Tuesday, 31 August 2010

To Do:

Well, guess what? My mom and dad are here from Malaysia, and whilst we have babysitters handy...

Here's 15 things to do:

  1. Run away to a tropical island somewhere and hide.
  2. Have a hair cut (ticked).
  3. Eat less (which is real hard when Mom's cooking fabulous dishes every day!)
  4. Exercise more, yay!
  5. Nag less, talk more.
  6. Watch a movie, or maybe a movie marathon.
  7. Blog more.
  8. Catch up with girlfriends.
  9. Spend more time with mom and dad.
  10. Go shopping!
  11. Why 15? I can't think of any more.
  12. Is there a problem with me?
  13. I have all these time to do things NOW and I sit around twiddling my thumbs.
  14. Any suggestions?
  15. :)
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Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Banana Ice Cream

OMG, it works! Thank you Lins for sharing this recipe. Well, err.... it is not really a recipe or is it?

Here's the recipe for banana ice cream:


Bananas. That's IT!

Gosh, I never thought I would be this excited over bananas.


Freeze bananas in the freezer. Whizz it up in the blender until smooth and creamy. And voila, you have banana ice cream! And it seriously did work.

If you ask me, it's like eating bananas, well it is. Except it is frozen. But the boys, they love it! Because ice creams work a treat. And the best part, it's fruit, no added sugar or fat. Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Hello Dolly

The pixies are busy at work again the past few nights, and I can finally reveal to you, my latest stuffing (and for once, it's not food!). Hmmm... what shall we name her?

I sourced for inspiration online, and armed with a brand new sewing machine and not much sewing experience at all, I drew a design, just free hand. Then I dragged all three kids to Spotlight and picked up a few pieces of fabric and knick-knacks. I was bursting with excitement. I couldn't wait for the kids to be tucked into bed that night.

And I surprise myself. And of course I had dark circles under my eyes for a few days after that.

There my darling Lily, a little friend to keep you company.

And oh, she has a mohawk too!

Oh wait, she has real make up on.

*heart* Best Blogger Tips

Lily @ 4 months

My baby is 4 months old, can you believe? Just the other day, we went for a health nurse check up and she's ticking all the right boxes, weighs 7kgs and 63.5cm long. She is such a happy and contented little child.

On a good night, she sleeps a long stretch of 8 hours. But being a parent the third time round, (a veteran parent I'd like to think, teehee!) you just know that there is not such a thing as sleeping through, night after night. There are good nights, and there are still sleepless ones. You would have realistic expectations and just accept it. And soldier on during the day, especially when there are two others with bountiful energy that seems to zap yours away too. Anyways, I digress. She sleeps here and there and everywhere. In the car, on the way to kinder pick ups and drop offs, in the sling, in the shopping trolley, in the lounge room of my in law's when we have late dinners. She is brightest in the morning, but really dopey and sleepy as the day goes on. I guess it could be that her sleeps are always interrupted, and being dragged along to places, when she could have snoozed comfortably in her own bed.

She gives out the cutest smile ever. And it is so easy to make her smile. And the other day, when I was laughing so hard with the boys over something I couldn't even remember, she gave out this big belly laugh too! And you can make her laugh again and again by just making silly burping noises or smacking your lips. Aaahh.... it's silly but we do it over and over again.

She is purely breastfed. And I am not really looking forward to starting her on solids. Really, its novelty runs out after the first 5 minutes.

She wears really cute hand-me-downs that I love oh so so so much. I never think I would be such a girly girl mummy, but I tell ya, some days I dress her up like a cupcake!

She is growing up, and once again I feel a little tug in my heart. I am happy but I am sad. Especially when I put her little clothes away...for the last time. Sigh, such bittersweet moments... Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Coconut Panna Cotta with Mixed Berries

A very delayed post.. :)

It was MasterChef grand finale some weeks ago, and we had a very impromptu dinner get-together.

So I wasn't going to let a MasterChef dinner go without a dessert. But I opened my pantry and nothing jumped out at me. And next the fridge, a half opened carton of coconut cream and a half bottle of cream. Hmmm....

(....Panna Cotta with berries, brought to you by... my junior masterchef!)

You see, I have seen a fair few Panna Cottas being made on reality TV (?My Kitchen Rules and of course MasterChef). It looks simple enough, but then again, those that I have seen have somehow ended in a disaster! And the fact is, I have never made one before, nor do I remember ever having eaten one in my life! I probably had, but even if I have it wasn't quite memorable enough, you can see. So will I pull this through with the limited time that I have (It was 5pm by the time I decided I wanted dessert!) and knowing that it needed at least 4 hours to set?

With the wonders of the world wide web, a simple google search brought me here. And the recipe:

Coconut Panna Cotta with Mixed Berries

Super Food Ideas - February 2004
Recipe by Janelle Bloom & Dixie Elliott


  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon gelatine
  • 250g fresh strawberries, hulled, quartered
  • 150g fresh blueberries
  • 200g fresh raspberries
*I reduced the amount of sugar to 1/2 cup, also I didn't have fresh berries so I used frozen raspberries and blueberries instead and fresh cherries (that was initially intended for a black forest cake).


