Monday, April 28, 2008

Blackberries and Mango Clafoutis

Blackberries and mango Clafoutis

Blackberries and Mango Clafoutis was what I had for breakfast last weekend. Man, I feel so proud of myself when I eat breakfast on rare occasions! Although I know it's important and it will fuel me until lunch time, and helps me to focus etc, I am used to skipping breakfast. It's bad, I know. You see, I am not a milk drinker. So the milk+ granola combo that most people eat for breakfast doesn't work for me. And fruits? No, they help in digestion, and probably will make me hungrier than full later on. How about bread? Yes. I ate that for 13 years while growing up, so No thanks. Normally, a cup of coffee is all I have for breakfast.

Blackberries and mango Clafoutis

To rectify the situation, I try to make something that would pique my interest for breakfast on weekends. Pancakes work for awhile, then it lost its appeal. This month, thanks to Bron, who is hosting the latest round of Hay Hay It's Donna's Day, I am reminded that clafoutis is perfectly acceptable for breakfast. And I should bake a batch before I miss the deadline again! Oh, I am terrible at keeping deadlines. Or other important dates/numbers in general.

Blackberries and mango Clafoutis

Although I enjoy eating cherry clafoutis, they are just not available this time of the year, (depressing, I know). Instead, I spied some mangoes and blackberries on sale in the grocery store. Not entirely sure if the two would go well together, I know there's just one way to find out- whipping up a batch myself. Which I clearly did. The lovely thing about this clafoutis batter is, it is highly adaptive. It works for cherries, plums and berries + mango! Now I have a recipe for blackberries & mango clafoutis! I topped the clafoutis with chopped pistachio, which added a nice contrasting texture and flavor to the clafoutis.

I love it, I am now a good girl who eats her breakfast! (on weekends :p) So do you eat breakfast ? What do you eat for breakfast everyday? I need some inspiration here.

Blackberries and Mango Clafoutis
adapted from Ceres and Bacchus

3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 6 oz pack blackberries
1/2 sweet mango, diced (you can use more mango and less berries too)
some chopped pistachios

Preheat the oven to 400 F. With a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs with a wire whisk until they turn lighter in color. Gradually add in the melted butter, beating to incorporate. Add the flour all at once and whisk until the batter is a homogeneous mixture.

Slowly pour in the milk and vanilla,whisking to combine. The batter should be very smooth and shiny.

Distribute the berries and diced mango in 7 disposable aluminium dishes,(or you can also use a buttered glass or earthenware baking dish, cake pan (9 or 10 inches in diameter) or skillet, as the original recipe suggests). Pour the batter over the fruit. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes (longer if you can using a bigger pan), until slightly browned and almost completely set in the middle. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold. (I baked them at night, had one before sleep and another one for breakfast the next morning.)

Top some chopped pistachio on the clafoutis before serving.

Make 7 individual size clafoutis for weekend breakfast.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge: Cheesecake Pops

cheesecake pops

More than 1000 cheesecakes pops are landing on the food blog world today, because this is the Daring Bakers challenge for April! It is no secret that cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts, seeing that I have made quite a few varieties in the past. I would even stock up on cream cheese when they are going on sale in the grocery stores!

cheesecake pops

Instead of baking one big cheesecake, our hostesses Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah of Taste and Tell have chosen the Cheesecake pops from Jill O'Connor's Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth as our April challenge. Readers, you will soon hear the resounding "YUM" from other fellow DBers that this is one delicious and fun challenge.

more cheesecake pops

The original recipe makes 30 to 40 pops, which would be great for party. But seeing that we won't have any party going on anytime soon, I have scaled the recipe down to 3/5. Most of them are brought to OCT lab, but I save some for snacking in the afternoon. I love that they are of the perfect size to nibble. It will still be less than the calories of 1 slice of cheesecake if I have eaten 2 cheesecake pops. And if I only eat one, that's practically no calories consumed. (yeah, right..)


I have posted two recipes below; one is my scale-down version and one is the original. Remember to check out other fabulous cheesecake pops from my fellow Daring Bakers here. Thanks Deborah and Elle for the fun and delicious challenge. This recipe has both thumbs up from this cheesecake lover! xoxo.


