Lemon and sour cream cake

Recipe from Australian Women Weekly (AWW) magazine Aug 2010.

When I was browsing through the AWW magazine, the first thing that caught my eye was the cake then my eye shifted to search for the recipe... and upon reading the title... I go what!!! 'Sour Cream in cake??'.. it was bizarre... Sour Cream and lemon??... again... doubly bizarre... 
But the curiosity in me ...took over. I wanted to give it a go... worst case scenario... I could bake it in the morning when kids and hubby are out to school and work, if I am unhappy with the outcome... I'll 'bin' the cake and nobody would know... :)

Result: the cake was divine hence it made its appearance in my blog... :)
This is what Pamela Clark, Kitchen Director of AWW said about the cake:
" A heavenly butter cake with a bonus of the zesty flavour of lemon. It's rich, moist, buttery and cuts and keeps well. What more could you ask for?"
It came second in the list of their top 10 cakes... and I agree with her 100%...
  • 250g softened butter
  • 2 tablespoon lemon rind
  • 2 cups castor sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup selfraising flour
  • 3/4 cup sour cream at room temperature
  • icing sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 160C and grease a deep 25cm round cake and line with baking paper.

Beat butter and sugar until light, creamy and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir half of the sifted flour and half of the sour cream... mix in well and repeat with remaining flour and sour cream... mix in again until smooth.

Spread onto pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until skewer inserted came out clean. Stand the cake for 10 minutes before turning top-side up...onto wire rack to cool.

Dust with some icing sugar.

Roasted Capsicum Rolls

Starting of this term, Miss E is taking Home Economics as one of the subjects in school. She enjoyed playing 'grown-up'... pretending to be 'Masterchef' :)
The teacher gave out an assignment and the students were meant to pick up (at random) a vegetable to cook...and her group picked up  CAPSICUM!! :) what an irony... its the one vegetable that she dislike...
However, the show must go on ... she has to do some research and cook a dish using capsicum... so she found this simple recipe from Simply Great Meals and was trying it out over the weekend... We left her to do all the works herself including cleaning afterwards... She substituted basil with beetroot leaf as none could be found in my vegetable patch.

We tasted her lovely capsicum rolls ... but Miss E ... she refused to have a teeny-weeny bite...
  • 1 red and 1 yellow capsicum 
  • 2 tablespoons Leggo's Pesto - Traditional 
  • 80g cream cheese 
  • 80g fresh ricotta 
  • 16 basil leaves

Cut capsicums into 2cm strips. Place on baking tray and spray some oil, and place under the grill until skin blisters. Cover with aluminium foil and leave it to cool. Remove the skin. 

Mix the pesto, cream cheese and fresh ricotta in a bowl. 

Divide the pesto mix onto the capsicum strips, place a basil leaf and start to roll. Secure with toothpicks. Serve.


Chinese is famous for Wontons, while the Indians for Samosas... 
and we love both...

Similarity ~ in order to have that golden look and crunchy texture, we need to deep-fry... and I am not a big fan of deep-frying :(.
Instead of making the dough/pastry... I opted for filo pastry instead...and filled it up with Dosa potatoes It is quick and a healthier version of samosas... ... and no deep-frying is required... yay!!! 
  • 500g potatoes - cubed, microwave
  • 2 garlic - chopped
  • 1 brown onion - chopped
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon corainder seeds - ground
  • 2 tablespoon cumin - ground
  • Filo Pastry.

Ground garlic and ginger to a smooth paste. Add in tumeric and chilli powder.

In a pan, heat up 3 tablespoon canola oil and saute the garlic mixture until fragrant. Add grounded coriander and cumin... stir until fragrant. Add potatoes and cooked until it is slightly mushy. Season to taste. Leave it to cool.

Pre heat oven to 180C. Spray each layer of filo with some cooking oil. Fold on the long side - half then half again. Place the potatoes mixture onto one side and start to fold into triangles... Place seam side downwards on the baking tray. Spray some oil on the surface.. and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with minted yogurt or sweet chilli sauce.

Kim Chee


Kimchee, gimchi or kimchi... is a Korean traditional side dish.

It is easy to make and Mr H Jr... who does not eat anything 'green' (aka as vegetables) loves kimchee. If we were to buy a tub of 400g of kimchee from Asian grocer, it would set us back by AUD5. And our homemade kimchee, cost us less than AUD2 for 700g to 1 kg... 

