Avocado Tomato Mozzarella

1 Jul

Avocado_tomato2A German friend suggested that I cured my tomatoes a little before making the salad. This not only helps to remove all the excess water but it also adds a wonderful intense saltiness to the salad.

I’ve been doing this ever since!

Avocado Tomato Mozzarella Salad 

1 ripe Avocado
2 large Tomatoes
1 large ball Mozzarella cheese
Balsamic vinegar
Virgin olive oil

1. Cut the tomatoes up into cubes and toss in 1 teaspoon of salt. Leave aside for 2o mins. Drain excess water.
2. Cut Avocado into half, remove seed and chop into cubes.
3. Drain Mozzarella cheese and cut into cubes.
4. Put tomatoes, Avocado, Mozzarella cheese into a bowl, add vinegar and oil, toss well and add freshly ground pepper.
5. Serve.



Luscious Cherry Chocolate Tart

1 Jun

cherry chocolate tartWhile watching River Cottage, I was awed by this amazing tart. And since cherries are now in season, I just could not resist giving this recipe a try.

As there was no way I could finish this by myself, I shared this with 3 others … and they loved it.

I highly recommend this recipe. It’s not difficult to make (just a bit fiddly with having to remove the seed from the cherries and you need to prepare this a day before) and it will definitely leave a lasting impression at your next dinner party.

I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit (from the original River Cottage recipe) and this is based on what I made.

Luscious Brandied Cherry Chocolate Tart


The cherries (to be made the day before)
500g sweet cherries, stoned
150ml Brandy or Kirsch
30g caster sugar
A strip of lemon zest

The chocolate pastry
170g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
100g butter, chilled and cut into cubes
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons cold milk

The chocolate filling
250ml double cream
200g dark chocolate, chopped
Seed from 1 vanilla pod
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Cherry jam


The cherries
1. Remove the stem and seeds from the cherries.
2. Place in pot with liquor, sugar and lemon zest.
3. Simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Cool over night.

The chocolate pastry
1. Using rubbing method, put the chilled butter into the flour and cocoa powder until it resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Stir in icing sugar.
3. Gently stir in egg yolk and cream, mix well into a ball. Chill.
4. Roll thinly for a 9 inch (24 cm) pie tin, or press into tin.
5. Use a fork to poke small holes all over blind.
6. Bake blind in 175C / 350F / Mark 4 oven for 20 mins.
7. Cool.

The chocolate filling
1. Heat the cream till just hot but not boiling. Remove from heat.
2. Add chocolate pieces, stirring until totally melted.
3. Add a little of chocolate mixture into the beaten eggs, and then gently and slowly pour the egg mixture back into the chocolate mixture, whisking all the time.
4. Add in the vanilla seeds and a couple of tablespoons of the cherry poaching liquid. Whisk well.

To assemble
1. Spread enough jam onto the base of the cooled pie crust.
2. Arrange the cherries inside the pie crust.
3. Gently pour the chocolate filling into the pie crust.
4. Bake pie in 175C / 350F Mark 4 oven for 20 mins or until center is still slightly wobbly.
5. Cool and serve.



Cheesy Gougeres

1 Mar

Gougères 2I’m a cheese fan and feeling peckish, I decided to try making Gougeres after seeing the amazing results that a friend had with a recipe using a dry deep fryer … but I will bake it, the traditional way. The result was a light but intensely cheesy snack that I just could not stop eating!

The original recipe uses 1 cup of grated Gruyere cheese but I used 2 cups of grated cheddar for that really intense cheesy flavour. If you are feeling adventurous, try adding any of your favourite hard, crumbly or soft cheese.

I also like mine more peppery and salty. Use a dash of pepper and unsalted butter if you like a milder flavour.



125g (half cup) salted butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
100g (1 cup) plain flour
4 eggs
A large pinch of salt
A generous dash of crushed pepper
2 cups grated cheddar cheese


1. Place butter, water and milk in a large saucepan until it simmers.
2. Pour in shifted plain flour and stir using a wooden spoon until well combined. Continue over a very low fire until the roué pulls away from the side of the pan, about 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Remove from fire and let it cool for about 1 to 2 minutes. (This is to ensure that when the raw egg is added, it does not scramble.)
4. When the roué luke warm to the touch, add in 1 egg and mix well. Continue to add in 1 egg at a time, mixing well after each egg. (If the batter separates, continue to mix well and it will come together eventually into a smooth thick batter.)
5. Add in pepper and salt and the cheese. Mix thoroughly.
6. Place a parchment paper on a baking sheet or cookie plan. Place a spoonful of batter on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
7. Bake in 200C oven for 20 minutes until golden brown and firm.
8. Serve piping hot or cooled for storage.


