Monday, December 10, 2012

Marble Cream Cheese Brownies-The Recipe

Cream cheese mixture is swirled on top of the chocolate batter

In the previous post  (here), I have done an entry on Marble Cream Cheese Brownies. Apparently, at that time, I did not have the time to write the actual recipe. So, as promised, today I am going to share the recipe. I have bookmarked the recipe for quite sometime, and only managed to bake these brownies last two weeks. The recipe is taken from the Love Food mini recipe book "Heavenly Brownies" published by Parragon, United Kingdom. It does not use chocolate at all, but relies solely on cocoa powder. Good quality cocoa powder would easily suit these brownies. I have replaced ricotta cheese in the original recipe with cream cheese.

The Recipe;

175g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing (  I used SCS and Emborg)
3 tbsp of cocoa powder ( I used Cardbury's Bournville Cocoa)
185g soft brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
125g plain flour

Cheesecake mix

250g cream cheese (I used Philly's) - leave it for a while at the kitchen counter, for room temperature
40g soft brown sugar
1 egg beaten


1) Preheat oven to 150 C. Grease a 28X18cm/11X7 inch rectangular baking tin. ( Any square baking tin would do)
 -  I used Conventional electric oven.
2) Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa and sugar.
3) Beat in the eggs, then add in the flour and stir to mix evenly. Pour into prepared tin.

For the cheesecake mix

1) Beat together cream cheese, sugar and egg, then drop teaspoonsfuls of the mixture over the chocolate batter.
2) Use a palette knife to swirl the mixtures together lightly.

##Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 mins. Check if your brownies are ready, by inserting a skewer. If the skewer comes out clean, your brownies are baked. Cool your brownies in the tin, cut into squares.

These brownies are best served with vanilla ice-cream or they can be eaten plain square.  Happy baking, everyone.

It tasted like cheese cake

Nothing beats the taste of home-baked brownies

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Southern Holidays

The scenery which greeted me in the morning

A full breakfast in the morning- orange juice, rice porridge wilth all the usual condiments,
a bowl of muesli with  fresh milk and waffle drizzled with chocolate syrup.

Deep down in my heart, I always have a soft spot for Johor. It is a charming state in the south of peninsular Malaysia as it is blessed with its own specialities, rich in culture with good food and friendly people. Having spent four years of my life in one of the districts in Johor, I have discovered that the state of Johor as a place where you would feel warmly welcomed. I could not figure out on why I have this kind of feeling, it seemed that when I moved to Selangor back in 2004, it took me years to feel that I really belonged there. But it was different in Johor, within a few months, I could adapt to its way of life. Ever since my brother moved to Johor in 2010, I have been making a few trips to Johor. The southerners would always refer Johor Bahru (the capital of the Johor state) as Johor. Therefore, when ever we say Johor it would mean that we are going to Johor Bahru.

   Well, back to my holidays, some time in early November ( on Deepavali), my family and I went for a trip to Johor. We spent three days and two nights in Thistle, Johor Bahru and had a fabulous time over there. Eventually, we had a pleasant surprise as upon reaching Thistle late in the afternoon, the rooms  which my sister had booked online earlier on, were occupied.  Apparently,  the hotel decided to upgrade us to rooms facing the Straits of Malacca without any extra charge at all. Yes, that was indeed a nice surprise, an unexpected gesture from the hotel management, as it made the trip even memorable. And of course it's another way to attract loyal guests as well. And for that thoughtful gesture, it made Thistle a favourite hotel for all of us.

     I could say that being in Johor has its own perks. Finding good, delicious food is easy  and it is way cheaper than eating out in KL or Selangor. People are not pretentious, they are down right friendly and we would never ever think that we are outsiders, it's just like coming back to your own hometown. Likewise, I have 1001 reasons of liking Johor, not because I have spent a good four years in this wonderful state- but simply because, it is a distinctive place, it has that rich Malay culture mixed with Arab influences, it is probably an unforgettable "home". I personally think that my fascination with Johor is something that I could not really explain. Well, if you ever made a trip to Johor, you will know what I really meant actually. Never mind if there are  so many bad vibes surrounding Johor, on the rumours of escalating crime rates - well, in any place that you go, crimes are definitely bound to happen. I remember having encountered gypsies pick pocketting in Paris, many years ago. And that was supposedly to be Paris. Who ever thought gypsies and Paris should come together. As for me, it is a matter of safe guarding your own belongings and pray to God that worse incidents  should never happen to you.

