Special Compilation of Sarawakian Cuisines

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INTRODUCTION

Since I started my blog about a year ago, I have blogged quite a number of Sarawak cuisines and I will add as and when I have blogged about new Sarawak cuisines. Some of these cuisines are uniquely Sarawak cuisines. Take a look and see what are these cuisines and remember, if you travel to Sarawak, do try these cuisines locally. For those who are interested to read more about Sarawak,

“Sarawak  is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang (“Land of the Hornbills“), Sarawak is situated on the northwest of the island, bordering the Malaysian state of Sabah to the northeast, Indonesia to the south, and surrounding Brunei. It is the largest Malaysian state. The administrative capital is Kuching, which has a population of 700,000.Major cities and towns include Miri (pop. 350,000),Sibu (pop. 257,000) and Bintulu (pop. 200,000)”. As of the last census (2010), the state population was 2,420,009.“  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarawak)

As per Sarawak Tourism’s “top 10 iconic food” in 2012 are:

  • Sarawak Laksa (included in this post)
  • Kolo Mee (included in this post)
  • Ayam Pansuh – Chicken cooked in bamboo tube
  • Midin Belacan – Jungle fern fried with shrimp paste
  • Ikan Terubok Masin – A hard to get river estuary fish
  • Umai – Shashimi alike but Sarawak version with different seasonings and condiments
  • Kompia – A traditional Foochow bread that is bagel look alike
  • Terong Dayak Soup – A special breed of yellow brinjal commonly found in Sarawak
  • Dabai – A black colour fruit that local Chinese called is olive and can be preserved to be used as side dish for porridges or rice
  • Kampua Noodle – A type of Foochow noodle which was rather similar to kolo mee as mentioned above but mostly served in plate with slightly different type of noodles and condiments.

Being in Singapore, I have difficulty to blog a lot of the cuisines from my home town due to the lack of raw material. However, the effort continues. If you are keen to learn more about Sarawak Cuisines, you can visit my humble page of Authentic Sarawak Food and History. However, I have to apologize the page had not been updated for quite a while due to time constraints. I also wanted to take this opportunity to invite interested Sarawakian readers who had a passion in Sarawak Cuisines to take over this Facebook Page.

Please click on the pictures or blue colour links to go to the respective recipes.


Noodles Dishes

Sarawak Laksa – Cooking Illustration – A unique laksa that Most Sarawakian will be proud of. You can refer to here where I have written some concise history for ICNN travel report. In this post, I have written a very detail method of preparation for this special laksa dish.

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Sarawak Laksa – Recipe – Most of the Sarawak household have cooked the laksa by using the ready pre-mix laksa paste. Being in Singapore, I have decided to try preparing my own. Overseas readers, if you are keen to prepare your own Sarawak laksa paste, you can read this post and start your own adventures.

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Sarawak Laksa – History . Why Most Sarawakian are very proud of this special laksa dish, but there is a lack of literature write up on the history and evolution of this laksa dish and why is it unique to Sarawak. If you want to go a bit further to understand the history of commercially sold Sarawak Laksa paste, you can read this short history of Sarawak Laksa paste.

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Sarawak Kolo Noodles or Dry Noodles – Sarawak Kolo noodles is rather special type of dry noodles (干捞面)that most if not all Sarawakian will be proud of. A light colour dry noodles and comfortably sits after Sarawak Laksa in the food ranking. As far as my circle of friends are concerned, none have ever rejected this noodles and Sarawakian can have this for breakfast until supper.

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Kolo Beehoon – What if you can’t the special noodles? My wife used to prepare this simplified version of kolo beehoon for our breakfast. Of course the ingredients will depends on what we have in the fridge..

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Tomato Yimin Noodles (茄汁伊面) – This noodle is rather special as it is cooked with tomato ketchup. The original noodles are deep fried noodles. In this illustration, I have used the commercially sold yimin instead. I have always called Sarawak style spaghettis and see if you concur with me.

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Meat Dishes

Motherworts Chicken (益母草姜酒鸡) This is a traditional confinement dish for ladies who just gave birth. Motherwort have been used by midwives for centuries in Europe to assist in delivery, How this special herb become a confinement dish in Sarawak remained unclear, possibly because of the influenced of British during previous colonisation of Sarawak.. Though it is a confinement dish, but it is well liked by all age groups and sexes.

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Pastry, Cakes and Snacks

Chinese Style Citrus Zested Pancake (风吹饼,风筝饼, 烘吹饼) – A rather unique type of snack in Sarawak and lots of Sarawakian Chinese love this snack. As constrasted to this illustration, it is usually round and without sesame seeds . For some Sarwakian Chinese dialect group, this is also another type of moon cake they are having.

