Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Spinach 苋菜

I made this dish for her funeral ceremony. I was sad I didn’t have the chance to cook this dish for her when she was alive as she was on tube for the last 3 years because she was not able to consume any solid food. However, as Chinese believe in after life, I hope her spirit got to appreciate what I had prepared for her.

In addition to stir frying, spinach is good to serve in soup or even in porridge. Spinach is a great veggie to introduce to children because it has no earthy smell. I used to blend in spinach in Ray’s porridge when he was a baby.  Popeye the sailor man turns into a strong guy after consuming a tin of spinach, you kids will be the same too! J

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hand pulled Noodle/Lamian 手拉面

Lanzhou Lamian (兰州手拉面)
Recently on a business trip to China, I had a little pleasant culinary surprise at Suzhou.  One day I had a busy morning and ended up with a late lunch. I normally did not like to eat rice for lunch, so when I saw a small eatery noodle house nearby, I suggested to my colleague to try out their noodles. It was a small Xinjiang Muslim halal eatery shop tucked away in a little corner not easily noticeable. To our blessings, we ended up tasting a really delicious and authentic Lanzhou hand pulled noodle (lamian) !
While waiting to be served, I even sneaked inside their kitchen to shoot a video of the making of Lanzhou lamian. Inside the kitchen, I noticed the chef was just a young chap; I was so impressed to see him skillfully pull and twist the dough and within seconds a ball of dough was magically transformed into fine smooth noodles!
After some online research, I realized that the word Ramen that I used in this video clip is not the same with the word Lamian, the first referred to Japanese noodle and the later meant for Chinese hand pulled noodle. I had used wrong title in my video clip, it should be Lanzhou Lamian instead.
After I returned to Malaysia, I wanted to challenge myself to hand pull a bowl of noodle/lamian too!  After spending some time researching online for noodle recipes, finally during the Hari Raya Adiladha long weekend I made my 1st attempt.
For this endeavour, I must admit I didn’t hand pull the noodles entirely.  I opted for the cutting method, where I first rolled the dough out flat and then cut the dough into fine stripes with a dough cutter.  Then I slightly hand pulled the dough into finer longer noodles. This method was recommended for home maker especially for beginners. I didn’t have the magical hands like the young chef I met in Suzhou; however the outcome was still reasonably acceptable.
After some efforts in trying to pull and twist the dough, finally I managed to come up with a bowl of reasonably presentable and springy noodle. I got a “pass” from my hubby and auntie Ah Lan and a “good” from my sweet boy Ray, phew!
Ray showing off his newly learnt skill - eating noodle with chopsticks. 
Stir fried ramen with pork mince and veggie
For my next batch of handmade noodle, I would add in slightly more water and salt to the flour to improve the texture of the noodle to make it more elastic and not so easily breakable when pulled.
However, instead of pulling by hand I’m considering to invest in a small pasta/noodle machine! J

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Non-bake Lemon Cheese Cake 冰冻柠檬芝士蛋糕

My first order!

As mentioned in my previous post no bake cheese cake, during recent Raya lunch sharing session one of my colleagues shared with me that he brought back a slice of cheesecake for his little niece and she liked it so much that she wanted it for her birthday cake.  I thought it was no more than a flattering compliment.
2 weeks later, to my surprise he really approached me to ask for the same cheesecake for his niece’s birthday celebration!

So here is another version of the no bake cheese cake with lemon.
Lemon Cheese Cake 冰冻柠檬芝士蛋糕
I was glad that the cake turned out nicely and the six years old birthday girl and family members liked it very much. She even made me a lovely little thank you card! J

Friday, October 14, 2011

Meat Floss Mayonnaise Buns 汤种肉松面包

Since I resumed working, I must confess that my passion in cooking, baking and blogging took a back seat in life. If you’ve following me, you would have noticed I was more lax in updating my blog posts than before.  I have to apologise for that.
From my recent posts, you would notice I worked more on baking rather than cooking right.  Frankly, with a full time job, juggling work life balance can be quite demanding.  I am thankful to have our Auntie Lan to come back and stay with us and continue to be our master chef to relieve my burden of day to day cooking. J Having said that, I still try my best to explore new recipes at least once a week in the weekends.
Currently, the baking I continue to do nearly every week is the homemade water roux starter (Tangzhong) bread (汤种面包 ). Last Sunday, I decided to use part of the Tangzhong dough to make Meat Floss (肉松) Mayonnaise Bun.
If you are bread lovers in Malaysia and Singapore, you would have tasted this delicious Floss Bun which was introduced by famous Singaporean chain bakery shops Bread Talk. This signature floss bun once captured many bread lovers’ attention when it was first launched in Singapore and Malaysia, and I was one of them. That time whenever I came across a Bread Talk bakery shop, I would end up buying a few floss buns for breakfast or tea break. J
Pork Floss Mayonnaise Buns 汤种肉松面包

