Muah Chee

Muah Chee is a childhood favourite snack of mine. It is sticky glutinous flour dough, cooked and then sprinkled with heaps of sesame, peanut sugar toppings. I love the chewiness of the dough, and the crunch of the nuts. It’s hard to describe the texture- it is probably closest to tapioca pearls or the bubbles in bubble tea. Except it is alot more sticky!

Muah Chee used to be really popular in night markets and in coffee shops in Singapore. In my recent trip back, I realised that they are not as common-it’s still available but only in selected places. I guess one positive to knowing this recipe is that we can continue to make it at home…with the addition of MORE toppings!

I made three batches-with one batch that didn’t cook properly. I’m not sure why, since I did exactly the same thing for all 3 batches! Oh well, it isn’t meant to be. 

I took this recipe from Lily, Little Teochew and Little Corner of Mine. These ladies inspire me to make food close to my heart!

Muah Chee

1 cup glutinous rice flour
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp thick coconut milk
1 tbsp cooking oil
150 ml water

1 tsp of olive oil

Topping
1 cup of roasted granulated peanuts
1/4 cup of  sugar
2-3 tsp of sesame seeds


Combine glutinous rice flour, sugar, coconut milk, oil and water in a microwave safe bowl. Stir till it becomes like a thick dough. Microwave for 1 min, mix, then another 1 min. 


Pulse all toppings in your food processor. I made enough for 2 batches of muah chee. 


Snip the dough while it is warm, tossing it with the topping. Eat!

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Chocolate and Peanut Butter Slice

 

I know I try hard.

Very hard to control my diet. Whenever it is my turn to bring morning tea, or a treat to a friend’s place, I do my best to choose something reasonable healthy-minimizing the use of butter, while using olive oil or yogurt as a base.

But once in a while, I can’t help it but to make something sinful and delightful. Afterall food is to be enjoyed.

I made these slices for a gathering recently. Truth be told, I am selective on what to bring to different groups, meetings..etc. I know that because this is a rather big group, this treat will be shared among more people. This means, I would resist the temptation to reach out for another slice.

That did not stop me from munching on the crumbs and those “oops, that piece fell off and it won’t look in the box so here it goes into my mouth” moments.

I can assure you that this is worthwhile your calorie intake. It has chocolate and peanut butter- a winner combination already. But somehow, I like how the crumbly base goes with the chocolate. Oh, and the white chocolate peanut drizzle is awesome as well.

I adapted this recipe from ABC Delicious Sweets. Another “older” cookbook that hubby bought for me but I have not yet tried ANYTHING in there! Oh well, never too late than ever!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Slice

125 butter
1 cup of smooth peanut butter plus extra to drizzle
1 1/2 cup of plain flour
1/2 cup of brown sugar (reduced from 3/4)
1 cup of desiccated coconut
1 egg beaten
250 grams of good quality dark chocolate (I used 3 types, Lindt, Volahora dark-from Paris! and Club dark chocolate)
50 grams of white chocolate
50 grams of additional milk or dark chocolate

Pre heat oven to 180C. Line slice pan with baking paper.

Combine butter and peanut butter in sauce pan, melting it.

Combine flour, sugar coconut. Pour melted mixture and mix well. Press into pan. Bake for 15 minutes or so. Cool

Meanwhile, melt dark chocolate by placing chocolate in heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir till smooth and melted. Pour chocolate onto base. Chill overnight.

Melt white choc and whisk around 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. Melt the remaining milk or dark choc. I did it by zapping it in microwave for 30 seconds each. Once ready, drizzle slices with the white and milk chocolate. Chill briefly. Slice and serve!

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A good carrot cake should always be paired with cream cheese frosting. It should never go without it. Maybe it is my excuse for licking my fingers while completing the icing of the cake. Or perhaps another reason for me to try practicing pipping again. Nevertheless, I love a good carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

Afteralll, isn’t carrot cake suppose to be the healthy cake of all cakes. It increases your vege intake with carrots and in this version- it even has pineapples, a fruit in it! So surely some cream cheese frosting will be fine! 😉

If there is any cake that I have sentimental value towards, it would be carrot cake. When we were dating, Hubby would buy a slice of carrot cake for me whenever I am sick and whingy. It’s also a cake that we chose for our wedding cake. Something slightly unusual from the norm fruit cake selection but one that held meaning to us.

