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Nov 17, 2015

Rosemary Ginger Banana Cake

I thought I’d posted my favourite banana cake recipe awhile ago. Can’t seem to find it anywhere. 
But, no biggie. 
Here’s a twist to the basic.

That worked really well …. lightly fragrant with rosemary and ginger. I used crystallised ginger instead of fresh, so as not to have it too pungent and spicy. And a sprig of rosemary on the top and not chopped nor mixed into the batter. It is after all, a banana cake and we don’t want to confuse the main hero of this recipe.

And if you’re a stickler for tradition, just omit the herb and ginger and stick with the same proportions, it’ll still yield a lovely loaf…well, three little loaves if you use the same tins I did. 



1+ 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1+1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp fine salt

3 large eggs
1+1/2 cups soft brown sugar
1 cup mashed bananas (I used pisang emas, also known as monkey bananas)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or any unflavored cooking oil)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

coarsely chopped crystallized ginger
rosemary sprigs


Preheat oven to 180C.
Oil and line loaf pans. I used 3 mini loaf pans (6”x3”x2”)

Whisk sifted flour, baking soda and salt together.
In another larger bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, mashed bananas, vanilla extract, melted butter and oil until well mixed.
Add flour and fold evenly into mixture.
Stir in chopped crystallized ginger.
Fill tins.
Place a sprig of rosemary on the top of each loaf.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 mins.
Remove from tins and leave to cool on rack.

*(Remove rosemary sprig before consuming.) 

Aug 25, 2015

Chinese Red Glutinous Rice Wine Stewed Chicken

Sigh …. I’m in heaven ….
Thank you, Pris!

It’s been too long since Priscilla’s grandmother fed me my first taste of this very traditional Foo Chow (Hock Chew) dish. Stewed Red Wine Chicken. At the first look of it, I was a little scared. But after the first bite ….. I made the little old lady happy by asking for a second helping. Or maybe she just thought I was such a greedy girl.
She’d passed away two years ago. Bless her soul. 
There goes my chance of having more of this wonderful dish, or so I thought. 
I did give the commercial ones a try and they have never been up to par. It’s either too sweet or too sour. Seriously, I thought this was a difficult dish to make. 
Another friend made some for me when she’d got a homemade batch of the wine and lees. And I went off to heaven again. Sigh … will I ever be able to make this myself?
Then Priscilla came for a visit and brought me a bottle of homemade red wine and lees (made by her niece), recipe handed down from grandma! Gosh … I didn’t know if I could pull this off. 

Well waddaya know? I did. I know it doesn’t look like the real thing. Hey, it’s my first attempt but the taste is just as heavenly as I remembered it. And you know, it isn’t rocket science. In fact, I took the lazy way out and just dumped everything in the slow cooker.
You’re suppose to sauté some ginger for garnish and brown the chicken pieces before stewing. Oh what the heck. 

By the way, this isn’t red wine made from grapes. It’s made from red glutinous rice. So, basically, it’s a rice wine with a glaringly vibrant deep red. That’s why it’s so scary looking. 


Half a chicken, cut into large chunks
1 heaped tbs Chinese glutinous red wine lees
1 cup Chinese red wine
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs finely grated ginger or ginger juice
5 - 6 pieces thick sliced old ginger


(Like I said I did the lazy easy way)

Marinade chicken pieces with the lees, sesame oil and grated ginger. 
Leave for 30 mins to an hour
Plonk chicken into slow cooker.
Add sliced ginger, Chinese red wine and soy sauce.
Set slow cooker to High and cook for about 2 - 3 hours or until chicken is cooked. 
(You don’t want to overcook the chicken or it’ll fall off the bone)

Serve as is with fluffy white rice or the traditional way, over cooked rice vermicelli.

*What I’d learnt from this dish. It isn’t in the cooking. It’s in the wine making. Good wine makes good stew.
The commercial stuff …. yuk. Chinese glutinous red wine making is an art.

Aug 16, 2015

Penang Style Indian Mee Goreng (Fried Noodles)

You gotta do what you gotta do.
Especially when you’re desperate.

I’ve been having a craving for the Penang style Indian Mee Goreng for the longest time. Actually, come to think of it, I’m forever craving this. It’s a life long, constant crave. 
It’s addictive.
There’s a ton of carbs in here … but who cares. Malaysian food is all about carbs anyway. 
And I don’t get this anywhere in the big city, nothing that can compare to the ones on the island.
And when you’ve had one too many bad ones, you kinda give up and get all hot and bothered and then decide to just make it yourself.

