Sunday, December 4, 2011


I know drunken chicken looks presentable and impressive but turns out it is pretty easy to make. I remember I was in awe when my very good friend S told me that she made this with her sister back in hm.. say Form 4. This dish goes really well with the Shanghainese vegetable rice, recipe of which will be shared in the next post. 

I managed to find all the ingredients in just one street of the YauMaTei market. Very amused and really enjoyed the process. Will share with you more about my market experience later. Have to get back to revision, bye!

Friday, November 25, 2011


First of all, my apologies to my faithful readers, if there are any. To redeem myself, I promise to put up at least 1 post every week until the end of the year, except 3-9th December, when I have my exams. I did not make any posts in October as the PCLL got a little intense and my sister had to march down the aisle. For those who are interested, you may catch a glimpse of the gorgeous bride and the dashing groom on this photography blog created by my cousin Brian Ting. 

It took me days to recover from my sister's wedding. I lost interest in everything and all I cared about was my bed. I finally crawled out of my cocoon last week and started cooking again. Ahh, my long lost happiness and sense of satisfaction. 

Every member of my family loves this. We order this every time we go to 夏麵館. It is very simple to make, very cheap, and you can make the sauce in advance, keep it in the fridge and every time you want something to eat, you can go grab the sauce, reheat it, cook the noodles and in only 3 minutes, any lazy bum get the taste of heaven. Trust me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Summer Pasta

Most of the classes which I am taking are held in the morning. I love this because that means that I get to go home and make lunch for myself!

I headed to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, hmm thinking what I could make out of the things in hand. The weather was too hot for something too heavy. I needed something light, fresh, sharp and colorful. So there, I picked up some cherry tomatoes, lemon and basil leaves, closed the refrigerator, hesitated, opened it again and grabbed my block of parmesan cheese. A little cheese won't hurt!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hazelnut Macarons with Chocolate Filling

Knowing that my best girl friends were coming over, I made macarons again last week.

One of them, H, is surely a macaron expert, she has tasted huuuuge amount of macarons from the most renowned pastry shops around the world! She told me about all the interesting flavors a macaron can carry, say olive, champagne, passion fruit with chocolate which turns out great but tastes like our 薑蔥白切雞 (steamed chicken with ginger and spring onion)! Hm. Maybe I should make some and verify this.

So, I was very inspired and motivated to play with the macaron flavours! I am planning to give my macarons an Asian twist! Goji berries, ginger, dates, lotus seeds, and all sorts of Chinese tea! So please bear with me, I will be making quite a number of posts on macarons in the very near future.

This time I made hazelnut macarons with chocolate cream cheese filling. Love the combination. For those who are planning to make these, do pay attention to the amount of ground hazelnut you put in along with the ground almond. The two nuts have different moisture content, so my suggestion would be to keep them in the ratio of 1:3.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Getting Married!

Sister's getting married! My brother-in-law-to-be and his band brought us all these earlier this week. There was more, a lot more in fact, they invaded and conquered most of our land in the living room! We have so much food at home now and for the last few days, we had 嫁女餅, the colorful Chinese wedding pastries and cakes, for breakfast, tea and late night snack!

My best wishes to the extremely cute, happy and handsome couple! And especially to the bride, I wish that you can eat a lot of 嫁女餅 and still be able to fit into your wedding dress and gowns!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Matcha Macarons

Macarons! Macarons! We were in a love-hate relationship. It took me so long to be able to make them well! Mastering the macaron technique is more difficult than taking a law exam. Seriously.

Failed 3 times, frustrated, persisted, searched the web, and realized that macarons had been harsh on others too! The macaron shell is the source of all troubles, the common problems include, no "feet" (the tiny ruffles along the circumference), soggy crust, cracks on crust, or they just turn out to be extremely sweet almond cookies.

The first time I had macarons was very unpleasant (that patisserie makes really bad macarons). I was so turned off by its excessive sweetness and hard crust which stuck to my teeth that I stayed away from it for a number of years. Macarons and I finally crossed paths again when my sister made me try one from the Island Shangri-la, telling me that it's really good. So I tried, very unwillingly, and then taking another bite, willingly this time, admitted that the macaron did taste great!

The perfect macaron shell should have two layers, a very thin, smooth, egg shell-like crust and beneath it is the soft, slightly chewy, meringue-like texture. It took me three failing attempts to finally get the macaron technique and make decent, "legit" macarons. I will share with you all the "secrets" to making macarons, however, it is inevitable to experience some flops before you truly grasp the technique. Meanwhile, you may also read "Demystifying Macarons" by Helene Dujardin for inspiration. Have fun experimenting!

Tips for making nice macaron shells:

1. Use aged egg whites (48-72 hours).
2. Beat the egg whites until they stand.
3. Mix in the dry ingredients (almond power and sugar and any other flavouring  e.g. matcha powder) into the beaten egg whites with a few very quick strokes and then slow down for a few more strokes until all the ingredients are well combined and form a slightly runny but also a little thick batter. Do not over mix. 
4. When you're done piping out the small rounds on the baking paper, leave it there for 45-60 minutes before shoving it into the oven. This process and the aged egg whites are crucial for creating the "feet".
Please click read more for the recipe.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Grilled Mackerel with Couscous & Rocket and Spinach Salad

My Saturday night supper. Extremely satisfying.