Ray with mouth full of pork floss mayonnaise bun

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

No bake Cheesecake 冰冻芝士蛋糕

Raya lunch Celebration

Last week, I received an invitation from my finance team members to join their pot luck lunch on Monday in the office in celebration of Raya Adilfitri (Muslim New Year).  I happily accepted the invitation and even offered to bring one of my specialties to support their function. But later I realized that I would not have time to prepare fancy dishes in the morning, as I started work as early as 8am.

And so I struggled to think of what party food that could be easily prepared in advance, best the night before and its taste could be sustained when brought to the office the next morning for reheating or served cold during lunch time.

After cracking my head, I concluded dessert is the best answer. Yes, dessert could be prepared in advance and easily stored up to a day or two without compromising its quality.  I came out with this simple no bake cheesecake, which was just ideal for this function.

Again, this recipe was shared by Helen in Auckland. I found this simple cheesecake recipe so versatile that different variation of cheesecake look can be produced by merely changing the toppings. Her original topping called for fruit jam; however I was no fruit jam lover.  I ended up with gelatin lime topping instead as I wanted to go in line with the Muslim’s Raya colour – green.  I used the juice of half a lime and one to two drops of green food coloring to come up with the lime green topping cheesecake J

The topping was not well turned-out as I expected to have a smooth layer of jelly looking topping. This might due to overnight chilled effect in freezer. 

Nevertheless, the cake received great comments from my colleagues. I was overly flattered when one of my colleagues came to me the next day and wanted to place an order to make this cheesecake as birthday cake for his little nephew. He told me that he brought back a piece to his nephew and he loved it so much and asked to have the same for his birthday! J

Highlights of office lunch sharing

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Taro/Yam Paste Fillings 芋头馅料

Happy Moon Cake festival !
Next Monday in lunar calendar is 15th of the 8th month which marks a big day for the Chinese celebrating the Moon Cake Festival or Mid Autumn Festival 中秋节.  For those Chinese who celebrate this big occasion, moon cake is the main bakery product not to be missed. Moon cake is analogous to turkey for the Thanks Giving day or Christmas Day.
Since two months ago, I started to see assorted moon cakes ranging from traditional flavor Lotus paste moon cake to western flavor Cheesy Choc Oreo flooding the local market. Rather than the wide variety of fillings of the moon cakes, I was more attracted to their elegant and stylish moon cake boxes instead. These gift boxes are getting so much more ornamental to the point that they now become the deciding factor for the purchase rather than the delicacy element! These moon cakes were not sold cheap in the market.  I reckon a huge portion was attributed to the glossy packaging cost.

2 weeks ago, I started to make my first batch of homemade traditional baked moon cake 广式月饼. I used the same moon cake recipe given by Helen, one of my best cooking pals in New Zealand.  She shared that recipe with us when she demonstrated the making of homemade moon cake at my ex-Auckland home last year. Do click here for the recipe I posted last year.  

I was glad that it was much easier to find the necessary moon cake ingredients and mould in Malaysia. I got these moulds cheaply from a bakery supplies shop just minutes away from my house.

Last week, I made another batch of moon cakes, this time I tried out snow skin moon cake冰皮月饼 . This type of chilled moon cakes was much easier to make, no baking required. I opted for an easy way out by using a pack of readily mixed snow skin flour and by merely adding water and shortening, the skin dough would be ready. 

If you wish to make your own snow skin dough, click here for the recipe shared by Helen also. This time, I decided to make own moon cake fillings.  The following was the taro/yam paste fillings adapted from moon cake making video by Agnes Chang.    
I shared both types of my homemade moon cakes with my colleagues and I was pleased to receive good comments from them. The best voted mooncake was snowy moon cake with taro and melon seeds fillings ! J

I would like to dedicate this post to all my TWOA level 3 computing and cooking members: Alice, Doris, Helen, Jane, Jenny Wu, Jenny Yip, Julie, Lily, Linda, Vera, Penny, Julia and Ellen.

