Sunday, March 21, 2010


Cherry On A Cake will be slowing down and will be simmering on the back burner for a while. 

I'll pop in once in a while when the mood strikes or when I have something outrageous, interesting or pretty to share. Otherwise I will be gnawing on something that I've been meaning to work on and complete. 

Such is life. Full of distractions.

But that's ok. Blogging made for a riveting respite.



Friday, March 19, 2010


 Warning : Healthy Recipe Ahead! 

Don't be alarmed..... I'm not turning vegetarian or vegan. But I do enjoy some vegetarian food and sometimes I'm stunned how satisfying and lip smacking they can be. 

I remember the the sambal tempe, the dhall curry, the spiced chickpeas, the kimchi, the chutney, the spring rolls....Oh my god I counted and I actually have 20 vegetarian dishes on my blog!! 

Perhaps I'm in the process of evolving into one. Perhaps.... I'm healthy! GASP.

Divina of Sense and Serendipity has smitten me yet again with her fabulous and healthy recipes. It all started with the beautiful Mochi Chocolate truffles (well, ok, that's not exactly healthy. It's fabulous), then the sensational Tofu crusted in Bonito Flakes and now some fantastic Gluten free Korean pancakes. All from her beautiful and educational blog. 

And the fact that she has the wonderful gift of making all her healthy food look unhealthy doesn't hurt either.

Completely gluten free this pancake uses mung beans or yellow lentils and rice and includes a whole lot of vegetables to pack in all those heavenly flavours. 

It makes you feel that this is what breakfast could be. This is what lunch could be. This is what dinner could be.......this is definitely a pancake that could be. Good for you. 

It is also very adaptable to tastes. You can almost add anything else you fancy or heaven forbid make it high cholesterol and unhealthy by adding prawns, minced meat or top it with a poached egg (which I tried). I can't poach an egg. I tried and it looked weird. It had entrails.

Enough said's the recipe, adapted a little,....from the wonderful Divina of Sense and Serendipity..... 

1 cups mung beans (skinned) I used yellow lentils
1/2 cup jasmine rice
1 cup water 
1 mediumm zucchini, cut into matchsticks
1/2 carrot, cut into matchsticks
3-4 stalks spring onions, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
a small bunch of coriander,chopped finely
cracked black pepper

vegetable cooking oil

Soak mung beans (or lentils) and rice overnight.

Drain them the next day and place into a blender with1 cup of water. Blitz until it becomes a thick batter like pancake batter.If too thixk add extra water a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

Sprinkle the shredded zucchini with about 1 tsp of salt and let it stand for about 20 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid.

Add all the vegetables to the batter, add salt n pepper to taste. Mix well.

Heat up pan till very hot then add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil (I used grapeseed oil) and swirl it around the pan.

Ladle the mixture into the pan giving each pancake about 4 tablespoons of the mixture depending on how large or small you want the pancakes to be. I used an egg ring mould but it is not necessary at all.

When little bubbles become visible on the surface flip it over and cook until a golden brown on both sides.

Do the same with the rest of the batter.

Serve with a dipping sauce like this or with kimchi like I did or just enjoy it as is which is also perfect!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Ubi Kayu (Oo-bee Car-you)or cassava is one of the cheapest potatoes/roots around at 2 Ringgit (US 0.60) per kilo. It became a staple for many when rice became scarce during the second world war when our then Malaya fell under the Japanese occupation. It was a hard time for many.

I did not come from that era but I've heard stories of how cassava or ubi kayu saved many from hunger. It was a poor man's food and still is in many parts of the developing world because it will grow in poor soil all year round and is starchy thus providing much energy for laborious work or to simply starve off hunger while living on meagre means and in poor conditions.

It is a high energy food like rice because it is mainly starch from which tapioca flour is made.

It is versatile. It can be created into delicious desserts, eaten plain, boiled, with curry sauce or dipped into a combo of grated coconut and sugar or slathered with palm sugar syrup or be sliced thinly, deep fried and turned into the most delicious crisps where they are either folded into a sweet, spicy and sticky chillie sauce or sprinkled simply with salt. Heaven help me......those are my favourite crisps ever.

The ubi kayu/cassava also makes one of the most delicious and popular kuih (pronounced coo-way) ever. Made purely form grated cassava, brown sugar and coconut milk this kuih becomes a sticky, gently sweet and a beautifully textured kuih with a good bite about it and with a beautifully crusty golden top.....quite unlike any other. One that every one simply adores. I have yet to know of some one who simply feels neutral about it.

While it baked I simply immersed myself and bathed in its coconutty  fragrance.

It is easy peasy to do. 

I avoided using eggs as I wanted to make this dairy free but if I had used eggs the kuih would be a lovely golden yellow and softer.

N who is the fussiest eater alive that I know of was even tempted to try just looking at it. And the verdict? MMMMMMMMMMMMMM....reached out for more...MMMMMMMMMMMMMM...reached out for more....MMMMMMMM.....and so on and so forth.....

