Thursday, December 25, 2014

Choc Cherry Cheesecake

Choc cherry cheesecake

Summer is upon us and there are an abundance of cherries everywhere you go. I bought some from the local cherryman on the way back from work last week. He was parked next to the servo and I knew I just had to stop. All I could think of when I saw the cherries was, "Should I make a choc cherry galette or a choc cherry cheesecake ?"




The cheesecake won, when I bought some Philly cream cheese blocks, which were on specials during my xmas grocery shopping.

This recipe is from http://www.taste.com.au
Ingredient
  • 250g biscuits crumbs (I am using my baked Gingerbread men cookies for crumbs for the Xmas theme)
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 500g cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 300g sour cream
  • 300g cherries, pitted, halved
  • cherries and icing sugar, to serve
Method
1. Preheat oven to 160°C/140°C fan-forced. Grease a 5.5cm-deep, 24cm (base) springform pan. Process biscuits until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add butter. Process to combine. Press mixture over base ofprepared pan. Cover. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating to combine. Beat in cocoa and sour cream until just combined. Fold in cherries. Spread over biscuit mixture.

3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until centre is just firm. Turn off oven. Cool in oven for 3 hours with door slightly ajar. Refrigerate overnight. Top with cherries. Dust with icing sugar and serve. If you are feeling creative, you can make chocolate curls and laced the top with it for cherries to sit on. I was too lazy, even to break open a pack of Chocolate Flakes. Just trying to keep in simple and fast.

Note: I put mine in a water bath to bake in the oven, to prevent cracking in the middle. Just a tip I picked up from the net. A water bath is when you cover the bottom of cake pan and then sit the cake pan on hot water while baking. See my last photo below. As it turned out , my cheesecake only had a small crack in the middle. Almost perfect!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sponsored Post : Isagenix

I must admit that when Brad wrote to me, to do a review on his Isagenix products, I was not convinced that I would be up to the task. You see, the word "dieting" does not exist in my world. If I don't eat, I will get gastric pains and I become this very crazy Asian, angry cat lady!

For the longest time, I have struggled with my weight and I hate dieting of any kind and even more, I hate exercise. I simply do not like to sweat. I want an easy fix. Who doesn't? Unfortunately, that would cost money, lots of money and time off work. I was thinking perhaps, a tummy tuck, sleeve or lap banding. All are very high risks as it involves surgery. It's not going to work either, as needles and shiny sharp objects terrifies me!

In the past, I have frequented gyms, on and off and popped many pills, such as appetite suppressants and Xenical. I failed to lose weight. I guessed one needs discipline and dedication and most of all, the will and the want to lose weight, all of which I do not have.

Despite all my past failures, I am now committed to trying out this program for however long the sponsored products will last me. Brad has been ever so generous with donating to me, over few hundred dollars worth of Isagenix products to try and I must do this, for myself.

It will make me feel better, I will be healthier, lighter and it may even lower my high blood pressure if I lose the excess weight.

I just started this today and I will come back in a month and let you, my readers know my progress :) I am hoping to lose a few inches off my waistline. Of course, it does not help when I am starting this during the silly season. However, I believe that, with sensible eating and some focus, I can do this.

As you can see, on my first day, I'm already "enhancing" the protein mix with Matcha (green tea powder) to enhance the flavour :) I am not used to protein shakes, I am a non-dieter and the matcha flavour really helps me, I can pretend I am having a Starbucks frappe! The protein shake will keep me feeling full till arvo and dinner time.




For more details, head to http://www.isatonic.com.au
There are some good readings if you need help and advise on cleansing and I saw some healthy recipes as well. See you all back here in a month :)



Friday, December 12, 2014

Huon Hill Dining

It's that silly season again when we all gather at one spot to celebrate the end of the working year and this year, it was our turn to travel down south to the borders, to Huon Hill Dining at Wodonga for our Christmas work lunch.