“I really miss those happy moments we had; taking turns to host the cooking and lunch sharing functions every Thursday. With this moon cake I would like to wish you all “
A Happy Moon Cake Festival! 祝你们中秋节快乐!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Potato Buns 马铃薯面包

I’m one year old!
Time flies, I just realised that it has been a year since I started this blog in September 2009. Recalling the time when I experienced living overseas in Auckland, with the purpose of occupying my time and learning to blog as part of my Information Technology assignment, I created this blog.  I had never expected to receive such warm acknowledgement and getting to know so many wonderful food bloggers who shared the same passion in food blogging. Thanks to all those who had visited my blog, some even signed up as followers to my blog.
I just wish to say a big Thank You  to you all! I hope you will continue to check out my blog once in a while and I will try my best to share more cool recipes.  I believe in the value of sharing.  Every recipe I shared is treated as one good deed of the day J 
 “The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another's, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises. “
 - Leo Buscaglia

For this anniversary post, I would like to share the recipe of this healthy potato buns. Many would have tasted these potatos buns commonly found in bread shelves in supermarket or bread store. These buns are made from a variation of sweet buns dough. To have better flavour, add a little butter cream as fillings or any fillings to your liking.
This recipe was adapted from Agnes Chang’s “ I can bake”. However I was not satisfied with the custard toppings suggested in the original recipe, where the custard topping was merely a mixture of custard powder with water uncooked.  As a result, the topping that was too watery resulting in the poor cross shape topping. Furthermore, the custard topping was tasteless after baking.
In view of that, I found this creamy custard topping on the Net which I reckon should make a better alternative for easy pipping and nicer taste.

Ray can't wait to get his hand on the buns!

Friday, August 26, 2011

BBQ Buns (Cha Siu Pau )叉燒包

I suppose those who love dim sum would agree Cha Siu Pau is one of the signature buns served among dim sum dishes. It is also a must order item whenever a family with kids visits a dim sum restaurant.
On 8th August, in commemoration of my late mother-in-law 3 years passing anniversary, we had prepared a hefty lunch featuring her favourite dishes.  I made these buns and Auntie Lan helped to make fried noodles, and Kiam Chai Boey (Stew Salted vegetables). All these recipes are available in my blog, just click on them.
Initially, I was thinking of making own Cha Siu but when I went marketing that morning, the main ingredient, pork loin, had been sold out.  Since in Malaysia ready-cooked Cha Siu was easily available, I decided to go for an easy way out instead. J However, if you wish to attempt making your own Cha Siu (BBQ pork), the simple version recipe is available here.

If you happen to have roast pork for dinner, you can use the left over for its filling too.

Friday, July 29, 2011


There is a saying that baking can be a great bonding activity and I agree fully to it. Last Sunday, I had a fun cookies baking session with my son Ming Ray. He enjoyed his little master chef task assigned by me to cut the dough into assorted shapes that he liked with cookies cutter. Not only he gave a big thumb up to the taste of the cookies he made, the following day he proudly shared the cookies with his buddies at school too. J

This easy cookies recipe was adapted from Baking Made Easy by Agnes Chang (蓝赛珍,轻轻松松学烘焙); it was named Almond Cookies in the book. However I found the cookies were overpowered by the buttery flavor. To me it tasted more like butter cookies than almond cookies. Hence, I am renaming this recipe to Almond Butter Cookies. Having said that, the cookies are tasty to eat, not too sweet and it was really crunchy on the outside but soft from the inside.


Monday, July 18, 2011


Oriental Pork Chop
This is a Chinese style pork chop which I adapted from Hawkers’ Fair Simplified. This is one of my family’s favourite dinner dishes. The name is called pork chop but I found it tastes even better with pork loin,the meat is tenderer and juicier. If using pork loin I usually omit soda bicarbonate as tenderizer.
To keep the pork chop crisped, pork chop can be deep fried first and only have the source poured on it when serving.  

