Monday, August 31, 2009

What A Great Season!


In a glimpse, hubby’s USTA league has ended. Over the weekend, we traveled between South Hadley, MA and Ludlow MA for hubby’s USTA Sectional Championship tournaments. After fighting hard for 3 days, hubby’s team eventually lost the place to move on to National Championships which were to be held in Las Vegas in October. Everyone in the team was surely disappointed, especially since they lost the chance to represent New England by a wee bit. Well, at least everyone had fun and fought their best in the tournament. Congratulations to the winning team from Maine!

Good Bye, 2009… I’m looking forward to cheer for them in 2010!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lobster Fest

This household has been having lobsters too often… Can’t blame us when lobsters are abundant, right? This time around lobsters are at $4.99/lb. We promised our friend, Kiat from Chicago that we’ll buy him a lobster meal when he visits us in Boston. And he did visit us, so we have to keep our promise and got about 7-1/2 lbs of lobsters to share! I boiled one lobster for our special guest to enjoy.LobstersThe other 5 lobsters, I stir fried it 2 ways. The first (left) was black and pepper style. The second (right) was my favorite, salted duck egg style. YUMS!!!

 Lobsters2 Lobsters1

I did serve up some tamarind shrimp and some store bought roast chicken that night. It was surely a meal fit for a King, I think! In this case, it’s a meal fit for a good friend from Chicago! Thanks for visiting, Kiat! Hope to see you soon!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Spicy Pickled Daikon

I’ve had pickled vegetables in Asian restaurants and love them. A few days ago, after using some daikon to make soup, I still have half a daikon left. Unwilling to make the same soup in 2-3 days, I decided to make some sort of picked daikon reminiscing those Korean Kimchis I had in Korean restaurants.

Here’s my version, which MIL approved and asked for the recipe! Thank goodness, I wrote it down! Please use porcelain or a glass bowl for this recipe. Plastic bowls will most likely stain.




  • 1/2 Lb Daikon
  • 1/2 Cup White Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp Sambal Oelek (Depends on how spicy you want it to be)
  • 1 Sprig Scallions / Spring Onions


Peel daikon, quarter it length-wise and slice it to about 1/2” thick. Wash and chop scallions. In a porcelain/glass bowl, whisk vinegar, honey, sugar and sambal oelek. Add daikon and scallions, mix well and refrigerate over night (at least 12 hours). Serve it cold as an appetizer! =)


I used Sambal Oelek in this recipe. I’m so loving this chili paste easily found in grocery stores in the US. There are so many different (spicy) stuff you could make with Sambal Oelek, besides using it as is as a dipping sauce. oelek

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ju Hu Char (Jicama & Cuttlefish Stir Fry)

Ju Hu Char (also known as Bang Kuang Char) is definitely one of my favorite Nyonya vegetable dish. Ju Hu Char (in Hokkien dialect) literally translates to Cuttlefish Stir-Fry. The main ingredients in this dish are Jicama (pronouced as “Hicama”), Carrots, Mushroom and Dried Cuttlefish. Some recipes uses some pork or chicken meat in the dish, but I prefer to do without. Some versions of this dish are a little more wet and some on the drier set. It’s really up to your preference!

This dish is quite versatile and one can have several ways of eating it. I love to eat my Ju Hu Char with a huge helping of warm rice. Some eat this with a lettuce wrap and some sambal belacan as an appetizer. You could even use this and make it into a deep fried spring roll or “pie tee” (like what I made here) filling!  

Here’s my version of Ju Hu Char. I julienned (instead of the preferred shredding method) my jicama and carrots with my sub-par knife skills which resulted in a slightly chunkier looking Ju Hu Char compared to some others. =)




  • 1 Medium Jicama / Yam Bean (About 1-1/2 lb)
  • 1 Medium Carrot (About 3-1/2oz)
  • 12 Small Chinese Mushrooms, Presoaked
  • 1/8 Cup Shredded Dried Cuttlefish (Not the snack ones)
  • 2 Tbsp Shallot, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Soy Sauce, plus more if needed
  • White Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Cups Water, plus more if needed
  • 1 Tbsp Fried Shallot (For Garnish, Optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Scallion (For Garnish, Optional)


Remove skin of the jicama then finely shred/julienne the jicama into about 1-1/2” lengths. Set aside and repeat this to the carrot. Thinly julienne the presoaked mushrooms.