Work Xmas Lunch

Work Xmas Lunch

Just like every other time before our function, I would google and read about the place and checked out their menu. Unfortunately, their dining menu has not been uploaded when we visit. So it took me a lot longer than usual to decide on what I want to eat.

Work Xmas Lunch

I was very glad to decide on the Huon Duck Salad, with the Asian dressing. It did not disappoint. The plate itself was huge. I was a bit concerned that I may not be able to finish it but I did, it was scrumptious! The dressing was light and tangy and very refreshing, With Summer upon us, I tend to avoid heavy meals and go light. The Duck salad had tender slices of duck breast, tossed with baby spinach, mint, beansprouts, coriander and vermicelli cold noodles.


See, isn't it huge? I was thinking to myself, "just pace yourself girl, you can do it. It's only salad, nothing to it :)" It was very nice with my glass of pink moscato. I also tried the Blumers Cider on tap. The cider was nice and cold. It was not sweet unlike most of the other sickly sweet ciders available on the market.

I love that the Dining room is very spacious and clean and symetrical. There is a lot of light coming thru the glass window and doors. It is pleasing to the eye. The natural light is great for snapping food photos in here. The glass doors opens out to the patio, similiar to a beer garden. On the other side of the Dining room, there is a Cafe, where you can sit down and have some hot brew and cakes.

My work colleagues had these meals below and they look fantastic. I can't vouch for their meals but my duck salad was second to none! I am ever so grateful that these guys let me snap photos of their food before eating.

Work Xmas Lunch

Work Xmas Lunch

Most of my colleagues had the steak and fries, with veges or salad and different sauces. I didn't feel like taking ten photos of steaks, so here is the one above.

Work Xmas Lunch

Work Xmas Lunch

Work Xmas Lunch

This was my dessert, it is called the Coffee Central, it's a coffee and chocolate tiramisu served with a scoop of choc icecream and biscotti fingers. I love the chocolate crackle with the coffee beans.

Work Xmas Lunch

So even though, I was thoroughly enjoying my tiramisu, I can't help but be envious of my colleague's Vintage Sundae. Food brings back memories of home to me and who could resist that classic old sundaes, you know, like the ones you grew up with! That corner milk bar, those fast food joints you used to hang out at after school?

Work Xmas Lunch

And that is all folks, it was a pretty awesome lunch. Hmmmm, even though I cannot move  now on the account that I am full.... I can't help but think about, where is our next venue? A foodie's work is never done! 

Huon Hill on Urbanspoon

An update:

On the 6th March 2015, we went back for another farewell lunch for another co-worker and found that the menu has been upated. I see that they have kept the Huon Duck Salad, that is my fav! I'd be happy with the Duck Salad everyday.

We loved the new menu as well. The service was impeccable. Wait staff was attentive without being intrusive and we didn't have to wait too long for our meals despite being a large group. The bread of day was the bomb. We loved it, I didn't take a photo, I forgot and gobbled it up too quick. It has seeded mustard, herbs, tomato paste, bacon and cheese and it was so good!!

I did wish that my co workers would be more adventurous and order different types of dish each so that I can keep snapping away but alas, it's not about me :) Heheh. I am grateful that they let me snapped their meal. And to be honest, Chicken Parmagiana is an old time favourite.

I didn't stay for desserts this time, as I was rushed for time, to drive back to Wagga. No doubt, it would have been incredible as that last visit.

Here are the more photos of food spotted and eaten that day. I must add that Anthony gave the thumbs up for the flathead fish and chips. Being ex Navy and fellow hobby fisherman, he said it was the most underrated fish an yet, the most delicious of all fishes! On that note, I must try it myself, next time! I have missed my fish and chips after New Zealand! It's just not the same here.

