Friday, 5 December 2014

BBQ Pork Puff Pastry

So you might have seen my BBQ Bun recipe recently (mmm buns..) and often I have left over fillings from these endeavours.  As much as I love the pillowy soft buns, sometimes I just really can't be bothered going through the effort. So what to do with the left over meat?? Let me introduce you to my best friend - puff pastry. As you might have already gathered, it is a fantastic ingredient just when time is pressing, or you have the spirit of a heffalump for the day. These quick and easy BBQ pork puff pastries are easy to put together and you'll look like a hero for producing a delicious lunch in record time!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Thai Green Papaya Salad

Oh my goodness, so we clearly didn't think that clearly when we had a BBQ the weekend just gone in this 30 degree weather. Heat from the BBQ + heat from the weather? With little to no shade, it wasn't the brightest of ideas, but we coped! Luckily for me, I had this dish on the table to offset the heat.  

Friday, 21 November 2014

Longan with Silky Soft Soybean Milk Agar

I'm probably waxing on about the fact its SO hot, and that it is muggy, and the heat, and how hot it is, and it's gross, and hot, and sticky, and goodness, someone throw me in the nearest pool already! As you may know, it is technically classified as SPRING here in the sunshine state called Queensland. But as someone said to me once, there is no Spring or Winter - just Summer and Autumn! Which in all fairness, is a fairly accurate representation of the weather behaviour here.  

So here we are, in Spring, with temperatures soaring to 35 degree averages already, and I am in a corner sweating like the proverbial pig. The mere thought of stepping out to hang out my laundry, or the 10 metres it takes me to walk to my car when I need to pick up the kids, puts the fear of men into me. In short, the smallest things that require me to be subjected to the direct heat makes me run for the hills! As a result, I've been hunting down for a treat to cool myself off with.  

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Thai influenced Pineapple salad

Summer has well and truly plonked its big, fat, stinkin' hot bum smack bang in the middle of Queensland. It's only November you say? Summer can't be here yet you say? Don't get me wrong, I prefer the heat over the cold, but goodness, when you stand in the open hoping a gentle cooling breeze will waft over you, and you get a suffocating warm wind instead, I feel like I've been duped! 

Nevertheless, summer does bring great tans, amazing moods, and the opportunity to not think too hard about what to wear, because no one is going to judge you when you wear next to nothing in 35 degree weather! Another great thing is salads. SO obsessed with salads during summer. It's like the perfect accompaniment to summer I think.  

Often during summer, I don't feel like having any kind of heavy meal (let alone cooking it in a hot kitchen...) and all I want to do after a hard day at work is to sink into the couch and snack on something cold and refreshing while perusing TV or a trashy magazine (don't judge, I know you do it too!). Sadly that scenario has been left far behind in my single hey days, and nowadays, I have to be the good role-model and have dinner at the dining table.  But, but, but! That doesn't mean I have to forget about my beloved salads. This is where this Thai influenced pineapple salad enters.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Sweet Potato Jelly

You might have seen these little golden balls floating around in some of my dessert soups as of late.  They're certainly a little different, but very tasty.  My sister-in-law introduced me to these sweet, chewy balls of jelly when we visited Kuching last year. They are originally from Taiwan and usually served with their sweet desserts.  

Since coming home from Kuching, I thought I would try and make some as my boys are quite partial to them (and secretly, me too!!). I would normally add these to Bubur Cha Cha or White Fungus Sweet Soup just to give some added texture and colour.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Steamed NZ Hoki Fillets

Nothing screams Asian than fresh fish, steamed to perfection, flaking perfectly and drizzled with fresh fragrant herbs.  Steamed fish is usually a whole fish of some sort, bone and all. There are only a few type of fish that my two boys will eat - predominantly NZ fish like snapper and hoki. As much as I would like to broaden their horizon in terms of fish, it is hard to come by fresh whole fish here in Brisbane. Trying the local fish store has left me disappointed with their lack of freshness, and even those that are swimming around in tanks seem to impart a strong muddy taste, which if I can taste, the boys will surely taste too. So alas, my fresh whole fish is very far and few in between. I've now resorted to either buying frozen fillets or trek out to the markets and hope that one of the stalls have caught some fresh NZ fish.  

