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Mar 28, 2011

Breakfast On The Go

Super quick, super healthy and super yummy! The super smoothie!

This is for the days when I'm in a hurry or just too lazy to fix a proper breakfast but need the energy to get a kickstart to my day.

A friend introduced me to this juice bar near where she works where they serve this really delicious, to-die-for breakfast drink. She swears by it and I believe her ... stick thin and she runs on endless energy. I so need that ... the energy and definitely the stick-thinness. At $12 a pop ... I thought I'd try do this myself.

This is so easy, healthy and the best part is that all the ingredients can be stored easily ...yes, even the bananas, which can be frozen (don't mind the color change. It doesn't really affect the goodness or the taste).

I always have frozen bananas in the freezer for the days when I need to satisfy an ice cream crave and don't need to regret it afterwards. I have a one-ingredient ice cream (best eaten freshly made) that does the trick. I guess I could also have this as my breakfast-on-the-go but I like a little variety and I can take this along with me without any drips and messes ... oh, you'll need a really fat straw (I tried it the first time with a regular sized straw .... saw stars and nearly passed out by the time I finished the entire cup).


1/2 cup of your favorite muesli

1/2 cup fresh yogurt / frozen yogurt

1 cup fresh milk

1 banana (fresh/frozen)

honey to taste


Plonk all ingredients into a blender. Buzz. Slurp.

*Note: I love using frozen bananas for this as it makes the drink super cold and gives it a slushy-like texture as well without having to use ice cubes. I sometimes reduce the milk to make a thicker smoothie but then ... forget the straw, fat or skinny or you'll pass out for sure :D

* Makes 1 breakfast-on-the-go!

Mar 23, 2011

The Occasional Tip: Melting Chocolate the Easy Way

Find melting chocolate over a water bath or microwave a tad messy?

This quick, no mess and no frills way is so very practical but only if you want to use just plain melted chocolate. If you're preparing a ganache or frosting, umm, sorry, some mixing and stirring is required and this method may not be the best.

Just bring a pot of water to a warm temperature ... not boiling. Place the amount of chocolate you need in a heatproof resealable / ziplock / freezer bag. Seal and place bag into pot.

Wait a few moments, hum a tune, feed your cat, and you'll have melted chocolate ready for piping and decorating.

Leave the bag sealed. Just snip off a corner and use it as a piping bag to decorate your favorite dessert. When you're done, toss it in the bin! ... the bag, not the dessert.

Mar 17, 2011

Hot Cross Macs

Traditions, shmaditions! ....heh, kidding. I'm all for traditions but I'm also one who'll take it and turn it into something else just for the sake of being different .... and fun!

Since I've already posted the Hot Cross Buns waaaay too early, I thought I'd come up with something a little out of the ordinary but something not too weird that folks today can relate to. And, VOILA! Hot Cross Macs! ......with the same spices in the traditional hot cross buns, except maybe for the addition of chocolate for color and for the filling. And, believe me ... the combination of the spices and the chocolate works beautifully!

The crosses are just painted on with food dye but it can also be achieved by piping a cross on the top using a plain macaron mixture (without the chocolate and spices) before the crust sets. I preferred painting the crosses as there is more control over the size of the design since it will spread some when piped and may turn out a little uneven.


50g egg white (aged overnight)

40 g caster sugar

1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice

65g almond meal

80g powdered sugar

1 - 2 tbs cocoa powder (this is basically for color altho I used 2 tbs)

1/8 tsp mixed spice / apple pie spice

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

white color paste



Combine almond meal, powdered sugar, spices and cocoa powder in a food processor and give it a quick whirl to mix it up evenly. Sift.

Beat egg white and lemon juice in a clean bowl until soft peaks. Add in caster sugar in 3 lots, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until shiny and smooth.

Gently fold in sifted ingredients until well combined.

Pipe out into 2 - 3 cm rounds on parchment paper / silicon baking mats.

Allow to dry for about 1 hour or until the tops are dry to the touch.

Bake 12 - 15 mins in a 150ºC oven.

Cool on rack completely before painting on the crosses.

Filling of my choice: chocolate ganache.

PS: Actually, I thought the macs look like they have bandages on! Oh well ...

Mar 9, 2011

Hot Cross Buns

Happy Easter! (I know, I'm super early but I got spurred on by a friend and had a sudden craving for the buns and also I'd thought Easter was early April ..... duh)

Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year.