A brilliant condiment to go with steam rice, noodles in broth... and just recently we tried kimchee pancake!! Very versatile fermented vegetable indeed! :) 
  •  0.8-1kg chinese cabbage
  • seasalt
  • garlic andd ginger - finely chopped
  • crushed chilli
  • sugar
Wash, clean chinese cabbage then thicky sliced. Add seasalt ... submerge the cabbage (hold down by placing plate on top)....and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Wash off the salt and drain in a colander. Mix the cabbage, chilli, chopped garlic and ginger into a bowl and mix well... Add sugar or salt according to one's preference.

Fish with Blood Orange Olive Oil

We love going to Kailis Brothers in Leederville for our fresh seafood supply...  We always ended up with 1 whole Salmon and Hiramasa. The best thing about going to Kailis is that ...they will clean the fish (gut and scale off) and cut into whatever and however you prefer, be it fillet or cutlet or even for sashimi... hmmm... maybe Kailis should give me some discount for promoting their produce in my blog... I wonder!! :)

They even have a chef to do some demonstration cooking (not everytime though)... we were lucky to be there when they were promoting their other produce... 2 types of infused 'Organic Olive Oil' ~one with Blood Orange and the other with Lime... sound wonderful..  

I was talking to the chef and managed to find out his 'secret' ingredients ....and I get to taste  this wonderful dish... it is so yum...
The chef was using Barramundi, Greek Oregano and Maldon seasalt...  Greek oregano can be found in some speciality shop (it has a bitey taste compare to the store bought oregano) and Maldon salt is so very expensive here in Perth... so I use neither... I substituted with dried oregano and seasalt... and my favourite Hiramasa...but the star for the dish is the Blood Orange infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Here we go ... my economical version of the dish... :)
  • white fish - thinly sliced
  • Olive oil infused with blood orange
  • seasalt
  • pepper
  • oregano

Heat up the griddle or frying pan.. spray cooking oil. Place the thinly cut fish on the hot griddle, drizzle with Orange Blood infused olive oil, sprinkle some seasalt, pepper and oregano. Cook for a quick 1 minute (approxoimately) and repeat with the other side... Serve immediately with some greens...and lemons...

Acar Ikan Masin/ Salted fish Pickle

It was raining the whole day yesterday... weatherman says, there'll be more rain this week and next week. We need rain... it has been a dry winter... not a very cold one either (hmm... there will be less cherries this year .. and will be pricey too!!)..

Rainy days  always reminded me of my younger days... some donkey years ago!! Our monsoon season was from July onwards... very heavy downpour with flashing lightning and loudest thunder... very scary indeed...for a young child, especially when it was nearly bedtime...
It, too reminded me of one special dish... a 'poor man's' dish...~ fried salted fish with hot steaming rice and ground white pepper?.. It is the most unhealthy meal but I relished the taste of crispiness, saltiness, and the heat from white pepper... could warmed up my tummy... :)
  • salted fish ~ kurau or mergui
  • 100g -150g dried chillies
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel 
  • 50g raisins
  • 3 tablespoon of golden fried shallot (from grocer or 3 shallots thinly sliced)
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic - thinly sliced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger - thinly sliced
  • 100ml water mix with 3/4 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Canola or cooking oil
Cut the salted fish into 1cmx3cm size or bite size. Rinse in cold water to get rid of the excess salt. Pat dry on kitchen paper. Heat up oil in wok and fry until golden in colour. Put aside.

Using the same wok (wipe the used oil with kitchen paper... be careful it is HOT!!). Add about 2 tablespoon of oil, and give the dried chilli and grounded fennel.. a quick stir. Leave it to cool .then.. blend (add a little bit of water) into a fine paste. If shallots are to be used, then saute the shallots until golden in colour.

Heat the wok again... add oil and stir fry the curry leaves until fragrant. Add the chilli paste, ginger and garlic... and stir until the oil separates.
Add water and tamarind concentrate and bring to boil. Stir in sugar and simmer over gentle heat until gravy is thick.... leave it to cool.
Last step... add the salted fish, golden fried shallots, sultanas and toasted sesame into the sauce, mix well. Ready to be consumed or leave it overnight for the flavour to develop...

Asam Pedas Nyonya/Fish in Spicy Tamarind Sauce

"Eid Mubarak and Selamat Berpuasa
To all my readers celebrating Ramadan... "

Time flies ... and here we are ~ coming to the end of winter... and Ramadan is here too!!!  What a nice way to warm up our tummy with a nice hot and spicy Asam Pedas.. 

