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Dec 30, 2011

Savoury Pastry Munchies & Bloggers Unplugged

These are about the cutest, chubbiest Christmas trees and stars. So good for a snack, with a good cuppa or/and a/several good beer(s) … kinda like a bowl of peanuts, pretzels .. you know, bar munchies, stuff that you just keep on popping into your mouth and just can't stop munching on. This was inspired at the very last minute by Sissi (go check out her pretty, pretty stars!) and I love her to bits for it. That also saved throwing away the leftover pastry for the Turducken pies. No wastage and soooo easy! Roll, cut, brush eggwash, sprinkle on your favorite toppings and bake. Do you really need a recipe?! Good grief! Okaaay, fiiiine, here ….


leftover puff pastry (ok, it doesn't have to be leftovers)
cumin seeds
poppy seeds
sesame seeds
coarse sea salt


Preheat oven to 180˚C.
Roll out pastry to very thin. (Remember to flour your board generously or you'll get out of shape starfish-looking stars like mine when it gets stuck and you try peel them off).
Cut out to desired shapes.
Place on a lined baking tray.
Brush with eggwash, sprinkle with toppings, bake 15 - 20 mins or until golden and puffed.

*Tip: It doesn't have to be any particular shape or size or even a need to use a cookie cutter. Just any odd-shaped tiny bite-sized pieces would do just fine. But if you choose to do that, it might be less time consuming to eggwash your pastry as a larger piece, sprinkle the toppings and then haphazardly chop them up into pieces, otherwise you'll be eggwashing until the turduckens come home!

Bloggers Unplugged

Right. This has been long overdue what with all the hoohah of the season. Sissi tagged me, Charles tagged me and before it starts to seem that I'm being rude not responding to their tags (sorry for the tardiness, guys), here it is …

1. What, or who, inspired you to start a blog?

Hmm …. the 'what' would be when I had to keep typing out and sending out recipes to friends who asked me for them and I got tired of sending the same recipes so many times, I decided to put it all in here and just tell them, "Go look at my blog." :D
The 'who' part would be a little more difficult … let's just say we had some really bad food at a very well known restaurant, paid through our noses and decided we could do better and let people know how easy it is to make stuff at home and not having to bust a hole in your pockets nor suffer the rudeness of chefs and waiters when told their food is crap.

2. Who is your foodie inspiration?

Another hmm … there are quite a number to name here. It would mainly be my mom and mum inlaw.

3. Your greasiest, batter-splattered food/drink book is?

I have a TON of cookbooks! None of them are greasy nor batter-splattered. Tsk. I love my books.
My favorites would be Nyonya Flavors for the taste of home, How to be a Domestic Goddess (Nigella) … I love how she makes things so easy and the way she describes them. (I wish I could write/talk like that). And of course my cooking bible, Joy of Cooking.

4. Tell us about the best thing you have eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?

Gosh, that's hard. At different stages of my life, I have different tastes and that too depends on what I crave for at the time. I can remember clearly enjoying one of the best Veal Steaks in a Trattoria in Assisi. I don't know if it's because we were starving or because of the atmosphere or the company (that's so important as well), but I remembered finishing every morsel and wishing it were a bigger piece.

5. Another food blogger’s table you’d like to eat at?

Everyone's!! It's gonna be one humongous table!

6. What is the one kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)?

Too late now to ask Santa for anything. He'd probably forget this next year but it's worth a try …

Dear Santa,

Remember the range oven you brought about 15 years ago or so? Well, the door is almost falling off its hinges now. I've been good and haven't asked for a new one and have been struggling with all my baking stuff for so long, I think it's about time I threw that out, don't you think? It has certainly served me well and I love it to bits, that's why I've kept it slogging away for that long. Poor thing. I'm hoping you'll remember this request for next Christmas. Maybe if you just put it in the calendar on your Ipad or Blackberry (that I don't have), it might help you get a little more organized. Just a suggestion.
Rest well, dear old man. See you next year. Love lots. Ping.
PS. Just another teeny request … throw in a chest freezer too if it's not too much trouble. Thanks xxoo.

