July 31, 2008

Wholemeal Loaf

People who know me well enough or have been reading my blog often would have know I'm a bread lover, especially wholegrain versions. I like food with the grainy, nutty or crunchy texture. Unfortunately my parents don't really fancy, and can't appreciate the goodness of it. Nonetheless I still buy it sometimes, or alternatively the softmeal texture which is not so grainy.

I made this simple wholemeal loaf posted by Happy Homebaker. I made it twice already. The first time, I didn't take note of the temperature and baked it at only 170°C to 180°C. Then the loaf didn't rise to a square loaf! :( I was quite disappointed, yea cos' just before popping into the oven, it had risen to about 90% of the pullman tin and I was quite confident actually. Thus I made it the second time again.

I preheated the oven to 190°C as stated in the recipe but still it did not rise to a square. Happy Homebaker said hers did rise to a square. Hmmmm...probably next time I would use a slightly higher temperature, since oven behaviour plays an important role in the results of baked goods many a time. Still, the bread remained soft for a few days and goes well with any jams and peanut butter cos' it's plain and simple. :)

Happy Homebaker got this recipe from 孟老师的100道面包 . I finally acquired this book! :) :) :) Gonna try out more bread recipes from this book. :D

The above were my first trial...This was my second try in making the bread. I made into a vegetarian sandwich by roasting some leftover eggplants and bell peppers to go with it. There you are! Wholemeal sandwiches. :D

July 27, 2008

Banana Cake, Steam or Bake?

I'm beginning to love banana cakes more, especially those which are soft, fluffy and not too sweet. So far I find that only home-made banana cake fits the bill, cos I can totally adjust the sweetness to my liking, and choose recipes which had been tried and tested.

I would like to share these two banana cake recipes I've made. One is the steamed version while the other is the baked version. I really like both recipes and would definitely keep it!
The above one is the steamed version. Recipe from Amanda's blog. True to what she had described, it's really soft, fluffy and moist. It's moist-ness (is there such a word?) is something that baked usually don't have. For those without an oven at home and yet would like to make your own cake, this is the one!
The above is the mini baked banana muffin. The original recipe was this light and fluffy banana cake from Zu's Kitchen. The last time I made was almost two years ago, when I baked during chinese new year in a square pan of 7x7-inch. As I had only 2 bananas, I baked in mini muffins cups and yield 30 minis! The cake also puffed up and formed a cute dome shape. :)
I scaled to 2/3 of the original recipe:
120g butter
120g brown/castor sugar (I used 100g castor)
1 1/2 large eggs
2 tbsp yoghurt
2 large bananas, mashed
160g plain flour + 2/3 tsp baking powder and 2/3 tsp baking powder (or 160g self-raising flour)
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well.
  4. Add yoghurt and banana and mix till well blended.
  5. Fold in flour to mixture.
  6. Spoon into muffin tins lined with muffin papers (optional) to 2/3 full (I fill up to almost full).
  7. Bake at 180°C for about 10-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

July 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Kexian!

Me, and my girlfriends celebrated our Kexian's birthday last weekend. Without fail, I now would try to bake them a cake when anyone's birthday comes along. :)

Ok, this is definitely not made by me. :P I'm just sharing the dessert we had in the restaurant where we had our dinner at Robertson Quay. It's a cosy small Japanese Cafe that serves reasonably priced and great food as well. What is unique about this cafe is that they stock up lots of Japanese related reading materials such as comics, novels and magazines for you to browse. You can even buy home these books although they are not new ones at reasonably price!
The above is their homemade matcha ice-cream with azuki beans and jelly. Below is coffee jelly with vanilla ice-cream. I must say coffee flavoured (kopi-o, meaning dark coffee without sugar) jelly pairs really well with vanilla ice-cream!

The third dessert would have to be this strawberry swissroll I've made. :)

Somehow this idea of making a swissroll just came to me while I was browsing around cakeshops, trying to look for ideas for her birthday cake.

After my 80% success in my previous swissroll attempt, I decided to go for it again. This time round, I used this recipe from Aunty Yochana's pear swissroll with some of my own modifications. I was so happy as this was the first time my swissroll didn't crack at all! From my experience, I'd found that it is much easier to roll it with the greaseproof paper/a towel into the swissroll. After sometime when it has cooled and you are ready to spread the icing, then you unroll it, spread the icing and roll it again. As it had retained its shape during the first rolling, somehow it would be easier to roll it back without having any paper/towel as your guide the second time. Unless you are very experienced or have a very good technique, then probably you would not have to roll it first. Well, this is from my observations. Feel free to share your method or experience if you think yours is better. :)

Do remember never to chill the buttercream. This is different from whipping cream. I made this mistake of chilling it, when I was about to spread the icing, it had became too hard. Luckily, it was still salvageable by waiting for it to soften and beating back again. Hmm well, a lesson learnt cos' I'd never have thought about it. Hehe..
Ok, let me share this recipe with you people first. :)