Heat oil in pan over medium high heat then add sliced shallots. Once the edges of the shallots turn slightly brown, add it garlic and stir fry until garlic turn slightly brown as well. Add in dried cuttlefish, fry until they start popping. Add mushroom and stir fry for about 1 minute. Then add jicama and carrot and continue stir frying, mixing them well. Add in salt, sugar, soy sauce, a few dashes of white pepper and water. Mix everything together, cover the pan and lower the heat to medium low. Let the jicama cook for about 10-15 minutes before checking on it. Taste the stir-fry and add additional seasoning if you prefer.

It depends on how finely shredded your jicama was and how soft you want your jicame to be, the dish should be done. You may need to add a little more water and cook for another few minutes if you want the jicama to be less crunchy. Remember to double check the seasoning! Transfer onto a serving platter and add fried shallot and scallions for garnish! JuhuChar1June’s Notes: If you cannot find pre-shredded dried cuttlefish, you can get those whole ones (as shown below) and cut them up. For this recipe, I used 2 small dried cuttlefish, soaked them and cut them into thin strips. Please note that these shredded cuttlefish are not the ready to eat snack ones. These are for cooking. You should be able to get the ingredients used in this recipe at most Chinese grocery store. CuttleFish

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Peachy Peach Cheesecake…

PeachCheesecakeNOT REALLY! =(. It tasted more like regular cheesecake.. I can’t taste the peachiness from the peach and peach jam I used.. Boo Hoo Hoo! And I was hoping to share the recipe here! =(

I decided to bake a peach cheesecake for hubby’s Birthday BBQ party on Sunday in a semi-desperate attempt to get rid of as many peaches as I can (I gave 8 away to friends, and still have about 8 in my fridge as of now). I modified my jackfruit cheesecake recipe (which I’ve yet to share and will try to as soon enough).

My MIL said it was good…. I thought it could pass for a plain cheesecake and definitely won’t call it Peach Cheesecake. I added a fresh peach (pureed) and some homemade peach jam to enhance the flavor… It did not work, I ended up with more cheese mixture and no peach flavor. My initial plan was just to make the cheesecake in a tart pan. However with me adding more and more peach jam to enhance the peachiness, I have more cheese mixture than planned! PeachCheesecake2I needed a quick solution so that the cheese mixture would not go to waste. I spontaneously dropped a shortbread cookie (Sandies shortbread fits perfectly) in each hole of my muffin pan (lined with some aluminum cupcake liners) and poured the cheese mixture over it. I ended up with about 6 mini cheesecakes which I topped up with some peach jam after baking it to enhance the peachiness and to hide the not so appealing concave top. They look oh-so-pretty, I would definitely repeat this method again, of course with another cheesecake recipe! =)PeachCheesecake1

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Peach Jam

PeachJamSo…what do I do when I have over 15lbs of fresh peaches…. I turn some into PEACH JAM! Found an easy recipe on and decided to give that a try…except reduce the sugar by a whole LOT! The peach jam was still very sweet for my preference! As a consolation, at least I know this homemade jam does not have additional preservatives. 

It was just peaches, sugar and a pot to cook the jam! =) I used 2 lbs of peaches and 1 lb of sugar and made the jam per the recipe. The peaches have natural pectin which gives the jam its consistency. My jam when cooled, was very thick and sweet, but good! I wonder if it was because of my cooking time? It’s no biggy, all I need to do is stick the jam into the microwave for a couple seconds to make it a little runny again! PeachJam1

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bak Sioh (Nyonya Pork Ribs)

authentic-se-asianThis is another Nyonya/Peranakan recipe I found in the book “Authentic Tastes of Southeast Asia” by Celine Carnegie. Again, I’ve never heard of this dish (nor have I eaten, i think) until I saw it in the book. And again, I don’t know what “Sioh” means. I guess I’m just not too familiar with Nyonya dishes!