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Sarawak Midnight Cake a cake which is full of breakfast beverages ingredients, a rich dense and dark coloured cake usually served during festivals such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Gawai Dayak etc. It is so dark that I have decided to call it a midnight cake and taste is awesome and rich.

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Horlicks Lapis (好力克千层蛋糕)– Sarawak is famous for it layered cake after introduction from Indonesian in late 1980’s. The lapis or layered cake are many with its special design and flavouring. This is one of the classic household lapis.

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Coffee Peppermint Lapis (咖啡薄荷千层蛋糕)– Another type of lapis for your consideration though the more common type is the chocolate peppermint lapis. This is the healthier version of lapis.

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Sarawak Style Butter Buns – The uniqueness of Sarawak style butter buns is its buttery fillings. Its filling is made from mixing the butter with some flour. Sarawakian craved for this and there are no close substitute of these buns found elsewhere. Any mystery as to why this bun is common in Sarawak but not elsewhere.

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Popiah  – Sarawak Style – Though it may be a generalization, Sarawak style popiah is generally came with dry type of fillings. Unlike West Malaysia or Singapore version, jicama were not simmer until soft. With these drier filling, popiah can be found in stalls selling kuih and other snacks. One can just pick up one and have it on its way to office.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 21 March 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  

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If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 1800 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD. You can also join the Food Bloggers and Foodies United Group Facebook Group to see more recipes.

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A Quick And Easy Dish–Tuna Kiwi Salad

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INTRODUCTION

Today is Saturday and I have done my marketing earlier in the morning when my kids are sleeping and the crowds in the supermarket were lesser. I have just completed my marketing, cleaned my seafood and put back to the fridge and is time to issue my post today.

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Some of my close friends were asking me why am I having  a daily post.. Frankly speaking, I am tired of taking pictures, cooked, taking pictures again, compile, blog and publish. I do not have any worries about of what I am going to blog about as I have to cook at least one meal a day and there are many household recipes that I can blog. However, it is my intention to build up my readership number and my recipe database within a year.. That explained the reasons of my daily posting and  I will alternate between household savoury dishes and pastry items..I am sorry to take up your time to hear an old “grumbling”……

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Putting that aside, today I am going to share a very simple salad recipe that I have prepared yesterday. It should be one of the healthiest cuisines that I have blogged about as the fats involved is minimal and the ingredients are packed with proteins, vitamins and minerals. This is my own creation and I do not have recipe for you to refer. It is really a refreshing alternative after a few post of meat dishes such as Dongpo Meat and Chinese Barbecue Pork.

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I have named this salad as “TUNA KIWI SALAD” though the major ingredients were tomatoes. I will also share a number of presentations that you can consider how to serve this delicious salad.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: About 6-8 persons

As it is a salad, therefore, I am rather reluctant to give an exact quantity. The quantity and types of ingredients are for reference only.

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Must haves

  • 3-4 large tomatoes

  • 1 small canned tuna (either in oil, with brine or with mayonnaise)

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (if canned tuna is in brine is used)

  • 2 kiwi fruits de-skinned and cut into small cubes.

  • Pinches of salt

  • Some shredded cheddar cheeses

Optional and substitutable

  • Pinches of black pepper

  • Some chopped coriander leaves or basil or Italian herbs preferred

  • 2 boiled eggs – cut into small pieces

  • Some pine nuts (not in picture)

  • Some cherry tomatoes (not in picture)

  • Some Chinese lettuces

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Cut the tomatoes into half. Use a spoon to take away the centre. Chop the centre into small pieces. You can either keep the seeds or throw away the seeds depending on how moist is your overall salad. However, it is advisable to throw away the seeds and juices but keep the centre. This illustration included the seeds and hence the salad was a bit moist.

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  • Cut the kiwi, boiled eggs, tomatoes and tuna into small pieces or chunks.

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  • Put all in a big mixing bowl. Add either chopped coriander leaves or dry Italian herbs, black pepper, pinches of salt and shredded cheddar cheeses. Stir until well mixed. Note: You have to be careful about the addition of pinches of salt.

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If your tuna is soaked in brine when you purchased it, there is no need to add salt but you may need to add in olive oil. If your tuna is soaked in oil when you purchased it, there is no need to add olive oil but you have to add it pinches of salt. If you prefer, you can add in some lemon juices.

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  • Scoop out the salad in the tomato cups or fresh lettuce leaves. Dust with additional cheeses or black pepper if desired.

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CONCLUSION

Personally, I liked this tuna salad very much. It is very healthy and easy to prepare. Try and see if you like the salad or not.

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Hope you like the post today and cheers.

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 For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s Facebook Page.

