Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bubur Nasi Hitam

I was an angry, sulky, rebellious teenager. I wasn't very comfortable in my own skin and I hated everything and everyone. In short, I was one big pain in the backside. I sure gave my parents hell (in return, my kids will probably provide me the same services because what goes around, comes around). I was a sad, pudgy kid who was confused about life and frankly speaking, a little lonely too.

There are some of the reasons why I don't like keeping in touch with the past and when the past comes back to visit, I make attempts to avoid it like a bowl of bitter melon juice.

However, a good book once read that you cannot bury the past. It only claws its way back to you. And true to its words, even though I've moved 6360 kilometers away from home, many of my former schoolmates have made, miraculously, the same decision. The result? Reunions.

I've since resigned to the fact that the world is far too small to run away. And to make amends with the past, I bought her breakfast last weekend. If I had the chance to speak to my young self, I would say this: 1)Don't be too hard on your self. 2)Don't take life so seriously because it doesn't even take itself seriously. 3)People actually don't bite when you make the effort to know them.

Bubur Nasi Hitam translates as Black Rice Pudding. Deliciously drizzled with santan, or coconut milk, it's an authentic Malaysian dessert served after dinner. Mom cooks it in a slow cooker the night before and that's why we have them for breakie in the mornings. I don't know why but I guess it's the same difference with cereal. It has the same consistency as Red Bean Soup but slightly thicker and richer (due to the coconut milk). It's best to add some dried longans for an additional fruity sweetness but if you can't find any, it's fine as it is.

Bubur Nasi Hitam (serves 4)

  • 1¾ cup black glutinous rice
  • 2 pandan leaves or 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 5 cups of water
  • ½ cup palm sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups fresh squeezed thick coconut milk


  1. Rinse rice thoroughly for 2 minutes under running water. Drain well.
  2. Put water, rice and pandan leaves into a heavy-based pot.
  3. Simmer over medium heat for approximately 40 minutes.
  4. Add palm sugar syrup and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  5. Season with a pinch of salt. Remove from heat, allow to cool.
  6. Serve at room temperature, topped with a swirl of fresh squeezed creamy coconut milk.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Stir-fry Fish with Fermented Black Beans

Hi! Here's another quick and simple dish to add to the list. Aahhh.. this is a lazy weekend for me! :D

Stir-fry Fish with Fermented Black Beans
- 1 Basa fish fillet
- Fermented Black beans (hmm.. this is tricky.. I don't know how to put the measurement for this.. around 20 beans? 1 spoonful? hehe)
- Garlic
- 1 stalk of spring onion

1. Rinse some fermented black beans with water and mash them a little
2. Chop spring onion
3. Cut fish fillet into preferred size
4. Marinate fish with mashed fermented black beans
5. Chop garlic finely
4. Fry garlic in a pan till fragrant
5. Add marinated fish pieces with mashed fermented black beans
8. Stir fry fish pieces till they're cooked
9. Add chopped spring onion and stir through together
10. Serve with rice

Notice that I didn't add any soy sauce or salt to the dish. That's because the fermented black beans I used were quite salty. They gave the fish just the right amount of flavour. ;)

Quote of the day ~ A smile is the best accessory to wear ~

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Easy Peasy Stir-fry Beans

Hi! I'm back. *winks at Monkee* Gotta apologise for the lack of update from me. I've been occupied with some other activities (whisper: lazy). Thanks Monkee for posting up so many wonderful recipes and all those yummilicious photos! :)

Here's a simple recipe for a quick dish, very fast to whip up when you're hungry after work.

Stir fry Beans
Ingredients (for 2 persons)
- 100g minced pork
- String beans (hmm.. measurement for this? I just grabbed 3 hands full of them when I was shopping at the vege mart.. haha!)
- Garlic
- Soy sauce or salt

1. Wash and cut string beans
2. Marinate minced pork with soy sauce or salt
3. Chop garlic finely
4. Fry garlic in a pan till fragrant
5. Add marinated minced pork and stir through together
6. Add string beans and stir fry till they're cooked
7. Add salt or soy sauce to taste
8. Add some water and let it simmer for 5 mins if you like the beans to be softer
9. Serve with rice

I just had this today. ;) Hope you'll enjoy it too!

