Tapioca Pearl Tart

Heidi made a Tapioca Pearl (Sago) Tart for dessert. The Tapioca Pearl Tart is best eaten cold as the tapioca will be more chewy when chilled.


The translucent tapioca looks like little pearls, very delicate and soft but it has a chewy texture unlike it’s look.


The salted egg yolk and sweet yellow mung bean paste filing complements one another well.


Sago Layer:

  • 400g tapioca pearl (soak in 6 cups of cold water for 6 hours, drain)
  • 50g coconut cream powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon wheat starch
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  • 1 cup yellow mung beans
  • 2 oz butter
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 salted egg yolk (cut into quarters)


Click on Read More for the instructions.


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Thai Flavour Pork Cheek Salad

Heidi shared two recipes in the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen. Heidi made a salad and a dessert. It is always a pleasure to have Heidi demonstrates in the kitchen as her recipes are always very original.


The Pork Cheek came out very tasty and tender. Heidi used Mirin, a Japanese sweet cooking seasoning to marinate the pork cheek which gives the sweetness to the pork. The Thai flavour dressing gives a kick to the salad. The sour and spicy dressing certainly brings up ones appetite.


  • 4 pieces of pork cheek


  • 2 tablespoons Mirin
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot and garlic each
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds


  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (good quality)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, shallot and Thai chili each


Heidi emphasized on using a good quality fish sauce for the dressing as it makes a big difference in taste. Cheap fish sauce usually has too much salt in it and does not taste good. Fish sauce is usually used in small amount and a good quality bottle just cost from $7 to $10. A bottle goes a long way.

Click on Read More for the instructions.


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Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup

The soup which the seniors made in the South Arm Community Kitchen is called Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup. Soup is just great for the colder fall weather. Moreover, most soup can be frozen in small batches for up to 2 months. Reheat the soup on the stove gently and you can have a bowl of hearty soup anytime.

October is the harvest time for cranberries and Richmond is the top producer of cranberries in BC. Cranberry is a superior source of nutrition and vitamins. It is an excellent source of antioxidants which helps to protect against cancer, heart disease and bladder infections. Cranberry juice is also rich in polyphenol content as in red wine which makes it a heart-healthy drink.


This Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup is a sweet soup with a hint of tanginess from the cranberries. It has a very strong flavour of cinnamon.


While one team is working on the soup recipe, another team worked on the dessert which is Apple Banana Muffin. I had blogged on the muffin recipe here.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 large yam, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 cups low salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional), recommend to change it to 1 teaspoon as the cinnamon flavour is too overpowering
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • parsley for garnish


Click on Read More for the instructions to make the Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup.


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Southern Apricot Chicken

The South Arm Community Kitchen for Seniors met again for another cooking session. This week, the seniors made three dishes, a chicken dish, a soup and a dessert. I love to watch the seniors at work. They are always working in teams and they worked in harmony. It is a great place where they get great company and make delicious food. They always have food to take home too. Some of the seniors are living by themselves and it’s very hard to cook for one or two people only.


The first dish is called Southern Apricot Chicken. This is such a simple dish that even a kid can make it. A great sweet and saucy chicken dish which is great with steam rice or noodle.


Minoo made a big platter of safflon flavoured basmati rice with wild rice to go with the Southern Apricot Chicken.


  • 12 chicken thighs (remove skin if preferred)
  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


Click on Read More for the instructions.


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Ma Lai Ko Cup Cakes

The next dessert which Ming made is Ma Lai Ko Cup Cakes. I had blogged about two versions of Ma Lai Ko here and here but Ming’s recipe is slightly different. Ming’s version of Ma Lai Ko is steamed in paper cup and it only takes 10 minutes to steam. This recipe is very handy when you have unexpected guests.


Ming made 2 versions of Ma Lai Ko Cup Cakes, one regular flavour and another with grated Parmesan cheese. The one with the Parmesan cheese has a stronger flavour and I’ll bet Arkensen will like this version as he is a cheese lover.


  • 100g all purpose flour
  • 50g castor sugar (was substituted with granulated sugar)
  • 60g egg
  • 70g water
  • 5g baking powder
  • 10g grated Parmesan cheese or custard powder (optional)
  • sweetened dried cranberries for garnishing


Click on Read More for the instructions.


