Dec 26, 2008

We wish you the merriest..

There was an Advertising tune for Heineken beer last year that goes like this:

We wish you the merriest, the merriest
The merriest, YES, the merriest
We wish you the Happiest, the happiest
And the happiest NEW Year

Here's the youtube ad I found

For days, we couldn't get that tune out of our heads and I often heard my daughter singing it.

OK, I may have got the wrong spelling here..but that was how it sounded like.

I baked 3 more Chocolate swiss rolls cakes and had it decorated for our neighbours. Its something I do every year for them. And wishing them the Happiest and the Merriest New Year!

And here's to all who frequents my blog, read and gave your kind comments. A Merriest and the Happiest NEW CHEER to you too!

Dec 25, 2008

All I got for Christmas was...

A very big hug! From my niece ; Noelle. She turn 7 years old this Christmas and we celebrated her birthday yesterday with the family. Her mom (my cousin), asked me to bake a cake for her. There was no special requests of flavours or taste or theme. Only thing was to bake the cake with low sugar so that all the old folks in our extended family can enjoy it too. As most commercial baked cakes are very sweet.

So I baked a Chocolate sponge cake that uses only 50% of sugar instead of more as per the recipe I had. I used the best chocolate powder available and briefly soaked 2 cans of Dark cherries with Cointreau so it has a hint of liquor in it.

Since Noelle's name was very 'Christmassy', I decided to bake a cake with a touch of Christmas iconic figurines. Namely old Santa Claus up on the roof top next to the chimney. And a little boy that was dressed in mittens, hat and scarf. The little cottage house was the same cake, cut and trimmed down to look like a house. And the cake was covered in fresh cream that had peppermint extract.

As this is very much a child's birthday, the cake had all kind of candies which kids loved. Gummy bear candies, chocolate mushroom biscuits, Glico Pocky strawberry sticks as the roof, rainbow marshmellow as the chimney. M&M candies decorated the front and back doors.

I ask Linda(Noelle's mom) to get nice candles and she found these really interesting ones. Each candle is coloured and even the flames that was burning are also coloured!

Happy Birthday to Noelle..and Thank you for the very big hug too!

Dec 22, 2008

A plate of noodles

Whenever we had this dish, it often reminds me of the late Raymond Koh. He was my hubby's best friend since Secondary school. They studied together and kept in contact even after school. When we were dating, my hubby would introduce Raymond and his girlfriend to me. As with all good things and with good friends, my hubby wants me to know about his friends too.

When we got married, Raymond got married too. And he stayed 2 blocks away from us. Almost without fail, every fortnight, Raymond and his wife would invite us over to his place for games and food. The men will play card games or watch football together and the women would talk in the kitchen. I was hopeless back then, I couldn't cook or bake at all. But Raymond's wife was an excellent cook.

She would cook this simple dish of fried bee hoon with shredded cabbage and some fresh prawns. Mrs RK takes much pride in cooking this and often enough, I was left out as I have nothing to share. So I ended up watching TV and sitting around doing nothing.

They had a son who was the same age with our eldest daughter, Natasha. Some 14 years ago, Raymond told us that he had a rare blood disorder. Later we found that it was leukemia. A year later, the illness took our dear friend away. Leaving behind Mrs RK and his young son.

Mrs RK was devastated and kept away from everyone. She was too depressed and later we found out that she moved out of the flat too. We lost contact with her.

Over the years, when I pick up cooking, I improvised many fried noodles dishes to recreate the one she cooked for us. And this recipe I have now, comes close to what we had.

So this post, I dedicate to our late friend, Raymond Koh. We have always thought of you, and remembered you.

Fried Bee Hoon
1 packet of bee hoon, soak in water to soften
1 large white cabbage, washed, shredded
20 pcs fresh grey prawns, devein, shelled, cut into chunks
3 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp fine sugar
200ml water
1 clove of garlic, chopped

100ml onion oil

1. Heat up the wok with onion oil and add garlic to stir fry till fragrant.
2. Add prawns, fish sauce and fry for 2 mins.
3. Add cabbage, oyster sauce, sugar and water and fry for another 2 minutes over high heat.
4. Add soften bee hoon and stir fry till noodles soak up liquid sauces
5. Turn off the fire, dish out and serve immediately.

