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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Chocolate Granola

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I remember my first foray into ‘granola’ production:

Recipe ingredients: bowl of cornflakes with a token handful of oats and a generous drizzling of warm honey.

Method: Mix it all together to a sticky paste, carefully slather it on a baking sheet then bake it till it’s golden perfection. Grab the scraper to expunge the sweet gummy mess off the baking tray to a bowl to cool till it’s crunchy. Break into clusters and serve with a thick sprinkling of sugar and a generous pouring of milk.

I was such a healthy child. Thankfully I grew up a little. And so did my granola. I admit I don’t eat it as much as I use to, simply because I’m not a breakfast person anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love my brekkie food but not at the ungodly hours of well, morning (vampire rarr). But you gotta love the granola because it isn’t just for morning sustenance

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You can use anything you like in the dry ingredients; rolled oats, seeds such as pumpkin or flax, nuts, dried fruit and dessicated coconut, cocoa powder or ground hazelnuts for added flavour. To bind the dry ingredients I used honey, brown sugar syrup and melted butter. And oh baby, chocolate.

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I haven’t made
chocolate granola in ages but after a bit of online food-porning, it was all I could think about to munch on. I followed my usual honey granola recipe only with added melted chocolate. The addition of cocoa for added chocolatey oomph was inspired by these beauties, which were the instigators behind the cravings.

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You can of course, have this plain with milk for a bit of cereal love. But it’s also brilliant sprinkled on yoghurt, ice cream, rice pudding, baked or poached fruit or berries. This stuff is so easy and quick to make and it keeps for ages in an airtight container so you can always have some on hand to throw on whatever you desire. Or you could do what I do; leave a (hefty) jar of it on the coffee table so you can greedily pick at it while watching TV.

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Chocolate Granola


500g rolled oats
100g dried cranberries or sour cherries, chopped (or substitute with any dried fruits)
50g raisins
50g pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
50g dessicated coconut
3 Tbl cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

125g brown sugar
100ml water
30g butter
125ml honey
1.5 tsps vanilla extract
150g dark chocolate, chopped


Preheat oven to 180°C and line three baking trays with baking paper.

Place the oats, dried cranberries, raisins, pumpkin seeds, coconut, cocoa, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss until combined (hands are the easiest tool here).

In a pot over medium heat, heat the sugar, water and butter until sugar has dissolved and butter has melted. Add the honey and vanilla and stir to combined.

Remove from heat and add the chocolate and stir until melted and everything is combined.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the oats and with a wooden spoon, mix until everything is coated and combined.

Spread the clusters of granola on the trays in a single layer. Or if you wish, break up the clusters if you prefer a ‘looser’ granola (just like The Captain because crunchy clusters hurts his old man teeth, poor thing).

Bake each tray separately for 20-25 minutes until it’s dried out (granola will get more crunchy as it cools). Make sure to turn the granola and move it around halfway through the baking time to make sure it bakes evenly and doesn’t burn.

The longer you bake it, the browner it gets, which means super crunchy granola but it also burns quickly after 20 minutes so keep an eye on it.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.

Serve it with fresh fruit, baked fruits, yoghurt, as a cereal with milk, on ice cream or as crumble on your favourite dessert.

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Recipe lovingly inspired by Nigella Lawson and Delicious Days.

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Posted in Breakfast and Brunch, Chocolate | Leave a comment

Autumn ‘Pig and Beer’

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With autumn settling in, the stockings and jackets are coming out and so is my cast iron pot. Once again, brawn meets beer for another hearty and soulful tryst and I couldn’t be happier. I love my one pot cooking. For my family, it’s easy and effortless and it never fails to fill our stomachs for days.

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This is another deep and flavoursome concoction; a chicken stock based stew that is permeated by the flavour of pork, beefed up with potatoes and fragranced with pale ale. Crusty bread is an essential here but it is equally heavenly with a side of braised cabbage, particularly
this one which, as I’ve already shouted from the rooftops, is the best cabbage dish I’ve ever tasted.

