Simple Christmas Dinner for Two

No Christmas celebration , no gifts exchanging sessions (just like in the past working in the Bank), just a simple, quiet meal for two... ... Here's our dinner, Christmas Day Dinner.

Gingerbread Man

I have never baked Gingerbread Man before. On Christmas Eve, I went shopping at Marine Parade and came across an NTUC Finest supermarket. As it was my usual manner, I walked to the Baking Needs section. There I saw this packet of Greens Gingerbread Man cookie mix "staring" at me.
:-} Thus, it went into my basket.

The next day, I baked it according to the instruction on the packet. However, one step I did not really follow is the chilling time for the dough. It stated on the box that the dough has to be chilled for 10-15 mins for the dough to be hardened for easier handling. But I have to chill my dough for more than an hour. Even after 1 hr, the dough was still kinda soft. However, I went ahead to roll and cut the dough. Thank goodness the cookies came out fine, and tasted great too. Though the icing is horrible! LOL ...


I have this packet of puff pastry lying in my freezer for months. One week before Christmas, I decided to buy some Char Siew (BBQ Honey Pork) to make 叉烧酥(char siew puff pastry). I bought ready made Char Siew from Sheng Shiong Supermarket. Afterwhich I fried the cubed Char Siew with shallots (fried ones), oyster sauce, light sauce, sugar and a little water. This made up the filling for the pastry. Then I wrapped it with the puff pastry which I have cut into 4 squares from one big sheet of pastry. Then used a fork to close up the sides of the wrapped pastry. Brushed the top with some beaten egg yolk. Sprinkled some black sesame seeds for deco. Baked in preheated 180C oven for 15 mins. Tada ... here are my 叉烧酥!

Kuih Bahulu

About a month ago, I went to Khatib for grocery shopping with my DH. After buying some of the items that I needed, we came to NTUC supermarket. As usual, I won't miss shopping in NTUC. As I browsed through the shelves, I came across this Dough Cake Toaster which was on sale. The usual price was S$34.55 and it was selling at S$19.90 then. So shall I "grap" it? Grapped it I did! In fact, I saw this toaster many times displaying on the shelf of NTUC and some other supermarkets, but didn't have the idea of owning it. This time round, with this "attracting" discount, I owned it for the very first time :-) DH was like: "Huh? Another baking tool again?" LOL ... I told him I will make nice Kuih Bahulu out of this little toaster for him specially. Then he smiled and happily paid for it. Hahaha ...

Here you are, my little dough cakes. They looked like Kuih Bahulu but smaller in sizes compared to those selling outside.

A Day of "Putu Ayu"

Putu Ayu is a popular Indonesian snack. A steamed cake with no butter, but coconut milk and shredded coconut, quite easy and quick to make.

Putu Ayu uses Pandan paste or essence. Pandan essence or paste is used in place of fresh pandan leaves, to flavour and colour cakes and desserts, as it is sweet and imbues foods with a bright green color. It can be purchased as a ready-to-use paste in Asian specialty stores. If purchased fresh, pandan leaves should be pounded into a paste for use in desserts, adding water sparingly.

Here are the Putu Ayu that I made few days ago. :-)

These are the "special" moulds for making Putu Ayu. Aren't they cute? :-)

I used grated coconut with gula melaka instead of white grated coconut.
It's so mini & lovely & Yummmy ......
I used some tart cases to make different shapes of Putu Ayu.
I still prefer the mini ones.

These are the Putu Ayu that used white grated coconut.

Overall, the Putu Ayu I made were very good. My DH loved this kind of Indonesian snacks. Furthermore, it is bite-sized, even little children like it. :-)


冬至 Dong Zhi ~ Winter has come :-)

Dong Zhi (冬至), which means winter season has come. Winter is the end of the four seasons, which indicates that a year has come to a close end. This Chinese festival normally falls on 22nd of December. This festival signifies the reunion of one's family. No matter how far you go, on this day, you will come home and reunite with your family members. Tang Yuan (汤圆), a dessert that will be eaten on this day. It is rounded in shape, which means reunion. It is made of glutinous rice flour. The pictures below will tell you what it is all about.

