Is Pavlova Originated From Australia, Russia or New Zealand?–Strawberry and Blueberry Pavlova

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INTRODUCTION

Yesterday is really a busy day for me. I have been making mayonnaise, baking pizza and this Pavlova. By the time  I have to take picture of this Pavlova, I was feeling extremely tired and after I ate one slice and kept 3 slices for other families members, I gave away the rest to my neighbour who were having some sort of house gathering. I hoped I have adequate pictures to share with readers.

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Pavlova actually sounds familiar to me. Just like Vladimir, Sergei, Liana and Nathasia, the name sounds so Russian. I have spent some times in Russian before and one of my ex-colleagues do carry the name Pavlova. In fact, I do not know it is the name of one of the famous desserts until very recently when I did a read up on meringue, macaroons and other egg whites based pastry items.

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WHAT IS PAVLOVA?

Per Wikipedia:

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. It is a meringue dessert with a crisp crust and soft, light inside.

The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the source.

The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and with its simple recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals. It is a dessert most identified with the summer time, but is eaten all year round in many Australian and New Zealand homes.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlova_(food))

Meringue based dessert will mean this dessert only utilizes egg whites and some sugar. It is not really a common dessert in Singapore and Malaysia. The challenge is to prepare a Pavlova that had a crispy outside of soft cotton liked inside. Preparation is not really that tough but patience is needed in the baking of this simple meringue.

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WHAT IS NEEDED

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  • 4 egg whites (at room temperature)

  • 1 1/4 cups of icing sugar or castor sugar

  • 2 teaspoon of potatoes starch/corn starch

  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • Fresh fruits of your choice. In this illustration, I have used fresh strawberry and blueberry.

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Note:

  • The egg whites have to be at room temperature. Colder egg whites are more difficult to beat to peak condition.

  • I have substituted the castor sugar with icing sugar as it will be easier for it to dissolve in the egg whites. If it is difficult for you to get icing sugar, just blend the castor sugar using a food processor.

  • Usually, corn starch is used. However, as I did not have corn starch with me, I have used potatoes starch. By the same logic, sweet potatoes starch and tapioca starch can also be used. What is needed is a small quantity of flour that is light and smooth to help holding the Pavlova structure.


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a baking tray. have a piece of baking/parchment paper. Use a 8” round baking tin and draw a big circle on the baking sheet. Set aside for later use.

  • In a mixing bowl, Add egg white and beat until soft peak form. Add in icing sugar spoon by spoon and continue to beat until the egg white is thick and glossy.

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  • To check if all sugars have been dissolved, rub a bit of the beaten egg whites (meringues) between the thumb and index fingers. If it is smooth, it means that the sugars have been dissolved. If it feels sandy, it means that the sugar has yet to be dissolved. Continue beating for another 1-2 minutes and test again.

  • Add in vanilla essence and continue beating until it is well mixed.

  • Off the machine if the meringue is glossy and in its stiff peak form. Stiff peak form means when you hold up the beater, the meringue can point upwards as shown in picture number 4.

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  • Take out the mixing bowl. Add/sprinkled the lemon juices. Sift in the potatoes/corn flours.

  • Use a spatula to fold in the flour and lemon juice quickly. Handle lightly until all the lemon juice and flour are well mixed.

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  • Place the meringue on top of the baking paper within the circle drawn. Smoothing the edges.

  • Baked in the oven at low temperature of 130 degree Celsius for about 60-90 minutes or until the outer crust are dry and pale cream colour.

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  • IMPORTANT: Leave the Pavlova inside the oven with the door ajar and let it cool inside the oven until it is completely cool. It is generally okay if the middle part of the Pavlova collapsed as we will be decorating with whipped cream.

  • PRIOR TO SERVING, beat about 200 ml of whipping cream until top peak and placed on top of the Pavlova. Place your fresh fruits on top of the Pavlova.

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CONCLUSION

Pavlova is good to be served as a dessert. It’s sweet crusty tops and sides goes well with most fruits. One can also consider using fruits such as Kiwi and mangos. The Pavlova can be prepared in advance and keep for 3-4 days in an air tight container. Of course, the size of Pavlova have to be reduced accordingly for it to store in the container. It can also be made into a one bite size.