It was 2009 when I last made carrot cake! I love how fruity this cake is and how easy it is. I am not sure where I got this recipe from, I found it in my folder with no mention of anything! How frustrating!!

It’s definitely a recipe to keep for those “oh gosh, someone is coming and I need to bake something” moments.

Carrot Cake 

150 or 3 medium sized carrots grated
120 grams plain flour
60 grams walnuts toasted and chopped
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp of ground cinnamon 
2 eggs
50 grams brown sugar 
20 grams white sugar
pinch salt
120 grams olive oil
1 generous tablespoon of plain yogurt- I used greek style 
1 tablespoon of lemon juice and zest
180 grams of cubed pineapple cubes

Cream cheese
Two tubs of Philadelphia cream cheese spreadable (I used a 5% fat and 80% less fat version)
3/4 cup of icing sugar
1/.2 lemon juice

Preheat Oven and line loaf pan.

Beat eggs till frothy. Add both sugar and beat till light in colour. Add yogurt and continue to whisk. Add in oil and lemon juice.

Fold in shifted folour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon. Fold in grated carrots, walnuts, pineapple cubes and zest. Pour batter into loaf tin and bake for around 45-50 minutes.

Remove from oven. Cool completely before icing.

Icing- Whisk icing ingredients together till all sugar is incorporated and mixture is slightly stiff. Spoon into pipping bag with tip and pipe onto cool cake.

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Peanut Beef Rice Noodles in Soup

As the weather starts to cool down, I’m starting to cook more soup noodles. There is something sooo comforting on a Saturday night, armed with hot soup and a good dvd. Nothing more, nothing less. It also means we are starting to really move out of our newly wed status and just become..dare I say it… a regular married couple LOL

I’m starting to browse through older cook books again, and this Chinese and Asian Periplus step by step cookbook caught my eye again. It’s soooo old that I can’t even find it on amazon. I suppose they have probably re packaged it into another cookbook name again. I recall a previous housemate made this amazing beef soup with rice noodles and I asked her how did she do it….she gave me this sheepish look and said… “actually, I took that recipe book from your room…..” That was 9 years ago.

To think it took me 9 years to remember this amazing dish. 

I’m very proud of my collection of ever growing cookbooks with plenty of tabs to remind me on the dishes that have caught my eye. A friend even said to me that I really should identify at least 5 recipes that I would cook in a book before buying it. It’s good advice I say! However, I’m not proud that sometimes, I neglect some of my older cookbooks- all of which consists of some lovely recipes that I had wanted to try but have forgotten one way or another.

So I challenge you- have u got an old cookbook that you have not flipped in ages? Take it out, it may surprise you!


Peanut Beef Rice Noodles in Soup (serves 4-5)
300 grams silver side beef sliced very thinly
2 tsp soya sauce
1/4 cup of coconut milk (I used around 100 ml)
1 tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 tsp of sambal oelek or chilli chopped

2-3 sticks of rice vermicelli blanched with hot water
1/2 cumber sliced and quartered
3-4 cups of bean sprouts 
1 ltre of beef stock
250 ml of water
2 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
few stalks of coriander
1/2 cup of roasted chopped peanuts

First marinate beef with the ingredients. Set aside for around 25 minutes or so. 

Prepare rice noodles and stock. Simmer beef stock and water. Add fish sauce and sugar. Taste test and adjust accordingly. Add  bean sprouts.

Heat a grill or small pan till very hot. Sizzle beef. Cook for 3 minutes or so. Set aside.

Divide noodles in bowl. Add some cucumber in bowl. Ladle hot soup over it. Add the beef and sauce. Sprinkle with peanuts and coriander. Serve with some chopped chili.

I’m back on Presto Pasta! Organised by Ruth from Once Upon a Feast and hosted this week by Chez Cayenne! What great fun they are having!