Its good on its own, or you can eat this with freshly cut chillies.

Dec 18, 2008

Sad to part

My old faithful iMac went to heaven yesterday. I bought it when I was still working for Batey Singapore. It served me very well for almost 8 years and outlived its expectancy of 5 years.

Thankfully, old faithful still starts up and I was able to back up all my emails, files, and web creations. My hubby was told of it and he came home to fetch me to Funan Centre. He got me a new iMac.

And I had to junk old faithful this morning. But I kept the keyboard, mouse and also the Bose speakers because it was still in working order.

Now I have a new iMac G5 that comes with a 20inch LCD screen which also houses the CPU, DVD and the full works. I need to re-adjust my chair and my view. Everything is now so darn big! But soon I will forget old faithful..because this new iMac works 10x faster. Every camera picture downloads in a flash.

This was old faithful..the now extinct domed shape iMac

And this is more like Eve from Wall•E the movie

Incidentally, I think Wall•E is run on OS X...that startup it had sounds so familiar!

Dec 13, 2008

The Seasons of Life

Tomorrow my 'baby' will be 18 years old. We are throwing a big party for Natasha today at my mom's place. She asked for a chocolate cake, decorated in a garden theme. I had too many ideas of what to do. But in the end, this was what I came up with. This cake marks her coming of age, almost out of teen-hood, and growing into a young woman.

It is a 3 tier cake. Bottom and centre tier is a rich chocolate cake that had orange peel and Cointreau added. Top tier is a rich fruit cake filled with dried cranberries and golden raisins and laced with roasted hazelnuts.

The decorations was to show all the things she loved as a child and as she grew up, she wanted designer bags and shoes, all the food she grew up loving to have. Her sister helped to draw the facial expressions in one of the fondant figurines. A little girl cuddling up with pillows and blanket.

It was covered in Chocolate Marshmellow fondant which I made and added Peppermint extract. And I also mixed it with Satin Ice's Chocolate Fondant which I bought a month ago. It was the most delicious fondant I have ever bought to use. I added Varlhorna chocolate powder and Varlhorna dark chocolate bars to make the sugar paste.

The baking of the cake, plus decorating took me a day's work. I started early at 9am yesterday. By 11am,the cakes are cooling. I made the fondant and the other decorations. In between periods, I rested and also cooked all the sambal(chilli) pastes to be used in the BBQ today.

The seasons of life, that is what this cake it shows the seasons of her life, seen in the eyes of a doting mother.

Happy 18th Birthday, my dearest Natasha

Dec 11, 2008

Made with Love

Yesterday I had a private baking class conducted at my home. A lady wanted to learn to bake a perfect pound cake with fruits and no liquor. And had wanted to decorate with fondant too. She had intentionally wanted an X-rated figurine to be constructed in full 3 Dimension. But in the end, she found out that her hubby wasn't too sporty on such things. And had to settle for a cake with a simple figurine.

So here it was, a cake made with love from a woman to a man. Not just any man, but someone she loves and adores and goes all out to have this cake baked and decorated to his delight.

The cake was a rich fairy light pound cake that was laced with dried cranberries. It was then covered in strawberry flavoured fondant. The figurine was constructed piece by piece and stuck together with just water and placed on the cake. The sides with covered with a clear ribbon that had golden hearts on it.

I also gave her extra fondant to bring home to practice on her skills in modelling.

When my hubby came home, I showed him the photo of the cake and he said "Why I didn't get one for mine?"


Dec 10, 2008

Eat, Drink and be Happy!

We hosted a hi tea buffet for our students. *we are Kitchen Capers and Chef Secrets Cooking Studio. It was fun, new friendship were made, and students had the chance to spend time to mingle with each other and with us. When most of time they come for our cooking or baking class and hurried home.

We also had lucky draw for everyone and my daughter, Melody helped to pick out the winners and Amy (co-owner of Chef Secrets Cooking Studio) gave out the prizes.

