Saturday, April 7, 2012

Marshmallow pops

Marshmallow pops are fun and easy to make, and they make great treats for kids' parties or items to be included in their party packs. Getting the kids to make their own could also be a fun activity to keep them busy and out of mischief.

Here's what you need:

satay sticks, toothpicks, or drinking straws (for skewering marshmallows)
marshmallows (the jumbo-size type would be good)
chocolate (cooking or semi-sweet)
sprinkles (an assortment would be more fun)
a block of styrofoam or similar (to keep the marshmallow pops upright while they set)
small transparent plastic bags and string or ribbon or similar (optional)

Here's how you make them:

1.Skewer the marshmallow (one if your stick is short, more if your stick is longer) using whichever type of skewer you have

2. Melt the chocolate (you can do it either the hot water bath way or in a microwave, be careful not to burn the chocolate if using the microwave)

3. Dip the skewered marshmallows into the chocolate to coat them entirely or just the top of it. You may also drizzle the chocolate over the sides of the marshmallows.

4. Proceed to dip the chocolate-coated marshmallows into the various types of sprinkles you have placed in separate bowls.

5. Stick the skewers into the styrofoam (or anything that can hold the sticks up)  and leave the marshmallows to dry or set.

6. After 10 minutes, the marshmallows would have set. You may seal them with the plastic bags tied with string or ribbon at the opening if they are not eaten almost immediately. I merely stapled the openings.

This is what my marshmallow pops look like:

If you search Google Images for 'marshmallow pops', you will find so many pretty pictures and ideas of how to decorate and package them.

Here are some videos I found on how to make these pretty treats.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Omelette Fish Paste Roll

Omelette Fish Paste Roll


3 eggs

One block of ready-made fresh fish paste (about 300g)

2-4 stalks spring onion

 1-2 red chilli


1.       Beat eggs in a bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon of water and a little salt.

2.       Chop spring onions and red chilli finely.

3.       In a bowl, mix the spring onions and chilli with the fish paste. Most ready-made fish paste are already seasoned but if the one you bought is not seasoned, add some salt and pepper to it. Combine the ingredients evenly. Add 1 teaspoon (or more) water into the paste if it is too thick. (You may omit the spring onions and chilli if wish).

4.       Heat a 20-cm frying pan with some oil and pour half of the beaten egg into it. Swirl the egg around to make a thin, round and flat omelette. Make another one with the remaining beaten egg.

5.       Spread the fish paste evenly over the omelettes and roll them up as tightly as you can without tearing them. After rolling, press down the ends so that the sticky fish paste seals the edge of the rolls.

6.       Steam the rolls for 15 minutes.

7.       When cooked, remove the rolls from the steamer and leave them to cool slightly.

8.       Cut the rolls into 1-cm thick pieces and serve. You may dip them in your favourite sauce such as chilli sauce, tomato sauce, or hoisin sauce to add more flavour.

Honey Lemon Baked Salmon

Honey Lemon Baked Salmon


2 pieces salmon fillet, or steaks

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp honey


1 tbsp olive oil


1.       Preheat oven to 200 deg Celcius.

2.       Grease a baking pan and rub a little salt onto the salmon.

3.       Place salmon in pan.

4.       Mix the honey, lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl, pour over salmon. Save some of the mixture to drizzle over the fish before serving if you wish.

5.       Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes.

6.       When cooked, place salmon under grill for 2-3 minutes or until it becomes lightly brown.

7.       Remove from oven and serve. For a stronger taste of honey-lemon, you may drizzle some of the leftover honey and lemon juice mixture onto the salmon before eating.

Braised Chicken with Mushroom

Braised Chicken with Mushroom


500g chicken, chopped (you may remove skin or use drumsticks if you prefer)

5-6 dried mushrooms (fresh or canned mushrooms like shitake or button are possible substitutes)

1 stalk spring onion, chopped or cut into short pieces

1 thumb-size knob of ginger, sliced

220 ml stock (or water)

½ tsp corn flour


1/2 tbsp oyster sauce

½ tsp dark soya sauce

½ tsp salt  

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp sesame oil

½ tsp chicken stock powder


1.       Soak dried mushrooms in hot water till soft. Remove stems and cut into half if they are large.

2.       Heat 3 tbsp cooking oil in a pot or wok. Brown the chicken pieces with ginger and mushroom.

3.       Add in the seasoning, stir to mix evenly.

4.       Pour in stock (or water), cover and braise in high heat till cooked. Continue to braise in low heat till chicken pieces are tender (20 minutes).

5.       Mix corn flour with 50 ml water and pour into gravy to thicken.

6.       Add in spring onion and serve.

You may double the recipe to cook a larger portion for more people, or to set aside and freeze for another meal.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hasma with red dates

The back-to-back school holiday-Christmas-New Year-Chinese New Year madness has somewhat subsided and goodness me, it's been a rather long time since I tried a new recipe! It's Thursday today and coincidentally, I decided to check out something that had been hibernating in my fridge for some time. We got this in a Chinese New Year hamper last year (!). I didn't bother to do anything with it then, and just chucked it into the fridge.

