Dec 26, 2009

This Christmas

This is our first Christmas which we spent with one eye open, the other eye closed. We closed our store early at 2pm instead of 9pm. Hubby had to work and was only home at 5pm. I closed the shop alone at 2:30pm, serving the last customer at 2:15 pm.

I had to rush home to prepare for the christmas party at my uncle's home in the East of Singapore. And I rested for a while before I started making the truffles.

My mom suddenly became in love with Chocolate Truffles lately. Ever since Pearly visited us from Canada. And she brought chocolates for her. So I told myself, this Christmas, I am going to learn to make some for her too. So I wrote to PDL and ask her for her tried and tested recipe. She immediately send me one over the email. I didn't want to use expensive chocolates to make so I used Aalst Dark Couverture Chocolates to test it out. After a 2 to 3 rounds of testing, I got the hang of it and made quite a big batch for Natasha to bring to her church for her youth meeting. The so called "last supper" for them before they packed and leave for Isarel..the Bible Trail trip.

This was one Christmas we spent without Natasha, our eldest, our first born. She is in Isarel with her church walk the journey when Christ first walk the Earth. She sms us every other day to tell us where she is now, what they are doing. Her sister, Melody, missed her terribly. Her trip was made possible because my mom wanted to give her a present. And she bought the tickets for her to go. And my mom told Melody that when she is old enough to go for this trip, she can go too. My mom has already set aside money for Melody to go.

So this Christmas, no matter how tired I was, how much I wanted to rest my tired eyes, hung up my feet to rest or rest my tired back, I told myself, I must make these little truffles for mom. Who stood by me during the trying months I had struggling with the store. Of the times I couldn't be there for my girls and she was there for them.

She was pleased, happy and ask for more now.

To many, these are just boxes of chocolates. But to my mom, she knew I had no time, my eyes are puffy and black due to lack of rest and sleep. So these boxes of chocolates tasted the best and she told me "its like that Godiva or something. Very good"

And this song "O Holy Night" is dedicated to my girls who like this very much.

Here's to all, a Merry Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!

not forgetting...cakes for it :)

Dec 23, 2009

My world of dogs

I always have dogs since young. My late grandparents kept dogs to watch their little farm of chickens and ducks. I grew up in this homely environment of pets in the house. There was always at least 1 dog in the house, a couple more outside the house and a few cats too. Every animal was in harmony and in peace with each other. There was never a cat and dog fight.

Then we grew up, got married, had our own homes and we got a few dogs along the way. My cousins have dogs in their homes. My relatives had dogs or cats too.

My niece and sister had a cat(which they adopted from the street outside their home) and a dog too.

Here's a post for all dog pets past and present.

My current pet dog, Jing Jing. She's a shetland sheepdog.

She's focusing on the cheese slices I am removing to give her

In her own way, this is how she tells me its yummy!

This was my ex pet, Beauty. Also a Shetland Sheepdog. She's 5 years old in this photo. Taken together with Natasha's pet dragon

When Melody was only 3 years old, she spent much of her time playing and telling Beauty all her secrets. A wonderful photo of them in their yak-yak session

Natasha at 4 years old, with Beauty. Beauty was only 2 years old then. Natasha is now 19 years time has flown by.

I had a Tri coloured Shetland Sheepdog which my hubby gave me when we first moved into our first nuptial home. Seen here, he was named Fable and nestling with his siblings. He's the only pup that was black.

Fable, at his prime. 3 years old.

Here's Fable, fully grown..trying to herd a small rabbit. Rabbit was my niece's pet.

This is Bambi, the long coated Chihuahua that is owned by my niece.

These 2 pups are a mixed with Dobermann and a local stray. They were considered as bad luck due to an old chinese belief that dogs with black fur cannot have white patches or the family will have bad luck. They were given away soon after they turn 4 weeks ago. My brother in law took them home. It was my mom who nursed them and fed them like her babies.

Pee Gee is the white dog with black patches. And Sunny Boy is the almost Dobermann coloured pup.

Sunny Boy is a grouchy, selfish pup.

Pee Gee was given away when she was 3 months old to a family who loves dogs. But she died young due to a birth defect. I learn from this, never to breed dogs just because the doggy parents look good on the outside. There are so many genetic defects unseen, undetectable! Poor PG.