Johor Clock Tower- night time

  As you could see - we had a good dinner in the Malay Village Restaurant in Johor Bahru. The food was up to the mark and the price was affordable as well. It costed a fraction of what I should pay back in Shah Alam for a dinner of four adults and a child. We had the normal diet of tomyam, fried vegetables, "pari bakar" (grilled sting ray), buttered prawns , dimsum, omellete and the usual drinks. Definitely, worth every single penny.

Dinner at Malay Village
From the picture- tomyam soup, fried kailan, omelette and dimsum/
And came morning, this lovely scenery greeted me as I said "hello" to the Southern sun, when the skies were charmingly blue and the clouds were as white as cotton. I saw that life moved pleasantly slow, here in the south, and people  embraced every day's tasks as something that they loved and looked forward. It could be seen from the food that the Johoreans served and prepared, the honest testaments of what should be presented to  customers and clients Well, I have so many things to say about my trip to Johor, that I think that I should do a great justice to a wonderful and charming place in my heart. I will definitely continue my posting on Johor, in another entry, as there are so many great things to share about Johor. In truth, as I started my initial career here, I learnt to be a young working adult in this state, and met many good and trusting friends in Johor. That is why, to me it is a special place, where I learn about honesty and sacrifices, or rather aptly described-- I learn to grow up as well. In fact, I learn on the finer things of working life, of being sefless and ever ready to give my best shot.

    And looking back, I am glad that I have the life- time opportunity of working in Johor. It may only be four years of my whole life, but those memorable years were definitely an experience that I shall treasure forever.

This marvellous kasui that I ate on my last morning in JB, at one of the food stalls at  Sungai Chat.

And who could resist this delicious plate of fried noodles and meehon,
 (mee and bee hoon goreng) with home made "sambal".
The pool side and the view of the sea seemed to be mesmerizing to me

From afar we could see the beautiful coast line ....

A room with a view- Johor Clock Tower seen from my room

On a final note, as any wiser man should say, "Welcome to Johor---the southern state of peninsular Malaysia with exceptional hospitality and fascinating culture, guaranteed to charm you to bits......" . And it is definitely true.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Marble Cream Cheese Brownies

Marble cream cheese brownies

  I have been eyeing these brownies for quite some time. I have bookmarked this recipe from my recipe book, but keep postponing in doing this. The original recipe calls for ricotta cheese, but since only cream cheese is available in my fridge, I have decided to use cream cheese instead. Most probably, I will use ricotta cheese the next time I baked this. Apparently, I have baked other types of brownies, but not really having the opportunity to bake this.

    So, last Monday, I woke up early purposely to bake these brownies. My first time of doing this type of brownies. And it was definitely worth it... I came back with an empty baking pan. My students loved the brownies so much so that they asked to pack up for their siblings at home. I wished that I have baked more, so that I could savour some at home. Perhaps, some other time.
      These brownies are rich in flavour, of chocolate and cheese. Using only cocoa powder ( I have used  Cardbury's Bournville Cocoa Powder) and not baking chocolate as usual, the taste was simply out of this world. I have also used Philly's Cream Cheese, and soft brown sugar. My students commented that the taste was like eating a cheese cake. And I totally agreed. I regretted of not baking these brownies earlier. For this entry, I only managed to post the pictures of this baking sensation. I think I'll do another post for the recipe, at another time. Meanwhile, I would let  the pictures do the talking...

I brought this for my kids- and they finished it within 2 hours

The marbling effects...

Well, cream cheese and cocoa powder are definitely two ingredients of the recipe towards a happy, well deserved Monday morning.  Happy Thursday, everyone.....

A Birthday Wish

An Angry Bird Cake- Store bought this time around

Birthday boy turned 7....

He's definitely a young man now...

Azeem and Grandma

Just a toddler- 2 years old

Concert time- 5 year-old Azeem

He was just a one year old baby

   How time flies. Seven years ago, fate came knocking on my door. I never thought that God had given me a chance to be a mother, let alone the opportunity of seeing him growing up right in front of my eyes. I may not be the best mother, it is a role that I am learning from time to time. I have made mistakes at times, but as much as I am learning to be a mother, I learnt that love knew no bounds or conditions. This is the "man" whom I loved very much in my entire life. He changed me to be a selfless and protective person. In a way, he changed me in a very different way. And I wish that I have more children just like him. Just a wishful thinking, that I am keeping for myself.

   This time around, I threw a small birthday party for my son, inviting some close friend with children. It's not really a party, any way. Just a small scale get-together with friends. My son wanted a home-baked birthday cake with cream cheese frosting topped with  fresh blueberries and strawberries.  However, since his teacher had presented him with a birthday cake, I thought that it was unnecessary to bake him a cake anyway. Anyway, it was a joyful celebration for my only child. Everybody went home happily and a seven-year old boy had his birthday wish fulfilled- that a party should be organised for him. 
How time definitely flies....
The birthday cake...
 Happy birthday, dear son.... May you grow up to be a deserving young man full of hopes and aspirations....

