December 18, 2006


I don't feel like to say anything right now. But to enjoy these!

Dark Chocolate Pastry

It's quite chilly today. Rain is pouring down generously. The garden is wet. The rooms are heated. I'm here with a glass of hot chocolate, and not even Winter here. But it feels like one!

2 sheets puff pastry
8 squares dark chocolate (I used Whittaker's Dark Ghana--superb!)
demerara sugar for sprinkle
milk for brushing
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 200C. Take one sheet, quartered. Brush the edge, put one square of dark chocolate, fold to triangle shape, then bend it like you are making a ravioli. Brush with milk and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until puffed up and golden. Dust with icing sugar. Enjoy.

December 10, 2006

Menu for Hope III - A Work from the Heart

There are many children in the world are suffering and hungry as no enough food they can afford. While we are setting up our Christams table with hot healthy food and drinks, it won't be hurt to share what we own to the children who are in needs of our help.

Menu for Hope is an annual appeal fundraising organized by Chez Pim. Last year it raised US17,000 in UNICHEF.

I'm more than happy to give donation which is a special thing because I think helping people is a special thing to do in a life time. I'm willing to help as soon as I received an email from Chez Pim about this year's Menu for Hope III. I'm sure you are, too.

I received this book as a birthday gift from my beloved husband and have been enjoying it eversince. I am as happy to purchase a brand new copy for the Menu for Hope III donation as to share the enjoyment of every page is offered. It's my duty to send this copy to you whoever wins the raffle.

This book is written by Peta Mathias featuring her tours (ever screened on TVNZ 'Taste New Zealand') of different parts of New Zealand. I am a huge fan of hers, secretly. This is pretty much an A-Z culinary dictionary of New Zealand which is covering tastes, customs, cultures, produces, styles as well as rich information of lodges and markets across the country. This book is issued on glossy paper with excellent photographs produced beautifully by Laurence Belcher. Her language is as witty as entertaining and refreshing.

Book Title: A Cook's Tour of New Zealand
Author: Peta Mathias
Price Code: AP15

Here's what you should do:

  1. Go to the donation page at (
  2. Make a donation, each $10 will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize or prizes you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. Do tell us how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code-for example, a dontaion of $50 can be 2 tickets for AP01 and 3 for AP02.
  3. For US donors, if your company has agreed to match your charity donation, please remember to check the box and fill in the information so we may claim the corporate match.
  4. Please also check the box to allow us to see your email address so taht we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.
  5. Check back on Chez Pim on January 15 when we announce the results of the raffle. (The drawing will be done electronically. Our friend the code wizard Derrick at Obsession with Food is responsible for the wicked application that will do the job.)
Check and buy tickets at First Giving-Menu for Hope III

You can visit Helen at Grab Your Fork for more information on prize lists for Asia-Pacific.

And visit Chez Pim Menu For Hope III for more lists of prize worldwide!

Please, help us to help others.

December 08, 2006

spring rolls

When I was still a student of a Primary School in the 70s, I used to take my coin of Rp 5.00 to the school canteen at morning tea break. I would buy a bag of lumpiahs (Indonesian spring rolls) which were fat and full of sauteed vegetables, a small bag of fried unshelled peanuts, and a bag of ice tea (it was usually a jasmine tea, the type of tea that brought so much memories) . I would then sit with my friends on a bench and were then munching while watching the boys playing soccer or badminton.

That memory came to me lately, summoning...

I'm wondering where my friends are at present, what they're doing... the boys who played soccer and badminton... the ladies who were selling the lumpiahs... I wonder.

Yet, I still remember so well, how the ladies made those lumpiahs, because they were my Mum's friends as she was a teacher at the school I attended. Therefore, I had an access to the kitchen and watched them cooking. They would have the fillings ready and when they were just making the crepes as the school morning tea break came close, put the filling in, wrapped and rolled, had the wok full with hot oil ready on the kerosene stove, then would deep-fry the parcels until they turned golden. Then I would wrap my own bag, hot! How lucky I was!

Anyway, the term what Wikipedia gives for lumpia is similar to Chinese spring rolls actually is somewhat close to risoles wrappers. The only difference is that lumpiah is not dipped in egg and rolled in breadcrumbs, but is just deep-fried after sealed with either water or egg yolks. And it's very different from Vietnamese spring rolls which the wrappers made from rice.

I usually use this recipe for the wrappers with a little adjustment to suit the availability in the pantry. It will give thin textures of the crepes, and will be crispy when they're deep-fried.

Indonesian Spring Rolls [Lumpiah]
Source: Mbak Ine

Wrappers 250g standard plain flour
1 egg yolk
40g milk powder
650ml water

Simple Filling from My Childhood Memory
mung bean sprouts (this makes the major filling of all)
shredded cabbage
carrots (either chopped or julienned)
shallot, thinly sliced
cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
oil for cooking the vegetables

oil for deep frying

Wrappers: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Heat the oil to make the crepes. Try to make as thin as possible.

Filling: Heat the oil, cook the shallots until become translucent, then add in the sliced garlics. Cook until fragrant, add in the vegetables. Cook until the vegetables become soft, but still crisp. Remove and set aside.

Put one crepe on a plate, fill in cooked vegetables, wrap and roll. Have the hot oil ready in a wok or deep-fryer. Cook the rolls until golden.

There is also some idea to use spring roll wrappers. I had this idea from Evimeinar's blog, one of my friends through my multiply account. I used lady's fingers which are still quite half-ripen, so the filling won't become wilted inside when it's fried.