Huon Hill

Huon Hill

Huon Hill

Huon Hill

Huon Hill

Huon Hill

Huon Hill

That's all folks, till next time.... keep up the good work!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Christmas Cookies

Hi all, apologies for long absence. I haven't really had much to blog about, hence the dead silence. This weekend, despite the crazy heat, I am back in my kitchen baking some yummy Christmas cookies because I wanted to gift them to some very special friends that will be moving away next month. Friends comes and go, it is sad when the best ones leave you. This is just a small token of appreciation. Nothing fancy.

I found out that there are so many blog posts out there on Christmas cookies. If you google Christmas cookies recipes, there are no shortage of them on the Internet search engine.

I am loving the Martha Stewart website, for not only her baking and cooking, there are so many crafty ideas as well. I think I spend too much time looking at her home ideas and decorations instead of recipes :)


Isn't Pistachio the most beautiful nut, ever created? I just love the vivid colours on them and they taste so good too. I really do feel sorry for those people that are allergic to nuts. I could finish eating a whole bag all by myself, quite easily too but I must control myself.

There are cookies to be baked needing those such as the pistachio shortbreads.

Plus, I want to make some chewy nutty chocolate fudge with pistachio in it as well. So decadent and rich. How can anyone not like Christmas? So many treats to try.




The photo below shows the nutty fudge. And while that is cooling off on the rack, I will start on a batch of gingerbread family. Sorry, I forgot the link to the choc fudge, will add later if I find it. I didn't bookmarked it.



This is Gingerbread dough mix in the mixer.  I will have to post some photos later, once I have decorated my gingerbread family. I have to warn you, the Father is disabled as I accidentally broke his arm! Drats!

Oh and there's another batch of sugar cookies dough to go into the oven yet. It is commiserating in the fridge at the moment.

I am just taking a short break and thought I'd blog a bit before heading back to the kitchen.

What do you think? Looks pretty good so far. It's pretty yummy too, I have been stuffing my face with warm buttery pistachio shortbreads straight out of oven... mmmmm


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Steamed Yam cake



A friend made Steamed Yam cake ages ago and posted it on her blog. Since then, I have been thinking about it and missed my own mother's yamcake. I was so happy to find some Taro at the local fruit shop and decided to try making it myself. I am sure it will not taste as good as my mum's. 

I had to substitute a few ingredients. Not the key ingredients, thank goodness, I have most of the ingredients to make the yam cake. I was missing oyster sauce, alkaline water, etc. I found another recipe online and improvise on it as I had to substitute some ingredients. See underlined.

Ingredient
500g yam, peeled and diced
40g dried prawns 
4 dried mushrooms, soaked and sliced 
300g rice flour 
100g corn flour (I used tapioca flour) 
100ml water 
500ml hot chicken stock (I only had beef cube stock at home)
2 tbsp oil 
1 tbsp shallot oil 
1 tbsp fish sauce ( I used Japanese Bonito sachets seasoning instead) 
Some grind black pepper
1/4 tsp five spice powder 
1 tbsp oyster sauce ( I had no oyster sauce, this was omitted) 
1 tsp of sugar ( This was not added )

Seasoning
2 tsp salt 
3 tbsp oyster sauce 
1 tbsp shallot oil 
2 tsp sesame oil 
1 tbsp fish sauce ( I used Japanese Bonito sachets seasoning instead)
A dash of pepper

Garnish
2 stalks of coriander, roughly chopped 
2 red chillis, de-seeded and sliced 
1 tsp of toasted white sesame seeds

Method
1. Dice the yam into 1cm square cubes.
2. Rinse then soak the dried prawns until soft. Keep 80ml of the soaking liquid. 
3. Heat two tablespoons of cooking oil with one tablespoon of shallot oil. 
4. Fry the dried prawns and sliced mushroom. 
5. Add the diced yam, the prawn liquid and 80ml of water. 
6. Season with one tablespoon of fish sauce, a quarter teaspoon of five spice powder, one tablespoon of oyster sauce, one teaspoon of sugar and a dash of pepper. 
7. Cover and fry intermittently for five minutes until the yam is cooked and yields easily when poked with chopstick.
8. Remove from wok and set aside. 
9. Put the rice flour and corn flour in a large metal container. Stir in the water.
10. Add the hot chicken stock and mix well. Add in the seasoning followed by the yam mixture. 
11. Steam for 40 minutes. Garnish with coriander, sliced fresh red chilli and sesame seeds.