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I must’ve cooked every type of meat in every type of grog under the sun but the
‘Pig and Beer’ is one of our favourites. The comfort level is high but it’s not overly rich and heavy. And despite the increasingly cool weather outside, this autumn beauty goes down very well with a few cold pints.

• • •

Related Recipes


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Autumn ‘Pig and Beer’ Stew


2kg of pork leg chops, excess fat and rind removed
2 brown onions, chopped into small pieces
6 cloves of garlic, finely diced
3 rashers of middle bacon, sliced thinly
800ml of pale ale
800ml chicken stock (low-sodium)
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tbl of worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
6 large waxy potatoes, peeled and chopped
Handful of chopped fresh parsley to serve (optional)


In a large pot over high heat, melt a knob of butter with a dash of oil and brown pork chops on both sides until golden. Remove and set aside. Reduce heat to medium.

Add the onions, garlic and bacon and sauté for 5 minutes until veges have softened and bacon is golden.

Add the pork back into the pot and pour in the beer and stock. Bring to a boil.

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Reduce heat to low, stir in the herbs, worcestershire sauce, paprika and simmer gently for 2.5 hours until pork is pull-apart tender and the stock is reduced and flavoursome (the thick leg chops will need a bit of time to really tenderise).

Add the potatoes for the last 45 minutes to cook until tender (as in after 1hr 45 mins). Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

If you wish, use a bit of cornflour (mixed in a little cold water to form a paste) to thicken the stew to your preference.

Serve with a scattering of chopped fresh parsley and crusty bread (and beer!).

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Posted in Meat, Pork, Soups and Stews | Leave a comment

Braised Cabbage in Balsamic

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Friends, there’s a breeze up my skirt and it ain’t from the autumn wind. Ok sit down and look into my eyes. You trust me, don’t you? Because I’m going to tell you one thing that’s going to change your life. Ya ready?

Braised. Balsamic. Cabbage. You need to make this now.

Who could’ve guessed that a humble cabbage could give this carnivore a nice lofty breeze in her tail (hold the cabbage wind jokes peeps). But seriously, this is the best cabbage dish you’ll ever taste and for a vegetable that is pretty bloody boring, it’s a big claim. But then again, the cabbage is cooked in butter, sugar and balsamic vinegar. And it does sit all pretty and tender in a spiced, syrupy, sweet-but-with-a-bite glaze. Not hard to love it at all, no siree.

You can serve it as a side dish to any rich red meat but I reckon any game especially duck, would be the most divine. I never thought I could be in love with a vego dish and now I can’t imagine preparing cabbage any other way. Far be it for me to mess with magic right?

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Braised Cabbage in Balsamic


1 red cabbage (about 700g), outer leaves removed, quartered, cored and sliced thinly
2 tart Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thickly
150g butter
150g light brown sugar
150ml balsamic vinegar (substitute with cider vinegar if you wish)
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp ground cloves


Preheat oven to 180°C.

In a casserole dish over medium heat, stir together the butter, sugar and vinegar until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Add the cinnamon and cloves and remove from heat.

Add cabbage and apple and toss to coat. Cover the surface with a sheet of wet, crumpled baking paper (a.k.a a cartouche) and bake in the oven for 1-1.5 hours or until the cabbage is tender but with a slight bite and the liquid has reduced to a slightly syrup consistency.

Give it a stir every 30 minutes or so but be sure to re-wet the baking paper each time you do to prevent it from burning.

Serve warm on the side to any meat dish.

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Recipe adapted from Cooking For Friends by Gordon Ramsay.

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Posted in Side Dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

‘The Bananarrot’ (Layered Carrot and Banana Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting)

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As if the title wasn’t clear enough, but just in case you didn’t know,
The Bananarrot is basically one layer of awesome atop another layer of awesome, slathered with one helluva creamy smooth frosting to make one epic awesomemest of awesome cake. Ok short and sweet confession, I’m not feeling the most articulate and eloquent today so forgive my teenage-esque superlatives hehe.