I must say it isn’t bad at all …. can’t get up to par to the island masters but it’s as close as I can get without the sweet potato spiced gravy or the chilly squid curry/sambal that is such a secret to each individual stall. It’s enough to satisfy my crave …. for now.


Oil for frying
5 large garlic cloves (chopped)
4 tbs chilli paste
500g yellow noodles (blanched and drained)
2 pieces firm tofu (fried and cut into cubes)
1 large waxy potato (boiled, peeled and diced)
1 tomato (diced)
dough  and shrimp fritters (I got these from the rojak man), cut into bite sized pieces
2 large handfuls beansprouts
1/2 cup coarsely ground peanuts (optional)
Sliced chinese lettuce for garnish
Sliced green chillies for garnish
Sugar and salt to taste

Lime or calamansi

Sauce: mix together

3 tbs soy sauce
3 tbs thick dark caramel soy 
3 tbs thick tamarind juice
1 tbs white vinegar
3 tbs tomato ketchup


Heat a deep pan or wok with a few tbs of cooking oil. Fry chopped garlic and chilly paste.
Add cut potatoes and tomatoes.
Stir in drained noodles and sauce mix.
Stir until noodles are slightly dry. Then add in the tofu, fritters and bean sprouts. 
Turn off heat. You don’t want to overcook the beansprouts. 
Stir in ground peanuts or just sprinkle over the top when you wanna eat. 
Garnish with sliced lettuce and sliced green chillies.
Eat with a squeeze of lime and get transported to the lovely Pearl of the Orient. 

I’m so satisfied right now …. burp …. squeeze me.

Jul 22, 2015

Overnight Oats

Some folks just don’t like eating oats. I’ve been told it’s boring.
Well …. YOU are boring. 
Oats are so boring you can actually make it very interesting. 

Growing up, mum used to dump an egg, milk and honey in my oats, cook it to a custardy yumminess and serve it to a delighted me. Don’t go eeww … custard IS made with eggs.

Just last week, a visiting good friend was talking about overnight oats. That triggered a childhood craving for oats …. but with a new and modern, healthy twist … no cooking and raw.

You know, it saves a ton of time in the morning. Just prepare it the night before and it’ll be nice and ready when you’re rushing for time the next morning. 
It’s yummy and keeps you energised til lunch …. sometimes I still don’t feel hungry at lunchtime and just have a light snack. How good is that? And that’s even after a tough 2-hour tennis game. Of coz that also depends on how much of the oats you consume.

This is my portion …
(I use a 200 ml jam jar)

3 - 4 heaped tbs rolled oats
1 tsp chia seeds (this makes it gooey. I love gooey oats …. oats are meant to be gooey. You can omit this if you don’t want it gooey. It’ll be a little coarser. I’m not a horse. I don’t like coarse and gritty down my throat)
1 tsp honey
1 good pinch of cinnamon
milk (filled to about 3 quarters of the jar)

Stir everything together and then add the fruits. You can also add the fruits just before eating.

diced peaches

Put the lid on and leave in the refrigerator overnight. 
Yeah … overnight …. why do you think it’s called OVERNIGHT oats?

Tons of options:

Almond / soy milk
Yogurt (dilute a little)
Other spices
Chocolate chips / syrup
Cocoa powder
Your fav fruit
Whatevers ……

DO NOT be boring

Jul 4, 2015

Some Kinda Korean

Fresh, clean, simple flavors.
Just perfect for hot, humid days. 

I called it “Some Kinda Korean” so as not to have someone come after me telling me it’s not.
I used a Korean Beef Bulgogi Marinade. That’s all.
I love the simplicity of their summer dishes. It’s more of a salad. 
Easy, light, refreshing ….. preparation is easy too. My fav kind.


Beef slices (for stir frying)
Beef Bulgogi Marinade (bottled, any brand will do)
Dash of sesame oil
White vinegar
Ground white pepper

Carrots, julienned
Spinach, cut into about 2” lengths (or your preferred greens)
Toasted sesame seeds

Oil for stir frying

* I don’t have exact measurements for this. Just use enough marinade sauce to coat beef generously. The vinegar was added to compliment the sweetness of the sauce. 


Toss beef slices with the bulgogi marinade sauce, dash of sesame oil, dash of vinegar and ground white pepper into a baggy or container. Coat beef well with the marinade. 
Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Blanch carrots and spinach (or just have them raw if you prefer. I like blanching the carrots as it makes it a little sweeter in flavor.)
Drain the veges.

