Monday, 29 August 2011

I may not know how to weave a ketupat..........

 .............but I sure know how to cut & paste my cake to make one! That's exactly what I did last weekend! 
Got this idea from Mdm Rabiah Amit's book, Kek Lapis Sarawak. I studied the picture & using the special rulers for Lapis Sarawak and voi-la.........I made my ketupat!

          I'm not posting the recipe because I'm not very happy with it although the cake turned out well. The batter was watery & very oily but amazingly, the cake turned out ok.... I'll probably use a different recipe the next time I make this.

          Today marks the end of Ramadhan. I'm making lemang, the instant  type, not the kampung style.....Will be bringing most of them to my mum's place for tomorrow.  I'm typing this post, while waiting for the glutinous rice to cook before wrapping it with banana leaves. Once the lemang & rendang are ready, I'll  be heading to my mum's place to help out.

           Alright.....pretty busy I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all Muslim readers Eid Mubarak....May this  occasion be a joyous &  blessed one for you &  family! Selamat Hari Raya ! Maaf Zahir & Batin!

Is your favourite Tan the new elected President?

          Mine is not ...........what a pity......but he almost is! What's the point......he's still not!!! For the benefit of those outside Singapore, Singaporeans went out to vote for our new President on Saturday. There were four candidates running & all four share the same family name Tan. My favourite, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, garnered the second hightest votes, lost to the winner by less than 0.5%! Maybe if the Tan who had the lowest votes had not contested, my favourite Tan would have won.......oh well........ 

         Saturday also marked the last weekend before Eid, the most important festival for Muslims in this region, which falls on Tuesday. Unfortunately, to say the least, the government decided to hold the Presidential Election on such a busy weekend for Muslims. So much for  being more understanding.......There were so many Singaporean Muslims who were on duty as election officials who were stucked at the polling station the whole day when they could have spent their precious Saturday preparing for the festival! My husband was one of the officials.... And for him, the election also caused some sleepless nights, planning & coordinating his team ....& that is on top of his regular job! 

            Alright....enough about the election...let's talk about food..... Saturday night is the last night my family & I broke our fast at home for this Ramadhan. We'll be breaking our fast tonite, the eve of Hari Raya, at my mum's place. Saturday afternoon, after finally wrapping up my cake-baking session for Eid, I baked some quiche. This time, I made an Asian-version quiche which I called Beef Korma Quiche. I've made this before for a few gatherings & the guests loved it, so do my family & I! The recipes for the pastry & custard are from my pastry-making course at BITC. The filling is quite similar to curry puff filling.

I'm submitting this entry to Aspiring Bakers #10: Easy as Pie (August 2011), hosted by Janine of  Not the Kitchen Sink!

Beef  Korma Quiche

200g medium protein flour
10g milk powder
2g salt
100g cold butter
+/- 120g ice-cold water (you may not need to use all)

Combine flour, milk powder & salt. Cut up butter into small cubes. Rub in butter into flour using fingertips until the flour looks like fine breadcrumbs. Then add in water just enough for the the dough to bind. Wrap in a plastic and leave in the fridge to rest for about 20 minutes.
Remove from fridge. Roll out dough till about 4mm. Cut out pastry & place in moulds. Poke some holes on the pastry using a folk. Leave to rest for about 20 minutes. Then bake the dough for about 10 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees C. Remove from oven.
Fill pastry with filling, then pour custard over it . Garnish with coriander leave & red chilli. Bake in over for about 30 minutes until the pastry turns golden brown. Ensure the bottom of pastry is cooked as this part tends to take longer to cook.

2 eggs
110g fresh milk
90g whipping cream (I used coconut milk)
salt & pepper

Beat eggs & add the rest of ingredients. Mix untill well blend.

