RSSArchive for March, 2006

Sally Lunn Muffin

Better to eat bread in peace, then cake amid turmoil.
~ Slovak Proverb

Hi Rosy, this blog is for you!

Rosy blogged on making Sally Lunn’s Muffin here. Her pictures looked so nice that Ben asked that I try to make it using her recipe. Her muffins looks better — tall, nice and even have a blop on the top. This is what Rosy’s Sally Lunn Muffins look like:

Rosy's Sally Lunn Muffins

Sally Lunn’s muffins are bread said to have originated from Bath, England. There is actually a museum in Bath that is said to have been the home of Sally Lunn. If you want to find out more, here is their website.

This is what mine looks like. Kind of burned on the sides and also flat. Arkensen’s friend, Henry, pop over and had the muffins — he likes it very much. My own boys just took it for granted. Grrr …

So Rosy, where did I go wrong?

Sally Lunn Muffin


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup light cream (half & half)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 3 eggs, beaten



IMG_3961_edited-1.jpgFirst, I preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. I also grease 2 muffin tins with a vegetable spray. Rosy used the popover tins — I did not have that and used the normal muffin tins instead. The popover tins makes the muffin taller.This recipe makes 24 muffins.
IMG_3956_edited-1.jpgIn a medium bowl, I sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set the flour mixture aside.
IMG_3957_edited-1.jpgIn another larger bowl, I mix the butter and sugar until light.
IMG_3958_edited-1.jpgI then add to the butter/sugar mixture, alternating with the milk and creams. Next I added in the beaten eggs.
IMG_3959_edited-1.jpgLastly, I added in the flour mixture and mix it well.
IMG_3960_edited-1.jpgThe mixture will look a bit lumpy with bits of butter. (Question for Rosy: is this right? Is the lumpiness due to cold milk and cream?)
IMG_3962_edited-1.jpgI scooped the mixture into the greased muffin tins — about 2 tablespoons for each tin.
IMG_3964_edited-1.jpgThey bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes. I wish you could smell it as my house is filled with buttery aroma when the muffins are baking. Rachel came over just as it was just done baking. She told me she can smell the nice aroma even from the outside.
IMG_3965_edited-1.jpgThe muffins are golden brown when baked. I let the muffins to cool in the pans for at least 10 minutes before removing them.

So, here is my version of the Sally Lunn muffin. Perhaps a bit too short … a bit burnt on the side … does not have a lump on the top … but at least it smells wonderful and I get ONE appreciation from dear Henry. :-) Thanks Rosy!


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Char Siu Bao (Part 2 of 2)

Even the best cooking pot will not produce food.
~ African Proverb

I am back with Part 2. This is where I use the filling made in my previous blog to make the buns. Sally commented in my first blog that she prefers the baked type. Oh yeah, that brings a point that there are two types of char sui bao (or char siu pau) — steamed and baked. The steamed ones like those shown below are the more common ones.

Char Siu Bao


  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup warm water


I used the bread machine to prepare the dough. For those who are interested to make this and do not have a bread machine, here is the manual instruction:

Put 3 cups of the flour into a bowl. Cut in shortening. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with the yeast and add 1/3 cup of the warm water. Stir until yeast is dissolved.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour, mix well. Combine flour mixture, yeast mixture and remaining 2/3 cup of water. Knead on lightly floured board for 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a bowl.

IMG_3936_edited-1.jpgIt is very easy to prepare the dough in the bread machine. You just have to put in all the ingredients according the manufacturer’s recommendation of the order you out in the ingredients. The dough will be ready for use in two hours.
IMG_3937_edited-1.jpgThis recipe makes 18 buns. That’s a lot of dough to separate to 18 pieces, so I divided the dough into 2 portions. This makes it easier for me to roll each into logs.
IMG_3938_edited-1.jpgI then sub-divided the log into 9 equal portions.
IMG_3941_edited-1.jpgI used a Chinese rolling pin to roll out the individual portion. The Chinese rolling pin is short and slim than the normal rolling pin and is great for rolling small portion of dough.The right way to roll out the dough is to start 1″ from the center and roll outward. This way, you will get a dough with a thicker center and thin edges.
IMG_3940_edited-1.jpgPlace one tablespoon of the Char Siu filling in the center of the dough. Do not put too much filling and do not get any oil onto the edges of the dough. Trust me on this because you will have trouble pinching the edges together once there is oil on the edges.
IMG_3943_edited-1.jpgForm the bun by pulling the dough up and around the filling. Pinch and seal the seams. Pleat the seams to form a bundle.
IMG_3942_edited-1.jpgSeal the edges by giving it a slight twist and pinching with your thumb and forefinger.Place the bun on a parchment paper.
IMG_3944_edited-1.jpgRepeat the above steps until all the buns are formed.Let the buns rest for 20-30 minutes. This will allow the buns to rise.
IMG_3946_edited-1.jpgWhile waiting for the buns to rise, bring a pot of water to a boil. After the buns have risen, place the buns in a steamer and steam for 15 minutes.Note: Leftover buns may be served after reheating by steaming.

