Friday, 26 December 2014

Chocolate cake with coconut flour

My  youngr grandson is gluten intolerant but he loves chocolate cake, so I thought I would try baking a gluten free cake for him.

Verdict was good from everyone!

  • 6 oz dairy-free bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup virgin coconut oil
  • 6 large eggs
  •  1/4 cup xylitol*
  • ⅓ cup well-stirred, full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ⅓ cup natural cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or 9-inch round, or 11x7 rectangular pan) with coconut oil.
  2. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, melt the chocolate with the coconut oil over low heat, stirring until melted and smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in xylitol, coconut milk, vanilla and lemon juice until blended; let cool for 5 minutes and then whisk in the eggs until blended.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the chocolate mixture, whisking until well-blended and smooth. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached.
Note: Original recipe asked for 1/2 cup maple syrup but as this recipe is for myself on LCHF, I have changed it to xylitol.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Wishing my friends and readers here a Very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Black sesame seed paste icecream - eggless


2 cups cream - 1 used low fat
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup black sesame seeds

1. Combine 1 cup of the cream, the sugar, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved.

2. Stir in the remaining 1 cup  cream, the milk, and vanilla extract.

3. Grind the sesame seeds in a clean spice grinder for about 5 seconds until they turn into a coarse powder. Don’t grind for too long as the seeds will turn into a paste.

4. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and slowly pour in the ground black sesame. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezersafe container and freeze for at least four hours or overnight.

Note: The ice cream will be rock hard, but remove it about 30 - 45 mins before you want to eat it, and it will soften enough to scoop.

For those without an ice cream maker, here's how:
If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, you can still make ice-cream. After you have made up your mixture, transfer it to a lidded plastic box (a shallow one enables the freezing to happen more quickly and also makes whisking easier as the beater can go down straight into the box) and put it in the coldest part of the freezer for two hours, or until the contents become firm at the edges. At this stage, empty out the box into a mixing bowl and whisk the ice cream with an electric hand whisk to break down the ice crystals. Return the box to the freezer and freeze for another two hours, then repeat the whisking process. Refreeze the ice-cream ( if making a sorbet that contains a generous quantity of alcohol, freeze overnight ) until 30-45 minutes before you want to serve it, at which time you should transfer it into the fridge to soften. Incidentally, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with a digital kitchen timer to remind you to remove the ice cream and whip it at various stages

Sunday, 1 June 2014

"Naked" Nonya dumplings aka pie dumpling

This is just a post to show what you can do with left over glutinous rice or when you don't have the leaves to wrap your dumplings with. Whatever the reason, you can still have your "zhang" and eat it,

Ingredients - can be found in my dumpling recipe here

Put glutinous rice in a microwaveable bowl and add water just to the top of the rice. Microwave on high for 5 mins and then take out and stir. If the rice is not fully cooked, add a little bit more water and cook for another 3 - 5 minutes.

Remove and add salt and pepper.

Line the container with cling film and add cut pandan leaves and then add a layer of rice

Add the filling

Finally, add the last layer of rice

Cut and eat!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Salted egg white chocolate chip cookies

What do you do with the extra salted egg whites after using the yolks to make my liu sha baos? Shame to throw them away, so googled to see if there I anything I could make with them.

Found this recipe, although it used normal cooked egg whites, so I thought I would make the cookies but using salted egg whites instead.

They actually turned out ok and you don't really taste the saltiness. Only thing is that you will see that my cookies are a bit smashed up. I rolled them into balls and then like other cookies, I thought they would expand out, but they didn't and when I tried one, it was a little soft in the centre. So, while they were still hot from the oven, took a fork and pushed them down, hence the ugly appearance!

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold (113 gms)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (No need as using salted egg whites)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
whites from 1 1/2 hard-boiled eggs, broken into small pieces ( I just chopped them up)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F, 170 deg C
Using an electric mixer, beat butter on high speed until you have a bowl full of little butter crumbles.
Mix in flour until completely combined with the butter. 
Mix in  rest of the ingredients.
Mix in the vanilla extract and milk.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Roll dough into small balls (or big ones if you like bigger cookies) and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat. Remember to squash them down as they will not expand. This way, you get nice crispy cookies.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the bottoms are slightly browned.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Liu Sha Bao aka salted egg custard bun

Ever since I had this in Singapore 2 years ago, I have been wanting to make this. So bought my salted eggs from the Chinese supermarket and here goes....

