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Preview: Oh for the love of food!

Oh for the love of food!

Food . Recipes . Travel . Family . Petty Grievances!

Last Build Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2017 10:51:06 +0000


Hey There Everyone!

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 22:36:00 +0000

Chloe, me, Ming and Paige at King's Park

Happy 2009! Just a short post to say 'Hi!' and Thank you for all your lovely emails - I am very well, just really busy having a Great, Great time enjoying my family these holidays! I have a Huge, no, GIANT post coming up with so many photos to share you won't believe! I've had a really busy but extremely fulfilling time over the last six months and I'm going to tell you all about it in my upcoming post. And of course, not to mention a Gorgeous little recipe for a SEXY cupcake! So Stay Tuned!

Before I go though, I want to wish all of you a Blessed 2009 from my Family to yours - I hope 2009 will be the year that things that truly matter will happen for you, that you will find Love, families will be reunited, relationships will be cherished and most of all, that you will find God, because, when you do, everything else will fall into place!

One last thing, before I really zip off.. I have the pleasure of presenting to you, a new member of the Rodé-Chong family! Drum roll please!

Introducing.. 'Puppy'! our Budgie. For the longest time, the Girls and Ming have been bugging me for a Puppy, but Mom knows Best, our circumstances and habits hardly allows for it - so, we got a Bird instead and named him 'Puppy'! Not a bad idea, don't you think?

See you all real soon!

Carol xoxo

Cream Cheese-stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 17:21:00 +0000

I turned 40 over the weekend. I did not wake up to find extra fine lines on my face or new crows' feet at the corner of my eyes. It wasn't raining buckets and the sky wasn't a gloomy grey. On the contrary! The sky was the prettiest blue and the odd cloud or two were like cotton -candy suspended in the air. And me? well, I was 40 and fabulous! So sue me! The way I see it, '40' is just another number and you are only as old as you feel. Anyway, we picked Chloe up from a sleep-over party a little past 10.30 am and then we were off to pick up Aquilla. Yes, I'm allowed to say his name now. A Q U I L L A. My 14 year-old daughter, Chloe's boyfriend, that is. Chloe and Aquilla have been 'going out' for about a month, now. And on the 12th of July, on my Birthday, it was official. It was official because he finally got Ming's permission to date our daughter. The 12th of July was the day that the whole family got to 'bond' with Aquilla. Since they started this relationship, Chloe and Aquilla have been THE topic of conversation among their friends and ours. There has been expressions of sheer surprise as well as hush-hush gossiping, snickering, glares of disapproval and of envy from people we know and people we don't as a result of this young relationship. A few genuinely concerned friends asked me if I approved of this relationship. 'Approve'? I rejoice in it. I celebrate it. What's not to approve? Love is the most beautiful gift from God and Young Love is no different if there is loving support, guidance and understanding from parents. To put it in a blunt way, your kids are going to have relationships with or without your approval. The only difference is whether they let you in on their lives when they have these relationships. Do the math. So.. continuing what I was saying earlier on, we picked Aquilla up from his home and proceeded to have lunch in one of our favorite restaurants, 'Little Seoul'. Aquilla was understandably nervous at first, being around 'the father'- the more 'intimidating parent ' as he puts it. I had gone shopping with the the girls and Aquilla the Thursday before, and we had broken the ice then. Ming was 'on the other side of the fence' (being 'the father', not 'the boyfriend) for the first time too, and I could tell he was 'fumbling' , not knowing for sure how to handle the situation. He told Aquilla a couple of embarrassing 'home truths' about Chloe which did break the ice but got Chloe a little grieved. Poor Chloe. After Lunch, we grabbed some cakes and slices from David Jones then headed for home. Once we got home, I put out some tea and coffee and got out the cakes and the monopoly set. It was bonding time. I would say this day spent with Aquilla put our minds at ease as to where this young relationship was going. Parenting and Life doesn't come with a manual and we are learning the 'operations' one day at a time. One thing is for sure, I want to be a vital part of my daughters' lives, and if I have to break the 'mold' of this society's 'norms' and 'values' - so be it.Chloe and AquillaNow.. let's talk cake, shall we? Ever since I came back from my Holiday, it's like I've been put under a 'Bad Cake Spell'! Every new recipe I've tried has been less than passable. To be fair though, I must admit that I am a terrible, terrible 'Cake Snob'. Don't misunderstand, I am not making an apology here. If the recipe is not up to my standards, I absolutely refuse to share it. So now you know why I haven't been posting for so long. I pondered over and over as to whether I would share this recipe. It's not the worst recipe I've tried, neither is it one of the best. But if I am to continue to post, I guess I will have to stop being such a perfectionist all the time. Paige, Chloe and AquillaThere were a few reasons why I wasn't 'comfortable' with this recipe. First, there was no BUTTER! This recipe requires 'Vegetable Oil' instead. ( If this had been a Sponge,it would have been ok) This almost sounded vulgar to me. Then, the recipe required the inclusion of Chocolate Chips ( whic[...]

Matcha Love Hearts

Tue, 17 Jun 2008 18:30:00 +0000

"..Give, give in any way you can, of whatever you possess. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace."-Author unknownOne of my favorite bookshops in Perth is the 'Inspiration Factory' in Subiaco. I hardly ever leave the place without a purchase. Just last Saturday, Ming, the girls and I were spending the afternoon in Subi - Ming had decided to give Badminton a miss and just hang out with us. We've all been so busy with our own stuff ever since we came back from our holiday, so I guess it seemed appropriate for us all to put everything aside and just spend some time together, just the four of us. We grabbed some lunch at Nippon, got lured into a couple of stores displaying their "Up to 70% off everything" sales banners before we settled down for some drinks at Dome. We talked about so many things - how Ming can spend more time with me before I looked for his replacement in the form of a Gorgeous, Romantic Korean man (wink, wink), we teased Chloe relentlessly about her new boyfriend 'A', we laughed, we cried (from laughing so much) and we ironed out a few 'issues' that have been bothering us. Then, we made our way to the 'Inspiration Factory'. Being there was like taking a breath of fresh air. I came across a book I hadn't seen before, 'Blossom - Affirmations for Personal Growth' by Janine Brown. After flipping a couple of pages of the book, I knew I couldn't let it go. I just loved it so much - there were so many quotes that were my own believes, and some that I wanted to believe in and embrace. The virtue of Generosity, the act of giving and sharing is a reward in itself because it brings so much joy to it's recipients. I came across a post on 'Green Tea Sweets' - Cookies that looked like jeweled-encrusted pieces of Jade in Foodbeam last week and couldn't help reading on. The recipe for these beautiful cookies won Kelli Bernard of Amai Tea and Bake House the Finalist Award for Best Bakery Recipe in's 2007 Golden Scoop Awards, and Kelli was generous enough to share her recipe with the whole world via her blog Lovescool. These Matcha cookies have been the delight of so many Food Bloggers all over the globe since the release of it's recipe last year that I couldn't resist giving it a go myself, especially too, after my success with the Matcha Macarons last year. Besides reducing my oven temperature to 160 degrees celsius (fan-forced) and using salted butter, I followed Kelli's recipe closely. Oh, and I decided to use a Love Heart cookie cutter instead of a leaf-shaped one. After all, giving , sharing and love are inter-connected! The result was a distinctively Aromatic and buttery cookie with a delicate crumb.The slight bitterness of the matcha was complimented by the pretty sugar coating.Matcha Love Hearts (Green Tea Sweets)IngredientsYield : Approx 25 2' Love Heart Cookies3/4 cup/ 2.25 oz/ 64 g Icing sugar5 oz/142 g Salted butter, cut into cubes1 3/4 cup/ 8.5 oz/ 241 g All-purpose flour3 Large egg yolks1.5 TBS Matcha (powdered green tea)1 cup Granulated sugar (for coating) * Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F( 160C fan-forced). Line a cookie sheet with baking paper. * Whisk the icing sugar and green tea together in a bowl. * Add the butter and green tea/sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until combined and smooth. * Add the flour and mix until well combined. * Add the egg yolks and mix just until the eggs are fully incorporated and a mass forms. * Form the dough into a disk and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes * Roll the dough out to ½” thickness. * Cut the dough with a Love Heart cookie cutter. * Toss each cut cookie in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat. * Place the sugar-coated cookie on the lined cookie sheet and bake at 180C/ 350F( 160C fan-forced) for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.Kelli Bernard and the team at Amai Tea a[...]

Singapore 2008!