7. Who taught you how to cook?

Self taught and then from everyone I've clicked! :D

8. I’m coming to you for dinner, what is your signature dish?

Haha! There are friends who know me well enough to tell you not to expect the usual and normal stuff when you eat here. It's always something different. Nothing exotic or strange, just regular dishes done in my own way. Therefore, the answer to this would be …. DIFFERENT.

9. What is your guilty food pleasure?

This one's easy ….. FOOD.

10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?

I actually have a brain. I just pretend to look and sound stupid.

Was I suppose to tag people? I can't remember. I'll do it anyway coz I had fun with this and here's hoping this short list of taggees will have some fun with the questions too. No obligations.

1. Veronica @ QuayPoCooks
2. Veronika @ Eattheroses
3. Veronica @ Veronica's Kitchen

Can you tell I'm having fun with the Veronic(k)as from different ends of the world?

Christmas Buffet 2011

Dec 26, 2011

Turducken Pie

Turkey + Duck + Chicken = Turducken, has been around for awhile now, but I've only recently been opened to the idea of making one myself. Instead of the usual chicken-in-duck-in-turkey roll (who says it has to be that way anyway?), I've deconstructed and reconstructed it into a pie! Not surprised? Guess you know me quite well ... PING STRIKES AGAIN!!! Nyahaha!! (Say it with your tongue sticking to the roof of your mouth and in a seriously nasal tone). A blogger friend made a comment recently and made me realise I can't seem to stick to the basic recipe of most dishes. I guess that could probably be termed "weird", "strange", "stubborn", but maybe for a better choice of word ... "eccentric". Yeah, I prefer that one.

Anyway, this was part of the buffet for our Christmas Eve family dinner, with a few good friends. Over the next few posts, I will feature some of the goodies we had that night. And if you figure you want to make them and 25th December has passed, doesn't the song say we have 12 days of Christmas? Party on, folks! Also, something to keep in mind for next Christmas.

For this recipe... I've preroasted the meats, seasoned with just thick caramel soy, molasses and a little oil. You can always season it anyway you like.


1 cup diced roasted turkey meat
1 cup diced roasted duck meat
1 cup diced roasted chicken meat
1 1/2 - 2 cups finely chopped leaks, white parts only
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup flour
1 cup diced parboiled waxy potatoes
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 cup grated cheese (I used a mix of 3/4 cup grated strong cheddar and 1/4 cup grated mozzarella)
puff pastry (I used store bought stuff), or you can use shortcrust (see Quickie Quiche post)
salt and pepper to taste (depending on how salty your cheddar is and if you used salted bacon)
lightly beaten egg for eggwash
grapeseed oil and butter for frying

Ingredients I'd love to have put in but didn't due to fussy eaters and 'non-kosherness' :

chopped cooked bacon
fresh thyme
freshly grated nutmeg


Heat butter & oil in pan.
Saute chopped leeks over medium heat until soft.
Stir in flour and stir until lightly browned.
Add milk to the leeks, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in mustard and cheeses.
Stir in meats and potatoes. Also add in bacon, if using, herbs and spices.
Season to taste.
Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 C, roll and cut out pastry to desired size (you can make hand held sizes like what I did here or make bigger ones).
Press cutout pastry into muffin/pie pans. Fill pastry, brush edges with eggwash, cover with more pastry.
Brush the tops with eggwash, poke a teeny hole on top for it to breathe and bake for 18- 20 mins or until golden.
Serve warm. That's when the cheese gets all sticky, melty, gooey and yummy!

*Freezes well cooked or uncooked.

Christmas Buffet 2011

Disclaimer: Quality of photos are not up to the usual standards due to ravenous guests' growling tummies.