This is another version of Asam Pedas... which is quite a common dish for the southern part of Malaysia... The gravy is thick, spicy hot, slightly sourish and the heavenly taste of ginger flowers (bunga kantan) with Vietnamese mint (daun kesum)...

Mr H will not mind if I were to cook this type of Asam Pedas but not the Northern 'watery' Asam Pedas . :(
  • 20 dried chillies - soaked in hot water and drained
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass -sliced
  • 2 cm fresh tumeric - chopped
  • 1 brown onion - chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic  - chopped
  • 20g belacan
  • 2 teaspoon sugar or more to taste
  • 50g tamarind pulp
  • 3 cups of water
  • vietnamese mint
  • ginger flower - cut into quarters
  • tomatoes - quartered (optional)
  • ladies fingers
  • salt to taste
  • Firm white fish cutlets (Taylor was used in this recipe)
Blend the spices: lemongrass, onion, garlic, tumeric, chillies until smooth. Heat oil in wok over low fire and saute the spices until the oil separates.
Mix in the tamarind pulp, vietnamese mint and ginger flower. Bring to boil for at least 15 minutes and season to taste with salt and sugar.
Add fish cutlets and simmer until the fish is cooked.

Pengat Ubi and Pisang / Kumara, Yam and Banana in Sweet Coconut Sauce


Kedah folks called this 'Serawa' but those from the Southern part of Malaysia would called this Pengat...  a dessert made from sweetened coconut milk... There are varieties of 'Serawa'... we can have this with only bananas.., durian or jack fruit...

This is a simple dessert that I love... as a young child...I would only picked and eat bananas from this serawa... :) Mom would usually whipped this up for our afternoon delight or breaking fast. It is quite heavy with coconut milk, sweet potatoes, yam and banana...  the food is 'sinfully rich' ... that is why it is so delicious and yummy... 
  • 200g kumara - cubed and steamed
  • 100g yam - cubed and steamed
  • 2 banana - sliced just before adding into the pot
  • 400ml thick coconut milk
  • 100g sugar
  • 3 daun pandan (screwpine leaves) - knotted
  • 100g sago
  • 600ml water
Bring sago to boil in a medium size saucepan until the sago become transparent. Add pandan leaves and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour in thick coconut milk. Bring in to a quick boil and add the yam and kumara and banana. Serve...

Nasi Daging Tomato / Beef with Tomato Flavoured Rice

This is an old recipe from mom's cookbook. I guess it must have been at least 35 years old...

Back in those days, mothers would cook their savoury or white rice using woodfire or stovetop (be it kerosene or gas), but I am not an expert in cooking any kind of rice on stovetop let alone woodfire!!... it would ended up with some burnt rice at the bottom of the pot or the rice would still be grainy and uncooked... since I did not 'graduate' from woodfire nor stovetop cooking class... any rice dishes will be cooked to perfection in my wonderful gadget ~ called 'Rice Cooker'... :)
I prefer to savour this dish as it is... and I know some would prefer to have some gravy to go with it... I suggest to try it with dalca or lentils curry and some crunchy Asian salad.
  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 700g diced steak beef
  • 200 ml tomato soup
  • 100 ml evaporate milk
  • 350-400 ml water or stock
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fennel
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 pcs cloves
  • 1 pc cinnamon stick
  • 3 pcs cardamon
  • 3 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 brown onion - chopped

Wash and soak Basmati Rice with 1 tablespoon of salt for at least 20 minutes, then drained...in a colander

Ground the spices~ cumin, coriander, pepper and fennel. Marinate the beef with the grounded spices plus 2 teaspoons minced ginger for at least 1 hour (preferably overnight).

Heat up 3 tablespoon of oil in the frying pan. Brown the beef by batches and set aside. Using the same pan, may have to add a little more oil, saute the onion with cloves, cinnamon stick and cardamon until fragrant. Add 100ml water to the pan...bring to a quick boil.
Mix tomato soup, milk and water in a jug and stir well...Season to taste...

Place the basmati in a rice cooker bowl... top up with the sauteed onion and spices...Arrange the beef on top of the onion layer... and lastly add in the liquid..... and don't forget to 'Press' the cook button...
Garnish with golden fried shallot and serve with Asian salad...