Ingredients for Swissroll:
3 eggs
60g castor sugar
70g cake flour
40g canola oil
1 tsp strawberry emulco
2 drops of pink colouring

Ingredients for buttercream:

375g icing sugar, sieved
225g unsalted butter
Pinch of Salt
Some fresh strawberries, cut into slices
1 tsp strawberry emulco
2 drops of pink colouring
1 tsp vanilla essence

Toasted almond flakes
Strawberries for decoration


  1. Whisk eggs and sugar till light and fluffy.
  2. Gently fold in flour, pink colouring and oil and mix thoroughly, taking care not to deflate the eggs
  3. Pour batter onto tray and level it (I used 11-inch by 14-inch pan)
  4. Bake at preheated oven for 180°C for about 8 - 10 mins.
  5. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
  6. For buttercream: Cream icing sugar with salt. Divide into two portions. For one portion, add colouring, emulco and strawberries and mix well. For the other portion, add vanilla essence, leave out the colouring.
  7. When the sponge is cooled or slightly warm, lay onto a piece of greaseproof paper.
  8. With the help of the greaseproof paper, roll the sponge into a swiss roll (the paper would be rolled in as well).
  9. After about half hour, open up the swiss roll and spread strawberry buttercream onto the swissroll and roll it up again.
  10. Spread vanilla buttercream on the surface of swissroll. Decorate the sides with almond flakes. Decorate with strawberries or any fruits/toppings that you like!

Note: As I had used buttercream instead of whipping cream, the cream would harden if you chill in the fridge, tasting like sugar icing, which to me, is nice as well. You may also use whipping cream.

Recipe Source: Aunty Yochana's Pear Swissroll (Cake)
Buttercream: 500 Cupcakes and Muffins by Fergal Connolly

I really like this pink swissroll that I can't resist taking lots of photos ofits many angles. :) Glad that Kexian likes it except the chocolate biscuit. :P

July 20, 2008

Chocolate Matcha Marble Muffins

I was immediately drawn by these chocolate matcha cupcakes when I saw Mandy - Fresh from the Oven's post. Matcha (green tea) and chocolate are two of my favourites, be it in drinks, desserts, ice-creams... Mandy had also captured the pictures so well that I was really craving for one of the cupcakes! Although there are many yummy pictures of bakes and desserts all over food blogs that makes one drool, it is not often that there is one that makes me really want to eat it.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally made this matcha chocolate marble cake. I made them in mini and regular muffin size. Mandy had adopted Alice Medrich's low fat chocolate marble cake recipe and re-created her version of green tea with chocolate flavour. I've used Alice Medrich's recipe in my low fat vanilla yoghurt cupcakes and an oreo butter cake recipe before and it always turned out soft and fluffy.

The muffins puffed up nicely and the swirls were pretty! The muffins however, was a little dense in my opinion, with the texture as that of a pound cake, instead of a fluffy texture. I seriously do not know whether it was attributed to incorrect mixing or it was supposed to be dense. I always seemed to encounter denser cakes in marble cakes. Had I over-mixed while I was incoporating the two batters? Hmmm...anyone who had made this care to give me some advice?? :P

Still, the cake was moist, tender and the taste was good. It tasted even better after refrigeration, which somehow made the cake slightly drier and enhanced the chocolate taste.


  • 250g cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp instant espresso or coffee powder (I omitted)
  • 1/3 cup dutch-process cocoa powder1
  • 330g sugar (I've reduced it to suit my taste)
  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg white
  • 90g unsalted butter
  • 250ml low fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp matcha powder


  1. Have all ingredients at room temp. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the lower third of the oven.
  2. Prepare pan - Grease or line muffin cups depending on which you are using.
  3. Use a whisk to combine four, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift together. Set aside. In a small bowl combine the espresso powder, cocoa and 80g of the sugar with 62.5ml of water. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In another small bowl, whisk whole egg with egg white. Set aside.
  5. Cut the butter into pieces and place in an electric mixing bowl. Beat for 1 minute to soften. Gradually add remaining 250g of sugar and beat at high speed for about 3 minutes. Dribble eggs in slowly, about 1 tbsp at a time, beating constantly for about 2 minutes. On low speed, beat in a third of the flour mixture. On medium-high speed, beat in half of the yogurt. On low speed, beat in half of the remaining flour. On high speed, beat in the rest of the yogurt and the vanilla.
  6. On low speed, beat in the remaining flour.
  7. Measure out 375ml of yogurt batter and mix into the cocoa mixture. Set aside.
  8. Add matcha powder to the rest of the yogurt batter in the mixing bowl.
  9. Use a large spoon to fill the bottom of the pan with about three quarters of the green batter placed in dollops. Cover the green batter with dollops of chocolate batter. Top the chocolate batter with small dollops of green batter spaced so that the chocolate batter shows through. Use a table knife to marble the batters together with a circular or zigzag motion (I used a toothpick to do the swirls in the muffin cups; be careful not to blend them too much.
  10. Bake for 45-50 minutes for cake, (20-25 minutes for cupcakes) or until the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in comes out clean.
  11. Cool for 10-15 minutes on a rack. Unmold the cake. Cool completely before serving or storing.
If you wanna refer to the measurement in cups, do refer to the recipe source - Mandy's post here. I followed everything according to the recipe, with the exception that I used 2 tsp of matcha powder instead of 1.5 tsp, depending on the quality of matcha powder you have.