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Steamed Buns (Baozi/Pau) 包子

Supreme big Baozi/Pau, anyone? 大包? 
Bread is the main staple food to Western Cuisine as in Baozi/Pau (steamed buns) is to Chinese cuisine.  Baozi is especially popular in the Chinese breakfast serving.  Baozi making shares similar process to bread making which requires  yeast dough, kneading and proofing with the only difference in its cooking method - steam instead of bake. Hence, baozi can also be regarded as stuffed steamed bread.
There are various types of baozi ranging from plain buns to stuffed baozi with various fillings. What filling can be used in baozi?  The classic fillings are meat (cha siu /BBQ pork/beef/chicken) or sweet fillings like red beans, lotus paste, kaya (coconut egg jam), peanut butter or even vegetables. I would say the list is too exhaustive to name and only imagination is the limit.
Having mastered the basic skill in Western bread making, I reckoned it was time to take up new challenges in learning up Chinese bread making J  I had two fun experience with my cooking members back in Auckland in making Shanghai pan fried baozi(上海生煎包). However, at that time I did not have the chance in making the yeast dough from scratch. The yeast dough was prepared and proof in advance and we were invited to go over to help in wrapping and pan fried.
Last Sunday, I decided to try out the steamed buns yeast dough recipe from Agnes Chang’s “Delightful Snacks and Dim Sum” cook book. With this yeast dough I had successfully made 4 big supreme big pao with shredded chicken breast, egg and yambean fillings and 6 small Kaya bao using my homemade kaya filling.    
Steamed Buns (Baozi/Pau) 包子
I was delighted that the texture of the steamed buns was very soft and springy. However, hubby commented that the taste of the meat fillings could have been improved with longer marinating time overnight in the fridge to further tenderize the chicken breast and the seasoning more thoroughly absorbed.   

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Peninsula Malaysia East Coast Road Trip and the Underwater World of Redang Island

Food, sea, sun, sand and underwater vacation
Our 2 years of oversea life in Auckland, made us miss the warm sea and beach in Malaysia even more. There were many nice beaches in New Zealand too but the water was too cold for us.  Even during summer months, there was only 1 month (between February and March) when the water was warm enough for us to swim in but it was still pretty chilly as compared to the warm sea temperature in the tropical region.
After settling down, the very first plan we made was to go for warm island beach vacation during the upcoming school holidays which Ming Ray had been longing. We teamed up with my ex-colleague Jenny and her family to the East Coast of Peninsula Malaysia on a road trip covering Cherating and Redang Island trip from 6th to 11th  June .
A bunch of 4 adults and 3 kids had a blast.  Not only the children got to enjoy the awesome snorkeling experience of seeing colourful underwater world, we also got the chance to taste the delectable Terengganu local delights, especially the seafood.    
After 3 hours of driving from Kuala Lumpur, we put up at Cherating and checked in Holiday Villa for our first night. We had our first sumptuous seafood dinner at a renowned restaurant in a nearby town, Kemaman.
Early next morning we departed for Kuala Terengganu jetty to catch our boat to Redang Island. It took us just over 3 hours to reach there. We spent 4 days 3 nights at Laguna Redang Resort. The package offered by this resort was pricier than most other resorts but we found it quite a good value for money especially when we were travelling with children, comfortable lodging and well equipped facilities were our main priorities. In addition, the varieties of the buffet meals had made us come back with extra kilos J
After the return boat trip from Redang Island we took off around noon and we made an impromptu lunch stop over at Pantai Penarik when JS spotted a restaurant full of patrons.
We were surprised by another mouth watering meals at the restaurant specialty the batter-fried seafood and Terengganu local delicacies of keropok lekor (fish sausage) and Sata (grilled fish in banana leaves).  Only when I got back home to search the Internet did I realize that this shop was one of the must tries seafood restaurant at Pantai Penarik. 
The most tiring part of our journey was our return trip from East Coast to Penang Island via Gerik Highway. We traveled in 2 cars; it was a long hilly and dreadful 7 hours long distance drive. Gratitude should be extended to both drivers –our beloved husbands.  Halfway thru the journey, the weather turned bad and visibility was down to less than 50 meters in foggy and rainy conditions in some parts. Along the way, we spotted more than 4 car accidents with the victims’ cars skidded into the side drain, really terrifying.
With the rainy weather we didn’t manage to get a good look at Tasik Temenggor which is another beauty along this highway. Due to the road condition with no lighting at night, our drivers decided to make best use of the daylight by driving non-stop till night fell so we skipped dinner and went straight to Penang. Finally at 9.30pm, we reached Penang and got to enjoy Penang hawker dinner delights albeit a tad late.
Food adventures

Kemaman specialty – Stuffed Crabs @ Tong Juan Restaurant
Eat all you can buffet meals @ Laguna Redang Resort

Lunch @ Pantai Penarik, Terengganu
During our stay in Penang, we put up a night at Jenny's house and the following day, she brought us to her brother in law's Hakka Mee Restaurant for lunch. Thanked to her that we got the chance to enjoy famous Kampar Hakka Mee, homemade fish balls and Yong Tau Fu.  

