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May 30, 2011

Origami Cake

Aren't these cute? They are the brainchild of Art @ Michelangelointhekitchen.... or maybe he'd got it from somewhere, not too sure but the idea is just so cool! He's not called Michelangelo for nothing ... check him out!

Origami: the art of paper folding, Japanese, creative and ingenious baking molds!

I've made some boxes to put cookies in as little gifts sometimes but never thought of using it to bake with. I still can't get over how great an idea this is. Now, if I could get my hands on colorful baking paper ... I don't think they make them, do they? Those would have made great novelty gifts! Oh well ....

This origami creation is called the Waterbomb. Fill them with water and have terrific water fights! ... summer snowballs!

I've provided a link below for those who might need to know how to make them. Use them however you like :D

I've used a basic Madeleine recipe here as Art did, and I've also tried using a plain vanilla Chiffon cake batter in another batch. After this test drive, I'd try some other fancy flavors. The only difficulty I found with using these as molds is, how much cake batter to put in. Too little and it doesn't fill it up, resulting in a slightly out of shape cake..... too much and the whole ball pops its seams or you get a funny little mushroom at the top (this isn't too bad as you can just break off the mushroom top, pop it into your mouth and pretend nothing happened, no one would realise any different ... nyuknyuk!)

So, just a QUICK GUIDE ....

If using a Madeleines recipe, fill slightly more than half.

And for the chiffon, fill half or slightly below ... those things can really puff up! (I found out the hard way) Lots of "mushrooms" to eat tho :D


I'm using baking parchment measuring 15 X 15 cm.


Basic Madeleine batter


Plain Chiffon Cake batter


After making the cake batter, pour into a squeeze bottle with a narrow spout or alternatively, put into a piping bag. Fill waterbombs through the little blow-holes and bake about 12 - 15 mins at 170˚C... depending on the recipe used.

Serve as is or remove wrapping and dust with some powdered sugar.

No throwing at each other once baked ..... ouch.

May 25, 2011

Winter Kimchi

The reason for the "winter" bit in the title is that many of us (yeah, me included, until I did some research leading up to this recipe) associate the word "kimchi" to just one type of kimchi ... this one. I have found that there are so many other variations made at different times of the year, based on seasonal vegetables and also to take advantage of the weather before the era of refrigeration. And even with the modern refrigeration methods today, Koreans continue to consume kimchi according to traditional seasonal preferences.

Just a quick tour of the different types of kimchi during the different seasons:

- Spring

Fresh vegetables are normally used at this time. They are not fermented nor stored for long periods of time. Consumed fresh. They are not the usual red colored ones but fresh and green ..... Spring!

- Summer

Young summer vegetables like radishes and cucumbers are popular. Lightly spiced with fresh ground chili peppers with the addition of brined fish.

- Autumn & Winter

This is the most common type of kimchi in late fall and winter. Whole Napa cabbage is used and stuffed with ingredients that can vary, depending on the different regions and weather conditions. Usually prepared in late autumn or early winter and stored for it to ferment. Spicy (I'm assuming to warm one up during the cold) and usually flavored with fermented brined shrimp or fish.

This is my personal favorite altho I have to admit, I don't believe I've tried all the variations, but until then ...

I've always been daunted by the process of making kimchi at home until I came across Elin's version. She'd made it sound so simple and the ingredients can easily be found at the local grocer's. I just couldn't resist. I have tweaked it a little to suit my fussy tastebuds. They turned out beautifully!

You can check out her original version at her blog. No more buying! It's so simple to make! And the many things I can do with it .... stir fried beef with kimchi, kimchi soup, kimchi fried rice .... I even dump it in together with my instant noodles whenever I'm in that kind of mood. Nom nom ...


1 small napa cabbage, (abt 1/2 kg) quartered lengthways with stems attached and washed

Brine solution ( 3 - 4 liters water + 1 1/2 cups coarse salt)

3 heaped tbs chilly paste (reduce for less spicy) / korean gochujang paste

1/4 bowl cooked rice

150 g radish, julienned

40 g spring onions, cut into abt 2" lengths

15 g chilly flakes

10 g sugar

1 whole garlic bulb, skinned

2 tbs fermented baby shrimps / cincalok (you can even use brined fish/anchovies)

1/8 cup fish sauce


Soak the quartered cabbage in the brine solution for 4 hours, weighing the cabbage down with a heavy plate.