Thursday, 30 October 2014

BBQ Pork Steamed Bun

BBQ pork buns almost seem like the quintessential item to have at yum cha.  It is an item that almost everyone recognize, both in looks and taste. They're a perfect little bun, filled with tasty BBQ pork and encased in fluffy soft dough. So there is no surprise when I say that my two boys are completely obsessed with them, and they are a must have item when we go out for yum cha at the local Chinese restaurant. Lucas can easily demolish two or three steamers of these bun without a blink of an eye.  

The only downside with having these buns in local restaurants (as is the peril with most items at a Chinese restaurant) is that you don't know what goes into them, especially with their liberal use of MSG to add flavour. Don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly a food nazi and preventing them from having treats here and there, but let's face it, if there are definitely alternatives to the their favourite foods that don't have any chemical nasties, then why wouldn't you try provide that option for them right?

Monday, 27 October 2014

Cinnamon Danish Scrolls

You know how I have a thing for all thing pastries? No, you haven't figured that out yet? Well, let me tell you how pastries and I are on first name basis. Not only are they delicious and flaky, but they are the perfect item to transport from one location to another (or during if you're anything like me...).  Back in the hey days, Dad and I would go for a meander to the local Countdown (supermarket) and pick up these danish scrolls, filled with sugary cinnamon and flaking apart with every bite.  

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Melon Sago Dessert

Oh my goodness. Today hit pretty close to the 30's today.  I don't know about you, but there's nothing better than having something cool and refreshing to quench your thirst on a scorching hot day. I got given a honeydew melon the other day and thought, hey wouldn't it be a great idea to make a melon sago dessert for afternoon tea for my two boys. Just the perfect way to cool off after a hard day at school! Or if you want an alternative to punch at your pool party, you could make this up to have to drink as you chill on your sunlounger soaking up the vitamin D!

Although this recipe uses honey dew, you can also substitute with rock melon if you wish. I have tried both and both are a winner in my boys books!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Nine layer Nyonya Kuih aka Kuih Lapis

Do you know how certain foods or smells evoke memories forgotten? Perhaps a day during your childhood or a long-ago holiday in some heady foreign land, remaining hazy in the sub-conscious mind, until you see or smell something which jolts that particular memory in to crystal clear clarity? Yes, this dessert is one such type food for me.  And no matter how young I was, and how old I am now, I still eat it the same way - one thin layer, one mouthful at a time, to savour every last delicious sliver.

Nyonya desserts or nyonya kuih are little cakes or pastries created by the Peranakans or Straits Chinese. Peranakan is a term which refers to the mixed-race descentdant, part Chinese, part ethnic Malay. Baba refers to the male descendants and Nyonyas the females.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Steamed Chicken Bao (Chicken Buns)

Chicken Bao.  Fluffy, white bun encasing juicy, tender chicken pieces... just the thought of it is enough to make me salivate.  I could easily eat more than my fair share of these buns if I didn't exercise any self control!

My favourite steamed chicken bao would have to be from Tai Tong in Penang, Malaysia. One bite into the soft bun and the juice would gush out, dribbling down my chin as I struggle to make sure I try not waste any of the tasty filling. Nothing like the authentic tasty Penang chicken bao to get the juices flowing (get it? lol)

Recently a friend asked if I could share the steamed chicken bao recipe as she wanted to make for her son. So here is the recipe I have concocted, my dear friend. I'm glad to share it with you and I hope your boy enjoy this recipe too!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Bangkuang Char - Yam Bean Lettuce Cups

I've been loving snack style food recently. Little two-bite morsels that are tasty from the first bite to the last.  Although, I'm not sure it's considered snack food if you eat like 7 or 8 of them? Hmm... anyway, this is where this bangkuang char comes into place - shredded delicious yam beans, wrapped lovingly in a fresh, crisp lettuce leaf.  I feel like this is the Malaysian equivalent to the San Choy Bao (lettuce cup).  When I was growing up, this dish was predominantly served during festive occasions such as Chinese New Year.  This would be eaten with rice, alongside other dishes such as curry chicken, braised pork belly (tau iu bak) and pork stomach soup (tu tor tn'g).  