Banana Spring Rolls [Pisang Aroma]
Source: The Art and Science of Food

4 spring roll wrappers
4 lady fingers bananas
ground cinnamon to sprinkle
Nutella hazelnut and chocolate spread
oil for deep frying

Take one sheet, spread the nutella all over, put the whole banana, sprinkle with cinnamon, wrap and roll, then deep fry. I drizzle them with dark chocolate while they're still hot. Yummy to eat with whipped cream or mascarpone.

Selamat Makan. Bon apetite.

December 06, 2006

morning tea goodies-NZBBP

It's always our morning ritual to have breakfast followed by going down the far paddock to feed the chooks. If John's not home, it's my task to check our mailbox afterwards. So, off we went, the three of us, checking our mailbox. And I had a feeling that my parcel would arrive today. Ben was running down the driveway and the first who opened the mailbox, followed by my exclamations "WOW! From Christchurch! It's Bron!" The stickers on the parcel made me smile, Bron and the children were making this noise 'huaaaaooooowwwww!' And Ben said "it's from Mum's friend." He was very keen on opening it firsthand.

Quickly we went back home, hung our hats on (it's a beautiful day today), and opened the parcel. And I knew it was morning tea time. I asked the children to sit at the table while I was putting the jug on. They were too happy to decline, sitting there until I came out to the deck again with three cups of tea.

The macaroons-wrapped and shaped nicely into a Christmas crackers-were nice, Bron! First bite I thought it was coconut essence you put it, but then I realize it was almond essence. Taste so almondy. Delicious for the first attempt! I would love to have more when you've become Pierre Herme. The mini pies were filled with Pecans, dropped with a little mixture of chocolate-caramel and topped with drizzled dark chocolate. I love it! My darlings had two each! The packet was gone!

And what made them happy the most was the lollypos and finger puppets, made by Bron's girls! Quickly they know which one is which. They were even singing with their finger waving in the air! Thank you,girls!

I usually have Earl Grey tea with a half slice of orange and a dash of freshly squeezed orange juice. And I think the Manuka Honey Walnut was just perfect to end our morning tea! I will use Bron's smoked salt to marinate the chicken tonight and I'll grill them with a bowl of green salads drizzled with Hazelnut Oil. What a treat!

Thanks heaps, Bron!!!

December 05, 2006

Rich Christmas Fruit Cake

When I signed up for NZBPP, I immediately made a rich Christmas cake which I normally don't bake. Well, a sultana cake or a light fruit cake might do much for me as I like dried fruits, but rich Christmas cake is really rich for my stomach. It's moistened by the well-soaked dried fruits and it's concreted by dried fruits. To my surprise, it's very easy to do it. Not much washing up, just a big mixing bowl.

Then, Tim wrote a thank you email the other day telling me that he was enjoying the goodies I sent. I was so glad and relief. It's upon Tim's request I write this fruit cake recipe.

I used the recipe from the Edmond Cookbook, but I also combine it with a fruit cake recipe from Lois Daish cookbook called 'A Good Year' [Listener, 2005. Random House] which adding marmalade, grated orange zest. I omitted the use of nuts though.

Rich Christmas Fruit Cake
Source: Edmond Cookbook and A Good Year by Lois Daish

1 3/4 cups orange juice (this I freshly squeezed from the garden)
3/4 cup brandy
2 Tbs grated orange rind
2 Tbs grated lemon rind
400g raisins
200g sultanas
200g currants
150g glace cherries, halved
150g crystallised ginger, chopped
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp almond essence
6 eggs
2 1/2 cups high grade flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
250g butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 Tbs treacle

Bring to boil the orange juice and grated orange rind, then add in all the dried fruits, cherries in a bowl, add in marmalade, grated lemon rind, brandy and mix thoroughly. Cover and set aside to soak overnight (I let them soak fortnight).

Prepare the 22cm deep cake tin, line with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 150C.

Sift flour, soda and spices in a bowl. Cream butter, sugar and treacle until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Fold in the dry ingredients alternately with fruit mixture. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, level surface and bake for about 4 hours or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Leave in the tin until cold. Wrap in foil. Store in a cool place.

December 02, 2006

Dinner Meme

I was tagged by Riana about a week or two weeks ago. I've read many dinner memes at other fellow bloggers and they are all wonderful. I'm just wondering how the world will be when all of us come for dinner: the chatters, the laughters, the food, the people, the atmosphere... would we all talk about food and blog?

I'm not such a too-good-to-be-true entertainer, but I can assure you that I will give 110% for the efforts. I may not have an expensive townhouse, but my hospitality is genuine. That's the first start, isn't it?

I usually make vegies spring rolls and vietnamese spring rolls for nibbles. I also make spicy nuts which another option for those who's allergic to gluten.

Now, the starter. I usually cook wonton soup to start the meal, sprinkled generously with finely chopped spring onions and crispy fried shallots. The wonton itself is filled with finely chopped coriander leaves, finely chopped shrimps, a dash of fish sauce, salt and white pepper. I make fish stock to make the base of broth, freshly made from fish bones and carrots. My guests who suffered from Coeliacs will still be enjoying the broth, I suppose. I will add a piece of root ginger to the broth, to add more flavour.

