Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Banana Fritters / Cokodok

Don’t like to eat overripe (and sometimes very mushy) bananas? Turn them into banana fritters! Banana Fritters is better known as Cucur Kodok or Cokodok in Malaysia. Some recipes for the banana fritters uses some coconut and some uses less flour. Nevertheless, banana is definitely the key ingredient and here’s my version!




  • 1 /2 Lb, Peeled Ripe Bananas
  • 1 Egg, Beaten
  • 3-4 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour, Sifted
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • Oil


Heat oil over medium heat. In a medium bowl, add bananas and lemon juice. Mash bananas with the back of a fork. Stir in egg, sugar and vanilla extract. Mix well before stirring in flour and baking powder. Scoop batter with a teaspoon and drop it into hot oil. Let batter cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove, cool slightly before serving.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pictures From The Dessert Showcase

Here are some pictures from the dessert showcase…. I’m too lazy to post all the pictures I snapped that day….so here are some highlights.

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The pictures above are from the Simply Divine Brownies booth based in Maine where they offer brownies in various shapes, sizes and decorations. Interesting party favors.

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The left picture above is the Finale Desserterie where they specializes in gourmet dessert. This is one of my favorite place in Boston. Their desserts are to-die-for. During the dessert showcase, they were giving out a flourless chocolate cake….it was SO RICH it tasted like chocolate paste. Hubby and I could not finish the tiny cup of decadent chocolates. Picture on right, Biga Breads; did not try the samples, coz there were only one the vibrant colored cupcakes scared me! hehe!

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Cholives (Left) is a newly launched company about pairing chocolates with cocktails and wine. Their rum truffles were pretty yummy! Party Favors was quite generous with their samples. Cupcakes were huge and ok-lah! I could replicate the cupcake deco at home!

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Simply Dahlicious has probably one of the nicer setups. The cupcakes were cute with the colored paper band around them. Weren’t very generous with their samples at first; we were given just a tiny piece from a cupcake.

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Strawberry Hill Confectionary (Left); this booth has one of the neatest product. Easy tea on the go! You just need hot water and a cup. Swirl the “tea” in hot water and drink the sweetened tea once all the “tea” has dissolved. They were pretty good too!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Review: 2009 New England Dessert Showcase

A few nights before I went to the dessert showcase, I had a dream nightmare that there weren’t that many exhibitors and everyone was giving out cookie samples. My nightmare became quite true I guess…not as drastic but the dessert showcase left me VERY DISAPPOINTED. I guess I had too high expectations when I bought my tickets.

I think overall, the organizers did not put together a great, organized show. In their defense, this was the 1st dessert showcase they organized? Who am I to judge? Please note that in my previous job, I have been to about an average of 12-15 tradeshows a year over the period of 4 years. Some of these events that I’ve attended/exhibited at attracts from hundreds to thousands (over 10K) of attendants. Those events (thankfully) have been all wonderfully organized! DessertHere are my 2 cents on my personal experience/feedback on the 2009 New England Dessert Showcase (and yes, this is considered a trade show). I’m not trying to defame anyone nor am I being bitter (am I?) about the $25 we paid ($50, since we got 2 tickets), just merely trying to vent my disappointment and not-so-wonderful experiences..:

1) Exhibitor List: Referring this back to my previous experience attending and exhibiting at trade shows……Attendants and exhibitors alike will know the list of exhibitors attending/exhibiting. This information can usually be found on their website prior to the show date. For this event, I never knew who was going to exhibit. The website also initially claim “over 100 exhibitors” will be participating in this dessert showcase. NOT TRUE! Only about 30-40 (50 Max) exhibitors were there. At first, I thought I probably had misread or hallucinated that number as I don’t see that information anymore anywhere on their website. I googled and found press releases/entries HERE, HERE and HERE to confirm that I did indeed I saw that information (and firmly believe) from their website. And though the showcase was supposed to be “New England" Dessert Showcase”, it should just be renamed “Boston Dessert Showcase” as most exhibitors were from Massachusetts.

