Raspberry Panna Cotta [覆盆子意式奶冻]

Friday, 25 November 2016

Panna cotta, at its most basic, is just milk and cream jelly. The jelly may be served as it is, but that'd be quite boring.

How to liven up plain panna cotta?

Make it heart-shaped. Make it in bright colours.

Mango Mille Crepe Cake (芒果千层可丽饼蛋糕)

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

mango mille crepe cake photoCrepes may be tough and rubbery. Or they may be soft and delicate, that they fall apart in the pan when you flip them.

What makes good crepes good, and bad crepes bad?

Gluten.

Vanilla Swiss Roll (香草瑞士蛋糕卷)

Monday, 1 September 2014

There're a few common problems with making Swiss rolls: (1) The cake is hard and dry. (2) The crust sticks to the paper the cake is wrapped in. (3) The crust cracks when you roll the cake.

Good Swiss roll starts with, of course, a sheet cake that's fluffy. You know what's wrong with a lot of Swiss roll recipes? They have way too much flour.

A cake that's 1-2 cm tall should have very little flour because it doesn't need much structural support. If it has as much flour as a cake that's 5-7 cm tall, it would be dense and hard.

Banana Chiffon Cake (香蕉戚风蛋糕)

Friday, 9 May 2014


If you like your banana cake very fluffy and very "banana-y", you must try my version. Other recipes may be as fluffy but not as banana-y, or as banana-y but not as fluffy.

Orange Sponge Cupcakes (香橙海棉杯子蛋糕)

Thursday, 30 January 2014


Hark! Do you hear the sound of thundering hooves?

The Year of the Horse is coming!

Happy Chinese New Year! 祝大家大吉大利!

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake
(草莓奶油蛋糕; Strawberry Cream Cake)

Monday, 9 December 2013

Japanese strawberry shortcake is a layered sponge cake filled and topped with whipped cream and strawberries. It is what I call a ménage à trois made in heaven, because each party brings out the best in the other two.

The red and white cake is very popular in Japan, especially for Christmas. I guess having the same colour scheme as Santa Claus wins a lot of votes during the Yuletide season.

Orange Chiffon Cake (香橙戚风蛋糕)

Monday, 15 July 2013

.
Knock knock!

Who's there?

Chiffon cake!

Chiffon cake who?

She's fond of cakes, especially light, fluffy cakes.
.

Pineapple Tarts

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Good pineapple tarts start with good pineapple jam. Where does good pineapple jam start? Readymade, in a plastic bag? Common sense tells you that jam stored without refrigeration for god knows how long, in a plastic bag which can't be sterilized and isn't vacuum sealed, must be stuffed full of preservatives. And yet, the ingredients listed don't include preservatives. I wouldn't eat that kind of jam even if you paid me.

There's no reason why readymade pineapple jam can't be good, in theory. In practice, however, all those I've seen are of extremely dubious quality.

Making good pineapple jam is quite straightforward. It's basically mashed pineapple cooked with sugar till thick, and flavoured with star anise, cinnamon and sometimes cloves.

Pickled Green Papaya

Monday, 24 October 2011

The world is divided into two parts: those who love pickles, and those who hate pickles.
....... . . . .. ... . . ... . . .... . .. . . . . . .

Buah Paya Masak Titek (Peppery Papaya Soup)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

If I had a dollar for every bad recipe I come across . . . .

Who is it this time?

It's Sylvia Tan, whom I absolutely loathe because she's such a killjoy. She goes on and on about cutting out the fat from this, that and every other recipe. Biggest turn off ever, she is!

I used to have zero respect for Sylvia Tan, but that was before I saw her on TV. Believe it or not, she made skinless, low-fat (of course!) kong pao Chicken with sambal belachan! Did she think the people in Sichuan eat belachan? Or did she think it's OK to totally disregard the recipe's authenticity? After that awful, bastardized kong pao Chicken, my respect for her fell from a big fat zero into negative territory.

Kueh Bengka Ubi (I)

Monday, 15 August 2011

I was going to say it takes five minutes to put together a kueh bengka ubi (baked tapioca cake). But, thinking about it as I write, I'd say it takes only 90 seconds if, unlike me, you're not reading the instructions at the same time, and chasing cats out of the kitchen.