Kampar Hakka Mee, fish balls, deep fried fu chok (bean curb sheets) and steamed herbal chicken
White sandy Pasir Panjang beach
Laguna Redang Resort beach front

Underwater world highlights

Yin the mermaid?
Close encounter with X'mas worms
Surrounded by a school of hungry fish
Ray: Let me hold the bread, I want to feed the fish!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Instant Oat Soya Milk Bread 豆浆麦片土司

Healthy Vegetarian bread

Ever since I successfully made my 1st loaf of Tangzhong (Water Roux Starter) bread, I was addicted to its super soft and fluffy texture. Whenever I think of baking bread I would try out as many variations of Tangzhong bread recipes as possible. With ingredients such as instant oat and sugar-free soya milk, this one was a healthy and nutritious bread and especially great for vegetarians.

The original recipe also suggested adding raisins which I excluded as both Ming Ray and I do not like raisins in bread.

Instant Oat Soya Milk Bread 豆浆麦片土司

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Homemade Lo See Fun 自制老鼠粉/米台目

Home-made authentic Hakka Cuisine- Part two

Writing the Hakka Lo See Fun (Rice Pin noodles) with Minced Pork post reminded me this great noodle making experience I had in 2009 when I first moved to Auckland.

When we first shifted to Auckland, we were blessed to have a group of Auckland based Malaysian friends' support to ease our settling down. Many of them were JS University mates who migrated years before us. With their help, our transition was painless and swift. I was especially thankful to build up good friendships with their wives. The wives gang had helped ease my anxiety. I was able to connect to a new social network in New Zealand in no time.

Among of them, Yenny was one of the warmest and most generous friends we made in Auckland. With her hospitality, we put up at her house as our initial accommodation until we moved to our rented house 2 weeks later. She was also the one who always came up with great ideas in celebrating big occasions and generously offered her house to host families gathering. I regarded her as wives' club Chairlady. :-P

This recipe was shared by her when she initiated a cooking gathering at our Auckland house in welcoming me to join the wives club. I had enjoyed so much in this noodle making process, not only we had great bonding time,

Yenny the Chef (in Pink) and her 3 kitchen helpers - Yin, WC and PY
I got to taste the homemade Lo See Fun which was not available in Auckland. Some other types of rice noodle like Hor Fun (Koey Teoh) 粿条, Lai Fun (濑粉 )are easily available in Asian grocery shops in Auckland but not Lo See Fun (老鼠粉/米台目).

After some sweating out, it was time to sit down and enjoyed the noodles with my Penang Assam Laksa soup.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hakka Lo See Fun (Rice Pin noodles) with Minced Pork 客家肉碎老鼠粉

Home-made authentic Hakka Cuisine - part one

Recently, I bought a new cook book by Agnes Chang – "Delightful Snacks and Dim Sum" and was happy to find some authentic Hakka dishes in it. One of them was this simple noodle recipe -Hakka Lo See Fun (Rice Pin noodles) with Minced Pork .

Lo See Fun, literally in Cantonese it means "Mouse Noodle", is a type of rice noodle. I guessed the pin shape noodle was named after its shape being similar to a mouse?

This rice noodle is easily available in South East Asia countries especially in Malaysia and Singapore. They can also be found in Taiwan known as "米台目"and in Hong Kong known as "銀針粉". However, I doubt they are available in the Western countries. When I was in Auckland I was not able to find them in shops. Thanks to a friend for sharing her homemade rice pin noodle recipe, we got to enjoy it while we were there. I will share this homemade noodle experience in my next post.

If you are not able to get this specific type of rice pin noodle, you can replace it with other types of rice noodles such as "Lai Fun" 濑粉 or Hor Fun (Koey Teoh) 粿条 or just any other types of noodles preferred.