Quote of the day ~ The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted ~

Peeping Pear & Passionfruit Pudding

There's something wrong with Happee Monkee *sobs* I really hopes it comes back up online soon. I suppose this might be a sign to devote more tender loving care to my first born - Twenty Something which started off as a blog for a group of twenty-somethings. It's a little sad how it's become more like a one-man show. So, my second wish for tonight (I hope my fairy godmother's listening) is that the other twenty-somethings comes back from wherever they are and blog again. More is always merrier. Especially around food.

I've adapted this recipe from last week's copy of Epicure. I've added passionfruit for a few reasons: 1) I had it in the refrigerator 2) I thought the citrus acidity could help with chemically balancing the bi-carb soda. (I'm not sure if it worked, but it looks OK).

I avoid using baking powder because I found that it contains aluminum. It may not be much but I've become a firm believer that a little bit of everything can one day amount to make a big something.

Bi-carb soda works with acid (as it's alkaline-based) to release carbon dioxide which gives the cake a boost. Hence, the rising effect. In fact, there's why some heirloom chocolate cakes has vinegar in it. It has the acid compound to react with the bi-carbonate soda. Compared to baking powder, it has less chemical compounds in it and I reckon it makes a healthier alternative. But that's just me. If you personally feel it doesn't work as well as baking powder, then please do replace the soda bicarb in this recipe. The end result should be the same: a moist pudding with the glorious scent of passionfruit and the soft sweet flesh of pear.
Peeping Pear Passionfruit Pudding ( serves 6 )

  • 6 small ripe pears
  • 100g palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 600ml water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks or 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup butter (approx. 150g)
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar (approx 150g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup self raising flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp soda bi-carbonate
  • 4 passionfruits
  • 2 tbsp milk
  1. Bring sugar, cinnamon and water to boil.
  2. Poach the pears for 10 minutes or until pears are tender when pierced with a skewer.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 180C and grease baking dish.
  4. Beat butter, bi-carb and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time.
  6. Then mix in passionfruit pulp.
  7. Fold in half the flour, the milk and then the second half of the flour. Combine until smooth.
  8. Spoon into the baking dish.
  9. Trim the base of the pear and place firmly into the batter.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes or until pudding is set in the middle.
  11. Serve with icing sugar and thickened cream.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Otak-Otak (Spicy Fish Mousse)

For once, I decided to start blogging with Twenty Something & Cooking instead of Happee Monkee. I feel bad having to use the same material twice. So today, I decided to dance to a different tune.

Lately, I've been invited to a few gourmet events. One was Taste of Melbourne last Friday and just yesterday I met Peter Doyle of Est. at a Kiehl's launch. To tell you the truth, I hadn't heard of him before and apparently, he's quite a big shot in the culinary world. The man in flesh is really down-to-earth and friendly, a little shy and very unassuming. It's nice to know that fame and glamour doesn't always impact someone negatively.

Anyway, after all the gourmet eating, I think it might have gotten to my head as much as my stomach. Otak-Otak is a very conventional home dish. I love how the spice, herbs and fish works so well into a moussy smoothness. I don't know why it's called Otak-Otak because it translates as 'brain' in Malay. Perhaps there is truth in the belief that eating lots of fish makes you brainier. I'm not sure. But what I'm sure is that it's absolutely yummy.

Otak-Otak (Spicy Fish Mousse)

  • 400g white fish fillets
  • 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) of red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • mint leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons of lime juice
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  1. Chop fish into small pieces or to make into a paste, work it in a food processor.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together.
  3. Marinate for 20 - 30 minutes.
  4. Steam it on medium-high heat for 15 minutes until cooked and set.
  1. Make an aluminum foil envelope or a loaf tin and bake for 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 170C till skewer comes out clean.
  2. Bake in a bain marie (loaf tin) in a pre-heated oven at 150-175 degree Celcius (300-350 degree F) for 20-25 minutes till skewer comes out clean when it is put into the centre of the fish cake.

Monday, August 25, 2008

5 Reasons Why You Should Start Food Blogging

If you've been spending a lot of time looking at food blogs, let me tell you why you should finally start your own.

1. You'll meet new people from all over the world.
There is a huge food community out there. Like ginormous! And the support that foodies have for each other is fantastic. They have the funniest and most entertaining anecdotes. So if you're feeling lonely, you're just a step away from making some great new friends.

2. You'll get to go to fun parties.
Okay okay, that doesn't automatically happen. After I started blogging, people have invited me to food events because to them, I'm a 'food person'. I've never been a gourmet person and experiencing it has brought food to a whole new level for me. Quality vs. quantity.