These cakes comes from my favourite cookbook, Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum, a beloved member of my family with its well-thumbed flour-covered pages and a few noticeable stains of grease. If you love baking cakes like I do, then I demand beg implore you to get this book. I want Rose to adopt me as her long lost niece so we can spend many afternoons together baking cakes and drinking tea. Umm I promised myself that I wasn’t going to sound like a gushing fan-girl but looks like I failed!

I’ve made the banana cake and the frosting so many times before that it has pretty much earned the lifetime achievement award (you can read me getting all hot and dreamy about it here). Needless to say, the carrot cake is a worthy competitor for my affections. Both, as you can gather, works brilliantly with the subtle sweet and tangy frosting so instead of picking one of the two to make for a lunch gathering, I decided to sandwich the two together, which led to its new brilliant moniker, The Bananarrot.

A few nutrition fairies will probably die when I say this but this has to be most amazing (albeit naughty) way to get my daily serving of fruit and veges. Hmmm lets have another perve at the cake shall we? Hello!

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Classic Carrot Cake


150g of plain flour
3/4 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbl of cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
150g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar or muscovado
150ml of canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tsps vanilla extract
1.5 cups or 227g of coursely shredded carrot


Preheat oven to 175°C and grease and line a 22cm cake tin (9-inch).

In a bowl, sift and whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt, cocoa and cinnamon.

In another large bowl, beat together the caster sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla on medium speed for a minute or until well blended. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated.

Add the carrots and beat for another 10 seconds or until combined. Scrape batter into cake tin, level the top and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean and the centre of the cake spring back when lightly pressed.

Cool in tin for 10 minutes then turn out to cool completely.

Banana Cake


2 large very ripe bananas, peeled and broken into pieces
116g sour cream
2 eggs
1.5 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
170g caster sugar
120ml canola oil
200g cake flour (or 30g cornflour plus 170g plain flour)
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda


Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and line a 22cm springform cake tin (9-inch).

In a food processor, add the bananas and sour cream and blend until smooth. Make sure to scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula to incorporate it all.

Add the eggs, vanilla and zest and process for about 10 seconds until smooth. Scrape out into a large mixing bowl.

Add the sugar to banana mixture and with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk until combined. Gradually add the oil, beating it until it’s completely mixed through.

Sift over combined dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and bicarb) and mix on low speed until the ingredients have moistened and it has combined.

Scrape batter into cake tin, level the top and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean and the centre of the cake spring back when lightly pressed.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting


255g white chocolate, chopped
340g cream cheese, softened but still cool
85g (6 Tbl) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
21g sour cream


In a double boiler or bowl over gentle simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water), melt the white chocolate. Remove from heat and set aside until it is cool but still fluid.

In a food processor, process the cream cheese, butter and sour cream until mixed and smooth. Make sure to scrape down the sides with a spatula to incorporate it all. Add the cooled white chocolate and mix until it’s all smooth and mixed. If it’s a little soft, firm it up in the fridge before icing.

To Assemble Cakes

Trim your two cakes if necessary to get two even layers. Use about 3/4 cup (or 180ml) of frosting to sandwich the two cakes together. Use remainder to frost the top and if you have enough the sides too. Garnish with chopped walnuts and/or raisins if you wish.

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Recipes adapted from Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Posted in Cakes, Fruit, Vegetable | Leave a comment

Sweet Thyme and Choc Chip Muffins

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I’ve always been taught to be grateful for what you have and never take things for granted. In an unpredictable world where circumstances can change for the worse in a snap, there’s really no other motto that I ardently live by.

I’m grateful for The Captain and my dog “The Fi”, both of which, have the awesome ability to soothe and calm my frazzled soul.

For my amazing friends; the special kind who truly knows who you are and will stand by your side unconditionally and without hesitation. To have one is miracle enough but to have a handful, well I count myself extremely lucky (insert love heart here).