(Pictures taken from: soulforparadise.blogspot.com)

************************************************************************************* As I am a Cantonese, my family celebrated this festival (Dong Zhi) every year. My mum will also make a pot of Tang Yuan for all of us to eat. On top of this, she also cooks a table of delicious dishes during dinner. She always tell me since I was young that "冬大过年", which means to celebrate Dong Zhi is even more important than celebrating Chinese New Year itself. On this day, we will offer prayers to our ancestors. Below were some of the dishes my mum had cooked on Dong Zhi, 22nd Dec 2009.


Christmas isn't Christmas ......

Christmas isn't Christmas till you bake a FRUITCAKE! :-)

For so many Christmases that I had celebrated in the past, I never like to eat fruitcake. However, don't know out of nowhere, I had the idea of baking a fruitcake for this Christmas. It was a month ago. And with that idea, I bought a packet of mixed peel & raisins, some glaced cherries. When I reached home, I quickly soaked all these ingredients with a cup of brandy. I soaked it for nearly a month. Only a few days ago, I used them to bake the fruitcake. And I tell you, I have fallen in LOVE with fruitcake :-) LOL The taste of cinnamon and nutmeg in the cake make it so enticing. Even my mum who doesn't like buttery cakes also commented that the cake was simply lovely. I will definitely have another round of baking this cake again. Soon.

For the fruitcake recipe, I got it from Susan's Blog, but I made some modifications.
Fruit Cake Ingredients:
250 g butter (melted)
250 g brown sugar
5 eggs
450 g self-raising flour (sifted)
100 g white raisins*
100 g dried blackcurrants*
100 g red cherries*
100 g green cherries*
150 g mixed peel*
grated peel of 1 orange
grated peel of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
1 cup ( abt 250ml) of XO Martel (is not in the original recipe, I add my own)

* I did not follow her exact ingredients but I used the pre-packed mixed peel with addition of a packet of raisins.

Fruit Cake Method Step By Step:
1. Combine butter, sugar and eggs. Beat till fluffy. Add flour and the remaining ingredients.
2. Preheat oven to 180°C.
3. Grease a baking tin and pour in cake mixture.
4. Bake cake for 45 minutes. Reduce heat to 140°C and bake for another 30 minutes.
5. Remove and leave cake to cool completely on wire rack. Slice cake and serve.

I baked this loaf in a big loaf pan.
This is the smaller loaf.


Simple yet joyful

Simple recipe appeals to me.
This choc chip cookie recipe is one
which I have kept in my handy folder for easy reference.
Few days ago, I attemtped these delicious cookies again.
It was SIMPLY good :-)

A bite, a joyful moment ... ...


Kuih Dadar

I have a packet of grated coconut sitting in the fridge, so decided to make Kuih Dadar or Kuih Ketayap (Kuih Ketayap, as the Malays calls it, is a cylindrical shaped kuih with caramelised grated coconut flesh inside and a green pancake skin wrapping it. This is done first by rolling the pancakes around the coconut filling, then folding the sides and finally rolling it again to form cylindrical parcels.)
Receipe from here.

The last two photos were from the courtesy of this website: http://nonya-kueh.blogspot.com/2005/12/nonya-kueh-dadar.html


Some thoughts about the trend in cake baking

Nowadays, when I surfing food blogs, it is not difficult to find many food bloggers learn to make fondant cake. I was really enticed me into learning to make such cakes.

However, upon second thought, I give up the idea. I thought, the whole cake is covered with a whole piece of sugar-made fondant, which means, when we eat the cake we are eating SUGAR UPON SUGAR (cake also used sugar to bake!).

No doubt fondant cake presents beautifully but I think I will not try to learn it. Even for cupcakes. Many food bloggers decorate their cupcakes with layers of fondant. Can it really be eaten? I don't dare to eat and don't want to eat. Colourings plus sugar. Though they say all these ingredients are edible, I still scared scared.

Anyway, the above is my personal opinion only. No offense to anyone fond of doing fondant cake. But I can say that I really admire those bloggers who spend so much time doing their master pieces. Salute to you! :-)

Aren't they beautiful and exquisite?


