Wednesday, 18 February 2015

He Will Love You

A very Blessed Lunar New Year to all! These two Peranakan dishes, Babi Ponteh and Chap Chye were cooked in advance for the family Chinese New Year lunch. I have cooked them in the late afternoon, covered and chilled in a chiller,  I'm doing this way so that I can be free of cooking some of the dishes on the day itself. Moreover, these dishes just taste better overnight.

When cooking Peranakan dishes, I usually refer to this book, Cooking for the President by Wee Eng Hwa.  I'm very pleased with both dishes I have cooked especially the Babi Ponteh. I have added sea cucumber, an expensive ingredient which I'm cooking for the first time. Recipe below is an adaption from the book with some modifications.

Babi Ponteh
serves 4-6 persons


750g Pork Belly, chunks
20ml oil
30g shallots, pound finely
40g garlic,pound finely
30g light brown taucheo, crushed
1 tbsp light soya sauce
1/2 tbsp thick dark soya sauce
30g gula melaka
4 Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked in hot water, quartered
2 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
150g sea cucumbers, approx. Cut to bite size
1 cup water

  • Blanch pork in boiling water and marinate with 2 tsp of dark soy sauce for about 30 minutes.
  • In a wok, fry shallots in hot vegetable oil till translucent. Add garlic and stir fry till everything is lightly golden.
  • Add taucheo and fry till semi dry, intensely aromatic, and color changes, about 3 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to very low. Add pork and fry till fragrant. Add the light and dark soy sauces.
  • Stir fry for about 10 minutes and transfer to a pot. Deglaze wok with 1/2 cup water. Add gula melaka, mushrooms and mushroom water. 
  • Top up enough water to just cover. Bring to  boil. Cover and simmer till pork is tender. 
  • Add sea cucumber and cooked for another 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Gravy should be thick.
  • Served with sambal belachan.

He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. Deuteronomy 7:13

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Be Patient

 Grissini or breadsticks are great delectable start of a meal. I dearly missed them, they seem to disappear in many restaurants here! It is great that I have now found a simple recipe to make at home.

This is a great recipe to do, and with some basic ingredients in your pantry you can bake a basketful of grissini at any time. You can add in your own variations too with this basic recipe.

My first batch of grissini was made in a hurry. I have planned to cook pasta, and beef tagliata for family dinner, and thought this week's Bake Along theme 'Grissini' would make an ideal complete Italian meal at home.  Though they were unevenly rolled, they taste great, and very crunchy too. I also wrapped some with prosciutto and rocket leaves.

The Breadkitchen
makes about 20 sticks


225g bread flour
135ml lukewarm water
2 tbsp extra virgin oil
11/4 tsp salt
11/2 tsp dried yeast
1-2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
Olive oil for brushing


  • Mix the yeast with the water and leave for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.

  • Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add in the yeast/water and the olive oil. Mix to a soft, slightly sticky dough.

  • Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. 
  • Add the Parmesan into the dough and knead it in.
  • Roll the dough out to about 6" x 8" on a floured surface. Brush with olive oil, cover and leave to double in bulk, about 1 hour.
  • Cut the dough in half across the shorter length, then cut each half into 10 strips.

  • Stretch and roll each piece to about 12" long (mine was about 10") and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet (baking paper).

  • When the baking sheet is full brush each piece of dough with olive oil. Leave the baking sheet in a warm place, uncovered, for about 15 minutes for the dough to rise a little again.
  • Bake the grissini at 200C for between 10-15 minutes until grissini are slightly brown. Place on wire rack to cool.
Note:The bread should crunch when you bite into it. If it doesn't, simply return the grissini to the oven for a few more minutes. Apart from changing the herbs you can also roll the breadsticks in sesame seeds before baking.

This post is linked to Bake Along theme 'Grissini' hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours,
Lena from Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.

Trials and Temptations

The call is for patience or longsuffering. God is still in control, even when we do not see it. He will return. Just as the farmers looks to the rain, we look to our Father in heaven. We must prepare our hearts to endure patiently until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Be Patient, the, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. James 5:7

Friday, 23 January 2015

This Is Good

The method for making a hot milk sponge cake has been around for a long time. It is an old fashioned method which involves adding melted butter and hot milk into the cake batter. This results in light and airy, and higher rise and finer sponge.

Bake Along #74 - Hot Milk Cakes with Strawberry and Cream.  I'm baking along with hosts Zoe of Bake For Happy Kids, Lena of Frozen Wings, Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, and other baking enthusiasts in this blog hop.

Hot Milk Cakes with Strawberry and Cream

serves 4
Adapted from Bon Appetit with modifications in red

2 small eggs
1/3 cup sugar + 1/4 cup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon self raising flour
1/3 cup whole milk
40g unsalted butter
200g strawberries, hulled, thinly sliced lengthwise
100g whipping cream
1/2 tablespoon of home made vanilla sugar


  • Preheat oven to 425F (180C). Line brownie pan with greaseproof paper(12" x 8")
  • Using electric mixer,beat eggs in medium bowl at high speed until thick, about 3 minutes.
  • Gradually beat in 1/3 cup sugar,beat until thick and pale yellow, about 1 minute longer. Beat in 1/4 tsp vanilla.
  • Add flour and beat 30 seconds.
  • Bring milk and butter just to boil in small saucepan, stirring until butter melts.
  • Add hot milk mixture to batter; beat until blended and smooth, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  • Bake till pale golden, about 18 minutes.

  • Toss strawberries and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in medium bowl to coat; let stand 20 minutes for juices to form.
  • Using electric mixer,beat cream and vanilla sugar in another bowl until peaks form.