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 02:11:00 +0000

Boat Quay - by Sudharshan MurthyAbout 2 months before our holiday, I received a very heart warming e-mail from my Best Friend Miti. It reads like this: 'I’ve got an assignment in Hong Kong on the dates that you'll be here and Eugene will bring the kids over to meet me . I would like for you, Ming and the girls to stay atmy new place. I guarantee that you’ll like it. It’s only a 10 minute walk from the MRT station. You and Ming can use my room and the girls can either share a room if they like or they can use the kid’s rooms. Call it house-sitting!When you stay here, you do not need to bring anything … not even your toothbrushes . My domestic helper will be here, she will change the bed sheets, clean after you and even feed you. Just tell Ani (her name), I would like Assam Pork, Gado-Gado and Onde Onde for dinner … she’ll know what to do! There’s no need to have the keys as Ani will be home except for Sunday. You can get the keys from her if you like. Feel free to use our home like it's your own and tell Ani if there's anything else you might need. Some facts about my place –There are 5 bedrooms plus 1 maid’s room.3 bathrooms and plus one toilet. You can use the computers, they're in the office on the third floor The supermarket is 10 minutes walk from my placeGet the Car Keys from Ani if you would like to use the carThere's a Bus Stop just outside our place too The swimming pool is right at the door step, there’s a gym as well.The kitchen is open concept – you can cook whatever you like, we have both outdoor and indoor cooking. It’s usually well stocked; you can get your milk and eggs from the supermarket when they run out, or you can send Ani to get it.Since my kids are all young, they are perfectly happy to bunk in with us on the floor – we have loads of extra mattresses and they love sleepover parties! So,there’s no need for you to move when we return from our trip. We’ve got enough room for everyone. I think I’ve covered everything … let me know what else you need.Happy house sitting! Love, Miti ' Wouldn't you just LOVE to have a friend like this? A Friend like Miti is like a Hug from God. Coincidently we were making accommodation arrangements when she so generously offered us to stay in her home, and what a home it is! The main entrance opens up to the poolsPaige, enjoying a snack after a dip in the poolChloe and Paige - what are they doing??!This is THE life!Paige sure knows how to relax..How to make 'Lemper' - 'Lemongrass infused Glutinous Rice wrapped around Spicy Chicken. Ani is a great cook! We enjoyed 3 meals prepared by her this trip.Ani wrapping up the 'Lemper' for our tea time treat..'Lemper'Our favorite place to eat when we're out and about shopping is at the 'Food Republic' . We've been to two of these chain food courts so far, one with a ' yesteryear village' simulation theme and the other with an 'old library' theme.Deciding where to go after a satisfying meal at Food Republic, Suntec CityDon't you just love the colors in this pic?Paige and I posing for a photo. Notice the 'books' behind us? This Food Republic chain is the one with the 'Old Library' theme. Very cosy indeed..A Roast Chicken Rice setBeef BulgogiChicken Bibimbap'Loh Bak'- an assortment of fried snacksSingapore LaksaNotice the 'Old Village' theme decor? I love those colored shutters..What about the suspended antique Bicycles and Bird Cages? Cool, huh?Cheers!Ming and IWhat do you do when you meet up with relatives? Eat Of course! Ming's uncle who is an ardent Fishing and Boating fan, invited us to the Singapore Yacht Club for Dinner one evening. The Dinner was great - we got to 'hand-pick' our seafood and have it cooked the way we wanted. I didn't take any photos of the food though, I thought it would be rude to let everybody wait while I positioned their food this way and that while I snapped. After dinner as the sun was setting, I excused myself from the table and took these shots..The Yacht Club RestaurantAhh...This is[...]

Kuala Lumpur 2008!

Tue, 13 May 2008 16:10:00 +0000

View from the Tower View Room at Westin Hotel, Kuala Lumpur by AhazanHello Bloggers! Did you miss me? Holidays are always Great but nothing beats the feeling of coming home to your very own abode! The sweet smell of Lemongrass and Ylang Ylang filled my nostrills as I entered our home, my shoulders relaxed as I gazed at the tranquility that I left behind some weeks back. It sure is Good to be home, to finally be in my own bed, to sprawl luxuriously on my lounge. I love to be in a state of 'awareness' like this because I can genuinely appreciate and be grateful for all that God has so lovingly provided for me. Sure, I thank God everyday for all this but so often this prayer is a mere 'template' I use. Feeling authentic about yourself is I really beautiful and humbling, my Friends!I must really remind myself (and Ming) not to lug our laptops with us when we travel in future! (we would have more hands to carry more Valhrona Chocolate, Vanilla Beans and other baking-associated stuff!) Internet access for us was next to zero and I was so looking forward to keeping you updated. Either that or the speed was sooooooooooooooo SLOW! So, as I'm sure you've already guessed, we gave up after the first few days. I apologize for not answering your emails and not coming by your blogs to say 'thank you' for your comments. I hope this post (and the next/final installment) featuring 'snippets' of our Holiday and the photos will be a worthy peace offering.Chloe and Paige at the 'Curve' This Vacation like a lot of my other vacations are all about Food and Shopping, so you won't see many scenic photos at all. A heap of Happy moments captured is what I can promise you though. One of our first stops in Kuala Lumpur was the 'Curve', a trendy shopping district with yummy food haunts. One particular 'quirky' cafe we visited was 'The Apartment' - What drew us to it was that it looked like the inside of a cosy little apartment with a loft. We headed straight for a Day Bed in a corner, took our shoes off and huddled together like we often do at home. After a while, I realized we had become a 'spectacle'- everyone that passed by the cafe had stopped and looked in at us, some smiling, laughing and pointing and some even looked at us in amazement. We felt a little strange at first, like we were animals in a zoo. But being 'us', we just continued with what we were doing with our "who cares?" attitude.Chloe, Paige and I posing for a shot on the comfy daybed at 'The Apartment'Ming and the girls making themselves at home..Having a bit of fun..One of the best things that have come out of blogging for me are the nice people that I've had the pleasure of getting to know, and on this trip, I got to meet some of them for the first time - Jackson Kah of 'Living in Food Heaven', Sunny Yaw and Sidney Kan of 'Big Boys Oven and last but not least, Chong Kok Wai , of 'Young Patissier Journey' who is known by his very witty blog persona 'Bread Pitt'. We met at Jackson's cosy new establishment, 'Pick and Brew' at One Utama. Jackson's blog is a comprehensive journal of his food reviews, done locally as well as on his travels and is an invaluable source of reference for anyone who loves food. Sunny Yaw is the ever-creative half of the Big Boy's partnership, always coming up with Dreamy cakes and desserts while Sidney Kan is the editor and mastermind behind Big Boys Oven. Chong Kok Wai, with his boyish good looks on the other hand, is a Junior Patissier at a local Five Star Hotel. His passion and artistry reflects in his creations even at this tender age - I dare say his success in this industry is imminent.Food Blogger's meet at 'Pick and Brew'..From left; Sidney, me, Kok Wai, Sunny and JacksonSome of the shots taken at 'Pick and Brew'..Having a "getting to know you" cuppa together..Miyako Japanese Restaurant at the Sheraton SubangOh, Did I mention that Sidney is a free lance food reviewer for Foodstreet? We were his guests at a Food Tasting /Review at the Miyak[...]

Hazelnut Espresso Babycakes

Sun, 06 Apr 2008 12:12:00 +0000

Before we get on to anything else, Please congratulate Nags of "For the Cook in me" for her brilliant winning photo in Jess Dang's Food Porn Contest! Nag's photo of Curd Rice with Pomegranates served with chow chow sambhar is truly a sight for sore eyes as is her Beautiful Blog. So, for Gorgeous Southern Indian Food Recipes, don't forget Nags! I've been craving a Coffee cake of some sort for the longest time and last week, out of pure desperation, I bought a Coffee Sponge roll from a local bakery in Northbridge. Unfortunately it just tasted really artificial and left me feeling very very dissatisfied. You see, I've been really busy getting things done and tying up loose ends before we go on Vacation in three days. Can I slip in a 'Yay'? YAYYYYYYYYYYY!! So with my craving not satiated, I've been feeling a wee bit irritated to say the least.You can imagine my excitement though, when I saw a recipe for 'Coffee Teacake' in the April issue of Delicious - I rushed home, put away the food shopping, sat myself comfortably on my lounge, put my legs up and started flipping the pages to where the recipe was. As I read through the ingredients list, I felt my excitement deflating. It was a boring recipe. You can actually tell it's a boring recipe when they say " Chocolate, coffee or vanilla ice cream to serve" at the end of the Ingredient's list. The word 'Teacake' is a bit of a giveaway too.But I had to have a Smashing Coffee Cake that day. So I brought out my pen and note book and started to make some changes and additions to the recipe. Very soon it looked like a totally different recipe, but I was happy with the ingredients - Espresso coffee, Hazelnuts, Frangelico (Hazelnut Liqueur) and Nutella - they all totally complimented each other. And the cupcakes turned out extremely well, fragrant and full of flavor with a tender crumb. I couldn't be happier with the result. For first time readers of my blog, don't be alarmed that I used Salted Butter in my Cake, I use it in ALL my cakes. I find it renders a richer, more flavorsome cake. I use Sponge Cake Flour regularly too when a recipe calls for Self Raising Flour, and even sometimes when ordinary cake flour is used. I like my cakes soft and fluffy. For this icing recipe, use any Coffee Liqueur if Frangelico is unavailable.Hazelnut Espresso BabycakesMakes approximately 12 Cupcakes or one 22 cm round cake that will serve 8 170 g Salted Butter, softened150 g Caster Sugar3 eggs120 g Sponge Cake Self Raising Flour50 g Ground Hazelnuts1 shot/ 10 tsp strong espresso coffeeCoffee Beans for decoratingFrangelico Icing90 g Unsalted Butter, softened90 g Cream Cheese, softened75 g Icing Sugar1 1/2 tbsp nutella1 tsp vanilla extract1 1/2 tbsp FrangelicoPreheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius or 160 degrees celsius if you have a fan forced oven. Line a muffin pan with cupcake paper or if you are making a whole cake, grease and line the base and sides of a 22 cm round springform cake pan with baking paper. Now, here comes the crucial bit of this recipe - you have to dry roast the Ground Hazelnuts in a shallow pan over low heat. This will ensure an amazing tasting cake. Keep moving the ground hazelnuts around in the pan with a spatula until fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the hazelnuts into a small bowl to cool. Sift the sponge flour then add the ground hazelnuts to it, mixing to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, adding 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture after each addition, and beating well. Fold in the remaining flour, then the coffee. Spoon the mixture 1/2 full into the cupcake cases or into the prepared pan. The baking time for the cupcakes is approximately 15 minutes. Bake a whole cake for about 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. For cupcakes , remove from [...]