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I’m also thankful for the simple joy of baking and for eggs, butter, milk, flour, sugar, chocolate…

Finally, for the ritual of sipping hot tea and taking a bite out of a warm, freshly baked muffin that has been lovingly slathered with butter. These muffins ain’t fancy but the pleasure it brings is immeasurable.

For all of that, I am grateful.

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Sweet Thyme and Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes 12 large muffins


200g light brown sugar
2-3 Tbls of thyme leaves (this gives a subtle flavour but feel free to adjust and ramp it up!)
2 large eggs
250ml milk
125ml of canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
400g plain flour
4 tsps of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
150g chocolate chips (dark, milk, white, your choice!)


Preheat oven to 200°C and line a 12-muffin tin with patty cases.

Whisk the sugar, thyme leaves, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract until combined.

Sift over the flour, baking powder and salt and lightly mix with a whisk until just combined. Fold through the chocolate chips. It’s totally fine for a muffin batter to be slightly lumpy because it’ll yield softer muffins. Overmix it until smooth and they’ll end up dry and hard (and honey, nobody likes a hard muffin!).

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Spoon out the batter into muffin cases to about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden and the centre springs back when lightly pressed or the skewer comes out clean when inserted.

Transfer muffins to wire rack and cool slightly. Serve warm with a dusting of icing sugar and butter on the side.

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Recipe adapted from Paul A. Young’s Adventures with Chocolate.

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Posted in Breakfast and Brunch, Chocolate, Cupcakes and Muffins | Leave a comment

Irish Stew (must be St. Patrick’s Day again!)

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Time for the cows to come home and crack a few bevies because March is here, which means everybody’s Irish on the 17th! Awesome long-time readers of le Citrus and Candy would know that
St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favourite holidays of the year and a regular fixture on my culinary calendar. Because there’s nothing that this robust girl loves more than hearty, manly stews. It’s all about the meat but when brawn meets beer? Ooh baby!

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The humble stew is something I’ve grew with just as much as laksas and one of the first things I learnt to make when I was a wee child. We may have been an ‘Asian’ family but Mother Superior definitely knew how to whip up many a beef stews for the kiddies which we would attack like crazy with baked strips of puff pastry to lovingly soak up the gravy. We
loved our Brit food and beef so this was like a special treat for us, usually served on nights when the parentals were going to hit Perth’s Burswood Casino, leaving us in the care of Big Bad Bro. Mean ol’ bastard use to make my sis and I wash all the dishes for him! Sometimes he’d make up for it by bringing out the blankets so we could all play “princess” together, other times, the parents would just come home to a whole lotta tears and tantrums.

Aah memories…

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Anyway, you certainly can’t think of Irish food without thinking of
Irish Stew. Oh my gawd, I love this stuff in all shapes and forms but always with a good sloshing of extra stout and a deadly serving of spuds (ummm carbs). As with most stews, following a recipe strictly to a point is totally unnecessary because you can throw in anything you want (except the kitchen sink) and it’ll always cook up beautifully. So take my recipe with a grain of salt because I may or may not have measured 100% accurately (I never do for ye olde stews oops), but rest assured that no matter what you choose to do with it, it’ll turn to a big pot of hearty, meaty goodness.

Final lesson: don’t forget the extra pints of stout to wash it all down with!

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Irish Stew

Serves 6-8


• 700g beef chuck, diced into 2cm pieces
• 700g deboned fatty lamb, diced into 2cm pieces (leg, shoulder or neck)
• 1 large leek, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1cm thickness
• 8 cloves of garlic
• 4 Tbl (1/4 cup) of plain flour
• 140g tomato paste
• 375ml of Guinness Extra Stout
• 1 L of beef or lamb stock (or a combo of the two)
• 1.5 Tbl of worcestershire sauce (magical stuff, I add it in everything lol!)
• Bouquet Garni –
4 sprigs of rosemary, 6 sprigs of thyme, 3 bay leaves – tied together
• 2 large carrots (about 450g), peeled and chopped into 1.5cm pieces
• 5-6 large waxy potatoes (about 800g), peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces (soak in cold water if preparing ahead)
• 1-2 Tbl sugar (or to taste)
• 1-2 tsp of salt (or to taste)
• 1 tsp ground black pepper
• 1 Tbl freshly chopped parsley to garnish (optional)


In a casserole pot, heat up some oil, then brown the beef and lamb in small batches until evenly seared all over. Remove and set aside while you brown the rest but keep the beef and lamb separate.