Monday, 13 October 2014

Chai Kuih aka Steamed Vegetable Dumpling

Okay, let me start of by saying that these dumplings are the sort of dumplings I could inhale on a regular basis.  I am head over heels in love with these bite-sized morsels just bursting with delicious, garlicky juices.  As much as I could wax lyrical as to how ah-mazing these delicate little dumplings are, I urge you to give these a whirl at some point, and then come back to me and profess your love for them as I have from that very first bite!

Chai kuih translates to vegatable dumpling. These little dumplings are similar to the type you get when you go to your local Chinese restaurant for yumcha.  The difference between the standard dumplings you have at yum cha, and these wee beauties, is that the skin needs to be quite thin. There are two types of chai kuih - the original bangkuang or yam beans (sometimes referred to as sengkuang or jicama) and the ku chai (chives). 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

White Fungus Soup (Sweet)

Off the back of the Mung Bean soup earlier in the week, I made up a different dessert that has a cooling effect for the body.  The temperature has steadily been climbing in the last few days and everyone is feeling the effects as we adjust.

Apart from the cooling effects, this white fungus soup is good for the skin.  As the old adage goes, beauty starts from the inside out.  A lot of rich tai tai's would drink double boiled bird's nest for collagen. Well, guess what ladies, you don't need to spend all the dollars for bird's nest as the white fungus gives the same collagen fix.  For my vegetarian friends, the white fungus is a great replacement for expensive bird's nest.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Vegetarian San Choy Bou

Can I just point out we are technically only the second month into spring? Then why is it 32 degrees outside already??! I am positively melting in this heat and my kids had to have a soak in the tub to cool off today. I feel like this summer is going to be an absolute scorcher.

As the weather heats up to searing temperatures, this usually causes a downturn in the want to spend time in a hot kitchen.  Frankly, I think I could survive on ice blocks. I wonder if I could look at turning standard meal fare into ice block concotions... now there's an idea...

Friday, 3 October 2014

Roti Canai / Susu


Holy smokes, Batman. Have I ever told you about my love for roti? Oh my goodness, it is SO hard to find it as authentic as the ones back in Malaysia.. .SO hard - I should know, I spend forever finding the places that do genuine made-from-scratch roti NOT from the freezer aisle.  Why do I have an infinite love for these soft and buttery on the inside, crispy and flaky on the outside goodness? Because it's such a great vehicle for so many variety of toppings and accompaniments. AND THEY ALL TASTE GREAT!  If you've never tasted freshly rolled, tossed, folded and grilled roti, you don't know what you are missing. I'm just drooling at all my favourite combinations mmm.... 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Mung Bean Soup (Sweet)

The Chinese are very firm believers of certain ingredients providing beneficial or detrimental effects on the body.  It meant that when I had ulcers or nose bleeds, I was considered too 'heaty' and that I needed to avoid the foods that were causing them (deep fried items, durian boo hoo hoo) and to eat those that would counteract it.  Mung bean is one such ingredient which is seen as an ingredient with cooling properties and a great remedy for days where you might have overindulged on one too many fried chicken or just couldn't resist that one last durian.  

I made this soup more as a preventative measure more than a remedy, given the my sons had been playing outside and the day was getting warmer and warmer as it progressed. This is one dish that my eldest, Isaac, isn't too fond of though, so to try and make it a little more appealing to him, I added in coloured potato jelly.  Surprisingly, he took to it, and finished the whole bowl with requests for seconds! I'll note that down as a win thanks...

The jelly isn't a traditional aspect of the dish, although if you do have children or fussy adults, it might be worth a shot to add it.  It won't significantly alter the flavour of the dish, and you can get some of the nutritional benefits of the mung bean into them!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Tom Yum Fried Noodles

There are days where the last thing you want to do is spend significant time in the kitchen cooking.  As you can imagine, having two boys can be a handful, and when they aren't at school, you have to keep them occupied somehow! Today we went to the park with some of their school friends, taking along these chocolate chip cookies (which were a big hit I might add) with us.  With tired, hungry boys and all my energy spent at the park with them, I wanted to throw together some quick, easy but delicious which I know the boys will eat, no question asked.  