Trolled the internet for recipes and for the custard, it all seems the same, except for the buns. There were 2 recipes that caught my eye end decided to make both just to see what the difference was.

So here is my experiment and the results.

80g salted egg yolk (6 yolks)
110g caster sugar (I used icing sugar)
55g custard powder
55g full cream milk powder (I used 50 gm coconut paste)

60g coconut milk

20g corn starch (1 tablespoon)

110g butter, room temperature

Note: While getting all my ingredient ready to make the custard, I realised that I had run out of milk powder. How, how? While out shopping, I saw a new product (to me, that is). It said coconut powder (satchets of 50gms each). So I bought a packet to try and was I lucky to have it on hand. 

1. Some recipes call for steaming the salted eggs, but I just cooked them like you do for hard boiled eggs. Left the eggs in hot water for 10 mins.

2. Let the eggs cool and then separate the yolks from the whites and mash the yolks.
3. Next, In a mixing bowl, cream the butter slightly and mix in the rest of the ingredients.
Refrigerate the mixture until firm. Portion into balls and freeze till solid. 

Steam on high heat for 10 mins.

Recipe 1 - adapted from

Water Roux
Using water roux makes a difference to the texture of the bao.
25 gms flour
125 ml water

Whisk the water and flour together, sieve and gently cook (stirring all the time) till thicken like pouring custard. Cover and leave to cool.

0.75 tsp quick (instant) yeast
75 - 100ml water

1 portion of water roux as above
300g plain flour, all purpose or HK flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
15g cooking oil or melted lard
50 - 60g sugar
0.5 tsp salt

extra flour for dusting

  1. Mix the yeast with water and leave aside for about 10 - 15 minutes while the roux is cooling.
  2. Mix the water roux with yeast liquid, sugar, salt and oil.
  3. Sieve the flour and baking powder together.
  4. Either using a bread machine or mix by hand, mix the liquid with the dry ingredients together till combined. Add the last few tbsp of the liquid bit by bit, stop when a soft but not sticky dough is formed. Do not knead. Leave for 10 - 15 minutes. Then give it a quick knead till the dough is smooth, do not over knead. If the dough is very sticky add a bit more extra flour.
  5. Cover and leave to rise for about 1.5 - 2 hours at room temperature till dough is about 1.5 in size.
Recipe 2  - adapted from

Dough starter
300g hong kong flour
1 packet instant yeast = 2¼ teaspoons
2½ tablespoon sugar
125 mL full cream milk

1 portion of water roux

Add flour, yeast, sugar and water roux into a mixing bowl and pour the milk. Roughly incorporate water roux into the flour and set aside covered with damp tea towel for 15 mins to let the flour absorb the water.

Mix the flour mixture to a dough, add more milk or flour if required. The dough will be a bit sticky at first, knead until it's soft and smooth. It takes approximately 20-25 minutes depend on how you knead it. Coat a mixing bowl with oil. Place dough in a mixing bowl, cover the bowl with wet cloth or cling wrap and let the dough rest for 45 minutes or until it double in size.

When dough is double in size about 45 minutes, punch air out and knead into a ball. To maximize the flavor. Proof a second time round in the fridge left overnight.

Ingredients for bao
Dough starter (recipe above)
80g Hong Kong flour or plain flour
40g corn starch
3 tablespoon lard (I used butter)
½ teaspoon ammonium bicarbonate (I omitted as I did not have)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1. Add all the ingredients to the dough starter. Knead well for 10 mins to form dough. 
2. When the dough is ready, divide into 10 portions. Meanwhile, set water to boil in a steamer.
3. You can either flatten the dough pieces with your hands or roll out the dough and use a cutter to cut rounds , and place a frozen custard filling ball in the center. Pinch up the sides of the dough to completely enclose the filling.
4. Place each bao on each paper cup liner or a small piece of baking paper with its seam sides down. Rest the bao in warm mist for 10-15 mins.
5. Steam baos for about 8-15 mins until done. The steam timing varies if you have multiple layers of baos to steam. The layer that is closest to the direct steam will take 8 mins to cook.

