Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sago Gula Melaka

Sago Gula Melaka, the name itself is something foreign. I only learnt about the existence of this Malaysian dessert or as quoted by my friend a traditional nyonya dessert a few days back! This dessert came into conversation when i was actually at work working while exchanging emails talking about food, now that's what i call multitasking! When i saw the photo attached in the email i was like OMG! i need to learn how to make this! What was so OMG with the pic? Nothing big a deal really , its more like i was intrigued by how easy it looks and yet i've no idea how its made and there and then i got this really itchy bug in me that wanna try my hands on making this dessert. Hence, a lot of sms exchanging done with my friend to find out on the texture and everything else he could remember about the dessert!


I've tried searching for the origin of this dessert but it was a bittersweet experience for me. I was disappointed for i failed to find out the history/story of how this dessert came about nonetheless it was a sweet ending for i managed to find some useful tips that came together with the recipe. As usual, i don't usually stick to a recipe, especially something i've no idea on how it taste like. So i begun my journey of a lot of research and a lot of reading before finally deciding on how i should do. I love it when i could just figure it out or picture the whole process inside my head before actually executing it.


*1 cup of sago pearls
*5 cups water
*4 pcs screwpine leaves


1) Put screwpine leaves and water into a pot and boil for 10-15mins so that the water will be infused with the screwpine leaves flavour. 
2) Throw in the sago pearls and keep stirring it so they don't clump together. Let it simmer for 10-15minutes.
3) The sago pearls will turn transparent but there will still be a dot of white in the middle. So in order to get it all to turn transparent, turn off the heat and cover the pot with the lid and leave it for about 5minutes and if you can still see the white dot , just leave it a lil longer.
4) Once its all transparent , remove it from the stove and pour in some water and start sieving the sago pearls from the pot and transferring it into a bowl before filling up any moulds or cups. Before filling up the moulds/cups with the pearl , be sure to rinse it so that it will be easier to turn the sago out of the mould when its time to serve.
5) Let it cool completely before transfering it into the fridge to chill. 
6) Sago pearl is best served chilled, preferably a few hours in the fridge.

Gula Melaka Syrup
*150gm gula melaka (coconut sugar)
*100ml thick coconut milk


1) Shave the gula melaka and put about 1tsp water of hot water or you can put the shaved gula melaka in a bowl, add a tsp or 2 of water, depending on the thickness/consistency of the gula melaka you like and microwave it. Let it cool and chill it.
2) Pour the coconut milk in a bowl and microwave it to heat it up and let it cool before transferring it into the fridge.

When its time to serve , turn the sago out from the mould and pour some thick gula melaka on it and top it up with a spoon or two of coconut milk. This dessert is best served chilled.

The above picture is my second time making this dessert. The first time i served it with coconut milk but this time around i omitted the coconut milk for i don't have any available at home.

By boiling the screwpine leaves and  doing this your sago might turn out slightly yellowish for the leaves taint the water with its natural  green colour. So for those that want a white transparent sago pearl , its advisable to omit the leaves. 

You can let your sago pearls settle down in any mould you fancy , the above picture is a modified and shrunk version of the original size. I used the tea cup where they serve chinese tea in as the mould for i want it to be of bite size.

You can also toast some grated fresh coconut and top it up or you can serve this with caramelised banana, which i'm gonna try next time when i get around in making this dessert again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Crepes with Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream.

Today i got back home at about 3ish , slightly hungry due to the early lunch or rather brunch i had before heading over to college. I asked my mom what's there to munch on for tea but as expected , the usual answer from her, nothing. Was slightly disappointed but i knew that now its all up to me to feed my hungry stomach.

I know i've got a tub of raspberry ice cream in the fridge but i definitely didn't wanna go pig out on that tub therefore , i thought of making crepes to go with it , at least everyone at home can have it as a tea time snack.

* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/2 cup low-fat milk
* 2 tbsp olive oil / melted butter

1) Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
2) In another bowl , mix and whisk all the wet ingredients together and pour into the flour.
3) Stir and whisk until combined. Sift the batter to remove any lumps before making crepes.
4) Heat your non-stick pan over medium heat and oil the pan with some butter or olive oil. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the pan.
5) Cook it for approximately 2-3 minutes , turn and cook the other side.
6) Repeat step 4 and 5 for the remaining batter.
7) Serve it with your favourite type of ice cream.

For those who likes your crepes a lil buttery , add in the melted butter instead of the olive oil.

This recipe makes about 9 pieces of crepes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Moist Carrot Walnut Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Finally i made my first carrot walnut cake! I've been waiting to make this for a while now but didn't really have the time until today. I've had a packet of walnut sitting in my fridge for almost a few months now and i was so glad that i used up the whole pack. Surely didn't wanna leave anymore walnuts in my fridge, cause if i do , i have no idea when will i be able to use it again.


Carrot Walnut Cake
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
* 4 large eggs
* 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
* 1 cup canola oil
* 1/2 crushed pineapple
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
* 150g walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
* 360 g raw carrots, finely grated

1) Toast walnuts in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 180 degree C, let it cool and chop coarsely.
2) Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon powder in a bowl and set aside.
3) Beat the eggs for about 1-2 mins, until its frothy and gradually add the sugar and whisk until the mixture is light colored and thick, bout 4-5 mins. Add in the crushed pineapples.
4) Add in the oil in a consistent flow then pour in 2 tsp of vanilla extract.
5) Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
6) Fold in 3/4 of  the chopped walnuts and grated carrot.
7) Pour into a 9' square baking pan that's lined with a greaseproof paper and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 of the chopped walnuts on the top.
8) Let it cool and remove from the pan and if desire, you can either divide the cake into 1/2 or 1/4.

You can add in all the chopped walnuts into the batter, instead of sprinkling some on the top of the batter before baking it. I like my cake to have more texture especially when it involves nuts, that's why i set aside 1/4 of the walnuts to be sprinkled. You can also replace the walnuts with pecans.

Cool the whole cake and frost it with the cream cheese frosting or you can cut it into 4 pieces and assemble it to form a layered cake. If you layered it , then you'll have 2 layered carrot cakes that measure 4 1/2  by 4 1/2.

Since i've two mini carrot cakes, i decorated each of them differently. I covered one of it with finely chopped walnuts and the other only sprinkle it on the top.

For better tasting moist carrot cake, once its cooled, pop it into the fridge or you can just leave it at room temperature and only pop it into the fridge once you've done with the frosting. Leaving it in the fridge will ease your frosting session.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
250g cream cheese, room temperature
* 57g butter, room temperature
* 2 cups confectioner's sugar
* 1 tbsp lemon zest
* 1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Leave both the cream cheese and butter at room temperature. Once its ready , add both in a bowl and mix it until just blended with no lumps.
2) Add in the sifted powdered sugar gradually and mix until fully incorporated and smooth.
3) Add in your vanilla extract and then your 1 tbsp of lemon zest.
4) When the cake has cooled, frost it with cream cheese and decorate it with toasted finely chopped walnuts or just plain cream cheese frosting.

I cut down the powdered sugar to 1 1/2 cups. Keep tasting the frosting from time to time when you make it so that you can have a better control of the sweetness of your frosting.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shitakei Mushroom Soup

Lately i've been craving for mushroom soup but i didn't wanna go out there , order and have it. I want something homemade, something without the typical generic mushroom soup taste that most restaurants offer. Also I didn't wanna get the cream of mushroom from the can as well so that leave me no choice but to figure out how to make something creamy minus the sour cream/ cream on my own. This is also my first time making so i was a lil clueless on what should i include it in.

I definitely need some fresh mushrooms, the dried ones will only add more flavour to it. i don't have any button or straw mushrooms therefore , i've no choice but to use up all the shitakei mushrooms, the remains from the pasta i made a couple of days back.

