Friday, 29 February 2008


This is for the first time for me to participate in a cooking challenge. I've been thinking of doing it for quite a long time, but I just didn't have enough confidence. Now I think I'm ready.

This is a challenge from MASTER BAKER CHALLENGE and for this month, the ingredient that the participants have to use is CINNAMON.
Straight away I thought of my favourite cake - called Ontbijtkoek. This cake is quite popular in Indonesia where I'm from, but originally it's a Dutch breakfast cake.
What I love about this cake is the cinnamon flavour combined with palm sugar. You can substitute the palm sugar with brown sugar, but in my opinion it won't taste the same.
The almond on top gives a nice crunchy texture. It's sticky and dense and my favourite way to eat it is with lots of butter.

Usually this cake is baked in a loaf pan but prefer to bake them as cupcakes because it bakes quicker and looks pretty. I've tried to make them with Trytamil (gluten free) flour before and they turned out quite well. The texture a little bit different than the ordinary flour but they still taste very good.

Here's the recipe:

Ontbijtkoek (Brown Spice Cake)


100g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ - 2 tsp spekkoek spice *
40g butter/margarine
5 egg yolks
3 egg whites
½ tsp vanilla extract
100g palm sugar, finely grated
50g almond flakes


  1. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon and spekkoek spice, set aside.
  3. Beat egg yolks, egg whites and vanilla extract on medium speed until foamy. Add the palm sugar gradually while still beating until thick.
  4. Using a spatula fold in the flour mixture a few spoons at a time, mix well.
  5. Add the melted butter and keep folding until it's all mixed very well. The batter will be runny.
  6. Pour the batter into the pan and scatter some almond flakes on top of each cake.
  7. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the tooth pick test comes out clean.
  8. Cool them in the pan for 5 minutes and then move them to cooling racks.
  9. Serve them with butter or frost them with vanilla butter cream.
(This recipe makes about 9 standard cupcakes or you can stretch to 12 if you want to)

* Note:
If you can not buy ready mixed spekkoek spice, you can make it yourself by mixing well
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground cloves
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tbsp ground cardamom

Use it as needed and keep the rest in an airtight jar.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

New recipe book

I bought this recipe book few weeks ago and was waiting for quite a while before finally I had a chance to try it out.
Here I tried the basic chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream.

Most of the recipes are repeat, just with different flavour or topping. It's not so bad actually, because it gives me idea for flavours that work together, but I don't suggest to buy it if what you want is more adventures cupcake recipes.

Another thing what I like about this book is, it has metric measurements, so I don't need to convert them before baking.

The cakes tasted like sponge cake and the chocolate flavour is not too much. It's just right for not a chocolate addict like me.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Smoked Haddock cakes

I love fish but unfortunately my husband is not quite so mad about it. Because of that I think we don't eat fish often enough. A few days ago I watched this program about two doctors who went to the North Pole and tried to live like the Inuit hunters do, one of them followed the local traditional diet and the other one ate the processed foods that available at the local shops and at the end of their stay they checked their cholesterol level and blood pressure.

It showed that the local traditional diet is much better because it's mostly fish and sea mammals that are full with omega 3 which is good for building up a good cholesterol level and preventing heart diseases.

I'm a diabetic type 1 and since last year
the doctor prescribed me with Lipitor, medicine for high cholesterol. With all of that I think I will cook more fish dishes from now on.
This is the start.


(made 4-5 cakes)

2 smoked haddock fillets
2 bay leaves
5 cloves

Lime/lemon peel

4 large potatoes
1 cup peas
2 spring onions, sliced finely.
salt, pepper, nutmeg
1 egg, whisk

Poach the fish in milk with bay leaves, cloves and peel over a low heat for about 15 minutes or until the fish
is cooked and flakes easily. Let it cool and then flake the flesh.
Boil the potatoes until cook
ed and mash them, using a little bit of the poaching milk, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Mix in the flaked fish, peas and spring onions. Mix well and let it cool.
Shape the fish mixture into burgers and dust them with flour, dip in the egg and cover with breadcrumbs.
Put them in the oven on 200 degrees C for about 10-15 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Serve them with salad and sauce of your choice.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Crock pot Peking Duck

I got a crock pot last month as one of my birthday presents. It's brilliant for slow cooking, because you don't really need to do much with the ingredients, just put them all in and switch it on, that's it. You can forget about it until almost time to eat the dish.