The buns are best served hot — when it is soft and moist. What makes this great is a very moist filling. My kids like it so much that they can gobbled up 4 buns in a go. As a matter of fact, all 18 buns were gobbled up by all four of us in less than 1 hr! Yummy!

Char Siu Bao

I will blog the baked version some other time.

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Char Siu Bao (Part 1 of 2)

To hit a dog with a meat-bun.
~ Chinese proverb

Here it is, the Char Siu Bao recipe as promised in our Xiao Long Bau blog. Char Siu Bao is translated as BBQ Pork Bun. The word Char Siu is cantonese for BBQ Pork. You can either buy the char siu from chinese restaurants or chinese BBQ meat shops. Alternatively, you can make it your own. It is not difficult and I have briefly blogged on how to make this in the Char Siu Wanton Noodle Soup blog.

In this first part of my blog on Char Siu Bao, I will focus on making the char siu filling. I normally prepare the filling in the morning. This is because the filling has to be chilled in the refrigerator for at least 2 hrs before making the Char Siu Bao. This will firm up the filling for easy handling. You got to try this one out because I am 101% sure that everyone in your family will love this.

Char Siu Pau

Char Siu Filling

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster-flavoured sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 lb (about 2 cups) diced Char Siu


IMG_3928_edited-1.jpg First I prepared the sauce by mixing the soy sauce, oyster-flavoured sauce, sesame oil and dark soy sauce in a small bowl and set it aside. This sauce is the most important part of the ingredients — it makes or breaks the char siu bao.
IMG_3929_edited-1.jpg Next, I mixed the all purpose flour into the chicken stock and stirred until all the flour is dissolved and set it aside.
IMG_3930_edited-1.jpg I then heat a frying pan over high heat and poured in the vegetable oil and heat it until it’s hot. The onion goes in first and stirred fry until it’s fragrant.
IMG_3931_edited-1.jpg Once you can smell the fragrance of the onion, the sauce mixture and the sugar are added in.
IMG_3932_edited-1.jpg These have to be cooked for about 2 minutes or until the onion is soft.
IMG_3933_edited-1.jpg When the onion is softened, the chicken stock/flour mixture is stirred in. At this point, reduce the heat to cook on low, stirring until the mixture is thickened.
Char Siu Filing Remove the frying pan from the stove and stir in the Char Siu (the char siu has to be diced first). The filling is scooped into a bowl and refrigerated until chilled.

This recipe yields enough filling for 18 buns.

I’ll continue to blog on making the Char Siu Bao tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Egg Florentine Version 1.0

A chicken is hatched even from such a well-sealed thing as an egg.
~ Chinese Proverb

LOL! Believe it or not, but I have never seen Egg Florentine in real life before, let alone eat it or make it. But the name sounds fancy and I have seen some nice pictures of it. So, I gave it a try … trying to follow the recipe closely. This is how mine turns out!!


Is this right? Honestly, tell me. It sure did not closely resemble some of the images I googled.

It looks terrible but does taste quite OK — trust me, the boys told me so. If you let me know where I went wrong, I’ll try again and post my Eggs Florentine version 2.0.


  • 9 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 4 eggs, soft-boiled
  • 1 oz. butter
  • 1 oz. plain flour (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk or cream
  • 6 oz. cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup)
  • Salt and pepper