Dec 24, 2011

Merry Christmas & Christmas Pudding Cookies

(Thank you everyone for helping get this to FoodBuzz Top 9)

Merry Christmas!

Well, folks. I'm wishing you here and now before I collapse. It's past midnight. I'm moaning and groaning (oh my aching feet ... and knee) from all the baking and preparations for Christmas Eve dinner but my friend sitting here next to me pointed out that i'm still smiling. Hmm ... must be going senile (me, not her) or I just enjoy putting myself through all this. Heh .. actually, I believe I do! But thank goodness it's only once a year. Yeah, I know Chinese New Year is another big celebration and will be just another month away, but Christmas is the biggie for us. I'll survive.
And I'd probably do it all over again next year! ... with a smile :D

Meanwhile, have a blast and don't get too hung over, and if you do drink, don't drive. I'm drinking at home, my home, I'm allowed to get as sloshed as I like.

Oh yeah, the Christmas Pudding Cookies up there ...
These are just one of many that I've been making over the last couple of days. Little cookie gift packs for my guests.
This one's the simplest. Plain old Chocolate Cookie with some Christmas Pudding spices as an option.


200 g butter, softened
200 g sugar
50 g cocoa powder
350 g flour
1 egg
1 tbs cold water

Optional Spices

1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger

Decorating Ingredients

150g white chocolate
green & red sugar paste (for holly), leaves and berries to be prepared at least a day before and set overnight


Preheat oven to 160˚ C.
Cream butter and sugar.
Beat in egg and cold water. Mix well.
Fold in cocoa powder and flour until you get a smooth dough.
Refrigerate for an hour.
Roll out between wax paper and cut into circles. (My circles were about 2 1/4").
Bake 12-15 mins.
Cool before decorating.

To Decorate

Melt white chocolate in microwave. Zap in short bursts, be careful not to burn chocolate.
Pour melted chocolate in a piping bag (be careful, it's hot!). Or alternatively, melt the chocolate in a heat proof baggy, snip off a teeny hole at the end and pipe. (See 'The Occasional Tip')
Using a fine plain tip, pipe the outline of the white 'custard', allowing it to set before flooding with more white chocolate.
Place holly quickly before chocolate sets.
If that does happen, just dollop a little melted chocolate and stick those little guys on.
*Note: you might need to re-microwave the chocolate every now and then when it thickens too much to pipe. Use a very low setting and just give it a short burst each time.

Happy Holidays!

Dec 16, 2011

Blizzard Bread

I'm dreaming, of a white Christmas ... I think I overdid the "snow" bit, didn't I? An appropriate name then, "Blizzard". I'm submitting this to the White Christmas Challenge by Very Good Recipes. They can't complain about this being not white enough. Heh. I learnt of the challenge from Veronica of Quay Po Cooks. She's one of the judges (woohoo!) and this is the site's very first recipe challenge. Check them out.

There's so much I wanted to say about this post. So many ideas were going on in my head, so many recipes going on in this bread. Too many ideas spoil the recipe ... not in this case. Nope. Not at all.

Talk about being snowed under with too many ideas. It would be very difficult for me to thank or to link to any single person or blog for the bread. So, here's a great big THANK YOU to everyone who have made anything from the list of inspirations below and for allowing me to massacre your recipes and for not biting my head off (yet).

The main feature here is actually the Spiced Chocolate Banana Jam that's been snowed under and in between the layers and rightfully inspired by Chef in Disguise, with a few teeny changes. I've been wanting to make and share this for awhile now but have been delayed for trying to think of a different way, other than featuring it in the usual "in a bowl" / "spooned" shot.

Then there was a spate of cinnamon rolls posts ...

Then a whole lot of Povitica posts ...

Then the Christmas mood kinda crept up on me and I'd wanted to make something "wreathy" like last year's Christmas Bread ...

Then the White Christmas Challenge came along ...

Then you know what happened.