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If you are health conscious, you can substitute the whipped cream to low fat whipped cream and slightly reduce the amount of icing sugar used. Remember whipped cream and fruit toppings shall only be used prior to serving as the whipped cream and fruit juices will make the meringue soggy if not consume on time.

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

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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 5-8-2013

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1 Shrimp paste chicken 虾酱鸡
2 Lotus root pork rib soup 莲藕排骨汤
3 Blanched kailan with pork slices 芥兰猪柳
4 Fresh Coriander Fried with Fish Cake and Bean Curd 鱼饼豆腐炒芫茜
5 Spicy Seaweed Stripes 香辣海带丝

Fresh Coriander Fried with Fish Cake and Bean Curd (鱼饼豆腐炒芫茜)

This is a small household dish that you can hardly find in restaurants or even recipe books. Generally, Fish cakes and Taukwa (beancurd of a lesser moisture content) were cut into small pieces. Have some oil in your wok, stir fried some chopped garlic or/and shallots until golden brown or until the aroma starts to emit. Add the cut taukwa or fish cakes and fried until well mixed. Since both taukwa and fish cakes are cooked, there is no need to stir fried very long. The objectives of stir frying is just to let the taste blends. Add in fresh coriander leaves (alternative: Chinese celery 芹菜), add seasonings of your choice and scoop out to serve. Seasoning I have chosen this time is sugar, salt and dark soya sauce. Because there are fish cakes and I hate the fishy smell, I have added some white pepper. This is a dish that should be well liked by both children and adults and I usually cooked this to go with porridges or white rice.

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Shrimp paste chicken (虾酱鸡)

This is an extremely popular Chinese dish in Singapore.  In any stall located in the coffee stops that sells dishes to order (煮炒),you will bound to find this dish in the menu. Most families include mine will order this dish when we eat out!  The recipe of this dish is adapted from  http://www.noobcook.com/prawn-paste-chicken. It is rather unusual to have a Chinese dish that were made with Belachan or shrimp paste and become so popular. So far, I have never taste such dish before even in Malaysia.

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Spicy Seaweed (香辣海带丝)

This is a dish that were my relatives brought from Kuching Sarawak. I have ever explicitly said that I do  not like seaweed dishes and I can’t stand the  smell. My relatives who come here and visit me here brought some vegetarian spicy seaweed and what surprises me is that there  were no such “funny sea smell” which I can hardly described. This is the first time I have a seaweed dishes that do not have such strange smell and I finished half of the plate. My relatives claimed that this is another species of seaweed and do not have such smell and I am in doubt whether or not this is true…

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Blanched Kailan With Pork Slices (芥兰猪柳)

A simple dish just blanced the Kailan, add seasonings and set aside. Prior to this, pork slices were marinated with light soya sauce, sesame oil, pepper and some corn flour. Blanched the pork slices and placed it on top of the vegetable, sprinkled with sesame seed. I have mentioned that I am trying to blanch my vegetable dish instead of stir fried the vegetables. So far, I have blanched most types of vegetables and apparently no complaints from the family members.

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Hope you have a nice day and cheers.

What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 23-7-2013

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On 23-July-2013, white rice served with

Fresh Matrimony vine leaves meatball soup 枸杞菜肉丸汤
Roast duck and roast meat 烧鸭及烧肉
Chicken and vegetable korma Korma 鸡肉及蔬菜
Celery omelette 西芹蛋饼

Fresh Matrimony vine leaves meatball soup 枸杞菜肉丸汤
Roast duck and roast meat 烧鸭及烧肉
Chicken and vegetable korma Korma 鸡肉及蔬菜
Celery omelette 西芹蛋饼

First of all, I have to qualify that I did not roast the duck or meat. I bought near my house at very reasonable price of SGD16 per duck. We don’t usually have the roast duck and the most is 3-4 times a year. Today, when I passed by the store, as I am rather lazy to cook, I thought of buying some additional dishes (which is not necessary at all) and I choose roast duck. As it is near a wholesale outlet, therefore the price is only SGD16 thought one year ago, I remember it is SGD13.50 per roast duck.  Of course, for a family like us, we can’t finish. Do not want to think what to do with the leftover, I am just too tired and sure tomorrow some dish will pop up!

