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Tacos! and World’s best friend =)

The best thing about eating tacos at home is that you don’t have to worry about making a mess. You know, the drips on to the plate, the “hand me the tissue” statement, messy hands and tables. It’s a comfort thing. There is just something about eating food with your hands. It just taste better. Just don’t forget to wash your hands before eating. ;p

I made this often in undergrad. This was an popular item in a shared housing. We laughed, talked, eat and had lots of fun. There is nothing more comforting that having warm bowls of chili, salsa and crisp taco shells and good company.

There are many variations to this. I just make this the way I felt like it that day. It is by no means a true blue Mexican recipe but it’s great fun.

So go on! Try it and eat it with laughter ….

and use your clean hands of course.

Tacos! (serves 3-4)
12 Taco shells
400 grams of lean beef mince
1 can of low sodium baked beans
2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce sauce
1 heap tablespoon of chilli powder
1 tablespoon of cumin
(be generous with the spices)
1 tsp of tumeric
1 cup of stock or water
Chopped onion

1 avocado
2 roma tomatoes
1/2 of cucumber
lemon juice

shredded lettuce
Preheat oven to 180C. Prepare tray and place taco shells on it (flat).

Meanwhile, heat oil in pan up. add onion and garlic. Stirfry till transparent. Add beef mince. Break it up as it cooks. Be generous with the spices and sauce and stir well. Add baked beans and some stock/water if the mixture is too dry. Continue to simmer for about 15 minutes till it’s well cooked. Add pepper and salt if you like. Dish into a bowl.

Towards the last 10 minutes of your cooking, toast the taco shells in the oven.

Prepare salsa by chopping everything and putting them in a bowl. Add a squeeze of lemon juice.

To eat, place shredded lettuce into the taco shells first. Top with mince, salsa and chilli sauce/salad cream. EAT and be MESSY!

World’s Best Friend Week

Two lovely bloggers – Little Corner and Inspiredmumof2 passed this on to me. Thank you ladies! this is probably one of the best tags. I love the message below.

“Do you know the relationship between your 2 eyes? They blink together, move together, cry together, see things together and sleep together. Even though they never see each other, friendship should be just like that! Life is like Hell without FRIENDS. Its ‘World Best Friend Week’. Send this to your best friends to let them know you appreciate them.

Your Love is Ur Heart,
Your heart is Ur Spouse,
Your spouse is Ur Future,
Your future is Ur Destiny,
Your destiny is Ur Ambition,
Your ambition is Ur Aspiration,
Your aspiration is Ur Motivation,
Your motivation is Ur Belief,
Your belief is Ur Peace,
Your peace is Ur Target,
Your target is Heaven,
Heaven is no fun without FRIENDS.

To my best friends

Peggy-sorry ah, you don’t have a blog! ;p




To my prettiest and closest aunt (err-we grow up together, she is really a very young aunt!) Irene

To my blogging friends who continued to support and read this blog!

East first think later
Living in food heaven

Pass the joy around. =)


Soya Sauce Beancurd with a hint of protein

The funny thing about oriental stores in Perth is that many frozen items are sold in bulk. You don’t just get a handful of fresh tou pok (fried bean curd), you get a HUGE packet of frozen ones. Well, one has to have fried beancurd for meesiam and laksa so in to the basket it went. However, we can’t finish that packet in a week and about 3-4weeks later……it’s still in the freezer.

That is when I have an “issue”.

Do you have find that you are left with bits and pieces in your freezer but nothing sufficient for a meal?

I had a small packet of mince, 2 chicken sausages, some green chillis and a HUGE packet of fried bean curd. hmmm…

I have to find a way to combine them together to form a meal.

When in doubt, Daphne heads backs to her Chinese roots.

Stewing the fried bean curd allows the soya to infuse their flavors in it. Chicken sausage and mince meat provided with abit of a bite. And chilli. Of course chilli goes well with ANYTHING.

Jokes aside, this dish is like a variation of soya sauce chicken except the focus is on fried beancurd! LOL I did enjoy this with a bowl of rice though. Very satisfying. ;p

Do share with me what do you do with your “bits and pieces” in your freezer!