Remove and drain.

Place garlic cloves, rice, fermented shrimp, fish sauce, sugar, chilly paste and chilly flakes in a food processor and zap to a smooth paste. Stir in spring onions.

Stuff the cabbage with the paste, making sure to stuff in between the individual leaves and coating every inch of it.

Place kimchi into an airtight container and leave at room temperature for a day before leaving it to ferment further in the fridge for at least another week before consuming. I left mine for about 3 weeks.

May 17, 2011

Food for the Gods

The last time I had this must have been close to 20 years ago. I wasn't into baking then and kept buying it from this shop until I'd finally moved away and forgot all about it. Yes, there were the occasional cravings, but when you can't get it, and can't bake it .... go get distracted and do something else :D

Then I recently chanced upon Pinay Cooking Corner's blog and recipe for this and BWwwiiinggg!! all those years of cravings came rushing back at me (like when my cat ambushes me when he's playing at "attack the human/two-legged-mouse") and hit me like a ton of ... er, cat.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is a lovely recipe and exactly as how I imagined it had tasted all those years ago. It was a while before I could get started on this since dates were seasonal and fortunately for me, mum inlaw found some at the rear of her fridge space ...... a packet of semi-hard pebbly dates, bought and stored and forgotten from last year's Eid season. I wasn't too impressed with them at first, but she insisted they were fine and will be as good as new once I steamed them for 10 minutes. And what do you know!? She was right! Never knock the experience and wisdom of Seniors .... and the hoardings.

I haven't been able to find out why they've named it such (Food for the Gods), probably because it's ultra rich and ultra sweet, which is why I'll need to reduce the sugar for the next batch.

And for those who turn up their noses at dates, (I'm guilty of that, believe it or not) you really have to try this. I believe this is the only thing with dates that I'd eat. Oh wait, I do eat dates but only when they're fresh and yellow or pink and still on their stalks but not when they've over-ripened and turned a dark brown hue and the sugars have gone all winey and overly sweet. That's when this cake comes in ... Yummers!


1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

8 oz butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar (reduce if you want it less sweet)

3 eggs

1 tbs molasses

1 tbs honey

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chopped pecans (I omitted this and used 1 cup walnuts instead)

1 cup pitted dates, chopped coarsely


Preheat oven to 170˚C. Lightly grease or line a 9" X 13" pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Take 1/4 a cup from this and dredge the dates.

Cream butter and sugar.

Add vanilla and the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add molasses and honey and beat until evenly combined.

Stir in flour mixture.

Fold in dates and nuts.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 20 mins or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Serve as is or wrap individually with colored cellophane (that's how it's traditionally presented).

* Not for the diet conscious. :D

May 10, 2011

Review: Lebanese Wines

This was yet another privileged event for my other half and I, having been invited again to another of O'Gourmet's very exclusive wine tasting evenings.We were very excited to hear that they were featuring Lebanese wines that evening. What with the sheer production volume and reputation of the French wines and now, New World wineries, we have perhaps forgotten that the area around Lebanon was most possibly the granddaddy of all wine growing regions and the birthplace of wine itself! And apparently,
Chateau Musar had been around since the 1930s. Duh.
We also had the privilege of having the winery owner himself, Mr Ralph Hochar of Chateau Musar, who is the 3rd generation owner, to present his very exclusive and limited edition wines and to give us an overall history and details regarding the grapes, procedures etc, that our amateur minds needed to absorb... my apologies to the other folks who attended this event, I was only speaking for myself and hubby.

We started off with the Chateau Musar Cuvee Blanc 2004. It's made with Obaideh grapes from vines aging from 50 - 75 years. It had the most lovely fresh green apple scent. This was served to accompany an antipasti platter of marinated olives, peppers, mushrooms, calamari rings and my favorite of all .... the creme crottin tartlets, which is a creamy goat's cheese in a tartlet shell. Didn't think the shells did it any credit tho, I just dug out the crottin and ate it on its own .... Mmmmm, heaven!

Oh yeah, the wine ..... beautifully complimented each other. Wish they'd served more of that. Personally, I'd have this wine with some fresh oysters / seafood and a cheese platter and not the very marinated, sour feta stuffed tomatos that dulled my tastebuds (couldn't even taste the feta) and changed the taste of the wine.