Add another dash of oil in the same pot, then sauté the leeks and garlic until softened.

Add the beef and all the meat juices. Shower over the flour and stir to coat (don’t worry when it starts to look grossly gluggy). Cook for a minute or two.

Add the tomato paste, Guinness, stock and worcestershire sauce and stir, making sure to scrape the bottom. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to the lowest, add the fresh herbs and simmer gently for about an hour.

Add the lamb, carrots and potatoes and simmer for another 45 minutes to an hour or until the veges are cooked and the meat is tender.

Remove the bouquet garni and add the sugar, salt and pepper and season to taste.

Serve immediately (or even better, the next day) with crusty bread and garnish with parsley.

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Cooking Notes

• Do not trim all the fat off the lamb because this will help keep the meat tender and flavoursome. But make sure to simmer the stew slowly. If you cook it too rapidly it will break down the meat and fat into the stew and make it overly greasy.

• Irish Stew traditionally contains lamb but feel free to substitute with anything you like. The meat is also not normally browned so skip this step if you wish to save time.

• I like using a combination of beef and lamb stock in the stew. I do this by simmering lamb leg bones in a ready made beef stock for about an hour to give it an extra oomph in flavour. But if you only have beef, then that is totally fine too.

• Lamb doesn’t take long to cook and tenderise so that’s why I always add it after the beef. Beef normally takes around 2-2.5 hours depending on the cut and thickness and lamb takes around 45-60 minutes.

• Feel free to change it up or adjust the ingredients and measurements whether it’s changing the stock, meat, veges, or adding more or less sugar, salt or beer (more beer I say!). The beauty of stews is that it’s totally versatile.

Omg did that all just sound like a lecture? :S

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Posted in Irish, Meat, Soups and Stews | Leave a comment

Kuih Kodok with Sangkaya (Fried Banana Dumplings with Thai Coconut and Pandan Custard)

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I was going to start off this post by reminding you of my fetish for a bit of banana and hot oil action. And then launch into the fact that this ‘dumpling’ is not to be confused with a fritter and that it’s more like a dense and chewy steamed Malay glutinous rice dessert. I guess I could quickly mention how ‘kodok’ means toad and then fire some silly comeback or cheesy joke about ‘toad cakes’. But I’ll just put this simply; this is one of my favourite Malay snacks and it’s so damn easy to make that even a monkey can do it (I do recommend adult primate supervision for the hot oil action though!).

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Banana dumpling with coconut and pandan custard (it’s actually greener in real life stoopid photos).

But I will demand you to make this gorgeous Thai coconut and pandan custard to go with it. Yes, demand! I first tried this custard at Sydney’s Chat Thai and I immediately swooned. It was a lighter version of my favourite Malaysian kaya and oh lordy, it was amazing! The problem was they don’t serve the dessert all the time and I always have to wait more than a hour for a table at Chat Thai.

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Ever since I found the recipe from one of my favourite
cookbooks, I’ve been as happy as unicorns. You can seriously churn out litres of this magical stuff within 10 minutes at home and avoid the Chat Thai ‘queue rage’. And oh baby, every day, I’ve been shamefully dunking my face in this sexy custard and dipping everything in it – bread, man tou, yu tiao and of course my little alien banana dumplings.

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Alien critters!

Like this little guy! My little tadpole! Aah toad, geddit? 😉

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Now this guy is my favourite. I mean,
look at him! He looks like a mini roast chicken complete with teeny tiny drumstick! Umm chicken. It seriously broke my heart when I devoured him.

