Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Festive Baking

It's been a while since I last posted. Well, sometimes other things in life takes priority. On a happy note, I've been approached by Marshall Cavendish end of last year  to contribute a recipe for the book Bake and Celebrate, Cookies and Treats. The book is a collection of recipes from various bloggers and Instagrammers and I am very honoured to be featured amongst some of them who are very talented. The book is already in major book stores, so do grab a copy!

As the Lunar New Year approaches, it's time for some festive baking. I've been baking almond cookies almost every years since a couple of years back and my Matcha Almond Cookies is the one featured in the cookbook. But this year I made a variation of it, because I love to experiment with different flavors  - it challenges my thinking :D. Here is my favorite variation so far - Black Sesame Almond Cookies 黑芝麻杏仁饼。Super fragrant from the black sesame powder, I hope you can give this recipe a try!

Black Sesame Almond Cookies
Makes about 50 pieces

120g plain flour
30g Top flour
½ tsp baking powder
80g pure black sesame powder
50g icing sugar
70g sliced almonds, toasted and smashed slightly
10g toasted black sesame seeds
1/4 tsp salt
100g neutral flavored oil(I used sunflower seed oil)

1 egg yolk plus 1/4 tsp water for glazing
Toasted black sesame seeds to garnish


1) Sift together flours, baking powder and icing sugar, add in sesame powder, sesame seeds and sliced almonds and salt,  mix well.
2) Add oil and mix to form a soft dough
3) Shape into 9g small round balls, flatten slightly
4) Glaze with egg yolk and decorate with black sesame seed and bake in a preheated oven at 165°C for 18-20 mins or until golden brown

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A First

An upcoming event has me practicing my skills on making buttercream, piping flowers and frosting whole cakes, everything which I hardly ever touch. Never like frosted cakes because it is always too heavy and sweet, until I found came across this Swiss Meringue buttercream recipe from The Domestic Goddess. I adjusted the sugar amount as I am adding azuki paste.

So here is my Pandan Azuki cake with a pandan sponge, azuki SMBC(made with homecooked red bean paste) and topped with crushed peanuts - all the Singaporean flavours in this cake.

Spent quite sometime frosting hoping to get the perfect smooth sides and top. Still not satisfied with it.

A look at the inside - lovely green hue from pure pandan juice, none of the extract or colorings. Not too sweet which complemented the sweetness from the buttercream.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Another Green Post

I took a vacation to Hokkaido, Japan 3 weeks back and it was GREAT fun! We enjoyed winter Hokkaido tremendously and indulged in some snow activities. Of course we ate a lot - kaisen don(seafood bowls), sushi, shabu shabu plus lots more! Had a lot of milk-based desserts too, because Hokkaido is famous for their silky smooth and creamy fresh milk!

So I came back to Singapore with lots of cooking inspirations hence this dessert is born - Matcha Milk Pudding. Milk pudding has always been one of my favorites - I like Tampopo Deli's milk pudding. Now that I know it's so simple to make, I won't be buying from them anymore!

If you like matcha and pudding, this is for you :p

Matcha Milk Pudding - makes 2 dessert servings

1 tbsp good quality matcha powder
200ml full cream fresh milk(or soy milk)
35g caster sugar
3.5g gelatin sheet*
1.5 tbsp hot water

Azuki(sweet red beans) and kinako(roasted soyabean powder) to serve(both of these can be found in Japanese supermarkets like Meidi-Ya or Isetan)

1) Sift matcha powder in a bowl
2) In a heat proof bowl, cut gelatin sheet into small pieces. Add the 1.5 tbsp hot water. The gelatin will melt slightly
3) Using the double boiler method(see here), melt the gelatin completely(use a small whisk to stir). Turn off heat but leave the bowl on the pot to keep gelatin warm
4) In a separate pot, heat milk over low heat until small bubbles appear at the edge of the pot. Turn off heat, add sugar and dissolve sugar completely
5) Add 3-4 tbsp of the hot milk mixture to the matcha in (1). Whisk until completely smooth and lump-free - very important because otherwise the pudding will have green spots of matcha
6) Add this mixture back to the milk in the pot. Whisk thoroughly until the mixture is evenly green. 
7) Add in the dissolved gelatin, whisk thoroughly.
8) Pour into cups/moulds. Let cool slightly at room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator and leave to set overnight.

A) I used gelatin sheets because I find it hard to work with gelatin powder. I've never succeeded using powder to set my desserts. In addition, the powder has a strange and strong smell which I don't fancy
B) The pudding itself is not very sweet as I'm serving it with sweetened red beans
C) The pudding may set into 2 layers as the heavier matcha powder settles to the bottom. The more matcha used, the more intense the flavor and color will be at the bottom


Sunday, January 03, 2016

Green Milky Way

I've been on a roll using matcha lately. Matcha, which is essentially powdered green tea ground from green tea leaves specially grown in shaded areas in order to concentrate the chlorophyll and stimulate the production of amino acids which contributes to one of the many benefits of consuming matcha. You can read about them on Google.