2) Ticketing: There were supposed to be 2 lines for the general admission ticket (according to your last name) to pick up advance tickets; A-M and N-Z. We stood at the respective line and waited to be helped. There were about 3-4 staff behind the table who just a few seconds after we stepped up to the table had to resolve some VIP ticketing issue. And we were ignored. After the discussion has dispersed, the lady who were original in front of us when we arrived remained. And we were still ignored. We had to ask her if this was the “N-Z” line to get tickets, only to have her pointed for us to go to the A-M line (which at this point had line 7-8 ppl waiting). We hinted that we’ve been waiting and the “A-Z” line has already grew since. She helped us in the end. We were giving those color wrist bands as our “tickets”. Usually at “registration”, attendants will also be given a booklet on the event to show you who’s exhibiting. We never got that either….and managed to scoop a copy when we were about to leave.

3) Show Time & Exhibitors: Show time for the public (people like me) are from 11am-4pm. This is only a one day show. The pre-show party or after show party doesn’t really count. I did not go to those parties, but I hope they were worth it for those who went. =). Hubby and I got there at about 1.45pm. Besides finding out that the show was smaller than I had expected, a couple exhibitors had already packed up and left. By 2pm, I think about 5 exhibitors have ran out of samples/stuff and had left. Do you know how many yummy desserts have I missed? I gave them the show the benefit of the doubt that 3pm onwards would be a bad time to visit, as samples will be gone and exhibitors would be anxiously hoping to pack up. In my previous experiences, exhibitors tend to attempt to pack about 1 hour prior to the end of the event. However, with strict supervision and warning from the organizers, the exhibitors are usually not allowed to leave the “hall” early. They can only leave about 30 minutes prior to closing. In this event ( with more than 2 hours before the event ends) some exhibitors are no where to be seen. =( And I still see people coming in at 3pm to buy/redeem their tickets.

4) Booths & Samples: Some booths were very simple, a mere table cloth, samples and information. Some brought in more props (kudos to those), gave samples and information. Unless you could REALLY eat, you get filled up very quickly. Hubby and I literally was sugar high and had dessert poisoning was intoxicated with desserts. I went to this showcase expecting to see/sample cute and intricate gourmet desserts. We got to sample cupcakes (lots of them, nothing really pop out and some I could no a better job decorating!), brownies (ok overall), cookies, chocolates, ice cream(1.45pm the ice cream booth has already packed up!!), pies, coffee, tea, strawberry fondue, etc. There were a couple booths that gave you a full serving of their “samples”, while others only gave you a tiny bite.

Will post pictures in another post……Will I go to the dessert showcase next year (if any)………..we’ll see! It’s too early to make my decision… especially after my bad case of an upset tummy after the event which left me sick and sleepless all day Saturday/Sunday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Profiteroles (With Whipped Cream)

I made profiteroles again, this time for the little “Europe Pre-Trip Meeting” we’re organizing at our place. It’s so make sure everyone is clear what’s going on, where and when. We also made our advance booking to the Vatican Museum! Yay! **Jumps With Excitement!**Profiteroles11I made the profiteroles based on the recipe I had earlier shared HERE. Now, I have to go back and edit the recipe. The puffs worked out fine like the previous time, but the cream recipe yielded way to much cream! I’m gonna cut the recipe into half (it’s still more than enough) and edit that post.

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This time, I decided to heat up some bittersweet chocolate, and drizzle over the top of those profiteroles. Again, don’t these look spectacular and give your friends the impression that you were slaving away in the kitchen to make some yummy desserts?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Woo Jung Restaurant @ Ayer, MA.


If you’re unfamiliar to the town and drive by this restaurant, I bet you won’t think twice to stop to eat here! The sign is all rusty, the restaurant looks tiny, old (and abandoned?)…what good food could they be serving up there? I know hubby and I won’t stop there if we haven’t done our research!