However, if you wish to challenge yourself in making your own rice pin noodle. Check out this post Home made  Lo See Fun, credit to my friend Yenny who shared this with me during my days in Auckland.

Hakka Lo See Fun (Rice Pin noodles) with Minced Pork 客家肉碎老鼠粉

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Eggplant with Prawns 香滑茄子虾仁

Welcome to my Malaysian Kitchen
For years, I used to do my marketing at the neighbourhood weekly Pasar Malam (night market). I like to shop there as I can enjoy a variety of local foods while buying fresh and cheaper vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry and meats. Last Monday, I resumed my marketing routine there and was delighted to buy these young fresh eggplants.

For the past 2 years in Auckland we hardly ate eggplants. Not that eggplants were not easily available in NZ but the local eggplants found in NZ had a much firmer texture and not as tasty. Whereas the imported Asian eggplants were expensive in Auckland.

Initially, I was thinking of making steamed eggplants with minced meat. Once I had the eggplants washed and the skin peeled off, I recalled Ming Ray liked to eat deep fried eggplants. Therefore, I changed my mind to try out this stir-fried recipe from Yummy Yummy Hawkers' Fair.

In general, it is preferred to keep the eggplant skin for deep frying, but since I had already removed the skin, I proceeded with them skinless.

Eggplant with Prawns 香滑茄子虾仁 featured in Group Receipes 30/05/2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Custard Fluffy Bread 卡士达超软土司

Back in Action with my little desktop Oven  

After 3 weeks of cleaning up and tidying up the house which we had abandoned for the last 2 years, I was relieved to announce that the house is now decent to stay in. At last I'm back in action and here I'm to introduce to you my Malaysian Kitchen! J

While housekeeping I was happy to discover a desktop oven from the store room which I got from a lucky draw some years ago from the annual dinner of my ex-company. This oven is so new and was hardly used at all. The oven was left in the storeroom as I was not into baking at all before I moved to Auckland. However, now it is time to put it to good use!

For the first few attempts, this desktop oven was not so pleasant to use. My first batch of bread and muffins were not well cooked. I deduced it was mainly due to the oven size and the power setting affecting the baking time. In addition, the aluminium baking ware which I bought here might also cause some minor difference. I was a bit disappointed with the results and was skeptical to use it again.

2 weeks ago, a good friend from Auckland helped to bring back some of my non-stick baking ware and cook books I had been using in Auckland. Last Sunday, Mother's day, I tried out Tanzhong whole meal bread with the loaf tin brought back from Auckland and took account of the longer baking time after learning from the first few failed attempts, I was thrilled that my second attempt of bread making with this small desktop was a success! I shared some of this whole meal bread with my neighbour and was given a thumb up J

With warm temperature all year round in Malaysia, baking bread is so much easier as the bread dough proof so much faster. Within an hour I had a beautifully raised dough. It could never be done in such a short time in Auckland. Looks like this little desktop oven is good enough for me to continue my baking interest!

Sharing below is another variation of super soft Tangzhong toast bread adapted from famous Taiwanese bakery Guru – 孟老师100道面包. This custard bread was so soft and fluffy beyond words to describe. Just give it a try it and I bet you will give a big thumb up for it too!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Salt Dough 自制黏土

Let's bake for fun

This was a fun project that Ming Ray and I worked on in March just before we moved back from Auckland. He discovered this idea from a craft book that he borrowed from the local library. Talking about library, I was really impressed with the library facilities in Auckland. One could easily locate a well run library in nearly every suburb. Every resident with a proof of address could apply for a membership. Once registered as a member one could borrow up to 30 copies of books or magazines free of charge at any one time! This superb facility had cultivated strong reading interests among the local communities.

In the nearly 2 years I spent in Auckland, I must have read more than double the amount I read in the past decade in Malaysia. I was pleased to see my boy had also picked up this good habit. I hope he can continue this good habit in Malaysia but I foresee this might be a challenge as good library in Malaysia is essentially non-existent.

Shared here is the basic dough recipe which I extracted from the book. I halved the quantity as I was worried having too much dough to work with. Done right, the dough can be easily worked on to be shaped into any features. Below were 3 characters that we made following the book with the quantity of dough we made.

Happy feets - Penguin?
 I helped Ming Ray to shape the figures while he painted them. We had great bonding time to work on these cute little figures.