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*turns head upside down*

He kinda looks like a pig don’t he? Without a head. And minus three legs. Right? Anyone?

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Ack, the ugly ducklings! They might be society’s rejects but they were dee-licious all the same.

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[Umm. ???]

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Actually you know what? Lets just stare at that custard again…

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Kuih Kodok with Sangkaya (Fried Banana Dumplings with Thai Coconut and Pandan Custard)


2 large very ripe bananas, peeled
200g plain flour
4-5 Tbl caster sugar (adjust according to taste)
1 large egg


Throw all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat up a pot or wok of oil until 180°C. Drop in tablespoon-sized quenelles of batter into the oil and fry until it floats to the top and is golden. You might have to turn the kodok to make sure it’s evenly browned. Do not overcrowd the pan other the temperature will drop.

Remove and drain on paper towels. Keep warm while you finish frying the rest.

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Thai Coconut and Pandan Custard

Adapted from David Thompson’s Thai Street Food


4 fresh or frozen pandan leaves, chopped
100ml hot water
1 x 400ml can of coconut cream
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 Tbl cornflour
1.5 Tbl tapioca flour
60ml milk


Place pandan leaves and water in a food processor and blend until fine (it’ll look like fine, wet moss). Strain pandan pulp in a fine mesh strainer or muslin cloth. Squeeze the mossy pulp to extract as much pandan juice as you can. Set juice aside.

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Fresh pandan juice

Whisk the coconut cream, egg yolk, salt and sugar until combined. In another bowl, whisk the cornflour, tapioca flour and milk until mixed and lump-free. Add the cornflour mixture to the coconut cream and stir to combine.

Strain the custard into a heavy-based saucepan and cook over low heat while continuously stirring with a wooden spoon until it’s thick enough to coat the back of the spoon (about 77-80°C on a thermometer). Stir in the pandan juice, remove from heat and leave to cool.

If you’re not serving immediately, cover the surface of it with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Store custard in the fridge.

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Posted in Custards and Mousses, Desserts and Petit Fours, Fruit, Malaysian, Thai | Leave a comment

Tomato Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam Tomato)

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tomato chicken, how I love thee. Growing up eating rice day in day out was so bloody boring! But on nights when “tom-chook” was served, I was glad to be on my Asian rice diet. Even now, it’s still my go-to dish for a weeknight feed or comfort meal. I’m not too sure about the origins of it but Mother Superior first learnt this type of tomato curry waaaaayyy back in a cooking school in Malaysia (aka housewife training for young ladies). You should see her old workbooks; in the beginning she had to write down recipes for making white coffee and sandwiches! Gloriously retro!

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Obviously us kids couldn’t handle chilli so Mother Superior would always cook the ‘innocent and child-friendly’ version for us with just chicken, a little sambal, tomato puree and a tin of very glamorous champignons. I did love it immensely but thankfully I grew up fast so I could handle the spicier and more sophisticated adult version, which sadly is not meant to contain champignons. But as if that’d stop me from opening up a tin once in a while! She always used chicken wings and mini drumsticks but I prefer chicken thighs.

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Totally working the kaffir lime leaf garnish LOL *snort*

This is one of the few Malaysian curry dishes that doesn’t need coconut milk or cream, which means it’s a perfect alternative for days when a creamy curry would be too heavy. Absolutely essential though is a serving of rice to go with it garnished with fried shallots. Steamed jasmine or basmati would be awesome but coconut rice permeated with the fragrance of pandan? Even better.

Tomato Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam Tomato)

Serves: 4-6 (with rice)

Unless specified, I always use 15ml tablespoon, 5ml teaspoon and 250ml cup measures.

[Recipe adapted from Mother Superior with love]


600g boneless chicken thighs, diced into pieces


1 Tbl tumeric powder
1 Tbl light soy sauce
1 Tbl tomato paste
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp salt
few shakes of ground white pepper

[Chilli Paste]

10 dried red chillis, deseeded
10 fresh red chillis, deseeded
6 French shallots, chopped
6 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemongrass, white parts only, chopped
1 Tbl of oil

Note: you might not need all of it if you’re like me and can’t handle too much spice. The rest can stored in a jar in a fridge for your future cooking.


