Today is extremely cold and windy in Melbourne. It’s been raining on and off for the whole day. Feels like it’s winter already!

I love to stay at home in this kind of weather (well, we don’t go out much actually :P). So, tonight we planned to have dinner at home and then watched a DVD. What we had for dinner were pork stew in sweet soy sauce, stir fry mixed vegetable and steamed rice. I will post the recipe for the pork stew; it’s delicious 🙂

I thought it would be nice to have a warm dessert in a cold night like this. Earlier in the week, I received the new Donna Hay magazine (50th issue) and what really caught my eyes was the ‘chocolate self-saucing puddings’. Tonight was the perfect night to try the pudding 🙂

It’s an extremely easy dessert to make :). Preparation takes about 5 minutes and the pudding are baked for 15 – 20 minutes, then enjoyed immediately.

I thought the pudding is gorgeous :D. It’s surprisingly not too sweet with the amount of sugar used. It’s rich, warm and gooey at the bottom. Yumm…

Never thought it’s such an easy and great dessert to make!

Chocolate self-saucing pudding

(recipe from Donna Hay magazine issue 50, autumn)

(makes 4)


  • 2/3 cup (100 gr) self-raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup (45 gr) brown sugar
  • ½ cup (125 ml) milk
  • 35 gr melted butter
  • 1 egg

Chocolate sauce

  • ½ cup (90 gr) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling water

Step 1. Preheat oven to 180°C. For the chocolate sauce, combine the brown sugar and cocoa powder. Set aside.

Step 2. For the puddings, place the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, milk, melted butter and egg in a bowl. Whisk to combine and spoon into 4 x 1 cup-capacity ovenproof ramekins. Place on a tray.

Step 3. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cocoa powder mixture over puddings. Top each pudding with ¼ cup boiling water. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

It’s too easy!



Happy Easter 🙂

Hot cross bun is traditionally eaten at Easter. In Australia, chocolate easter eggs and hot cross buns always make appearance about 1 month or so before Easter until Easter period. Most bakery shops here sell the hot cross buns during these times and the supermarkets have an abundant choice of chocolate easter eggs.

I remember there was only 1 type of hot cross bun a few years back, it is the spiced bun with sultana. Now, there are also chocolate chip, mocha and coffee hot cross buns (all with chocolate chips) :D. I love the chocolate and mocha ones from Bakers Delight.

The buns are best served warm in my opinion. They are soft and for the buns with chocolate chips, the chocolate is melting and gooey and so irresistible.  Some like to have it with butter, but for me, I really enjoyed it on its own as breakfast or snacks 🙂

This is my first attempt to make chocolate hot cross bun, I like the recipe as it does not contain much butter and sugar. I also used dark chocolate for both chocolate chips and melting chocolate (for the cross on top of the buns). I am happy with the result :); well, they cannot beat the hot cross buns from Bakers Delight, but I feel good when eating it because they don’t have too much butter and it has the goodness of dark chocolate 🙂

Happy Easter, everyone 🙂

Chocolate hot cross bun

(from recipe by ‘Achieve Easter Success’)

(makes 12 buns)

  • 1½ cups warm milk
  • 2 x 7 gr-sachet dried yeast
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 60 gr butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 60 gr melting chocolate (for cross on top of buns)

Step 1. Combine milk, yeast, salt and a pinch of sugar in a bowl. Whisk together until combined. Cover with plastic. Place in a warm place for 5 to 10 minutes or until the top becomes frothy.

Step 2. Sift flour, cocoa and cinnamon together into a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar (the remainder of the sugar will be used in the glaze), yeast mixture, butter and egg. Stir with a wooden spoon until dough almost comes together. Mix to a soft dough with your hands. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth. Place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for up to 1½ hours or until the dough doubles in size.

Step 3. Punch dough down to its original size with your fist. Add chocolate chips and knead until well combined. Divide dough into 12 even portions and shape into balls. Place into a baking tray lined with baking paper about 1 cm apart. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until buns double in size.

Step 4. Preheat oven to 200°C. Bake buns for approximately 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of one of the buns comes out clean.

Step 5. To make the glaze, heat water and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and then boil for 5 minutes. Brush warm glaze over warm buns.

Step 6. Chocolate cross – Melt the chocolate as per the instructions on the package. Then spoon the chocolate into a plastic bag and tie the plastic bag (or use snap-lock bag). Snip a corner off bag (not too big) and pipe chocolate crosses over buns. Serve chocolate hot cross buns warm or at room temperature.