Judging for the smiles and laughter, it shows that the students are happy with the prizes they got. We had allocated 5 top prizes worth S$60 each with 1 Silicone Bundt Pan, 1 Silicone Sunflower pan, 1 set of Cookie Cutters, 1 Kitchen Capers Apron, and a $10 Training Voucher which they can redeem when they come for our classes. For the consolation prizes, we had given Disney cup, a Kitchen Capers Apron, a set of Cookie Press with 4 different piping tips, 4 cookie shapes.

Amy and I cooked and baked some 12 different dishes from Asian to Western cuisine. Here's the spread of food we had. For Asian cuisine we had Pickled Ginger, Pickled Bittergourd, Steamed Vegetarian Pau, Indonesian Mee Siam, Water Chestnut dessert(pan fried), Hokkien Ju Bee P'ng and Yam Kueh. And for Western cuisine we had Donuts, Shepherd's Pie, Quiche Lorraine, Banana Crumble Pie, Sugee Cake with Cointreau, Hazelnut and Sesame seeds cake, Rose Cookies(made from Real Roses), Kueh Bangkit, Horlicks Doggie cookies and also we had Rose Fizz Cocktail.

Many had seconds, and many ask for another buffet again. They loved the food, the company and of course the prizes too. We might do this again next year, most likely in April.

Thank you everyone who came and supported us in this buffet.

And lastly, when everyone has left..its time to clean up. My sweet little daughter Melody is seen here helping the dear old lady to mop the whole kitchen.

This elderly lady was one of the assistants who came to help us to cook and wash up.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Adeline H aka Yuri for her help on the eve of the buffet. She came to help me to bake. I told her I only stir the cream, she made the pie crust, folded and kneaded into shape and form and baked the Quiche Lorraine.

Dec 5, 2008

Make Me A Servant

On the 1st December, that's a Monday, I had a lunch appointment with my ex Primary School teacher, Miss Chua SC. She was my form teacher for two years when I was studying in Bartley Primary School in the early 1970s. Miss Chua was a very dedicated teacher. Though she only teaches us English and Arts, she does it with so much passion and joy. As her student, I immensely enjoyed going to school everyday and meeting her too.

She would greet us with a wide smile, literally smiling cheek to cheek. She never frowns and hardly ever gets upset or angry. Even after leaving Primary school, I have always kept in contact with Miss Chua. Till today, I still call her once in awhile. And when technology advances, computers and emails are a common form of communication, I will write to her via email. Before, it was often a phone call or a greeting card mailed to her home.

For years, I kept in contact with her. She watched me grew up from a little girl to a young woman and heard from me about falling in love and finding love in all the right places. When I had Natasha, Miss Chua send me all her well wishes. She became more of a good friend I had over the years.

So when we met for lunch on Monday, she ask me this:

"Woon Ting(that's the name she knew me for..!), why am I so special to you?"

I paused...and really wondered. Come to think of it, I never gave much thought to that. I am literally speechless and went on with the 'umm..errs, mumm..."

Finally, I said this :

"Miss Chua, for your lovely stories and your art classes. I loved the way you tell us stories. And the way you teach Art. And many years down the way, I learnt to tell stories like you did and taught Art to my children the way you did too. You have been an inspiration to me. And I am most thankful"

Miss Chua told one story that make me cry as a child. Its the story of Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde. I will always remember the way she told it to us that day in my primary school days. The way she related the story, how the Prince wept and how he told his story to the swallow that stayed with him. I remember going home telling my mother about the Happy Prince. And with each story telling session we had, I would go home and translated it to Mandarin and tell my mom the story too.

Later, my dad went and bought the story book of the Happy Prince. The book was bilingual so that my mom could read the story too.

Many years later, when my niece was born, I retold the story of the Happy Prince to her. It jotted many wonderful and bittersweet memories. Of someone who used to tell us stories that teaches us to be good children, gave us good moral values and how contented we must be in this life we have.

In so many ways, when I think about good teachers like Miss Chua, I would like to think she was that old Christian song that goes like this:

Make me a servant, humble and meek
Lord, let me lift up those who are weak
And may the prayer of my heart always be
Make me a servant today

Miss Chua, a servant, humble and meek, she gave me so much more than she ever knew she did. She taught, she gave, she serves and she loves every child she taught in her class.