An International Pie That Will Suit Everybody’s Taste Buds–Japanese Curry Flavoured Potato Pie

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INTRODUCTION 

As a Malaysian, I loved curry but I can’t cook curry that is spicy because I have to consider the palate of my kids. Beside curry, I loved curry puffs but I do not really like the filo type of pastry or pastry that requires deep frying… and… I like the type of pastry that is usually used to make apple pies or chicken pies.  Therefore, I have decided to make “curry pie” using Japanese curry cubes. 

When I first travelled  overseas donkey years back, I always craved for Malay or Nonya curries. However, most restaurants overseas did not sell these curries. The more popular curries was the Japanese curries. Initially, I never like Japanese curries because it was sweet and not spicy hot.

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I did not “touch” these curries for many years until very recently because of my kids. My kids liked curries but they can’t take the spiciness. When we cooked curry, they will fight for the potatoes. When they know there was a curry dish, before their meals, they would take a cup of cold water with them. During the meal, they would dip the curried potatoes in the cold water and ate them. At times, they would run around the dining table because the washed curried potatoes were still too spicy hot for them.

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Two three month’s ago, my kind neighbour gave us some Japanese curries that she cooked and I am very happy to see that my kids were eating happily and requesting for more. Since then, it was quite common for us to cook Japanese curries at home and personally, I have get used to the taste and fell in love with it. Bear with me, the next post will also be another Japanese curry post and I am sure you will like it.

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This recipe incorporated both the Western and Asian cuisines ingredients. It is a normal pie crust and you have full flexibility to shape the pie crust topping to your desired pattern. It is cooked with Japanese curry cubes which was not spicy such that it will be more acceptable to Western readers. To make it creamier like Western pie, I have added fresh cream and some parmesan cheeses. The potatoes and curry should be well liked by the Asian readers as it is very common that potatoes are used curry cuisines.

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WHAT IS REQURIED

For Potatoes Fillings (Make 8 tarts)

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  • 3-4 potatoes (boiled and cut into cubes)

  • 100 grams of cauliflowers

  • 60 grams of Japanese curry cubes (about 3 curry cubes depending on brand)

  • 1/4 cups of parmesan cheese (optional)

  • 1/2 cups of double cream or whipping creams (optional)

  • Pinches of salt and sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups of water

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For Pie Pastry

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  • 50 grams egg yolks (lightly beaten)

  • 250 grams plain flour (sifted)

  • 20 grams of icing sugar (optional)

  • 125 grams of chilled butter cut into cubes

  • 50 grams of icy cold water

  • 1 egg yolk for egg washing

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STEPS OF PREPARTION

Preparation of Potato Filling

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  • In a pot, put the water and curry cubes and bring to boil under high heat. Once boiled, turn to medium heat. Add cauliflowers and let it boil for 1-2 minutes. Add in potatoes cubes and boil for 2-3 minutes. Add in cream, salt, sugar and parmesan cheese. Boil for another one minute before off the heat. Let it cool and set aside for later use.

  • It is wise that you take some cooked curried potatoes and taste whether the fillings suits your taste buds. It have to be slightly high handed with your seasonings because this pie crust is not very sweet.

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Preparation of Pie Pastry and Baking The Pastry

  • Preheat your to 180 degree Celsius.

  • Beat together one egg yolk, few drops of cooking oil and 2 tablespoon of water. Stir well and sift into a container. Set aside for later egg washing.

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put butter cubes and sifted plain flour together. Use the finger tips to rub the butter cubes and flours together until it become crumby. Add in sifted icing sugars and continue to rub until well mix. Add lightly beaten eggs and water, mix slowly until it become a dough.

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  • Have a clinging wrap on the table, place the dough on top of the clinging wrap. Put another clinging wrap on top of the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a flat sheet with about 0.5 cm thickness. Transfer the dough to the pie tin and use your hand to press the dough against the sides and make it as even as possible.

  • Roll the remaining pie pastry into a flat piece, cut to small strips and set aside for later use.

  • Fill the pie tins with the curried potatoes. Place the dough strips on top of the curried potatoes in your desired pattern. (Initially, as I am unsure whether I have adequate dough to made a net pattern, therefore I have started the pie with this pattern. Subsequently, since I have some dough left, I have put additional strips to make it into a net pattern.)

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  • Use a brush to brush pie crust evenly and baked in the oven for 15 minutes .

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  • Take the pie out and perform the second egg washing. Wash thoroughly and bake for another 5 minutes.  Note that this step is optional but I like to do this for all my pastries. Should the pie have signs of burnt, lower the temperature by about 20 degrees and continue baking.

  • Transfer to the wire rack for cooling. Let it cool completely before take the pies out from the pie tins. 