200g ground beef
3 pieces cardamon
2cm cinnamon stick
3 pieces cloves
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cm fresh ginger, minced
3 tbsp korma curry powder (add water to form  paste)
1/2 onion (chopped into small pieces)
vegetable oil

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium fire. Fry cardamon, clove & cinnamon stick until frangrant for about 1 minute. Add garlic & ginger & fry for another minute. Add  korma curry paste & fry for about 2 minutes. Then add in meat & salt. Finally, add in onion. Cook until meat is almost dry. Set aside.

coriander leaves
red chilli (sliced)

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Chocolate - Strawberry Chip Cookies

           This morning I went to Geylang Serai with my boys to get their baju kurung. This is my first visit to the area during this Ramadhan. I'm always hesitant to go there during  festive season especially at night & on weekends because I'm the type who always tries to avoid crowded places. (So you won't see me at Suntec City or the Expo for IT & PC show!) But since Amir & I finished  school early & Maisur has no school, we headed there as planned. We were there at about 11, so it wasn't crowded at all. Driving along Changi Road & looking for a parking lot at Joo Chiat Complex was a breeze... Got the baju, songkok & my scarve, then headed to the wet market & got some groceries. We were done within 2 hours!

          Ok, enough about back to my core business....baking! I made Chocolate-Strawberry Chip Cookies over the weekend. This recipe is from another baking class I attended last year just before Ramadhan. The class was conducted by Nurul Imah from Yishun. I like the cookies! They're crunchy & delicious! But since I used vanilla ice-cream powder instead of strawberry & omitted the strawberry chips, I should have added more strawberry paste....I'll do that next time. This recipe yields a lot..about 2 big bottles.

Chocolate-Strawberry Chip Cookies

210g butter (I used 250g)
40g Crisco (I omitted)
180g powder sugar
40g (2-4 nos) egg yolk
1/4 tsp fine salt
1 tsp strawberry paste

100g Nestum cereal
30g strawberry ice-cream powder ( I used vanilla ice-cream powder)

C (combined & sifted)
140g plain flour
170g self-raising flour
50g corn flour
1 tsp double-acting baking powder

100g almond (toasted & chopped roughly)
140g dark mini chocolate chips
100g strawberry chips*          
* I did't use strawberry chips. Instead I used 240g mocha chips.
** Place chips in the freezer for few hours before adding to dough so that they will not be out of shape when mixed with the dough.

  1. Preheat oven at 150 deg C.
  2. Combine A in a bowl & blend thoroughly using a wooden spoon.
  3. Add in B & blend well.
  4. Add in C & mix thoroughly.
  5. Finally add D & mix thoroughly.
  6. Weigh about 15g of dough & place on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake for about 40 minutes, rotating the baking tray 180 deg. halfway through baking.
  8. Remove from oven, transfer cookies on a cooling rack & store in an air-tight container.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Ready to go for a long steam.........?

           Another must-have Hari Raya delicacy for many houses is Steamed Fruit Cake. There are a few versions of the recipe but I'm using the one by Chef Hamidah Rusdi, another weekend baking teacher whose classes I attended  a few times even though I had to travel all the way to Chua Chu Kang! Well...when there's a will, there's always a need to give excuses..haha...

          I don't think I have to tell you how delicious this cake is. But I must say this recipe produces a very moist and dark cake.....just the way I like it! There's no need to add colouring & it keeps very well too! Mixing it is easy need any mixer. But wrapping the pan is a bit tedious but is an important step so that the cake is not soaked in water. Chef Hamidah did teach us a simpler method, i.e. using the transparent plastic container. But I'm not comfortable with the idea of steaming a plastic container for 4 hours.....yes, this cake needs to be steamed for 4 hours! Are you game to go for a long steam.....?

Update: Please refer to my updated post for tips to prepare this cake.

Steamed Fruit Cake

250g butter (softened)
100 fine sugar
1 tsp ( I used 1/2 tsp) ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp (I used 1/2 tsp) orange essence
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 large eggs

B(combined & sifted)
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

100g mixed dried mixed fruits
200g dried black currants
50g walnuts (chopped into small pieces) - I added
20g plain flour

200g castor sugar (for burnt sugar)