We were looking for some good Korean restaurant to bring the in-laws to….And after some Googling about, hubby found a Korean restaurant out of no where in Ayer, MA. We weren’t quite sure if this place is any good (especially when it’s located in the middle of no-where-land?), so looked for reviews and were really surprised. And so…we decided to drive there and find this little “jewel” in Ayer, MA. We found 2 other Korean stores (one grocery and one furniture) along the same street. I guess there must be decent Korean population here!

The staff was quite friendly and food came out quite quickly. Patrons there were mostly Korean, so I guess this place must be GOOD!!

Here’s what we ordered…… I forgot to take a menu with me, so I don’t really know the prices. =( let me try to describe each dish as I remember them.

1) Chap Jae (Left) @ $10- $12. Stir fried Korean starch noodles with zucchini, onion, pork. This dish was really good. It was a little different than the ones we had in other Korean restaurant as it was not very oily and they use pork strips, instead of beef. The stir fry noodle was also lighter in color in comparison with my previous experience eating Chap Jae. Overall, it was definitely yummy..worth the price you pay for the big portion and the loads of meat & vegetable laden stir fry noodle!

2) Pa Jun (Right) @ $10-$11. Korean scallion pancake. The price was a bit high for a scallion pancake. I usually pay about the same for a seafood and scallion pancake. Nevertheless, when the dish came… I soon forget the price of this pancake. It was YUMMY! This was one of the best Pa Jun’s I’ve had. It’s very crispy on the outside and moist in the inside. The pancakes are all cut up nicely, so no need to fight here! Will definitely be back for these!


3) Kalbi (left) @ $18-19. Marinated and grilled Korean (Beef) short ribs. Price were a little high, but portions were big and good too. This dish was nicely marinated and the short ribs were quite thick (compared to other places). I prefer to grill my own Kalbi, that way I can make it as charred as I like.. hehe! It came with either whtie rice or fried rice. Not sure if there’s additional charge for either rice though.

4) Bulgogi (right) $15???. Marinated and grilled beef. I seriously have no idea how much this cost. Again, I prefer to grill my own meat to get it as charred as I like. Like the Kalbi, it came with white rice or fried rice. This was ok, I guess. Nothing to shout about…maybe coz I’m not a Bulgogi fan.


5) Cha Chang Myun (left) @ $10-$11. Minced pork in black bean sauce over noodles. This was a large bowl of black noodle goodness! I suggest that you order this to share with a partner. The “black” noodle gets a little overwhelming after a while…..It was still delicious nevertheless. =)

6) 6 Assorted side dishes (right)…….. This of course like any Korean restaurant came complimentary. The bean sprout and the cucumber pickle were my favorites. These side dishes were also refillable (free) per request! =)


What are you waiting for? Grab your GPS and make your drive to Woo Jun Restaurant:

174 W Main St
Ayer, MA 01432-1215

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nashoba Valley Winery

Nashoba1We stumbled upon this winery while trying to look for a flea market in Bolton last Sunday. It was truly a pleasant find and we were glad that we decided to stop by and see what they offer. The winery had some kind of festival that day, and it was jam packed with people!

Nashoba Valley Winery is a hilltop orchard located in Bolton, MA. This family owned business not only offers a winery (& brewery), but also an orchard as well as a restaurant. The winery specializes in fruit wines made in their state-of-the-art wine making and distillation facility. The orchard offers pick-your-own peaches, plums and assorted apples. NashobaWe went there just to experience the wine tasting which was very reasonable at $4 per 5 wine tasting. With that $4, you go home with a fancy looking wine glass with their name/logo engraved on it. Not bad at all, this is cheaper than getting a glass of wine at a restaurant! =P. Between the 3 of us, we sampled more about 10-12 different kind of wines . Some we really love, some we don’t care for.