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Mon, 24 Mar 2008 15:34:00 +0000

Early last week, I received an email from Jess Dang, a foodblogger from the United States, whom I had never 'met' inviting me to join in her blog event known as 'The Petite Pig's Food Porn Contest' for a chance to win $200. I clicked on the link that was on her email and was transported to her gallery of photo entries. There were less than 10 entries then. I submitted a photo of my Coconut and White Chocolate Ganache Baby Mud Cakes from my previous post. Two days later, I was on The Petite Pig again, checking out the latest entry submissions. I realised that a couple of foodbloggers had submitted more than one entry. So I wrote an email to Jess, asking her how many entries each blogger was allowed. Very promptly Jess replied saying that we could enter as many photos as we liked."Well in that case.." I thought, I might as well enter in a couple more photos. It was fun watching my photos loading onto the gallery. My fingers started clicking and typing and before I knew it, my photos had taken up almost a whole page in her gallery! Oh no, where's the delete option? This was bad. It really amazes me sometimes how slow my brain works. I was monopolising Jess' competition and putting the other contestants at a disadvantage. Realising that I could not remove my photos, I, very sheepishly wrote to Jess again, apologising for the matter and asking if she could remove all my photos except for the first one I submitted two days before. I mentioned as well that I would like to withdraw from the contest to be fair to the other contestants. I was just happy to be able to show my work on her blog. Jess wrote back saying that it was ok and that she preferred more entries than not, and left it at that. So, fellow foodbloggers, I extend my sincere apologies to you all that entered this contest. And for all of you who are reading this now, please go to The Petite Pig and vote for some other foodblogger.Pheww! I'm so glad I got that out of the way. Next topic. What did you get up to this Easter? We had a lovely, lovely longggggg weekend spent relaxing and catching up with good friends. And of course we were at Church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. These Double Chocolate Cupcakes were Sunday's beautiful finish to our Dinner. I made some specially decorated for the kids as well, as you will see as you scroll down the page. If you prefer, you could add the zest of two oranges to the cake recipe and a splash of Grand Marnier to the Chocolate fudge Icing for a decadent Grown-up treat.We have a little over two weeks before we go away for our vacation, YAY!! It will be another exciting time for me, meeting some of you face to face for the very first time and of course eating my favorite foods! I invite you to come along on this trip with me through this blog as I shall be updating you regularly. But till then, take care, won't you?Double Chocolate CupcakesAdapted from Donna Hay's Simple Essentials - ChocolateMakes 12125 g salted butter, softened3/4 cup caster sugar2 eggs1 1/4 cup Self Raising Flour1 tsp baking powder2 tbsp cocoa powder1/2 cup milk100g good quality dark chocolate, melted1 quantity chocolate fudge icingChocolate Fudge IcingPlace 250 g dark couverture chocolate, 1/2 cup single or pouring cream and 70 g salted butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove and set aside to cool completely then beat with electric beaters until thick and fluffy.Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well in between. Sift over the flour, baking powder and cocoa and beat until combined. Fold through the milk and chocolate and spoon the mixture into 12 x 1/2 cup capacity muffin tins lined with paper patty cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool on wire racks. Spread or pipe t[...]

Coconut & White Chocolate Baby Mud Cakes

Tue, 11 Mar 2008 15:53:00 +0000

How's everyone's last two weeks been? Good? I'm sorry to report that I've been feeling rather LAZY these two weeks. I did nothing much at all. I did not do any blogging. Neither did I bake anything besides this. Did I have LOTS of things waiting for me to do? Yes. But did I feel like doing them? No. Unfortunately, this is how we feel sometimes and we just want to escape. For me, it was an escape into fictional lives in the form of Korean Drama. I take it like I'm in 'maintenance' mode - I make sure my tear ducts are in good working order... ok, ok, sad excuse I know, but that was how my two weeks was. And do you know what's scary? For the last two weeks, my Pastor's message was on a series called " Do not waste your Life". Guilty as charged, Pastor D, but knowing how full of hope you are in mankind and in me, I will say that I have not made a permanent mistake.I just remembered I did something else in the last two weeks. I auditioned for the worship team in Church. How did it go? Well, the week leading up to the audition, I felt ok, not nervous or anything even though my girls kept asking me whether I was. I know now why I wasn't - I wasn't Me that week, I was the Korean Drama Heroine! But I was Myself again as soon as I stepped on that stage on the evening of the audition. What can I say? I forgot the words to the songs, I had to look at the lyrics. My mouth went all dry, my tongue was numb and I couldn't hear my own voice so I couldn't control it. I really felt BAD for the musicians and the worship team who were looking on encouragingly yet sympathetically. AMAZINGLY enough, I was accepted into the worship team, though it will be 3-6 months before I'm comfortable to be rostered for Sunday Worship. A word of advice for all of you out there who believe you have talent, 'Use it or you will lose it!'On a more positive note, Ming gave his first lesson on 'Women's Self Defense' yesterday. It was a fun and informative class and the girls and I really enjoyed it. Ming was assisted by his two trusty 'Organic' punching bags, Christian and Rudy. The ten week course serves to raise female awareness of how we can use our bodies as 'weapons' should we find ourselves in situations where our lives are in danger. In the following weeks, we will explore Blocking and Counter attacks, Escape techniques, 'Weapons' around you and how to use them, the Krav Maga technique etc. The course is free and held in THEROCKS Church on Mondays at 7 pm. If you live in the Perth metropolitan area and are interested in attending these classes, email . This is the best thing we can do for ourselves, Ladies, the worst , on the other hand is having the mentality that 'it will not happen to me'.Today's recipe is a really easy one, almost as easy as if it came out of a box, and don't we like recipes like these? This recipe is adapted from Haalo's Beautiful Blog 'Cook Almost Anything'. The Original recipe is from a cookbook called 'AWW's Cakes, Biscuits and Slices'. Now, here's my take on the recipe: As a standard, I've used Salted butter. I've also reduced the sugar content, quite heftily I might add, from the original recipe that required a whopping 330 g! I personally do not enjoy 'sickeningly sweet' desserts, and frankly who needs that much sugar? Coconut and White Chocolate Baby Mud CakesMakes 15 cupcakes or 1x 22 cm / 9 inch cake250 g salted butter1 lemon, use rind only, grated finely180 g white Chocolate, chopped200 g caster sugar180 ml milk225 g plain flour75 g self raising flour2 eggs, lightly beatenCoconut White Chocolate Ganache140 ml coconut cream360 g white chocolate, chopped Moist flaked coconut, (not dessiccated, please) to decorate Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Line muffin tray/s with cupcake papers, or if making a whole cake, line and grease a 22 cm / 9 inch cake pan, preferably springform. Put the butter, lemon zest, chocolate,[...]