Cheesecake Pops
from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth by Jill O’Connor
Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks

1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) - Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

more cheesecake pops

Mandy's 3/5 low fat version

3 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature (I used 2 blocks of Neufatchel and 1 block of original)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 egg yolks
1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 cup heavy cream
Boiling water as needed

Proceed as mentioned in the recipe above.
Note: I bake the cheesecake in a 9x3 loaf pan for about 45 minutes, depending on the temperature of your oven, it may need shorter or longer time. Check your cheesecake after 25-30 minutes.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pichet Ong's Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream and Meet My New Ice Cream Maker

ice cream1

An ice cream maker has been on my "to-buy-list" for the looongest time. Everytime I go into the Bed Bath and Beyond store, I tell OCT that I am going to get it once we moved to Atlanta.

You proud owners of ice cream makers out there have no idea how tortured I was, watching these talented and imaginative people posted their ice creams photos on their blogs. If it's not for the move, I would have gotten mine loooooooong ago. OCT never understood my fascination with ice cream maker. "What's wrong with store bought ice creams?" He asked. Nothing, honey. But I just want to make my own wacky flavors. Like this Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream.

I am inseparable from my nifty Vietnamese coffee filter ever since I bought it few weeks ago. That potent little cup of coffee is all I need to stay alert for the whole day. Because I use much less condensed milk than the restaurants, I don't feel too guilty drinking on a daily basis. Oh,I digress.

ice cream

So I decided it would only be fitting to make my first batch of ice cream with my latest obsession- Vietnamese Coffee. The ice cream tastes almost like the iced Vietnamese Coffee, and that's the way I like it. OCT, being a non-coffee drinker, thinks that it is not sweet enough, and the coffee flavor is too overpowering.I guess that means more for me, which is always better:D)

Not the perfect scoop yet, but at least it is a start.


p/s: The lovely Tartelette made a version of Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream sometime ago, and here's her version.

Pichet Ong's Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup ground Vietnamese coffee
Pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks

In a medium saucepan, combine the whole milk, condensed milk, ground coffee and salt and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let stand for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve lined with several layers of moistened cheesecloth.

Return the steeped milk to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks until slightly pale. Gradually whisk in the hot milk; refrigerate until cold. Freeze the custard in an ice cream maker. Transfer the ice cream to a container and freeze until firm enough to scoop.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Taste of Yellow: Steamed Fish Rolls


A taste of yellow is a food blogging event started by Barbara of Winos and Foodies last year in support of the LiveStrong Day. 149 bloggers participated by making dishes with an element of yellow food last year. I have no doubt that the numbers will increase this year as cancers have affected more people in all walks of life.

taste of yellow

I first learned about cancer when I was 9 years old. It affected my grandpa, the person I love the most in the entire world. It's hard to talk about grandpa without having tears welling up in my eyes. Although he has passed on for almost 20 years now, I still miss him a lot. More so on the special moment in my life, like my graduations and wedding. And I know how much he wished to see me in my wedding gown. But cancer took him away, even before he saw me graduating from primary school.

Grandpa was a joyous person and he knew how to enjoy life. He traveled whenever he could, and he and grandma were regulars in clubs where they loved to go and dance. Yes, my grandpa was a great dancer. Unfortunately, he never passed on that gene to any of his children or grandchildren. When I think of grandpa, I think of his infectious laughter, his positive outlook on life, the jokes we shared, the story about tiger and a little girl that I asked him to repeat one too many times and the delicious chinese meals he cooked.


When grandpa was alive, egg used to be one of his favorite foods. I think it's only appropiate for me to make something with eggs as my contribution for this year's A Taste of Yellow. So steamed fish rolls it is. I first saw the recipe on Chubby Hubby, and then my friend Rasa Malaysia made it too. The locals in my hometown have a similar version of this dish, but between you and me, I like the bloggers' version better.

Steamed Fish Rolls
adapted from Rasa Malaysia

3 extra large eggs (makes about 6 small fish rolls)
6 sheets of roasted nori or seaweed
1/2 pound fish paste or half a box of frozen fish paste (get it from any Asian Grocery store)
4 or 5 medium shrimps, shelled and deveined, finely minced
1 stalk scallions (chopped into tiny bits)
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
3 dashes white pepper powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Japanese mirin (optional)

Defrost the frozen fish paste and add in minced shrimps, scallions, sesame oil, and white pepper. Mix well and set aside. Beat the eggs and add mirin, if using and salt. Heat up a non-stick omelet pan (any nonstick pan with 8-9-inches in diameter is fine) and make about 6 thin omelets. Set the omelets aside to let cool.