Right, main course. I will make tomato rice, grilled thigh chicken fillets with orange dressing, and green salad with a mixed of mizuna leaves, rocket leaves, beetroot leaves, New Zealand spinach, grated carrots, thin slices of nashi pears--which all just are freshly picked from our garden, except mizuna as we don't grow them. I will dress the salad with extra virgin olive oil.

Towards the end of meals, I usually make desserts as seriously as I do main course. I will make my best chocolate layered cake, accompanied by slightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh fruits depending on the season.

Off we go around the sofa or if the night is still young, we may enjoy the edge of the night on our newly built large verandah, watching the dark silhouettes of sheep, trees, and paddocks. I will still serve you with freshly ground coffee or the best Earl Grey or Green tea to suit your taste and trays of chocolate bites, lemon cake and I still think that my Bailey's Chocolate Truffles will do good to end any meals. I will spare some for you to bring home whenever you feel to.

As this is going to go around the globe, I will keep turning the wheel. I'm tagging Lia of World of Spices and Pepy of The Art and Science of Food.

Hugs for now. Night night.

November 26, 2006

delicious collaboration

My sister-in-law just wrote to me early this month, asking if we'd better do something for Mum's birthday. We thought about lunch and we arranged who's going to make what. We came up with this agreement: Kerry-Ann will do the hot food, I will do the desserts. Sounds good to me.

I made a gluten-free chocolate cake as Kerry-Ann is allergic to gluten. I cut the cake into 4 layers, and spread each layer with ganache made from fresh cream and 72% dark chocolate. I covered the cake with rich chocolate buttercream, and garnish it with white chocolate hearts and red cherries. I also made tomato rice, zuccini stir-fry and a bowl of salad.

KA came with a pan of roast Portugese chicken thigh fillets and a pot of zuccini stew she once made for my birthday last July.

I also had a thought what to give her. Perhaps something really personal, made personally. So I gave myself a try to make a flower spray. I looked up in some cake decorating books I inherited from the late Ruth, my Mum-in-law's good friend who used to be a cake decorator as well. I thought I would make daisies and small hyacinths. I thought they came up quite nice. I know they are not perfect, I'm not such a professional cake decorator, but at least I know that I can do it.

On this occasion, I made ganache boats as well as sarah named it which I made them from thickened cream and dark chocolate, then dipped them into milk chocolate.

November 23, 2006

Nasi Goreng

I had a request from one of blog readers, Paris Lopez who's a Dutch to sometimes post the original Indonesian recipe of Nasi Goreng. Frankly, I've no idea which recipe is the very original version of all recipes posted or written around the world.

I just have known that every cook has her/his own way to prepare, cook, and serve this dish. Some people will use shrimp paste while another one will substitute it with fish sauce; some will use light or dark soy sauce while the others are quite happy to see their rice remain 'un-darkened' and depend only to salt and ground white pepper; some will add fresh shrimps, sliced frankfurters, marinated chicken fillets, or sauteed beef strips, while the others will be only happy with vegetables such as broccoli florets, cauliflowers, or even peas; some will add more chillies while the others will add nothing except a splash of sweet soy sauce, some will use the mixture of any of these.

The main equipment we must use is the wok. Many designs are available in the market in Indonesia. Some people who sell nasi goreng on the street I know use a wok with a wooden handle, perhaps they find it much easier working that way. What I remember about my Mum's wok that it was thick and black. I have no idea what's made from, and it's not a teflon. It worked just fine and the rice won't stick on it because she would stir it frequently to prevent burning.

We often have nasi goreng for the first meal to start the day, usually accompanied by kerupuk Palembang or kerupuk ikan (fish-tapioca crackers) and also carrot-cucumber pickles as the side dish. Sometimes, we'll eat it with slices of tomatoes and cucumbers and sprinkled with thin omelet strips, or fried dried anchovies and fried peanuts.

My version is changing depending on what I've got in the pantry and fridge. Sometimes I used leftover vegies and it just taste as good.

Nasi Goreng

4 cups cooked rice
4 cloves garlic, make a paste with 1/2 tsp salt [you may add more salt]
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp shrimp paste, optional [use fish sauce to substitute if you're not sure about shrimp paste. other alternative is to grind the dried shrimps with garlics]
1 Tbs sweet soy sauce
1 Tbs oil
[if you like hot nasi goreng, you can slice 2 or more -to suit your taste- red chillies thinly or grind the chillies with garlic]

2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 eggs, make two thin omelets, roll, slice thinly
1/2 cup kacang bawang or roast peanuts

Heat the wok, add in the oil. Fry the shallots until become soft, then add in garlic paste and shrimp paste. Cook until the garlic fragrant and the shrimp paste is mixed well. [You may add your vegetables or seafood at this point, if you use some]. Add in the cooked rice, stir frequently until evenly coated with garlic mixture. Add in sweet soy sauce, stir and mix well. Cook further for about 10 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the flavours. Check the seasoning. Garnish with strips of thin omelets, slices of spring onions, and sprinkle of peanuts. Serves 4.

November 17, 2006

Cake for Ferra

This cake I made for Ferra. She had a birthday just two days before we met at Owairaka, Auckland. I think I have posted this recipe on my previous burning blog, but for Ferra sake, I repost it here. It has a different style, different look hehehe...