The result was amazing, I didn't think it would be successful, given that, I had a few things missing. However, it was rather delicious, it was just amazing as memories of home, flooded into my mind at the taste of the first bite. I must add to, that my chilli sauce was stupendous! Just spectacular, fresh chilies sauce are the best to serve this steamed yamcake with. :)

Steamed Yamcake

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sticky Date Pudding

Sticky Date Pudding


I was watching a video on YouTube on how to make Sticky Date Pudding and I was sold on how easy it was to make one. I have always bought mine or ordered it in a restaurant. This was the first time I made one at home. Firstly, I chopped up the entire bag of pitted dates. This was hard work! I had to stop myself from eating the whole lot before it got cooked.

You will need these ingredients below.

For Stick date pudding
  • 250 gram of pitted Dates
  • 1.5 cup of hot boiling water
  • 1 cup of Self rising flour
  • 75 gram of Butter
  • 1 teaspooon Baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • Half cup of Brown Sugar
For caramel sauce
  • 75 gram of Butter
  • Cooking cream, use less for thicker option.
  • Half cup of brown sugar
Video Instruction are here. Thanks for sharing your recioe.

  • Follow the video demo link above and serve warm. Great for winter.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Madeleine Cookies


It's winter now in Australia, so I usually hibernate till work day Monday on my weekends. I do my shopping straight after work on Friday so that I can get home and spend as much time watching korean dramas and do some pottering around the house and baking. Okay, not so much the baking part though.

Few weekends ago, I watched a korean drama titled "My name is Kim Sam Soon". It's an oldie, I was watching it for the Danny oppa fix but little did I know, that I was going to be more fixated with the baking in the drama and all the lovely cakes and pastries that was featured on that drama.

I just had to buy myself a Madeleine pan immediately after that. I love that drama, it's a light comical romance with enough soppy parts to make you reached for the tissues and yet with a sudden change of scene, it would have you drooling and pausing the show, just to admire the baked stuff. This drama is so evil! So, if you haven't seen this drama, please go watch it now for the drool factor!! OMO, Danny oppa, you do get my undivided attention though in your scenes!


And so it began, I needed to bake these babies to see what all the fuss is about. Last nite, I made the batter and chill it in the fridge as per the recipe instrution, you can find the recipe and video demo link from http://www.joyofbaking.com/madeleines.html

I am hoping mine turns out edible at least. I do love Joy of Baking website. Stephanie has video demo which is a whole lot easier than reading a bunch of words. I am terrible at following manuals or word instructions, I need visual display. :) Yes, I am a bit special! LOL :)

Making Madeleines cookies


Making Madeleines cookies


Making Madeleines cookies

Baking Madeleines


Baking Madeleines


Err Mah Gerrd!!!! I have eaten two already, second tray is in the oven now.. they taste like lemon cakes, crunchy on outside, nice and warm buttery lemon inside! So good!! So glad I have enough batter for two trays. So simple, sinful and good for you! It's got lemons! That's Vitamin C, right?

Enjoy and have a great weekend everyone! Nomnomnom! Peace out!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Creamy garlic and white wine mussels

Lunch Anyone?

Now that I am residing in Australia, I find that I missed a lot of things about New Zealand, one being the green lipped mussels. Sure there are plenty of those black mussels here, I see them in the supermarkets in Oz, but it is not the same.

I love the big fatty, fleshy juicy mussels. You see, size does matter!! At least to me, I don't want those puny little mussels... I mean, what is that? Wannabe mussels?

Anyway, here is one of my simple recipe to cook mussels. Please ensure that you scrub the mussels clean and remove their beards before cooking.