This is a vegetarian dish, meaning if you've come home for a day out, you don't need to worry about defrosting meat and so forth.  If you do want to add meat to this though, I don't see why you couldn't.

Tomato and Egg Scramble

Midweek meals. What a struggle!  It's always a fine line between creating something that is tasty but the boys will also eat.  Often it gets to the middle of the week and my brain can't comprehend the fact I should be making a nutritious meal.  My eyes draw longingly to the fridge with the pizza pamphlet tacked to it...

Good thing for me, there are several recipes I have up my sleeves for such days like these, where I don't have to think to hard but food miraculously appears with a mere two or three ingredients and gets eaten with no complaints.  This dish here contains ingredients that should be staples in your fridge.  If anything, they may end up being the ONLY items in your fridge come Friday (no, just me??). 

Research has suggested that tomatoes are good for men.  The lycopene in tomatoes has been suggested to reduce the rate of cancer in prostate as well as stomach and lungs. Regardless as to whether that is concrete or not, tomatoes are full of nutrients and this dish provides flavour to the eggs (which I might add, is protein rich, so great for growing children!)

This dish is widely serve in Mainland China. My Mum and Dad went to China couple of years back with a tour. When they came back, I had cooked this dish and Dad gave me very unimpressed look! He told me that he had to consume this dish every single day at every single meal they had in China! Whoops, my bad - sorry Dad!! 

Cheese Twist


Having to entertain two kids during school holiday is a full time job. They seem to know that by being on school holidays, I have the time to indulge them in their favourite foods (pancakes anyone?).  My youngest one is a real foodie, trying new food with gusto, and definitely letting you know if he definitely does enjoy it or not. 

We live on a quiet cul-de-sac and the kids on our street love coming round for a play during the school break. As you know, active kids make for hungry tummies.  No doubt all the bike riding, running around and rough-housing works up a healthy appetite.  This is where these cheese twists are the perfect snack to put together a group of ravenous kids.

These tasty, cheesy, savoury pastries will no doubt make you popular with whoever consumes them, and best of all they are so ridiculously easy and require very little forethought.

Penang Char Koay Teow

Penang Char Koay Teow - this is a recipe that embodies so many memories for me.  It has a very soft spot in my heart, not only being a signature dish from my home town, but also a reminder of my very dear late grandmother.  She would cook it for us, however (as with most special, longed-for meals) not as often as we would like.  We would pester her relentlessly before she would give in and put together this delicious plate of noodles.

Char Koay Teow (literal translation fried rice noodles) is something that can be found across any Malaysian restaurant on their menu. Like most things with cultural food though, whether the authenticity is there or not is debatable.  Penang has long been known as the "Food Capital of Malaysia" and is particularly well known for their "hawker foods", mostly featuring incredibly fresh ingredients and made to order.  Char Koay Teow is the very representation of hawker food - fresh rice noodles tossed with tender juicy prawns, crunchy bean sprouts, salty Chinese sausage, fragrant chives finished off with a kick of chilli.  If you visit Penang and don't take the opportunity taste this, you haven't been to Penang at all!

The best way to get that authentic taste in your home is to cook this dish in individual portions, not in one big batch.  Using a cast iron wok and a gas cook top will best replicate the complex, smokey flavour of the dish (often referred to as 'wok hei' or breath of the wok) which is usually the magic factor in all genuine hawker dishes.  

Traditionally, Char Koay Teow would also include succulent de-shelled cockles and crunchy pork lard or rind, however these ingredients are hard to find here so they have been omitted from this particular recipe.  If you are lucky enough to find these additions though, absolutely feel free to toss through the cockles and rind with the prawns.  They're certainly my favourite bits of the dish!  You can also exchange the chicken egg out for duck egg if you're feeling exceptionally indulgent.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Chicken Chop

Living in a different country can open you up to different cultures and experiences. Most importantly for me, it opens up a new arena of different ingredients that translates into new dishes to sample.  However, at the end of the day, there is no place like home, and home means the food that I grew up with.  