Chocolate Drizzle Cake
Source: Succesful Baking

250g dark cooking chocolate (I used Whittaker's 72% dark chocolate)
250g self-rising flour, sifted
1 tsp vanilla flavouring essence (I used 1 vanilla pod, half, scrap out)
1/2 cup canola oil (I used grapeseed oil)
5 eggs, separated (I used 6 eggs)
125g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease a 23cm ring cake tin. Melt the chocolate with 100ml cold water, stirring occasionally until smooth, add in vanilla, stir well. Set aside. Put the flour in a mixer bowl together with oil, egg yolks. Beat well. Add in the chocolate mixture in a thin stream until smooth. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, add in the sugar one tablespoon at a time, until all used. Fold 1 tablespoon of the egg white into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the remainder. Spoon into the baking tin, and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove to the wire rack to cool completely. Garnish as to your liking.

What I have done here, I melted white chocolate and pipe shapes for the garnishes. I made chocolate buttercream and pipe a rosette, then put red glace cherries on top. I also put some dark and white chocolate for more textures.

soup anyone?

I don't know about this weather. Keeps changing every day. One day it's just too sunny to think that it'll be raining in a couple of minutes.

I used to think that soup is a romantic bowl of liquid. Why? Well, think of these: shawl, sofa, TV, blanket, holding hands, candles, smoking bowls, and love. Not to mention to have molten chocolate pudding afterwards...uhhmmm...

Enough. Here are some of the romantic bowls I used to make in chilly weather. Just for more ideas. Who knows it'll bring a romantic atmosphere in the kitchen, as well as... you fill the blank.

Vegies and Beef Soup

Serves 4

2 Carrots, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
200g beef steak, diced
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 tomato, sliced
2 spring onions, chopped
1 celery, chopped

2 1/2 cups beef stock + 3 cups water

Blend to make a paste:
1 tsp white peppercorns
3 cloves garlic, peel
1/2 tsp sea salt

2 shallot, slice and fry, to sprinkle

oil for frying

Put diced beef with 3 cups water, bring to boil, and then simmer until the beef half tender. Add in the beef stock, then the diced carrots and potatoes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, sautee the garlic paste until fragrant. Add into the soup. Stir. Check if the meat is tender and vegies are cooked. Then add in the cabbage, sliced tomatoes, chopped spring onions and celery. Cook until the cabbage is soft. Check the seasoning. [My mum gives me a tip when cooking vegies to add sugar to balance the salt]. Serves in bowls. Sprinkle with fried onions.

Traditionally, this soup is eaten with rice, fried tempeh, sambal (chilli sauce) or sambal kecap (sweet soy sauce mixed with diced chillies and shallots), fried tofu, or even fried chicken (marinated with coriander, salt, garlic, and tamarind paste). I like to add some egg noodles as my children love it.

Ramen Noodle Soup
Serves 4

3 packets fresh Ramen noodle, soak in a tepid water and drain, set aside
200g crab meat, roll and cut to your liking
100g dried mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
dashi stock
sea salt
2 spring onions, sliced
1 cup shredded cabbage

Soak the dried mushrooms in a tepid water until soften. Bring to boil about 4 cups water and dashi stock, sprinkle the sea salt, a bit of sugar. Check the seasoning. Serve in bowls. Arrange the crab meat and mushrooms, spring onions and shredded cabbage on top.

November 09, 2006

Negro African Tart

Every year when Muslims have finished their one-month fasting, they get together to celebrate the Ied el Fitr. On such occasion, I made one large chocolate cake (Negro AFrican Tart) and one large chocolate ring cake for a present for Ferra, my online buddy as she just had a birthday two days before the day we met.

I was so glad to see Barbara was sitting among the ladies. We had a very nice talk around food and blog once we sat together. I was so glad she enjoyed the food! I thought some of them would be too hot for her.

The Negro African Tart will make two large tins, but as I didn't have those large tins, I just used 26cm square tins. The result was higher sponges.

Negro African Tart

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
250g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla essence
160g plain flour
5 eggs
3 egg yolks
70ml evaporated milk
30g cocoa powder

Beat butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Mix in the egg, one at a time, until well blended. Sift the flour together with cocoa powder, fold into the butter and egg mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time. Warm up the milk, then add in the mixture, mix well. Pour the mixture into a 26cm square cake tin, and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn onto the wire rack to cool completely. Ice and garnish to your liking. Serves 25.

October 28, 2006

fancy cake

i feel like to make a fancy cake. i feel like to decorate. it's been a long time since the last time i've done it.

i'm a self-taught kind of person. i learn from books, any cake decorating sites i've visited, and many to mention is from my friends at the group. ideas are just there. all i need to do is put them all together on a pile of cakes.

and i always love a baskeweave borders. it's lovely. it goes anything with sort of flowers. this time, i made the flowers from white chocolate. i used ice cream scoop to curl them into a shape of buds. it was so much fun!

Happy Ied el Fitr to all of you who celebrate it.

I hope you are all enjoying as much as I did the cake.

October 11, 2006

on a memory lane

In a Ramadhan night, a long long time ago. I was still a High School student, and was so glad that I was attending the kitchen to prepare meals and desserts for the Ied el Fitr in two days time. This means that my Mum would make a cake which was made from agar-agar powder, wheat flour, a lot amount of sugar, and sweetened condensed milk. She would add vanilla powder into the mixture. She said that would make the cake release its flavour while we're having a bite.

Not so long ago, I was looking for this recipe. I couldn't find it in my Mum's cookbook she gave me a few months ago, and then I gave a good shout to the group. And I've found the recipe I've been looking for, sent directly to my mailbox (Thank you Riana, you're the best, mate!). This recipe is definitely the one that we used to use a long time ago. And I just remember that.