3. You'll start cooking healthier (hence eating healthier).
I find myself more particular with my ingredients. I shop more at fresh markets, buy free range eggs, eat more vegetables etc. I like to know what I put in my food rather than buying pre-made food and guessing. I like having more colours and variations just because it makes it unique. I experiment more. I can go on and on about this but it might become 10 reasons instead of 5.

4. You'll make/ eat things you've never made/ eaten before.
I've never made pastry from scratch. I've never made ba chang (Chinese festival food). I've never had rhubarb in my life. Food blogging is the perfect excuse to start.

5. You'll see the beauty in food.
I no longer look at food just as food. When I'm taking food pictures I make sure that it looks sexy. So sexy that you want to eat it. Okay, let's keep this friendly for children. Food photography is definitely the most amazing part for me. I just cannot wait to make something look beautiful to be put on screen. Ah ... eye candy.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

No Yeast Pizza

I didn't do this intentionally. I just hadn't realize that the packet of dried yeast in my drawer had expired two years ago. Since Mr. G and I had already done all our shopping for the morning, I decided to think of a substitute. Besides, my aching legs were begging me no more (read: lazy); it was another cold and wet morning (read: lazy); Mr. G had to do some reading for work on Monday (read: lazy).

So instead of doing the proper thing, this lazy twenty-something took the leap and jumped into improvisation. Hence, a 'no-yeast-pizza'. It wasn't bad. I reckon it tasted pretty good. Mr. G couldn't tell the difference (very often he just enjoys his food while I scrutinize the food). I liked how the dough was herby and the additional fresh basil worked lovely bringing the pizza home.This recipe was adapted from Arudathi's blog. You can get the original recipe (with yeast) here.

No Yeast Pizza (serves 2)

  • 1 1/2 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dried herbs of choice (basil’s great!)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice (to activate the alkaline in the baking soda)


  1. Preheat the oven to 220C.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the olive oil and water and combine to form a ball.
  4. Knead just until it forms a smooth dough.
  5. Divide the dough into half.
  6. Roll out the dough on baking paper till required thickness.
  7. Add your favourite toppings and bake for 10 minutes.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Taste of Melbourne

Sophie, a former colleague of mine from good ol' magazine days, rang me the other day. Our conversation went like this:
S: Hey Mabs, I've got something really serious to talk to you about.
M: Uh...
S: Okay Okay it's not that serious but...
M: ... (in cold sweat)
S: I wanted to ask if you would like to go to Taste of Melbourne this Friday with me?

I had a great time just eating, watching a food demo, meeting people, and just being with my gorgeous friend Soph. We saw Tobie Puttock (Executive Head Chef of Fifteen Melbourne and author of Daily Italian) but I was too shy to ask him for a photo. That was my slice of celeb chef spotting. What a great way to start the weekend.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Home-Made Bolognese Sauce

I really owe it to Donna Hay, Australian food stylist & writer, for my love for food + photography. While I was still working with seventeen Magazine, my editor had put me in charge of the food column.

At first, panic. I've always heard stories about food styling. It sounded excruciating.

I remember that I kept it very simple the first month. I bought ready made stuff and focussed on making it look good. But as the months past, I found myself enjoying it more. I even started cooking. Making something look according to how I wanted it to be became a fanatical obsession.

No one would come near me when I was in the kitchen. I would wake up early in the morning to start. Pack it in my mother's picnic baskets, ferry it to work not before making sure every sauce, meat and morsel was safe and sound in my back sit.

The first thing I did when I arrived at the office was to go straight to the studios. I saw no one but the food and photographer the entire day. I would not be disturbed.

Yes, I can be cold and intense when I was 'in the zone'. So full of concentration I was that people would shrivel in fear just looking at me or at the sound of my bark.

Today, I am not so ... uptight. But I must say that Mr. G has suffered from The Look if he dared prod a finger in the picture out of jest. Poor man. I don't know if he's quite recovered yet.

Home-Made Bolognese Sauce

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 800g mince
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 can chopped tomato
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • sea salt
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic, cook until fragrant and then add the onions. Stir till onions are slightly transparent and then remove from pan.
  3. Add olive oil and increase heat to high.
  4. Dust the mince in flour and cook until brown. Add the onion and garlic back in the pan.
  5. Gradually add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 - 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.
  6. Add tomatoes, paste, water, bay leaves, sugar and salt. Stir to combine.
  7. Leave to cook until sauce is thick (approximately an hour).
For an exciting variation on how else to enjoy the ragu, click here to go to Happee Monkee.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Award Time!