Spending the latter days of my teenage years and early twenties in New Zealand was a blessing in disguise.  Although it was difficult finding authentic food resembling that of those I had left behind, being such a melting pot of cultures, it wasn't too difficult to find ingredients to adapt recipes to those that I missed.  Coming to Queensland, it was even easier to put together Malaysian dishes, with temperatures and weather conditions similar to those back in Malaysia, allowing us to grow ingredients such as pandan in our backyard.

As you can gather, my passion for cooking started at a very young age, and while I absolutely enjoyed eating all the food from the hawker stalls, there was always a part of me observing the little tricks of the trade so that I could recreate these later down the track.

This Chicken Chop recipe is no ordinary Chicken Chop. This is a version resembling the famous Penang Bee Hooi Chicken Chop.  Due to my frequent visit to this kopi-tiam (literal translation coffee shop), I have learned a few tricks on a few of their dishes, including this one.  Even though our family no longer resides in Penang, I think it is so important for my children to know their culture and the foods that I grew up enjoying. And to be honest, I hear no complaints from them as they enjoy the local food with enthusiasm.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies

To me, chocolate chip cookies are synonymous with childhoods, whether it is freshly baked made-from-scratch cookies, or a particular version of store bought cookies. Growing up there were Cookie Time cookies, a large format cookie with generous chocolate chunks throughout. If I really wanted to, I could break the cookie into pieces and sneak them as a snack during class.  Then Christmas would come round, and they would do Cookie Time buckets - miniature versions of their chocolate chip chunk cookies in a bucket.  I'd have to buy 2 or 3 buckets just to get through that season, because goodness, they certainly didn't last very long. You'd have one, then two, and next thing you know you've eaten the ENTIRE bucket - whoops!  I kept telling myself I was getting good karma points though, because every bucket sold was raising funds toward the Cookie Time Charitable Trust.

Now you might think that there are much better cookies out there than the Cookie Time, and you're probably right. But the smell and taste of the Cookie Time cookies bring me straight back to my childhood.  Now that I am older, wiser (debatable) and no longer have a Cookie Time cookie available up the road from me anymore (cue tears), I've had to come up with a solution.  Although Cookie Time cookies will forever have a soft spot in my heart, I have been on the hunt for a go-to chocolate chip cookie I could whip up at home.  

My favourite type of chocolate chip cookies have now become crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and exploding with chocolate chips at every bite.  Because let's be serious, you can't call it a chocolate chip cookie if you don't get the chocolate chips in every bite.  The best thing about baking chocolate chip cookies? The fact your kitchen smells like a bakery and licking the bowl, spatula and beater of the cookie dough batter. Waste not, want not is my philosophy...!

So while trialing a few cookies along the way (and I wonder why my waistline is expanding...) I came across these today.  These were great as they were a simple dry ingredient, wet ingredient, mix both together dealio - a fantastic option to get the kidlets involved without screwing up the final results. I tweaked these just slightly, adding Maldon flaky sea salt instead of regular salt which I think adds a slightly 'cleaner' salt taste to the cookies. However, you can use regular salt as per the original recipe if you don't have flaky salt on hand.  

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Baked Zuchinni Slice

I'm pretty sure vegetables are the type of food that just don't get enough appreciation in the real world.  Growing up, I don't think I was particularly averse to many of the vegetables I had. In saying that, my mum wouldn't let me leave the dinner table until all my food had been finished. If that meant sitting at that table for an hour, with your food going cold, and everyone else had finished eating and left, well so be it.  I learnt pretty quickly I was never going to 'out-stubborn' my mum! Can I just say though, I don't think I will every freely enjoy bitter melons or brussel sprouts eurgh!!

I'm lucky both my boys do not dislike vegetables and that they will eat it of their own volition.  However, I know that children can be fussy for whatever reason, and so this recipe is great to sneak those vegetables into their diet without them catching on until maybe it's too late.  Although this recipe uses zucchini, carrots and mushrooms, you can add or minus whatever ingredients you want to use.  For example, when fresh corn is available, I will add corn kernels from a cob into the mix.  By adding bacon or equivalent meat into the dish, it helps cover the vegetable taste, thus the ability to sneak the vegetables into their meals!  