The recipe ~

This makes quite a lot. I would suggest cutting the recipe in half for a small family. It was a lot for us too!

2 kilos Ubi Kayu/cassava 
21/2 cups brown sugar
1 litre thick coconut milk
3 eggs if you wish (lightly beaten)
a pinch of salt

Peel the thick woody skin, wash the ubi kayu and then grate finely. I used a food processor to grate and then used the blade to process into a finer mush. Place in a  muslin bag and squeeze well to drain liquid. I got about 2 cups of liquid out.

Let the liquid stand in a bowl for about an hour or less until a white powder of starch settles at the bottom of the bowl and then discard the excess liquid. Incorporate the starch back into the grated ubi kayu.

Add sugar, salt and coconut milk and eggs (if using) and stir well to mix.

Once the mixture is mixed well pour into a baking tin. I used a round one measuring 12 inches in diameter. you could use a 10 inch one and get a slightly taller kuih which would work just as well.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for about an hour until the top is a crispy golden brown. 

Allow to cool a few hours or overnight before cutting otherwise it will be too sticky to cut neatly.

This is eaten at anytime of the day or night...for breakfast, coffee breaks, tea, dessert or in between all of that.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Some things find you even when you're not looking for them. Like a little tart press. 

The little tart press worked like a charm. It stamped out smart little crimped tart shells that looked like they were about to march off the baking tray in a fine little procession. And the depressions..... they were simply waiting to be sat on by sticky ole pineapple jam.

My little pineapple tart press, the love of my life.

And the pastry..ahhhh that's yet another joy in my tart life.

I had used a combination of plain flour and custard powder and a little more than half the proportion of butter to the flour mixture. It produced the most light, the most buttery and the most crumbly pastry when baked yet it remained an obliging and workable dough in its raw form.

Without a doubt the magic ingredient was the custard powder which provided the lightness and gave that gorgeous golden glow to the finished tarts. It abolished the need for an egg wash. Magic ~ yes? 

I almost shrieked uereka. And I would have run fully floured and barefoot into the blistering sun, stand squarely in my driveway, roar triumphantly upwards, swing my hair with a jerk of my head and throw some age-tsuki-s with my powderful fists to puncture the sky, had it not been for the fact that life requires some amount of of decorum from a person my age.

So I did a milder but no less limb twisting feat which was quite difficult too. I patted myself on the back, took a few bows in front of the mirror, made a short speech, thanked myself and clapped my hands.

Ho ho ho ~

The recipe ~

5 oz plain flour
3 oz Bird's Custard Powder
5 oz butter, cold and cubed
1 T cold water

Pineapple jam like here but to which......

I have added 1/2 cup of brown sugar and cooked till drier and firmer so that you could just roll a little ball of jam between the palms of your hands easily. the sugar makes the jam firmer.

Make the pastry.....

Sift the flour and custard powder together, Throw ina pinch of salt and mix well with your fingers or a spoon to ensure that teh two flours are well mixed.

Put in the cubed butter and cut up finer with a knife or a pastry cutter and then use your finger tips to crumble it up until it resembles very fine breadcrumbs.

Pour into the flour butter mix a tablespoon of the cold water and using your fingers or the pad of your finger bring the dough together just by pressing, no t kneading. When the dough comes together and is a smooth lump chillitin the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Roll out and using a pineapple tart press stamp out rounds until the dough is used up.

The tart press looks like a little torchlight...hehe

Roll bits of pineapple jam in your palms and press into the depressions of the tart shells. Make little slivers from the dough and fold them into little v-shapes and place on the dough. This however is completely unnecessary and time wasting.

Bake for 25 minutes or so in a 180 C oven.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Kim Chi ~ Tell me how cute a name is that? Bimbim Bap ~ Tell me how cute a name is that? Soondooboo Jiigae? Kimchi Bokeum Bap? Have I made my point? And aren't those Korean actors and actresses just as cute too? I know my nieces definitely think they are.

And as cute as the name may very well be....kimchi is not a photogenic food, like rendang. It took me all 2 days of sweat, sweat and sweat to come up with some decent photographs. After all it was simply cabbage on a plate and the other just a brown mash of meat.

But like the Malaysian rendang there is nothing plain about the Korean kimchi. The spiciness from the chillie and the flavours from the garlic, grated ginger and a sweet edge from the fruit puree that I had used made it a fantastic appetizer. Plus I've had this craving for some kimchi-jeon (kimchi pancakes) ever since I saw photographs of my nieces enjoying a Korean meal in Korea with the said pancake in full view of my computer screen.

I was told by a lady herbalist that cayenne pepper was the closest that I could get to Korean chiilie flakes or chillie paste. I chose to believe her because I wasn't about to scavenge all over town in the present scorching weather in search of something that I may never find.