I went home with a bottle of After Dessert Peach Wine @ $11.25….YUMS!! Apparently, you can also taste their home brewed beer for FREE! I only found out about this after googling this winery for more information. For $6 (or $7), you can do a tour of the winery and that will also give you a chance to sample some of their wines. Check out their list of wines, spirits and beer.

This winery is now bookmarked in my list of things to do in Massachusetts! Maybe I could get some friends to try the restaurant one of this days. =) Or drive up to the winery with the husband to enjoy more wine tasting and the gorgeous hilltop view.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thai Sweet Basil Restaurant @ Andover, MA


Thai Sweet Basil is one of the best tasting Thai restaurant I’ve been to. We recently brought the in-laws there and they loved it so much; we went back there TWICE! Both times, we went for weekend lunch. This place is usually very busy during weekday lunch and does ok over the weekend. The service is overall ok, nothing to shout about but the food is mostly yummy!

Here’s what we ordered:

1) Hot & Sour (Tomyam) Shrimp Soup (left) @ $2.95. Shrimp in a hot and sour broth seasoned with exotic Thai herbs, mushrooms, lemongrass and lime juice. You get 2 large shrimp and slices of mushroom with this hot and sour soup. I wished they added more cilantro (I love cilantro) in my soup and I do prefer to have the mushrooms cooked thoroughly. With that said and even though the soup did not look as appetizing, it was still good! =)

2) Wonton Soup (right) @ $2.95. Wrapped minced chicken with vegetables in clear broth. You get 3-4 chicken wontons in the soup. I forgot to ask my FIL how the soup was, but I guess it should be quite decent as he finished it! =)


3) Golden Bags @ $5.95. Tofu skins stuffed with ground shrimp, water chestnuts, black mushrooms and spices. Gathered at the neck with a scallion, deep fried and served with a plum sauce. You get 4 “golden bags” with this order. I thought the golden bags weren’t wrapped as nicely as the ones we had in Lanna Thai Restaurant.  I taste mostly minced meat (chicken?) which was disappointing. The description on the menu sounded better than the actual taste of the “bags”.ThaiSweetBasil34) Roasted Duck Mango Curry (left) @ $8.00. Yellow madras curry and coconut milk with mango, green peas, onions, snow peas and peppers. I’m glad this came with a side of white rice (FREE!). Hubby ordered this, and it was yummy. The Mango and roasted duck (very moist) surely went well with the curry! I will so order this next time!

5) Duck Choo Chee (right) @ $7.50. Boneless roasted duck chunks are sautéed in red curry with mushrooms, baby corn, pineapple, onion, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, and peppers. This was mine and I loved it too. Again, appreciate that white rice came with the curry for FREE! Duck was moist, and curry was yummilicious. I thought my curry was like a milder version of hubby’s though. I swear they taste almost the same! =P.

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6) Mango Fried Rice (left) @ $7.25. Fried rice with chicken, shrimp, egg, green beans, carrot, onion and mango. Just one word….YUMMILICIOUS!!  I managed to try a spoonful, and FIL cleaned the rest!

7) Crazy Noodles (right) @ $6.95. Soft wide rice noodles fried with chicken, shrimp, onion, basil, chili pepper, eggs and broccoli. The in-laws loved this dish the first time they tried it, we went back so that they could have another round of crazy noodles! Unfortunately, the noodles weren’t good this time. They added way too much oyster sauce in the noodle this time, hence a salty plate of crazy noodles. MIL was surely disappointed the dish she was so looking forward to turn out to be almost inedible.

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8) Thai Iced Coffee @ $2.50. Don’t forget to try a glass of cold Thai coffee goodness!! This is something I will order in a Thai restaurant. It’s nothing like your Dunkin/Starbucks coffee, trust me!!


This restaurant does not have a website… So, here’s the contact information for Thai Sweet Basil : 

209 N. Main St
Andover, MA 01810
(978) 470-8098

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Learning The Family Secret Recipe

My MIL taught me her famous Kuih Bangkit recipe while she was here. Kuih Bangkit is a traditional cookie served in many homes during Chinese New Year. This light cookie is made from tapioca flour and will crumble and melt in your mouth!