I Googled to find out more on this recipe and found that most of the recipes for this dish uses soybean paste and chicken instead of pork. I do see a couple recipes (like this one HERE) on the net that doesn’t use soybean paste. This easy-to-make dish has 2 distinct flavors; tamarind and coriander.




  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • 1-1/2 Lb Pork Spare Ribs, Cut Into 2 Inches
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 2 Tbsp Tamarind Liquid **
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Coriander
  • 1/4 Cup White Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Shallot (or Regular Onions), Roughly Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Palm Sugar (or Brown/White Sugar)
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt

**To make tamarind liquid, soak 3 teaspoons tamarind pulp/paste in 2-1/2 tbsp hot water. Stir and strain mixture when cool.


Toast coriander in a dry pan over low heat until aromatic. Place coriander, tamarind liquid, white vinegar, shallot, palm sugar and salt into blender and process until you get a smooth paste.

Heat pan/wok over medium heat and add oil. Fry paste for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add ribs and stir well to coat with paste. Add water, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Uncovered simmer for another 30 minutes until pork is tender, stirring occasionally as the sauce has dried up. Transfer onto serving platter, garnish if desired and serve immediately with warm rice.

June’s Notes: I end up adding 2 tbsp of palm sugar and 1/2 tsp of salt to achieve the sweetness and saltiness I like! =)  This recipe is quite versatile, you could use chicken, beef and even duck in this recipe!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Peach Picking @ Parlee Farms

Peaches are in season at Parlee Farms (I’ve mentioned this farm so many times, it felt like I’m working for them or something. FYI, I have no affiliation with them!) and I decided to head over there with my MIL to experience some peach picking! The only fruits I’ve picked are strawberries and blueberries and I figured peach picking would be equally fun.

We got there early in the am, to avoid the scorching heat (temperatures in the area have surpassed 90 Fahrenheit) and to get first pick of the fresh peaches. We paid $15 for a peck (10lb box) and took the free hayride into the peach orchard. Peaches were abundant, huge and luscious looking. The best part, there wasn’t many people. So, we took our own sweet time to choose and pick the crème de la crème.

The peaches were all so huge, yummy looking and we were so tempted to pick all of them! It was easy to pick them, don’t need to bend over too much (like strawberry picking). All we need to do is find a good looking peach, and twist it. If the peach is ripe, it should be easy to detach it from the branch. Our peck soon seem very small as we kept piling it with freshly picked peaches! =) Here are some pictures to show you our adventure in the orchard.


We piled the peck sky-high with about 15lbs of peaches (no wonder my arms were sore the next day!). And they only cost us $15! That’s about $1/lb, even cheaper (and way BIGGER) than getting them from the grocery stores ($1.49/lb).


We have many many plans to use up these fresh peaches…… We’re giving some away to friends, ate some fresh, turn some into peach jam, make peach cheesecake, and perhaps peach ice cream if we still have any left! =) Stay tuned for my experiments with these peaches!

Ahh… how I wish my mom (and dad) were here…….They would have loved to join in the fruit picking fun! =) I’m trying to convince them to visit me next year, around August. That way, they’ll have a chance to pick some berries too!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

(Boston?) Chili Lobster

My MIL wanted to eat lobster cooked in some kind of Sweet and Spicy Sauce like the famous Chili Crab dish commonly found in Malaysia and Singapore.  I won’t claim that this dish is Malaysian as there are debates that it originates from Singapore. I guess it depends on who you ask! I browse through  my “Authentic Tastes Of Southeast Asia” book by Celine Carnegie and found a recipe for Singapore Chili Crab in it. authentic-se-asianThis recipe that I’m sharing is based on her Singapore Chili Crab recipe with a little modification. This dish is slightly sweet, spicy and “garlicky”!  Since I’m not a big fan of crabs, and lobster are still reasonably cheap ($4.99/lb); I used lobster for mine. I personally think that lobsters are easier to eat and perhaps a lil’ less messy?