Our little artist - Ming Ray
You can use this dough to make adorable little ornaments as birthday gifts or little Christmas ornaments to hang on Christmas tree. Be creative with the dough and have fun!


1 cup of fine salt
1 cup of flour (multi-purpose flour)
1/2 cup of water (may add more)

  1. In a large bowl, combine the salt and the flour.
  2. Make a well in the salt/flour mixture and slowly add the water (stop if you feel too gooey).
  3. To get softer dough you can add more flour.
  4. Knead until smooth and shape into a ball.
  5. To make different color dough, you can use food coloring in the dough and knead to mix evenly the color.
  6. When not in use, wrap in plastic or store in an airtight container.
Shaping the dough:
  1. Once the dough is ready you can shape them into any figures that you like.
  2. Place the shaped figures on baking tray with parchment paper/baking paper.
  3. Pre-heat the oven into 150 degree Celsius and bake the dough until firm.
  4. You may paint your ornaments and sculptures after they dry up using acrylic paint.



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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mini Pumpkin, Feta and Buttermilk bread 迷你南瓜乳酪面包

Just realised I omitted to set auto schedule to publish this write-up before moving back from Auckland. This was the final episode of Pumpkins series demostrated by Cushla.

Pumpkins Series – Part three

Continuing on the pumpkin series, this was the third pumpkin dishes that Cushla had prepared for us. For this recipe, she used butternut pumpkin. This buff-coloured, pear shaped pumpkin has dense, dry, sweet-tasting flesh, making it the most versatile type for cooking. For this recipe, she has used about 350g, about ¼ of butternut.

You can also make this into gluten free diet by substituting gluten free self-raising flour. These delicious little loaves best served with soup and freeze well.

Pumpkin is a very versatile vegetable and it goes well with either sweet flavors or savory ones. When ripe, pumpkin can be boiled, baked steamed, roasted or even stir fry. Besides baking ideas, you can also check out these old pumpkin recipes that I had shared to blend into Asian cuisine, adding colour, flavour and nutrition to your fall table.



Mini Pumpkin, Feta and Buttermilk bread 迷你南瓜乳酪面包

2/12 cup self-raising flour
1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin, cooled
1 small onion (cut into thin wedges)
40g cold butter, chopped
150g feta, crumbled
1cups buttermilk (approx)
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Homemade Buttermilk:
Combine 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice or vinegar into a small jug, then topping it up to 1 cup with milk, stir until foamy.

  1. Preheat oven to 200C Celsius.
  2. Grease 4 mini loaf tins, or 8 large muffin tins
  3. Heat oil in a small frying pan over moderate heat.
  4. Add onion, sauté and stir for 5 minutes until soft
  5. Sift flour into large bowl. Using fingertips, rub in cold butter.
  6. Make a well in the centre add pumpkin and half each of the onion and feta.
  7. Using a round bladed knife, stir in enough buttermilk until mixture forms soft sticky dough.
  8. Turn out dough on to a lightly floured surface, knead briefly to combine (dough should be soft and sticky). Press into prepared pans.
  9. Sprinkle tops with remaining onion and feta.
  10. Baked bread for 25 minutes or until golden.



2 / 12杯自发面粉 (你也可以用免面筋自发面粉)
1杯酪乳; 白脱牛奶(约)

酪乳/ 白脱牛



5)面粉筛入大碗中, 加入牛油碎使用指尖揉搓。

Monday, April 11, 2011

Missing In Action

Home sweet home - Malaysia

Just a short note to say hi. I'm back in Malaysia and now in transition to settle down. With the house in the mess, no landline for internet access and my boy schooling matters to settle, I will be missing in action for a while. But no worry once all these settled, I will have my new Malaysian Kitchen up and running soon.