Beware! Please DO NOT over-steam!!! Otherwise, the custard filling will explode out of the bao.

Serve immediately but beware that the molten filling is steaming hot!

You can keep any unused filling in the freezer and use them anytime when you make any bao dough.

**Both recipes worked well for making the liu sha bao but recipe one was a bit soft. I had left over dough and made char siu baos and for that, recipe 1 did not work as it was soft and I could not get the pleats. Recipe 2 is a longer and more time consuming recipe but works well if you want to make char siu baos.

Liu sha baos before steaming

Liu Sha Baos cut with 2 doughs 

Char Siu baos with 2 doughs. The dough at 1 o'clock is mishappen as it was too soft to pleat

Cross section of char siu bao. Nice and fluffy

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Brandy Snaps

Pat loves brandy snaps and it is actually very easy to make. Contrary to the word "brandy" there is actually no brandy involved! This recipe is taken from Mary Berry.

  • 55g/2oz butter 
  • 55g/2oz demerara sugar or golden caster sugar
  • 55g/2oz golden syrup
  • 50g/1¾oz plain flour
  • ½ level tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
* for the above measure, I got 12 brandy snaps.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with baking parchment then oil a thickish handle of a wooden spoon and lay it on a cooling rack.
Measure the butter, sugar and syrup into a small, heavy-based pan. The easiest way is to measure the butter, then the sugar on the scales (in the pan if you have digital scales), then measure the syrup on top to make up to 165g/6oz total weight.
Heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. This will take about 15 minutes over a low heat. Don’t let the mixture boil as it may crystallise. To check when the sugar has dissolved, stir occasionally, pulling the spoon across the bottom of the pan until you can no longer hear the gritty granules being scraped along and most of them have disappeared.

Leave the mixture to cool slightly, about 2-3 minutes, then sieve in the flour and ginger. Pour in the lemon juice and stir well to mix thoroughly. Drop four teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto each of the prepared baking trays to make neat circles, about 10cm/4in apart.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture is well spread out, looks lacey and is a dark golden colour. Once baked, you need to work fast to shape the brandy snaps, so its easier if you bake one tray at a time. Remove each tray from the oven and leave for a minute or so to firm up slightly, then lift from the baking parchment using a fish slice. The mixture needs to be just firm enough to remove, but pliable enough to shape. Check by releasing around and under the edges with a small palette knife.

Quickly roll a circle of the warm mixture around the handle of the wooden spoon, having the join underneath. Press the join lightly together to seal, then slide the brandy snap off the spoon and leave it to firm up on the wire rack, again with the join underneath. If any of the circles on the sheet harden too much to work with, put them back in the oven for a few seconds to soften again.

Repeat until all the mixture has been used. If the mixture in the pan becomes too firm to drop in neat spoonfuls, roll a teaspoonful of it into a small smooth ball in your hands, sit it on the baking tray and flatten slightly with your fingers. When cold, store the brandy snaps in an airtight tin or container; they will keep for at least a week.

And when you want to eat them, whip some cream till stiff and stuff them into the rolls (picture above)

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Gyoza - updated

Wanted to have gyoza over the weekend, so defrosted my gyoza skins but then did not have time to make them, so when I did want to make them, the skins were not useable.

So went about making my own skins and actually, they are not that difficult to make. 

dough: (double this for the amount of filling, but easier to make it in 2 batches - or just halve the filling recipe)
1 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (60g) warm water
flour for work surface
* 1 cup of flour gets me 20 pieces of skin

dipping sauce:
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
a few drops of sesame oil
chili garlic paste (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced green onion (optional)
sugar (optional)

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).

Make the dough, Method 2 (my mom’s instructions): In a large bowl mix flour with 1/4 cup of water and stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch.

Both dough methods: Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes.
Take half the dough and roll out using a cutter. Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.
What I do is cut it using a smaller size cutter and then roll out to the size I want and also rolls out thinner after being cut. (2nd picture shows smaller cut out and then bigger after being rolled out.