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Cashew Nut Cookies 2

Oh 3 months went so quickly and granny is back in Singapore again. The house certainly feels empty and different without her presence. Nevertheless, I know I will be back in Singapore in a few months to see her and my family and love ones 🙂

A few people commented that I am very close to my grandmother. Granny is my maternal grandma. She looked after me since I was an infant, and I do have a very close attachment to her. My parents worked really hard to provide for the family, and it was really a blessing that a close family member was able to care for me when I was a child. I think for my mother, it was probably a relief that someone she can trust took care of her daughter. I  have a close relationship with my mother too, and people always comment that we look alike. In fact, a work colleague once commented to me that she wish I will age as gracefully as my mother and grandmother!

For my hubby, he laughed often when he goes shopping with us. He said it is often a abit of a sight to see 3 generations shopping since we will always head to the same department together- the shoes. Yes we love our shoes!

Another friend also said that she thinks it is amazing how my hubby wouldn’t mind granny staying with us for an extended period of time-and even have the design of our new home with her in mind. In all honesty, I didn’t even think that would be a problem! What a considerate wife I am. When I asked him that, he said that he does not have the privilege of spending time with his grandmothers anymore as they have passed on and therefore, thinks of granny as his own. I swear that granny adores him and would often cooks what he likes- walking to the nearest oriental store just to purchase his favourite bittergourd vegetable. They banter and tease each other in broken English and Cantonese-which often makes me laugh till I stitch while they stare at me waiting for me to translate what they were saying.

Ahh..good times indeed.

Turns out that granny loves Cashew Nut Cookies just as much as my hubby does. I have no idea where I took this recipe from, but it has a more crumbier and melt in your mouth texture. Both of them prefer this recipe than the last one probably because it does have a more fragrant smell to it. It does crumbles very easier so take extra care when storing them-or else you ended up with more crumbs in your mouth than cookies in your jar.

Unless that’s the way u want it. 😉

Oh oh does anyone know a traditional Hup Tou Sou recipe? I really want to conquer my fear of making them!!

Cashew Nut Cookies 2 (makes around 16 cookies)
90 grams flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
40 grams confectionery sugar
1/2 cup roasted and ground walnuts
80ml of olive oil (but u can use peanut oil too)

Extra cashew nuts for garnishing.

Egg wash- egg yolk whisked

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

Sieve flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar together. Fold in ground walnuts and oil. Knead with your hands into a soft dough. Using a teaspoon, spoon dough and roll into a ball. Flatten and place on tray. Place one cashew nut onto dough. Bake for 15 minutes till golden.

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The Aussie- Lamingtons

A few weeks ago, I was invited to Rick Stein’s hunt for Australia’s Top Food Bloggers. While I hesitated to participate (a little humble blog of mine to compete in Rick Stein’s event- A HUGE chef?), hubby convinced me to give it a go. While I don’t consider myself an Aussie yet, I have been here for more than 11 years (really!?) and truly love the food, culture and people.

and it’s my way of saying a big thank you to the generous people who welcomed me in their lives in this big country, and to celebrate what I learn about food here.

I have to say I had fun trying to choose a recipe for this. I asked my colleagues, friends and family members what would they consider as Aussie food.. Their answers

1) Aussie BBQ
2) Anzac Cookies
3) Pavlova (Gotta love a good pav!) 
4) Kangeroo Steak (noooooo..)
5) Beef Pie 

and

6) the good old Lamingtons.

I chose Lamingtons-although a big juicy steak pie came very close second. Lamingtons can be seen as a humble sponge cake rolled in glistering chocolate and coconut. The combination really is what I know about Australia and what I come to love about it. Fluffy vanilla sponge cake represents people with big hearts and a slang that I had difficulty adapting to at the start (difficult= it wasn’t easy to make the sponge! I know, I had a warp sense of humor), warm chocolate is the sweetness that fill my heart as I call this country home..and coconut… well, I have to find something that represent my husband whom I fell in love in this country.

Yes, my hubby loves and obsesses about coconut. He likes this dessert waaay more than I do and because of him, I reach for a lamington faster than him in church morning tea on a Sunday morning! Talk about influence.

