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Be back soon

>> Thursday, April 29, 2010

Work and travel have caught up with me again. *sigh* but be back soon, I promise!

Clean plate

Slice of grapefruit cake. Beautiful and delicious. My plate is clean. Bliss!


The old favourite with a new twist. recipe: super moist banana bread

>> Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Super moist banana bread

The kimchi pizza post seems to quite a bit of mixed reviews, which I totally understand. Kimchi is not something everyone enjoys. And fusion food is such a grey area. It may not work all the time. It works for me, but may not for you. I like kimchi and find that its spiciness is very addictive. If kimchi is not your thing, don't bother!

I still continue playing with some new ideas. Food related of course. This time is with soy flour, which I consider to be "alternative flour" together with stuff like buckwheat, millet or spelt flour. After trying the baked mochi cake, I feet the need to bake with all different kinds of flours to explore various kinds of texture. It's quite fascinating actually...

Super moist banana bread

So, you have it, my secrets to produce superior banana bread. First secret? The combination of soy and spelt flours is the key. Second secret? Top your banana cake with thinly slices of banana. When baking, the heat will "roast" these banana slices, giving a more intense banana flavours to the bread. I have shared this trick with my fellow Vietnamese bakers, and the banana bread has always been a hit!

Of course, play around with your recipe. This, to date, is the banana bread that I am most satisfied with. I like my bread simple so no chocolate chips or coconut is added here. Do so, if you like.

Super moist banana bread

super moist banana bread

Recipe by Anh


1 cup mashed banana, from 2 large bananas
100g dark brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
60ml corn oil
2 tbp milk
100g soy flour (full-fat)
100g spelt flour (whole-wheat)
2.5 tsp baking powder
Banana slices (1cm thick) from 1 banana
Vanilla paste or Cinnamon, to taste


Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly spray the loaf pan.

2. Combine the mashed banana with oil, milk, egg. Add either vanilla or cinnamon. Mix to combine.

3. Mix together the flours, sugar and baking powder. Mix the flour into the wet mixture until just combined. Avoid overmixing.

4. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Arrange banana slices on top.

5. Bake for about 50-60 mins. If the top browns too quickly, cover with some foil. Bake until the cake is done. Cool and serve.

Edit: If you don't want to use soy flour, substitue it with normal plain flour. In the past, I have always used half plain flour and half whole-wheat flour for my bread. It's fantastic but not as moist.

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Pizza Pie Party! Recipe: Chicken and kimchi pizza (pie)

>> Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chicken and kimchi pizza pie

One of my best (and coolest) friends ever, T., went to Korea for an exchange a few years back. Naturally, when we met later, I asked her about the culinary experience there. And one of those things that came up was this:

"there was hardly any good Italian stuff around" (Wasn't she in Korea, not Italy? :P). "But they did make kimchi pizza and spaghetti".

right..., KIMCHI PIZZA!

The idea got stuck with me ever since. I am curious, certainly. Since you know, I am one of those who firmly believe that the formula for good pizza is this: excellent dough + simple (but best) topping. Read all the bread making books, watch Food Safari and they all tell the same thing!

Chicken and kimchi pizza pie

But then, why not try something new? I've been chicken with making kimchi pizza though. 1- I don't know how it's gonna turn out. 2- No one in this family, except for me, likes kimchi.

The opportunity comes when Jeroxie announced the Pizza pie event just at the time when my craving for kimchi reached a new high. (Very strange, but I do crave for kimchi now and then. Just as I do with chocolate).

I still stick to my trusted pizza dough though. The one that requires 2 days to make that I learned from Gattina from a few years back. This recipe is a winner, and resting the dough in the fridge overnight produces superior pizza base. Very flavourful. That, I won't change even a t!

Chicken and kimchi pizza pie

As for the topping (filling), okay, I do go crazy. Chicken, cooked with some Korean pepper paste, and kimchi are the theme for the day. It's spicy, so don't bother with fancy cheese. Normal pizza cheese mix will do the job.

I did two versions here. One is the normal pizza, with the top crust made out of roasted seaweed. Second is a more traditional pie look, which is quite rustic...

Verdict? Two thumbs up! (If you like kimchi and spicy food, and don't mind experimenting and indulging in "food porn" for once). I get both my pizza and kimchi cravings fixed!