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CONCLUSION

If you like curry puff, you will like this. The pies were prepared after taking into consideration the needs of both Asian and Westerner’s taste buds. Of course, if you like to make the curried potatoes using the local curry paste, it is definitely acceptable. If you like it spicy hot, add in some chilli paste… But I preferred the sweet Japanese curried potatoes with a mild taste of cheeses and creams.

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Hope you like the post today and cheers.

For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .

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If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 1000 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD. You can also join the Food Bloggers and Foodies United Group Facebook Group to see more recipes.

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Small Appetite Foodie’s Apple Pie

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INTRODUCTION

Being a business analyst before I become a food blogger, I like to do research if times permit. Therefore, readers who read my blog may be wondering why I like to quote Wikipedia’s definition. Seriously, I like Wikipedia’s concise definition on the food that I blogged about and at times I will use it as a benchmark against the food that I made. The same applies for today’s pastry, apple pie.

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Per Wikipedia’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_pie,

“An apple pie is a fruit pie (or tart) in which the principal filling ingredient is apples. It is sometimes served with whipped cream or ice cream on top, or alongside cheddar cheese. Pastry is generally used top-and-bottom, making it a double-crust pie, the upper crust of which may be a circular shaped crust or a pastry lattice woven of strips; exceptions are deep-dish apple pie with a top crust only, and open-face Tarte Tatin.”

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I have made an apple pie yesterday. When I was chatting with a friend in Google plus about my red dragon fruit cheesecake, he was asking me if I know how to make an apple pie. I told him that I have not prepared before as apples are rather expensive. Unlike Western countries, most apples were imported from temperate countries. However, I have tasted apple pies before and it should not be a big problem for me to replicate the apple pie that I have eaten before.

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Actually, the apple pie that I am most familiar with are those sold in McDonalds. However, those pies were deep fried and what I am going to share in this post is the modified version of baked apple pie to suit Asian Foodies’ smaller appetite for sweet desserts… Pardon me if I am wrong..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Dough – make one 8 inch pie without  top pastry

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  • 35 grams egg (lightly beaten)

  • 150 grams plain flour (sifted)

  • 30 grams of icing sugar (sifted)

  • 75 grams of chilled butter cut into cubes

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

Note: If you want to cover the entire pie with top pastry, you will have to multiply by 1.5 times the above volume. The above volume did not intend to have a upper pie crust like American style apple pie.

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Apple Fillings

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  • 4 large apples (de-skin, pitted and cut into 0.5 cm slices)

  • half cup of brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg powder

Note:

  • Selection of apples – Apples selected shall be those that are crunchy in texture such as Fuji Apple or Granny’s green apple.

  • Quantity of apples – The apples stated here are for the preparation of a flat thin pie of about 1.5 cm height. If you like the American version of apple pie, you may want to consider to increase your apples to at least 6 large apples (or even 8 depending on how deep your baking glass dish can take)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put butter cubes and sifted plain flour together. Use the finger tips to rub the butter cubes and flours together until it become crumby. Add in sifted icing sugars and continue to rub until well mix.

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  • Add lightly beaten eggs and vanilla essence, mix slowly until it become a dough. Put it in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes. Note that if you are able to handle soft dough, you can by pass this step.

  • Have a clinging wrap on the table, take the dough from the fridge and place on top of it. Put another clinging wrap on top of the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a flat sheet with about 0.5 cm thickness. Transfer the dough to the pie tin and use you hand to press the dough against the sides and make it as even as possible. Use a fork to make some holes in the dough (optional). Set aside for later use. If you have some left over dough, just keep it to put on top of the apple fillings.

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  • In another big mixing bowl, add the sugar and spices to the apple slices. Mix well and pour on top of the pie pastry.  Level it. If you have additional pastry left from the making of bottom pastry, your can put on top of the apple fillings.

Note: If you have opt to cover the apple pie with top pastry, cover the pastry on top the apple and make some hole to the let the water vapour escape when the apple is cooked.

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  • Bake in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for about 25-30 minutes or when the pie crust turn golden yellow. (Note that this is a thin pie therefore, cooking time is relatively short). Egg wash the top pastry if desired.

  • Can be served either hot or cold with sour cream, ice cream or even custards.

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CONCLUSIONS

There are many variations of apple pies. Some have top pastry like the American style version. It were usually prepared using a deep glass dish. Some are without top pastry but substituted with bread crumbles and rolled oats as in the Swedish version of apple pies. The French have another version called Tarte Tatin.

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Knowing Asian’s small appetite for Western desserts, I have prepared this pie in a form of thin slice. Both pastry and apple filling are rather thin as compared to the Western version. And if the diner is of big appetite, he can just opt to have 2 slices at the same time……

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GUAI SHU SHU | Guai Shu Shu is a “shu shu” that is “guai”….