1 pack gyoza skin or own self made version
250 gm minced pork (for halal version, you can use minced chicken or turkey)
250 gm minced beef (or all pork)
4-5 pcs Chinese cabbage – can be substituted for cabbage
2 sprigs - chopped spring onions
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine (omit if you are making the halal version)
splash of sesame oil
1 tsp corn flour mixed with a little water

Dipping Sauce:
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp black vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
dash of la yu – chilli oil

1. Boil some water in pan and when boiling, add cabbage into pan until wilted. Remove from pan and dunk in cold water. Remove from water and squeeze out the water from the cabbage and chop finely.
2. In a bowl, add the 2 different kinds of minced meat, spring onions, cabbage and ginger.
Add the salt, soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil. Mix well.
3. Take a tbsp of the mixture and place on a gyoza skin. Dab a little of the corn flour slurry on the top half of the skin and fold into half. Pleat the skin. Repeat till all the meat has been used up.

4. Heat a little oil in a flat base frying pan. When hot, place the gyozas in the pan and leave for bottoms of gyozas to get brown. After 5 mins, add 150 ml water. Cover. Leave lid on for about 7 mins for gyoza to steam/fry. Remove lid and check to see that skin has become translucent. If not ready, add a little more water and cover for another 2 mins.

5. When gyozas are cooked, remove and place on plate with bottoms facing upwards.
6. Serve and eat with dipping sauce.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Sweet potato and carrot soup

1 onion - sliced
2 small sweet potatoes (skinned and cut into thick chunks)
1/2 carrot ( cut into thick chunks)
1/2 inch ginger - grated ) optional
chicken stock
1 tbsp butter and some olive oil

1. Heat oil and butter in a frying pan.
2. When butter has melted, saute onions till translucent and add sweet potatoes and carrots. You may add or omit ginger at this point. The ginger will give the soup a little kick.
3. Add 250 mls of chicken stock and boil then sweet potatoes and carrots are soft. Add salt to taste.
4. If stock boils down, add about another 100 mls of water.
5. When the veges are soft, remove from heat and put in a deep bowl and blitz. You can blend it finely or leave if chunky!
6. Add more soup if you prefer it thinner. Bring to boil again and it is ready to serve.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Har Cheong Kai

Har Cheong is prawn paste and Kai is chicken, so har cheong kai is prawn paste chicken. Have made this before and wanting to be healthy, baked it in the oven. This is how it looks - oven baked.

This is the recipe taken from Makansutra.


1.5 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp shrimp paste
1 tbsp hua tiao wine (I didnt have this, so used shao shing wine)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light sauce sauce
1 egg
3 chicken thigh fillets (cut each fillet into 4 pcs) or
chicken wings
3 tbsp corn flour
1 tbsp rice flour

1. Mix first 6 ingredients together.
2. Add chicken and leave to marinade for around 4 hours or overnight.
3. When ready to cook, mix corn flour and rice flour in a bowl. Coat chicken pcs throughly in the flour mixture and put into air fryer which has been preheated at 200 deg.
4. Cook for 7 mins on one side under brown and then flip and cook for another 5 mins or so.
(you can use the oven, in which case bake for 10 - 12 mins on each side)

This picture is my har cheong kai cooked in the air fryer and came out crispy but juicy on the inside.

Picture of a bottle of the LKK shrimp paste used for making this dish.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Apple Cheese Cake

This recipe is from Ann of anncoojournal - link here.

I tried it once and forgot to add baking powder and ground almond but it still tasted great. And then on my second try, added the baking powder and ground almond. The baking powder did not really make a difference to the cake but when I baked it a third time to take to work, I omitted the ground almonds as I felt the almonds made the cake drier. My colleagues loved it and so do we, so give it a try!

2 large green cooking apples (I used brambley) cut into cubes
100g Butter
80g Caster sugar
3 Eggs, 70g each
125g Cream cheese
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Grated of 1 lemon zest
1 tbsp Lemon juice
120g Plain flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
50g Ground almond (I omitted)
Desiccated coconut(I omitted)


1.  Cream butter and caster sugar until fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time and beating well after each addition.

3.  Add cream cheese and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth.

4.  Add in the remaining ingredients and the apple cubes and stir well with a hand whisk.

5.  Pour the batter into 7 inch cake tin.

6.  Bake in the preheated oven at 180 deg C for 25 - 30 minutes. Remove and leave to cool before serving.

Note: It tastes creamier if left overnight in the fridge!