Yup, one and a half minutes is all kueh bengka ubi takes, or I'll eat my hat. Baking time is not included, btw, so please don't say it takes you an hour, and then tell me to eat my hat with sambal. Neither is shopping time or washing up. And I reserve the right to change this agreement any time I like, in whatever way I like. I assume your arms and legs are fully functional and . . . .

Hey, I almost forgot I don't have any hats!

Lemon Curd Marbled Cheese Cake

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


I love the lemon tree in my garden, especially when it's full of lemons. She (yes, she!) was planted by my grandfather in 1931, so the grand old dame is celebrating her 80th birthday this year. Her trunk is gnarled with age but Mrs Taango – that's what we call her because: lemon → tang → Taango – still produces a load of fruits every year.

Udang Masak Nanas

Saturday, 2 July 2011

It's another Mrs Wee Kim Wee recipe today: udang masak nanas. This is the fourth recipe I've tried from Cooking for the President. It's a classic Nyonya soup made with, as its name says, udang and nanas – or prawns and pineapple for those who don't speak Malay. It's great for whetting the appetite 'cause it's slightly tangy and a wee bit spicy. And prawns are, for me, always a treat.

Udang masak nanas is an easy soup whether you masak as in cook for real, or masak-masak as in play at cooking. Just gather all the ingredients in a pot and simmer away – kid stuff!

My mother made a dish very similar to Udang Masak Nanas but, instead of prawns, she used a small fish called kekek (ponyfish). The president's wife sometimes used the wonderfully tasty fish too. That's not surprising since the basic recipe is quite common and adaptable. You know what's surprising? Mrs Wee made omelettes with pig brains on Sundays as a treat, just like my mother! Her daughter, like me, had to clean the brains with toothpicks. And the two cooks' recipes were practically the same, not that one could vary a Chinese style omelette much.

Orange Glazed Ribs

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Mandarin oranges are a symbol of good luck. Come Chinese New Year, many homes are decorated with mandarin orange plants decked out with lucky ornaments. And crawling from house to house collecting ang baos wouldn't be possible without a pair of orange mandarins.

Given mandarin oranges' importance to Chinese traditions, it's a shame these good luck fruits aren't used in any popular CNY recipe. You know, like pineapples are in pineapple tarts.

Pear Sweet Soup (银耳雪梨糖水) – Cantonese Health Food

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Cantonese sweet soups or 糖水 are usually served as a dessert, but they're not like desserts in any other culture. Everyone regards desserts as an evil temptation that they should avoid as much as possible, except the Cantonese. To them, desserts aren't indulgent or sinful but a necessary health tonic for the body. That's right, desserts are a health food! Isn't that an awesome idea?! Forget the nasty stuff like wheatgrass and flax seeds. Heath food Cantonese style is what you want!

Lemon Tarts

Sunday, 10 October 2010

When life gives you lemons, make lemon tarts. They're much better than lemonade! And if you don't have free lemons from life, go buy some. Lemon tarts are worth it!

I gave one of my lemon tarts to a friend once. As I watched him eat, waiting for some compliments, he said, 'It's sour.' I was quite happy, thinking that he liked it, then I realized he meant the opposite. Duh? I'm proud of my lemon tarts precisely because they're sour . . . or rather tart, which sounds much nicer. There's about half a lemon in each small tart!

Durian Seeds, Anyone?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

PhotobucketWhilst browsing David Lebovitz's blog, I chanced on his comment that he had eaten durian seeds before. He didn't say whether the durian seeds were good though, not that I would trust him even if he had. I mean, what would an ang moh know about durians? According to him, durians – the pulp or, if you want to be technical, the aril – taste like "a ripe, almost rotting coconut". See? Told you!

Durians don't taste anything like coconuts, rotting, green or whatever. All durian experts – like me, ahem! – know that durians taste like . . . well, durians. Nothing else in the world that comes close.

I totally respect David's expertise in cakes and such. He used to be a pastry chef after all. But when it comes to durians, step aside, David!

Durian with Sticky Rice

Sunday, 5 September 2010

PhotobucketIf I were a durian, I would hide in a corner and cry my eyes out. All those hurtful comments! The king of fruits may be revered in Asia but elsewhere, it has been compared to public lavatories, human pee, bat pee, sulphur compounds, gas from a thousand asses, French kissing dead grandmothers, rotting cats, rotting onions, rotting fish, rotting pineapples in sewers, rotting flesh in custard, dirty socks, turpentine . . . .