 I had also searched blogs for the recipe. Simple they all say and indeed it was. Finally I used a combination of  recipes from Closet Cooking and Dr. Ben Kim's site. Two very interesting and informative sites. 

I'm not sure if it will past the test with a Korean but it was certainly good enough for me and my craving. 

Tomorrow it will be kimchi-jeon for me lunch! YUMMM

The recipe ~ 

1 napa cabbage
1/2 cup salt
1 cup gochugaru (Korean chillie flakes) I used 1/2 cup cayenne pepper instead
3-4 stalks spring onions
4 cloves garlic
1 in grated ginger
2 T fish sauce
puree from 1/2 apple, and 1/2 pear as per Dr. Ben Kim's recipe

Seperate the cabbage leaves and trim away the hard core. Then slice the cabbage leaves to one inch lengths.

Place one layer of the cut cabbage in a stainles steel bowl and sprinkle some salt over it. The proceed likewise with the rest of the cabbage , sprinkling salt over each layer. Cover with a plate and leave for about 4 hours until the cabbage has softened.

The salt acts as a preservative for the pickle. Rinse away the salt from the cabbage and drain and put the cabbage in a  bowl.

Chop the spring onions into 1 inch lengths, grate the ginger, mince the garlic, place in bowl and to all of these add the fish sauce. Mix. Add the pureed fruits and mix again. Add this mixture to the to the cabbage and sprinkle on the gochugaru. Mix well. Bottle the kimchi and leave to stand for 3 days at room temperature and then keep in the refrigerator. Will keep for a month.

I only let it stand for 24 hours at room temperature because it is so humid and hot here. 

PS  ~ Some of you may find 1/2 cup of cayenne a little too much....I find it a little too spicy myself perhaps 1/4 would be moderately spicy.

Do take note ~ An anonymous reader has pointed out in the comment list that...."kimchi is FERMENTED like yoghurt and miso. It is not just 'pickled'". My sincere apologies for overlooking the difference. I must be more careful.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Glass noodles ~ cellophane noodles ~ mung bean threads ~ su'on ~ tunghoon ~ they're all one and the same. Slippery glass threads that are near impossible to scoop up if they were put into a soup. It's not to be confused with rice noodles.

It's complete transparency and its feel as it slips through your lips, slides over your tongue and slithers down your throat makes it a very unique noodle. 

It is an ingredient in a lovely soup with dried or fresh shrimps  that I used to eat as a child. A soup that's made up of bean curd skin, loofah, wooden ear fungus, golden needles and finally the glass noodles. Delicious. It was a favourite vegetable soup. But it was always the glass noodles that attracted and fascinated me more than anything else. It kept me busy.

But the Thais have made it the main ingredient in a light and lovely salad. Less slithery because it is not in a soup but is a moist salad and very delicious because it is mixed with a spicy, salty, sour and sweet dressing made of fish sauce, lime juice, bird chillies and brown sugar with the addition of some prawns, dried and fresh, and minced chicken. MMMM

My son and I had it for lunch today. It was a healthy lunch. Unfortunately I spoiled the 'healthy' part by gorging on some pineapple tarts I had baked right after. And as if I hadn't sinned enough.....2 hours after that I had a bowl of ice cream. But I redeemed myself by having an orange after.

Shall I'll try again tomorrow?

I have to tell you that it tasted even better after I had some later in the evening after the noodles had absorbed all the flavours of the dressing. Double MMMMMMMM

The recipe ~ the measurements are approximate since I had thrown everything in before remembering to measure them.....

100 gm dried glass noodles
100-150 gm minced chicken
5-6 pieces of medium prawns, shelled and cleaned, left whole season with little salt and pepper
1 cup of chopped spring onions
1/4 cup of chopped coriander
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 T dried shrimps, fried to a crisp and pounded finely (optional but more flavourful if included)

Dressing ~

3 T fish sauce
1 T brown sugar
3-4 bird chillies or use large chillies if you prefer less heat
1-2 T lime juice

Soak the glass noodles in cold water to soften for about 10 minutes. Then drain placing the noodles back into the bowl. Pour just boiled water into the bowl of noodles and let stand for just 3-4 seconds and then drain thoroughly running cold water through to rid it of the heat. Keep aside.

Cook the minced chicken in a frying pan using only 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil. Season with very little salt and pepper. Scoop out to a bowl. Saute the prawns in the same pan. Add a little oil of too dry. Don't use to much salt because the fish sauce is very salty.

Place the fish sauce and the brown sugar in a small pot and cook to a syrup. 

Pound the chillies or chop them. Then mix the rest of the dressing ingredients to the fish sauce syrup. Taste and adjust for sweetness and tartness. 

Combine the noodles, chopped spring onions, coriander sliced onions, cooked minced chicken fresh prawns and dried shrimps in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing over and mix well. Adjust for saltiness by adding salt or a few dashes of fish sauce. Serve. 


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