The chicken korma is the left over from yesterday. At last, we finished it off tonight.

The new dish is the celery omelete. Most Chinese do not like celery though the prices of celery are very cheap in Singapore. The most famous Chinese dish, in my humble opinion is celery stirred fried with macadamia nuts. Other than that, we do use it to cook soup like ABC soup etc. Another dish is celery omelette which is “invented” by my wife. Most older generations like my mother in laws, my brothers who do not expose to celery in their early years were rather reluctant to try them due to their strong smell. However, we have managed to “tone down” the strong smell and now they are able to accept celery cooked in this manner. You can refer to Guaishushu’s Facebook Page for the cooking illustration by following the links above.

Besides cooking the above, I have baked some roast meat buns and sausage buns and I will share with readers the recipe in a day or two.

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I have also prepare another cake of which I have yet to think of the name. This cake is purely out of my own imagination by putting 250 g of butter, 200 g of cream cheese, 50 g of yoghurt, 200 g of shredded coconut…….. It is a very rich cake.. Can any readers help me to think of a name.

Cheers and good night! Oh, it is another day.. haha

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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 13-7-2013–Tomato Yimin Noodles (茄汁伊面)

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On 13 July, 2013. – Tomato noodles

Today’s dinner, i have cooked the a noodle dish which is a fusion dish between the famous Sarawak tomato noodles and Kuala Lumpur Style fried Noodles (Cantonese Yimin).

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The main difference between the two is the gravy and type of noodles.

Sarawak Tomato Noodles Cantonese Seafood Yimin
Type of noodles Fresh fine egg noodles fried in oil usually just before serving Ready made fried egg noodles in a round shape. Noodles are coarser
Gravy Tomato puree or tomato sauce with no egg added Clear gravy with beaten eggs added

Since I have nothing much to comment on what I cooked today, I have decided to have my cooking illustration in this post.

Authentic Sarawak Tomato noodles

In Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, the tomato noodles are a type of egg noodles, deep fried and soaked in a gravy made from tomato puree and sauce. The gravy is clear and orange in color.

pic courtesy : http://mile.mmu.edu.my

In Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, West Malaysia, there is another type of Cantonese noodles, called Cantonese Yi Min, a ready made deep fried noodles and soaked in a clear whitish egg gravy and cooked with seafood and meat.

pic courtesy: http://wongpenny.files.wordpress.com

The uncooked Cantonese Yimin is like the picture below and I bought it in a Singapore provision shop that sells other types of Chinese dried goods.

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WHAT IS NEEDED?

Most if not all ingredients except the noodles (Yin Min) are substitutable to your liking. Measurements is for reference and for cooking a meal of 2 adults and 2 kids.

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  • 250 grams of shrimps or/and cuttlefish
  • 250 grams of sliced pork/chicken
  • 250 grams of fish cakes cut into slices
  • 200 grams of fresh leafy vegetable such as choy sim

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  • 1 8 inches diameter fried egg noodles (Yimin) usually available in Chinatown especially Cantonese provision shops
  • 100 g of tomato ketchup;
  • 4 eggs – crack and slightly beaten
  • 50  g of corn starch/potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • Seasonings such as salt, flavour enhancers
  • 5 cloves of garlics and shallots – chopped into small pieces
  • Pinches of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar.

STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big and dip plate, placed your noodles in the centre.
  • In a small mixing bowl, place tomato paste/puree and corn starch, add half cup of water, stir until well mix and set aside for later use. Your tomato starch solution should be orange creamy in colour. You can also add the seasonings of your choice at this point of time).

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  • In a hot frying pan, put 3 tablespoon of oil, fried the chopped garlics and shallots until golden brown or until aromatic.
  • Add the sliced meat (pork of chicken) and fried for about 1 minutes;
  • Add the sliced fish cake, cuttlefish (if any), chopped vegetable and fried for another 1 minutes;
  • Add 1.5 cups of hot water to the pan and bring to boil under high heat.