I like my hot cross bun warm; to warm the bun, place it in the microwave for 30 seconds. The chocolate chips are melting and it’s finger licking good 🙂


Ahh… we got a butternut pumpkin again in the fruit and veggie pack from Aussie Farmers Direct last Thursday.
No, I am not sick of pumpkin yet… There are so many dishes can be made from pumpkin. Sweet or savoury; main, side dish or dessert; breakfast or snack…

Pumpkin is so cool!

On the night I got the pumpkin delivered, there was ‘Jamie at Home’ show on Lifestyle Food on Foxtel and the main ingredient he tackled on the show was pumpkin! So I watched the whole show, and one that caught my eyes was the butternut pumpkin muffin 🙂

It caught my eyes because it’s a super duper easy snack to make. In the show, Jamie makes the muffin mixture totally in one food processor. The pumpkin is processed in the food processor until fine and then he adds the rest of ingredients into the food processor and blends them all in it. Also, Jamie mentioned there is no need to peel the pumpkin. I told you, it’s a super duper easy to make 🙂

The food processor I got is so small that I processed the pumpkin in it and then move the pumpkin to a big mixing bowl and mix it with the rest of ingredients in the mixing bowl. If you have a big food processor, just follow what Jamie did (mix everything in the food processor). A little less washing up 🙂

Butternut pumpkin muffin

(recipe by Jamie Oliver from ‘Jamie at Home’)

(makes 20 muffins)

  • 400 gr butternut pumpkin. Brush the skin and chop pumpkin coarsely (about 1cm cubes), no need to peel
  • 300 gr brown sugar
  • 300 gr plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon ground
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 175 ml olive oil

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Process the pumpkin in a food processor until fine. Place the fine pumpkin in a big mixing bowl and add in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon) and mix well. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add in the oil and mix well. Then, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients’ bowl. Mix well.

Step 2. Prepare a 12-muffin tray with paper cups. Fill up each hole with the muffin mixture until ¾-full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the muffins are cooked and golden (To check, test with a skewer. The muffins are ready when the skewer comes out clean).



‘Happy Chinese New Year’

I know it’s a little late, but I hope everyone is still in the new year spirit 🙂

Ig and I had dinner at a friend’s house on Chinese New Year’s eve. It was a good day; the weather was very pleasant, good companion and abundant of great foods :). I am not confident enough with my Chinese food cooking as I rarely cook Chinese food, so I didn’t cook anything special to bring over, but I made an effort to make some baked sago pudding (I will put it in my blog later) and also fortune cookies 😀

Fortune cookie is usually served as a dessert in Chinese restaurants. The cookie itself is a simple crisp sweet cookie made from flour, egg whites, sugar, vanilla and oil. Inside the cookie, there lies the ‘fortune’. A fortune, in this case, is a piece of paper with words of wisdom.

Even though they are available in Chinese restaurants, I actually never have them when dining out. But I thought it would be fun to have them on the Chinese NYE.
You can have fun customising the messages for the fortune. For me, I prefer to get the words from a ‘trusted source’; like in this fortune cookies message web site. I selected the good ones and then printed them out on a paper. I cut them into about 0.8cm x 10cm paper strips.

I found many websites/ blogs with fortune cookies recipe. I chose this particular one because of the photos in the blog. Then I found out that the chef is actually from Dublin (and not a Chinese) :D. I stick with the recipe anyway and found it is indeed very easy to make fortune cookies. I thought it’s actually more fun to make them than to eat them 😛
Donal mentioned the recipe makes 20 fortune cookies, but I could make around 30 of them. You need to make them in batches, as you need to shape the cookies quickly before they become hard and crispy. The first batch I made was too thick and this made the cookies chewy and not crispy. I had to spread the cookie mixture more thinly; and the thinner the discs, the faster you need to shape the cookie as they hardened more quickly. If the cookie discs are hardened, you can put them back to the oven so they will soften again. For me, 3 cookies are the maximum number I can manage per batch. It is not difficult to make, but it is indeed time consuming because you have to do it in many batches.

Fortune cookies

(recipe from ‘The Good Mood Food blog’ by Donal Skehan)

(makes 20-30)

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • 175 gr of all purpose white flour
  • 300 gr of granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon cornflour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 teaspoons water

Step 1. Prepare your own customised fortunes on little strips of paper and set aside.

Step 2. Preheat the oven to 150˚C and grease a wide baking sheet on a baking tray. Using a whisk, beat the egg whites in a large bowl with the oil and vanilla extract. Beat them until they become thick, but not stiff. Sieve in the flour and cornflour. Add the sugar, salt and water and mix through the egg whites. Combine thoroughly until the mixture has no lumps.

Cookie mixture

Step 3. Place 3 level tablespoon of the mix evenly spaced on the baking sheet (I found 3 is the maximum at a time for my pace). Distribute the mix evenly with the back of a teaspoon until you get a nice wide disc around 10cm in diameter.