And just yesterday, before breaking the fasting, I made this cake. I tend not to use too much sugar in any cakes I made and this recipe calls so much sugar. I have to reduce some amount as sugar and sweetened condensed milk are all used together. I added vanilla as well, but because I don't have vanilla powder, I use vanilla essence instead.

Now, I'm back on track. On my present life. With the cake from so long time ago.

Cake Casablanca
Source: Resep Bonus Sisipan Femina-Blueband
Sent and posted by Riana Ambarsari

This original recipe's method is not so organized, so use your best method you could apply and works for you. I did mine. And, oh, it should use waterbath.

100g Blue Band (it's a brand for butter and margarine in Indonesia--I used 50g butter and 50g margarine)
3 packets agar-agar (you can find them in Tofu Shop, NZD 1.80 per packet)
5 eggs (separate the yolks and whites, put them in the different bowls)
450g white sugar (I reduced it to 300g only)
1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk (that'll make half of 395g can we have the math)
70g plain flour (sifted)
6 glass of water (1 glass equals 200mls)
3 Tbs cocoa powder

Original Method:
1. Melt the butter.
2. Beat the egg yolks with 225g sugar until thick. Fold in the sifted flour, mix well.
3. Bring to boil agar-agar, 225 sugar and water. When it becomes slightly cool, mix it into the egg mixture.
4. Fold in the beaten egg whites and the sweetened condensed milk.
5. Mix well. Divide half of the mixture and add cocoa powder. Pour the egg mixture into the prepared and greased pan, them pour in the chocolate mixture.
6. Bake for about half an hour, then chill. Cut to serve.

My Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a big china dish or two. I use two 26x20 dishes.
  • Make sure you have some water in the jug, so when the mixture is ready to go into the oven, you can immediately have hot water for the waterbath.
  • Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and fluffy, mix in the sifted flour and while you're beating the egg yolks, melt the butter in the microwave. Add into the egg mixture. (I add in the vanilla essence by this stage).
  • Meanwhile (while your machine is beating the egg yolks), bring to boil agar-agar, sugar, and water. Remove from the hob, let cool, and keep stirring while you're cooling the mixture down. And when the mixture of egg yolks finished beaten, fold in the melted butter, take it out of the machine.
  • Put a smaller bowl to the mixer and beat the egg whites until stiff.
  • Back to the egg yolk mixture, the agar-agar mixture will be cooled down by now, and pour it into the bowl, one stream at a time, mix well. Add in the sweetened condensed milk. Then fold in the egg whites.
  • Pour into the prepared dish or dishes, bake waterbath for 25 minutes (my oven). It still IS gooey, but it'll set when it's cold. Let it cool at room temperature, then cover and chill in the fridge until set.

October 08, 2006

more cheese pleeeeease...

people in the group are very interesting. some are excellent cooks, some are great entertainers, and some are eager learners, like myself. sometimes it amazes me where these ideas come from, and there are always tips and tricks. sharing becomes the 'middle name' of each person. and most of us like to try what it seems new to us and sonds delicious. the results are: new recipe folders, new experiences, and new friends.

one of many great recipes shared in the group is this one. i've made this several times and it always turns out good. it tastes like cheese and sugar, not either too cheesy or too sweet. the flavours are mingled with one mighty bite, it's gone, leaving your tastebud to judge.

Cheese Button
original recipe: Femmy Jaco


250g butter (salted is doing fine, after all the base is just like pastry)
3 egg yolks
1 egg white
1 Tbs caster sugar
150g grated Edam (I used Cheddar)

450g plain flour, sifted (I use self-raising flour, the result is very light base)
100g tapioca

200g icing sugar
45g egg white (approximately one egg white, egg size 6)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
grated Cheddar cheese (to sprinkle)
vanilla essence or vinegar or lemon essence (to add more flavour)

Beat Ingredients A together (my method is to beat the butter and sugar until white and fluffy, then add the egg yolks and egg white one at a time), then mix in the grated cheese. Mix in Ingredients B, mix well. Roll onto a thin sheet, approximately 2-5mm (I think mine was 3mm), cut into square 2x2cm (I use a round cookie cutter to resemble a button). Spoon the icing onto each cookie. Bake in a preheated moderate-low (my oven setting is 160C) until crispy.

October 01, 2006

a slice of brownie

brownie brownie
a slice of brownie

with a cup of good espresso

or probably a long black will do

Whenever I eat a slice of brownie, my heart sings. Not only because the chocolate tastes so goooood, but also the nuts which enrich the flavour tends to melt me down, to the bottom of the baking paper, to the very last piece.

I love all sort of goodies made from chocolate. And I love to use my 70% chocolate bars. Call me a chocoholic, but it's true. Chocolate makes me happy.

tra la la tri li li...

By the way, I've tried many brownie recipes. Some recipes offer simple ingredients (what's so or not so simple about chocolate brownies?) with or without eggs, others offer much richer versions with adding chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or even cream cheese and berries. I've tried these lots a lot. They are all nice, they have their own characteristic of flavour. What I don't like about brownie is that they sometimes become solid like a brick when left eaten for 2 - 3 days. I want them to stay soft, not to lose its melt-in-the-mouth sensation, until the very last slice, to the very last crumbs.