That probably contributed to my opinion of this next wine ....
The Chateau Musar Jeune Blanc 2009, an unoaked blend of Viognier, Vermentino and Chardonnay, also served with the same antipasti platter, didn't hit my pleasure points as much as the Cuvee did. But then, I'm biased towards the more fruity wines. I thought the acidity was a little sharp. (Tongue-buds still a little wonky, remember?)

The unoaked Chateau Musar Jeune Red 2009, a blend of Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon was next and to compliment it was a Duck Confit Pizzette (where's the duck?) ... I thought the pizza was good even if I couldn't find any duck pieces in them and, yes, it went well with the wine. I felt the tannins were a little strong for me when drunk on its own but it mellowed some and went down easier when drunk with the food. I can imagine this with a good tomato-based pasta and maybe even some local curry dishes. Yessss ....!

The last and my favorite red for the night, the Chateau Musar Hochar Pere et Fils 2002, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Carignan and a hint of Grenache. A lightly oaked red, with all the scents of dark berries you can think of. Lovely! This was paired with Sous Vide Shortrib Beef Tempura with a spiced dip and some pickled red onions. Also recommended to compliment the wine: game, poultry.


1. Château Musar Cuvée Blanc 2004
2. Château Musar Jeune Blanc 2009
(Paired with an antipasti platter of marinated olives, pepperone, mushrooms, tabbouleh, creme crottin mini tartlets and calamari rings)

3. Château Musar Jeune Rouge 2009
(Paired with a duck confit pizzette)

4. Château Musar Hochar Pere et Fils Red 2002
(Paired with sous vide shortribs beef tempura with ras-el-hanout spiced dip)

All in all, it was a good evening and we also had some light moments with the in-house French Sommelier poking fun and making jabs at the Lebanese wines ... which I think he'd already swirled, nosed and "tasted" a couple of bottles before the event even started. :D

Not surprising that I went home happy (and pretty "tanned") with 3 of my favorite bottles in the bag.

Food by Chinoz

May 8, 2011

A Simple Wish

Here's a simple wish to all mothers out there, whether or not you're mothers to your own kids, other peoples' kids, your beloved pets, your family members ... at some point in our female lives, we have mothered and cared for someone as a mother would care for her own children and we all deserve to be labelled "A Loving Mother" for that.

Happy Mother's Day!

May 4, 2011

Spiced Yogurt Chook

Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's Essential Curries

I was craving for something sweet-ish but not a dessert ... not an eye-popping type sweet ... something sweet but savoury at the same time. Yes, I'm a difficult person/tummy to satisfy. And my husband will vouch for this ... I'm super grumpy when I'm hungry and don't get what I crave for. Poor guy.

So when I saw this recipe, my tastebuds popped out of their sockets and I could literally eat the page right out of that book. I could just imagine those flavors, and that was exactly what I needed right then. Sweet from the raisins, a light tartness from the yogurt, spices for savoury ... absoverylutely perfect!

Yay! It's gonna be a good day!


250 ml natural yogurt

1 tsp salt

fresh ground black pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp chilli powder (I thought this was a little mild, add more if you prefer)

1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander

1 kg chicken pieces


5 cardamom pods

3 cloves

1 stick cinnamon

2 bay leaves

3 tbs slivered almonds,

2 tbs sultanas / raisins


Mix together yogurt, 1/2 tsp salt, black pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder and half of the fresh chopped coriander. Set aside.

Season chicken pieces with the other 1/2 tsp salt and some black pepper.

Heat some oil in a pan and add in cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Stir a little and then add in the chicken pieces. Brown on both sides and remove to a large bowl.

Put the sultanas/raisins and almonds into the same hot oil. Stir quickly. Once the almonds turn golden and the raisins puff up (they look so cute! .... oh and this happens really fast, so, work quickly) return the chicken with all it's accumulated juices to the pan.

Add the seasoned yogurt and stir to mix evenly. Cover the pan and simmer on low heat for about 20 mins, stirring once or twice in between.

Remove the lid, turn the heat up and cook until the liquid is reduced and just clings to the chicken pieces. Turn the chicken over to coat evenly with the sauce.

Serve over fluffy white rice or with some damper bread.

* Note: If you can figure out which are the almonds/raisins and which are the spices, remove them for easier eating. I didn't enjoy biting into those cloves ... reminds me of the dentist. :{

Otherwise, this was a super delumpcious dish!