Soya Sauce Beancurd with a hint of protein
300-400grams of fried bean curd (Tou pok)
100grams of pork mince
2 chicken sausages
1 tablepoon of garlic
2 chillies sliced

2 tablespoon of oyster sauce
1-2 tablespoons of soya sauce
1 teaspoon of dark soya sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 cup of water/stock

Heat oil in pan with lid. Stirfry chilli and garlic. Add mince and chicken sausages. Cook till almost done. Add seasoning. Simmer for about 30 seconds. Add beancurd in. Give it a good stir. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Season with pepper

Serve with a bowl of hot rice and veges.

Creme Caramel

What a conference!I attended the Childhood Trauma Conference for the past 2 days and was delighted by the future plans that Western Australia has for children who experienced or are experiencing trauma. Since leaving my last placement couple of months ago, I can’t help but feel slightly lost. Or perhaps the best way to describe it is that for the last few months, I didn’t feel the passion that I felt when I was working with children and family. It’s something that I know our Lord has guided me into and hopefully an opening will come up at the right timing. When I heard the children choir sang, it touched my heart. More so when the sang “Reach out and touch a hand” I’m sure many professionals had their hanky or tissues out!

The range of topics covered include how developing brain can be affected by trauma, massage therapy (The touch institute) and all sorts of techniques in working with children and family who experienced trauma.

Oops, I’m so fired up after attending the conference that I’m just rambling on.. dear me.

Singairishgirl asked about my recipe for creme caramel. I made this for a dinner party that I attended last month. The host was gracious and wanted to prepare dinner so I offered to bring dessert. Since the weather was getting warm, I thought creme caramel might be a cool end to a fine evening.

I actually made this before about 2 months back BUT the photos came up so poorly that I was too ashamed to post it up. Not to mention, the syrup tasted slightly burnt. I had to go back to the whiteboard… This time round, the photos aren’t any better but I figure out that u will forgive me since the recipe is really good and no I didn’t burn the syrup! I took so many photographs of this creme caramel and NONE came out as decent…argh. Why is it that it looked like it has been reflected?

I substituted cream with Carnation 98% fat free evaporated milk. I also used skim milk hence it’s a light, creamy yet delicious dessert. To be really honest, I was surprised by how well it turned out as well. I guess it is POSSIBLE to enjoy good food and lessen the calories at the same time.

Creme Caramel by Donna Hay Classics 2
2/3s cup caster sugar
1/3 cup of water

2/3 cup of skim mlk
3/4 cup of Carnation 98% fat free evaporated milk
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup of caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat Oven to 150C. Place sugar and water in a sauce pan over low heat and stir till the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and boil for 8-10 minutes till the syrup is a deep golden color. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR EYES OFF THE POT AS THE SYRUP CAN BURN IN A FLASH! Pour syrup into 4 3/4 cup ramekins capacity. Set for 5 mins.

Custard: Place both types of milk in a saucepan over low heat. Heat till warm. Place the eggs, extra egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a jar. Whisk till combine. Slowly pour over the milk mixture while whisking well to combine. Strain and pour over the caramel in the ramekins.

Place the ramekins in a baking tray and pour enough hot water to come three quarters of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30-35 mins or till the custard is set. Remove from tray. Cool and refrigerate till cold.

To serve, dip the base of each ramekin into hot water for 10-15 seconds. Invert onto a plate and serve immediately.

Almond Bread

Upon looking at my organizer, I realised that I will be away for a conference for the next 2 days, hence less blogging. =)

The weekend has been good. I stepped into a bridal studio for the first time and was awe by the beautiful gowns I was surrounded with. I didn’t try on any of them though. Just look see.

Visited a possible venue for our lunch reception in Perth but was slightly disappointed by what they are offering. Fraser’s Restaurant is well known for its location. It’s situated right in the middle of Kings Park. Surprisingly, their prices are really reasonable (=cheaper than expected) but their function room looks….cramped with little water view. hmmm. What a pity.

We interviewed another photographer. So far so good, everyone that we spoke to offered us reasonable packages and know what we want but this lady gave us a “normal” feel compared to the previous guy we spoke to-that guy has a way with light. The lady also seemed a little more uptight about hours spent while the guy was more laid back.

hehe.Enough about wedding talk.