* 280g fresh shitakei mushrooms
* 1large yellow onions
* 4 cloves garlic
* 2 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1/2 tbsp butter or more
* Black pepper
* Salt to taste
* 500ml chicken broth
* 200ml low-fat milk
* 3/8 tsp vanilla (optional)
* A dash of nutmeg (optional)

1) Heat your sauce pan and add in butter and olive oil.
2) Saute the garlic and onions.
3) Add in your fresh thyme and stiry then add in the sliced shitakei mushrooms.
4) Season with pepper and give it a stir before adding in salt.
5) Give it another stir then pick out your thyme leaves.
6) Add half of the chicken broth into your sauce pan, leave another half to be added into the blender/food processor.
7) Pour the mushrooms and the chicken broth into the blender/food processor, pulse it once or twice before adding the remaining chicken broth and puree until its smooth.
8) Once you're done, pour the mushroom soup back into your pot and heat it up.
9) Season your soup further with salt or pepper or even nutmeg powder, but thats entirely optional.
10) Add in your low-fat milk and let it simmer before adding in your vanilla extract.

Most mushroom soups have got some white wine/sherry in it, so instead of using sherry, i substituted it with some vanilla extract, at least that's what i learnt about substitution for sherry.

You can serve the soup with some toasted garlic bread or like me , spread a thin layer of marjerin on a slice of bread and toast it!

I like the texture of the soup but somehow the aroma of thyme was a lil too strong for me , also it has a somewhat bitter end note to it, i'm yet to figure out why though. Perhaps its the type of mushrooms i used. I should have opt for some combination ( portobello, oysters, button, straws) but oh well, its not that bad for a make to do with what's available in my fridge :) Or maybe i've added a bit too much of nutmeg or was it the vanilla extract? Hmm.. i think the next time when i do this, i'll just add some white wine to it instead.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pork Rolls with Bechamel Sauce

I'm sure you guys have seen this around and for this dish, you're right , its not entirely my original idea. In fact there's a few version of it available online. Pork rolls also known as Flamenquines in Spanish; a delicious tapa. I've been searching for the origin but there's not much info available but it  was said to have relation to the term "flamenco", which means any colourful dish to the native of Andalusia.

You must be wondering why am i serving it with a bechamel sauce instead of salsa, like how the Spanish would. I actually got the idea from a recipe i came across on Flamenquines. In the recipe, we're suppose to dip the rolled pork into the bechamel sauce and then coat it with breadcrumbs and deep fry it. Since i know that i don't have that skill to dip in anything creamy and coat it with breadcrumbs, i opted to serve it as a dipping sauce instead.


* 10 slices of pork loin sukiyaki
* 10 slices smoked black pepper ham
* 10 strips of cheese
* Some minced garlic
* Some minced parsley
* 1 egg, beaten
* Flour to coat
* Breadcrumbs

1) Place a slice of ham on top of the pork loin and add a strip of cheese on the ham and roll. Secure with a toothpick if needed.
2) Coat the rolled pork with flour and dip it into the beaten egg mixture and coat it with the breadcrumbs mixture; add the minced garlic and parsley into the breadcrumbs.
3) Heat the wok with oil and deep fry until golden.
4) Remove and drain it on a paper towel.
5) Cut about 1/2 inch across and serve.

I ran out of flour therefore i substituted it with chickpea flour. I add bout 3 tablespoon of chickpea flour and some water to make it into a paste and coat the rolled pork. Instead of breadcrumbs,i added the minced garlic and parsley into some chickpea flour and with the coated rolled pork , i coated it with the garlic-parsley mixture before deep-frying it.