IMG_3818_edited-1.jpgFirst, I prepared the frozen spinach according to the instructions on the package. I usually defrost frozen spinach using the microwave. I placed the thawed spinach on a shallow ovenproof dish and season the spinach well with salt and pepper.
IMG_3821_edited-1.jpg I’m supposed to soft boiled the eggs but the eggs turned out more like hard boiled eggs. Anyway, I just used the hard boiled eggs.The eggs go on top of the spinach.
IMG_3822_edited-1.jpgTo make the sauce, I melt the butter in a sauce pan on the stove.
IMG_3824_edited-1.jpgWhen the butter is melted, I gradually stir in the flour. I think this step is to create a roux.
IMG_3825_edited-1.jpg The roux wiill look lumpy but that’s quite OK.
IMG_3827_edited-1.jpg I then gradually stir in the milk to cook the roax. This step require constant stirring and pouring and more stirring and more pouring … until the mixture thinkens
IMG_3829_edited-1.jpg Next, I lower the heat and add 2/3 of the cheese.
IMG_3832_edited-1.jpg I stir the sauce until the cheese is melted. It does not take long for the cheese to melt.
IMG_3835_edited-1.jpgOnce the sauce is ready, I poured it over the eggs and spread it all around to make sure that the sauce covers all the eggs and spinach.
IMG_3838_edited-1.jpgThe remaining 1/3 of the cheese goes on top of the sauce.
IMG_3841_edited-1.jpgThe dish is ready to go into a preheated oven at 375 F for 15 to 20 minutes. The dish is to be placed on the top shelf so that it will brown nicely.

The egg florentine is to be served hot. This is a very creamy and nutritious meal and it’s good for brunch. The picture below looks OK, ain’t it? That’s it, version 1.0. Stay tuned for version 2.0!!

Egg Florentine

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Table Manners: Art of Eating Korean Food

This is interesting. I did some digging and found some interesting stuff about Korean table etiquettes from Wikipedia. We always assumed that Korean table etiquettes are pretty similar but there are quite a bit of differences.

The biggest difference was that Koreans do not eat rice out from the bowl with chopsticks. We did not realize this but I guess everyone in the Korean restaurant yesterday knew that we were chinese from the way we ate! Anyway, below is what we lifted out from Wikipedia ( Read on:

Banchan Table Setting

Although there is no prescribed order for eating the many dishes served at a traditional Korean meal, many Koreans start with a small portion of soup before eating the other dishes in any order they wish.

Unlike other chopstick cultures, Koreans do not eat rice with chopsticks only but use sujeo a combination of a long shallow spoon and oval-shaped chopsticks. Koreans generally do not pick up their rice or soup bowls, but leave both on the table and eat from them with spoons. Side dishes are eaten with chopsticks.

Bad manners include blowing one’s nose at the table (considered the rudest of acts), picking up chopstick or spoon before the oldest person starts the meal, chewing with an open mouth, talking with food in one’s mouth, making audible eating noises, sticking chopsticks or spoon straight up in a dish, stabbing foods with chopsticks, mixing rice and soup, and picking up food with one’s hands (with certain exceptions). In informal situations, these rules are often broken.

Though diners do not need to finish all the shared food that was provided, it is customary to finish one’s individual portion of rice. Banchan dishes are intended to be finished at each meal, so are presented in small portions and replenished as they are emptied. It is acceptable to ask for refills on any of the side dishes.

Here is another good guide on Korean eating etiquette from the Korea Tourism:

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Jang Mo Jib (Mother-in-Law) Korean Restaurant

Someone else’s rice cake looks always bigger
~ Korean Proverb

Helen was telling Suanne about a good Korean restaurant that we absolutely must try. She told us that the restaurant is located behind the Sheraton on Alexandra Road and is called something like Mother-in-law Restaurant. She also told us something interesting about the Korean culture — when the husband visits the in-laws, the husband is normally treated very well … so well that the mother-in-law will prepare a feast for the son-in-law. Hence, the best feast is referred to as the mother-in-law special. (Any Korean able to verify this?)

It was really confusing for us locating this place. It is because the English name of this restaurant we went to is called the Jang Mo Jib Restaurant. We couldn’t read Korean but at least Suanne recognized the small chinese translation on the signboard.

Jang Mo Jib (Mother-in-Law) Korean Restaurant

Walking in, we were impressed because the decor was very nice with large wall-to-wall pictures of Korean lifestyles. Helen told us the price for each dish were on the average $7-$8 and looking at the settings in the restaurant, it sure looked more expensive. Reading the menu, most of the dishes were indeed as Helen said although there were some dishes that were over $20 per person. We stuck to the cheaper dishes and ordered three different dishes.

Sul Lung Thang (Soup)

The Sul Lung Tang is a soup of cow bones and meat, simmered for several hours in a jumbo Korean iron pot until the soup is milky-white. This dish is served with two smaller bowls of coarse salt and chopped green onions. The coarse salt is used to season the soup depending on how you like it. Without the salt, the soup is quite bland.

Sul Lung Tang

The soup also has some glass noodle and thinly sliced beef. Serving is large and more than enough for an adult. If you have never tried the Sul Lung Thang, you should. This is the restaurant’s signature dish. Price? $7.95.


