Thursday, September 25, 2008

Food & Hotel Thailand 2008

I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the Food & Hotel Thailand 2008 fair held last week at Royal Paragon Hall. There were lots of exhibitions and product/food samples from retailers for the participants to try. My favorite was the ice carving, fruit/vegetable carving and food decoration competitions. Here are some photos from the fair:

Eggless + Butterless White Choc Macadamia Cookies

I spotted this recipe from Baking Bites while I was looking for a new White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies recipe to try out and this one instantly caught my attention. Since I had most of the ingredients on hand, and it was a good way to use up my Organic Maple Syrup that was a gift from my cousin in Canada, I decided to give the recipe a go. The result was better than I'd expected, especially for a cookie that has no butter in them. I think it's also quite a good recipe if you are watching out for your cholesterol level!

Eggless and Butterless White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies Adapted from Baking Bites

125g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
50g sugar
60g canola oil
80g good quality maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup macadamia nuts
1/3 cup white chocolate chips*
I've also tried replacing the white choc chips with dark ones, and they taste equally good so do not be afraid to play with your favorites.

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
In a small bowl, whisk together macadamia nut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Pour into flour mixture and stir until almost combined. Add the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts and mix until no flour remains.
Shape into nine rounded balls and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 14 minutes or longer if you want crispy cookies. Cool on baking sheet.

Makes 9 large cookies.

I also used my recently bought mini ice cream scooper for these cookies, they are very convenient and I would seriously recommend them to any frequent cookies bakers!

dark choc chip version

Monday, September 22, 2008

Delicious Blueberry Muffins

This is my favorite recipe for Blueberry Muffins so far as they are so easy to make and is relatively healthy compared to other recipes I've tried. I found the recipe through Allrecipes and made a few changes to the original one. The muffins turned out beautifully, and tasted great even though there's no butter in them!

Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from Allrecipes

190 g plain flour
140 g white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
80 ml canola oil
1 egg
80 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
130 g fresh/frozen blueberries
some icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C, and line muffin tins with muffin liners. I used larger new muffin cups I've recently bought.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder and add in the sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together canola oil, egg, vanilla, and milk until well mixed. Mix this with the flour mixture with only a few strokes. Do not over mix! The batter should still be lumpy will streaks of flour. Fold in blueberries. Fill the muffin cups around 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 min or until done.
Dusted with icing sugar before serving. Enjoy!

Makes 5 large muffins

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quick Lunch @ Crystal Jade, Siam Paragon, Bkk

Whenever I'm in Bangkok, I usually have my Yum Cha lunches at Hai Tien Lo restaurant in Pan Pacific Hotel as it's one of the more authentic Cantonese Yum Cha restaurants compared to the others I've previously experienced. However, I decided to try out what Crystal Jade had to offer when I spotted an article about it in the newspaper.

When we arrived at the restaurant, the waitresses were not very responsive eventhough they spotted us standing there. When we were finally seated at the table, I was slightly disappointed to see a very noticable food stain on the table cloth. It was not something I would expect from a higher-end chinese restaurant.

The food, however, was better than I'd expected. We did not order typical Yum Cha dishes, but the dishes that was recommended in the newspaper.

Roasted Duck
This was deboned. I wish restaurants in Australia would start deboning their duck too, it's so much more enjoyable to eat. The flavor of the duck was nice and the skin was crispy. One of the better roast ducks I've had in Bangkok. The duck would be even better if it was served with plum sauce.

Abalone Puff

The abalone puff was a lot cheaper than I'd expected, hence I didn't expect to find any abalone pieces inside. To my surprise though, they manage to stuff a tiny cube of abalone inside each puff. The puff itself tasted pretty good though, similar to BBQ pork flavored puff.

Phoenix's Claws aka braised chicken feet
I'm not a fan of any type of feet, hence I did not try this dish. It was pretty good according to my parents though.

Radish Cake
Despite looking a bit stiff, it was decent.

Roasted Chicken with Mango and Goose Liver

The roasted chicken was made to perfection! The skin was very crispy, probably the best roasted chicken I've had so far. The combination of the crispiness from the chicken with the sweetness of the mango slices, and toned down by the slight saltiness of the goose liver gave it a very interesting flavor.

I'm quite satisfied with my experience at Crystal Jade and look forward to trying out their other dishes in the near future.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lemon Melting Moments

I've seen these little cookies in almost every cafe in Melbourne. The melt in the mouth texture of these cookies is probably why it appealed to so many people.

Lemon Melting Moments Adapted from

250g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup cornflour

Lemon Filling
60g butter, softened
1 tbs finely grated lemon rind
2 tsp lemon juice or to taste
60g icing sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 160 degree Celsius. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment. Using and electric beater, cream butter, vanilla, and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Sift flours over butter cake mixture. Beat on low speed until a soft dough forms.