I'm not going to share just ONE hot cross bun with you, my dear readers and friends, but a whole recipe! That's one big bun! ... or a whole lot of little ones .... 16 to be exact. Now, our friendship is ensured for many years to come! Yay!

So many recipes with so many variations .... makes my head spin. So, I've decided to tweak my usual bread recipe, add the traditional spices and fruits to it ... tadaaa!!

The crosses on the top (which supposedly signifies the four quarters of the moon or the four seasons) can be made using a variety of methods: Flour and water, sugar and water (icing), some with a little powdered gelatin to make it gooey. I opted for a simple icing made with orange juice since I had added orange rind to the buns ... just to keep within the theme of things, y'know.

Out comes my trusty bread machine to do the kneading for me.



2 eggs plus enough water to get 1 1/3 cups

4 ozs / 1 stick butter (melted, I just zapped mine in the microwave)

4 cups bread flour

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tbs sugar

1 1/2 tsp quick active yeast

1 cup dried currants

1/2 tbs orange zest

Egg Wash:

1 egg yolk

1 tbs cold water

Orange Icing:

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/4 tbs orange juice

a drop or 2 orange oil


Plonk dough ingredients in your bread machine in the order they are listed except for the currants and the zest, which are to be added 10 mins before the final kneading cycle ends.

Use dough/manual cycle. This should include the first rising.

Punch down and remove dough from bread machine pan.

With floured hands, knead a little to remove the air bubbles.

Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces, shape into balls and place on oiled baking tray. You can also put them in muffin tins, which I did for some of mine, except they turned out looking like muffins instead of a roll/bun.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 45 mins - 1 hour or until doubled in size. Brush with egg wash and bake in a 180ºC oven for about 20 mins.

Cover the top with aluminum foil after 15 mins into the baking to prevent over-browning.

Cool and pipe orange icing over the top.

PS: It's good toasted too but leave out the icing if you intend to do that.

Mar 7, 2011

Of Black Ties, Warm Fuzzies & Shark Friendly Soup

Other half and I were invited to a black tie event. Black tie-ish, with an Asian, Chinese-food bias. I had initially intended to make this a blog about the food. But the events of the evening has put this squarely into my "just for reads" category.

It was an awards ceremony, cumulating in a lifetime award presentation to Datuk Thomas Lee. He magnanimously and very emotionally accepted the award on behalf of the many others whom had quietly contributed to his successes. He received a standing ovation.

This reaffirmed my feelings of the good in each of us and gave me a warm fuzzy. A few other award recipients did likewise, esp one who mainly inherited a successful enterprise by way of management change and stated it clearly so as such. Behind all of this, the initiator of the awards ceremony itself is my good friend, Sue, who, together with her faithful crew were giving back to an industry that has given them so much. Again, reaffirming the good that people possess. I was humbled to have been witness to these events.

PS: There are a couple of food shots for those wondering what was served at the event.

Sorry .... too caught up by the events of the evening, I failed to capture all 8 courses.

Sharks Fin-less Soup (Yup, you read right. Shark friendly soup made in the traditional shark's fin soup style but with just crab meat, shitakes and tofu. Not only do I approve ... quite tasty actually)

Roast Chicken with an Asian Nyonya Twist (A Sweet honey glaze with chilli, lemongrass and torch ginger )

For further reads on the event, go to

Mar 3, 2011

A Virtual Potluck Party

Crazy huh? A virtual potluck party! The common thread through similar posts I've seen, is that there is a competition of sorts, some judging involved and always a prize for the winner. I have broadened my food horizons considerably since I started blogging, and have come across so many good recipes, that choosing a winner perhaps isn't really possible or even fair. My intention was always to introduce as many of my friends and their blogs, to as many of my other friends, and their blogs, as possible. While the response made for more of a cosy get together rather than a rocking food fiesta.... look at what my party animals brought! 7 mouth-watering dishes, from different parts of the world, from appetizers to desserts! Perfect!

Thanks to Elin (who so kindly brought 2 dishes), Mythreyi (who also brought 2 dishes), Alyce, Eugenia and Elisabeth. And if any of my charming guests would like to host the next one, I'll be sure to contribute.

For those of you who missed out ... you can click on the name of the dishes and get linked to the yumminess!