  1. Place coconut milk, cream and 3/4 cup of sugar into a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves (do not boil). Remove from heat.

  2. Place hot water into a small bowl. Sprinkle over gelatine. Whisk with a fork until dissolved. Add to coconut milk mixture. Whisk well to combine.

  3. Rinse (6) 8 x 1/2-cup capacity dishes or moulds. Shake out excess water. Pour in coconut mixture. Cover. Refrigerate for 5 hours, or overnight if time permits, until set.

  4. Place strawberries, blueberries and raspberries into a bowl. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Cover. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  5. Turn panna cotta onto plates. Serve with berries and any juice.'s child's play!

On my reading list this morning, I read on one of my favourite foodies blog, a post on The Perfect(ish) Vanilla Panna Cotta. And that was what reminded me of this post that needed to be done. So thank you, Karen, from Citrus and Candy. You have been full of inspiration and wonderful ideas. Here's a line from her post that I lazily copied and pasted here because I love it!

A wise man once said that, "a panna cotta should wobble like a Rubenesque woman wearing 5 inch heels".
That wise man was Matt Preston wasn't it?

So did mine wobble and jiggle like a seductive temptress? Silky and smooth it was, but I don't remember it wearing 5 inch heels. So maybe next time I will try undressing unmoulding the sexy goddess and see if it wobbles.

This Panna Cotta was completely dressed by Lucas, my 2 year old MasterChef and later completely demolished by that same little person. Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, 12 August 2010


My name is Hugo. I'm a sock monkey.

Don't you think I look more like a lemur?

I was stuffed... too much. My crotch is busting at the seams!

Then I was made a pair of pants...

With stars so bright and blue.

But it was wee too small, it gave me a wedgy.

And it made me look silly.

So I'd rather not wear pants, and look a little dodgy. The stitches will not come apart but it look really messy. AND you know who made me!

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Sunday, 8 August 2010

Sunday Brunch: Blueberry Pancakes

It's a leisurely Sunday. The hubby is sleeping in. So is the baby girl. The boys are up and going about their usual shenanigans. And I'm making blueberry pancakes. I love Sundays.

This is my favourite (basic) pancake recipe. I got it off a wall calendar some years ago, and it made it into my recipe journal.

The Best Ever Pancake Recipe:

2 cups plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup castor sugar
75g butter, melted and extra for cooking
Pinch of salt

*1 cup of frozen/fresh blueberries. This is optional.

Sift plain flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add in a pinch of salt and sugar.

Whisk in eggs, milk and melted butter and mix until well combined. Set it aside for 10 minutes.

Sizzle some extra butter in a non-stick pan, and dollop a ladle of pancake batter in the middle of the pan. Cook until little bubbles appear in the batter. Flip. Cook for a couple more minutes.

As for the berries, you can either gently fold them through the batter before cooking, or scatter them fresh on top. I did both. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

Happy Sunday everyone! Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, 5 August 2010

A New Kind of Hobby

Who can guess what?

One that doesn't involve whipping egg whites and licking bowls in the wee hours of the night.

A sock monkey! Isn't he a cutey?

We named him "scuby", because that's how Lucas says "excuse me"!

All you need are a pair of socks, hobby (polyester) fill, scissors and a sewing machine. And oh, a pair of buttons and some felt for the eyes.

Howdy scuby?

Not a bad effort for a first timer eh? Best Blogger Tips

Monday, 2 August 2010

Pistachio Cream Macaron

Some say 'ons and some say 'oons, although purist may say that they're two different things. But I say I have become quite accustomed to making 'em My Tartelette style, so I say MACARON.

We have been swept away by the MasterChef Macaron mania, have we not? Let's just say I have whipped up a fair few batches of these little dome shaped biscuits myself. With soft shiny peaks that looks as if it's been kissed on the top, pretty colours of pink, green and purple, who wouldn't fall in love?

Thus far, all the shells for the macarons that I have made came from only one source, and that is from Tartelette. They have worked for me, so why not? It's a simple basic recipe, just four ingredients and the rest is up to your own imagination.

Engineering macarons relaxes the brain cells, so says My Tartelette.

Here's my twist to her recipe.

Pistachio Macarons with a Pandan Pistachio Buttercream.

For the shells:

55g almond meal
55g shelled natural pistachios
200g pure icing sugar
90g egg whites
30g castor sugar
A drop of green food colouring (I didn't have any green colouring, so I used Pandan Paste*)

*To those who don't know what Pandan is, it's the leaves of a tropical plant used mainly in Asian cooking. The juice from the plant is extracted from chopping and blending up the leaves, and then straining them. You get an intense green coloured liquid with a lovely fragrance. We can't grow them here in Melbourne, so I got the Pandan Paste from the Asian Grocer.