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  • Add in tomato starch solution and bring to boil.
  • Add in the prawns, beaten eggs. Pour your beaten eggs slowly into the boiling tomato gravy, use a chopstick of fork to slightly make a circular motion in the gravy such that the egg will be broken into tiny pieces in the gravy.
  • Add in vinegar, sugar, salt and any other seasonings that you like (e.g fish sauce, light soya sauce, mushrooms concentrate, pepper etc.) and bring to boil.
  • Once boiled, slowly scoop out your gravy and pour on top of the noodles. The noodles will gradually soften. You can prepare your gravy first and pour on the noodles only when you want to have your meals.

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  • Let it soak for about 5 minutes before putting it in separate plates for individual servings. This will help the noodles absorbed the gravy making the noodles tastier.
  • Serve hot in individual plate.

 

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CONCLUSION

  • This is the first time I published a cooking illustration in “What I cooked today series”. Cooking illustration that are less complicated will be published in this blog’s sister Facebook Page – Guaishushu’s Page. Please refer to this page for simple cooking illustration for daily meals.
  • This noodle is neither the famous Sarawak tomato noodles nor the famous Cantonese Yimin noodles. It is a fusion of the two. I have used the Cantonese Yimin noodles and soaked in tomato egg sauce. The end product is better than I expected. As the Cantonese Yimin noodles are coarser, they are able to absorb more gravy making the noodles tastier. The texture of the noodles are better and will not break too easily as compared to the Sarawak tomato noodles.
  • As for non-Asian readers, shall I call this Asian Style spaghettis? You will like it as the noodles are soft and smooth with tomato fragrance.

Hope you LIKE the post and let me know after you try out the dish.

Cheers and have a nice day.

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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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Microwaved Mug Cakes, Another Quick Alternative to Baked and Steamed Cakes…

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Updated Post on 16-10-2014

Last night, wife was asking what is for breakfast today? I told her I do not know and worst came to the worst, some biscuits.. Ha-ha. This morning, while I was cracking  my head what to prepare  muffins and scones that are fast and easy… It suddenly come across my mind to prepare some microwave butter cakes. It is very easy and moist and it took me about 15 minutes to prepare a 2 eggs cake- 10 minutes preparation and 5 minutes microwaving… I save my electricity, dishing, energy and time…

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The texture of microwave cake is always very moist and like the preparation of muffins, I gather the wet ingredients and dry ingredients, stir until well mixed and microwave…Happy trying.

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INTRODUCTION

This is another post in my simple pastry making series, a cup cake or mug, a cake baked in a cup. It is baked in a cup or a mug cake in the microwave oven. It is fast, utilizing about 5 minutes. No electrical beaters, just mix using your choice of utensils and you will be able to get a cake like above. Scale down all the ingredients, putting in a microwavable cup, you can even prepare one for your kids breakfast. This post will share with you a one man breakfast chocolate cake, a coffee log cake and a cheesy buttery log cake.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Chocolate Cake
(1 man serving)
Coffee Log Cake
(6 inches log)
Cheesy Butter Cake
(6 inches log)
Container 1 microwavable cup of about 250 ml 1 microwavable cup of 600 ml 1 microwavable cup of 600 ml
Sugar 2 tbsp 80 g 80 g
Butter (melted) 2 tbsp 80 g 80 g
Cream cheese (room temperature) 80 g
Fresh milk 2-3 tbsp 80 g 120 g
Coffee liquid 80 g
Eggs 1 egg 80 g 80 g
Self raising flours 2 tbsp 160 g 160 g
Cocoa powder 2 tbsp
Sodium Bicarbonate (optional) 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp
Microwavable time 3 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes

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STEPS OF PREPARTION

The steps of preparation is the same be it for a small cup or a 3 inches diameter cup. The illustration below is for a small cup one man personal chocolate cake.

Chocolate cake (serving for one)

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  • In a 250ml microwavable cup (one normal coffee cup), put sugar, self raising flour and slightly stir it until well mixed.
  • Add fresh milk, melted butters and eggs and use a spoon stir it until well mixed or when colour is even and there are no lumps.
  • This step is rather important and make sure any flour stick in the bottom will be scraped up and mixed and there are no air in the mixture. Lightly tap your cup in the table to see if there is any air trapped in the mixture.