Woohoo! It's our first award! Oh yea! Thanks Margaret (from Kitchen Delights) for thinking about us. I've often seen awards on other foodie blogs and I must admit, feeling quite envious. My child-within is now satisfied. So I'm prancing around my living room - on behalf of everyone on 20-something :)

I'll be passing this on to some fabulous food blogs as well to follow the rules of the Brillante Weblog. The rules for receiving the Brillante Weblog award are as follows:

  • Post the logo on your blog.
  • Add a link to the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 5 other people for this award and add links to their blog.
  • Leave a message for the people you've nominated.
And the nominees are:
  1. Christy of 5 Types of Sugar and Other Treats
  2. Mochachocolata-Rita of Mochachocolata-Rita
  3. Patricia of Technicolor Kitchen
  4. Helen of Tartelette
  5. Lore of Culinarty

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cherry Strudel

I had extra cherries from the cherry pie. Good stuff must never go to waste so I decided to use them for another recipe: strudel. They tasted absolutely heavenly. I now wished I kept more for myself - but for the sake of my girth, I must refrain. The ruby red cherries work so well with the creamy whiteness of the strudel filling. My first strudel was when I was in Perth couple of years ago. A friend was kind enough to insist. I must thank her persistence for my first taste of heaven.

Have you been to Perth, Western Australia? If you haven't, try googling: Corica. The apple strudel is to absolutely die for.

When I was traveling around Hong Kong with Mom, we met another Malaysian who had been living in Perth for a long time. She divulged an alternative close to the heavenly strudel. Close, but you must try the real deal if you're in the neighborhood. Promise?Cherry Strudel (serves 4)
  • 1 puff pastry sheet
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 200ml thickened cream
  • 1 cup cherries
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • brown sugar to sprinkle


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Cut the puff pastry into half.
  3. Brush some egg yolk on it.
  4. Sprinkle some brown sugar and place it in the oven for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden and fluffy.
  5. Set aside and let it cool.
  6. Mix cherries, caster sugar, flour and cinnamon together.
  7. Whip cream until light and fluffy.
  8. Assemble strudel together first by putting cream on one pastry, then the cherry mixture and finally top it with the second pastry sheet.
  9. Decorate with lots and lots and lots of icing sugar. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

French Women Don't Get Fat by Mirelle Guiliano

I bought this book over eBay recently:French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano. As I go deeper into the book, I find that it's a cleverly written book about balance. Control. Eating with your head and not your stomach.

I'm glad that it isn't about dieting (which for sure, it'd be thrown out in a minute - wouldn't even consider buying it) because I'm not great follower of diet. First of all, I have no discipline. Second, I believe in healthy, fresh, nutritious food. Thirdly, I love food too much to give it up. Well, completely, at least.

There is this chapter which Guiliano asks all women (and men) to do: Go to the fresh markets. No, not supermarkets - but the noisy, open, sometimes wet markets where food has just been plucked from Mother Nature's nurturing breast. Fat juicy carrots, seasonable produce, barn-laid eggs. I bought a dozen of eggs today (I have now switched to barn-laid or free range because I like to think the chickens were stress-free and happy) so I can try my hand at some new (healthy) recipes for the coming week. They were the hugest, freshest, brownest looking eggs I have ever seen! I'm sure they'll taste glorious too.

The point that she makes is that it holds more flavour. And we eat more only because we don't taste the burst of flavour in our food. When our palates have been fulfilled and we can enjoy each and every mouthful, we naturally eat less. When we eat less, we grow (horizontally) less.

There is another point that Guiliano writes, which is, portion control. Not to over do the eating. I find that a hard one to follow. It's a matter of lagom - Swedish for 'not too much, not too little'. Why the sudden interjection of Swedish? That's a little secret that I will keep for a few more months. :)

There is also special detoxifying brew recommended by Guiliano that is known as the Magic Leek Soup. I've tried it once and uhm... well, I need more love in there. I do however, consciously drink more water now - which is another thing mentioned in the book. And walking. It's time I've picked up the habit again. I fear that the couch has been my friend for far too long.