  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 15 October 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

 

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What I Cooked Today Series (Special Post)- 2013 Mid Autumn Festival

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INTRODUCTION

I have not forgotten about this series –  “What I Cooked Today Series”! I have discontinued for a while because I am a vegetarian and the dishes were usually cooked by my mother in law who is visiting me. Therefore, I can’t claim the credit of the dishes cooked if I posted it.

Well this series will be starting soon in one two weeks time after end of my vegetarian diet. This year, I have calculated wrongly about the starting date of my diet, therefore, I am having slightly more than 2 months of vegetarian diet and it was pointed out by my neighbour when I keep on rejecting her meat dishes. She asked curiously why the diet is so long this year, she said it cannot be ! I asked my wife to recalculate again and yes, we are wrong as both of us are not that concern about anniversary dates.

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Yesterday is the Mid Autumn Festival, one of the very big festivals for the Chinese worldwide. Even People’s Republic of China’s government have declared this day as a holiday in recent years. Usually, in big festivals, family gathering and get together is very important.

I only confirmed to invite my nephew’s family for dinner yesterday morning and I told them that I would only cooked what I have at home. As they are my very close relatives, I need not really concerned about what I should cooked as he have been staying with me for the past few years. I did not have the time to plan for the meal as I have to take care of the kids and I have to rush out my report for Eight Treasure Porridge.

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I only started cooking at 4.00 pm in the afternoon. I looked at the fridge, I have some tofu, one pumpkin, one luffa, some chicken fillets, some asparaguses, minced meats, chicken thighs, drumsticks and fish fillets.

What influenced my dish menu last night was what I perceived what my family members like to have. I know anything soft and silky will be welcomed by them, so tofu and pumpkins would be good choices.

While the family always have bitter gourd with minced meat, but luffa with minced meat is something new to them. In addition, my kids loved luffa so luffa with minced meat was in the menu.

Preparing these two dishes had resulted some mesh pumpkins, minced meat and tofu left, therefore, I have decided to turn these 3 ingredients into  a dish.


PORK STUFFED LUFFA (丝瓜酿肉碎)

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This is a dish adapted from pork stuffed bitter gourd (苦瓜酿肉碎). The luffa was first de-skinned, and cut into 2 cm chunks. Make a hole in the centre and set aside. Minced pork were marinated for about 10 minutes with sesame oil, corn flour, light soya sauce, flavour enhancers, sugar, pepper, chopped coriander leaves and chopped winter vegetables. Stuff the minced pork into the hole of the luffa chunks, placed it in a serving plate nicely and put a goof berry on top of minced meat for garnishing. Before steaming, put some water in the plate of the meat stuffed luffa. (A bit of water is important as it will speed up the process of cooking the luffa. The luffa will be “water bathed” causing it easier to get cooked). Steamed for about 20 minutes or until your luffa is soft.  More juices will be secreted out and these gravy was very tasty as it was essentially a meat and vegetable broth.  You can put some corn starch to thicken this juices if desirable.

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TOFUS SAIL IN PUMPKIN SEA (豆腐金瓜海)

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I have to admit that I do not know how to name this dish. Since it looks like a seas of mashed pumpkins, I  named this as “tofu sail pumpkin seas”. Firstly, I cut opened a pumpkin, de-seeded and steamed the pumpkin until the pumpkin was soft. I then scratched out the pumpkin flesh, put some sesame oils, salt, mushroom concentrate, mixed well and let the mashed pumpkin to cool.

Two packets of tofu’s were cut into 8 pieces and arrange in a serving plate. I used a teaspoon to make a hole on the tofu, put some mashed pumpkins to cover the hole. Use the remaining pumpkin to put beside the tofu and steamed for about 10 minutes. Surprisingly, the tofu and pumpkins really blends well.

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MINCED PORK FRIED WITH MASHED PUMPKINS AND TOFUS (山寨蟹粉豆腐)

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From the above two dishes, I have some mashed pumpkin left , some tofu left (from making a hole in the tofu cubes), some minced meat left (as I have prepared one package of minced meat for the luffa dish, therefore, I still have about half of the minced meat left). With these 3 ingredients, I have decided to mash the tofu and fried these 3 ingredients together.

I first stir fried some spring onion (white part) in a frying pan of hot oil until aromatic, followed by the minced meat and once the meat was 50% cooked, add the mesh pumpkin and mesh tofu. Stir fried for another 2-3 minutes, add white pepper, sugar, light soya sauce and salt and it become a rather presentable dish..like the famous Shanghai dish, “Tofu With Hairy Crab Roe”. Therefore I have named this dish in Mandarin the “Fake Tofu With Hairy Crab Roe”.

The dish was very tasty and smooth, it is well liked by the kids because of the aromatic spring onions.  I have placed the cooked dish in the empty shell of the pumpkin for serving.