Soon Doo Boo (Tofu Soup)

The Soon Doo Boo is a thick spicy stew made with soft tofu. There are several types of Sonn Doo Boo — we ordered the Assorted Seafood and Beef version which contain prawns, mussels and eggs. You can order this dish either extra spicy, mild or not spicy.


The dish is served with steam rice and five separate side dishes. This is what is typically referred to as a Banshang setting. That was a lot of food and the dishes almost filled the entire table. This dish is truly value for money ($8.95). We like Kimchi a lot and were glad to see a good dish of kimchi served — very crunchy and not too acidic. For the first time eating in a Korean restaurant, the kimchi were served with a pair of scissors (used to cut it in bite-sized pieces).


Kahl Gook Soo

The Kahl Gook Soo is boiled flat noodles, usually in a broth made of anchovies and sliced zucchini. We ordered the chicken soup version which costs $7.95.


The bowl is really huge. It’s a nice bowl of noodles in warm soup. It’s kind of hard drink the soup with the wooden spoon — which is shallow and the handle is extra long. Chinese is used to soup spoon which has a short handle and is deeper.

S_IMG_3911_edited-1.jpg S_IMG_3910_edited-1.jpg

It was a good place for lunch — highly recommended! We’ll come back again to try the other dishes and will definitely order the Soon Doo Boo again.

Jang Mo Jib (Richmond) on Urbanspoon

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Hou Lok Restaurant on Cambie, Richmond

We all like lamb; each has a different way of cooking it.
~ Chinese Proverb

Ever had one of those days when you have planned to eat out but do not know where to go? Well, Suanne always insists that we eat out on the weekends because she says that since I get the weekend off work, she deserves the weekend off herself too. Last weekend we cruised along No 3 Road and were not sure where we were heading to. I came across this little unassuming place right across from the new Aberdeen Mall (and just right next to the T&T Supermarket) along Cambie.


We were early and were their first customer for dinner. Needless to say, service were prompt. You tend to know that the food is really authentic when you see tacky looking hand written menus plastered all over the place — the Hou Lok Restaurant was one such place.


We ordered the Chicken Ball in Szechuan sauce. This is spicy and is cooked with lots of onions and green pepper. We liked the gravy/sauce in particular — goes great with steamed rice,


We also ordered the spicy long beans. Another spicy dish. The waitress were surprised we ordered two spicy dishes when we had our two youngs along. Well, they boys really like spicy food and so, it’s not a problem for them. The long beans were great, I enjoyed it alot. My mum makes a lot of them when I grew up in Malaysia but I so rarely eat this, I perhaps ate this once every two years!! Yummy!


We wanted a hotpot dish … very good especially when the day is cold and when we wanted lots of “chap” for the rice. So, we ordered something we have never tried before — the lamb with beancurd stick hotpot. It was not too bad but frankly, we would order some other hotpot the next time. The beancurd was nice but the lamb and gravy is a thad too “lamb” for our liking.


Overall, a nice meal although there were too much food. The menu is extensive but since we can’t read chinese, we miss out on the more exotic dishes. The price is just about average, We plan to eat at this place again sometime and try out their other dishes.

Hou Lok Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Pearl Balls

A pearl is worthless as long as it is in its shell.
~ Native American Proverb

Here is the other dish that Winnie showed us how to make in our cooking class this week. She called it the Pearl Ball, which is basically meat ball wrapped in glutinous rice. The dish derives it’s name from the translucent appearance of the glutinous rice in a ball shape.

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb fish paste
  • 2 tablespoons dry shrimp, soaked and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced carrot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shiitake mushroom
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallion
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup glutinous rice, soaked in cold water for at least an hour
IMG_3875_edited-1.jpgFirst, the ground pork has to be moistened with 2 tablespoons of water. Then rest of the ingredients except the glutinous rice are added into the pork mixture and mixed well. The mixture will be very sticky.
IMG_3882_edited-1.jpgYou have to wet your hands before you start forming the meat balls as they are very sticky. Make meat balls of the size of walnut for faster cooking.
IMG_3883_edited-1.jpgThe meat balls are then rolled in the glutinous rice until they are coated on all sides.
IMG_3885_edited-1.jpgWhen all the meat balls are formed, place each pearl ball on a small piece of cabbage and arranged them in a steamer. The pearl balls have to be steamed on high heat for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the pearl ball.

This is a very simple dish to make and you can get your kids to help out rolling the meat balls in the glutinous rice. I will surely make this at home. Thank you again Winnie for your recipe.

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