Roll heaped teaspoonfuls of mixture into small balls. Place on trays. Using a fork dipped in flour, lightly flatten each biscuit. Bake for 15 min or until firm. Cool on tray for 10 min and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Make lemon filling: Using an electric mixer, beat butter, lemon rind, lemon juice, and icing sugar until light and fluffy.

Spread flat side of 1 biscuit with 1 teaspoon filling. Top with another biscuit. Repeat with remaining biscuits and filling. Dust with icing sugar. Enjoy!

Makes 16.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Healthy Apple Cake

I was immediately attracted to this recipe after reading nice comments about it from other bloggers and the fact that the whole cake only required 30g of butter was an instant must try.

Apple Cake Adapted from Just Relax

2 granny smith apples, cored and chopped
2 egg yolks
50 g caster sugar
2 tbs milk
2.5 g baking powder
85 g cake flour
few drops of vanilla
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
20 g raisins
a pinch of salt

2 egg whites
55 g caster sugar

30g butter, melted
caster sugar, for sprinkling
cashew nuts, to decorate

Preheat oven to 180 Celsius and line and 8 inch round cake mould with baking parchment. Beat egg yolks and caster sugar together until the mixture becomes lighter and add milk. Fold in the sifted flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, apples and raisins.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add in caster sugar and beat until soft peak forms. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture, and pour into prepared mould.

Sprinkle the top of the cake batter with the melted butter, decorate with cashew nuts on the top, and sprinkle the caster sugar over the cashew nuts. Bake for 35-40 minute or until cooked.

The result was very satisfying as the cake was very moist despite the lack of fats, perfect for an afternoon tea/coffee, or a guilt-free midnight snack!

Carrots and Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrots and Pecan Cake Adapted from Allrecipes


2 eggs
140 g canola oil
60 g white sugar
80 g brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
110 g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
200 g grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 tsp lemon juice
150 g cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
few tbs sugar, to taste

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Lined an 8 inch round mould with baking paper. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, and fold into the egg mixture. Stir in carrots and pecans. Pour into the prepared mould.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Beat the softened cream cheese, vanilla, lemon juice and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Frost the cake and decorate with Pecans.

ps. This is one of my dad's favorite cake!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lunch @ Manna, and Desserts at Le Notre, Paragon, Bkk

My friends and I decided to meet up for lunch yesterday at Paragon and we wanted to try Vanilla Brasserie since I did not get to try the previous time. I did not make a reservation because I thought since it was a weekday, it should not be too full. Well, I was very wrong as the place was packed when I arrived, with lots of university students.

Anyway, it was not a bad day after all as it gave me a chance to try out Manna, a stylish Northern Thai fusion restaurants situated a few shops away. Manna seems quite popular, but as the restaurant is a lot more spacious compared to Vanilla, there were plenty of seats left for us. Service at Manna was quite good, as the waitresses were quite attentive.

My Ice Blended Lychee Drink
This was very refreshing, perfect for a hot afternoon

Grilled Thai Style Beef Sirloin with Thai Dipping Sauce

Seafood Somtum (Seafood Papaya Salad)
This was better than I'd expected from a fusion Thai restaurant.

Yum Salmon Saomoonprai (Thai Style Spicy Cooked Salmon Salad with Herbs)

Tom Sap Moo Deng (Spicy Thai Clear Soup with Minced Pork balls)
This was spicy enough to made my nose runny! They were very generous with the mushrooms.

Corned Beef Spaghetti
I was looking forward to trying the Corned Beef Spaghetti at Vanilla Brasserie, but since we did not get to eat there, I decided to try out the one here instead. It was not bad I must say, my friends loved it. The spaghetti was still slightly too cooked for my liking, I might try to recreate this dish at home next time.

After lunch, we decided to grab some desserts at Le Notre.

Fruit Tart
I'm normally not a big fan of fruit tarts as I didn't have very memorable experiences with them. They were always either overly-sweet or came with soggy pastry base. The Fruit Tart at Le Notre, however, gave me a new perspective on fruit tarts! They were the best I've had so far. The pastry base was nice and crisp with perfect fruit combination, and the pastry/custard cream was made to the right consistency.

Mille Fueille With Strawberry Sorbet and Strawberry Coulis

The sorbet just tasted beautiful, and the Mille Fueille was just the way I'd expected it to be. The pastry custard cream wasn't overly sweet and was made from real vanilla beans. The texture was just perfect, the crispness of slices of puff pastries and the smooth texture of the vanilla pastry cream, dusted with a little icing sugar.

Tiramisu with Chocolate Icecream and Vanilla Cream
My parents used to rave about how good Le Notre's Tiramisu was, so I had a really high expectation of it. It was not bad, but slightly too bitter for my taste. I don't know whether it was because I ate sweeter dishes earlier.

These little desserts gave me a perfect ending for my day! I definitely see myself coming back here in the future!