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Little Bowl Cake (Seow Wor Tou)

Ming made two desserts in the South Arm Community Kitchen after Andrea finished with her German dishes. The first dessert is Little Bowl Cake or Seow Wor Tou in Mandarin.


The Little Bowl Cake is not supposed to look like this. But when Ming made this cake, she might have added too much water and she does not have enough corn flour to adjust the consistency of the dough. The dough was too soft to mold into a little bowl. I will illustrate how it should be made in the instruction section.


  • 300g corn flour
  • 100g soy flour
  • 100g castor sugar (was substituted with granulated sugar)
  • 2g baking powder (Ming used Chinese baking powder, not sure if it’s different from regular baking powder)
  • warm water


Click on Read More for the instructions.


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Spelt Salad

Andrea made a Spelt Salad to complement her Kidney Bean Casserole. It is another German dish. Andrea brought this Spelt Salad to the community kitchen potluck before.

Spelt is in the family of wheat. It has a moderate amount of gluten, thus suitable for baking. Spelt which is made into bread, biscuits, crackers and pasta can be found in health food stores.


The Spelt Salad can be a meal by itself. It has lots of vegetables, grains and eggs in it. Someone commented that this salad makes your jaw works out quite a bit as the spelt is quite crunchy and chewy.


  • 2 cups spelt kernels
  • 2 large red/yellow peppers, cubed
  • 2 cups dill pickles, drained, cubed, reserve brine
  • 200g cheese (e.g. cheddar), cubed
  • 3 hardboiled eggs – optional, cubed
  • 1/2 English cucumber, cubed
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • chives – optional


Click on Read More for the instructions.


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Kidney Bean Casserole

Andrea made two German dishes in the South Arm Community Kitchen. It’s been a while since Andrea demonstrated after she gave birth to a beautiful girl. It is so amazing that we watched Andrea’s tummy grew and now watching her little girl grows. One good thing about the South Arm Community Kitchen is that it provides baby sitting facility. Mums with young toddlers can still participate in this kitchen.

Andrea first dish is called Kidney Bean Casserole. This casserole is great for potluck. You may serve this casserole with a salad and you’ve got a complete meal.


The top layer of potatoes has a glutinous texture. The Kidney Bean Casserole is very filing.


  • 500g potatoes, peeled (or thoroughly scrubbed), grated
  • 400g kidney bean in cans
  • 500g onions, sliced
  • 100g bacon, cubed
  • 300g ground beef or pork
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 egg
  • bunch of parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh or dried rosemary, finely chopped
  • butter to grease baking dish



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Making Clarified Butter (Ghee)

The last thing we learned from the Dairy Making 101 workshop was Making Clarified Butter (or Ghee in South Asia ). Clarified butter has a higher smoke point than regular butter which is good for high heat cooking. Clarified butter also has a much longer shelf life than fresh butter. It can be stored without refrigeration when kept in an airtight container.


We started off with melting unsalted butter (preferably organic) in a large pot.


Here is the pot of melted butter bubbling away. You may give it a stir once in a while.


You can flavour your clarified butter with herbs which render their flavour through the oil in them. Thomas flavoured one pot with garlic and rosemary and another with cardamon. I brought some of the clarified butter flavoured with garlic and rosemary home. It smells wonderful.


Clarified butter is made by rendering the milk solids and water from the butter fat. The foam which sticks to the sides of the pot and also those at the bottom of the pot is milk solids. Milk solid is not good for consumption but it is very good for your skin. Thomas uses the milk solid which sticks to the sides of the pot, not those at the bottom as a lotion. When the water evaporates, the volume of the clarified butter will reduce. Cook until all the water evaporated.


You just have to make sure that the solids at the bottom of the pot does not get burned.

Thomas made some chocolate spread using some unflavoured clarified butter. It is like nutella.

Click on Read More for the instructions.


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Making Yogurt

The Dairy Making 101 workshop also covered making yogurt. Yogurt is produced by fermenting milk with bacteria. The bacteria lives on the sugar in milk i.e. lactose and produces lactic acid. The lactic acid acts on the milk protein to form yogurt and makes the yogurt slightly tang.


Yogurt is very nutritious and is rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and B12. Yogurt is good for people with poor bowel movement i.e. not regular.


We started with heating the milk to between 110F and 180F. Some people preferred to heat to the higher limit for food safety reason. You may flavour the milk with vanilla bean or extract or even cumin as Thomas did. (more…)

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