  • 1-1/2 Lb Live Lobster (Or Mud Crab)
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Minced Shallots
  • 1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 4 Tbsp Garlic Chili Sauce
  • 4 Tbsp Tomato Sauce / Ketchup
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock 
  • 1-2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1Tbsp Chopped Scallions/Green Onions (Optional Garnish)


Please see my notes below on how to prepare the lobster or crab for cooking.

Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add shallot and garlic and stir fry until slightly brown. In a bowl, whisk together ketchup, garlic chili sauce, and chicken stock (You can double this mixture if you want more gravy). Add prepared lobster/crab and sauce mixture into the pan. Make sure your lobster/crab gets a good coating of the sauce. Add in sugar (adjust sweetness according to your preference) and cook this until sauce slightly thickens and your lobster/crab turns bright orange. Transfer to serving platter, garnish with scallions and serve immediately with warm rice.

June’s Notes:

How to prep the lobster: I bought a 1-1/2 lb live and kicking lobster, quickly rinse it and dunk it into boiling water (enough to cover the lobster) just long enough to kill it (Sorry, Mr. Lobster!). Let it cool a little before cutting it up and watch out for the hot liquid inside the lobster! Cut the legs and claws off the lobster. As for the claws, you just just slightly crack it (Use a nutcracker) or cut it length wise. Twist the head off the lobster or use a knife to severe the lobster tail from it’s body. You may need to remove and rinse off the tomalley (the green icky looking stuff) inside the lobster. Cut the lobster tail into 4-5 bite size pieces. Put all this in a bowl and drain it just before cooking.

If you are brave to run your knife into the lobster, check out this tutorial on how to kill it. I do like to keep the head whole for garnish! =)

How to prep the crab: Remove large claws. Remove and discard the flap from the body section. Pull the body away from the back shell and remove and discard the gills and stomach sac. Cut the body section into 4 pieces and crack the large claw shells with the back of a heavy knife. Wash the crab and drain. Scrub the back shell and keep it whole to use as a garnish. (This “tutorial” on prepping the crab is extracted from the book: Authentic Tastes Of Southeast Asia by Celine Carnegie”)

You can also view a different tutorial on cleaning and cutting the crab HERE.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Hubby’s Birthday Cake

Would you love a slice of green tea cake with red bean filling? =) HubbysCake2It was a simple family celebration for hubby’s birthday this year with only my in-laws. I thought hubby would appreciate celebrating his birthday with just the family since it’s been 9 years since he has celebrated his birthday with his parents. =) He had some steamboat/hotpot for his birthday last night. We’ll have a casual bbq with some friends over on Sunday for a second round of low-key birthday celebration!

I’ve fallen in love with chiffon cakes and decided to make green tea chiffon cake for hubby’s birthday. I used the same recipe for green tea chiffon cake I made last week and increased the green tea by another teaspoon. This year’s birthday I decided to make do without fondant decorations. I’ve used fondant to decorate his birthday cake for the past 3-4 years (I’ll try to share pictures on those), and I’ve gotten a little bored with it..though I’m still a amateur at fondant decorating. I decided to use freshly whipped cream and chocolate instead. That way, it won’t be overly sweet and hopefully more appealing to my in-laws.

I made the green tea chiffon cake in a regular pan instead of a tube pan, slice it horizontally to fill it up with red bean filling. For my cake filling, I whipped some cream and mix in equal portion of whipped cream and store bought red bean paste. I covered the sides of the cake with more whipped cream, covered the ugly sides with green tea and black sesame flavored white chocolate. I got the idea for the chocolate pieces HERE.

Voila…….. a little birthday cake for hubby, I call my masterpiece! I thought the cake had a bit too much green… Oh well, as long as the cake tasted ok! =P HubbysCakeHubbysCake1

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Darling! XOXO


Just to know each day
That you are here
To listen and love,
To laugh and care,
Makes each new day
Seem bright and new.
Make each moment become
a treasured memory.
I love you more with each new day!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my darling Husband!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Green (Vege) Curry Anyone?