My Pear and Frangipane Tart

Mon, 25 Feb 2008 16:28:00 +0000

Let's talk about that 'voice' in our heads. Have you noticed that it never shuts up? I'm talking about that voice that told you that your Date hasn't called because he's avoiding you. He's avoiding you because you're not 'his type'. You are not 'his type' because you are a little on the heavy side. And you shouldn't have had dessert - it made you look like a glutton after that rich T-bone with the fried shallot and peppercorn cream sauce. Maybe you should have had a salad instead. And no dessert. That dress sure didn't help - it's just not you. He was friendlier the first time you met and you were wearing that comfy old pair of jeans with the lime green top. That dress just made you look like a 'try-hard'. It also made your calves look chunky. Oh, and that T-bone! $46! What were you thinking? This was your first date and you whacked him with an expensive main course! Why would he call you? He thinks you're a Gold Digger. You should have split the bill. And what was that comment you made about him moving back home? You made him sound like a 'Mommy's Boy'. Great Job ! You sure did yourself in! Why on earth would you..That voice in your head SHOULD SHUT UP ALREADY! Aren't you miserable enough? How many times have we allowed that 'voice' in our heads to ruin our day? Our week? Shape us into who we are today even? We spend most our lives interpreting other's words and actions or the lack of words and action thereof towards us. We let the 'voice' in our heads govern how we feel, decide the course of action for each and every circumstance in our lives. Why is this so? It's because we are afraid. We are afraid of 'looking bad'. We are worried about what others MIGHT think of us. I used the word 'might' because we are not a 100% sure whether what we think others are thinking of us are accurate. It's all Guess work if you will. Still, we have allowed this Guess work to dictate our lives. We quit our jobs because of it. We are estranged from our parents for 20 years because of it. We end our marriages because of it. Bad experiences in our lives are very often designed by ourselves through what we PERCEIVE to be true. Those bad experiences in turn CONSTRAINTS us from actually LIVING our lives. We become 'by standers' in our own lives toying with the possibilities of 'what if's', 'should have's', 'could have's'..Ming and I attended a Seminar over the weekend. No. Correction - I attended the first day and gave up, while Ming finished the 3 day course. I'm not here to make excuses for myself. I will say however that I am glad that Ming completed the course and was able to share with me what I had missed. The Seminar was an 'enquiry' of what it is that is stopping us from achieving what we want in life. What is it that is holding us back. This Seminar's (that I will not name) methodology is the believe that once we recognize the constraints in our lives and deal with them, we free ourselves to embrace our dreams.On the second day of the seminar, Ming came home, cupped my face with his hands, looked me in the eyes and said;"Do you know that I Love you? Do you know that I don't care what the whole world thinks of me, but I care what you think of me? I'm sorry for all the times that I misinterpreted what you said to me and we fought because of it. I know that you Love me and that everything that you've ever said to me was said out of love,concern and at times to protect me. From now on, I will take in everything that you say as an opinion without being defensive. Ok?"All the time Ming was talking, I just kept nodding, my eyes wide in disbelieve. I didn't want to say anything and ruin the moment. He could have been SO LUCKY that night but we stayed up and talked about the seminar and how in our own relationship, we have been self-inflicted victims of the 'voice' in our heads. So many times in my own life, I have put aside m[...]

Little Yoghurt and Orange Blossom Hearts for my Valentine!

Wed, 13 Feb 2008 13:00:00 +0000

"How much do I love thee? Let me count the ways.." Have you ever heard this one before? or how about this one, " Love is... Never having to say you're sorry". Whoever wrote this crap probably never ever had a relationship. Our wedding theme song was 'Never gonna let you down' (yeah, how naive were we?), just in case you've never heard it before, here's some of the lyrics..Forever, I will love youForever, I will be trueForever, I'll always be right here by your sideand every morning I'll be there when you open your eyesNever gonna let you downI'll always be aroundI'll be there for youbecause I love youOhhh...(Never no never will let you down)Have you had enough? Since that song was sung at our wedding almost 15 years ago, there's been countless times that Ming and I had let each other down and there were times we wondered if we did love each each other. What IS Love exactly?Is it that warm fluttering feeling one feels in the stomach ? Nope. That sounds more like an early warning for food poisoning.I don't know how Valentine's Day came to be a day of celebration for lovers and frankly, I'm not interested. Just hearing last Sunday's sermon on 'LOVE' and the staggering statistics of the divorce rate in the U.S. tells me that WE ARE ALL VERY DISILLUSIONED ABOUT WHAT LOVE IS. Marriage vows are spoken mindlessly and Pre-nuptual agreements are on the rise. Couples who go into marriage with pre-nupts are really setting themselves up for a Marriage break up, because a pre-nuptual agreement spells DISTRUST. I have come to understand that we are all here for the one purpose of learning to Love. Sadly, some of us will never grasp the true meaning of 'LOVE'. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 of the Holy Bible ( New Living Translation) states;Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand it's own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. I have a lot to learn. How about you? I guess, when we can change the sentence from "I love so and so because of..." to " I love so and so in spite of... we are on the right track. As for Ming and myself, we are soldiering on, I hope that you will too. With that thought in mind, I made some Little Yoghurt and Orange Blossom Heart Cakes for my Darling Valentine, Ming Chong. I'm also submitting these little Love Hearts to Zorra's 'A Heart for your Valentine' event. Thanks, Zorra, you are a true romantic!Little Yoghurt and Orange Blossom Cakes(Adapted from Gourmet Traveller Annual Cookbook 2007)Makes 6 Love Hearts300 g (2 cups) plain flour2 tsp baking powder300 g vanilla yoghurt60 ml (1/4 cup) buttermilk200 g salted butter, softened220 g (1 cup) white sugar2 tsp ( rind from a whole medium sized navel orange)4 eggs100 g vanilla Persian Fairy FlossOrange Blossom Icing50 g butter250 g pure icing sugar, sifted1 tsp orange blossom water1 tbsp vanilla yoghurtPreheat oven to 150 degrees celsius, fan forced. Grease and line the bottoms of two sponge pans, allowing some baking paper to hang over the two sides of each pan for easy removal of the cake. ( sorry, I don't have the measurements). Sift flour and baking powder and set aside. Whisk yoghurt and buttermilk together in a bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and orange rind until pale and creamy.Add eggs, one at a time, beating briefly between each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add one-third of the flour and mix to combine, then add one-third of the yoghurt mixture and mix to combine. Repeat with remaining mixtures, alternating, until incorporated. Mix till the batter is smooth, then pour into the lined sponge pans, tapping the base to level th[...]

Chocolate Mousse and a cure for a hot day!

Wed, 30 Jan 2008 06:35:00 +0000

I had my first taste of Mousse when I was about 16 - Man, it was yucky. It was a strawberry mousse and the airy texture looked very much like the hair sculpturing mousse that I used at the time - think Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran hairstyles, we all needed mousse for our high tide fringes - you teenagers in the 80s will know exactly what I'm on about. That strawberry whatever really put me off mousse for many years. It was not until I had a Chocolate mousse torte at a french patisserie here some uh-mmm 20 years later that I discovered that the REAL THING had a BODY to it. It didn't feel like FOAM in my mouth. In fact, it felt silky and tasted really good.I found myself fancying Chocolate mousse more and more, so much so that last Christmas saw me featuring a Gianduja Mousse Torte for dessert. I LOVE Chocolate pots too, but in this scorching heat, you want something lighter on your taste buds. There's a bonus too, it's sooooooo easy to prepare. I bet Paige could make it all by herself with her eyes closed. Easy Peasy Chocolate MousseMakes approximately 6 espresso sized cups70g good quality dark chocolate1 tsp granulated gelatine2 tbsp hot water1 egg at room temperature1 egg yolk at room temperature150 ml thickened creamMelt the chocolate and set aside. Place the gelatine in a bowl and dissolve with hot water, stirring continuously. Strain the gelatine to make sure you get rid of any lumps. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and the egg yolk until light and fluffy, then stir in the melted chocolate. Very quickly, mix in the gelatine.In another bowl, whip the cream until just thickened and then fold into the chocolate mixture. Fill your cups or moulds with the mousse, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Another yummy treat we've been making a lot here are Ribena Icypoles. Yes, I know all about that dirty Ribena scandal - there are probably NO vitamins whatsoever in the syrup, but I didn't LOVE Ribena for the loads of Vitamic C that was supposedly in them. Carol Rode LOVES UNCONDITIONALLY. Enough said.Icypoles are so quick and easy to make, and the children look forward to having them, especially if they've made it themselves. I know its more convenient to just buy a pack of ready made icypoles but there are so many nasties (additives) in these products. I made sure (in fact, I have a Ribena bottle in front of me) that Ribena has no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners in it, but if someone proves that is not the case, I shall have to re-evaluate the unconditional love thing.So, go get the kids an Icypole mold, mom, it does'nt matter what syrup you choose, it's gonna be healthier than the stuff you get from the supermarket freezer. Oh, if anyone wants the recipe for the Icypoles, please e-mail me, I would love to 'chat' with you, and then I'll get paige to tell you how to make the Icypoles.Last weekend (26th January) was Australia Day! We had an awesome time at our friend's home having dinner and watching the spectacular skyworks. I put a pavlova together for dessert and had Ming record the whole thing hoping to post it on youtube and on my blog. I need to edit the recording but have no idea whatsoever on how to go about it. So, if anyone of you out there can educate me, I'd be very grateful. Have a great week, EVERYBODY![...]

The Best Buttermilk Waffles and my Rock Chic!