Ingredients

A dozen or two of mussels in shells
1 diced shallots or onion, I find shallots more fragrant and sweeter.
1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
3 Tablespoons of olive oil or you can use butter
1 cup of water
1 cup of white wine
1 very tiny pinch of sea salt.
Freshly chopped continental parsley herbs
1 cup of double/heavy cream, to be added last, prior to serving.

Method
  1. In a large pot, sautéed the onions and crushed garlic in olive oil or butter, add in wine and water, let it boil
  2. Add in mussels
  3. Add in herbs
  4. Close lid and let mussels cooked till shells are opened. Discard non opened ones.
  5. Remove from heat
  6. Stir in heavy cream, we do this last as we do not want the cream to separate or be boiled to smithereens :)
  7. Plate up and served with crusty bread and everything always taste better with more wine!!


Green lipped mussels



Saturday, April 12, 2014

Karipap Ayam

One of the great things about living in Malaysia is that you have an abundant choices for meals, there are delicious foods and snacks from the day and night markets, malls, restaurants and street food stalls. And if that wasn't enough, sometimes, the vendors even come to you.

In the morning, you may hear echoes of vendor selling Roti, newspapers even gas cylinder as they go through your back street. In the afternoons, you may hear a lady shouting out "Karipap...... karipap" as she cycles through your street. Best to have your coin purse handy and with you at all times as you would have to bolt out the door and chase her down the street to get to the yummy snacks. This is pretty normal for most suburbs. 

Life in Malaysia can be harsh and hard. These sellers sell their wares for a pittance price, so if you do come across them, don't complain about the price or try to get them cheaper. Support them and be happy and be thankful that you can have their delicious snacks, handmade with love from someone's home. 

Today I live in a land far away, and so I have make these things in my own kitchen. I am lucky that I have resources from the Internet for recipes that I could recreate my fond memories of yummy snacks in Malaysia. My mother is a great cook, she would make all the delicious Nyonya kuihs for us. I love her steamed yam cake, chiffon cake, and bubur cha cha. There's always something on the table for us. And when she wasn't feeling up to it, we would buy ready made food and snacks. Oh God, now I have Hainanese chicken rice on my mind and I should be writing up this blogpost. 

Here's the link to where I found this easy to follow instructions with photos. I am a visual learner, so I found this was pretty easy to follow. Spiral Curry Puffs


Karipap Ayam

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thai Mango Sticky Rice Dessert

Thank goodness mangoes are still available this week. I just got this craving for Thai Mango and sticky rice dessert since last week, and decided to make it this weekend. I have had this when I was in Bangkok last year and it was unforgettable. These stalls are everywhere in the streets of Bangkok. Be sure to try them if you haven't tried. It is very yummy.



Things you will need :

2 cups of glutinous rice ( from your Asian grocer or supermarket if they have them) '
1 can of coconut milk or cream
Water to soak rice in and to cook
2 ripe mangoes or more if you like lots of mangoes.
1/4 teaspoon of salt
5 small cubes of palm sugar or brown sugar if you don't have them


Method:

  1. Soak glutinous rice in one cup of water overnight
  2. Do not drain liquid
  3. Add soaked rice and liquid to pot, add in salt, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar or palm sugar
  4. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer.
  5. Once coconut has been absorb into rice, turn off heat but let sit.
  6. Now, you will need to make the coconut sauce.
  7. Put the remainder coconut cream/ milk into a milk pan. Add in the rest of palm sugar, taste test the sweetness. Add more or less as you wish
  8. Do not let it boil. Turn off heat
  9. Remove skin and cut up mangoes. 
  10. Served warmed rice with freshly cut mangoes and pour coconut sauce over it!
  11. Yum Yum in my tummy time :) If you are like me, you'd loved the coconut sauce and want to drown the sticky rice in it.. see my last photo :) LOL

Thai Mango Sticky Rice Dessert

Thai Mango Sticky Rice Dessert


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