The best thing about making these is that I can be as messy as I want and that’s ok. It’s lamingtons. It’s my ultimate favourite Aussie dish because this is simplicity dressed up. It’s not that complicated but it brings smiles to the kids, the friends, the family and most of all, the loves.

Lamingtons (around 16 pieces)

Sponge Cake
1 1/4 cup of plain flour
6 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
60 grams butter
1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180C. Sift flour 3 times. Place eggs and sugar in mixing bowl and use an electric beater to whisk it for around 5-8 minutes. Fold sifted flour into egg mixture- around 2 times. Fold butter. Spoon into lined 9 inch square cake pan. Bake for around 25-30 minutes till the cake is springy to touch. Cool for around 1 hr.

Cut cake into squares.

Icing (Adapted from Donna Hay)
3 cups of icing sugar
3/4 cup of cocoa powder

1/3 cup of boiling water
75 grams of melted butter
(optional-1 tablespoon of baileys, or rum) 

dessicated coconut

Mix all up till smooth. Using a fork, dip each cake pieces into chocolate and roll it on a plate of desiccated coconut. Set on a wire rack.

lick fingers. eat.

oh! Did I mention that Rick Stein is coming to town? His fresh, no nonsense and funny cooking will be touring Australia in late March and April. I really do hope I have a chance to see him on stage! Wish me lots and lots of luck.

Rick Stein Food Odyssey Live On Stage

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Banana Brown Sugar Ice-Cream

If you love making ice-cream, you know David Lebovitz. I have been eyeing his Banana- Brown Sugar Ice-cream for a while now and finally has a chance to try it.

The sweet smell of banana and brown sugar fills the air when I was caramelizing it. Blending it was dead easy, but waiting for the mixture to cool down before it starts to churn in the ice-cream maker was hard.

Was the result worth it? Hubby loved it and said it was smooth and had a lovely banana sweetness to it. I find it a tad to sweet and wonder if reducing the brown sugar would help.

Unfortunately it would be sometime till I will try this again. Due to the recent disasters in Queensland, bananas prices are increasing like crazy (AU$10/kg?!). I was lucky, as these bananas cost around $3/kg- bought just after the disaster.

Nevertheless, this is my 3rd ice-cream attempt! It’s really a good way to stop me from buying ice-cream from shops. Plus home made ice-cream means there is usually less of it in the fridge-keeping me from having it as dessert too often in a week! 😉


Banana Brown Sugar Ice-cream (from David Lebowitz)
6-7 ripe bananas sliced
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups of coconut milk
1 tsp of rum
1 tsp of vanilla extract
squeeze of lemon
pinch of salt

In a pan, heat brown sugar with 1/3 of the coconut milk. Simmer. Add bananas and a pinch of salt. Cook for around 5 minutes till it is soft and cook through. Remove heat and add in remaining coconut milk. Add essence and rum. Squeeze lemon juice. Taste and adjust. Blend in blender. Cool in fridge for around 30 minutes.

Put it through the ice-cream machine. Freeze it for another 2 hours. Serve.

Bellicious Kitchen has invited me to her challenge of One year, One new recipe a month. Remember that I said I wanted to make ice-cream and curries from scratch this year? I’m one recipe closer!

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Almond Cookies 3

You know my love for almond cookies! I have made these and these previously.It’s a cookie that I have given many titles, including “Chinese New Year Cookies”, “Office treats’, “the Easy Cookie”, “To impress uni mates”, “my hubby needs cookies”, …etc

I even managed to convert a friend who does not cook or bake to make some of these.

This version is more crisp. I added in almond meal instead of using flour only. Hubby said these were addictive and is his afternoon treat at work. I’m happy that it turned out better than expected.


Almond Cookies 2
250grams of silvered almonds
250 grams of plain flour
200 grams of almond meal
225 grams of icing sugar
260 grams of  oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Egg wash- 1 egg yolk.

Preheat oven to 150C. Toast almonds. Reserve 50grams for garnishing.