Translation of Ingredient Terms

I got this list of useful ingredients from Peng's Kitchen. It is for easier reference when reading recipe books from Taiwan, Hongkong or Malaysia. Hope is useful for you. Thanks Peng for sharing.

A. Types of Flour , 面粉类
1. 麵粉, 中筋麵粉 = plain flour / all-purpose flour
2. 低筋麵粉, 低根粉 = cake flour / soft flour / weak flour / low protein flour
3. 高筋麵粉, 筋麵, 根麵, 高根粉 = gluten flour / strong flour / bread flour / baker’s flour / high protein flour
4. 小麦面粉 = whole meal flour
5. 全麥麵粉 = whole wheat flour
6. 澄麵粉, 澄粉, 澄麵= non-glutinous flour / wheat flour / wheat starch
7. 自發麵粉 = self- raising flour
8. 粗玉米豆粉 = polenta / yellow cornmeal
9. 粟粉, 粟米粉, 玉米粉, 玉米澱粉(太白粉?) = corn flour / cornstarch
10. 生粉 , 太白粉, 地瓜粉= potato starch / potato flour
11. 樹薯粉, 木薯粉, 茨粉, 菱粉, 泰國生粉, 太白粉, 地瓜粉= Tapioca starch / tapioca flour
12. 蕃薯粉, 地瓜粉 = sweet potato flour
13. 臭粉, 胺粉, 阿摩尼亞粉, 嗅粉 = powdered baking ammonia / carbonate of ammonia / ammonia bicarbonate / ammonia carbonate / hartshorn
14. 發粉, 泡打粉, 泡大粉, 速發粉, 蛋糕發粉 = baking powder
蘇打粉, 小蘇打, 梳打粉, 小梳打, 食粉, 重曹 = baking soda / bicarb ofsoda
15. 塔塔粉, 他他粉 = cream of tartar
16. 卡士達粉, 蛋黃粉, 吉士粉, 吉時粉= custard powder
17. 卡士達, 克林姆, 奶皇餡, 蛋奶餡 = custard / pastry cream
18. 蛋白粉 = egg white powder
19. 粘米粉, 黏米粉, 在來米粉, 在萊米粉, 再來米粉= rice flour
20. 糕仔粉 = cooked rice flour
21. 糯米粉 = glutinous rice flour / sweet rice flour
22. 鳳片粉, 熟糯米粉, 糕粉, 加工糕粉 = fried sweet rice flour / fried glutinous rice flour
23. 綠豆粉 = mung bean flour / tepung hun kwee
24. 小麥胚芽, 麥芽粉 = wheat germ
25. 小麥蛋白, 麵筋粉 = wheat gluten
26. 酵母, 酒餅= yeast/ibu roti
27. 麵包糠, 麵包屑= breadcrumbs
28. 雜糧預拌粉 = multi-grain flour
29. 抹荼粉 = green tea powder
30. 馬蹄粉 = water chestnut flour
31. 葛粉 = arrowroot flour
32. 杏仁粉 = almond flour/almond meal