Straight to the sweet item.

I made creme caramel and was left with THREE egg whites. Flipping through my baking books, I came across this recipe and decided to give it a go. Afterall, there wasn’t any butter involved so I figure out that it may be a healthier alternative.

The result…

it tasted like biscotti! hhaha. Maybe I did something wrong?

I do like this version better though. Somehow, it tasted lighter and crispier. I added some walnuts to it since I didn’t have enough blanched almonds on hand and the combination worked well.

Almond Bread
125 grams Blanched almonds (I used a mixture of walnuts and almonds)
3 egg whites
1/4 cup of caster sugar
3/4 cup of plain flour

Preheat oven to 180C. Line bar tray with baking paper.

Toast almonds and walnuts for about 2-3 mins. Cool.

Meanwhile, place egg white in a clean dry bowl and beat till stiff peaks formed. Add sugar slowly, beating constantly till all the sugar has dissolved. Add sifted flour and almonds. Using a metal spoon, fold the ingredients together until combined. Spread into tin and bake for 25 mins. Cool completely in the tin.

Slice almond bread with a serrated knife. Bake for `5 mins, or until lightly golden and crisp.

Serve with your favorite coffee or tea!

I will be back on Wednesday!

Wife Biscuits

When I was 14, grandma, mum and I headed to Hong Kong for a 1 week holiday. During that trip, we were surrounded by wonderful food. Noodles, desserts and most of all..pastries!

Loh Po Peng or it’s literal translation which means “Wife Biscuits” are flaky pastry with a sweet filling inside. The filling is made of tong ton qua-meaning “Melon sweets” or “Melon sugar”.

There are a few stories associated with this biscuit. I did a quick search on goggle and I found them.

Story 1

In ancient China, there was a poor couple. They adored and loved each other, staying in a small village. When a mysterious disease spread, the husband’s father became very sick. Although they tried really hard to raise money to provide treatment for him, it wasn’t enough. Sadly, the wife decided to sell herself as a slave, exchanging herself for her father-in-law’s medicine.

Once the husband learned about what his wife did, he made a cake filled with winter melon and with a crispy crust. A cake for his wife. However, his cake became so popular that he was able to earn enough money to buy his wife back.

Makes me wonder why he didn’t sell these earlier? perhaps the money was needed more urgently…hmmm..

Story 2
A loving couple make their living out of selling pastries and cakes. The man, however, had a bad habit-he gambles. One day, he literally lost their savings and everything they own.

The wife said to him that he has to sell the only possession he has left. However, he is not to gamble anymore. Sadly, the wife was sold to repaid his debts.

Ridden by guilt, the man stopped gambling and started making this pastry to remind him of his wife-hence the name of the biscuit “wife biscuit”

Reference-Eat first think later

I was pleasantly surprised when I came across Little Corner’s post on wife biscuits! Another blogger, Florence has posted a step by step guide on how to make these beauties!

I’m not going to post her recipe here because her step by step instructions came with pictures as well! So if you want to give this a go, do have a look at it. I didn’t change anything at all btw-it was as good as it was.

I did make some mistakes though. For instance, my oil dough wasn’t… oily enough! It was quite dry. I might want to use olive oil instead of butter to make that dough. I think that was the reason why my biscuits wasn’t as flaky as they ought to be.

The filling was FANTASTIC. The best thing about these biscuits-u get to eat them as soon as they cooled a little. It was so so good. Very addictive. AR finished FIVE in one SITTING!

Yes yes, I know, I was feeling abit hardworking last month and actually spent a little more time thinking and making these challenging biscuits/pastries…It was challenging to me! It felt so good and makes me wonder why did I take up Clinical Psych and not baking? *knock head on the wall*

I did make these BEFORE we got engaged… haha.. and no! I wasn’t hinting or anything.. I simply got excited when I saw Little corner’s recipe and proceeded to make them that weekend.

Ps-did u notice a black book on the right hand side of the picture? That’s the official APA guide on referencing. Yup! I was err…reading and kneading the dough at the same time.