Sunny Boy at 6 months old..still considered a puppy but look how huge he grew up to be.

This was my very first dog, a Pomeranian. He was a Stud dog and very tiny. We got him at his prime when he was 5 years old. We never bred him after that. He became our pet dog to love and cherish.

This was Shoby, my very first Shetland Sheepdog which hubby gave me as a present. He was also born with a birth defect. He had a heart murmur. He died when he was only 4 months old, on Valentines' Day.

Dec 16, 2009

I missed my girls at...

I really missed them. Not the ones I have raised since birth. But the ones I taught at Andrew and Grace Home at Telok Kurau. These are girls who cannot go home due to the numerous criminal offences they have done. They are too young for prison or jail so the Government had them rehomed in a home where they are watched and learn life skllls while waiting to go for trial.

Why do I suddenly thought of them? Because I was watching Jamie's Kitchen in Australia. About setting another Fifteen restaurant in Australia. Then I remembered my days at AG Home in late 2004, all the way thru to 2005 and mid 2006. Working with these teenage girls, teaching them to cook Asian food. Some of them were sent to the Philippines during a Cultural Exchange Programme funded by MCYS. Where they had to cook a dish that was uniquely Singaporean.

I cannot show their faces online in any blog or even in printed media. Unless I edit it to blur out faces. So this year, I have ask my friend P and her hubby SH to help me to send some food ingredients to them. AG Home is now at 6A Matter Road.

Here's the website to find out more about them.

Here are some of the lessons taught, food they have cooked, prepared and they also learn about food presentation and table setting manners.

Pineapple tarts making..they begged me to teach them so that they could make it themselves, bring home on home leave days for their moms. As a gesture to say "Mom, I love you, please forgive me for what I have done". How can I say "No" to that. This was one of the most heartwarming lessons I taught that year.

They learn to make Indian snack Vadai. A recipe by Chef Devagi Sanmugam. A friend I knew.

The final product

They learnt to cook the traditional Hainanese Chicken rice with the yummy chilli sauce. Later, this dish was the one they cook during the Cultural Exchange programme.

...wonderful memories..

I don't teach there anymore because the new place they are at do not have proper kitchen equipment.

Dec 15, 2009

Christmas a little nearer, perhaps?

Yesterday SATS Cargo (Singapore) delivered 3 giant boxes of goodies to me to my store at Kallang Bahru. Some of the interesting stuff I wanted to fill up my cookie cutter range. Hubby said it will make customers go wild and spoilt for choice of the range of cookie cutters we have. These came from Stadter, Germany.

More things to upload tomorrow. But for now, here's what's in the store now:

Please check out website for more details on pricing, etc.

Dec 10, 2009

Wishing you Abundance in everything

I have decided to spend some afternoons to teach at Gim Hin Lee shop at Haig Road next month.
Remember the Golden Fishes I made earlier this year for family, friends and Chef Secrets? See my old link. You will get to see how I paint Gold dust(edible) on the fishes to make it glitter.

Due to space constraints and lack of proper cooking tools, I will only be doing this in demo style. No hands-on. But the Management at GHL has allowed me to give out KC Vouchers to all who sign up for this demo. With this voucher, you can redeem when you sign up for the full hands on class. And also, you will get more goodies from KC when you sign up for the full hands-on class.

Here are the details:

Nian Nian You Yu (Demo only)
12th January Tuesday, 2pm to 3:30pm

20th January Wednesday, 2pm to 3:30pm

Venue :

Gim Hin Lee Pte Ltd
Blk 10 Haig Road #01-363/365
next to the Haig Road wet market and food court
(located near Lion City Hotel and Paya Lebar MRT)

Course Fees per person S$45 per person
Min/Max per class : 8/15 persons

Deadline to book 28th December 2009

Flavoured Coloured Nian Gao :
Mango and Lychee

Course Details
Demonstration to show how to mix the batter, flavours and colours. Full recipe notes will be given.
Will also show how to make fish nian gao, Shou tou(peach) nian gao and how to colour nian gao with a brush and food gels.

Special Highlights:
All students will be given a S$10 Gift voucher which they can redeem when they sign up for a full Hands-on class with KC Learning Studio.