Thank God for Teachers who dares to make a difference in a child's life.

Dec 1, 2008

Hi Tea Buffet Tickets..!

Did you get your tickets? Kitchen Capers and Chef Secrets Cooking Studio are hosting a special Hi Tea Buffet for our past and present students for their continued interest in our classes.

If you have always wondered what we could teach, come for the buffet and taste our dishes. There will be Dim Sum, local Singapore hawker favourite snacks like Mua chee, puttu mayam, Masala Vadai, Tau huay too. And not forgetting Western pastries like pies, cakes, quiches and muffins.

Not only that, you will get a chance to go for lucky draw which are sponsored by our suppliers. From bakeware (silicone bakeware), cookie cutters, Training vouchers, its worth every dollar you pay for.

Tickets are sold at S$10 per adult or teenager, S$5 for kids from 3 to 12 years old(under 3 years old is FREE), S$5 for Senior Citizens(above 55 years old). So hurry down to Chef Secrets and get your tickets by this Thursday, 4th December.

Please contact Amy Ou at 6273 9558 regarding the tickets. Open to all. Tickets are limited, so do hurry!

8 December, Monday from 2:30pm to 6pm
Chef Secrets Cooking Studio
Blk 163 Bukit Merah Central
#03-3579 Singapore 150163
Telephone : 6273 9558

Nov 30, 2008

Wishing you a safe journey

Yesterday, I did a private baking and cake decoration class at home to a family of 2 sisters and 2 nieces. They learn to whip and beat up eggs, flour and butter and made 3 different cakes in 2 different shapes. Two cakes were baked in a round pan and a Lemon Fairy Cake was baked in a cupcake liner.

They also got a chance to try out various ways to pipe fresh cream, and to decorate a full cake.

It was a whole day affair starting from 9:30am till 4pm. I also taught them to cook Guangzhou Fried Rice and served them with Korean Ginseng Chicken soup and a sprinkle of my home made Bai Mi Jiu(Chinese Rice Wine).

Then the sisters told me their brother is still stuck in Thailand and hopefully to be able to catch the next flight back to Singapore yesterday. They decided to put their skills together and decorated a cake for their brother/uncle's safe return to Singapore.

And thus, the words on the cake showed "Welcome Home", piped freehand without any templates or guides by one of the nieces. Overall, I was very happy that they could show off a fully decorated cake to the family as a welcome home reunion dinner. To the ladies, it was their first time handling fresh cream, piping, and even handling a spatula with a revolving cake stand.

Before they left for the day, I treated them with my home made Starfruit wine and also gave them a bottle to bring home for the family to try.

And here's wishing their brother/uncle a safe journey home...

Nov 27, 2008

Back in SHAPE!

Shape Magazine Singapore has ask me once again to create some recipes for their year end issue. This time, the criteria was :

Canned food. I must use various types of canned food to create healthy meals for the busy women. I have created 3 recipes namely the Mini Bread Cups, Mushroom Pot and the Fruit Cocktail salad. Actually, what it is was I improvised the same recipes I had by using canned food.

Go get a copy of the December 2008 issue of Shape Magazine and turn to 128..full recipes and photos too. Here's a glimpse of it.

Nov 26, 2008

My kitchen

When we were looking for a new home in early 1994, we knew what we wanted. Or at least I know what I wanted. I wanted a bigger kitchen to store all my things. I want space and a bigger stove because I tend to cook more than 3 dishes for each meal. But I never planned it for baking. Mainly because I am not so much of a baker. I preferred to cook than to bake. So when we saw this apartment, we quickly sign a check deposit to buy it.

My kitchen looks out to the carpark and you can get a glimpse of the road and the river. Its the brightest and the most windy part of the house. It stretches 20 feet by 10 feet. It has a toilet at the back and a utility room next to it. We had it knocked down and converted it into a small storeroom to put more of my other stuff.

I loved to have a kitchen with wide open spaces where I could walk in and out freely without having to give way to others. So it was made with cabinets near the wall.