Heat a little oil in the pan.
Stir fry the marinaded beef and remove from pan once cooked. Leaving it too long will make it tough to chew. 
If you have some liquid left from the marinade, add it to the pan and cook it down to a thick syrupy consistency. Otherwise, simply pour a small amount of bulgogi sauce from the bottle and heat through. Spoon over cooked beef.

Serve beef and veges over fluffy rice or just as a salad on it’s own. 
Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top and devour!

Jun 10, 2015

Tomato Cream Pasta Sauce

How the heck do you make a blob look good?!

Anyway…this was a spur of the moment “I-need-food-and-crave-something-sweet-yet-sour-and-savory”. It’s simple, deliciously satisfying and I am now sharing it with you, ugly, blobby pic or not.

It’s all about the sauce so I’m not getting into the meatballs which you can see (if you squint very intently) contributing to the blobbiness of the blob. I needed something a little more substantial than plain old pasta, even as good a sauce as this …. I need meat! Besides, gotta replace whatever I lost after this morning’s tough workout. Now I’m nicely padded again ….. sigh.

This was cooked by “feel”, as in, no precise measurements, just by my tastebuds. But I shall attempt to give you the amounts …. just an estimate. Taste as you go along. 


250g tomato puree
1 large onion
4 -5 large cloves garlic
about 2 tbs grated parmesan cheese
salt & sugar, to taste 
200g cream

Chopped herbs


Chop onion and garlic.
Heat oil and butter.
Saute chopped onion and garlic.
Pour in tomato paste.
Stir and simmer gently for a few minutes. 
Add parmesan. 
Taste and add salt and sugar as needed. (I’d used about 1/2 tsp salt and about 1 tbs sugar - this depends on how salty the parmesan is. So, tasting the sauce after adding the parmesan is important).
Remove from heat and cool a little before stirring in the cream.
Serve with prepared pasta of choice and a sprinkling of freshly chopped herbs …. and meatballs, if you prefer. 

May 24, 2015

Gyozas/Dumplings (To mold or not to mold)

This is more of a post on the mold than a recipe. 

It looks more like a bear trap …for teddy bears … it doesn’t look too menacing.
There’s a Japanese store called Daiso, where most everything is RM5 … which translates to about USD$1.50. This contraption caught my attention and was too weird to ignore. 
Normally I like messing about with my fingers, making shapes and out-of-shapes. 
After messing about with this for awhile, I’ve decided that making and shaping dumplings by hand is way faster altho the mold makes it really neat and uniformed.

These Chinese Jicama Dumplings are made by fiddly fingers … not talking about the recipe, just about the shaping and sealing methods. 

The ones in the main pic, I’d used wanton skins and filled it with a stuffing of minced meat, minced shrimp, chopped spring onions, salt and pepper, cornflour to bind it all together and for a silkier texture and the optional beaten egg, also to bind.
You can also fill it instead with sliced bananas and chocolate for a sweet dessert, fried til crisp and served with ice cream or drizzled with maple syrup. 
Wanton skins aren’t just for savouries.

May 20, 2015

Egg Muffin

Well, waddaya know! 
This wasn’t that hard to make. So why are they charging so much for it? Hmm ….

Nope. No recipe post this time … but, well, I snuck something in anyway …. look closely …..

This is a no brainer. Something simple with ready ingredients any normal fridge would/should have.
It’s my go-to whenever I don’t crave for anything specific and not particularly hungry for anything fancy. Eggs are my best friend. 
It’s convenient to have a batch of English muffins stashed in the freezer. I like homemade ones … I make them to the size of my appetite. Make some, you won’t regret it.

Split the English muffin
Toast the muffin halves. 
Fry an egg (runny yolk of course). 
Plonk onto toasted muffin half. 
Top with crunchy pickles, a dollop of ketchup and whatever else that makes you happy. 
Top with other toasted muffin half.
Munch away!

Boring, isn’t it?

Shutting up now ….

Feb 2, 2015

Hot Sauce (Sriracha) Chicken Wings

There are so many types of chilly sauce here, locally made to suit our very fireproof tastebuds. I’ve only come across the name “Sriracha” in the American blogs and recipes. And I don’t think it was even on our grocer shelves til recently. 
I’ve ignored it for the longest time, never having a need for some foreign brand telling me it’s better than what I can get at home. 

Then this recipe popped up. The gooey deliciousness got to my tummy and I. 
Drool, I did. Make, I want.