I started taking matcha in the form of hot matcha, iced matcha, matcha latte, and also adding to my oats, yogurt, chia pudding and smoothies. Have also added them to my bakes and here's my latest  - Matcha Milk jam! I first saw an online Japanese grocer selling a matcha milk spread from Kyoto and it's pretty expensive. Recently saw in Isetan a green tea milk spread from Korea but when I saw the ingredient list it has ingredients like canola oil, rapeseed oil, palm oil, emulsifiers and synthetic flavorings. Hence I wanted to make my own so I don't need to eat all the nonsense in commercial ones.

I found this recipe from a Japanese website(see link here) but modified it to reduce the sugar. It's a simple recipe, just need a little patience with the cooking but you will be rewarded with a silky smooth jam, not unlike Dulce de Leche. It's so good  - rick, milky with matcha fragrance. I couldn't help licking the spoon!

Matcha Milk Jam

100g cream(I used Emborg cooking cream, 20% fat)
140g full cream fresh milk
65g caster sugar
1.5 tsp good quality matcha powder, sifted
2 tbsp hot water

1) Dissolve matcha in hot water and whisk until no more clumps. Transfer to a pot
2) Add the rest of the ingredients into the pot
3) Bring to a slow simmer over low-med heat. Stir frequently and continue to simmer. It should have bubbles continuously, like this picture. 

4)After about 45-60 mins it should have thickened to the texture of condensed milk
5) Remove from heat and store in sterilized glass jars. Cool before storing in the refrigerator. Note that the jam will thicken on storing, just bring to room temperature and it will be spreadable

1) 65g sugar is also a bit too sweet for me. The next time I'll probably reduce it further
2) Feel free to increase or decrease the matcha amount according to your liking. 
3) This recipe makes only around 100 ml. Should be able to double or triple this easily.
4) Please use a good quality matcha powder for this, not the baking ones from Phoon Huat or the supermarket. I'm currently using this matcha. 

This would be perfect served on warm bread, pancakes or if you are a matchaholic like me, on these matcha scones for a double matcha treat!You won't need butter for these, because the jam is rich and sweet enough :D

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Feeling Green for Christmas

I was packing my kitchenware the other day and came across a Christmas tree cookie cutter, which has obviously been sitting in the cupboard for god knows how long. Since Christmas is coming, I thought I could make some festive cookies this year. Since I have been addicted to matcha lately, I decided to make some Matcha Shortbread so that we can all feel more Christmassy :D

This is a very simple recipe, just 4 ingredients. But do note that the dough must be chilled before cutting and before baking. Trust me, it will help to keep the shape better.

Matcha Shortbread

145g plain flour
1 tbsp matcha powder(use good quality one if possible)
A pinch salt
60g sugar
115g butter

1) Preheat oven to 160C. Combine flour, matcha and salt. Whisk well to combine
2) Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy
3) Add in flour mixture and gently mix to combine(I use the paddle attachment on the lowest speed) until everything comes together in a soft dough. It should not be sticky. Form into a ball.

4) Place dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll out to 1/2 inch thickness

5) Refrigerate for at least 30 mins

6) Remove dough from fridge. Work quickly and cut out desired shapes. Transfer to a lined baking sheet. Gather the scraps of dough, form into a ball, flatten and refrigerate similarly before cutting again

6) Refrigerate cut shortbread for at least 15mins. Note that I decorated with colored dragees above.
7) Bake for 18-20 mins, until edges are just beginning to brown lightly Do not overbake
8) Transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting or storage

Simple icing on the edges. See here for icing recipe. I used the border icing recipe.

If you don't like matcha, you can also make vanilla shortbread with this same recipe. Just omit the matcha powder and beat in 1/4 tsp vanilla essence before adding the flour. I made some chocolate-dipped ones and decorated with colored dragees.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Not the KFC from US, but Korean Fried Chicken instead. Sg has been hit by the Korean wave these 1-2 years, with many Korean eateries sprouting all over the island. I used to dislike Korean food, because those I've tried doesn't really suit my palate. But on my sister's recommendations, I've had some pretty good Korean food this year and have also ventured into cooking Korean food at home, like this Yangnyeom Tongdak or 양념통닭. 

Recipe is adapted from The Domestic Goddess's recipe. I have made some changes.

Marinade for Chicken

6 whole chicken wings, tips removed, separate into wing and drumlet(12 pcs in total)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp grated garlic
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

Sauce(mix everything)

2 tbsp gochujang(adjust according to your spice tolerance level)
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp soya sauce(I used Japanese shoyu)
3 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp grated garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp sesame oil

For frying
Potato starch/tapioca starch


1) Marinate chicken for at least a few hours(I marinate overnight)
2) Coat chicken with either potato starch or tapioca starch(I have tried using either, both works fine). Shake off excess flour
3) Deep fry a few pieces at a time in hot oil until light golden brown. Drain. Deep fry a second time until a nice golden brown
4) While the chicken is being fried, bring the sauce ingredients to a boil and simmer for 3-4 mins until thicken and glossy.
5) Add in fried wings and toss thoroughly to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve hot!

Eat with your hands so that you can lick the sweet, spicy an sticky sauce off your fingers!