Mon, 21 Jan 2008 09:33:00 +0000

Every once in a while in the Rode-Chong household, we have ‘family-initiative’ cook-offs – what this means is, every family member gets involved in the food prep and the cooking itself. We have had ‘Sushi evenings’, ‘Popiah afternoons’ and last Saturday, we decided to make waffles for breakfast together. We got up bright and early and still in our PJs, we scurried downstairs into the kitchen. Unfortunately, the photos that follow only show Paige and I in action, as we look better in the morning compared to Ming, and Chloe insisted on being photographed only if she’s washed and dressed. Hhumppph! Teens!The waffle making process.. separating the eggs, buttermilk makes the waffles sooooo flavorsome! Paige was really getting into it!Whisking the egg whites... adding cornflour into the waffle batter makes it crisp on the outside and soft on the inside! That's me on the right. What? were you hoping to see me with sleep lines all over my face??!1. The naked waffle...2. with the delicious dollop...3. Ta.......Da! Sink your teeth into this! ...a drizzle of maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar to finish off...Here is the recipe for the Buttermilk Waffles we made;2 cups all purpose flour½ cup corn flour2 cups buttermilk8 tbsp melted butter1 tsp baking soda2 tsp baking powder4 eggs, separated1 tsp. vanilla extract Lightly whisk the dry ingredients together. Add the egg yolks to the buttermilk and blend well. Add the dry ingredients into the buttermilk mixture, then the melted butter and beat with a few quick strokes, then fold in the beaten eggwhites.Heat up the waffle iron and bake the waffles according to the manufacturer’s instructions till golden. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup.Earlier in the month, we celebrated Chloe’s 14th Birthday – she had wanted a guitar for a while now, so we granted her wish. She sure looks good with the guitar draped over her shoulders. I wish I were more like her when I was 14, beautiful and confident. I have to admit, I’m living vicariously through my daughters!The only problem is, we really need to get her some lessons soon. We’ve been watching ‘Friends’ re-runs lately, and hearing Phoebe belt out …“Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you?!Smelly cat, smelly cat, it’s not your fau…lt…!”… So guess what Chloe’s been singing?? Go figure...Boy, was she strummin' ma pain! Ouch! classes soon for sure![...]

Lemon Polenta Cranberry Cookies and my first DMBLGIT win!

Mon, 14 Jan 2008 11:27:00 +0000

In my previous post, I mentioned that Paige and I baked a batch of Lemon Polenta Cookies after Christmas – some of you who know us would have had little puzzled expressions on your faces. “ Paige??” no, don’t you mean ‘Chloe’??” you might think aloud. Nope. It was Paige. These days Chloe bakes all on her own and might I add, very confidently too. Paige on the other hand becomes an eager assistant if we’re making something she loves....And she definitely LOVES this!!I saw this recipe on JenJen's fabulous blog last year I think it was, I tried it, had first time success and fell in love with the cookie ever since. The only difference to the recipe was that JenJen used raisins (or was it sultanas?) (Both) of which I’m not a big fan. I prefer cranberries, but you can substitute them with a dried fruit of your choice. The most gorgeous thing about this cookie is the incredible texture that the polenta imparts. The grainy texture will leave your taste buds very happy and if you think you have the will power to stop at one cookie, you are kidding yourself. I love to watch Paige eat something she totally loves – it’s as if that cute little mole on the side of her mouth is dancing!I have lots to show and tell today so I’ll get on with the recipe, shall I? Lemon Polenta Cranberry CookiesMakes: Approximately 56 Yummylicious Cookies220 g salted butter, softened1-cup caster sugar2 tsp lemon zest½ tsp salt4 large egg yolks1 cup Polenta2 ½ cups plain all purpose flour1-cup cranberriesAdd softened butter to sugar in a mixer and whizz until just combined. Add zest, yolks and salt, whizz again just for about 5-6 seconds. Then add the flour, polenta and cranberries. Whizz again until it all comes together, but only just. Make sure you do not over beat the cookie dough! Knead the dough into 2 balls, then using some cling wrap, cover and shape the balls into 2 cylinders, then using a rolling motion to smooth and neaten the cylinders. I find it helps to wrap the cylinders with 3-4 folds of the cling wrap. Chill in the freezer for about 45 minutes before slicing and baking in a pre-heated oven of 180 degrees Celsius. The cookies only need 2cms apart on the baking sheets.Tip: resist the temptation of adding more than the recommended amount of cranberries, as this would undermine the quality of the texture.Two days ago when I was having my dinner in front of the TV, I accidentally spilled some water onto the glass table while adjusting its position. (You know the type of side table with castors that are sometimes used as Cocktail servers – I just love them, they are so retro! And so versatile too!) I didn’t worry about it too much and continued to enjoy my dinner and my current Korean soap. Then with an excited tone of voice, Paige said, “Mom! There’s a heart-shaped puddle of water on your table!” And sure enough, there it was, a naturally formed heart-shape water puddle! It’s just one of those wonderfully peculiar unexplainable things. All at once the other family members were crowding around my dinner and my pretty water puddle. “Don’t move Lou Poh!” (Meaning ‘wife’ in Cantonese) In a flash, Ming had the camera in his hands, my dinner was removed by the camera crew, i.e. Chloe and Paige, my soap was put on ‘pause’ and I was instructed not to breathe. Ming started ‘clicking’ left, right and centre. Isn’t it beautiful? What do you think? Incidentally, this month’s ‘click’ (a monthly themed photo competition hosted by Jai and Bee of Jugalbandi) theme is ‘Liquid Comfort’. I don’t know if this water puddle will qualify as an entry, but I’m going to submit it anyway and let the Judges decide. Next but not least in today’s order of news.. (Drum roll…..)[...]

Gianduja Mousse Torte & Christmas 2007

Sun, 06 Jan 2008 11:28:00 +0000

Happy 2008 everyone! I hope you spent Christmas and the New Year with loved ones and good friends as I did! I also managed some well-deserved rest after all that cooking and baking leading up to Christmas, so that was good too. I left the meals to Chloe and Ming to organise; it’s really nice to have others think about what to serve up for a change. That’s not to say that I took a break from leisurely baking or dessert making, on the contrary, I had a couple of ‘young-er’ girlfriends of mine over the other day and we whipped up a mean Frangelico Tiramisu, Paige and I baked some Lemon Polenta Cranberry cookies that were ‘to die for’ – not literally, thank goodness! Chloe and I baked a Chocolate and Potato cake – definitely her favourite ingredients in the whole wide world, and I made a Chocoholic’s Ultimate Chocolate Mars Bars Cake for Chloe’s 14th Birthday on the 3rd of January.Christmas Day was easy, I decided that we would do a ‘pot-luck’ and everybody made a dish or two so I didn’t have to slave over a hot kitchen, the weather wasn’t too bad though, 34 degrees Celsius, rather mild compared to Boxing Day, a whopping 44.2 degrees Celsius! We didn’t have the traditional Christmas Turkey and the works –too heavy, I thought, so I made ‘Babi Chin’- a braised pork belly in shallots, garlic and aromatic coriander served with steamed Chinese Buns and some gourmet lettuce and as a second dish, ‘Popiah’ – a Malaysian-Singaporean hawker favourite of stir fried turnip with dried shrimp wrapped in spring roll skins with lettuce, prawns, chopped omelette, Chinese sausage, crushed peanuts and fried shallots, a little dark sweet soy caramel and a prawn paste chilli jam.You must be wondering why I have not mentioned this dessert that you’re looking at. I’ve decided to call it ‘Gianduja Mousse Torte’- it’s the Christmas Day dessert that I painstakingly made for my family and friends. This dessert that took me two days to create (because of the lack of expertise (hey, this is my first time experimenting with, attempting and putting this dessert together!) and only 8 dessert rings!) is the reason why I’ve not written a post about it up until now. THE VERY THOUGHT OF WRITING OUT THE RECIPE for the Gianduja (pronounced ‘zhan-du-ya’ meaning hazelnut paste. The commercial product ‘nutella’ is what it is) mousse, then the Jaconde layer (a thin, pliable almond sponge), followed by the chocolate caramel truffle layer, not mentioning the dark chocolate mousse and hazelnut wheat biscuit layers IS ENOUGH TO SEND ME OFF ON A HOLIDAY. So, I hope you will be happy with the photos.And on Christmas Day...The Dramatic sistas Chloe and Paige happily posing......and doing the sisterly thing......While Ming captures a candid shot of me preparing the buffet table...Gift Opening!... and some of us are hmmmmm.. very enthusiastic! HA!HA! Some of the Chrissy Food!The 'Popiah' DIY station...Kim and Kenny at the Buffet spread...It's Dessert time! My Gianduja Mousse Torte..A Lovely Gingerbread House made by Tania of "LittleCheffo". To view the complete set of the Gingerbread House photos, head on to Tania's Blog!I have something to share with you all. 2008 is a special year for me, as I will be embarking on Teaching Cooking and Baking classes. It’s all very exciting for me and I will have the full details for you on this blog when I’m all ready. With the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season, ‘Oh for the Love of Food!’ turned ONE very quietly. That’s ok; it was a humbling time for me as I reflected on all the beautiful new friendships I’ve made through this blog. I am very thankful for all the kindness, assistance, and encouraging comments I[...]

Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

Fri, 21 Dec 2007 15:26:00 +0000

After a busy week of cooking a Christmas Dinner for 20 something people last Saturday and finally doing the lasts of my Christmas gifts shopping, I can finally sit down with the family and enjoy some quality time together baking and decorating Gingerbread cookies. It was a really therapeutic exercise for me and the girls and Ming thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I was over at Big Boys Oven today and couldn’t help but feel totally blissful with the sound of Nat King Cole crooning “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” in the background, so much so I have downloaded the tune for the purpose of adding some Christmas ambience to my blog. So, if you do so feel inclined, press ‘play’ on “imeem” on the top right hand corner of my blog. Don’t forget to check out the very gifted Sunny and Sid for some really creative festive baking ideas on their brilliant blog – I get loads of inspiration from these two awesomely cool dudes!I am also submitting these Gingerbread Cookies as an entry for Susan’s 'Eat Christmas Cookies'event. Check out Foodbloggafor more Christmas Cookie ideas or better yet, submit your very own entry for a chance to win a copy of Sherry Yard’s new cookbook, “Desserts by the yard”.Christmas Gingerbread CookiesMakes a whole lot of Gingerbread Cookies! Recipe may be halved to yield around 40-50 mid sized cookies.1 ½ cups brown sugar1 cup molasses340g butter5 cups sifted all-purpose flour2 tsp baking powder1 tsp baking soda2 eggs1tsp salt1 ½ ground cloves4 tsp ground ginger2 tsp ground cinnamon1 tsp nutmeg2 tbsp waterMix softened butter and sugar till creamy. Add eggs, molasses and water and mix well. Mix the dry ingredients together then blend into butter mixture.Wrap dough in two portions with cling wrap and chill for two hours or if you’re impatient like me, freeze for 40 minutes. Roll out dough onto lightly floured surface and cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Place cookies an inch apart on baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes on 175 degrees Celsius. Cool completely before decorating with royal icing.Have a Blessed Christmas from my family to yours![...]

Christmas Greetings!

Thu, 13 Dec 2007 14:56:00 +0000

Here's Wishing all of you a wonderful and safe Christmas! Take Care and God Bless,

Carol xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox...
ps. the recipe for these cookies can be found here
I'm submitting these cookies as an entry to Susan's Eat Christmas Cookies event. Don't forget to check out Foodblogga for more Christmas cookie ideas!


Matcha (Green Tea) Macarons and a Christmas Musical

Wed, 28 Nov 2007 21:51:00 +0000

I have come to realise that macarons, well, they GROW on you. I now understand why so many people are 'infatuated' with this cookie - the many colors that they come in and the many flavours that it can carry . I could not be happier with my second attempt at making this cookie - they were smaller and daintier, and the flavor of 'matcha' or green tea goes incredibly well with dark chocolate eventhough it wasn't the filling that I had originally intended for it.I had initially planned to use a matcha butter cream for the filling, but for some reason that didn’t turn out – it was too runny, and I was tired and didn’t want to start another batch of butter cream. So, I just made some chocolate ganache – easy, quick and fuss-free. As expected, the flavour combination of matcha and dark chocolate was sensational.The first time I made macarons, I left the piped batter to sit for half an hour for the ‘skin’ to develop. I felt though, that the ‘skin’ was too thin, so this time around, I left the piped batter to sit for two hours instead and the outcome was a crisper and less fragile skin. To make the matcha macarons, all I did was add 2 teaspoons of matcha green tea powder to the basic macaron batter. I also wanted the macarons a little less sweet, so I lessened the powdered sugar by 35 grams and it turned out great.Matcha Macaron Batter125g almond flour190g powdered (icing) sugar100g egg whites25g granulated sugarPinch of cream of tartar2tsps matcha green tea powderBaking instructions and the recipe for the chocolate ganache can be found on my previous post.I’ve not had time to do any blogging the last two weeks because of the many rehearsals we had to attend for a Christmas musical that our Church is staging this Saturday. It’s a really entertaining and enjoyable musical, so if you live on my side of the world, I welcome you to attend. You will not be disappointed! EVENT: "Heaven's Lamb" Christmas Musical (SUPPER Provided after) DATE: Saturday 1st December 2007 TIME: 6:00 P.M. PLACE: Perth Christian Life Centre 3 Rangerview Place, Canning Vale 6155 ADMISSION: FREE[...]

The Elusive Macaron

Thu, 15 Nov 2007 15:14:00 +0000

I’ve always wanted to know what the hype was with Macarons. I’ve seen countless postings on this seemingly ‘hard to make’ French cookie in the last year or two but have never had the guts to attempt making them. Furthermore, I had never tasted them before until my recent trip to Singapore a couple months back. And even then, I thought, ‘Yeah, It tastes pleasant’, but it didn’t get a “WHOA!” out of me. Despite that, there was something alluring about it still. Maybe it was the different colours and flavours they came in. I couldn’t be sure.I remember seeing some really gorgeous photos of macarons on Tartelette – the brainchild of the lovely and talented Helen and decided to refer to them again. Her Pistachio macarons were a sight for sore eyes. She breezed through the recipe like it was the easiest thing to make. I must say I had my reservations still because of the many different ‘must-do-in-order-to-achieve-success’ tips I’ve read on other blogs that she had done without. I doubted that I could pull it off the way she did. After all she is THE Tartelette, the Awesome baker! I must tell you now that I DO NOT take failure gracefully and I’m hardly the type of patient person that will persevere with a recipe over and over until I succeed. On the contrary, when I fail in the kitchen, I SULK and I MOAN and GROAN, and I seek solace in the comforting arms of my husband and children. Yes, I’m not afraid to disclose the fact that I am somewhat of a DRAMA QUEEN.It was not until I stumbled upon Veronica's Test Kitchen that I finally had the courage to embark on macaron making. Veronica’s obsession and persistence in mastering the macaron was truly inspiring, from her very funny and entertaining documentation of her failed attempt to her step-by-step journey to success ‘Macaron Chronicles’. And so began my exploration with the macaron. Suddenly, making the macaron didn’t seem so intimidating anymore. I followed Veronica’s findings faithfully and had success on my very first attempt. YAY! I made hazelnut macarons by substituting half the amount of almond meal with hazelnut meal, just like Veronica did but instead of the Caramel fleur-de-sel filling she used, I thought that I’d start off with an easy chocolate ganache filling. I ‘aged’ (leave egg whites at room temperature) the egg whites for 43 (Veronica recommended aging the whites for 24-48 hours) hours before starting the recipe. Even so, I noticed the ‘skin’ of the macaron shell was very thin, which probably meant that my eggs were SUPER fresh and that I’d need to age them more in the future. Also, I carelessly spaced the macaron batter too close and a couple stuck together on the edges, no drama though, I just carefully pulled them apart. The other thing too, was that I didn’t expect the macarons to spread so much – I ended up with HUGE macarons! Other than that, everything was hunky-dory.Hazelnut Macarons with Chocolate Ganache(Taken from Veronica’s Test Kitchen)62.5g almond flour62.5 hazelnut flour225g icing sugar100g egg whites25g granulated sugarPinch cream of tartarPreheat oven to 300 degrees F (150C). Run the flours and icing sugar through the food processor and sift twice. Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat at medium speed. Slowly add the granulated sugar and continue beating until the whites attain medium peaks and are glossy.Add the dry ingredients slowly to the meringue, taking about six additions all in all. Pipe the batter to a diameter of an inch and let rest for 30 minutes before baking. Bake for about 11 minutes or until done, turni[...]

Malaysian/Singaporean Hawker Cuisine: Prawn Noodles

Wed, 07 Nov 2007 07:36:00 +0000

I don't often do posts on savoury dishes mainly because I HAVE TO cook dinner every Monday to Friday whilst I DON'T HAVE TO make desserts, bake cakes, pastries or cookies, thus the idea of baking becomes more appealing and is a treat for me. Styling and Photographing sweets is more fun too because the colors of sweets are more interesting. However, every once in a while I whip up something savoury that takes a little more time and effort than the Monday to Friday dishes, something like this that I really take pride in preparing. I had some friends over recently to share this dish. Most of you guessed right – This is Prawn Noodles or ‘Hae Mee’ as it’s known in Singapore or ‘Mee Yoke’ as it’s known in Malaysia. I’ve made Prawn Noodles in the past, but I must say that I was only totally happy with the flavour recently, thanks to Madam Chia Ah Bee, the mother of a good friend of ours from Singapore, Jeffrey Lim. On their holiday trip here two years ago, Madam Chia was kind enough to show me how she made her famous Prawn Noodles. Those of you living in Dover Road Singapore will remember Madam Chia for her noodle stall simply known as ‘Teck Hock Prawn Noodles’ that had been in the area since 1978. She is retired now and spends her time doing the things she loves like travelling, having her weekend mah-jong sessions, cooking for her family and watching cooking shows on TV.Madam Chia Ah Bee (extreme right) with her family on holiday in BangkokLife wasn’t this easy for Madam Chia in the late seventies – she had been widowed in her mid 30s and had to be the only bread winner for her family of four children. Teck Hock Prawn Noodle Stall became her primary source of income. On Sundays and Public Holidays, she made and sold another of her specialty dishes, Braised Duck Noodles which was another popular favourite. I was told that Madam Chia had learnt her cooking skills from her mother and Mother-in-law, and this had become an invaluable asset for her in hard times.I have been fortunate enough to be able to learn some of her ‘tips’ and ‘secrets’ to making some of the best tasting Singaporean dishes including this Prawn Noodle dish. The secret to making a memorable ‘Hae Mee’ is in the stock, which derives it’s rich flavour and coloring from prawn heads and shells that are sautéed until well caramelised.I look forward to my next trip to Singapore when I will again savour Madam Chia’s skilful cooking! [...]