Bak Kwa

1 Feb

bak kuaBak Kwa, an oriental jerky originating from Fujian, is firm favourite of the locals in places like Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. It is originally made from pork although beef, chicken and mutton can be used, and then preserved by way of seasoning using spices, air-dried and then grilled over a charcoal fire for that smoky flavour.

It is eaten all year round but particularly during Chinese New Year, demand for bak kwa is considerably higher as offered to guests as part of the traditional sweet tray.

If you are away from home and craving a taste of good old fashioned bak kwa, try making this this coming New Year.

Bak Kwa


1kg minced pork
220g white sugar
1.5 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon light soya sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
0.5 teaspoon five spice powder
2 tablespoon chinese rice wine
a pinch of red food colouring powder
baking paper, cling wrap, rolling pin, baking tray


1. Mix pork, sugar, salt, soya sauce, oyster sauce, spices, rice wine and colouring into a bow. Mix well and leave overnight in a covered container.
2. Line baking tray with baking paper.
3. Place about 250g of marinated pork on lined tray, and cover entirely with cling wrap.
4. Use rolling pin over the cling wrap to flatten marinated pork to about 0.3 to 0.5 mm thick.
5. Remove cling wrap and bake in middle of oven at 175C for about 18 mins.
6. Remove from oven and slice into preferred size (usually 4 inch by 4 inch slices).
7. Place tray back into oven and bake for another 18 mins.
8. Turn bak kwa pieces over and bake for another 2 mins.
9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing.
10. Repeat the same process for the remaining marinated pork.


Saucy Meatballs

1 Jan

meatballs2Meatballs are my thing. When in doubt, I run to meatballs. Comfort food on a cold rainy day, it’s meatballs time.

This is a simple, tried and tested recipe that I often turn to when I need to make a spur-of-the-moment meatballs!

Ever since I started mincing my own minced beef, I never buy the supermarket mince anymore. Just buy any cut of meat, cut into chunks and throw these into a food processor and it’s done!

Instead of just beef, you may want to mix in some mince pork. And for added flavour, add in half a cup of your favour grated hard cheese.

Pure heaven!

Saucy Meatballs 


250g minced beef, seasoned and rolled into balls (mince your own with a good piece of meat if possible)
2 large spicy sausages, cut into 2cm pieces (any sort will do, whatever is in the fridge)
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, deskined and used whole
5 leaves of fresh basil, finely chopped (or a good sprinkling of dried basil or italian herbs)
1 cube of beef stock
200g tin of tomato purée or 100g tin of tomato paste (add 100ml water)
200ml red wine
2 teaspoons sugar (to cut the sourness of the tomato purée)
salt and pepper to taste


1. Put tomato purée, beef stock, basil and garlic into pot.
2. When tomato sauce is boiling, drop in the beef balls, evenly spread out in the pot.
3. When it starts to boil again, add in the sausages.
4. Finally add in the red wine, cover and let it simmer for 30 – 45 mins.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with pasta or good eaten on it’s own like a stew.


A Very Whiskey Fruitcake

1 Dec

fruitckae2I make a heavily liquored fruitcake every year for Christmas. Some of my friends go wide-eyed with “wow” at the smell of whiskey, while others declare that it is just too overwhelming for them to handle.

For me, this is all about Christmas and wintery weather and the way this cake needs to be for this time of year.

Whiskey Fruitcake


250g self-raising flour
250 butter
250 dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups whiskey-soaked dried fruit
1/2 cup crushed nuts
ground mixed spice or cinnamon


1. Whisk butter, sugar and eggs well.
2. Toss fruit in flour with crushed nuts.
3. Gently stir in floured fruit and nut mixture into butter mixture.
4. Add a good dash of mixed spice or cinnamon.
5. Bake in a well-lined tin for 45 to 60 mins, 175C oven, until done.
6. Remove from oven and brush a generous amount of whiskey onto hot cake.
7. Cool well and then store.



The Sweetness Of A Hummingbird

1 Nov

IMG_5029For Mum’s birthday this year, I have decided on a cake with a difference. A hummingbird cake.

This is one of those iconic Southern layered cakes (alongside Red Velvet Cake and Blackout Cake) that one just has to try at least once. The history of the cake and how it got its name is somewhat of a mystery. Some say that the cake is so yummy that one hums as one eats it … and thus the name Hummingbird Cake.

Hummingbird Cake


250g self-raising flour
250g butter
250g brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup ripe banana, meshed
250g tin of crushed pineapples, drain water
1 cup ground pecans
1 cup fresh shredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cream cheese frosting


1. Cream butter and sugar well.
2. Whisk in 1 egg at a time.
3. Gently fold in flour.
4. Gently stir in bananas, pineapples, coconut, pecans and cinnamon.
5. Pour into well greased or lined tins.
6. Bake in 175C for 40 minutes or until done.
7. Cool well.
8. Frost with cream cheese frosting.
9. Chill cake thoroughly.



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