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BLANCHED ASPARAGUS WITH CHICKEN FILLETS (芦笋鸡柳)

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This is really an easy dish.

Asparagus were de-skinned (depends on whether it is too mature or not) and cut into same length. Chicken fillet were first cut into the desired sizes, marinated with sesame oil, pepper and light soya sauce for about 10 minutes,

Have a pot of boiling hot water, drizzle a few drops of cooking oil and pinches of salt. Get ready a serving plate and put some oyster sauce on the plate.  Blanched the asparagus in the hot boiling water for 3 minutes and dip in icy cold cooked water.

Place these asparagus neatly in the serving plate on top of the oyster sauce. Coated the chicken fillet with some corn flours and blanched the chicken fillets in the hot boiling water for about 5 minutes. Scoop out and placed on top of the blanched asparagus. Sprinkled some fried shallots on top of the chicken and the dish was done.

This was definitely an easy and healthier dish as it involved no frying like the traditional method. Though I did not taste the asparagus but I can tell you that it was sweet as all the juices were being sealed inside the asparagus via blanching method of cooking.

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CENTURY EGGS WITH PICKLED GINGER (皮蛋酸姜)

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This dish was usually treated an appetizer in Chinese full course dinners and did not really need any preparation. As I have quite a lot of pickled ginger left from my demonstration in Guaishushu’s Page, therefore, I have decided to prepare this dish as an appetizer. You may want to learn about how to prepare the pickled gingers HERE.


POMELO (柚子/文旦)

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When I was young, we did not celebrate Moon Cake Festivals with pomelo.

However, in recent years, it seemed that it is very common that pomelo became one of the festival fruit  during the  Moon Cake Festivals. I checked the internet, pomelo have the syllables as “have kids” (有子)in Mandarin, therefore, having pomelo means that it will bring you luck in conceiving a kid. Well, definitely not for me.

It is my usual way to de-skin my pomelo like what is in the picture to make it easier for my kids to eat. Therefore, all my kids loves to eat pomelo as they do not need to peel the internal white membranes separating the lobes in the fruit. They have been pampered, Unlike me, I never like to eat pomelo when I was young because of the difficulty to peel of the internal white membranes.


GREEN DATES (甜枣)

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This is nothing to do with this festival. I just spotted in the supermarket a few days ago and I really love these green dates. I always called it mini apples. In my humble opinion, it taste like apples and is a one bite size. I am able to finish one box within a day. I don’t know but I do believe it is a very healthy snack, much healthy than any carbohydrates and sugar loaded snacks. Yesterday, it was served together with pomelo after dinner.


MOONCAKES (月饼)

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I have a few boxes of moon cakes and I have decided to  serve a durian moon cake that my nephew gave me from the international “Three” Seasons Hotel.  However, I am rather disappointed with the moon cakes. Put in bluntly, it is just pure durian flesh wrapped in snow skin. When you eat the moon cakes, it is very soft and just like when one is eating fresh durian (though it don’t taste that fresh any more after so many days).

It was definitely not cheap and my nephew told me even after discount, one small moon cake cost SGD 12. I honestly believed that should I received the moon cake earlier, I will be able to replicate the moon cake  .. and how much is one durian is this season? May be 3 durians for SGD 10?  Well the one below is equally disappointing as they have incorporate orange flavour in the lotus seeds fillings.

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Lastly, I hoped that you like my cooking adventures today and unlike previous festivals, I have cooked something very simple. In other festivals, majority were meat dishes and I managed to locate an old picture in my Facebook to share with you. This was taken by one of my nieces in 2012 to celebrate Chap Goh Me (元宵)during Chinese New Year.

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Have a nice day and cheers.

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Auspicious Day With Auspicious Porridge–Eight Treasure Porridge (八宝粥)

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INTRODUCTION

It is such an auspicious day that I am writing this post. I swear it is not pre-planned. Today is Mid Autumn Festival aka Moon Cake Festival, it is a festival that is celebrated by all Chinese worldwide. As request by one of the Google communities, I have written a brief write up on Mid Autumn Festivals HERE which you may want to have some casual reading.

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The cuisine that I am going to post today is a vegetarian dish called 8 treasure porridge (八宝粥). There are so many versions of this one pot dish in the internet but the recipe that I am going to share is from my kind neighbour. She liked to cook this porridge and after I tried it for the very first time, immediately I fell in love with it. Since then, I had liked to cook this dish in important festivals such as Chinese New Year Day where the whole family were supposed to be on vegetarian diet for one day.

I have cooked this yesterday not because of the festival, but because I craved for the porridge since I am still on my vegetarian diet. I gave two boxes of the porridge to my daughter’s schoolmates mother, she immediately asked for the recipe when she reached home. She commented that the taste of the porridge was totally different from what she had tasted in the vegetarian stalls.