I received a text from my friend, K, that morning, telling me how good rocket salad is. As if I needed any reminder of my admiration for rockets, that message prompted me to immediately hit CitySuper and swing my arms around the fresh rockets! Some baby spinach and herbs managed to squeeze their way into my arms too! Glad they did that, they came in really handy later that evening.

Rocket, also known as arugula, has a strong, distinct, peppery taste, with a slight hint of bitterness. Generally used in salads and sandwiches. Take it literally, rocket really does shape like a rocket, long and lean. Not everyone can stand its taste, people either hate it or love it.

Another ingredient I would like to introduce to you is Couscous. It is made out of semolina and water, rolled by hand to form small pellets and subsequently dried with flour and sieved to separate. Very popular in Morocco, Middle East, France and Turkey etc. I first tasted couscous in a Middle Eastern restaurant, it was served with a generous spoon of lamb stew, so good! Couscous itself does not have a lot of flavour, it is like rice, so to spice it up, I mixed in chopped mint, parsley and lemon juice.

I have received requests to include recipes here, so there you go! Please click Read More.


Pretty daring to make Palmiers as a gift after all it is not difficult to get good ones from Cookies Quartet or Royal Garden's cake shop. But to show my appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to the nice people I have met lately, I decided to roll up my sleeves, get my hands down and really do something for them.

I referred to the recipe from the website, Christinesrecipes, but I did not follow the exact measurements. The amount of sugar you put really depends on your personal taste. I scattered the sugar over the pastry until it was all coated, not piled, with sugar. Also, to get that hint of creamy sweetness, I gave the melted butter a splash of vanilla essence.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


My sister and I made hummus for breakfast this morning. With no pita bread at home, we had it with plain crackers instead. Still good!

The ingredients include 1 can of chickpeas, 1/3 lemon for both its juice and zest, 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and around 100g of Greek yogurt, garlic (optional), salt and paprika. Preparation instructions? Hardly any! You just have to combine these ingredients either with a blender (which will take you less than 2 minutes) or by hand. 

We went primitive, mashed the peas and combined everything by hand, using only a fork and a spoon. We had a very bad experience with the blender, so we would rather take the rough path. Besides, mashing by hand left our hummus a much fuller and chunkier texture! But for those who prefer really smooth hummus, blender is the way to go!

Chickpeas have a rich, nutty, buttery flavour, extremely tasty but very heavy. Lighten it up with the yogurt and lemon acid, they work perfectly together and keep this dip fresh and exciting! 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

I just had an amazing afternoon. I watched my favourite movie, Something's Gotta Give, and made crème brûlée with my very good friend Natalie while listening to Pink Martini's feel-good music. I know I know, crème brûlée always gets the attention and it is many people's favourite. But for now, (next entry please!) it has to make way for this luscious, beautiful and heart-warming Bread Pudding!

I usually cook by myself but last Saturday, Daisy et son bébé joined me. Cooking by yourself and cooking with someone is very different. When I cook by myself, I experiment, focus on the food and enjoy the peace and quiet. Whereas cooking with someone can create more mess, more chaos, but it makes you realize that good company is just as important as good food itself. Having someone to share with you the joy and sense of satisfaction is incredible. 

Bread pudding is my favorite dessert. I like its golden brown crust and its creamy, custard-like inside. It was once called "the poor man's pudding" because the recipe, born out of necessity, was created by someone who had too much stale bread in hand but did not want to throw them away! Even today, when fresh bread is everywhere, I insist on using bread that is of at least 2 days old. Fresh bread has too much moist and does not absorb the creamy mixture well enough to create the custard-like texture. 

Croissants have a buttery flavor, so you can skip the butter and do it the express way. Since Daisy and I are chocoholics, we added dark chocolate bits too along with the raisins. Yumm!

Follow Michael Chiarello's recipe, spend 15 minutes in the kitchen and you'll make everyone in house very happy! 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Perfect Pandan Cake

I finally had the long-anticipated rendez-vous with E, a very nice and experienced cook, who guided me through the essential steps in getting the perfect pandan cake!

I like pandan cake because I like the vibrant green hiding beneath the thin coat of golden brown and the unique and unforgettable taste of pandan. I also like its fluffiness, softness and lightness that take you to the clouds and keep you lying to yourself that this will be your final piece of pandan cake for the day.

"This is a really simple cake. The ingredients for panda cake are relatively little." This is true, you only need self-raising flour, eggs, sugar, pandan paste, oil, milk and cream of tartar. "The trick is to be very accurate." Oh. Accuracy. This is a nightmare! As I told you before, I usually rely on my intuition and never really bother to measure and weigh the ingredients. But having the honour to learn from such an experienced cook, I did as I was told.