Chicken and kimchi pizza pie

Dough recipe: please refer to gatinna's instruction here. I've made it so many times, and it's still one of the best and easiest yet.

Topping: (for 2 -3 small pizza/pies)

400g chicken fillet, cut into strip
2-3 tbp Korean hot pepper paste (to taste)
fish sauce
1/2 cup kimchi
pizza cheese

Roasted seaweed, cut into strip.

Method: prepare the dough as per usual. Preheat oven to max degree. Put pizza stone in the oven for 30 mins at least.

For the topping, stir-fry the chicken with hot pepper paste and fish sauce. Cool.

Stretch the pizza dough to shape, spread with some pepper paste. Put chicken and kimchi on top, followed by the cheese.

Sprinkle the pizza stone with cornmeal, put the pizza on top. Bake until golden. Sprinkle roasted seaweed on top then serve.

For the pie: just put a cap on top to enclose the filling then bake as per usual.

Join the pizza party, come over to jeroxie site!



A moment in life #35

>> Friday, April 16, 2010

my feelings do anything but grow...

"Even when mountains flatten and riverbeds run dry,
And the earth moves to become one with the sky,
Even when winter has thunder and summer has snow,
Never will my feelings do anything but grow."

From the poem collections of Yue Fu
The week has been quite good with a small hiccup. Some of you might know that I've had a minor issue with my eyes - Not sure why but they were very dry and my vision got really blurry. Imagine appying blur effects in photoshop to your photos. It was how I saw the world for a few days now. {I'm taking advice from the doctor. So no worry}

Things get better now. I finally can start reading a new book - Kitchen by Barbara Yoshimoto. Hope this will be an interesting read.

Leaving here with my view of Melbourne. I took the following when wandering through Degrave street subway, Melbourne. It was taken with my iPhone, then processed in Lightroom. :) Sorry for the unintentional blur. I was holding a cup of coffee with one hand, iphone on the other. Plus, I'm not that familiar with iPhone camera yet.

Have a great weekend!

Degrave street subway, Melbourne


Weather change. Recipe: Autumn chestnut soup

>> Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Autumn Chestnut Soup

So cold!

The cold change came so unexpectedly on Sunday, there is no trace of summer left. Even the golden sunny days are now replaced with gray winter days.

At the market, autumn produces are making their ways. While I still crave for stone fruits, they are certainly dearer and not as tasty. Instead, apples, pears and persimmons are more abundant. I am enjoying them in a great deal, especially the small and crispy apples. Just perfect balance of sweet and sour notes.

And of course, chestnuts are finally here. By that, I mean fresh chestnuts, the autumn chestnuts, which are sold in the market. It has been a tradition in our family. We always roast our chestnuts. Every autumn and early winter, without fail. This year, however, since the Husband has found his new love in cracking those lovely fresh Victorian walnuts, I have the chance to save up some chestnuts to do something differently. Nothing spectacular, just a simple soup that I have meant to cook for a long time.

The pain of peeling chestnuts

I won’t lie. Australian chestnuts are a pain to peel. Maggie Beer has complained about it. So as @lemonpi and @reemski. It took me quite a while to peel all the chestnuts, which made the soup even more special. (I saw some "easy-to-peel" chestnuts at the market on Saturday. A little too late since I already got 1kg in my bag. Next time, then!).

Two things to remember for this super simple recipe. Use home-made chicken stock. Cream is not necessary, so next time I will drop it entirely. The soup is so sweet, nutty and creamy. It is fairly rich, so serve in small portions as entrée is ideal.

Autumn Chestnut Soup

Simple Autumn Chestnut Soup

Based on “Harvest” by Maggie Beer.

1 leek, white part only, finely diced
2 sticks celery, thinly sliced
500g blanched chestnuts (make a cross on the skin, boil and peel the skin off)
1 bay leaf
2 tbp olive oil
sea salt
1.5 litre chicken stock
cream (very optional)

Heat the olive oil, add in leek, celery, chestnuts and bay leaf. Stir over medium high heat until everything is soft.

Season with salt.

Add in the stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the chetsnuts are soft (30 mins).

Remove the bay leaf. Blend well in a food processor until smooth. Check seasoning. Add the cream.

Reheat gently then serve.