Yesterday I unearthed it and started wondering what it is. I knew it was some Chinese herb or delicacy thing and it didn't help that everything on the box was printed in Mandarin, since I know rather little of that language. I could make out one of the Chinese characters - snow- so I started guessing it could be snow jelly or 'shuit karp' in Cantonese - the fallopian tubes (golly!) of the Chinese Forest Frog. It is also known as hasma or hashima.

I've eaten it in Chinese eateries before in 'tong sui' or  some other Chinese desserts, and usually they describe the ingredient as 'hasma' or 'snow jelly'. I had never bothered to check exactly what it is and assumed that it is some type of fungus or part of a plant, until yesterday when I searched the internet to find out what the Chinese characters said. Only then did I discover that it is an internal part of a frog!

Hasma is said to help with improving the health of your skin and lungs. I remember having red dates-ginseng-hasma soup which is served either hot or cold, so I started looking for a recipe for that. I found one here which is simpler, minus the ginseng. Just as well, because I don't have any ginseng in my kitchen.

After soaking the dried hasma for five to six hours and changing the water a few times, the hasma expanded to become soft, whitish and jelly-like in texture. The one I had looked like it had been cleaned unlike this one shown by Wikipedia.

I only had to clean it a bit by removing some of the blackish spots. And instead of double-boiling it, I placed the concoction (water, red dates, rock sugar and hasma) in my slow cooker to let it cook and simmer for a few hours.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beer Bread

I unearthed 15 cans of beer from my kitchen recently. They were expiring and some had already past their due date. Unless I quickly planned a beer party, I feared the beer would go to waste. So what better way than find recipes that use beer since we all need to eat and I'm game to try out new recipes.

After the recent try with Jamie Oliver's beef and ale stew using some Guinness, I searched Jamie Oliver again. This time his first serving of The Naked Chef cookbook provided me with just what I wanted. After the last failure of baking bread with lousy yeast, I'm game to try again. This time my packet of yeast was good.

I halved his recipe for basic bread (the one in the book has more steps but is the same as this online one). Then I followed his recipe for Beer Bread:

Exchange the water for your favourite beer (I used Carlsberg) and follow the method until Stage 8.  Make 6 equal-sized balls and place them next to each other in a greased round cake tin (5 round the edge and one in the middle). Sprinkle with either a light dusting of flour or some caraway seeds (oops, I forgot this step so no flour on top of the bread!).

Then prove until doubled in size (the balls will prove into each other).  At Stage 6 (stage 9 in the book), after the second prove, bake at 225C for 20-25 minutes or until done.  Allow to cool for at least 45 minutes.

This bread doesnt have a really strong taste of beer -- just the mellow, malty undertones coming through.

This is how my bread turned out. The over-darkened top must be due to my forgetting to dust it with flour!

The top crust was almost burnt but luckily it was still okay :)

Cranberry Scones

As usual, it's one of those days where I feel I have to raid my pantry and see what needs to be used up before they overstay. Today, it's the cranberries, raisins, yeast and beer's turn. I'll talk about the yeast and beer's fate in the next post but first, here's what I did with the dried fruits. I found a recipe from Joy of Baking for cranberry scones

I'd been thinking about scones for some time now. I miss the cool air and greeney in Cameron Highlands and the imaginary English country life in cottages, sipping tea by the verandah and muching on scones, strawberries and cream.

But the thought of getting my hands sticky with crumbling the butter with the flour and then bringing out the rolling pin deterred me till now. I do have my moods when it comes to cooking and baking. Sometimes I just procrastinate and sometimes I just jump into it spontaneously. Today, I'm spontaneous.

So here's the recipe from Joy of Baking.

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (76 grams) cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup (50 grams) dried or fresh cranberries (cut fresh cranberries in half) - I used dried cranberries
1/3 cup (50 grams) mixed candied fruit and peel - I used raisins
2/3 - 3/4 cup (160 - 180 ml) milk
1/4 cup (25 grams) sliced almonds
Powdered (Confectioners or Icing) Sugar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in middle of oven. Butter or line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.

Gently stir in the cranberries and mixed fruit, making sure not to crush the berries. Add the milk and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough four or five times and then pat, or roll, the dough into a circle that is 7 inches (18 cm) round and about 1 1/2 inches (3.75 cm) thick.

Cut this circle into 8 triangular sections. (Instead of cutting them into triangles, I used a circular cookie cutter). Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and then brush the top of the scones with milk or cream. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.   

Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  

If desired, serve with Devon cream and/or your favorite jam.
Makes 8 scones. (I made about 15 round ones)

And here's what my scones look like:

They taste good too although I'm missing the cream, jam and strawberries, .... and the cool, misty air....