Hop over here to see the method for this recipe.

Now for the filling, I was looking for a buttercream recipe that sort of allows me to use the technique that Gary Mehigan used for his Gateau Opera. (But the amount of butter he uses is phenomenal!)

So I searched through some of my favourite food blogs and came across this from Sea Salt With Food.

Pistachio Buttercream

50 g Egg Whites
100 g Sugar
150 g Unsalted Butter, softened

50 g Pistachio Paste**

Instead of whisking the egg whites and sugar over a bain marie, I followed step 4 in the Gateau Opera recipe.

Step 4: For the butter cream, dampen sugar with a little water in a saucepan, place onto stove and bring to boil, brushing edges down with pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystallisation. Bring the syrup to soft boil (121°C). Meanwhile whisk egg (whites) until light and fluffy on high speed in an electric mixer. Once sugar has come up to temperature, add to eggs in a slow thin stream, whisking continuously until all has been added. Continue to beat on low speed until the mixture cools to room temperature (this best done in bench top mixer). Once cool, gradually add butter and (pistachio and pandan paste), beating until well combined.

What I achieved was something I didn't expect after all these years of making buttercreams for the kid's birthday cakes! A smooth, soft and buttery consistency (not too sweet) and not having to use ANY icing sugar. Sifting icing sugar is so labour intensive!

**OK. Here comes my favourite part of the whole recipe! The pistachio paste. I was wondering how and where on earth I would be able to get this from. So I put 45g of shelled pistachios in a small food processor and blend it to a meal. Then I added 1/4 tsp of Pandan Paste and gave it a few pulse until it is blended through. The aroma of the pandan and pistachio was just a perfect match! Seriously, you must try this!

Nope, not pandan leaves. But just a pot of lemon thyme I got from the market last Friday. Their little leaves are just too cute don't you think? I just needed to have a picture of them taken.

One last thing, the buttercream is enough for 2 shell recipes. And I would love to have doubled the amount of the pistachio pandan paste for next time for a more intense flavour and colour.

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Sunday, 1 August 2010

Rich Almond Tart

How can we ever forget Ben O'Donoghue's Beaut Brownies? The very first recipe I have tried from delicious magazine a little while back. Here's the link. A visit to that very post makes me crave chocolate, just one slice please!

Ever since then, my delicious magazine never stopped coming. And that was because my dear husband ended up subscribing them for me. And it turned out to be a sweet deal for him, don't you think?

The August 2010 issue of delicious magazine is full of inspiration. I have pages after pages, dog-eared, a promising sign of delivery from my kitchen. And this is one of them:

Rich Almond Tart with Drunken Strawberries
by Belinda Jeffery.

And it is so very good I have to share it with you. I love a dessert with ground almonds, actually I love anything with a nutty, earthy aroma, a crunch that melts in your mouth. It is just one of the many desserts that I love, really, judging from what I have written in this blog if you have followed me right from the start!

OK. Delicious magazine is doing much damage, things are going pear-shaped, quite literally. I really need it to stop coming. But I want it never to stop! Gaahhh....

It sort of reminds me of a frangipane tart. And yet it's not really a tart for there's no pastry to make (phew!).

"It's not really a tart, or even a cake for that matter, but sits somewhere in the middle.

It really is easy to make, as promised. And incredibly, dangerously moreish.

Alright, so here's the recipe.

150g castor sugar (reduced from 220g)
7 egg yolks
3/4 tsp almond essence
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
50g plain flour
200g almond meal
225g chilled unsalted butter, cubed

Drunken strawberries* and whipped cream to serve, if preferred.

*Strawberries marinated in strawberry liquer or Grand Marnier, or Cointreau, or anything that tickles your fancy.

Grease a 25cm loose bottomed tart pan and line the base with greased baking paper. (I used a 27cm pie dish which works out well too)

In a bowl, whisk 6 egg yolks with almond essence and vanilla.

Place flour, ground almonds and sugar in a food processor and whiz until combined. With the motor running, pour in yolk mixture and whiz until it starts to form a paste.

Add butter and whiz again, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until thick and creamy.

Pour batter into the prepared tart pan and level the surface with a palette knife. Chill for 5-10 minutes until the top is slightly firm. Beat the remaining yolk and brush it over the chilled tart. Chill for a further 5 minutes.

Use a fork to mark long squiggles on top of the tart. Place on baking tray and bake for 12 minutes at 190 degrees Celcius. Reduce heat to 16o degrees and bake for a further 20-30 minutes until golden and just set on top.

Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing, and then cool completely.

I would serve mine with some drunken strawberries, except that they are not at their peak in winter, and any strawberries in this household doesn't last long enough for them to be dangerously covered in alcohol. Plus, we don't want Lucas to want "some"' "some", "some, please mummy" of the drunken berries.

I prefer mine with a little crunch. Pop a slice under the grill for a couple of minutes and you'll have it toasty, and serve with a little orange blossom cream.

Just wonderful. Best Blogger Tips