In a mixing bowl, mix plain flour, almond meal, icing sugar, baking powder, soda and salt together. Add in  oil and almonds. Knead to make dough.

Shape dough and brush with egg wash. Press some reserved almonds on it. Bake for 20-25 minutes till brown.

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Pork and Century Egg Rice Porridge- A bowl of comfort

It has been years since I have the care of my granny when I am unwell. The terrible heat got into me recently and I was down with bad headaches, cool, sore throat..etc. Granny knowing that I didn’t feel like eating, offered to make me some rice porridge.

It’s a dish that you can find in most dim sum restaurants. I grew up eating lots of rice porridge as my family was not well to do. That was what granny could feed me for lunch on most days when I was in primary and secondary school (on a good day, we have fish fingers AND rice porridge!). When I was in my late teens/early twenties, I couldn’t stomach any more rice porridge since I had it so often!

Century egg is probably regarded as bizarre food for some. I suppose it is a version of preserved egg. And since we have so many types of preserve food-surely it makes sense to preserve duck eggs too? LOL I suppose it does have a strong smell, but the taste of it goes very well with plain rice congee/porridge or even on tofu!

Granny cooked the rice porridge slowly and for more than 2 hours. This gives the porridge a nice silky texture. True Cantonese style, she added in some lean pork mince, only adding in the eggs in the last 5 minutes of the cooking process. I love how she added some spring onions as well.

Each spoonful tastes of love.


Pork and Century Egg Rice Porridge (Serves 3-4)
1 cup of rice
6 cups of water (or more!)

200 grams pork mince marinated with soya, pepper and corn flour.
1 century egg diced
spring onion

Simmer rice and water for 1.5 hrs. Around 1 hour mark, add in pork mince balls. Cook for another 30 minutes, adding the egg and spring onion in the last 5 mins. Serve.

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Singapore Hokkien Mee (Prawn Noodles)

There are some Singapore dishes that are closed to my heart. Singapore Hokkien Mee or Prawn Mee is one of them. The lovely prawn broth gravy’s essence soaked into the noodles. The whiff of “wok hei” (high heat cooking) in the air.. ahh…  spicy sambal and lime on the side. I’m back in Singapore again.

I recall being confused with the many versions of prawn mee. AR who is a Malaysian reminded me that it is called “Char Mee” in KL. However, they are actually different since Char mee uses lard and dark soya sauce whereas Singapore Hokkien Mee uses a prawn base broth.

I spied this recipe from Rasa Malyasia who led me to Kokken 69. This recipe is adapted from them with some changes to the stock base and ingredients. Mine was rather wet as well-the way I like it. However, in most places it’s served rather dry.

Singapore Hokkien Noodles (Serves 4-6)
200g Yellow Noodle
100g rice vermicelli (Soaked in hot water)
600g prawns with shells on
300g Squid (Sotong)
300g Pork Belly
40g Green chives
500ml Chicken stock
2-3 whole peeled garlic
500 ml water
3 Eggs
mince garlic
2-3 cups of bean sprouts

Seasoning
1 tbsp Fish sauce
white pepper
dash of sesame oil

fried shallots
wedges of lemon/lime
chili sambal

First make stock:
Shell prawns. De vein prawns. Fry prawn shells in a deep pot till pink. Pour in chicken stock, water and peeled garlic. Simmer for around 1-1.5hours. At around the 30 minutes mark, add in pork belly. Cook pork belly for the last 30 minutes. Remove, cool and slice thinnly.

Blanch squid and pranwns in stock till cooled. Remove both. Slice squid.

Fry garlic in wok. Add in beaten eggs. Swirl. Scramble. Fry both noodles for around 2-3 mins. Ladle 2 scoops of stock into the noodles. Let it soak in. Ladle again when it is nearly dry. Repeat 2-3 more times. For the last time, cover to let the noodles bath in the goodness of the prawn stock! Then, add bean sprouts, prawns, sliced pork and squid. Season. Do a taste test and adjust accordingly. Serve with shallots, squeeze of lemon/lime and chili!

ps- remaining stock makes a very good soup base the next day!

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