I probably have mentioned time and over again that I like trying new stuff. I like to be able to expand my palate and try the different kind of stuff out there!  If it’s good, I’ll take more… if it’s not to my palate, at least I can say that I’ve tried it once! =) Well, I lied…there are some limitations to my “taste adventures” insects or innards, please.

I was at a Southeast East Asian market recently and saw some green golf-ball size eggplants, more commonly known as Thai Eggplants. These skin of the eggplants when cooked, turn brown (and the flesh turns soft) just like the regular eggplants. GreenCurry1And since I have a can of Maesri brand green curry paste at home, I decided to get the eggplants and make some kind of curry with it! I’ve never used this brand nor have I made Thai green curry before this. So I decided to follow the instruction on the back of the can and used some eggplants, okra, tomatoes, lemongrass and some basil leaves to make a pot of Thai Green (Vege) Curry. GreenCurryThe verdict of the Maesri brand green curry paste was YUM! I don’t need to add seasoning of any sorts to the curry as the paste was already well seasoned. All I did was add water and coconut milk per instructions. I will definitely get this brand again if I were to cook another hot of Thai Green Curry! =)GreenCurry2

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pandan Chiffon Cake

I finally managed to get hold of some pandan paste and pandan leaves. It’s finally time to make some Pandan Chiffon cake and again do what I do best (after cooking?) – GOOGLING (for recipes)! Many recipes require more than 6 eggs for the Pandan Chiffon Cake (perhaps it yields more batter too) and I was cheap did not have that many eggs to spare (and was lazy to run to the store for more eggs). I also noticed that a lot of the recipes call for a lot of sugar compared to the green tea chiffon cake recipe I used.

I ended up modifying the green tea chiffon cake recipe I made a few days back. This Pandan Chiffon Cake recipe is less sweet compared to many others. Nothing wrong to be a little more health conscious, right? Although my cake had cracked, it turned out light and fluffy, fragrant and delicious! My MIL and hubby approved of it! =) Next time, I’ll reduce the oven temperature and see if that will give me a smoother crack-free surface!PandanChiffonI’m now contemplating if I should get a aluminum tube pan and see how the chiffon cake bake in it. My mom who read my entry on the green tea chiffon cake thought that my cake was not high and fluffy enough. She said that I might have over mixed the batter, hence a heavier (looking) cake. I convinced her that the cake was light and fluffy and that I had mix the batter ever so gently ! I also tried to convince her it was my non-stick pan, though I should also tell her I used a BIG non-stick pan! Oh well, we’ll see when I cave in to get a new aluminum tube pan.




Part A:

  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
  • 30 Gm Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • Pinch of salt

Part B:

  • 4 Tbsp Warm Corn Oil
  • 100 Ml Thick Coconut Milk/Cream
  • 1/4 Tsp Pandan Paste
  • 2 Tbsp Pandan Juice

Part C:

  • 100 Gm Cake Flour
  • 3/4 Tsp Baking Powder

Part D:

  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 Tsp Cream Of Tartar
  • 30 Gm Granulated Sugar (Increase to 50-60 Gm if you want a sweeter cake)


In a medium bowl, cream ingredients (A) with hand whisk till sugar dissolved. Add in ingredients (B) in the respective order and mix well before adding the next item. Sieve in ingredients (C) and mix till no lumps. In a large bowl beat egg whites with electric beater till frothy, sprinkle in the cream of tartar. Beat till white in color and add in sugar by thirds. Egg white should be beaten till stiff peaks are formed.

Put half portion of egg white into yolk mixture and mix it with a hand whisk in 6 strokes. Pour yolk mixture into the rest of the egg white and mix well with hand whisk. Put batter into a chiffon cake pan (20cm / about 8 inches), hit the pan on a hard surface several times to release the bubbles and bake at 350F for 35 -45 minutes or till cooked.