Until I've tried a recipe from David Herbert's (again) simple cookbook (boy, this man is truly making simple recipes which works EVERY time!). The sponge is soft and yes-oh-so-melt-in-the-mouth sensation is there. The crust which is developed on the surface of the cake is definitely a great start to follow a deeper bite. My suggestion is use your best chocolate and the freshest ingredients as much as you can, then you won't go wrong!

Chocolate Brownies
by David Herbert of The Perfect Cookbook

125g (4oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I use 70% cocoa)
125g (4 oz) unsalted butter, cubed
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups caster (superfine) sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
100g (3 1/2 oz) pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 160C (315F, Gas Mark 2-3). Grease a 20x30cm (8x12 in) baking tin and line the base and sides with baking paper. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of hot water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Allow to cool. In an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence for 3-4 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture. Add the flour and beat until smooth. Stir in the nuts. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 30 minutes, or until dark brown and the top has formed a crust. Allow to cool in the tin. Remove and cut into squares. Dust with icing (confectioners') sugar to serve.

Tips from David:
To make orange and macadamia brownies, omit the pecans or walnuts and stir into the mixture 2 tsps of finely grated orange zest and 100g (3 1/2 oz) of roughly chopped macadamia nuts.

Brownies can be drizzled with melted chocolate or spread with chocolate icing, or frosting.

September 21, 2006

a humble story of cassava

I love cassava. As an Indonesian, I used to enjoy various treats made from cassava. It's truly and ultimate accompanies are coconut threads and palm sugar.

My late grandmother used to serve any kind of sweets made from cassava she could cook for us, along with the humble fragrant of jasmine tea, brewed in a clay pot, in the afternoon. Then we would take a stroll in her fruit garden which in season would be filled with rambutans of all sorts and colors (she got red and yellow hairy skin types), durians which were hanging (often at night when we were sleeping over, we were coken up by them falling down the trees, and early morning we found it was all ripen and was ready to be eaten--oh-so-fresh-from-the-tree), bananas (she also had red-skin bananas, I think she named it pisang udang which literally is translated to shrimp banana as the skin resembles red shrimp skin when it's boiled or cooked--well, not that red, but it was almost maroonish color), guavas, jackfruits, and mangoes of all sorts. Often our car was stuffed with the mixed of aromas in the air when we went back home. My late and beloved grandmother was a very good gardener and a classic cook.

In special occasions, like Ramadhan or Ied el Fitr, my grandmother always sent us her homemade fermented cassava or black rice, wrapped in banana leaves. I always love the smell of fermentation enclosed the cassava pieces and just couldn't help myself to unwrap the parcels and gobble down one by one.

I was still too little and way too ignorant--pity me-- to understand about fermentation at that time, but what I do remember that my grandmother used to use banana leaves to wrap the pieces and she often just ripped off the leaves straight from her gaden. I don't use banana leaves to cover the fermented cassavas as they are not available fresh from the garden. I often ask my friend who lives in Auckland to buy a package of frozen banana leaves for some occasions or when I'm missing my grandmother's homecooking and sweets, but they are not the same.

However, this is the second time I fermented cassava myself, in remembering how I miss my grandmother. The steps are very easy. Thaw the cassava (if you buy them frozen, like I do), then steam the until they are cooked. Leave them cold. Then scatter the ground starter (available at Asian groceries and market), cover, leave for more or less 5 days, then you'll see the nature takes over fermentation around the cassava pieces.

There are many recipes posted anywhere in the world using fermented cassava, but this time I'm making my own way. I am fond of desserts, and if I can make it myself, it's just like making the Eden comes down on Earth. Impossible? Well, at least it's worth trying.

So, yesterday, I tried to make creme brulee, made from fermented cassava but I'll leave it on to you to taste it.

Fermented Cassava Creme Brulee
by Arfi Binsted

150g fermented cassava, mashed
300ml coconut cream
200ml thickened cream
1/4 cup caster sugar
4 eggs
caster or brown sugar to sprinkle

Gently heat coconut cream and thickened cream together in a saucepan until they are well mixed and bring to boil. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs and sugar until pale, then mix in the mashed fermented cassava. Strain. Pour the coconut and cream mixture gradually and keep stirring. Put back to the heat, on top of a saucepan. Cook until the mixture thickens (the mixture will coat the back of the spoon). Remove from the heat and pour them into 6 small ramekins. Water bath for 20 minutes. Cool, then chill. Sprinkle with caster or brown sugar just before serving and caramelise them under a hot grill or use a blow torch. Serve warm.

September 18, 2006

5 Things to Eat Before Dining Up in The Sky

This is the second time I got tagged. And I haven't either shared my 5 things or tagged anyone else. Is it fair to just mention 5 things?? I've got more than 5, you see.

Oh, well... here they are:

1. My Mum's fried rice which smells and tastes heavenly delicious. It's a humble ordinary mixture of rice, dried anchovies and fried peanuts, accompanied by Palembangese fish crackers.

2. Creme brulee at French Cafe. They say it's heavenly creamy. Oh, God help me!

3. Anything what Gordon Ramsay cooks for dessert (I love desserts). He said that he takes care of desserts as much as meals.

4. Jasmine tea (well, we don't eat it, but I'd love to have a sip) which my late grandmother uses to brew it in a clay teapot for us when we came down to see her. I love the way she made it.

5. Chocolate truffles from every chocolate factory in the world with every flavour to taste.

Now, it seems I have to turn the wheels. Who's next?