The fridge was nearest to the door and it had no obstruction in terms of cabinets enclaving it. It was literally 'free'. That space was made to last for a lifetime, should I decide one day that I needed a big door to door fridge, I would have the space to put it.

Since I stayed so close to nature's gift of greenery and River, I had to make sure all my kitchen gadgets and tools are stainless steel and won't rust as the river flows out to the sea up north.

Over time, I moved things in and around the kitchen, bought new stuff, threw some out. And surprisingly I still have room for a few more big gadgets under the stove or in the storeroom!

Because the kitchen was not built for baking in mind, I had to build 2 cabinets in the dining room to store all my baking tools and ingredients. This cabinet sits directly under the wine cabinet.

Nov 24, 2008

Wa Aye Teng Lai(I want to go home)

Lately, the newspapers and media has been talking a lot about Mercy killing or Euthanasia. Suddenly, I thought I heard my late father in law again. Crying out to me , saying this, 'Gina, wa aye teng lai' in teochew or "Gina, I want to go home". He was a chronic diabetic and was in and out of the hospital for months. Until his death some 13 ++ years ago, he spend most of his last days in the hospital.

I used to visit him at the hospital. If I had time, I would go home and cook some soup for him. Simple and delicious. Just pork bones with bittergourd. Though he was not allow to drink it, often enough, I would give him a sip or two.

2 weeks before he passed away, he cried out to me again saying he wants to go home. In short, he knew his days are numbered and he doesn't want to die in the hospital. But bringing him home would mean that we need to hire a private nurse and have someone to care for him day in day out when the nurse has gone home for the day.

Then I spoke to the family and ask my sister in law to sign the papers for him to go home. And I took it upon myself to care for him in his last days.

And I am glad I did. I took 14 days of no-pay leave, pack my older daughter and moved in to stay with him. Then the family had hired a live-in maid to care of him. I would spent my days with him, cooking his favourite meals of just bittergourd soup with red dates although it was not allowed for his diet. I would sit by his bed and he would ramble on about things and half the time I couldn't make sense of what he said to me. And to be make sure he thinks I knew what he said, I just nodded at each 2 to 3 minutes interval.

My eldest daughter, Natasha, was barely 5 years old at that time. She learnt from this experience what it means to have filial piety and to have respect for the elderly. Years later, she mimick my every gesture and behaved likewise with my mother in law and also with my mom.

After his death, my mother in law had his ashes in an urn and kept it in a Buddhist temple at Sengkang. That's almost 5 minutes drive from my place to reach there. A close friend gave me a Wind chime as a gift and told me to hang it at the window where I could get wind blowing in most of the times. So I hung it at the kitchen window. Out from this window, you can see the river which flows out to the sea up north. Passing by the Buddhist temple which my late father-in-law had rested.

And each time when I cook bittergourd soup with pork bones, for some unknown reason, the wind chimes will 'sing' a beautiful tune as if telling me that he is in peace and in comfort.

That old chime was made of cardboard, and a string and a bell and has long gone from the kitchen window now. But I still get the sense of well-being whenever I make bittergourd soup with red dates and pork bones. I know, even till today, I have made the right decision to bring him home to die in dignity.

Nov 20, 2008

Ah Ma's old chinese remedies

When my mom visited her relatives in China almost a decade ago, she was amazed to find her elderly auntie as fit as a fiddle, complete with rosy cheeks.

When asked about the secret behind her good health, my grand-auntie attributed it to the soup which our great-grandmother had taught her. As they lived high in the mountains and the nearest doctor was a day’s journey away, this soup was taken every three months or so to flush the stomach of toxins and impurities.

According to my grand-auntie, for the best results, the soup must be taken for three days continuously without other types of food. But one is allowed to drink water during this period.

Apart from clearing the stomach of unwanted elements, the soup also helps to boost one’s immune system, making the person less susceptible to catching a cold or the flu bug.

The soup uses the simplest of ingredients – radish, carrot, potatoes and an onion. It should be eaten as part of the meal together with the rich vegetable stock.

Having taken this soup for the past decade, I can vouch for its efficacy as a health food.