Result, well i think its a little too hard, especially the chickpea coating, i'll definitely use breadcrumbs instead the next time around..  Also, instead of mixing the garlic and parsley together , i think it would be better to spread it on the pork loin instead. Oh well , another round of experiment for me! :)

* 2 1/2 tbsp butter
* 2 tbsp flour
* 2 cups low- fat milk
* 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder
* Salt to taste
* Pepper to taste

1) Melt the butter in a sauce pan.
2) Add flour and keep stirring with your whisk.
3) Add the heated milk and stir further.
4) Keep stirring while you season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
5) If its too thick to your liking, add more milk until it reaches the consistency you like.

For those that wanna skip the warming up the milk step, like i did, due to sheer laziness :) . All you need to do with the cold milk from the fridge is to add a tablespoon or two of milk at a time into your butter-flour mixture until you finished up the milk and keep stirring with your whisk and you'll get a smooth and somewhat thick sauce.

You can add more nutmeg powder and ground pepper to give the sauce more flavour.

The classic French version of this sauce, they uses white onion that is studded with cloves ( take the cloves and stick it into the onion),instead of adding ground nutmeg . The onion-cloves combination give the sauce a unique flavour.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dischi Volanti with Shitakei and Fresh Basil in Basic Italian Tomato Sauce

I know what you guys are thinking out there, what a long name for this beauty huh? As of now, my brain's kinda dead from last's night long hours of journal reading therefore, naming the dish right now isn't the best time. Despite the partial brain dead i'm experiencing right now, i'm pretty focus especially when i have something cooking on the stove! All this while i've been a linguine person. and as of late, i find myself liking short pasta more, perhaps its easier to work with and i don't need a big pot to boil my pasta! Also i love experimenting with different shapes of pasta. This is my first time cooking with dischi volanti and it seems like i've already put it in my list of favourite pasta.

* 411g diced tomatoes
* 2 cloves garlic. minced
* 2 medium red onions, chopped
* 8 fresh shitakei mushrooms
* Handful of chopped fresh basil
* Salt and black pepper to taste
* Some brown sugar
* Dischi volanti for two.

1) You can work on the sauce and the pasta simultaneously if you've more than a stove to work on, otherwise you can prepare the sauce then proceed with the pasta.
2) Cook the pasta according to the package direction or about 10-12minutes. Add some salt and a drop or two of olive oil.
3) Heat your pan with some olive oil and add minced garlic and when it turns golden, add your sliced shitakei mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
4) Next, add your chopped onions and stir further until it turns translucent.
5) Introduce your diced tomatoes into the pan and stir further and let it simmer.
6) You can season with salt and pepper after you've added the diced tomatoes or you can do it when your sauce is almost done.
7) Sugar is optional. Do add in if you want to cut down the sourish tomato taste.
8) Add in your chopped basil and stir.
9) Add in water or vegetable broth if it starts to dry.
10) Again season with salt and pepper if you didn't when you added your diced tomatoes.
11) Taste from time to time and add what is necessary , salt/pepper/sugar.
12) Remove your pasta from the boiling water when its done and add it to your pan of sauce and stir to combine thoroughly and serve.
13) You can garnish with some torn fresh basil and coarse black pepper or some finely chopped basil with grated parmesan cheese.

Add in more ground black pepper if you like a spicy after taste in your mouth. I surely did for my pasta sauce.

The red onions used in this recipe is to add sweetnees to the sauce. You can also use yellow onions but do sure to replace the water with vegetable broth for more flavour.

You can also add the chopped basil shortly after you've added your diced tomatoes. Do break up your diced tomatoes with your spatula while cooking.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Banana Pancakes with Melted Peanut Butter

Pancake has once again made another come back in my choice of  food for breakfast. The idea to incorporate banana into my pancake batter came when i was replying a comment on banana related food stuff. As usual i was excited and couldn't wait till the next morning to try it out! Instead of using my usual pancake ingredients  i decided to make it simple and see how it will turn out to be. Yup, another experiment! If it turns out great, thumbs up otherwise i'll have a hard time finishing it off!