Keep tuning in to check out my new recipes. See you again!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Milky Cinnamon Rolls 牛奶肉桂卷

This may well be the last blog post from Auckland. By the time this post was published (I set scheduled post), it would be our last day in New Zealand. Very heavy hearted to leave but with family commitments back home, we had to make our move. Farewell New Zealand, it has been a truly fantastic 2 years here, picturesque sceneries, pleasant weather and most importantly warm and friendly people especially the great friendships we had that made us felt so homely and cared for as if this was our first home. We will cherish all these for life!
E noho rā Aotearoa, Goodbye New Zealand! Till we meet again.
This was my last batch of homemade bread using our Auckland kitchen. As can be read from my last few posts, lately I was quite diligent in baking especially into bread making. This was partly because I needed to clear the baking stock in my pantry besides attempting as many bread recipes as I could knowing that I might not have the proper oven facility when I got back to my own Malaysian kitchen.
In my time here in Auckland, this small kitchen especially the oven stove meant so much to me. Not only did I expand my interest in cooking with it, it also helped to take me out of my cooking comfort zone into the baking world. Besides expanding my cooking skills, it brought me into the blogging world. Fingers crossed that I would have the time and opportunity to continue this baking interest.
This milky cinnamon rolls recipe was another Tangzhong recipe I adapted from 65C汤种面包, 陈郁芬. After a few successful batches of bread making using Tangzhong starter with outstanding result, I was encouraged to try more.
For this recipe, I increased the quantity of the ingredients in proportion to the original recipe to make 15 rolls instead of 9 rolls.  I made this last Sunday afternoon. Ming Ray was the first to taste the rolls. He devoured 3 rolls in one go and even ordered to reserve another two rolls for his Monday school lunch. After he had finished, he came to me and said “Mommy, do you know how many points I give to this roll?”  “I give 8 out of 10 points”.  When I asked him why and how to improve to perfect 10, he gave me these suggestions, “I will give 9 out of 10, if there is ice cream topping and 10 out 10 with chocolate chips in it too! “ J

(makes 12-15)

350g High grade flour (bread flour)
55g Caster sugar
5g Salt
9g Instant dry yeast
40g egg, lightly beaten (1 egg reserve the leftover for egg wash)
110g Tang zhong (water-roux)*
110ml milk
22g unsalted butter

*Tang zhong (water-roux) starter
25g bread flour
125ml milk
(Refer here for making tanzhong, substitute water with milk)

1 tbsp Cinnamon powder (to your liking )
30g Brown/Raw sugar ( I would add more)
80g raisin (optional, I didn’t add as my son doesn’t like it)
25g unsalted butter, melted
Hand Knead Method:

1.       Mix all the A dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add in egg and Tangzhong mix well.
2.       Slowly add in milk, mixture will really sticky, use spatula to mix for 5 min, dough will form rough dough.
3.       Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough till smooth. This should take about 10mins.It helps to have a dough scraper or butter knife on hand to scrape up the dough as your knead.
4.       Knead in melted butter, be ready to deal with oily dough and be persevering to knead until dough becomes smooth and elastic. This should take about another 10-20 min (much depend on your kneading skill). Test doneness, if dough can be pulled into a thin membrane without tearing/breaking apart easily, dough is ready to set aside to proof.
5.       Place dough in a lightly greased mixing bowl, cover with light greased cling wrap and let proof in room temperature or warm spot around 28 to 30 degree Celsius for about 2 hour, or until double in bulk.
6.       Mix cinnamon powder and sugar together. Reserve about 1 teaspoon of the mixture.
7.       Once dough double test doneness using finger test, slightly poke a finger into dough and if impression remained, dough has nicely risen. Remove and punch down the dough from the bowl.
8.       Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 25cm by 40cm. Brush surface with melted butter.
9.       Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture over the dough surface. Roll over the surface with a rolling pin; this is to make sure the fillings will stick onto the dough.
10.   Roll up the dough to form a log shape. Pinch the edges to seal.
11.   Place the log seam side down, trim off the two ends. With a sharp knife, cut the roll into 15 equal pieces.
12.   Arrange the rolls cut-side up lined with parchment paper (or in a greased) square pan or any suitable baking tray.

13.   Leave some space in between the rolls to allow further expansion. Cover with damp cloth or cling wrap and leave shaped dough to proof for the second time for about 45mins, or until double in size.

14.   Brush top with egg wash (mix leftover egg with 1 tbsp water) and sprinkle the reserved cinnamon sugar mixture over the top.
15.   Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 15-20 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and once cool store immediately in an airtight container.

香甜可口奶味浓的汤种肉桂卷, 吃了齿留香!

A、面包粉 350克、细砂糖 55克、盐 5克、干酵母 9
B、全蛋 40克、牛奶水 110克、汤种 110
C、无盐牛油 30
D、细砂糖 30克,1 大匙肉桂粉(份量随你的喜好)、 葡萄干 80 (可选)



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