Ingredients (Serves 2)
1 radish, skinned, cut into chunks
2 carrots, skinned, cut into chunks
3 local potatoes, skinned, cut into half
1 large brown onion, quartered
1,500ml water

1. Heat water in a large pot till it boils.
2. Add all the ingredients into the pot to boil over low fire for 30 minutes.
3. Turn off the fire.
4. Serve hot.

Nov 18, 2008

C is for Cookie!

I am not a cookie fan. Never have, never been. But my mother in law loves cookies. Especially any type I baked for her. Because she knows I take into consideration about her eating habits and tries to create cookies that she could eat now as she has become a vegetarian.

My mom also loves cookies. But she loves anything that is made with SCS Butter. My sister only likes crunchy cookies. In fact, come to think of it, my whole clan loves cookies. Anything that is buttery and crunchy and fresh.

So lately, with spare time at home, I have been playing with ingredients, revising old recipes I had and improvising it. And came out with these.

I made a batch for tea after my sugarpaste modelling class last weekend. My students raved about it and begged me for the recipe. So here it is, a cookie for vegetarians too. No egg, no butter.

Dates Cookies
Recipe by Gina Choong

150g plain flour
100g corn starch
70g Margarine
50ml Corn oil
80g icing sugar
Dried dates, seeded, sliced

1. Mix margarine, sunflower oil together in a mixing bowl.
2. Add sifted flour and icing sugar and fold in gently to a smooth dough
3. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to scoop the dough and place on baking tray.
4. Add a piece of sliced dates on top of the dough.
5. Bake in pre-heated 180C oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove to cool on wire rack before storing in airtight containers.

Lemon Scented Melting Moments
Recipe by Gina Choong

150g plain flour
100g corn starch
70g Margarine
50ml sunflower oil
1 tbsp lemon oil
80g icing sugar
zest from 2 lemons

1. Mix margarine, sunflower oil together in a mixing bowl.
2. Add sifted flour, lemon oil, lemon zest, icing sugar and fold in gently to a smooth dough
3. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to scoop the dough and place on baking tray.
4. Add a piece of sliced dates on top of the dough.
5. Bake in pre-heated 180C oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove to cool on wire rack before storing in airtight containers.


Nov 17, 2008

Jolly good fun

I have a sugarpaste modelling class for kids last weekend. It was jolly good fun for all of them. They made snowman, santa hats, mini food icons like bagette, french loaves, sausage buns, hamburgers, and even tiny udon soup in a bowl. Some tried their hands in making pizzas and after class, they had another round of fun...playing in the balcony with my dog and Chocolate, the dwarf rabbit.

Here are some of the kid's work. Good Job boys and girls.

This class will be repeated again next month. Do check out my website at to find out about it. All kids will get a free Fondant Tools set* and 120g of coloured fondant flavoured with Strawberry and also 4 cupcakes for them to decorate.

This particular set of Fondant tools are made safe for kids' use. No sharp edges or pointy ends. They use it during class to make all the figurines you see above.

Nov 16, 2008

Darling, Happy Anniversary

My hubby and I celebrated our wedding anniversary quietly. No dinners, no special messages of "I Love You" or presents of any kind. We believed in loving and caring for each other daily, every moment, every second, every minute and hour. I remembered that old song by the late Jim Reeves that goes like this:

Darling, Happy Anniversary
Another year of love has gone by
Thank you for each day you give to me
My darling, happy anniversary

We were married on 12th November 1988. So it makes this year our 20th year of wedded bliss. I was out of town this time. So a week before I left for China, Hubby bought live crabs and we cooked and ate till we had nothing in our tummy except crabs.

When our girls are born, we may have celebrated in a small way. With kids in tow, going for dinners outside. But it was never a big thing. From young, our girls never noticed about wedding anniversary, only birthdays. But they grew up watching us fight over petty issues and things and learnt that even adults quarrelled too. But we make up really fast and forgive each other soon after.

Since I was in China this time round, I msn-ed my 2 daughters and told them to draw up a card to wish their daddy a Happy Birthday. Hubby's birthday was on 13 November, a day after our wedding anniversary.