Did I miss anything?

Oh yes, rotten eggs, clogged drains, garbage, cow dung and pig dung. Maybe that's why durians have a thick, spiky husk? To protect themselves from the cruel world?

Date and Walnut Soft Candy

Thursday, 24 September 2009

PhotobucketI used to cart loads of date and walnut soft candy back to Singapore whenever I went to Hong Kong. So did a lot of other people. Everyone loved the soft and chewy candy wrapped in colourful cellophane.

By and by, shops in Singapore started selling date and walnut soft candy, so everyone could have as much as they wanted, whenever they wanted.

Being so easily obtainable made them less desirable, I think, and they sort of went out of fashion.

Sticky Toffee Pudding – Without a Date

Saturday, 12 September 2009

PhotobucketSticky Toffee Pudding, an English pudding, is traditionally made with dates. But because I don't have a date, I make prune pudding instead. HA . . . ha . . . and tell lame jokes, obviously. Aiyah, I just prefer prunes because they are less sweet.

I haven't made Sticky Toffee Pudding for a long time, so I pulled out my recipe this morning and did a test run. I'm going to make some – with dates – for my Muslim neighbours. They are fasting now, and will be celebrating Hari Raya Puasa on 20 September. Traditionally, Muslims eat dates when they break their fast. Besides energizing with their high sugar content, dates are also spiritually significant Photobucketbecause they were one of the Prophet's most frequently consumed foods. (Click here for more information on dates and fasting for Muslims.) My Malay neighbours are extremely friendly, and they pop over every so often with some goodies. See the photo of the chicken curry? That's from them. It was reheated a day after it was cooked but still looked and tasted gorgeous. I reciprocate every now and then, especially when I can make extra portions with no effort at all. Like homemade cookies. Of course, I never ever give them curry since that would be like making Kimchi for a Korean or Tom Yum Soup for a Thai. I think they will be very pleased with a gift of Sticky Toffee Date Pudding. It's appropriate for the religious festival and is something familiar yet new. And it reheats very well, so they can eat it whenever they want. Knowing them, they will be cooking tonnes of food, and giving me some. Mmm mmm, I'm looking forward to that.

STICKY TOFFEE PRUNE PUDDING
(For 6 persons)

This recipe is adapted from Angela Nilsen's Ultimate Sticky Toffee Pudding. It's slightly less sweet and not as rich.

225 g pitted prunes, roughly chopped
175 g (180 ml) boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract
85 g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
60 g dark muscovado sugar (or soft dark brown sugar)
60 g demerara sugar
2 eggs
100 ml milk
175 g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking soda
Toffee Sauce
100 g dark muscovado sugar
300 g thick cream

Pour boiling water over prunes and soak for 30 minutes till soft. Add vanilla extract and mash with a fork.

Position oven rack in the middle and preheat oven to 180°C (360°F). Butter and flour the sides of 6 small pudding tins, each about 200 ml (7 fl oz). Alternatively, use small ramekins or ceramic rice bowls. Trim 6 pieces of parchment paper and place one at the bottom of each pudding container. Place pudding containers on a baking sheet or pan. Puddings can also be steamed. If steaming, bring a wok or big pot of water to a boil.

Beat butter with demerara sugar and dark muscovado sugar till smooth. Add eggs, then milk and prune mixture in stages and beat well in between each addition.

Sieve flour and baking powder over mixture and fold in evenly.

Divide pudding mixture amongst containers and bake, or steam on medium heat. Check after 20 minutes for metal containers, or after 25 minutes for ceramic containers. Puddings are done when an inserted skewer (or chopstick) comes out clean.

Unmould by running a small knife between the pudding and container and turn it upside down on a serving plate.

To make the sauce, put dark muscovado sugar and cream in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat till thick. If you want a richer sauce, add a knob of butter to the sauce.

Drizzle sauce over puddings and serve immediately.

Alternatively, wait a day or two for a more sticky pudding. Unmould puddings, then pour half of the sauce into the containers and swirl it round the bottom and sides. Put puddings back in, and top with the remaining sauce. Swirl containers around and let the sauce trickle down the sides. Leave puddings in the fridge, covered, for a day or two. When ready to eat, zap 'em in the microwave. Or bring puddings back to room temperature, then reheat by steaming or in a preheated oven at 180°C (360°F) for 15 minutes or so till heated through.