I will not be sharing MIL’s exact recipe as this is her secret recipe and her kuih bangkits are very sought after! I’ve read other Kuih Bangkit recipes HERE and HERE and those recipes call for margarine and powdered sugar; a lil’ different from my MIL’s version. My MIL’s Kuih Bangkit recipe uses just tapioca flour, coconut milk, pandan leaves, egg yolks and sugar.KuihBangkitI was finally able to use the Kuih Bangkit mould Anna sent me ages ago. At first, it was tough to remove the dough from the mould. So, we decided to roll and cut the cookies using cookie cutters. The cookies took a longer time to bake and cook. It took us a couple tries to make the cookies cook/bake just right. Even so, the roll and cut cookies are not as good as the ones MIL used to make using the Kuih Bangkit moulds. The cut and roll cookies were hard and crunchy.


We decided to give the mould another try, dusting more flour into the mould this time for easy removal. It worked perfectly this time and after baking, we found out that it was perfect! The new “molded” cookies were just perfect, light, slightly hard on the outside yet crumble in the inside! YUMS!!! It was definitely different and better from the roll and cut cookies!

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The freshly baked cookies are already running out! I would have to attempt another batch on my own soon! Again sorry, I’m not able to share this recipe. After all, it’s a family secret! =P.

Friday, September 18, 2009

2009 New England Dessert Showcase

LOOK WHO’S GOING to the 2009 New England Dessert Showcase?? ME!!ME!!ME!! Well, the husband is also tagging along in this hopefully to-die-for-dessert event!! =) We found out about this event last night while on our quest to search for FREE things to do in Boston. Credit definitely goes to the husband as he was the one who stumbled upon this event and asked me if I wanna go.

The event will be held at Marriott Long Wharf, Boston from 11am-4pm. Find more information on this event HERE. If you’re interested, get your tickets HERE. Regular tickets are at $25 (and will cost more at the entrance). VIP tickets cost $40, which includes access to a reception and gift bag.


Profiteroles (With Corn Custard)

Updated : August 13, 2012.
Profiteroles7Profiteroles/Cream Puffs (my guess, they originate from France) are a popular Choux Pastry. According to Wikipedia; Pâte à choux (Choux Pastry) is a light pastry dough used to make profiteroles, croquembouches, eclairs, French crullers, beignets, Indonesian kue sus, and gougères. It contains only butter, water, flour, and eggs. In lieu of a raising agent it employs high moisture content to create steam during cooking to puff the pastry.”

Growing up in Malaysia, the cream puffs/profiteroles that I usually get are filled with corn custard (and I can’t get them here in the US). Profiteroles/Cream Puffs in the US are often filled with (flavored) whipped cream and at some some fancier places perhaps profiteroles filled ice cream! Some profiteroles will get a splash of melted chocolate on top (éclairs) and some a dash of powdered sugar.
As fancy (and cute) as they may look, they are actually surprisingly easy to make and assemble. Your friends would think you slaved the whole day in the kitchen to make this dessert!! =) . I found the recipe for the puffs from my collection of cook books. Here’s the recipe for the profiteroles adapted from the book: “Best-Ever Pastry Cookbook” by Catherine Atkinson. The original recipe was for making chocolate éclairs. I borrowed the recipe to make the pastry part for my profiteroles. I've also included the recipe for the cream if you guys want to use cream filling instead of corn custard.
Pastry Ingredients:
  • 9 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • Pinch Of Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Butter, Diced
  • 2/3 Cup Water
  • 2 Large Eggs, Lightly Beaten
Corn Custard Filling Ingredients:
  • 2/3 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 2/3 Cup Creamed Corn
  • 1/4 Cup Custard Powder
  • 4-5 Tbsp Sugar
Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Heat (medium heat) butter and water in a pan until butter melts. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil. Remove pan from heat and immediately tip in all the flour. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until flour is mixed into the liquid.