If you find a copy of the book, do have a look in it and you'll find it light and witty. There are very simple recipes to follow as well and well-worth your time exploring.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bolognese Puffs

Whoever said food is just food is either dull and uncreative or never had anything besides spaghetti-in-a-can. Nothing is a 'just'. No one is a 'just'. Food and people are exactly the same. What we are on the inside, we create and express to the external. Art, music, stories are no different from cooking.

So I salute all you food bloggers out there. You and your best friend - the camera.

My copy of Donna Hay finally arrived in the mailbox. I particularly enjoyed their osso busco recipe which I've adapted into ragu - Italian tomato-based meat sauce. It's hearty, wholesome and 'hmmm-so-good-for-the-soul'. Now, the twist to this is that you can have it in many ways. I've put it together with puff pastry and it's absolutely delicious! I couldn't wait to get it into my mouth. Which unfortunately did very little good to my mouth. :(

Home-Made Bolognese Sauce

  • olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 800g mince
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 can chopped tomato
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • sea salt
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic, cook until fragrant and then add the onions. Stir till onions are slightly transparent and then remove from pan.
  3. Add olive oil and increase heat to high.
  4. Dust the mince in flour and cook until brown. Add the onion and garlic back in the pan.
  5. Gradually add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 - 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.
  6. Add tomatoes, paste, water, bay leaves, sugar and salt. Stir to combine.
  7. Leave to cook until sauce is thick (approximately an hour).
To assemble: You need one sheet of puff pastry. Cut it into half. Add ragu on one side of pastry. Fold it. Seal it by pressing down the edges with a fork. Brush some milk on it and put it in a preheated oven of 180C for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, be careful, as it will be very hot, and sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top. Return the puffs in the oven and bake for another 5 - 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cherry Pie

Do you love cherry-stained smacking lips? You do? You do? Well, get out of here and grab yourself a bucket for some happy-tra-la-la-la cherry picking! If you're a super cherry enthusiast, you'll even have not one ...(wait for it)... but TEN sticky red juicy fingers! Don't forget to spit out those pits. Make it fun! Make it naughty. Stick it in a straw and pit shoot your nasty neighbours.

I love cherries. I go crazy with cherries. I so l-u-r-v-e cherries.

It's not cherry season yet but they had some imported from the U.S. (you lucky people). The other week, I was craving for apple pie and Mr. G wanted cherry. So I bought granny smiths and cherries to have double the pie glutton! Oh why not? There's always spring to lose the winter weight.Cherry Pie ( serves 8 )


Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (adapted from Donna Hay)

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 150g cold butter, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp iced water
  • one egg, beaten
  • sugar to sprinkle


  • 4 (approx. 920g) cups cherries, pitted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Put flour, sugar and butter together.
  3. Combine everything with fingers or in a food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Add enough ice water to form a smooth dough.
  5. Knead the dough, wrap in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Mix ingredients for filling.
  7. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface or between non-stick baking paper until 2 - 3mm thick.
  8. Line the tart tin.
  9. Put top crust on. Cut vent slits in top crust.
  10. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is a golden colour.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Apple Pie

This didn't turn out the way I'd wanted it to. It was my first attempt at making pie from scratch (- which means no cheating with the base!) and I didn't really know what to expect. It didn't turn out badly, just, lumpy. I reflect that it might be from a few things:
1. I didn't refrigerate the dough for 20 to 30 minutes which was vital for the dough to harden and bind.
2. I didn't have 1.5 kg apples and used less.

So this is what happened: the dough was so soft that it fell apart before I could put it into the pie tin. And because there was less apples than required, it was a rather lame, lumpy looking pie.
Thank goodness it tasted fine because it was KK Tuesday. And Tuesday is a mini family reunion at G's place. Everyone comes back from where they are have gather round the family table to catch up. It's a rather nice atmosphere. Full of stories, laughter, jokes, silly things and always makes me feel a little less homesick. :)

Apple Pie ( serves 8 )

For Pastry:

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150g butter, cold and chopped into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • an egg yoke
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1 tsp sugar

For Pie Filling

  • 1.5Kg Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup water
  • 3-6 Cloves (whole) or 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 level tbsp plain flour


For Pastry

  1. Sift flours, sugar, butter and salt into a mixing bowl.
  2. Rub the butter and flour with finger until combined.
  3. Add egg and water mixing quickly into dough.
  4. Press the mixture together with hands.
  5. Knead lightly with a little extra flour.
  6. Set aside and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For Pie Filling

  1. Peel, core and slice apples.
  2. Place apples into a large saucepan with water and cloves (or cinnamon).
  3. Cover and simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Shake the pan occasionally until apples are tender, not soft.
  5. Drain the excess liquid. Set apples aside to cool.
  6. When cool, remove the cloves.
  7. In a bowl, mix the apples with the sugar and flour.