Here they are:
Kevin of WannabeTVchef
budi of budiboga
Suburban Hippy

lovely sunday

I must admit that having Barbara and Bryan for lunch at home is an enjoyable moment in my life. A bit confused of what I should cook, but then after a few emails I could make a decision. Gladly, they were all enjoyed. Here are the recipes.

Coriander Chicken Roast with Peanut Sauce

I didn't take a picture of the version I served on Sunday, so I use an old one as I regularly cook it. The best thing to do is to use coriander seeds instead of the powder one as they'll give more flavour. I served this chicken with peanut sauce and coconut rice (rice steamed in coconut milk, adding ground coriander and a bay leaf), and sauteed vegies (sweet peas, carrots, spring onions, cabbages, and mung bean sprouts--just bring them together into a frying pan, dot a bit of butter, and a good sprinkle of garlic salt--don't cook them too long otherwise you won't get the crunchy bite).


1.5kg whole chicken (free-range is the best!)
2 Tbs coriander seeds
1 tsp sea salt
3-5 (depends on how strong the flavour you want) cloves garlic
1 tsp tamarind paste, diluted in 2 Tbs warm water

Basting sauce:
2 Tbs salted butter,
2 Tbs sweet soy sauce
(Mix the ingredients)

Clean the chicken, trim any excess. You can butterfly them as figured in the picture, or cut them up into 4 portions (each wing with half of breast that'll make 2 pieces, then legs). This will cut the roasting time. Pat the chicken with paper towel. Put them in a big bowl. Pour the tamarind water onto the chicken pieces, let it rest for a while. Meanwhile, grind the coriander seeds, sea salt, and garlic with your mortar and pestle, then message this mixture all over the chicken pieces. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 160C, put the chicken in a roasting dish, cover with foil, and roast for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil, increase the temperature to 180C, keep basting the chicken with the basting sauce. Bake for further 1 hour or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Peanut Sauce
I just wanted to be quick, so I used peanut butter instead of blended the roasted peanuts into the food processor. You can use 300g to 500g roasted peanuts and 5 roasted garlic cloves for full flavour of the sauce (traditionally, peanut sauce is ground together with other ingredients until thick, then will be diluted into a certain consistency for serving).

2 cups peanut butter
1 cup sweet chilli sauce (for hotter version, use fresh chilli birds or red chillies)
3 roasted garlic cloves, mashed
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 block palm sugar (1 Tbs brown sugar to substitute)
1 tsp tamarind paste diluted with 1/2 cup of warm water, strained, reserve the water
1 Tbs sweet soy sauce
3 Tbs coconut milk

Put the peanut butter, sweet chilli sauce, mashed garlic, coriander, cumin into a saucepan, mix well on a medium heat, then pour in the tamarind mixture, sweet soy sauce, and coconut milk. You can add more water if it's too thick, cook until you can see any oil from the peanut on the surface of the sauce.

As for the dessert, I came up with individual serving of yogurt-fruit pudding. I thought it might be good after enjoying spiced meals. I didn't take a picture of it, but as I often make it for special occasions, I posted another picture of it. To serve on Sunday, I simply put them into small bowls for individual serving, but in this picture I used a fancy pudding mould my friend gave me as a present last time.

Fruit Salad Yogurt Pudding
Indonesian version click here

This is a newer version of the recipe I wrote in FoodnGarden, as I didn't have rambutan in juice. Instead, I used lycees as we bought them fresh (in their own skins!!)one day, so I left these lycess in their own juice in the fridge (after peeled them, of course!). I also reduced the amount of orange juice and I used honey instead of sugar. About the yogurt, he creamy Greek yogurt is fairly creamier than the peach and vanilla flavour, for sure!!

1 litre plain yogurt (on Sunday I used peach and vanilla mixture of yogurt)
1/2 cup honey
6 tsps gelatine
2 Tbs orange juice
1 can of fruit salad, drained well
100g fresh lycees (peeled and stoned)

Mix the yogurt and honey together. Stir gelatine into the orange juice, heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds, stir well. Set aside to cool a bit, then pour it into the yogurt mixture, followed by fruit salad and lycees. Pour into the mould or moulds. Serve.

I promised Barbara that I would make chocolate truffles for her when she came down, and I did. I was glad she enjoyed that. I made two different truffles: plain chocolate truffles with Bailey's cream, and the other was mixed with chopped roasted almond and rum essence.

Bailey's Chocolate Truffles

250g dark chocolate (I used 72% cocoa solids), chopped
4 Tbs cream
2 Tbs Bailey's cream

Heat the cream until almost boiling, remove from the heat, then add chopped chocolate. Stir until mixed well, then add Bailey's cream. Put into the fridge until it's hardened. Roll into balls, put them back into the fridge, then coat them with dark cooking chocolate or you can just roll them into cocoa powder.

I also made lemon cake for the same occasion, a mildest of all. Taken from David Herbert's cookbook "The Perfect Cookbook", this recipe is clever. You'll see.

Lemon Cake
by: David Herbert

185g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 Tbs finely grated lemon zest
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup self-raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a 23 x 12 cm loaf tin and line the base with baking paper. In an electric mixer, beat the butter, caster sugar and lemon zest for 2-3 minutes, or until soft and well mixed. Gradually add the beaten eggs, alternating with a spoonful of the flour, mixing well after each addition. Fold in the remaining flour and mix gently until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 50-60 minutes (my oven only took 45 minutes), or until golden and firm to the touch. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack.
Mix together the sugar and lemon juice until just combined, without letting the sugar dissolve. Quickly spoon the sugar mixture over the top of the warm cake. The juice will sink into the cake and the sugar will form a crunchy topping (this is CLEVER).