Madeleines, Memes and Awards

Tue, 30 Oct 2007 15:23:00 +0000

The last few weeks saw me tagged with a couple of memes that I haven’t been able to fulfil due to the 3 lengthy vacation posts that I published, but as promised, today is THE day, but just in case you haven’t noticed that I already share my personal life quite freely with you, my advice to you is, don’t hold your breathe – I have nothing ‘juicy’ to expose. I have also been fortunate enough to received four awards but have been unable to down load them onto my sidebar for some strange reason. Anyway, first things first – Here’s a brief history of the ‘Madeleine’;Madeleines have always been associated with the little French town of Commercy in the region of Lorraine. In the 18th century, the bakers of Commercy were said to have once, long ago, paid a very large sum for the recipe and sold the little cakes packed in oval boxes as a speciality in the area. Nuns in the 18th century France frequently supported themselves and their schools by making and selling a particular sweet. Commercy once had a convent dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene. Historians think the nuns, probably when all the convents and monasteries of France were abolished during the French revolution, sold the recipe to the bakers. In 1923, the Madeleine was made famous by Marcel Proust (1871-1922) in his autobiographical novel ‘A la recherché du temps perdu’, translated ‘Remembrance of things past’. This novel was left unfinished upon his death and his brothers published the book in 1923. In it he wrote:“She sent for one of those squat plump little cakes called “petites madeleines” which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell... I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure invaded my senses…And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings in Combray when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane… and the whole of Combray and it’s surroundings, taking shape and solidity sprang into being, town and garden alike from my cup of tea.”Proust’s reminisce of a happy memory associated with the madeleine is not unlike our own reminiscence that is almost always associated with food, after all, food is the basis of any one happy memory, well, for me anyway! Madeleines are traditionally made with eggs, butter, flour and sugar with the inclusion of the zest from the orange or the lemon, but in the recent years, other ingredients have been added to add interest to the flavour.MadeleinesMakes about 30100g salted butter100g icing sugar40g almond meal40g plain flour4 eggsZest of 1 large lemon1tsp. vanilla bean pasteCaster sugar for dustingPreheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Melt the butter in a small pot over low heat. Let it bubble briskly for about five minutes (you’ll hear it crackle a bit as it loses water.) When it’s a deep golden colour and smells nutty, turn of the heat and leave it to cool slightly. Strain the melted butter (using a paper towel over a mesh strainer) – you want to leave the solids behind. Grease the madeleine molds and dust with caster sugar. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the sifted flour, almond meal and icing sugar and set aside. Put the eggs in the bowl o[...]

Chloe -my school holiday guest chef & Singapore - my vacation wrap-up

Tue, 23 Oct 2007 16:07:00 +0000

After 2 solid vacation posts, the passionate foodie in me is literally ‘itching’ to do a post on a home spun goodie of some sort – so today, I present to you a guest chef from the Rode-Chong household, my gorgeous multi-talented daughter Chloe who is affectionately known at home as ‘Theng-Theng’. For all you foodies reading this post, I hope you will leave a kind comment as an encouragement to her. Many thanks in advance from this doting mom!ChloeChloe is 13, loves to cook and bake – her favourite food items in the whole wide world are the glorified Potato and the highly exalted Chocolate so it’s no wonder that she’s sharing her favourite Brownie recipe today. I’m just a little surprised that she did not incorporate a spud or two in the recipe! See here for another of Chloe's creations! Chloe also enjoys Hip Hop dancing, reading girlie novels and magazines, racquet sports, rock climbing and swimming. Albeit her tender age, Chloe is a sensible and responsible child who assists me in my home duties above and beyond her assigned tasks. She is a delightful companion and I count myself extremely blessed to have her as my daughter.Chloe’s totally awesome Chocolate, Chocolate Brownies!Makes 2440g all-purpose flour60g unsweetened cocoa powder2 cups granulated sugar250g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces125g milk chocolate chips250g salted butter, melted2tsps natural vanilla extract4 eggs lightly beatenPreheat the oven to160 degrees Celsius. Lightly grease a 20 x 30 cm cake tin and line with baking paper, leaving the paper hanging over on the two long sides.Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl and add the sugar and chocolate. Mix together and make a well in the centre.Pour the butter into the dry ingredients with the vanilla and eggs and mix well. Pour into the tin, smooth the surface and bake for 40 minutes (the mixture will still be a bit soft on the inside). Chill for 2 hours before lifting out, using the paper as handles, and cutting into pieces. Enjoy them with your friends!Now, on to the second part of this post - a wrap-up of my recent vacation in Singapore, I would firstly like to say that Singapore is Ming’s (my husband) country of origin, his family and the friends that he grew up with are all there, so we visit the island about twice a year. As for me, besides visiting Ming’s family, I get to hang out with one of my ‘Bestest’ (I learned this word from my daughters) friends, M, (of 'Yummytots') who actually introduced me to blogging. I have known M for yonks, we went to High School together here in Perth. We used to ‘wag’ (play truant) school together, cook and bake together, have long chats while we plucked hairs from our legs, ok, maybe a little bit too much info there but yeah, we were really close then and we still are. The very impressive color changing canopy at Clarke Quay Paige, at Clarke QuayPaige and I browsing some bling-bling at Clarke QuayPaige, digging into the Haagen Daaz Chocolate Fondue at Clarke Quay - hey, this here is a natural born foodie!During my stay in Singapore, M and I went for two Delicious treatment massages at the ‘Renewal Day Spa’ in Tong Building Orchard Road, a couple of ‘toe-curling’ reflexology sessions at the People’s Park, countless meals together with our families – the best being the afternoon tea at the PS. (Project Shop) Café in Harding Road where we had their famous Steak Sandwich and fantabulous Ta[...]

Chiang Mai- A Foodie's Vacation Part 2

Tue, 16 Oct 2007 05:56:00 +0000

Welcome! For this final installation to my Chiang Mai Vacation recount, I promise to deliver a lot more photos, photos which will show you where we’ve been, and what we ate, essentially, but you won’t see any elephant rides or monkey shows because, this is, after all, a foodie’s vacation. This is an EATING HOLIDAY in other words, and I make no apologies for this. This trip has proven to me what I had earlier suspected, that food served in grandeur is not necessarily the best tasting, and the humble food hawkers on a dusty Chiang Mai ‘Soi’ (side street) may be your true answer to food nirvana. I say ‘may be’ because I will never know for sure. Why? You ask. The answer is because I did not ATTEMPT to eat at a humble food hawker stall on a dusty Chiang Mai Soi. Why? You ask again. Because I cannot enjoy eating while stewing in my own sweat! There you have it. I don’t like hot humid weather, but for a lot of you out there who enjoy it, you should give these eating stalls a go, but have some ‘Poh Chai’ pills (diarrhoea ammo) with you just in case. Four Seasons Resort HotelThese photos are of some of the decor pieces used in the Four SeasonsDeemed one of the 20 most beautiful Boutique Resort Hotels in the world, the Four Seasons should be a priority on your ‘places to go’ list if you’re ever in Chiang Mai. We spent a breathtaking half-day there taking in all the beauty and wonder of this spectacular setting..Me and the family (in the background) in the sculptured gardens of the Four Seasons'The Three Posers' - Sheryl (my niece), Chloe and Paige. Look at that gorgeous backdrop of terraced rice paddy fields and the mountains in the beautiful Mae Rim Valley!Chloe, standing outside one of the spacious Lanna-style pavilion resident suites. The family suites come with a live-in housekeeper and an exclusive plunge pool and will set you back from just under US$3,000 a night for a minimum of three nights. Who says men don't like flowers?Doesn't this arrangement make you feel happy?The common pool where you can savour the sweeping vistas. Not too shabby, wouldn't you say?More photos of blossoms and Paraphernalia at the Four SeasonsCare for a simmer in the Jaccuzzi, anyone?It's time for dinner, don't you think? Let's go..Inside the Sala Mae Rim Restaurant - A high teak wook ceiling compliments Northern Thai artifacts and sweeping views of the Mae Rim ValleyMing, seated comfortably, waiting for his dinnerSala Mae Rim - renowned for the unique flavors of it's sumptuous northern and vegetarian Thai specialitiesThe condiments..Sen Lek Tom Yum Talay - Rice Noodles with Seafood and LemongrassGoong Mae Narm Pad Takrai - Wok Fried Prawns with Green PeppercornKaow Pad Poo Prig Goong - Wok Fried Rice with crab meat, prawns and chilliMing, introducing his dinner. Let's have a closer look at it..Ming's main course - Hors D'oeuvre Ruam - Pork Satay, Marinated chicken wrapped in Pandanus Leaf, Crab cakes and Vegetable spring rollsCake Bai Toey - Pandanus Coconut Cake with Chocolate-Lemongrass Bon-BonKaow Niew Mamuang - Black and white sticky rice with mangoMy happy little camper, Paige - as we take our last picture at Four Seasons.The Foothills of the Doi Suthep Temple A natural Waterfall near the Palaad Tawanron Restaurant at the foothills of the famous Doi Suthep Temple. Unfortunately, we accidently erased the photos taken at the restaurant. But wait, we have a peace offering to offer you for this blunder..Urrhh.. Fried Bugs, anyone??Food Court at the Airport P[...]