This is definitely something that can be split into cups for kids lunch boxes, or be made in a bigger batch so there is enough for dinner as well as lunch the next day. This is a favourite to eat for lunch with the boys, and a favourite of mine to make since it is so easy.

Baked Vegetarian Zuchinni Cups

In this day and age, it has been suggested mixing your regular meat-based meals with vegetarian alternatives can be beneficial for your health.  Growing up, certain Chinese religion would dictate certain times of the month or year as solely vegetarian.  

Being the ninth month in the lunar calendar year, this is the time of of the year where my grandma would bring out a separate complete set of utensils, pots and pans and we would go on a strict vegetarian diet for nine days.  This was a celebration for the 9 Emperor Gods and I would get so excited during this time as this was also a fabulous opportunity to taste different vegetarian dishes along the streets of Penang (and for those that haven't tasted hawker foods in a street environment, you don't know what you are missing!).

Although I now no longer practice the nine-day vegetarian diet, I have been asked by vegetarian friends to share some vegetarian recipes that they could try. I have tweaked my favourite zucchini slice recipe to turn this into a vegetarian option, which I might add, is still pretty darn tasty! 

I have created these into cups for ease of transportation for the boys lunch box, however you can absolutely combine all the ingredients and just put it into a big dish for dinner. This is a recipe that you can also add your own creative licencing to as well, adding any other kind of vegetables to it (can you tell I am a big advocate for "scrape-the-bottom-of-the-fridge-Friday" recipes??!).

Friday, 26 September 2014

Kung pou chicken

Chinese food is one of those things that can either be done really well, and you keep coming back for more, or it can be done terribly, where you end up spending the rest of the night drinking your weight in water to offset the amount of salt or MSG the restaurant has used in the dish.  I've had my share of bad experiences (cockroach scurrying across the entrance as you're walking through the door anyone?) where it gets to the point that I am resigned to just doing it at home.  At least I know for sure the ingredients and the amount of seasoning that goes into it (and hopefully no 'extra' additions that make it into the dish!).

This winning combination of spicy and sour, Kung Pou chicken is one of those typically popular dishes that you can find in most Chinese restaurants. What most people don't realise is how easy it is to whip up, requiring very little preparation beforehand.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Bak Steak aka Meat patties

Oh woe is me.  My body can't decide whether to be sick or not.  It could be hayfever though.  Either way, this in between not sick, not 100% makes me turn to my number one way to make myself feel better - food. Is that terrible? No, I didn't think so.  

The only problem is, I want to EAT food, but I don't necessarily want to spend hours over a hot stove COOKING it.  This is where this dish comes in.  Bak Steak means Meat Patties in Hokkien. This is a very common dish in the average Penang household and is one of my go-to dishes when in dire need for some TLC.

This is a one pot dish, combining all the essential elements of a well balanced meal - protein, vegetables and carbohydrates!  This is usually served on a bed of steamed rice.


Goodness gracious, it's kicking into strawberry season here in sunny Queensland.  Spring has certainly arrived with a bang, and with the 30 degrees I experienced up here in North Queensland, it certainly seems like summer is truly around the corner.

Strawberries are now selling for punnets upon punnets at ridiculous prices ($5 for 4 250g punnets anyone?) and being such a versatile fruit, I just want to eat it with EVERYTHING. Which brings me to a very classic dish that every recipe collector should have filed away - pancakes.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Finger-licking Good Grilled Chicken

It's school holidays here in Australia and with beautifully warm weather (26 degrees, blue skies), what better way to spend it then to have a picnic in the park with friends. So what do I make to bring to the park which is easy to make, yet healthy and delicious for the boys?  One thing that came to mind is the surefire winner of finger-licking good grilled chicken.