When the cake is cooked, remove from oven and hit the pan once on a hard surface to loosen the cake texture then invert cooked cake on a wire rack to cool for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove cake from cake pan (you may need to run a knife around the edges) and leave aside to cool completely.PandanChiffon3

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ayam (Chicken) Pong Teh

I don’t know what Pong Teh means, but Ayam Pong Teh is basically Chicken, Potatoes and Mushroom braised in Soybean Paste. This is a delicious and easy to make dish of Nonya/Peranakan origin. You can also use pork ribs in this dish. This will then change the name of the dish to Babi (Pig/Pork) Pong Teh, of course!

I’ve never heard of this dish prior to this and came across the dish from my own collection of recipe books. This recipe is by Celine Carnegie gathered during her trip to South East Asia and can be found in her book; “Authentic Tastes Of Southeast Asia”. authentic-se-asianThe dish is slightly sweet, slightly salty and easy to make! Here’s the recipe for the Ayam Pong Teh:




  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 4 Tbsp Shallots, Finely Minced
  • 2 Tbsp Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp Soybean Paste 
  • 1 Lb Chicken (Bone In), Cut Into 2 Inch Pieces
  • 1-1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 Medium Potatoes, Peeled and Cut Into Wedges
  • 6 (Canned) Button Mushrooms, Halved
  • 1 Tsp Sweet Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tsp Sugar


Heat pan over medium high heat and add oil. Fry shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes, stinging constantly until dry and lightly browned. Add soybean paste and continue frying for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add chicken and stir to coat with the paste. Gradually add water and then potatoes.

Bring to boil and cook for 3 minutes over medium high heat. Then, stir in mushroom, soy sauce and sugar. Lower heat to medium low and continue cooking for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until chicken and potatoes are cooked/tender. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add about 1/2 cup of water and let the chicken simmer for about 5 minutes. Transfer onto a serving platter, garnish with some green onions/scallions and serve this with some white rice.


June’s Notes : If you can’t get Soybean Paste, Fermented Soy Beans will work just fine. You just need to mash it into a paste. You can do so in a bowl with the back of a spoon or fork. Depending on the brand and the saltiness of the beans, you may need to use more than stated in the recipe. I used about 3 Tbsp of (self-mashed) Fermented Soy Beans in my dish. AyamPongTehFor this recipe, I would recommend using dark meat. Chicken Legs (Thighs and Drumsticks) are the yummiest! As for the mushrooms, Chinese/Shitake Mushrooms are a good substitute.

If you don’t have sweet soy sauce in the pantry, it’s ok to use dark soy sauce and add another 1 Tsp of sugar to the dish.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Of Brady & Pinky and Their Play Date?

We brought Brady to Paul & Janet’s house over the weekend for a little play date with Pinky, their new Mini Schnauzer (one of my favorite breed). The puppy is about 2-3 months old and have grown since the last time we met.

It’s so wonderful to see that Brady is very patient with this puppy even though she tried to bite his tail and annoy/tease him. PinkyPinky is indeed one cute pup! The way she hopped around the room reminded me of a bunny! She’s just an adorable little thing! But she does like to chew on things (toys, cables, harness)…. something unavoidable with puppies…. I guess..


Can’t wait to see her again! It’s nice to be able to play with someone else’s puppy without the headaches of owning one yourself! Hehe!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Impressing The In-Laws?

I told hubby that with my in-laws here, all of a sudden I have a mental block of what to cook! With only hubby and I at home, I had no trouble whipping stuff up. Simple or complicated, good or bad… it’s just for hubby and I!

With my in-laws with me, I’m having trouble cooking! Well, it’s more like I’ve gotten quite nervous and stressed up when I cook! Especially since they are also a constant reader of my blog, I want to make sure that my food taste as good as it looks on the blog!! Anyway, here are the first 2 meals, I made for them……. I think they turned out ok!