Chiang Mai- A Foodie's Vacation

Tue, 09 Oct 2007 16:43:00 +0000

“What? You’re not stopping over at Bangkok?” My friends asked, quite surprised when I told them that I was flying out to Chiang Mai for five days from Singapore the second week of my vacation. I’ve been to Bangkok about 4 or 5 times before and I think I’ve out grown it. I remember my first trip to Bangkok; I must have been about 13. I was waiting outside an Arts and Crafts shop in the Night Bazaar while my parents were trying to get the best price (i.e. HAGGLING) for some items when this Sleazy and Greasy European Old Fart approached me and tried to push some Baht notes into the palm of my right hand. I was overcome by surprise at first; I couldn’t make out what he was saying to me. I glanced around for help and that was when I put two and two together. There were ‘Street Walkers’ soliciting at every few metres and this idiot had mistaken me for one of them. I’ve been told many times by Thais that I look like a local, but hang on, I was 13! Sure, I had too much make up on for a 13 year old but I was dressed decently, a little too mature maybe, but decent. We’ve all been there, we want to look as grown-up as possible when we’re teenagers, and as young as we possibly can when we’re my age. SIGH!Anyhow, the last few trips to Bangkok with my family were, I felt, not very suitable for the girls. Bangkok is too ‘worldly’ for them, I mean the sex industry isn’t exactly low key and there’s too much reality for them to handle at their age. At my age on the other hand, I don’t like too much of a hustle and bustle type place anymore, I’m too laid back these days and prefer a serene countryside with simultaneous mountain and river views like Chiang Mai for a holiday destination. So, are you ready to share the glimpses of my Chiang Mai vacation? Here we go..Kaohom Cooking School – A Thai Culinary TreasureWhen I was planning this holiday, I did a bit of research via the Internet on the Cooking Classes offered in Chiang Mai. I read some really funny comments by tourists who took cooking classes in the kitchens of local’s homes. There was also the very famous Cooking School in Four Seasons Hotel where in the midst of the class, an elephant is ushered by. I didn’t want frills, that’s for sure, and nothing too commercialised. When I came upon the Kaohom website, I knew I had found the cooking school I wanted. It is highly recommended by ‘Lonely Planet’ and I must say I was impressed with what I saw. Still, I had some reservations with what to expect as from past experiences I have found that photos on websites are highly edited and can be really deceiving.On the scheduled day, we were picked up from our hotel at 10am and chauffeured to Kaohom. It was a pleasant 30-minute drive out of the city. When we finally arrived, we were all “Ooooh and Arhhhs!” – Kaohom was every bit as beautiful as what I saw on the Internet! The cooking school is set in the middle of a lush estate with manicured lawns and gorgeous landscaping. Kanchana (our cooking instructor) and her assistants were there to welcome us as we got out of the car, and what a warm welcome it was. At that moment, I felt like I was on the set of ‘Fantasy Island’. It was almost surreal.This photo collage is made up of pictures we took of the surrounds of the cooking school. Isn't the caterpillar a beauty?Kanhana gave us a tour of the cooking school – the place was so immaculate and beautifully organized. There was an indoor cooking class[...]

Cupcakes Galore!

Tue, 18 Sep 2007 14:47:00 +0000

Hi fellow foodies and bloggers! I’m back from my 3-week holiday to Singapore and Chiang Mai and shall put up a post on that as soon as I have all the photos organized. Thank you all for all the sweet well wishes and kind words you left on my last post. While I was away, Nora B. of Life’s Smorgasbord awarded me the ‘Thoughtful Blogger’ Award. Thank you Nora, I’m honoured. I’m not very familiar with how this award goes but I think I’m supposed to pass the award on to 5 other bloggers. These bloggers are not necessarily food bloggers, though.. Patricia of Technicolor KitchenMandy of Fresh from the OvenJoy of The Goddess in YouDaniel of Messy PastorBelinda of Bel’s Fish BowlThe Cupcakes on today’s post are the ones I made for Paige’s Birthday. You probably can’t tell by looking at them, but they are the mini sized ones so you don’t feel soooooo bad if you have more than one. To get a bigger and clearer view of them, just click on the photos. The recipe is pretty simple and the décor, well.. it’s really up to you what you want to top it with. I used jelly lollies, some sugar paste flowers I piped and lots and lots of different colored hundreds and thousands. So, which is your favourite?PAIGE’S (MINI) ORANGE CUPCAKESMakes 50250g salted butter, softened200g caster sugar1 tbsp finely grated orange zest4 eggs, lightly beaten250g self-raising flour1 tsp baking powder4 tbsp orange juiceOrange butter Icing100g salted butter, softened2 cups Icing sugarEnough orange juice to achieve a spreadable consistencyFood colors of your choiceLollies and hundreds and thousandsPreheat the oven to 170C. Line your mini cupcake trays with mini paper cups. Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the orange zest, then gradually add the egg, beating thoroughly after each addition. Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder as well as the orange juice. Stir until just combined and almost smooth. Spoon the mixture into the paper cups ¾ full and bake for 10 minutes or until the little cakes look golden. Remove the trays from the oven and wait 10 minutes before transferring the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.To make the icing, simply beat the softened butter and the icing sugar until combined, and then gradually add the orange juice until you get the right consistency. Decorate the cupcakes as you please![...]

Strawberry Pavlova

Wed, 15 Aug 2007 03:34:00 +0000

The last few days have been absolutely Chockers! On Saturday, my daughter Paige had 8 of her giggling- and- screaming- all-at once girlfriends over for a movie marathon-sleepover Birthday Party to celebrate her turning 11. So, essentially, the day before was dedicated to party food preparation and the highlight: making 50 mini orange butter cupcakes and individually decorating them. The next morning, I took advantage of the beautiful light coming in the dining area window and snapped something like 300 over photos of the cupcakes using my new Nikon DSLR. I have blisters on my elbows to show for it! I must admit that when the camera first arrived, I felt really intimidated with all the different settings and functions. I’m one of those people who ABHOR reading instruction manuals, so that wasn’t going to help. I secretly thought of putting the camera away and going back to using my Pentax Optio. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. I want to thank Greg Winning, Photographer Extraordinaire and Business Partner to my husband Ming at Brando for offering to ‘take me under his wing’, and our very wise and generous friend, Jeff Miles for presenting me with my very first Tripod! My elbows thank you gratefully, Jeff!Although the cupcake photos were shamelessly taken on the ‘auto’ function, I was quite happy with them and will do a post on them when I return from my Vacation. Yes, foodies, I’m taking a long awaited Holiday to Singapore and Chiang Mai! YAY! This is my last post until I return on the 10th of September. This holiday is a little different from the ones I’ve had in the past because this time around, I’ll be meeting up with a couple of Food Bloggers. I will also be doing a baking class with Patissier Blogger Lynn Chen who has so kindly fit me in her busy schedule despite the fact that she’s shooting for a cookbook. Over in Chiang Mai , I’ve booked Ming and myself for a 4 course Thai Cooking Class and Lunch at the Lush Kaohom Cooking School. Apart from this, we will of course be doing the glutton thing and will be eating non-stop. Mind you shopping , massages, spas and delicious foot reflexology is on the agenda too! I am SO looking forward to all this! I promise to document my eating and learning adventures and shall deliver when I return. Foodies’ Pledge! I leave you with a recipe for Strawberry Pavlova, a delectable yet simple dessert .STRAWBERRY PAVLOVAServes 104 egg whites2 cups caster sugar2 tsp white vinegar4 tbsp boiling water4 tsp cornflour1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp vanilla essenceCUSTARDTo save time, I used my favourite store-bought custardFRESH WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING1 600ml carton of thickened whipping creamIcing sugar to tasteSTRAWBERRIES500g fresh strawberries, hulled and halved1 tsp caster sugar sprinkled onto strawberries and lightly tossedPreheat oven to 200C. Line a 30cm (12in) baking tray with baking paper and draw a 20cm circle on the paper. Place the caster sugar, boiling water, vinegar and egg whites into a large bowl. Beat until mixture is stiff enough to hold it’s own peaks. Sift the cornflour and baking powder into the bowl, then add the vanilla and fold in lightly.Pile the meringue onto the baking tray within the circle, flatten the top and smooth the sides. Place into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 150C for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat further to 100C for an hour longer. After that, turn off the oven and leave the [...]