Return pan to a low heat, then beat mixture until it leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Set pan aside and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. Add beaten eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition until you get a smooth, shiny paste which is thick enough to hold its shape.


Spoon (ice cream scoop works great!) or pipe choux pastry into rough balls (slightly larger than a golf ball) onto baking sheet. Sprinkle baking sheet with some water. Bake pastry for about 30 minutes, until pastry are well risen (about twice the size) and golden brown. Remove from oven, and make a neat horizontal slit along the sides of each pastry to release steam. Lower oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


To make filling, mix together ingredients of the corn custard filling in a pan. Then heat mixture over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and let custard cool down.

To assemble, enlarge original horizontal slits and cut pastry into halves. Fill pastry custard corn. Dust with some powdered sugar (if preferred) before serving.

June’s Notes: The recipe gave me about 10 profiteroles (about 3-4 bite size). I dunno about you, but I love having lots of corn custard filling in my puffs. Therefore, I filled each halves of the pastry with corn custard before sandwiching them together. I also removed some of the softer pastry inside the pastry shell so that I can fill more corn custard in it!
If you prefer regular cream filling, here’s the recipe from the book same book of which I extracted the profiterole pastry recipe. Note that I’ve not personally tried the recipe for this cream filling.
  • 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar, Sifted
  • 1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tsp Powdered Sugar (**Optional)
  • 1 Oz Bitter Sweet Chocolate (**Optional)
With a hand mixer, whip heavy cream with icing sugar and vanilla extract until cream holds its shape. Spoon whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with 1/2 inch plain nozzle. Squeeze filling into profiteroles and stop when cream starts protruding from where the nozzle is inserted into the profiteroles. You should have more than enough whipped cream for the profiteroles.
Here are 2 optional decorations that you could do to up-sell your profiteroles even more. Once the profiteroles have been filled, dust (with a sieve) them with the powdered sugar.
Another alternative is to microwave the chocolate for about 60-70 seconds, stirring the chocolate every 20 seconds. Once the chocolate has completely melted, dip a fork and drizzle over the profiteroles.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Takumi Japanese Restaurant @ Nashua, NH


I’ve recently treated my in-laws to lunch at Takumi Japanese Restaurant in Nashua, NH. Lunch at restaurants are usually very affordable and very worth the money spent. I’ve been to this restaurant in the past and have always enjoyed our meals there mostly on the weekend. This time, I decided to check out their week day lunch menu.

We went for “Takumi’s Teppan Express Lunch” which costs between $10.95 - $14.95. Prices vary with the choice of Teppanyaki entree you choose (Chicken or Calamari @ $10.95, Salmon or Shrimp @ $11.95, Filet Mignon or Scallops @ $14.95). With that choice of Teppanyaki entree, you get  a bowl of Miso soup and house salad as well as unlimited food to their mini buffet line which Takumi refers to as “Express Station”.


I chose the chicken entree while my in-laws took the shrimp entree. I thought the chicken entree was just average. The shrimp entree  (8 large shrimps) on the hand were juicy and succulent. The buffet line offers Noodles, Fried Rice, Crab Rangoon, Spring Rolls, Gyoza, Shumai, Stir Fry Beef, Chicken & Shrimp Stew, Green Beans, 2 kinds of Sushi, Shrimp Tempura, Chicken Katsu, and perhaps 1-2 more stuff. I thought the money we paid for lunch was well worth it. Everything was equally delicious and were fresh! You get quality food, cheap! And I went home with an indigestion….after one too many shrimp tempuras. =(

two thumbs up for this place! Dining room is tastefully decorated, wait staff were friendly and polite. It was a pleasant dining experience yet again…and my in-laws were definitely impressed!

Check out Takumi’s website HERE. I looked online on and found that they receive good reviews from other patrons!

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