I was sure this could also be made using our local chilly sauce / hot sauce. But then, I’ve never tasted Sriracha. Who knows, maybe it’s got an interesting flavouring that makes the recipe. Gotta get a bottle. Bought, I did.

Meh. It’s hot sauce. Chilly sauce, minus the sugary sweetness that many of our local brands favor. Now I can truly say … yes, this can also be made using our local chilly / hot sauces … minus the honey.
The thing that makes this more interesting is the bergamot leaves. It gives it an exotic flavor and a beautiful scent to the whole “burn my tongue silly”. 

(Recipe adapted from Slow Roasted Italian)


6 chicken wings (drummets to tips, whole or separated)
1/2 cup Sriracha sauce
1/2 cups honey
1 tbs butter
juice of 1 lime
2 tsps finely shredded bergamot leaves (lima purut), divided


Toss everything with 1 tsp of shredded bergamot into a slow cooker. 
Stir to coat chicken wings.
Cook on high for 2-3 hours. 
Remove wings gently (gets very tender and might fall to pieces) and place on a lined baking pan.

From this point, you can broil the chicken wings immediately and baste with the watery liquid or reduce the liquid to a thick syrup and then baste and broil and baste and broil …. to your heart’s content and until it’s slightly caramelised.

Remove from oven.
Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp shredded bergamot leaves and serve warm.

Jan 21, 2015

Sandwich Maker Tofu with a Zesty Miso Dip

This is an amazing idea!
You just gotta try it out. 
I’m not writing particularly about tofu. I mean, seared tofu? Pffft!!! Anyone can do that. 

I’d seen this idea floating about on the net a while ago and it inspired me to sear some tofu to go with this amazing, tangy, spicy, sweet, sour, zesty, all-textures dip that mum used to make. Brought back a ton of memories…

Anyway, the dip calls for a Chinese fermented bean paste (tau cheong) quite similar to miso. I didn’t have that paste, I had miso. Miso it is. And I think from now on, I’d stick to miso. It’s just so good!

Right, the tofu. 
Everyone has a waffle iron/sandwich maker, right? No? What? Oh …..
Never mind. Whenever you can get your paws on one….
Like I said, it’s such a good way to sear tofu. 
Or hash browns, polenta cakes, mochi……yes, you read right. Mochi. Those gooey little things. It gets crispy on the outside and still soft and gooey on the inside. Yummers!  I’m sure there are more stuff that can be done with a sandwich maker besides a grilled cheese sandwich. Get creative, peeps!
There’s very little oil used too. And it makes a more even shade of sear.


Firm tofu, cut into wedges or whatever shapes that’ll fit your sandwich maker
oil for brushing or spray

Dip: (This is just a guide. Adjust to suit your tastebuds)

1 - 2 tbs dried shrimp, toasted (like you would nuts)
1 tbs brown miso
Juice of 1 large lime (key lime)
2 - 3 tsps sugar
chillies, sliced


Mix all of the dip ingredients into a small bowl except the toasted shrimp.
Stir to mix until sugar has completely dissolved. Taste and adjust accordingly.
Stir in toasted dried shrimp just before serving so that it remains crispy.
Leave aside.

Brush or spray the sandwich maker plates with oil. Place the tofu wedges on, cover and let the gadget do its work. When done, check to see if it’s browned or golden enough to your liking. Otherwise, cook a little longer.
Remove and have it warm with the dip.

Makes a great appetiser.

Jan 3, 2015

Banana Chia Power Smoothie

So you’re all pooped from the festivities. 
Need an energy booster? 
Or a cure for a hangover? (Do I sound like an ad?)

This was something I picked up from my travels. An instant energy booster. Yummy to boot.
Just the other day, I’d found it on our local grocer’s chiller and wait …. how much was that? You gotta be kidding me?! Forget it, I’ll make my own ….. 

It makes a great breakfast on the go as well. For someone (me) who isn’t into the whole shebang of slicing, toasting, pan frying, buttering, eat, wash and wash some more … this is just brilliant. 

Make it the night before and you’re all set to take on the world the next day!


(Note: measurements are per 250 - 300 ml bottle / mason jars)

1 - 2 small bananas, sliced (this depends on how thick you want your smoothie to be)
1 cup apple juice
1 tbs chia seeds (too much of this and you’ll get pudding)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
honey / sugar (optional)


Puree bananas and 1/2 cup of the apple juice in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Put 1 tbs chia seeds and ground cinnamon into bottle / jars. 
Pour in puree and top up with remaining apple juice, cap and shake to mix it up.
Leave overnight in the fridge.
Glug the next day … watch out, world!