PPS-anyone know of the recipe for “husband biscuits”?

Have a fantastic FRIDAY! We will be visiting more venues and talking to a few photographers this weekend so expect wedding talk on Monday! =)

Parmesan Cheese Crackers

I’m a huge fan of cheeses. Smoked cheddar? I’m in! creamy brie for dinner? Sure! Some cheese require an acquired taste though. Like Blue Cheese-the pungent smelling pretty cheese with blue swirls on it. Still I quite like the sharp taste that it has on my tongue.

Growing up on Kraft cheese, I’m amazed at the wide range of cheeses one can have in Australia (and I haven’t been to Europe yet!). Dinner parties, gatherings, after meals-we do take any chance to have a slice of cheese.

Parmesan cheese is also a favorite of mine. This versatile cheese is often shaved and sprinkled onto pastas and risottos. What a huge difference it makes! It creates a dimension to those dishes.

So when I read Piggy’s cooking journal’s after meals cookies and it featured beautiful looking cheese crackers, how can I resist?

It’s addictive and it’s cute! I was amazed by how strong the flavors burst out in your mouth when you bite into one. It’s not the usual type of cookie I make-because this involves using the rolling pin and refrigerating the dough for 2 sessions of 15-20 minutes. Usually I’m so impatient that I like using cookie recipes that only require a few steps.

It was worth it though. Very very worth it.

Parmesan Cheese Crackers

70g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
120g self-raising flour, sifted
60g Parmesan cheese
1 egg, for brushing
30g Parmesan cheese, for garnishing
some coriander leaves, for garnishing (I omitted this…)


1) Mix the butter in a mixer until smooth and creamy.
2) Add in the cheese, and mix the batter with a wooden spoon.
3) Mix in egg yolk.
4) Add in the flour and mix just until the last bit of flour disappear into the batter. Take note, do not over-mix.
5) Place the batter in between two sheets of cling wrap or a plastic bag, flatten the dough with rolling pin. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
6) Remove dough from the fridge, flatten the dough further to 3mm thickness. Refrigerate for another 15 minutes.
7) In the mean time, pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C.
8) Remove the dough from the fridge again, spread the egg evenly over the dough. Cut the dough into 2cm X 2cm squares.
8) Spread the Parmesan cheese over the dough, cover the surface with cling wrap or plastic bag, lightly press the dough with rolling pin, so that the cheese can stick on to the dough.
9) Brush the surface of the slices lightly with egg, garnish with a piece of coriander leaf.
10) Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until it turns golden brown. Cool the cookies on a rack, serve.

Cheesy Baked Rice

I think I must have gotten this idea from N.Y.D.C in SG. Growing up in a traditional Chinese family, I did not have many chances to try other cuisines. Hence on my first visit to NYDC, I was shocked to see that someone would actually place rice with cheese! If you are wondering this must have happened years and years ago…. well, I believe the first time I stepped into NYDC was only 3-4 years ago? I can accept pasta with cheese but rice with cheese sounded so foreign to me at that point of time. So silly of me!

I try to make it a point to cook or bake something new every week at home. Besides planning and dreaming about our wedding (as a little girl, I have never given too much thought about my wedding so I’m compensating), cooking and baking something new gets my creative cell membranes going. Perhaps if I’m back to seeing clients, I will be ok but since I have a few more months to finish writing “the book”, I’m going to need all the creative cells all I can to keep my spirits up.

So I pucked up the courage to try this dish at home! To be very honest, I can’t remembered how the one in NYDC tastes like anymore.. so I can’t make a comparison. It’s very filling and I can’t eat too much of it. Possibly because of the cheese AND rice combi. However, I added tomatoes and that provided a tangy flavour, kinda like baked pasta with rice…

Cheesy Baked Rice (if u r really hungry, this probably will serve 2-3, if not, this will serve 4-5 easily).
1 can of diced tomatoes
3-4 diced roma tomatoes
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 sliced red capsicum
2 cups of stock
2 cups of basmatic rice
olive oil
shredded bbq chicken meat (about 2 cups)
4 cups of shredded chedder cheese
cracked pepper and sea salt