Autumn Chestnuts

Note: this soup is specificaly prepared to contribute to World Autism Awareness Day organised by the lovely Neil of At my table. I'm terribly late, but it's better than never. You can see other dishes contributed here.


Delicious Vietnam ~ A new blogging event for Viet food lovers ~

>> Monday, April 12, 2010

… “Delicious Vietnam”…

has finally closed after 20 months of deliciousness. Thanks to all who have been supporting this event for so long!

Although this blogging event has come to a conclusion, please join us on Delicious Vietnam Facebook page and share your recipes, stories and chit chat about Vietnamese cuisine.

Now, onto the "history" :):

The idea behind this event came about last year by Anh of A food lovers’ journey. Hooking up with Hong and Kim from Ravenous Couple, the idea was finally come to fruition.

… How to participate…

Each month, join us for a colourful feast celebrating the joy of Vietnamese cuisine. Anything related to Vietnamese cuisine will be accepted.

Ideas? You can cook up a Vietnamese dish, put a spin on a traditional Vietnamese recipe, write up a review for a local Vietnamese restaurant, or post your thoughts on Vietnamese cuisine. The focal point is to express the love for this vibrant and refreshing cuisine.

To join this event, simply write up a post on Vietnamese cuisine and send it to the respective host (see below) by 11 PM on the Second Sunday of the month (Melbourne time, - you can convert this to your time zone here).

Please make sure to include “Delicious Vietnam” in the subject line

In your email please include the following information:
• Your Name
• Your Blog Name/URL
• Your Post URL
• Your Location
• Attach a photo (300 pixel wide, please)

... A few words on the rules

#1 Entries to Delicious Vietnam must be written specifically for this event only. Of course, do submit your photos to photo sites and events.

#2 Please make sure that your post contain the phrase Delicious Vietnam with a link to the host, and to the two founders – A food lover’s journey and Ravenous Couple. If you use Twitter, please include the tag #deliciousvietnam in your post.

#3 The logo here is optional for you to use.

#4 If you do not have a blog, simply send your entry to the Anh (at anhnguyen118[at]gmail[dot]com). Anh will set up a blog comprising of entries from non-bloggers.

#5 Details of deadline and hosting will be updated on A food lover’s journey.

#6 Please keep your entry in English. Thank you!

… Hosting Information and Past Recaps…

(1) May, 2010 edition hosted by A food lover's journey: Recap

(2) June, 2010 edition hosted by Ravenous Couple: Recap

(3) July, 2010 edition hosted by  Budda Bellies: Recap

(4) August, 2010 edition hosted by bonniebella: Recap

(5) September, 2010 edition hosted by A food lover's journey: Recap

(6) October, 2010 edition hosted by Javaholic: Recap

(7) November, 2010 edition hosted by

Bear Head Soup: Recap

(9) January 2011 edition hosted by Indonesian Eats: Recap

(10) February 2011 edition hosted by Flavor Boulevard:   Recap

(11) March 2011 edition hosted by Nam Nguyen at The Culinary Chronicles. Recap

(12) April 2011 edition scheduled to be hosted by Anh of A food lover's journey. Recap

(13) May 2011 edition - Jing of My fusion kitchen. Recap

(14) June 2011 edition - Dang and Oanh from rauom.Recap

(15) July 2011 edition - Lan from Angry Asian creation. Recap

(16) August 2011 edition - ChiAnh from Door to my kitchen: Recap

(17) September 2011 edition - Phuoc from Phuoc'n'delicious.  

(18) October 2011 edition - bonniebella - Recap

(19) November 2011 edition - Sandy from ginger and scotch . Recap

(20) Final edition - Anh from A food lover's journey. Recap


A little hiccup. Be back soon.

>> Tuesday, April 06, 2010

rainycheesecake copy

My laptop has been acting in a strange manner, which explained my recent lack of update. While the laptop is being fixed, I will take the opportunity to go on a "blogging rehab". Hopefully things will be back to normal soon. {I am still active on twitter though. :) So, see you around there}

Leaving you here with some photos I took a while back. I didn't like those photos at first. But now I kinda like them. Funny?

Anyway, the recipe is from the fabulous Flo Braker. I will update the recipe once I have some time on hand.

_MG_2812 copy

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