add cooking oil. When the oil is heated, drop the crab pieces and deep fry. As soon as they turn red, dish out, strain the excess oil and set aside.

5) Heat up a wok and add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Add the ginger and stir-fry until aromatic.

6) Put the crab pieces into the wok and quickly stir a few times before adding the sauce. Add the chopped scallions, toss the crab in the wok a few times until well coated with the sauce, dish out and serve immediately.

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