Instead, my girls both got up early and made him breakfast while mummy was in the airport in another country. Melody made a ham and cheese sandwich, while her elder sis, Natasha made a healthy potato salad. It was a wonderful thing they did for their father.

When I got back to Singapore, the whole family came to fetch me. And he brought us out for dinner. He knew what I liked, and he only orders seafood.

So here it is again, hubby dearest:

Happy Anniversary
And thank you for each day of love and care you have given to me...

This photo was taken in 1987...a year before our wedding. at my mom's place.

Nov 14, 2008

7 things about me

Hmm..been tagged by 2 fellow bloggers. I haven't never done this before. I hope I get this right.

Here's 7 things I can roughly think of that many do not know about me:

1. I am allergic to chocolates, preservatives, additives. And also to metals, rust and cats!
2. I have learn to play the piano since I was a kid. But pass till Grade 3 I think. Then drop out because I got lazy. But I can still play the piano. I don't have a piano at home..I play the one at my mom's place.
3. I was an ace in swimming when I was in Secondary school. Always come in first and represented my school against Cedar Girls Secondary school.
4. I am good in Arts, in drawing, in painting, in clay modelling and got an A for that in my O levels for Clay modelling. My whole family(maternal side) are all good artists.
5. I am a home body, I rather stay at home than to go out. Thus I do not eat out often. Don't know what is good or where has good food. I will only go out unless I really have to.
6. I only started seriously cooking when I got married. Before that, I can't even boil water properly. Trust me on that!
7. I like to do things randomly and won't sit still. One moment I may test out 4 to 5 recipes at one go, next moment I may just mould fondant just for fun. Before culinary, I spent alot of time drawing by pencil and paper. I love to draw animals and nature, of surroundings and life in general. I am to tag the other bloggers.

1. Happy Cup
2. Cutejoos from Philippines
3. KWF
4. Shira's Choice
5. Vanessa
6. Aunty Lily Ng
7. Yuribake

Here are the rules for tagging:
Link to my blog (tagger) on your blog.
1. Give seven facts about yourself.
2. Tag another seven bloggers by leaving a comment on their blogs and letting them know they were tagged and listing them (and their blogs) on your blog.

Nov 3, 2008

Making happy food

My mother in law loves yam. I would like to think of yam as 'happy food' for her. It never stops to bring her a smile if I made anything out from it. So last week, I had tested a recipe using yam to make into cookies for her. And this morning, I got up early to make it again. This time, I baked it fresh and send it to her ...still warmed.

And I also tried something else with it. Making that sticky yam paste(orr nee) into a cookie.

And true enough she was all smiles today. I also took the time to visit her after her fall...while going to the market to buy food. It wasn't serious, but was badly bruised in both knees.

And I also made some for my mom, who isn't too well the last few days. Nursing a cold and flu, she has lost her appetite and not eating well. Mom, on the other hand was more tired, listless and sleeps on most days.

So today, my happy food goes to 2 important women in my life..: My mother and my Mother-in-law. The former who shaped me and the latter who loved me for all that I am.

Thank God for mothers...!

Oct 31, 2008

Not quite Bloody Mary

I had to take this photo of the cocktail I made for the magazine because of 2 things:

The sky is getting dark soon
Why waste a good photo showing the watermelon which I took so much time to scrap out the 'flesh'

This cocktail was supposedly to be named as Rainbow Cocktail as it had all kinds of fruit cocktail in it like peaches, pear, cherries, apples, melon and the red liquid is actually freshly blended Watermelon juice.

It does look like Bloody Mary cocktail with its offensive bloody redness. But its not. I usually serve this at home for parties. Each half of the watermelon is used to serve either cocktail or a nice fruit salad. After the party, just junk, no mess, no fuss and less to wash!!

This is great to serve for those Halloween parties or Christmas parties too.

Here's my tried and tested recipe to keep

1 whole watermelon
1 can of fruit cocktail in heavy syrup
1 can of peaches in heavy syrup
lots of ice

1. Cut the melon into half from the centre.
2. Slice off a bit off the rounded the melon can sit properly on the table without toppling over.
3. Blend the melon balls into juice and add all the fruit cocktails to mix
4. Pour into the empty melon shell and load it with ice
5. Serve cold...!