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I did not know where my neighbour get the recipe but I found that there are certain ingredients that we used were not found in other 8 treasure porridges sold by the vegetarian stores. Both the ingredients were mock meat acceptable to all vegetarians and without these two ingredients, the taste will definitely be different.

As this was our dinner last night, I did not have much chances to take pictures and the poor lighting make the picture a bit disappointed. But trust me, this is a very different 8 treasure porridge and it is definitely good for casual dining or a presentable dish in important Buddhist religious occasions.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Though the name is 8 treasure porridge, however, we tend to have more than 8 ingredients and I do not think all my ingredients are in the picture.  I should have used 11-12 ingredients here. Most of the ingredients are nuts and a few ingredients and some mock meat.

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  • 1 cup of uncooked rice – not in picture (白米)

  • 1 cup of jujube (红枣)

  • 1 cup of peanuts (花生)- soaked

  • 1 cup of cashew nuts (腰豆)

  • 1 cup of lotus seeds (莲子)- soaked

  • 1 cup of gingko nuts  (白果)- soaked

  • 1 cup of red carrots (cut into cubes) (红萝卜)

  • 1 cup of dried mushrooms (soaked and cut into cubes) – not in picture (冬菇)

  • 1 cup of mock duck (must have) – (素鸭)

  • 1 small packet of “fat Choy” or “black moss” (发菜)

  • 1 packet of about 2 sheets of mock goose (素鹅)(must have)

  • 6-8 cups of plain water (if not adequate, you can add in water later)

IMG_6543 Mock Duck

IMG_6556 Mock Goose

Please do not ask me why they were called mock duck or mock goose, frankly, I do not know. While the shape is difference, the taste is nothing like duck of goose. Both are made of wheat gluten, oil, soya sauce, sugar, salt and packed with proteins. They do have their distinct flavour but I can’t describe exactly what is the flavour. They can generally found in Chinese grocery stores that sell vegetarian supplies. These two items are the two most important ingredients in this porridge and without it, the taste will be different.

 IMG_6561 “Fat Choy” or “ Black Moss”

This a type of moss now commercially cultivated in the Gobi dessert and Chinese Government do place a restriction in harvesting the moss. The meaning of having these mosses signifies prosperous since the syllables in Chinese name is the same of both “Fat Choy” and “Black Moss”. I hereby quote what Wikipedia had explained about this moss.

“Fat Choy (Nostoc flagelliforme), also known as faat Choy, fa cai, black moss, hair moss or hair weed is a terrestrial cyanobacterium (a type of photosyntheticbacteria) that is used as a vegetable in Chinese cuisine. When dried, the product has the appearance of black hair. For that reason, its name in Chinese means “hair vegetable.” When soaked, this vegetable has a very soft texture which is like very fine vermicelli.” (Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_choy)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparing all other ingredients

  • Clean all ingredients (except mock duck and mock goose) and you may want to soak the peanuts and lotus seeds (if you buy the dry type). Cut into almost the same size as the peanuts and set aside for the later use.


Frying the mock goose

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  • In a frying pan, have some cooking oil under high heat, fry the mock goose until crispy. When cooled, cut into thumb size pieces and set aside for the later use. (Note: While it is good to have minimum oil in the cooking, however, without performing this step, the fragrance will not be there. However, you can try using “air fryer” but I am unsure whether the taste will be the same.)

  • Depending on your preference, you can use the same oil to stir fry the mock duck, gingko, lotus seeds, mushrooms, carrots etc. for a few minutes such that the mock goose and mushroom aromas blends with the other ingredients. Set aside for later use. This illustration bypassed this step to minimize the usage of cooking oil in the porridge and the taste will not be compromised much.

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  • Clean your rice and place in the rice cooker. Add in all other ingredients except “fat Choy”. Select porridge function for cooking the porridge.

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  • Just a few minutes before the porridge function was done, add in fat Choy and seasonings. Suggested seasonings are light soya sauce, salt, sugar or other flavour enhancers. Note that some of the ingredients already have some seasonings, please take some porridge out for tasting before you put the condiments.

Note that you can also use pressure cooker but remember to select the porridge function if it have. Alternatively, I have ever cooked the porridge over the stove and in this way it is easier for you to monitor the desire texture of your porridge though the cooking time may be longer. As long as all ingredients are soft, the porridge is considered as done.

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  • Best served hot with “you tiao” – a type of Chinese plain dough fritters or additional crispy “mock goose”. Both these are optional.

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CONCLUSION

As I have said earlier, I fell in love with this special porridge when I have my first bowl years back. I  am confident you will like it too. Bookmark this page for your future usage. You may want to cook it during Chinese New Year like me!