The cook was extremely patient and demonstrated to me the whole process of creating the perfect cake. She has all the measurements and procedures remembered in heart and she stirs with so much poise and grace while I struggle and battle clumsily. She makes me realize that cooking should be enjoyable and relaxing, not hectic and chaotic.

Further tips shared by the cook include:

1. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites very neatly. Not a single drop of egg yolk and water is to touch the egg whites.
2. Beat the egg whites at very high speed and very quickly. Never stop until you are done.
3. Extremely fine flour.

Oh and if you have any other tips to add, please let me know! You may also send me recipes that you like or want me to experiment for you!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Swedish Meatballs

Spaghetti bolognese was my favourite dish when I was a child. But I always secretly wondered why people never put meatballs on top of the spaghetti bolognese, that would make it perfect!

I like meatballs with potato but I cannot find many restaurants here that serve these meatballs. Some American restaurants do, but I think the best ones are from IKEA.

So I followed the IKEA recipe and made my own Swedish meatballs! First, you need to boil and mash the potatoes. Mix in the bread crumbs and water until it looks like a cake batter. Pour in and combine the minced beef, minced pork, butter-fried diced onions, egg, milk and water. Season it, then wash your hands again and be ready to shape some nice, juicy meatballs!

I like this shaping process as it reminds me of my childhood, when I always played with clay and tried to shape them into mini hamburgers. It 
is pretty easy and fun to make this dish, but frying them takes some time. Shaping smaller meatballs helps. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

I adore peanut butter so very naturally I find classic peanut butter cookies extremely tasty and comforting.

I love peanut butter to an extent that I insist on making my own peanut butter sandwiches so to ensure that all the corners are drenched in the rich, creamy but also chunky peanut butter. Yet this is not the end of the story. After eating my sandwich, I secretly dig my knife into the Skippy peanut butter jar, give it a nice swoop, pull it out, and oh my goodness, I do what Winnie the Pooh does when he finds his "hunny".

I think my first time making this cookie is about 6 years ago, when I took my one and only cooking class at Town Gas with my sister. I still remember how the teacher guided us in creating that classic crosshatch pattern with a fork before shoving the cookies in the oven.

Sweet food is really my weakest area and peanut butter cookie is one of the few sweet food I manage to make properly. I am sure that it is because of my reluctance in following the recipes word by word. I am always too lazy to make really accurate measurements and that is a big NO for dessert-making. This time, I used Martha Stewart's recipe, she is reliable and she even offers around 20 different recipes for adding some twists to this classic cookie.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Linguine con le vongole

I suddenly felt like making this dish, so despite the rain, I went out to the market to pick some nice fresh clams. I have to admit that I usually do my groceries at Park N' Shop or Taste and occasionally at Citysuper, but I know it's best to hit the local markets. They offer the freshest ingredients without costing you a fortune, and the friendly stall owners are very generous in giving you cooking tips. 

As usual, sauté the minced garlic, onion and red pepper flakes. Splash in white wine, lemon juice and chicken broth. Add in the clams, cover the lid and let it simmer for 6 minutes. 

The heated wine intensified and accented the flavour of the clams, it smelled so good! I couldn't wait to open the lid and there, the clams welcomed me with a big wide grin! So pretty!!

Almost done at this stage! Toss in the linguine, season it and mix in a handful of parsley. Finish it off with one more splash of extra virgin olive oil and there you have it! :) 

I dedicate this post to Salina and Patrick, who are huge fans of linguine con le vongole!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Greek Salad

I had Greek salad this afternoon. It makes me happy.

I did not like Greek salad when I was young. I did not like the bitterness of olives and I thought the crumbled feta cheese looked ugly.

Only until 5 weeks ago did I start to appreciate it and quickly fell in love with it. I know it is unusual to think so highly of something so simple, but the herbs, olives and feta cheese do magic and make this veggie salad so extraordinary. I liked it so much that I had it in every meal when I was in Greece. 

To make it as authentic as possible, get fresh Greek feta cheese instead of the packaged, already-crumbled ones. I also chose fresh, unpitted Greek Jumbo Black olives, they taste great, don't cost much and are available in Citysuper or Taste.

My cooking list inspired by my travels

I left my kitchen for a month to travel to Greece, Italy, Spain and France. I did not cook but I tasted, shared and experienced local foods. Quoting Food Network Travel, it was an exciting culinary adventure that "focuses on new flavors, ingredients, and cooking techniques in destinations around the world"!

Having tasted so many delicious, homey and authentic dishes, I decided to re-create some of them. My cooking list is as follows.
1. Greek salad
2. Greek aubergine dip
3. Souvlaki
4. Lamb shank in lemon sauce
5. Linguine con le vongole
6. Lasagna
7. Ravioli
8. Gazpacho
9. Chicken Tajin with couscous
10. Macarons (A cute guy, who ate a dozen of macarons a day, is going to join me with this.)
11. Normandie apple tart
12.  Bloc de fois gras d'oie/ de canard

This week, I'm paying tribute to the wonderful tastes of Greek food!