2 onions – one finely diced and the other, halved then cut into 5mm thick slices
4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 x 2cm knob of ginger, peeled and minced
125ml (1/2 cup) tomato sauce/ketchup
1 x 140g tin of tomato paste
1/2 Tbl kecap manis
2 Tbl caster sugar (or to taste)
250ml of chicken stock
4 kaffir lime leaves


Combine the chicken with the marinade ingredients, stir and set aside for an hour.

Meanwhile pound the chilli paste ingredients in a mortar pestle or food processor and set aside. This can be made in advance and stored in a glass jar in the fridge. I like to keep a good supply of it in the fridge to be ready every time I cook.

Heat up some peanut oil in a wok or pan over high heat. Brown the marinated chicken in 2 or 3 batches until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.

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Browned marinated chicken

Add more oil if you need to, then the finely diced onions, garlic, ginger and about 2 heaped tablespoons of chilli paste (or to taste). Fry until fragrant (or as I like to gauge, until “my nose starts running and my throat tickles” hehe).

Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, kecap manis, sugar, stock and kaffir lime leaves, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes to develop the flavours.

Add the browned chicken and simmer for a further 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is coated and has absorbed all the flavours. Add more stock or water if the sauce starts to dry out during cooking.

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Add the sliced onions and simmer for a few minutes more. Serve with steamed rice or coconut rice fragranced with pandan leaves.

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Posted in Chicken, Malaysian, Meat | Leave a comment

Passionfruit Ice Cream and the Post Summer Blues

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There are two instances in a year that I always feel down and a little blah. They’re my biannual blues and it always occurs on the first day of the year and on the first day of autumn. Simple explanation is that I loathe it when
good things must come to an end. And the “good things” that I hate to let go of are the Christmas holidays and the three months of summer.

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Oh summer! How I miss you even though nothing has really changed in the last day or two *chortle*. It’s the season where I thrive the most on heatwaves and summer storms so when it’s over, the drama queen cortex in my brain kicks into gear and immediately thinks it’s a dire end to awesome weather, tropical fruits, bbqs, partying and swimming at the beach. I’m so frigging over-dramatic. But as usual, I’ll be clutching to the last vestiges of summer in any way I can. Ice cream? Check! Passionfruit? Holla!

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My basic custard (or
crème anglaise) recipe is one that I’ve been using for as long as I can remember. It use to be my biggest vice in high school especially when eaten with those ‘instant’ Betty Crocker cakes. Umm trashy. But it’s an essential base to make any flavoured custard, crème patissiere and of course, ice cream. I actually made this as a passionfruit crème anglaise for this dessert but after practically inhaling it all without a breath and almost swallowing the spoon in the process, I had to make more pronto. But this time, I decided to churn it. And it was brilliant. Smooth, soft, creamy but light and it was just the right balance of sweetness and passionfruit tang. It can’t get as simple as this. Now can we just have a few more weeks of summer? Please?

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Passionfruit Ice Cream


300ml pure cream (35% fat content)
200ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g caster sugar
6 large egg yolks
200ml fresh passionfruit pulp, seeds and all (from approx. 8 passionfruits)


Add the cream, milk and half the sugar to a pan over low heat. Heat until bubbles appear on the sides but just make sure you don’t boil it. Remove from heat then stir in the vanilla extract.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining half of the sugar until pale and thickened. Stir through the passionfruit pulp.

While continuously whisking, add the a little of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks to temper. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the cream.

Cook over the lowest heat while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon making sure to scrape the bottom. Cook until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. When you run your finger through it, it should leave a clear line. On a thermometer it should be 77-80°C.

Do not be tempted to turn up the heat and do not boil otherwise it’ll curdle.

Pour into a bowl or container and chill it overnight or for at least 6 hours. Churn in your ice cream machine according to its instructions then freeze before serving.

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