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  • Place your cup in the microwave oven and heat it for 3 minutes under high power.
  • You will start to see the cake start to rise after 1 1/2 minutes and by the sides will start to contract. If your cup is smaller, you may see the batter started to rise even higher and possibly 1-2 cm above the cup level. That is ok since the cooked batter (now becoming cakes) are able to withstand the weight any uncooked batter that subsequently rise to the top.
  • Wait for 1-2 minutes before you take it out from the cup. Theoretically, it should not stick to  the sides or bottom of the cup if your batter are mixed thoroughly with no lumps of unmixed flour.
  • Be careful when you handle the cakes as it can be quite hot especially the inside of the cake.
  • If you can’t finish your cake and on your next serving, just heat up your cakes for 10-15 seconds and your cake will become soft again.

For the coffee log cake and cheesy butter cake, the steps of preparation is the same except the measurements as mentioned above and the incorporation of cheese in the above batter. The follow steps will apply for both cakes.

Coffee Log Cakes and Cheesy Butter Cakes

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  • In a 600ml microwavable cup, put sugar, sifted self raising flour, sodium bicarbonate and slightly stir it until well mixed. You can also melt the butter in the microwave using the same cup for about 1 minute.
  • For coffee log cake, have 80 g of hot water and add 2-3 table spoons of instant coffee powder until it is fully dissolved. You can also use hot milk instead. Add melted butters, coffee liquids, butters and eggs and use a spoon to sir it until well mixed or when colour is even and there are no more lumps. This is the batter of coffee log cake.
  • For cheesy butter cake, after you melted the butter, put the cream cheese into the hot melted butter and stir until almost well mixed. Add fresh milks and eggs and use a spoon to stir it until well mixed or when colour is even and there are no more lumps. This the batter mixture of the cheesy butter cake.
  • Again, this step is rather important and make sure to scrap any flours on the sides and bottom of the microwavable cup, mixed and ensure that there are no air in the mixture. Lightly tap your cup on the table to see if there is any air trapped in the mixture.

 

  • Place your cup in the microwave oven and heat it for 5 minutes under high power.
  • You will start to see the cake start to rise after 3 minutes and by the sides will start to contract. If your cup is smaller, you may see the batter started to rise even higher and possibly a few cm above the cup level (as in the picture). That is ok since the cooked batter (now becoming cakes) are able to withstand the weight of any uncooked batter that subsequently rise to the top.
  • Wait for 1-2 minutes before you take it out from the cup. Theoretically, it should not stick to  the sides or bottom of the cup if your batter are mixed thoroughly with no lumps of unmixed flour.

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IMG_0400  Cheesy Butter Cake

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Serving suggestions

  • Best served when hot with glass of tea or coffee.
  • Reheat in microwave for 10-15 seconds if necessary.
  • Add some cream cheese or fresh cream if desired.

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CONCLUSIONS

  • This post introduced the use of microwave to prepare a cake, if you do not want be your cake in the cup or mug size, you can used other microwavable kitchen utensils of your liking.  Most microwaves nowadays have a detail function for each cooking methods, select baking functions if available. Otherwise, use the high power function.
  • The use of microwave in the “baking” of a cake have cut short its preparation time considerably. Making a cake within 5 minutes were unthinkable in the olden times. It is obviously a good alternative to the traditional baking and steaming of preparing a cake,
  • The texture of the cake is unique as it is soft and moist. That make the cake easy to cut into any sizes desired.
  • It is an good alternative as a traditional tea cake but offer advantages of quick and fast preparation as compared to traditional tea cakes.
  • There are many possibility of using this simple preparation methods to “invent” cakes that you want.. Try to explore, may be banana cakes, carrot cakes, blueberry muffins…… and the list is never ending. The point to note is that you can use the traditional recipes but the batter must be well mixed and make sure no air is trapped in your batter!

 

Lastly, take a cup and a spoon, walk towards the kitchen, put in 2 tbsp of flours, chocolate powder (milo/horlicks), sugar, melted butter (cooking oil acceptable), fresh milks and 1 egg, Stir well, put it in the microwave and tell me what it look like.

Hope you LIKE it and have a nice day.

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  • 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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