After the omelets are fully cooled, transfer one onto a dry and clean chopping board. Lay a piece of roasted seaweed or nori on top of the omelet. Cut the edges of the seaweed sheet off with a kitchen shear, so they match the shape of the omelet perfectly. Then, spread a thin layer of the fish paste mixture evenly on top of the roasted seaweed sheet and roll the omelet up firmly. Seal the omelet with the fish paste so the fish roll is nice and tight. Repeat the same for the remaining omelets.

Transfer the fish rolls onto a plate and steam in hot boiling water for 8-10 minutes or until the fish paste fillings turn opaque. Cut the fish rolls into small pieces and serve immediately with chilli sauce.

note: for step by step illustrations, check out my fellow Malaysian-My Kitchen Snippet's post


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Moscato and Vanilla Poached Pears and Getting to Know My Oven


Growing up, I have never been the girliest girl among friends. I probably checked the content of the fridge more often than checking myself out in the mirror. Yes, I am one who doesn't even look into the mirror when I wash hands, after going to the bathroom. Especially so in the the public bathrooms.

Given my total negligence on my appearance, I turn out to be slighly above average as an Asian female homo sapiens, thanks to my parents excellent genes. However, beneath my tomboy-ish skin, my favorite color happens to be pink. The girliest color among all.


When I see this tree blooming with pink flowers in front of my new apartment, I go crazy taking hundreds of photos of it, at different angles, once in the morning and once before sunset. It is a good omen, I tell myself. I shall get into the kitchen to bake something marvelous and fill our new house with delicious scent.

Here comes the problem.

Despite my enthusiasm of a new and bigger kitchen, my first few collaborations with the oven don't turn out as well as I have anticipated. A failed batch of Pandan chiffon cake, chocolate and pear clafoutis and Nutella cupcakes later, I know I need more time to get to know the oven.

sweet wine poached pears

It is time like this that reminds me of the poached pears I made for a dinner party not long ago. Tired of thinking what else to bake, and the prospect of cleaning many bowls, I decided to bring something different this time. With a few pears sitting in the refrigerator, it would be a perfect occasion to try my hand at poaching. The delicious pears have then be devored (with some premium quality ice-cream), with photos taken as proof, then promptly forgotten and burried in one of the picture folders. Until now. This effortless dessert would be perfect at time like this.

sweet wine poached pears

Poaching is a simple and healthy technique to impart flavors. As fancy as the term sounds, poaching is nothing more than immersing the desired fruits or meat into a flavorful simmering liquid. I poached the pears roughly based on a recipe from But one could easily substitute any components of the poaching liquid to obtain the desirable taste. This is the kind of dessert one needs when the oven is not cooperative. :)

Note: If you come via feeds, click through to check out my new layout. I get bored and decided to give my blog a facelift, again.

Moscato and Vanilla Poached Pears
adapted from

6 firm but ripe large Bosc/Anjou pears, peeled, halved, cored
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cup water
1.5 cups Moscato
12 tablespoons honey
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Toss pears with lemon juice in large bowl. Set aside. Combine water, Moscato and honey in large saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Stir over medium heat until honey dissolves. Add pears. Cover mixture with round piece of parchment paper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pears are just tender when pierced, turning when half-way through cooking, about 15-25 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer pears to large bowl. Boil poaching liquid until reduced to half. Cool syrup. Pour syrup over pears. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove vanilla bean.

Halved the pears, removing the cores with stem attached. Or thinly slice each pear half lengthwise, leaving slices attached at stem end for a fancier presentation. Using metal spatula, transfer pears to plates. Spoon some syrup over pears. Serve with ice cream or enjoy the poached pears as they are.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

For The Sack of Nostalgia- A recipe of Caterpillar Bread

Caterpillar bread

Growing up, the time that we kids looked forward the most was when the bread van pull into the neighborhood. We usually called the man behind the wheel- "the bread van uncle". Sadly, I don't recall having another nicer name for the movable vendor who sells various kinds of Asian breads, pastries and snacks out of the back of his van. Normally, we could hear the unmistakable rumbling of his weathered engine with the loud and clear honking miles away, and would patiently wait for it to arrive at its designated stop, usually under a shady tree, 2 houses down from ours at 4p.m.