July 16, 2008

Dinner for Two

I have always wanted to cook a decent meal for my family but weekdays is of course an impossible mission for me while on weekends, we would usually prefer to dine out most of the time. So, there is hardly chance for me to try out my 'culinary' skills. Hehe...

Last Sunday, I suggested to my boyfriend that I'd like to prepare dinner for the two of us, since my parents would be out for dinner. He seemed more than happy, but at the same time, he seemed to be in uncertainty when I said I would prepare a 'healthy' meal for him. Haha...which he knew my favourite 'healthy' meal as well as my 'signature' meal is sandwiches! LOL

I decided to prepare a traditional chinese meal of 3 dishes, 1 soup. Taking into consideration that we would be reaching home at around 6pm after our movie at Cineleisure, I thought of some simple dishes that doesn't require too much time and hassle, and also dishes that he like :)

We reach home at around 6.10pm. My boyfriend estimated that he would have to wait until earliest 8pm before dinner can be ready, having seen how much I seemed to have prepared, with so little time. Heh but I confidently told him dinner would be ready by latest 7.30pm!
This is our dinner for two. :D

Seafood soup with mixed fishcakes, crabmeat, seaweed, etc. I bought this from the Japanese Section at the supermarket. It was rather expensive. This involved just boiling the soup and have all ingredients together. No skills involved. Hehe...

Just a simple stir-fried mixed veggie of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots with some mushrooms.

My boyfriend likes mushrooms so I stir-fried this dish of a mixture of shishake , button and oyster mushrooms, with vegetarian oyster sauce. Add in some black pepper to taste and it's great!

Lastly, I baked this caramelized chicken. I found this recipe from
here, but I halved the recipe, and reduced the baking time. This recipe is good. The caramelization of honey and tomato sauce sink into the chicken, making the meat tender and very tasty. Do give this recipe a try if you are a chicken lover llike him. :D

July 12, 2008

Lao Po Bing (Wife Biscuits)

Wife Biscuits, which we chinese commonly called 'Lao Por Bing' when translated in chinese, is a chinese pastry with sweet winter melon paste as filling and a flaky pastry. Years ago I was first introduced to this pastry by my brother who went to Hong Kong for holiday. I got to know that it is a popular local pastry in Hong Kong.

Nowadays in Singapore, it can be found in many confectioneries. However, the real good ones are hard to find. I have yet to find out where the famous Lao Por Bing in Singapore is, though I do like the one from Crystal Jade. I've tried different versions from Hong Kong too. Some were packed in pretty packagings for tourists to buy back as gifts. However I find that those pretty packagings which claimed to be the original ones from Hong Kong'sfamous Yuen Lang (Place famous for its Lao Po Bing) is a far cry from some others I've tasted. Freshness is still the more crucial aspect.

Anyhow, what I'm introducing here is the Lao Po Bing I made some time ago. Yes I made my own Lao Po Bing! :D In fact, I had been eyeing this recipe since the day I saw it, but only waited until recently when I discovered the ingredients needed for making this pastry is expiring soon, thus I set to making it.

I must say this recipe is a really good one! It was sooo nice when fresh out from the oven! The filling had the right sweetness, and the pastry was soft and flaky. To make the pastry, you need a water dough and oil dough. Florence - Do What I Like had posted the steps showing the mehod to make the pastry skin, so rest assured you'll definitely be able to do it with the detailed pictures to follow.

My Uncle felt that it was a little dry though. Well, you could increase the amount of shortening if you want, as I had used the least amount of shortening called for in the recipe (Florence indicated 45 - 50g, while I used 45g).
Do try this if you like Lao Po Bing!

July 9, 2008

Orange Mango Salad

I really enjoyed this salad of sweet oranges, mango slices, iceberg lettuce, and added crunch of carrots and cereals. This whole combination goes really well, and tasted refreshing. I find myself like anything crunchy, so whenever I have cereals, I would add to salads to give it the extra crisp and crunch.

I suppose mandarin oranges with toasted walnuts or perhaps bigger seeds like sunflower seeds would be a good variation too! I added about 1/2 tbsp of balsamic dressing (A new dressing I grabbed from the supermarket shelf, which I don't think is balsamic vinegar which usually cost much more expensive :P) and 1 tsp of wholegrain mustard (A new dressing added into my pantry too). I'm trying to experiment with dressings and condiments to expand my knowledge to creating simple meals for a start. :)

I have no detailed recipe here as the proportion is based on my individual serving. You may try other salad leaves as well but I prefer iceberg (though nutritional content is not that high) for its sweet and more crispy texture. Best serve as a side for a refreshing treat. :)