Everyone will get a pair of Baby Koi fish nian gao (to bring home) and get to sample the different flavours too.

How to book or pay?
Please send a crossed cheque to KITCHEN CAPERS
Mailed it to Blk 71 #01-531F Kallang Bahru Singapore 330071

Please include your name, email, contact and which course you are paying for.

All fees must be paid by 7th January 2009 . No fees refunded for any last minute cancellations.

Dec 7, 2009

Gone Fishing?

A request from friends who visit my blog to ask for this Prawn Fritters or locally know as HAY PIAH ZI. It used to be hosted at where I used to be their Director and handled all the Asian Street Food, Bake stuff, Asian Sweet desserts and also the maintainence of the website. The website has ceased its operation. Luckily, I still have the recipe and photo of it stored in KC Forum. This is for all who have supported me at Cuisine-Asia.

HAY PIAH ZI is a local appetiser which you can find in hawker stalls, food courts and sometimes in pasar malam or night markets in Singapore. It has a light and fluffy texture inside and a crisp golden crust on the outside. One bite into a fritter and you are in heaven. The batter is full of healthy bean sprouts and spring onions, but the piece de resistance is a whole prawn curled up crisp and sweet on top of the fritter.

This recipe is easy to prepare and inexpensive to make, and will make excellent finger food. Add it to your cocktail menu.

HAY PIAH ZI(Chinese Prawn Fritters)
Recipe by Gina Choong


270g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
70g rice flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
350ml water
2 tbsp corn oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
3 stalks spring onions, green part only (chopped)
100g bean sprouts (roots removed, washed and cleaned)
30 small grey prawns, unshelled
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp grounded white pepper
Cooking oil for deep frying

1. Season prawns with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Place dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add beaten egg and water, stir well, making sure there are no lumps.
3. Add spring onions, bean sprouts and corn oil, again stirring well to mix.
4. Leave batter aside to proof for about 1 hour.
5. Heat up cooking oil and dip a shallow ladle into the hot oil for 1 minute.
6. Remove the ladle and place 1 tablespoon of batter in it, topping batter with a whole prawn. Press the prawn down so it sits inside the batter.
7. Lower the ladle into the oil to fry, placing it in the centre of the wok for 1 minute.
8. When the batter makes popping noises, shake the ladle to release the fritter. Fry until golden brown and puffed. Remove and drain. Serve warm.

If you use a large ladle, you can make 20 fritters. A smaller ladle will yield 30 pieces.
You can use a regular soup ladle, but the fritter will be thicker, so adjust the amount of batter to get a thoroughly cooked, crisp fritter.

Dec 6, 2009

Let's Go to the Movies

My dad was the one who used to take me to the movies. When I was a kid, he bring me to watch all the Disney's classics. When I was a teen, he took us all to the movies. Now, I still watch these movies, reminds me of old times and the actors/actresses I loved. I got the classic VCD/DVD and watch them once in a while. Sure, I can watch these over on the NET or on Youtube, but nothing beats to watching this in the comfort of my bedroom, fast forward or play back anytime I want.

Here's the many few I loved which my dad brought me to watch..some have great memories and stories. These are some of my all time favourites which my girls also grew up watching it.

How to Steal a Million : Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole

Breakfast at Tiffany : Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard

My Fair Lady : Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison

Towering Inferno : many actors. This movie help me to write an essay competition that won me FIRST Prize in the year 1975.

Lili :Leslie Caron. I can't find the DVD for this. :( Only to be contented with youtube

Splendor in the Grass : Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty

West Side Story : Natalie Wood .... This show made famous many songs. Like "I Feel Pretty" which was later used in a movie with Adam Saddler in Anger Management

Fiddler on the Roof : My dad loved this movie. In this movie that inspired him alot and so much so that he wanted me to take up violin! But my mom thinks my neck with go sideways due to violin playing and switch me to Piano lessons instead. hahaha

Oliver! The musical. My girls watched this all the time..The Original version that was produced in 1969. I read that the boy who acted as The Artful Dodger is Phil Collins. This is a wonderful movie. We watch this together as a family.