To Assemble:

  1. Preheat the oven at 190C (375F).
  2. Divide the pastry into two-thirds and one-third.
  3. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface until 3mm thick.
  4. Place it in a shallow 22cm pie tin.
  5. Fill with the apples.
  6. Brush the milk on the edges of the pastry
  7. Roll out the remaining pastry to fit over the top of the pie.
  8. With the fork (dusted in flour), press the edges of the pie to seal firmly.
  9. Cut the excess pastry with a knife.
  10. Brush the top of the pie with the egg yoke and sprinkle with sugar.
  11. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Chocolate Brownies with White Chocolate Topping

Chocolate cravings were calling out and since P. was back from his trip from North Pole (ok, close to the Antartic to be precise) I thought I made some brownies for him and for my weekend getaway to Portland. Pictures here (and if it's not there then it's coming soon). Surprisingly the beach wasn't too cold. The warmth of the locals made up for it and also the wonderful dogs! I've never seen happier dogs!

I've got such a soft spot for animals. When I was growing up, we had two adult dogs and seven puppies. Mom wasn't too happy about being the lone person responsible for all the pets and so one day when the kids were at school, she gave the puppies away. We were left with a fat little puppy, which I refused to let go off, his mom, Lucky, and a beautiful white male, Rex. After the dogs died of old age, we had three chicks (which didn't live very long) followed by, two cats - Snowy and Ruby, and much later, goldfish.

I've always wanted rabbits but never had them. Once, a hawk got caught in our roof and although it was a vicious thing, it was smart and fascinating. It's just too damn bad I can't have any in my little apartment now. Sigh.

Chocolate Brownies
185g butter, melted
1/4 cup cocoa butter, sifted
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour. sifted

1. Preheat the oven at to 160c (325f).
2. Place the butter, cocoa, eggs, sugar and flour in a bowl and mix until smooth.
3. Spoon into 20cm (8 in) square slice tin (buttered).
4. Bake for 45 - 50 mins or until skewer comes out clean when tested.
5. Remove from oven and let it cool.
6. Melt white chocolate in microwave for 1 minute. Remove, stir and reheat for another minute.
7. Spoon the white chocolate over the brownie really quickly using back and forth strokes - not unlike sifting flour or using a Wii controller. :P

8. Let the white chocolate cool then cut and serve.

Friday, August 1, 2008

White Chocolate Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

I have to apologize for the lack of activities on Twenty Something recently. I'm now occupied with Project Mr. G. It's taking up a lot of my time because I'm too busy having fun. I'll be a little slow coming up with new posts but be patient and in time, I'll pick up my pace again (probably when Mr. G gets up to go to Sweden for 6 months - boo!)

I think I'm quite done with cupcakes. For now anyway. As much as I love them to bits, I think I'm a little OD-ed from it. The cupcakes were for a potluck party I was invited to. Besides J, I didn't know anyone else. To be honest, I was a little apprehensive but hey, what did I really have to lose? And I'm glad that I went anyway because I had a ball of a time and I met some very interesting people.

There were loads of Malaysian food and boy, those spicy dishes made me buzz. You know how it is when you bite into a chili and after the fiery aftermath your brains goes into this hyperbuzz that gives you a certain high? Well, I was on a high for sure.

I used to be able to take chili and lots of it. My family and friends can vouch for that. They think I'm mental when it comes to those tiny edible grenades. But since moving to Melbourne, my tastebuds have retired from its chili days and decided to chill. It's a little embarrassing actually. I don't exactly know how that's even possible but I guess it is.
Lemon & White Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate, roughly chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 30g butter, softened
  • 80g cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp lemon rind
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line muffin pan with paper cups.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, beat in one at a time. Add essence.
  4. Beat in milk and then sifted flours, gradually in batches.
  5. Fold in white chocolate, lemon juice and rind.
  6. Divide mixture among cups and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
  7. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool.
  8. Prepare frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat butter, cream cheese and rind in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sifted icing sugar. Decorate cupcakes.

For the Chocolate Mars Bars Cupcakes with Whipped Cream recipe, click here.

Get paid to review my post - Read here for more details.