  1. Heat a steamer over medium heat.
  2. Combine A, except eggs, mix with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, & blend well. Do not overmix.
  4. Add B &mix well.
  5. Add C & mix well. Do not overmix.
  6. Prepare burnt sugar by placing D into a heavy skillet over medium high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon as sugar melts. When it becomes very dark brown, remove from heat and carefully add to the fruit cake mixture. (NB: the burnt sugar will harden almost immediately, the hardened ones can still be added to the batter in the baking pan.)
  7. Pour mixture into a lined & greased baking pan (8x8x4"). Cover the pan with a grease paper & tie the pan with a string ( I used  rafia string). Then cover the grease paper pan with aluminium foil & tie the pan with a string again. Make sure the pan  is water-proof.
  8. Steam the cake for 4 hours. Then remove pan from steamer. Leave pan aside for 10 minutes. Then remove cake from pan. Leave to cool.
Update: No need to cover the pan with grease paper. Just cover it with aluminium foil. I learnt this from Ayu.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Lotus-Shaped Pineapple Tarts

          This evening, Iftar was relatively quiet....only my husband, the two boys & myself were home. Amirah is putting up in a hostel as she started school at NTU last week. Maliah was out with her classmates for dinner. So my husband & I still have a few more years before the boys too will be out with their lives outside the house........

           I baked my Pineapple Tarts over the weekend. There are soooo many versions of this must-have Hari Raya delicacy, but the one that I've been using for almost 2 decades is the recipe from Wannah Alshatrie, my weekend baking teacher. Since I learnt to make her version, I've never used any other recipes....the pastry melts in the mouth & so addictive! If you have not made your Kueh Tart, give this recipe a won't regret! 

I'm submitting this entry to Aspiring Bakers #10: Easy as Pie (August 2011), hosted by Janine of Not The Kitchen Sink!

Lotus-Shaped Pineapple Tarts
makes about 200 pieces

400g butter
2 egg yolk
1 egg white
2 tbsp milk powder
2 tbsp powder sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
600g plain flour (sifted)

{Sorry, I don't have the measurement for this as my mum made it for me. She just agak-agak (estimated).}
Pineapple (grated or chopped finely)
(Combine pineapple & sugar in a saucepan cook until thick.)

Step-by-step illustration of how to form the lotus-shaped tart!


  1. Combine A & mix thoroughly using a spoon.
  2. Add in B & mix thoroughly.
  3. Roll dough placed in between a plastic sheet to 1/4 inch thickness . Use a floured 5- or 6- petal flower shaped  cookie cutter and cut dough.
  4. Gently press the center of flower-shaped pastry with finger & place filling on it.
  5. Using a small pair of scissors, snip edge of petal & lift it up as shown in picture.
  6. Place on a baking tray.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 150 deg C for about 30 minutes, rotating tray 180 deg halfway through baking.
  8. Cool tarts & store in an air-tight container.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Strawberry Layered Cake

           This Strawberry Layered Cake is a must in my house every Eid. It's very delicious and moist......must be the ice-cream! Everytime I serve this cake for my guests, there is always no leftovers..... Maisur will finish them all!

          This recipe is by Mdm Hawa Ismail from the book Resipi Pesta Perut. I've made slight changes to the method so it's easier to follow.

Take a look at  my latest attempt baking this Lapis Strawberry Ice-cream.

450g butter
1 tsp vanilla essence

24 egg yolk
5 egg white
280g fine sugar
80g self-raising flour
1 tbsp ovelette

130g milk powder
1 tsp vanilla essence

170g strawberry ice-cream powder (I used vanilla & added 1 tsp strawberry paste)
150g strawberry ice-cream (softened)
pink colouring


  1. Preheat oven at 160 deg C. Use top heat only.
  2. Cream A until softened & mixed thoroughly.
  3. Combine B in a mixing bowl & beat on high speed for about 7 minutes until thick .
  4. Add A & mix thoroughly.
  5. Divide mixture into 2 parts.
  6. Add C into 1 part & mix thoroughly.
  7. Add D into another part & mix thoroughly.
  8. Pour 2 ladles of plain  batter into a  10x7" lined & greased baking pan (Grease & line bottom of pan only). Grill until cook & golden brown for about one & a half to two minutes.
  9. Repeat no 8.
  10. Then pour 2 ladles of strawberry  batter into pan & grill. Repeat.
  11. Bake 2 layers of plain followed by 2 layers of strawberry batter until finish.
  12. Lastly, baked the whole cake using top & bottom heat at 200 deg C for about 10 minutes.
  13. Remove from pan and allow to cool before storing.