For lunch, I made a simple stir-fried yellow noodles with mushroom, Bok Choy, carrots and pork.FriedNoodles And for dinner that night…. it was Black Bean Bitter Gourd Chicken, Stir Fried Bok Choy and Assam (Tamarind) Prawn. Dinner8I would need to do more reading and googling to get more inspirations for our dinner menu for the next 5 weeks! =)

Friday, August 14, 2009



The few days leading to the arrival of my in-laws, hubby and I have been cleaning the house inside out. Scrubbing every tile, cleaning every nooks and crannies and making sure everything is proper! It took us about 3-4 days to slowly clean each part of the house and make sure everything is in immaculate condition! =)

The pristine condition did not last too long………in no time, Brady’s hair was everywhere again..! Oh well, at least we did out best!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nectarine Upside Down Cake

NectarinesI couldn’t resist and ended up buying 4 luscious looking nectarines from the local farm a few days ago. Don’t they look simply irresistible?? I somehow didn’t feel like eating them fresh and wanted to make something out of them. Pie or cake, anything to incorporate some of these lovely nectarines I got from the farm.

I found a few recipes online and decided to try an upside down cake recipe by David Lebovitz. Upside down cake usually has chopped / sliced fruits (i.e. pineapples, pears, peaches, cherries, etc) which are placed at the bottom of the pan before the batter is poured in. This will create a decorative topping once the cake is inverted and eaten upside down!

The cake turned out delicious and I was able to taste 3 distinctive flavors. The first was the tartness of the nectarine, followed by the gooey sweetness from the caramel then the buttery flavor of the cake. It is best to have the same fruit to cake height ratio. Instead of using nectarines, David also suggest using plums, cherries, cranberries, apricots, etc.

Here’s the upside down cake by David Lebovitz.



Fruit Layer Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 3-4 Nectarines, Thickly Sliced

Cake Layer Ingredients:

  • 8 Tbsp Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Eggs @ Room Temperature
  • 1-1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1-1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk @ Room Temperature


Melt the 3 tbsp of butter in a 10” cast iron skillet, or cake pan. Add the brown sugar and cook while stirring, until the sugar is melted and begins to bubble. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, arrange the fruit in a pinwheel design, add berries (to fill gaps) if desired. Set aside.NectarineCakePreheat oven to 350F. Beat the 8 tbsp of butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time and beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in half of the flour mixture, then the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients. Do not overmix; just stir until the flour is barely incorporated into the batter.

Spread the batter over the fruit, then bake for 45 minutes to one hour (depending on the size of the pan, and the thickness of the batter.) The cake is ready when it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and the center feels just set.

Remove from oven, let cool about 20 minutes, then place a cake plate on top, and wearing oven mitts, flip the cake out on to the plate, taking care, as there may be some hot caramel that might escape.

Serve this cake warm, perhaps with a scoop of vanilla ice cream? =)

June’s Notes: I cut my nectarines to slightly over 1/2 inch thick and used only about 2 nectarines (they were quite large). However, I think using 3 nectarines would have been better since the fruits will shrink after baking. I would also suggest using firm nectarines (or other fruits) as the fruit and cake will hold up better. You will not get over mushy fruit on the top!

I made a mini upside down cake in a small ramekin I have. It turned out a little dry (coz the cake was a lil’ sky high?), and lacked of nectarines. I wonder if I overbaked it either, since it was a just a small dish and I had it baking for about 40 minutes. Never the less, it looked beautiful and perfect for individual servings!

  NectarineCake3 NectarineCake2

My actual nectarine upside down cake on the other hand turned out perfect. I made my upside down cake in a glass pie dish (9.5” x 1.5”) as I do not have a cast iron skillet and did not want to use my baking pan. I made the caramel sauce in a saucepan, then poured it in my glass baking dish and followed the rest of the recipe accordingly. I baked the cake for about 55-60 minutesNectarineCake5

Please also note that the cake batter is a little on the thick side. That is ok, as you do have a layer of liquid and fruits on the layer of the pan. Once the cake is inverted, juices/liquid will flow into the cake!
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