Spread the mixture into 10cm-diameter discs

Step 4. Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes, or until the cookies go a light golden brown colour around the edges. Working quickly- remove one disc from the baking sheet, place the fortune in the center and gently fold in half. Bend the two ends of the disc over the rim of a glass and hold in position for 20 seconds until it cools.
Repeat the process until you get through all the cookie mix.

Shaping the cookies

On the night, I had one cookie and got the fortune ‘If you want the rainbow, then you have to tolerate the rain.’


A friend of mine who is a Singaporean (it’s you, Jaclyn!) introduced me to this dessert. It’s a sweet dessert made from split mung beans (mung beans with the skin removed); the beans are steamed and then mixed with sugar, water and thickening agent. The dish is served hot with some dough fritters. It is also called ‘tau suan’.
It tastes clean and simple yet satisfying. Best enjoyed in a cold winter night, but I had it this afternoon and it is perfect to fight the three-thirtyitis 😛 (Melbourne is about 26ºC this arvo and it’s very pleasant :))

Mung bean dessert (Tau suan)

(serves 6)

  • 150 gr split mung beans
  • 2 pandan leaves, tied into knots
  • 1.1 lt water
  • 100 gr caster sugar
  • 25 gr water chestnut powder
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 – 4 dough fritters, cut into small pieces

Step 1. Rinse mung beans then soak in water for 2 – 3 hours. Drain well.

Split mung beans after 3 hours soaking

Step 2. Steam the mung beans together with pandan leaves over high heat until mung beans are softenend (about 15 minutes).

Steaming the mung beans

Step 3. Boil water, sugar and steamed pandan leaves in a saucepan. Stir until sugar dissolves. Dissolve water chestnut powder in ½ cup water. Lower heat. Stir in water chestnut powder solution and salt until syrup is thickened. Add steamed mung beans and stir well.

Step 4. Spoon the mung bean dessert into serving bowls. Top with dough fritters.

Dough fritters from the market

Mung bean dessert (tau suan)


I still can’t believe it’s Christmas already…! Time really flies indeed!!

We will have Christmas dinner with my brother and Ig’s brother this Sunday, so it’s been a very relaxed Christmas day for us. We have planned to bake Christmas cake today. It was my husband Iggy’s idea to make Christmas cake every year, and he did most of the work. I only helped him here and there and took the pictures. So, here it is… Christmas cake by my husband.

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas 🙂

Christmas cake

(from Donna Hay magazine Dec/Jan 2009, issue 42)

  • 2¼ cups (360 gr) mixed fruits
  • ¾ cups (120 gr) raisins
  • 1 cup (160 gr) sultanas
  • 1 cup (140 gr) chopped dates
  • 1 cup (140 gr) slivered almonds
  • ¾ cups (180 ml) rum
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 300 gr butter, softened and chopped
  • 1¼ cups (220 gr) brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2¼ cups (335 gr) plain flour
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarb of soda
  • ¼ cup (40 gr) blanched almonds

Step 1. Place mixed fruits, raisins, sultanas, dates, slivered almonds, rum, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in a bowl, mix well, cover and soak for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Fruit mixture to be soaked with rum

Soaked fruit mixture

Step 2. Preheat oven to 150ºC. Place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat it for 8-10 minutes using an electric mixer or until light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition.

Step 3. Sift flour and bicarb of soda over the fruit mixture and mix well, ensuring all the fruit is coated in flour.

Fruit mixture combined with sifted flour and bicarb of soda

Step 4. Add the butter mixture into the fruit mixture and stir to combine well.

Butter mixture and fruit mixture combined

Step 5. Spoon mixture into prepared cake tin (see below). Press the blanced almonds around the edge of the cake to decorate. Bake until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool in the tin.


– 1 x 22cm -round cake, bake for 3 hours 10 minutes OR
– 6 x 9cm-round cakes, bake for 1 hour 30 minutes OR
– 3 x 12cm-round cakes, bake for 1 hour 50 minutes

What we used:

– 4 x 8cm-ramekins, bake for 1 hour AND
– 6-large muffin tin, bake for 1 hour AND
– 1 x 470ml-round pyrex bowl, bakes for 1 hour 10 minutes

To prepare the cake tins:

Lightly grease the cake tins. Cut out rounds of non-stick baking paper to fit the base of cake tins and strips to make a tall collar. Cut incisions along the base of the strips so the collar will fit snugly in the tin.

Christmas cake

Cute Xmas pressies 🙂

I reckon they look so cute and also taste very nice 🙂 Thanks to Donna Hay for easy to follow recipe 🙂


Iggy and Inge