Mocha Nutella Layered Cake

          Time really flies, especially during Ramadhan, when we have a long list of things to do..... I've baked several layered cakes & cookies but have not managed to post any entry about them. Last weekend, I baked two Mocha Nutella Layed Cakes, one for my mum & one for my sis. I like baking 2 layered cakes (preferably the same type) at a time as it is more efficient. You see, it takes me about slightly more than an hour if I baked 1 cake only. But if I baked 2, I normally take slightly more than 1 & a half hour. So by spending half an hour more, I get 2 cakes.

           This recipe is by Chef Zaidah which I took from her book, Kek Lapis.  It's basically a chocolate layered cake. This is my first time  baking this cake. Took the risk of baking it for Eid! It's worthwhile as the cake is delicious & moist. Try this if you are still thinking which layered cake to bake for Eid!

500g butter
60g chocolate spread ( nutella)
2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla essence

20 egg yolk
6 egg white
220 castor sugar
1/2 tbsp ovalette

C (sifted)
150 plain flour ( I used cake flour)
20g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder

  1. Preheat oven at 160 deg C. Use top heat only.
  2. Cream A until softened & mixed thoroughly.
  3. Combine B in a mixing bowl & beat until thick.
  4. Add A & mix thoroughly.
  5. Fold in C.
  6. Pour 2 ladles of batter into a 9x9x3"  (I used 10x7") lined & greased baking pan (Grease & line bottom of pan only). Grill for about 1-2 minutes till golden brown.
  7. Repeat step 6 until finished.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Fruit Cocktail Layered Cake

          I've officially started my baking for Eid. Every year, layered cakes are always on top of my list of things to bake for Eid. Some of you may wonder why I start so early....Well, since I'm working, I really need to organise myself to avoid rushing & late-nights. Besides, I normally also bake some for my mum & MIL. Also, my sis used to help me with the bakings. But since she's busy with her young kids, I've been baking alone the past few years. Luckily I have my maid to help me with the cookies...that really helps alot.

          Fruit Cocktail Layered Cake has always been one of my favourites since I learnt  to bake it in 1994 from a baking class conducted by Wannah Alshatrie. The cake is very moist & delicious. I've learnt  a lot from Wannah especially the dos & don'ts of baking layered cakes as she was very generous with her tips.  She's now stopped conducting classes...that's a waste...

The blocks of cakes & the big spoon that I used for scooping the batter.
          I learnt the technique of storing cakes from Aini Salim. I normally cut my cake into 4 blocks. Then I wrap each block with a cling wrap, then with an aluminium foil and finally with a newspaper. I also labelled every single block. Then I store them in the freezer. They are good for months. Then I'll transfer 1 block to the fridge for short term storing.

Fruit Cocktail Layered Cake

350g butter
2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence ( I used vanilla paste)

22 nos egg yolk
4 nos egg white
250g granulated sugar
1 tbsp ovelette

C (sifted)
125g plain flour (I used cake flour)
20g cornflour

a few drops of red colour
a few drops of raspberry essence (I added)

1 can fruit cocktail (drained & cut into small pieces)

  1. Preheat grill at 160 deg C. Line the bottom of an 8x8 or 7x10 inch pan with a lightly-greased paper. Do not grease side of pan.
  2. Cream A until white & creamy.
  3. Combine B into a mixing bowl and beat on high speed for about 8 minutes until thick.
  4. Add A & mix well.
  5. Fold in C.
  6. Divide the mixture into 2 parts. Add D into 1 part & mix well. Leave the other part plain.
  7. Pour 2 big spoons of plain batter into pan & spread batter evenly. Bake for about 1 minute untill the top is golden brown. Then pour another 2 spoonful of plain batter & bake.
  8. Pour 2 big spoons of red batter into pan & spread batter evenly.Then scatter the fruits & bake for about 1.5 to 2 minutes untill cook & the top is golden brown. Ensure that the batter surrounding the fruit is cooked. Then pour another 2 spoonful of red batter & scatter fruits. Bake till cooked.
  9. Repeat the process untill finish. Then, using upper & lower fire, bake whole cake for about 10 minutes.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

My Naughthy Steamed Coconut Blossoms........