  • Trim and slice cake into 8 pieces. Assemble cakes just before serving

Cake is soft and moist, sweetness just right. Delicious with whipped cream.

This is good, and pleases God our Saviour  who wants all men to  be saved and to come to a knowledge of truth.   1 Timothy 2:3-4

Monday, 12 January 2015

Every Good and Perfect Gift

My first experience of Mille Feuille was from a plane meal tray more than 30 years ago. Mille Feuille is a traditional French pastry made from puff pastry and custard cream. Mille Feuille is not an easy dessert name to remember partly because it is hard to pronounce if you are not a native speaker. I have heard the dessert being pronounced differently by people who are proficient in French.

Forget the French name if you have trouble with the letter L there. This pastry is also known as Napoleon. But I think Mille Feuille sounds more elegant for this stunning dessert.

At first look, the dessert looks complicated but in reality it is quite easy to do. For simplicity, I use store bought ready roll puff pastry. I just need to cook custard cream which I did the night before, a box of strawberries and I'm ready to assemble.

Strawberry Mille Feuille
Adapted from Home Cooking Advenure
serves 3


1 frozen puff pastry 10" x 10"
1 tbsp powdered sugar

Vanilla Pastry Cream

1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter, 20gms
fresh raspberries
Powdered sugar, for dusting the top


Vanilla Custard Cream

  • Prepare the pastry cream. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until slightly pale. Incorporate the cornstarch and salt.
  • Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour about a third of the hot milk over the egg yolks mixture. Pour the whole mixture into the saucepan over the milk. Bring to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
  • Pour the cream into a clean bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes then incorporate the butter while stirring. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent forming a skin on the surface. Refrigerate until chilled.
Puff Pastry

  • Preheat the oven to 165C(180C). Butter a baking sheet and line with parchment paper. On a floured surface roll out the puff pastry dough to a rectangle of 1/10 inch thickness.

  • Using the rolling pin transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Prick the dough with the fork and cover with another sheet of parchment paper.

  •  Place another baking sheet on top to prevent the dough from puffing to much. Bake for about 25 minutes until lightly golden.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  • Preheat the oven to 240C.

  • To caramelize the pastry, sprinkle about 1 tbsp powdered sugar, in a thin layer over the baked pastry. Bake (grill) for few minutes using the broil function until the sugar is melted.
  • Caramelize the other side of the puff pastry. When chilled trim the edged and cut the pastry in 3 rectangles.

  • Assemble the mille feuille. Place one layer of caramelized puff pastry on the serving plate. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain round tip with pastry cream. Spread pastry cream over the top and add strawberries. Place another layer of puff pastry on top of the filling. Add pastry cream strawberries and the last layer of pastry. 

  • Allow to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight before cutting it for serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

This post is linked to Bake Along hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, Lena from Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.James 1:17

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

I Have Fought The Good Fight

My family loves to eat squids and my usual lazy way of cooking squids is to stir fry them with store bought sambal belachan.  Today, I'm cooking all dishes from scratch, no cheat eats. Sotong Masak Hitam (Squids cook in black ink)is a Malay dish, a lovely dish best eaten with sambal belachan and rice.

Squid ink is usually associated with Italian food like pasta and risotto. Many people are quite turn off by the color but trust me, it really tastes better than it looks. To cook this dish, you do not need to buy squid ink from specialty store. You just need to wash and carefully remove the ink sacs from the detached heads. This dish has a simple rempah which doesn't need to fry long, and we all know that squids cook easily, so don't overcook it.

Sotong Masak Hitam(Stir fry Squids in Squid Ink)


6-8 medium sized squid, processed
1 generous tbsp asam jawa (tamarind pulp),rubbed thoroughly in a small mixing bowl containing 2 cups of water
1 portion of squid ink, extracted from the squids
1 stalk of lemongrass, lower white portion
1 red chili, sliced diagonally
1green chili, sliced diagonally
1 large onion, peeled an sliced into strips
1/2 tsp salt, adjust to taste
2 tbsp sugar, adjust to taste
2 tbsp cooking oil

2large red chillies, sliced
80g shallots, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp toasted belacan (fermented shrimp paste)

Pound,blend or grind all the rempah ingredients into a coarse paste and set aside for later use.


  • To a heated wok, add cooking oil and stir-fry rempah paste, bruised lemongrass halves, sliced onions over medium-high heat until fragrant and the rempah begins to glisten as the oil separates. Strain the tamarind water into the wok and together, add squid ink,half of the sliced red and green chillies.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil before lowering flame to medium-low to simmer.Heat and stir periodically  until the sauce thickens when some of the water evaporates.
  • Season with salt and sugar.
  • When the sauce reaches the desired consistency,bring up the flame to medium-high again and add processed squid pieces.
  • Stir fry and  toss the squid for 30 seconds or so and turn off the flame.
  • Let the squid steep in the residual heat for another 2 min or so before plating.
  • Garnishing with remaining sliced red and green chillies.
  • Serve with steamed rice or nasik lemak.
Note: If it is served with nasik lemak,it is preferred for the sauce tobe thicker and more concentrated so that it adheres to the sotong slices better. With plain steamed rice,the sauce is kept slightly more fluid for it to be drizzled over and enjoyed with the rice.

This dish complements the Kari Ayam which I also cook from scratch. A plain stir fry French beans with  prawns is also served as part of the meal. All photos taken from Iphone.

This book presents a study of 13 biblical characters, how they started, how they finished and lessons on how we can close each chapter of life, finishing well.

The important part of our lives as Christians is not on how well we start but on how we finish it and finish it well.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

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