In a large deep pan, heat oil up. Add desired amount of minced garlic. Once fragrant, add the rice in. Crack open the can of diced tomatoes and tip it into the pan. Stir and simmer. Toss chopped roma tomatoes, capsicum and mushrooms in. Add approximately 1 cup of stock. Cover and simmer for about 3-5 minutes.
Stir. Add more stock till the rice is almost cooked. That will take about 15-20 minutes. If the mixture is too dry, add more stock or water. Toss in bbq chicken meat and continue stirring for another 5 minutes. Season.
Transfer the mixture to a heat proof bowl (I used pyrex). Sprinkle cheese liberally on the top. Put it under the grill for 5+ minutes.
Ladle and serve.

*I made this last week again, substituting bbq chicken meat with chopped chicken sausages. If anyone is keen to experiment, you can omit the tomatoes and add cream for a richer touch. I’m not sure if I’m game to try that version though.. ;p

Banana Muffins with crunchy topping

Good morning everyone! Hope your weekend went well. =) We headed to Fremantle yesterday for a walk and realised that there was some sort of festival going around there. Then we saw this photography studio open (on a SuNDay?!) and pop our heads into there. The consult was full of information and the lady (Stephanie was her name) even told us to wait till the Wedding expo next year to do our bookings as prices will be discounted by 50% (just for the photographer not the albums though!). Anyhow, we are still gathering information and making decisions on whether we should hire someone from SG or stick to a local person. It’s all about getting our money worth!

We also visited a possible reception venue Blue water grill at Point Heathcoate. Its great and just want we are looking for! The search continues but this is certainly a front runner at this point.

Readers in SG, any ideas of hotels with smaller function rooms? In fact, we really do welcome any piece of information you can give us. E.g. any good photographers/venues/florists even bridal salons….

Oops, sounds like this is going to be a wedding blog/food huh? ;p It’s amazing how thinking about the wedding keep my spirits alive and actually allow me to focus on my work. I don’t think I have ever been so focused in my research before.

Back to the Banana Muffins.

It’s classic, delicious and healthy. This were made just a day before we headed to Sydney last month! (gosh, that is how behind I am with posting!). As you know, bananas are sooo expensive in Australia-in fact, it caused inflation! Serious. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to be upset when the treasurer said something like “This year, inflation was caused by the mining boom in WA as well as the rising costs of bananas.” Unfortunately, a natural disaster struck Queensland hence the crops were destroyed.

I couldn’t possibly swallow 3 bananas by myself in one night…and I didn’t want to bake a cake (lazy to bring out the hand mixer). So I thought of banana muffins!

Then out of the blue, I decided to sprinkle some brown sugar on the top of the muffin-just to see what will happen. To my surprise, the sugar half melted and created this crunchy brittle-like topping. I also half the sugar amount in the muffin mixture, hence the combination sweetness was just right.

Banana Muffins with crunchy topping
Dry ingredients
2 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
1/4 cup of caster sugar (was 1/2)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup of walnuts

Wet Ingredients
1 cup of skim milk
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

150grams of unsalted butter/spread melted

3 mashed bananas
couple of tablespoons of brown sugar.

Preheat oven at around 200C. Whisk wet ingredients (with the exception of melted spread) together. Assemble dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and slowly, pour liquid mixture into dry. Add melted spread last. Fold gently with a metal spoon. Add mashed bananas. Spoon into prepared muffin tins. Using your fingers, sprinkle some brown sugar on to each muffin (approximately 1 teaspoon each). Bake it in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Note- this made more than 12 muffins but less than 24 in a standard muffin tin. I spoon the remaining mixture into patty pans instead and that yielded an additional 9 patty muffins. I probably would have put the muffins under the grill for 3-5 more minutes so that all the sugar melts… but i was too impatient ;p


Previous years I attempted making mince pies (using store bought shortcrust pastry was not a good idea, the crust was too hard), fruit cake (slightly too dense), chocolate fudge and brazil nuts brittle for Christmas. This time round, I’m going to keep things as simple as possible and make cranberry shortbread.

I’m not sure why shortbread is associated with Christmas. I remembered reading somewhere that says shortbread was traditionally served as dessert. Surely mince pies, egg nog, christmas puddings are more popular options then?