The End.

September 05, 2006

way to use up bananas

my children love banana and banana smoothies. and we stock up bags and bags of bananas until the next our groceries day comes. sometimes, i'm the creator of the banana smoothie feels like hey, i've got enough with these smoothies thing. do something else. and i did.

this cake is certainly moist and easy to make. i use cocoa powder because i don't like to see bananas go black on the plain cake. and to finish it, i coat the cake with thin ganache and just drizzle some white chocolate on top. kids love it!

Banana Chocolate Cake

3 large bananas, chopped
130 unsalted butter
160g caster sugar
6 eggs
200g standard flour sifted with 25g cocoa powder, 2g baking soda, 2g baking powder,
and 1g salt
100g dark cooking chocolate + 100g cream, melted to make ganache
50g white cooking chocolate, melted

Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, add eggs one at a time. Add in the chopped bananas, combined well. Sift the mixture of flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt over the mixing bowl, mix well. Pour into the prepared 22cm ring cake tin in the preheated moderate oven and bake for 35-45 minutes until the skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven, let cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to the wire rack to cool completely. Then ice with ganache and drizzle with the white chocolate. Serves 8.

August 27, 2006


French Women Don't Get Fat--Mireille Guiliano
"No yoga exercise, no meditation in a chapel filled with music rid you of your blues better than the humble task of making your own bread".

And these baguettes are very easy to make.

by Mireille Guiliano: French Women Don't Get Fat

1 tsp active dry yeast
400-500ml warm water (water quantities vary when baking)
550g unsifted strong white flour
2 tsps sea salt
1 egg, beaten and mixed with 1 Tbs cold water

In a small bowl dissolve yeast in 100ml warm water, using a fork. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Combine flour and salt. Add yeast mixture, stir in remaining 300ml water, a bit at a time. Mix until sticky enough to knead. You may need more water. Knead for 6 to 10 minutes; dough should be sticky and smooth. Put in a bowl, cover with a damp tea cloth, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough and divide into 4 pieces. Roll each into a ball and then pull out shape into a baguette. Transfer to slightly greased baking sheet and let rise until nearly doubled. Brush with egg-mixture. Score diagonally across the top with a sharp knife.
Pour 500ml hot water in a pan and place in preheated gas mark 8/230C oven next to the baguettes for 15 minutes, then lower temperature to gas mark 6/200C and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove and cool on a rack before slicing.

Serves 4.

Along with it, I made pumpkin soup as we had had a very good crop from the garden last Summer.

Pumpkin Soup
Serves 4

3 cups cooked pumpkin
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
a sprig of parsley, finely chopped, to sprinkle
1 Tbs cooking oil

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chopped onion and garlic. Sautee until the onion is clear and the mixture is fragrant. Set aside. Put the cooked pumpkin, onion and garlic, and a little bit of chicken stock into a food processor. Blend them until very smooth. Bring the mixture to the saucepan, and add more stock. If it's too thick, add more stock or water. Bring the soup to boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Season well. Remove and pour the soup into each serving bowl. Drop a dash of cream and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Enjoy.

August 10, 2006

pot pies

I think it's a good idea to bake pies in pots. When I read the latest issue on Donna Hay Magazine about pot pies, I told myself I've got to give myself a good try on this. I just love the idea to scoop out the pie filling out of individual serving pot.

The filling I chose to make is my own recipe as I know what my hubby likes and dislike and if one recipe is way too rich for them. I remember one time, my aunty Dorris invited us for lunch and she made this Shepherd's kind-of pie. She grated a good amount of carrots and small diced of beef tasted really delicious. I thought it would be pretty good if I just would do my fillin glike that, which I did. I put peas in my beef filling as well. I like to see brown, orange, and green color in my cooking. It looks pretty.

I found ramekins my hubby made a few years ago (even when we had not met yet) and they were beautifully-made I could tell. He was a good potter at his years (I wished I had been there watching him pedalling the wheel).

And about the pastry, you can call me a decorating-crazy-to-put-on-the-list, but I really was keen on decorate the pastry of each pot. It was fun.

Do try to use your own imagination. It's fun to create something you enjoy and to be enjoyed by the rest of your family. It's about warming up the Winter Nights.

Beef Potpies
Inspired by Donna Hay Magazine
Original recipe is mine.

Good pastry, homemade or 2 sheets of ready-made (put one sheet on to another)

500g beef fillet
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup diced mushroom
1 cup peas
2 cups diced carrot
1 cup diced potato
3 tomatoes, diced
1 Tbs tomato paste
Wochester sauce
garlic salt
white sugar
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
2 cups good beef stock
1 Tbs olive oil

Heat the oil on a frying pan, sautee chopped onion and garlic until the onion become translucent and fragrant. Add in diced mushroom and beef until beef are brown. Transfer to a casserole dish, and put the rest of the ingredients in the pot and bake for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the pastry, cut into four equal parts. Transfer the pie filling into the pots (I would wait until the filling is quite cool, so the steam won't wet the pastry). Put the pastry on each pot to cover the filling, and with a sharp knife, cut around the mouth of the pots, decorate as you wish and brush them with eggwash (one egg yolk and 1 tsp milk).

Bake at 210C at on a preheated oven for 20 mintues or until the pastry turn golden brown and puffed up. Serve warm.