B. Types of Sugar, 糖类
1. . 黑蔗糖漿, 糖蜜, 甘蔗糖蜜 = molasses
2. . 金黃糖漿 = golden syrup
3. 楓糖漿, 楓樹糖漿, 楓糖 = maple syrup
4. . 玉米糖漿 = corn syrup/karo syrup
5. . 葡萄糖漿 = glucose syrup
6. . 麥芽糖漿 = barley maltsyrup/maltsyrup
7. 麥芽糖 = maltose/malt sugar
8. 焦糖 = carmael
9. 果糖 = fructos
10. 乳糖 = lactose
11. 轉化糖 = invert sugar
12. 日式糙米糖漿 = amazake
13. 綿花糖霜 = marshmallow cream cream
14. 冰糖 = rock sugar
15. 椰糖, 爪哇紅糖 = palm sugar/gula malacca
16. 黃砂糖 = brown sugar
17. 紅糖, 黑糖 = dark brown sugar
18. 粗糖, 黑砂糖 = muscovado sugar
19. 金砂 = demerara sugar
20. 原蔗糖 = raw sugar/raw cane sugar/unrefined cane sugar
21. 白砂糖, 砂糖 = white sugar/refined sugar/refined cane sugar/coarse granulated sugar
22. 細砂糖, 幼砂糖, 幼糖 = castor sugar / caster sugar(适用于做糕点)
23. 糖份混合物 = icing sugar mixture
24. 糖粉 = icing sugar/confectioners’ sugar
25. 糖霜, 點綴霜 = icing/frosting
26. 蜜葉糖, 甜葉菊 = stevia/honey leaf
27. 代糖, 阿斯巴甜 = aspartame/sweetener/sugar substitute
28. 什色糖珠 = assorted colours chocolate pearls
29. 巧克力米, 朱古力米 = chocolate vermicelli/rice
30. 巧克力削, 朱古力削 = chocolate curls
31. 巧克力珠, 朱古力珠 = choc bits/chocolate chips
32. 耐烤巧克力豆 = choc bits (澳洲的英文名) / chocolate chips (美國、加拿大的英文名)

C. Essence & Cream , 香精与奶类
1. 白礬 = alum
2. 硼砂 =- borax
3. 石膏 = gypsum
4. 鹼水, (木見)水, 碳酸钾 = alkaline water/lye water/potassium carbonate
5. 食用色素 = food colouring
6. 香草豆, 香草莢, 香草片, 香子蘭莢 = vanilla bean/vanilla pod
7. 香草精, 雲尼拉香精, 凡尼拉香精 = vanilla extract/vanilla essence
8. 香草粉 = vanilla powder
9. 班蘭粉, 香蘭粉 = ground pandan/ground screwpine leaves/serbok daun pandan
10. 班蘭精, 香蘭精 = pandan paste/pasta pandan
11. 玫瑰露, 玫瑰露精 = rosewater/rosewater essence essence
12. 皮屑 = grated zest/grated rind
13. 牛油, 奶油 = butter
14. 軟化牛油 = soft butter
15. 瑪珈琳, 瑪琪琳, 乳瑪琳, 雅瑪琳, 人造奶油, 菜油 = margarine
16. 起酥油, 起酥瑪琪琳 = pastry margarine / oleo margarine
17. 豬油, 白油, 大油, 板油 = lard / cooking fat
18. 酥油, 雪白奶油 shortening
19. 硬化椰子油 = copha
20. 椰油 = Creamed Coconut
21. 烤油 = dripping
22. 牛油忌廉 = butter cream
23. 淡忌廉 = light cream/coffee cream/table cream
24. 鮮奶油, 忌廉, 鮮忌廉 = cream/whipping cream
25. 包括﹕1 light whipping cream
26. 2 heavy whipping cream/heavy cream/thickened cream
27. 3 double cream/pure cream
28. 酸奶油, 酸忌廉, 酸奶酪, 酸乳酪 = sour cream
29. 酸奶 = butter milk
30. 牛奶, 鮮奶, 鮮乳 = milk
31. 奶粉 = powdered milk / milk powder
32. 花奶, 淡奶, 奶水, 蒸發奶, 蒸發奶水 = evaporated milk
33. 煉奶 = condensed milk/sweetened condensed milk
34. 起士, 起司, 芝士, 乳酪, 奶酪, 乾酪, 乳餅 = cheese
35. 起司粉 = powdered cheese
36. 奶油起司, 芝士忌廉, 奶油乳酪, 凝脂乳酪 = cream cheese
37. 瑪斯卡波尼起司, 馬司卡膨起司, 馬斯卡波涅起司, 義大利乳酪 = mascarpone cheese
38. 優格, 乳果, 酸奶, 酸乳酪 = yoghurt
39. 優酪乳 = yoghurt drink/drinking yoghurt