Anyway, AR has been a huge fan of shortbread since I know him. That must be like 7-8 years ago? Wow, how time flew by. I know he has been working really hard recently so I thought I will make some shortbread for his snacks rather than relying on store bought one. It also gave me a good reason to practice making these lovely biscuits. I also wanted to try the Donna Hay recipe and compare it to my previous attempts of making cranberry shortbread.

The result? An excellent crumby shortbread. I did not use a food processor (as I don’t have one) and used normal beaters instead. Surprisingly it did work. Then again, I wouldn’t have a clue how a shortbread would be like if I used a food processor instead. As for comparing it to the cranberry shortbread that I made previously? Well…. that’s a hard one! I guess I would have to add cranberries to this recipe for a fairer comparison. =)

Shortbread by Donna Hay Classics 2

220grams of butter (mine was slightly soft)
1/4 cup of caster sugar
2 cups of plain flour
1/2 cup of rice flour
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 egg

Preheat oven to 160C. Beat butter and sugar till combine. Add egg and vanilla. Fold in Flour and rice flour till a dough is formed.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead gently (for about 5 minutes). Press the mixture into a slice pan lined with baking paper. Using a knife, score the top of the dough to make long bars. Bake for about 1 hr till golden. Cool. Slice along the score marks.

Engagement Night

Like many girls, one do not know when the guy will propose (some do though!). I’m no exception. The difference is that I like taking photographs of sceneries and the restaurant that we have our meals in. In a way, this provided a pictorial account of what happened that evening.

Saturday came. We had 2 children birthday parties to attend. Mid way through and AR told me that we will be heading off somewhere the next day after church. It’s to celebrate us being together. As a couple, we seldom celebrate “milestones” since we started dating, instead choosing to focus on how God works in our lives and supporting each other through the past few years. I wasn’t surprised that he wanted something for us that day though, it was our 2 years 6 months dating anniversary officially. (If you ask him, he will say 3 years + as that was when he decided that he wants to date me).

So anyway, we arrived late in Mandurah that afternoon. After a short rest (and hotel drama), we proceeded to the restaurant.

Red Manna is situated on the 2nd floor, facing the Mandurah river, along Mandurah Terrace.

This was the view from our table. It was the first day of daylight savings so it was so bright and sunny! Ar was so calm! We waited and chatted. It’s really nice to be away and just having a few hours to talk by ourselves.

We didn’t order any entree and went straight to mains. My fish of the day, which was Rankin Cod was grilled and served with baked potato (which I requested, changing from chips). The fish was moist and the baked potato was delicious! AU$29.90.

AR had the rack of lamb, which was just wonderful. Moist and cooked to perfection. This is the way lamb should be cooked. It was tender and served on a bed of sweet potato mash and vegetables. Although it is quite a classic dish, we were impressed by how the flavors merge together and create harmony. Au$32.

What we were most impressed of, was their dessert platter. Served two-tiered, there were 8 mini-selections of their desserts. Costing just AU$17.60, we think it was a bargain. A single dessert dish would have set us back at around AU$15. There was a look of envy from neighboring tables when they served this.

On the top tier (starting from the back, clockwise), we had panna cotta served with raspberry coulis, wafer basket with chocolate ice-cream, sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and coconut ice-cream with poached pear. The middle was strawberry and cream.

The bottom tier had dark chocolate tart with fruits of the forest compote. A slice of brie cheese with cracker, creme brulee and passionfruit cheesecake. The chocolate tart was beautiful and rich. I did find the passionfruit cheesecake slightly too sweet for my liking. The creme brulee was indeed creamy and fulfilling.

The flavors presented in this restaurant was clean and elegant. Classic food with a beautiful view. For many places, view and service is compromised by food. This place is an exception though and we found that they merge all aspects really well.

The proposal?

Ok.. so it looks dark but it’s a lovely quiet place by the water. I won’t show my face because I look like a mess as I couldn’t stop crying!


Red Manna Waterfront
5/9 Mandurah Tce
Mandurah, WA 6210
ph: (08) 9581 1248
fax: (08) 9581 1165