* 1 cup wheat flour
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 large egg
* 1 cup water
* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* 3 medium bananas, mashed

1) Sift the flour and salt together in a bowl.
2) Make a well and pour in the egg, water and vanilla extract.
3) Mashed the ripe bananas and add it into the batter.
4) Heat your non stick with a drop or two of olive oil and pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto your non stick.
5) Flip the pancake over when the edge dries up and cook the other side until its thoroughly cooked.
6) Dish it out and put it on a plate. Repeat Step 4 until you finish up your batter.
7) Stack the pancakes so that it will keep warm while you  fry another pancake.
8) Serve with your choice of filling/jam.

This recipe made about 6 pancakes. If you find that the batter is too thick for your liking, dilute it further with water. You can also replace the water with milk.

When i was much younger and even now at this age, i still love the combination of banana and peanut butter, be it crunchy or the smooth ones. Some of my friends actually think that the banana -peanut butter combination is simply weird and disgusting , I beg to differ! So its rather natural that i reach out for my jar of peanut butter and spread some reasonable amount on my hot banana pancake and let the warmth of the pancake to slightly melt the peanut butter. The combination is just heavenly and irresistible at the same time!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mini Baked Raspberry Cheesecake

These cute babies are the inspiration of petit four and also a mini cheesecake pan i saw online . Ok perhaps what i have over here isn't the exact petit four but that's the best i can come up with especially when i have to make do with the bake wares i have at home.

When i came across the mini cheesecake pan online, i was thrilled cause now i can make my baked goods into bite size, but unfortunately most of the retail shops specializing in baking needs and goods don't carry them. Some have got no idea what i was talking about and one in particular try to sell me an individual mini bake ware, which i'm not too happy with for the fact that i need to pay for each individual ones instead of gettin it in the form of a muffin tray. I'm seriously running out of storage so for now i can't afford to get more items unless i think of ideas on where i can put or keep my bake wares.


100g digestive biscuits
30g butter, melted
1/2 tsp coffee essence (optional)

1) Crush the digestive biscuits in the food processor or blender.
2) Once the butter has melted, add in the coffee essence.
3) Pour the melted butter into the food processor and further blend. If you're using a blender then remove the finely blended digestive in a bowl n pour the melted butter in.
4) Spoon about a tablespoon or less of the crushed digestive into the mini cheesecake pan and set aside.

 Since i don have a mini cheesecake pan , i lined my 12' muffin tray with paper liners and spoon about 11/2 tbsp of crushed digestive and flaten it evenly and refrigerated it while i work on my cream cheese.

* 250g raspberry filling
* 500g cream cheese, softened
* 1/4 tsp fine granulated salt
* 2/3 cups sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 2/3 cups sour cream
* 2 eggs, beaten

1) Leave the cream cheese at room temperature until soften before you work with it.
2) Once its soften, put it in the mixer and mix thoroughly until its the batter is smooth.
3) With the mixer still running, add in the sifted sugar and salt. (sieving removes any possible lumps).
4) Add in your vanilla extract and let it mix further.
5) Add in the sour cream slowly and let it further incorporate before adding in the eggs.
6) Beat the eggs and with the mixer still running, pour in the eggs bit by bit until you're done.
7) Take out your muffin tray and fill up the paper liners with about 1/4 cup of cream cheese.
8) Split the 1/4 cup into half, for ease of use, you can opt for the 1/8 cup instead. Pour 1/8 cup of cream cheese , fill with your choice of filling and then top it up with the remaining 1/8 cup cream cheese.
9) Repeat until you've finished all the cream cheese.
10) You can choose to fill up the surface of your cream cheese with some filling as well , like how i did or you can leave it plain n serve with some warm filling upon serving.
11) Bake in a preheated oven at 160 degree C for 20-25minutes.
12) Let cool and store it in fridge.

This recipe makes about 16 muffin size cheesecake.

You can also replace the digestive based with chocolate flavored biscuits for those that loves the chocolate and berry combination.

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