My younger brother Alan would always get a hot dog bun, I think he is a devoted hot dog buns follower. Sometime I would get something chocolatey, such as a chocolate cream bun, or sometime I would join him and get a hot dog bun.

So where is this going and what does this have to do with the Caterpillar Bread, you ask? Well, I believe that this caterpillar breads that surfaced and proliferated in many Asian bakeries in late 90's was a derivative of my brother's favorite hot dog bun. And wouldn't it be fun if I could recreate his childhood favorite bread and surprise him when we meet again? I have a feeling that the hot dog bun may still be his favorite bun now. Some things just never change. :p

hotdog bun

My creation

I don't think mine turned out looking like caterpillars, they looked more like turtles, but it was a fun project to undertake on a weekend nonetheless! OCT like to bring them to work on busy days when he doesn't have time for a proper lunch.


I used the basic sweet dough from the pork floss bun recipe, and squeezed light mayo and ketchup on top of the breads, together with pork floss before baking. A taste which is reminiscent of home.....

*I will type out the detailed recipe soon, but trust me, the step by step instructions above is easier to follow. :)*

Caterpillar Bread

one batch of basic sweet bun dough
1 pack of sausages/franks

Divide the basic sweet dough into 70g pieces and mould them into balls. Let them rest for 10 minutes, then roll them flat with a rolling pin.

Put the sausage on the center of the dough and fold the dough into halves. Lightly pinch to seal. Cut each folded dough into 8 small portions, leaving 1/3 from the sealed edges uncut. (The dough should resemble a comb at this point.)

Twist first cut portion to the left, and second to the right, repeat this for the rest of the portions. Place the shaped dough onto a greased baking sheet and press each lightly. Let the dough prove for 45 minutes.

Brush with egg wash, and drizzle ketchup, followed by mayonaise on top.

Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes or until the breads look golden brown. You can pipe some mayonaise and ketchup on top if desired (for presentation) and sprinkle the optional pork floss.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Blogging from Atlanta and My Discovery of Nutella Cupcakes

nutella cupcakes

Hello, friends and readers! I couldn't believe I left you without a word for so long. Packing for the move after Easter and some last minute baking had occupied almost all of my waking hours. Could you believe that we were still frantically packing on our last day before the move? Packing one week prior to the moving date is definitely not a good idea. Anyway, lesson learnt. On April 1st, we left St Louis for Atlanta. Another round of unpacking and furniture shopping ensued. To my surprise, I actually enjoy the unpacking process. It almost feels like presents opening on Christmas morning. Except there isn't new things that I don't already own. That,in a gist, explains my silence for the past weeks. I hope everyone is enjoying Spring, and no one notice my temporary absence.

Coming to a new city is exciting. I discover something new about this place everyday and nothing thrilled me more than knowing there's a few Malaysian restaurants in the vicinity. Although I haven't gotten the chance to visit them, but they will surely be on my "to-eat-list" once we have settled down.

nutella cupcakes

I haven't done any baking in my new kitchen yet, but there were a few things that I baked before our move. Most of them were given away before photographed.You can find them in my past posts like here, here and here. One of the recipes I got to try in an attempt to use up the jar of Nutella was Self Frosting Nutella Cupcakes from Nicole's blog- Baking Bites.

I have read rave reviews about it from other bloggers, but never gotten round making it until the last week before our move. What a treat these cupcakes are. And I couldn't believe it took me so long to make it.To be honest, I kind of regretted sending them off after eaten only one of them. One thing for sure, the Nutella cupcakes are going to make an appearance here once I have my kitchen all set up and perhaps I will not share so generously this time. We'll see.

nutella cupcakes

Nutella Frosted Cupcakes
from Baking Bites

10 tbsp(140 grams) butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla essense
1 3/4 cups (200 grams) sifted all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Nutella, 12 teaspoons. (1 teaspoon for each cupcakes)

Preheat oven to 325F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy,about 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Don’t worry if the batter doesn’t look smooth. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains.

Using an ice cream scoop or spoon , fill each muffin liner with batter. They should be 3/4 full, if you’re not using a scoop. Top each cake with 1 heaping teaspoon of Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the nutella.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 12 delicious cupcakes.

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