I bought some duck breasts yesterday because I wanted to try Kylie Kwong's recipe for Peking Duck. To cook this dish you need to simmer the marinade for several hours and then cook the meat in the marinade for another few hours, so I thought I would just use my crock pot and then forget about it and go off to do my grocery shopping.

Duck breasts
Star anise
Cinnamon bark
Orange peel
Spring onion
Brown sugar
Sesame oil
Chinese cooking wine
Light soy sauce
Rice vinegar
Salt & white pepper
Some water

Put all the ingredients in the crock pot, turn on to low and cook for about 3 hours.
For the sauce, put some of the stock in a saucepan over medium heat, meanwhile dilute a teaspoon of cornstarch with a teaspoon of water and stir it in, bring the sauce to the boil and keep stirring until it has thickened.

The duck turned out really good. I kept it in the oven on a low heat while I was cooking the accompaniment, stir fried Bok Choy in garlic and sesame oil.

I served it with boiled rice and vegetables because my husband can't eat the Chinese pancake that usually accompanies Peking Duck dish.

Happy Chinese New Year 2008

Pancake Tuesday

Yesterday was Pancake Tuesday, and it's a new custom in my family to have them for dinner on this day.

Traditionally they're served with lemon juice and sugar, but I don't really like that combination - I prefer Maple syrup.

But yesterday I made them the way my mum used to buy in bakeries or snack shops back in Indonesia.
The pancakes are filled with thick custard and sometimes people made chocolate flavour pancake too, which is I'm not so mad about. I don't really like chocolate but strangely I love Nutella (in moderation), so I drizzled some on my custard filled pancakes.
It tasted as good as it looked.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Bread crumbed pork chops

I've been thinking to make this dish for dinner since last Sunday but Andrew wanted to have pizza, so the pork chops had to wait.
Last night I cooked this dish and ran into some difficulty because the pork chops were not thick enough to be stuffed. Never ever send someone who can not cook to buy your ingredients (especially if you neglect to tell them what it's for) ha ha ha.
Anyway, it turned out fine and tasted as good as I expected.
I made the breadcrumbs from gluten free bread because my husband is a coeliac.


2 pork chops (make sure they are thick cuts)

4 sage leaves
1 clove of garlic, sliced very thinly
2 slices of cheese (hard one like cheddar)
1 egg, whisked
enough flour to cover the pork thinly
2 slices of stale bread, processed to make the breadcrumbs
salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Slice the pork chop to make a pocket, and put 2 sage leaves and few slivers of garlic in each chop then the sliced cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover thinly with flour then roll in the egg and cover with the bread crumb.
Shallow fry the pork until golden brown on both sides, then put them in the oven for about 20-30 minutes (depends on how thick your meat is).

Serve with mustard mashed potatoes and boiled vegetables.

Our 3 year old daughter finished all of her dinner so I think it was good :-)

Monday, 4 February 2008

Blackforest Cupcake

I've had this cupcakes recipe book for quite a while but only yesterday I made one of the recipe that I longed to try.
It's BLACK FOREST CAKES from CUPCAKES AND FAIRYCAKES (The Australian Women's Weekly).
The recipes are very, very easy to follow and I like the end result photos. It has clear instructions for how to make the decorations as well, but what I really like the most is that it has metric measurements beside the American measurements (cups). Makes my life much easier because I don't need to convert the measurements like with my other cupcakes recipe book.

I used low calorie sugar and reduced the amount a little bit, so it's a bit healthier, I hope :-) and I used dark rum instead of cherry brandy.
In the recipe it says to bake for about 45 minutes but mine were cooked only in 25 minutes.

The result was good, if you really like chocolate (I'm not really too keen on chocolate to be honest). I had to put more whipped cream than I intended to, just to cut the rich chocolate-y taste.
The cake is very dense but moist and the taste of the rum is quite noticeable, which is nice.

Our friend Kate was here, so she tasted it too and she thought I'm just weird not liking chocolate that much, so I assume the cake is good :-).
I will definitely make them again if we have chocolate loving guests (most of our friends are).

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Welcome to my new blog

Here is our daughter, Cliona, enjoying a gluten-free chocolate cupcake.