I usually serve this on a bed of rice for dinner, so normally marinating it for 30 minutes would be sufficient. But because we are going to leave the house in the early hours, I will have to marinate these overnight, making it taste even finger-lickin' better! 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Chap Cai T'ng aka Mixed Vegetables Soup

I hate being on the verge of being full blown sick. The sniffles, the watery eyes, ticklish throat.  I use every heavy artillery I have in my arsenal to knock those germs on the head. And yet, sometimes it all heads south, and I am just miserable, wallowing in self pity. It is at this point where I want to drown myself in all that is comforting, in particular, soup. It's just like a warm snuggly blanket for the insides.

Chap Cai T'ng is in Hokkien, literally translating to mixed vegetables in English. It was one of my late ah ma's (grandma) favourite dishes and my go-to when I need something to soothe my dreary soul.

Clear soup is so easy to prepare and they are delicious and healthy.  In Chinese culture, different combination of ingredients can be a remedy for whatever ailments you are suffering from.  The list is endless. 

With this soup, can serve this along with other dinner dishes (either as a starter, or to finish your meal), or if unwell like me, you can make a one bowl meal with some noodles.

Friday, 19 September 2014

How to : fold dumplings

Folding dumplings is a tricky business to master.  Practice makes perfect though, and with that comes plenty of dumplings to eat! 

Sticky pot pork and chives dumplings

Dumplings, dumplings, dumplings.  My obsession for these tasty little morsels never ceases to amaze me.  Although these are not a Malaysian dish, my family absolutely love love LOVE them!! And to be honest, if you don't like dumplings, you just haven't found your match made in heaven yet! 

Ba-ba-ba ba-ba na-na!

Have you watched Despicable Me 2? Minions are the cutest. When I think of bananas, I think of them. If you don't know what I am talking about, go youtube the video and have a giggle. Anyway, moving along...

The fantastic thing about having banana trees growing in one's backyard is that you get FREE bananas from time to time. However, when one ripens, the whole big bunch ripen at the same time. You have to either give it away or somehow consume them quickly. Although the ones we have are quite small, they are still very filling! 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Pandan Chiffon Cake

I absolutely love to cook and bake with pandan leaves. There is something intoxicating about the smell of pandan wafting through the kitchen as it cooks.  Although not very common here in Queensland, it is an item that is used throughout many traditional Malaysian recipes, adding a delicate sweet flavour to the dish.  I have seen friends and relatives in Malaysia using pandan leaves tied in a knot to use as an air freshener for their homes or car.  Personally, I think that would just make me hungry for pandan all the time!

Chiffon cake is a beautifully light, fluffy, cottony soft cake, very similar to sponge cake, but using oil instead of butter.  I would buy a slice of this deliciously fragrant cake for morning tea at school.  Now that I am an adult, I can bake these for morning tea and have a piece warm out of the oven with a cup of kopi-o (I am yet to find someone who doesn't follow the philosophy of coffee and cake as a match made in heaven!). 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Steamed bun/bread aka mantou (馒头)

Mantou (馒头) is not Malaysian at all, however deep fried mantou served with chilli crab is something you can find easily in seafood restaurants in Malaysia. Mantou is originally from China and it is basically flour, yeast and water. These days, there are so many variations of mantou you can make.

My boys love having mantou for breakfast. Sometimes if they are lucky, they find these in their lunchbox too, providing a filling lunch option (and a guaranteed empty lunch box at the end of the day!).

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Malaysian Egg Sponge Cake aka Kuih Bahulu

I love these little sponge cake with kopi-o (black malaysian coffee). Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. You can get these cakes from the local markets in Malaysia. They usually come baked in a flower shape but this would work in just about any kind of mould.  I have used little cupcake moulds, as well as little teddy moulds for my boys.

If you have friends coming over on short notice, this is the recipe to go to. This can be whipped up and out of the oven within 30mins. These are perfect as lunch box treats too!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

This blog is dedicated to my two sons, and I thought what better way to kick it off with their favourite food - SWEET AND SOUR MEATBALLS. This dish is a twist to the traditional sweet and sour pork. My boys do not like to chew their food so instead of using pork pieces, I use pork mince (ironic right? since my blog is called LOVE to Cheu.. LOL!)

This dish has everything! Meat and veges.. all you need is a bowl of steamed rice. I love cooking this dish because my boys will guarantee to finish it within minutes!