I also made mini bread cups and filled it up with tuna flakes that was seasoned with low fat mayo and dash of grounded white pepper..

Oct 30, 2008

Thank You Singapore

Yesterday I had a cooking class in a Japanese home. 2 ladies of leisure contacted my Assistant and decided on a menu they wanted to learn. So A and I found our way to their humble home in River Valley Road area.

They wanted to learn to cook the following local favourites:

Hainanese Chicken, Chicken Rice and chilli sauce
Paper wrapped chicken
Egg Tofu with Sugar peas
Fried Hokkien Mee
Mango Pudding
Ah Balling

And soon we found out one of the ladies will be leaving Singapore soon. Her husband has been posted to Thailand for 2 years and she worries that she cannot find her best loved hawker fare. Decided that once and for all, she had to learn to cook it herself.

She has stayed in Singapore for 3 years now, with her family and have grown to love Singapore, the people, the sights and sounds and most of all, the food.

Some of the dishes/recipes have been modified to suit the Japanese palates. Especially anything that has extra spiciness.
I have also modified the paper wrapped chicken recipe so its less oily. Its pan fried instead of deep fried.

What is not shown in the dining table are the chicken rice, and desserts as it was in the fridge for chilling. The Ah Balling was still bubbling in the pot. As we have to leave soon, as A has to fetch her kids from school, we left them with much appreciation and I was truly inspired by them. They gave me a chance to impart my culinary heritage to them. The way my mom used to teach me the right way to cook ah Gong's Hainanese chicken rice.

With that, the ladies say "Thank you Singapore" and to me "Thank you, for your inspiration"

Here's my Paper wrapped chicken recipe:

Serves 2
4 chicken thighs, cut into 4 sections each
1 stalk of spring onions, chopped

50ml corn oil(or any cooking oil)

Baking paper, cut into 15cm squares

Marinating sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp fine sugar

1. Marinate chicken pieces with sauce for 30 minutes
2. Place a piece of chicken on one end of the paper.
3. Sprinkle a teaspoon of spring onions on top.
4. Fold and wrap to seal the packet.
5. Heat up a frying pan with oil
6. Place each chicken packet and cook for 15 minutes. Turn over every 3 minutes.
7. Serve hot. Discard paper when serving.

Oct 27, 2008

Remember when...

Once upon a time, when Melody was still a little girl..very little girl. I learnt to make the teochew soon kueh from my mother in law. It took me a long time to figure out the proportions of the ingredients as she measures everything by gut feel. No measuring cups or spoons, no weighing scales. And when I figure out how it was done, I told myself that one day I will impart these skills to my children too.

Yesterday was the day. Melody wanted to try making soon kueh. I cooked all the fillings, made the dough. And show her how to wrap the fillings.

Looking at her now...engrossed into making that perfect soon kueh. We make mini ones so its easier to handle.

Here's my tried and tested recipe

Makes 24 pieces
500g turnip, skinned, shredded
100g dried shrimps, soaked in water to soften
5 pcs dried black fungus, soaked in water to soften, shred
1 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar

300g Rice Flour
80g Tapioca Flour
500ml boiling hot water
1 tbsp corn oil
1 tsp salt


1. In a wok, add 2 tbsp of corn oil to heat. Add dried shrimps to fry till fragrant. Then add black fungus and turnip and stir fry for 5 minutes over high heat.
2. Lastly, add light soya sauce, sesame oil, sugar to mix. Remove and leave it aside to cool completely.
3. In a mixing bowl, add sifted rice flour and tapioca flour, salt and hot water. Stir quickly and it should look lumpy. Add corn oil to mix. Cover the bowl and leave it aside for 15 minutes.
4. Remove and knead into a smooth dough. Divide the dough into 24 portions.
5. Flatten each ball, add a tablespoon of cooked turnip in the centre of the flatten dough.
6. Seal by picking up the sides. Brush with corn oil before steaming.
7. Steam in a steamer over high heat for 10 minutes. Serve hot with sweet sauce or chilli sauce.