           This recipe was given to me about 30 years ago by my cousin who attended a class. The date written on the recipe is 19.4.81. I used to make these steamed cakes often. I remember making these for my cousins' weddings as part of the gifts between the groom & the bride (a.k.a. hantaran).

         This is my second time making these during Ramadhan. The ones I made last week rose but did not open up. I think that's because I used Hong Kong flour (a superfined flour) instead of Softasilk flour as stated in the recipe. Softasilk flour is not as widely available as it used to be. I managed to get it from The Market Place at Paragon on Saturday. I think only Cold Storage imports the flour. Another advantage of using Softasilk flour is  it produced a softer texture.

          Today, my coconut blossoms opened up but not the way I like them. In fact, they opened up into some obscene shapes which I managed to hide in my pictures. Maybe the steamer I used was too small...that's the only reason I can think of. So the next time I make these, I'm going to use my big steamer. We'll see what happens.... Anyway, this recipe is worth trying, whatever shapes they turn out, because they are so husband just can't stop eating them!

Steamed Coconut Blossom

3  eggs (cold)
250 gm. sugar
280g  Softasilk flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. ovalette
140g coconut cream
30g pandan juice (blend about 6 pandan leaves)
1 tsp green colouring (I used pandan paste)

  1. Beat all the ingredients together until thick and fluffy.
  2. Fill 1/3 of mould (lined with paper cup) with batter. Then fill it with 1 tbsp. of coconut filling & then top it with more batter until mould is almost full.
  3. Steam over high heat for 15 mins.

Coconut filling:
250g grated coconut
30g castor sugar
100g gula melaka
60g water
1 tsp. cornflour
2 pieces pandan leaves - cut into small pieces

  1. Combine sugar, gula melaka and water in a saucepan & boil it.
  2. Add in grated coconut and pandan leaves and cook untill slightly dry.
  3. Sprinkle cornflour on top and stir till well mixed.
  4. Cool before using.

Brownies Putu Ayu

          I would like to wish my Muslim readers a blessed Ramadan. May all of us be blessed with good health to carry out the long list of duties. Time really flies, today is already the 7th day of fasting..... Since I was home most of the day, I managed to prepare 2 desserts for iftar & a cake for Eid. Yes, I've started my baking. For me, weekends are very precious, especially this weekend as it's going to a long one(well, almost...). Monday is a short working day, Tuesday is the National Day holiday  followed by a school holiday on Wednesday.

          The first dessert I prepared is Brownies Putu Ayu. This recipe is by Mdm Fatmah Bahalwan from NCC. When I first saw this dessert, I  was excited as I really wanted to know how it tasted like....the chocolate & coconut combination is really interesting. After tasting it, I must say the chocolate flavour is quite overpowering...maybe it's because I used Varlhona chocolate. I'll reduce the cooking chocolate the next time I make this Putu Ayu.

4 eggs
150g granulated sugar
1 tsp cake emulsifier (I used ovelette)
½ tsp salt

100g medium protein flour (cake flour)
25g cocoa powder ( I used Varlhona)

100g margarine, melted (I used butter)
60g dark cooking chocolate, melted (I used Varlhona dark chocolate)
1 tbsp  black forest chocolate paste (I used chocolate emulco)

200g grated coconut
½ tsp salt
1 pandan leave, tied to a knot (I added)

  1. Grease Putu Ayu moulds lightly. Set aside.
  2. Combine D and steam until  hot. 
  3. Put 1 tbsp of steamed grated coconut into mould & press hard. Set aside.
  4. Combine A in a mixing bowl and beat until thick. Add in B & mix thoroughly. Combine C & mix thoroughly. Then add to the egg & flour mixture.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared moulds. Steam for 15 minutes on high fire.
  6. Remove from moulds & leave to cool before serving.
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