Hope you like the post today. Cheers

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If you are looking for more CHINESE NEW YEAR COOKIES,  you may want to visit this post summarizing all relevant Chinese New Year Cuisines.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .

 

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If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 1000 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD. You can also join the Food Bloggers and Foodies United Group Facebook Group to see more recipes.

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After Red Dragon Fruit Pie Bar, Shall We Have A Red Dragon Fruit Cheese Cake?

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INTRODUCTION

Life as a food blogger has his/her fair share of pressures. He/she will have to design a dish, prepare the dish, decorate the dish and take picture for the blog. A poorly taken picture may ruin all his efforts putting in for the dish he or she prepared.

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All bloggers will have its own strengths and weaknesses and some of my weaknesses are cake cutting, decoration and photographing. I am especially wary of cutting an 9” inch diameter cakes. I am not fully satisfy with the images in this post and I shall improve on it.

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Though I do not really like the colour of red dragon fruit, however, I am amazed by the visual presentation that it can create for cakes and pastry. I have blogged about red dragon fruit pie bars yesterday and have another half a red dragon fruit left. I thought it would be a good idea to use it for some cheese cakes. I looked up my favourite dessert cookbook “The Essential Dessert Cookbook” published by Murdock Books 2007 and found this Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake that I have always wanted to try but do not have the opportunity as it is not a seasonal fruit in Singapore and Malaysia. Prices of raspberry were rather costly and readers may not have a chance to prepare the cake if I blogged about it. So I have decided to use red dragon fruits for the cake.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

For Biscuit Crust

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  • 150 grams of plain sweet biscuits

  • 50 grams of melted unsalted butter

For Fillings

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  • 500 grams cream cheese (at room temperature)

  • 125 grams caster sugar

  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) lemon juice

  • 315 ml (1 1/4 cups) of creamed (whipped)

  • 250 grams of red dragon fruit (meshed and become puree)

  • <font face="Microsoft PhagsPa"3 tablespoons of gelatine

  • 1/3 cup of water

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparation of biscuit crust

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  • Blend the biscuits in a food processor. Add the melted butter to the biscuit crust and mix well.

  • Have a 9” diameter spring form baking tin, spoon the crushed biscuits and press firmly against the base of the baking tin. Chilled in the refrigerator for at least half an hour or until firm. Lightly grease the sides of the baking tin with butter.

For biscuits, it can be any type of biscuits. In fact I have used some biscuits that have some meringue on top and therefore you can see some coloured meringues in my biscuit crusts.

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Melting the gelatine and preparation of red dragon fruit purees

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  • Have a metal bowl, put in 1/4 cup of water and sprinkled the gelatine on top of the cold water as evenly as possible. Use a tablespoon to lightly stir the gelatine powder solution and ensure all the gelatine absorb the water.

  • Bring a pot of water to boil in a stove. Turn off the heat. Place the metal bowl with gelatine on top of hot water, stir until all the gelatines are dissolved without signs of gelatine powder. Leave the metal bowl floating in the hot water for later use.

  • Put the dragon fruits in the food processor and blend it until it become puree form. Add in half of the gelatine and set aside for later use.

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  • In a standing mixer, whipped the cream until firm peak form and set aside for later use.

  • Using the same mixing bowl, put sugar and softened cream cheese.

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  • Beat until light and smooth. Scrap bottom of the mixing bowl and ensure there are no deposit of cheese at the bottom of mixing bowl.

  • Add in half of the gelatine, lemon juice and whipped cream, use the slowest speed of the mixer to whisk until well mixed as indicated in the fourth images.

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  • Take out the spring form tin from the refrigerator and place some whipped cream cheese on top of the biscuit crust.

  • Place two to three tablespoons of dragon fruit puree on top of the whipped creamed and followed by another level of whipped cream cheese.

  • Perform the same procedures alternating between whipped cream cheese and dragon fruit puree until all was done. Use a knife to lightly swirl through the cheesecake.

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  • Lightly tap or shake your baking tin and you will see patterns start to evolve.

  • Chilled in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving. Top with whipped cream or additional red dragon fruit or other topping as you wished.

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CONCLUSION

Not as difficult as one thinks to make this cake, The visual effect, in my humble opinion is astonishing. While in my red dragon fruit pie bars, the red dragon fruit appeared to be red in colour. However, in this cake, it appeared to be purplish colour which shocked me!

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It is a big cake, a 9” inches diameter cheese cake, I am now thinking how I can finish the whole cake!  Haha. If you are interested on cheese cakes, you may want to check out my other two cheese cakes –  Durian Cheese Cake , Ferraro Rocher Ice Cream Cheese Cake not forgetting the peanut flavour cream cheese ice – cream.

Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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