Of course I also watch the famous cartoons by Warner Brothers and the Hanna Barbara series that is on TV all the time. That's Tweety the Bird, Slyvester the Cat, Bugs Bunny, Dafty Duck, Leghorn Rooster, Wile E Coyote, The Road Runner, etc. My dad still watches these all with my girls too.

All the wonderful memories, my dad had with me and its nice to evolve it around with movies. And now, I shared the same with my girls.

Do you watch any with yours?

Dec 5, 2009

Bittersweet Goodness

Okay, now everyone knows I can't take chocolate. Thank God, He still give me my coffee! I must have coffee with cream and sugar, every morning. Then can go without it after that. Occasionally, I ask for coffee if I dine out with friends at restaurants or cafe.

Just the other day, I read about IceBox cookies from Joy of Baking. Sounds simple enough. But I didn't want to do the usual stuff. So I use Stephanie's recipe, tweak it somewhat and voila! my version of Ice box cookies...Instead I think I should call this Coffee Squares.

Note that Stephanie's recipe uses egg. I didn't..because I forgotten about it!. :( Surprisingly it was just as good. yums!

Here's my tried and tested one.

Coffee Squares
Recipe by Gina Choong


250g Butter(salted)
150g light brown sugar
2 tbsp instant coffee
1 tbsp Vanilla extract
300g plain flour
80g Rice flour
100g chocolate rice

extra fine sugar for sprinkling

1. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
2. Add vanilla extract, coffee, flour and chocolate rice.
3. Continue to whip till the dough forms and leaves the side of the mixer bowl.
4. Divide the dough into 3 parts. Roll into a baking parchment paper and chill the dough in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
5. Preheat oven at 200C.
6. Roll out, cut into thins and place on the baking tray.

Before baking..all lined up...

7. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 mins.
8. Sprinkle sugar on top, cool on rack, keep in air tight containers.
After baking...

This is REALLY Crunchy! And it goes very well with any weak tea or even just with cold milk...

Dec 1, 2009


Okay, I am showing up a lot of MTV of old songs by singers. Like this, Things by Nancy Sinatra and Dean Martin. One of the songs, my dad used to play on his record player when I was a kid.

Today, hubby took leave from work. And told me what he wanted. He said I use to cook every weekend, then I hardly do that now. He missed my cooking, my simple fare of warmed food on the table. These days we eat cold food, reheated by steaming till the veggies turn limp.

So the king ordered his Imperial cook that this is what he wants for lunch today:

Salt n Pepper Chicken Wings

Kung Pao Pork

Hay Piah Zi(common street food called Prawn Fritters)

Golden Bird's Nest(Vegetarian)

Like the duo sang it..thinking about the things we used to do. To me, its more like "thinking about the things I USED TO DO!"


Every night I sit here by my window (window)
Staring at the lonely avenue (avenue)
Watching lovers holdin' hands
And laughin' (ha ha ha)
Thinkin' 'bout the things we used to do
(Thinkin' 'bout things)
Like a walk in the park (things)
Like a kiss in the dark (things)
Like a sailboat ride (ya ya)
What about the night we cried
Things like a lover's vow
Things that we don't do now
Thinkin' 'bout the things we used to do

Memories are all I have to cling to (cling to)
And heartaches are the friends
I'm talkin' to (but you got me now)
When I'm not thinkin' of just how much
I love you ('bout I love you, too)
I'm thinkin' the things we used to do
(Used to do, thinkin' 'bout things)
Like a walk in the park (things)
Like a kiss in the dark (things)
Like a sailboat ride (ya ya)
What about the night we cried
Things like a lover's vow
Things that we don't do now
Thinkin' about the things we used to do

I still can hear the juke box softly
Playin' (playin')
And the face I see each day belongs to you
(Belongs to you)
But there's not a single sound
And there's nobody else around
But that's just me thinkin' 'bout the things we used to do
(We used to do, thinkin' 'bout things)
Like a walk in the park (things)
Like a kiss in the dark (things)
Like a sailboat ride (ya ya)
What about the night that we cried
Things like a lover's vow
Things that we don't do now
Thinkin' about the things we used to do
And heartaches are the friends I'm talkin' to
You got me thinkin' 'bout
The things we used to do (I hope so)
Thinkin' 'bout the things we used to do