I'd used my trusty bread machine to knead this Vanilla Sour Cream Bread dough. The bread portion here is enough to make two 12" wreaths. Feel free to turn it into one giant-sized one. I would if I could but I didn't have a pan large enough.



1/2 cup water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbs butter, softened
3 cups bread flour / high protein flour
3 tbs sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp quick active dry yeast

Decoration options:

powdered sugar
almond flakes


Dump everything (except the decoration options) into the bread machine bin in the order they are listed.
Select 'dough' cycle.
Go check facebook for weird comments.
Twiddle your thumbs.
When machine beeps and dough is ready, remove from bin and thwack it around a little to remove the air bubbles.
Divide into 2 blobs. Roll out one portion of the dough into a rectangle, measuring about 9" X 16" or larger or shorter, no big deal.
Spread prepared Spiced Chocolate Banana Jam in a thin layer leaving the edges clean.
(Note: It's important not to get too carried away putting on too much jam coz it'll all ooze out when baking .... spoken from experience)
Roll as you would a swiss roll, pinch the edges together to seal.
Using a very sharp knife, cut lengthwise down the middle, leaving about half an inch intact at the end.
(This part gets a little messy, especially if you were heavy handed with the jam).
Plait the 2 strands one over the other and then coil it into a wreath, pinching the ends together.
Leave to proof in a warm place for about an hour or until almost doubled it's size.
(Do the same with the other blob of dough or you can always just leave it as a plain vanilla bread. It's heavenly!)
Sprinkle with almond flakes if using. (I forgot).
Bake in a 180˚C oven for 10 mins, tent with some foil and then bake another 10 - 15 mins.
(I'm not saying "until golden brown" as it looks reeeaaally brown due to the chocolate).
Cool on rack completely before dusting with powdered sugar.

(This can be made days ahead. Keeps well in the fridge)


3 large ripe bananas
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbs orange juice
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
few drops almond extract
100 g dark chocolate, chopped
1 tbs ground almonds


Plonk bananas, sugar, orange juice and spices into a food processor.
Buzz until a smooth consistency.
Pour into a pan and cook over medium heat for about 10 mins.
Mix into chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth.
Add vanilla, almond extract and ground almonds.
Leave to cool before bottling and refrigerating.
Keeps for about 3 weeks.

Dec 5, 2011

Scallops with Mango Chutney: Another Review

Mango Chutney.
Another cool product from Vom Fass, part of a bunch of interesting stuff Mr Teoh (GM) so kindly passed on to me for a review.

As with the raspberry chutney, this had all the glorious aroma of the fruit, it would be such a shame to try use it in a cooked recipe as a sauce or something. I was very tempted to use it as a Thai styled topping with a fried fish dish, or in another sweet, or a pie, or, or ... So many ideas, so little chutney! Big hint, Mr Teoh! :D

So, again, I've kept it simple, with clean, fresh flavors to complement.


Fresh scallops
Red onions
Red chillies
Coriander leaves
Mango chutney (Vom Fass, of course, duh)
A little oil to sear the scallops


Peel and dice the onions.
Discard seeds and white membranes of chillies. Chop finely.
Chop the coriander leaves.
Mix chutney, onions, chillies and coriander together.
Leave in the fridge for the flavors to infuse while you prepare the scallops.
Heat a non-stick pan.
Brush scallops with a little oil. Sear scallops until you get a golden brown crust.
Flip and do the same for the other side. (About a minute or so each side, depending on the thickness of your scallops).
Remove from pan. (*Do not overcook, scallops will continue to cook after you take them off the heat).
Pile chutney mix on top and devour immediately!
(*Scallops get rubbery if you wait too long to serve them).

Product Review Disclaimer:
This product was sent to me at no cost. I am under no contract or
obligation to write a review or to make it a positive one if I did.
I write my honest opinions and will tell you quickly if a product
is not up to my standards. My reviews are my opinion only. I do not make any money on any of the products I review.