D. Types of Confectionery, 糕点名称
1. 麵包, 麵飽 = bread
2. . 土司麵包, 吐司 = toast
3. 法式吐司 = french toast
4. 裸麥麵包 = rye bread
5. 派, 批 = pie
6. 塔, 撻 = tart
7. 凍派, 凍批 = cream pie
8. 蛋塔 = egg tart / custard tart
9. 法式蛋塔 = quiche lorraine
10. 戚風蛋糕 = chiffon cake
11. 海綿蛋糕 = sponge cake
12. 泡芙 = choux pastry / puff
13. 瑪琳 , 焗蛋泡 = meringue
14. 蛋蜜乳 = eggnog
15. 可麗餅 = crepe
16. 煎餅, 熱餅, 薄烤餅 = pancake
17. 厚鬆餅 = pikelet / hotcake
18. 墨西哥麵餅 = tortillas
19. 曲奇 = cookies
20. 慕斯, 慕思 = mousse
21. 布甸, 布丁 = pudding
22. 司康, 比司吉 = scones
23. 舒芙蕾 = souffles
24. 洋芋塊 = hash brown
25. 英式鬆餅, 瑪芬麵包 = english muffin
26. 鬆糕, 瑪芬 = american muffin 
27. 格子鬆餅 = waffle
28. 手指餅乾 = sponge fingers / ladyfingers / savoiardi (義大利名)
29. 蘇打餅干 = saltine crackers
30. 威化餅乾 = wafer biscult

E. Dried Fruits & Nuts, 干果/果脯
1. 腰子豆, 腰果, 腰果仁, 介壽果 = cashew nut
2. 花生 = peanut
3. 瓜子, 南瓜子 = pepitas / dried pumpkin seeds
4. 崧子, 松子仁 = pine nut
5. 栗子 = chestnut
6. 干粟子 = dried chestuts
7. 核桃, 核桃仁, 合桃, 胡桃 = walnut
8. 杏仁, 杏仁片, 扁桃 = almond
9. 北杏, 苦杏仁 = apricot kernel / chinese almond / bitter almond
10. 南杏 = apricot kernel
11. 榛果, 榛仁= hazelnut / filbert / cobnut
12. 開心果, 阿月渾子 = pistachio
13. 堅果, 澳洲堅果, 夏威夷果, 澳洲胡桃, 澳洲栗, 澳洲核桃, 昆士蘭龍眼, 昆士蘭栗 = macadamia / california nut
14. 山胡桃, 胡桃 = pecan
15. 石鼓仔, 馬加拉, 油桐子 = candlenut / buah keras
16. 白果, 銀杏 = ginkgo nut
17. 罌粟子 = poppy seed
18. 亞答子 = atap seed
19. 海苔粉 = ground seaweed
20. 涼粉, 仙草 = grass jelly
21. 椰絲, 椰茸, 椰子粉 = desiccated coconut/shredded coconut
22. 果子凍, 果凍粉, 啫喱= jelly
23. 魚膠粉, 吉利丁, 明膠 = gelatine sheets/powdered gelatine 
24. 大菜, 大菜絲, 菜燕, 燕菜精, 洋菜, 洋菜粉, 瓊脂 = agar powder
25. 乾椰絲 = dessicated coconut
26. 龍眼乾, 龍眼肉, 桂圓, 圓肉= dried longan
27. 葡萄乾 = raisin / dried currant
28. 無花果乾 = dried fig
29. 柿餅 = dried persimmon
30. 桃脯 = dried peach
31. 杏脯 = dried apricot
32. 蘋果脯, 蘋果乾 = dried apple
33. 蜜漬櫻桃, 露桃, 車梨子 = glace cherry/candied cherry
34. 蜜漬鳳梨 = glace pineapple/candied pineapple
35. 糖水批把 = loquats in syrup
36. 杏子酱 = apricot jam
37. 杏桃果膠 = apricot glaze
38. 水蜜桃罐頭 = peaches in syrup
39. 切片水蜜桃罐頭 = sliced peaches in syrup
40. 綜合水果罐頭 = cocktail fruit in syrup 

F. General Ingredients
1. 味精 = monosodium glutamate
2. 醋 = vinegar
3. 白醋(工研醋) = rice vinegar
4. 白醋 = white vinegar (西洋料理用的)
5. 烏醋 = black vinggar
6. 酱油 = soy sauce
7. 蚝油 = oyster sauce
8. 麻油 = sesame oil
9. 白酒 = white spirits
10. 加饭酒 = rice wine
11. 桂花酒 = osmanthus-flavored wine
12. 芝麻酱 = sesame paste
13. 辣椒醬 = chili sauce
14. 牛頭牌沙荼醬 = bull head barbecue sauce/Chinese barbecue sauce
15. 南乳 = fermented red beancurd
16. 薑粉 = ginger powder
17. 调味蕃茄醬 = ketchup
18. 蕃茄醬 = tomato sauce (普通甜的)
19. 蕃茄醬 = tomato paste (義大利料理用的)
20. 豆辦醬 = chilli bean sauce
21. XO醬 = XO sauce
22. 豆豉 = salt black bean
23. 薏米 = pearl barley
24. 西贾米= sago
25. 沙莪粒, 西米, 小茨丸 = pearl sago/pearl tapioca
26. 紅豆沙, 烏豆沙 = red bean paste
27. 綠豆片 = split mung bean
28. 芝麻 = sesame Seeds
29. 蓮子 = lotus seed
30. 蓮蓉 = lotus paste
31. 栗蓉 = chestnut puree / chestnut paste
32. 蜜棗 = preserved red dates
33. 紅棗 = chinese red dates
34. 棗泥 = red date paste
35. 百合 = dried lily bulb
36. 金针 = tiger lily buds
37. 陳皮 = dried orange peel/dried tangerine peel
38. 豆腐 = tofu
39. 腐竹 = dried beancurd sticks
40. 腐皮 = beancurd sheet
41. 酸菜 = pickled mustard-green
42. 蒸山芋 = steamed sweet potatoes
43. 咸黄瓜 = salted cucumber
44. 脱水蒜粒 = dehydrated garlic granules
45. 冬菇 = dried black mushroom
46. 木耳 = white fungus
47. 黑木耳 = black fungus / wood ear fungus / dried black fungus
48. 海带 = sea vegetable / Sea weed
49. 燒海苔 = toasted nori seaweed / roasted seaweed sushi nori
50. 板海苔 = nori seaweed / dried sea laver
51. 燕菜 = agar-agar
52. 蝦米 = dried shrimp
53. 鱼干 = dried fish
54. 鹹蛋黃 = salted egg yolk
55. 皮蛋(糖心/ 硬心) = preserved duck eggs (soft and hard yolk)
56. 咸鸭蛋 = salted duck eggs
57. 牛肉粒 = dried beef cubes
58. 牛肉片 = dried beef sliced
59. 猪肉松 = dried pork floss
60. 腊鸭 = preserved duck
61. 鸭肫干= preserved duck gizzard
62. 烤鸭/烧鸭 = roasted duck
63. 方便面 = instant noodles
64. 面条 = noodles
65. 米粉 = rice-noodle
66. 粉丝 = silk noodles
67. 餛鈍皮 = wonton wrapper/wonton skins
68. 水餃皮 = dumpling wrapper / dumpling skins /gyoza wrapper
69. 春捲皮 = spring roll wrapper , egg roll wrapper


My Simple Lunch

Few days ago, during lunch time, I was at home pondering what to eat. Ting! Suddenly an idea popped out:TUNA WRAP. I have all the ingredients I needed. The ingredients are all so simple: a can of Tuna flakes in water (drained the water before use), Miracle Whip, chilli sauce or ketchup, 1-2 pieces of wraps, some lettuce. Just that I need to pan heat the wraps in a frying pan (without oil) before I used it.
Wraps are very versatile. They can be eaten in many different ways, some examples are these:

Egg & Vege Wrap

Ricotta Or Cottage Cheese Wrap

Roasted Chicken Wrap

The list on how you gonna eat your wrap goes on ......................

As you know, I go with anything simple. Don't ask me to cook up a table of dishes for lunch, is just too troublesome. Even for dinner, I won't lay a line of dishes, 4-5 plates of food, like my mum does. Call me lazy or what, I just go my simple way ... :-?

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