Happy birthday, dear boy

Saturday, November 17, 2012

No Butter Muffins- The Recipe

Chocolate Muffins

Seeing is believing, they say. I have never thought that my entry in No Butter Muffins would gain popularity. I had done this post in October 2010, without writing its  recipe as I thought that they were no big deal muffins. That was the first and last I had attempted that recipe, not because those muffins were no good, simply because I had hundreds of other recipes to be tried. However, I was definitely wrong. Time to time, I had encountered key words on no butter muffins on my statistic page. Therefore, I have decided to  write an entry on these no butter muffins.

Blueberry muffins - I used fresh blueberries

Plump chocolate muffins

These muffins do not really use butter at all. Instead, the recipe calls for the use of milk. No oil or whatsoever.  When I first baked these muffins back in  2010, I have altered the use of semi-skimmed milk in the recipe. I replaced it with fresh full-cream milk, simply because I loved the taste of full cream milk. I have got this recipe from my Good Housekeeping Cook book. What caught my eyes was the non-existence use of butter. All right, enough of "blabbering", I've got tonnes of house work to be done, so here goes the recipe ;


2 medium eggs
250 ml ( 9fl oz) fresh full-cream milk
250 g (9 oz) soft brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
350g (12 oz) plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
250g (9 oz) blueberries ( you can use frozen ones - I used fresh blueberries)
finely grated zest of 2 lemons


1) Preheat oven to  150C ( I used conventional electric oven).
2) Line muffin tin with paper cases
3) Put the eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and mix well
4) In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add in blueberries and lemon zest.     Toss together and make a well in the centre.
5) Put the egg mixture into the flour and blueberries and mix in gently, over-beating will make the muffins hard/ tough. Divide the mixture equally between the paper cases.
6) Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and just firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. They are best eaten on the very day they are baked.

## Double Chocolate Chip Muffins
Omit the blueberries and lemon zest. Instead, replace 40g (1 1/2 oz) of the flour with cocoa powder, then add 150g (5oz) chopped dark chocolate to the dry ingredients in Step 4.

Now, you have it- No Butter Muffins.  Happy baking, everyone....

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rainbow Marble Cake @Marble Rainbow Cake

Rainbow Marble Cake

This time around, I just let the colour blend into each other

Cut into squares
 Marble Cake is always a winner in my household. It is easy, simple but delicious in its own way. My mother has always expected me to bring back this cake during Eid-ul-Adha. So, even though time to time I have always imagined myself to bake something else, rather than this colourful cake- I have no choice but to fall back to this recipe as it easier. The truth is, I have created this marble cake by chance last year. I wanted something which is simple, with less baking method, with easily available ingredients.Without referring to any recipes, I have managed to create my own marble cake.

   I remembered once doing this type of cake during my secondary years, following a recipe from a Malay women's magazine "Wanita" (Women in English). Eventually, I lost the the recipe. What I remembered most was the use of Ideal evaporated milk. So years gone by, but I still couldn't really figure out how to do bake this type of cake. What I knew back then, the cake was called "Kek Aidilfitri" (literally translated as Eid-ul-Fitr Cake). Then, based on the years of experience as as self-taught baker, I have managed to pull through.

   However, for this year, since my self-raising flour is still in the box, I have decided to bake this cake from scratch- no more using self-raising flour. In the previous post, I have mentioned about my adjustments for the Marble Rainbow Cake. I wanted to make it a better cake, in case there is no self-raising flour in the pantry. So here it goes;


315g  of salted and unsalted butter ( I combined Golden Churn and SCS unsalted butter)
1 cup caster sugar
2 1/2 cup of plain flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of salt
8 eggs
1-2tsp of apple green colour
1-2tsp red and pink colour -combine them together
6 tbsp of evaporated milk ( I used Ideal)
1 tsp of fresh lemon juice


** Grease your baking pan with butter/ margarine.
**  Line your baking pan with parchment paper. (I have used the square baking pan)
1) In a stainless steel bowl, sift together plain flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt .  Mix them through.
2) In another stainless steel bowl, using a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until white and fluffy.
 (5-6 mins).
3) Then add in eggs, one by one. Mix through.
4) Add in the sifted flour bit by bit, until finished. Mix well.
At this stage, preheat the oven for 150C for 7-8 mins ( I used electric conventional oven)
5) Then, add in the evaporated milk. Stir the batter slowly.
6) Next, add in the fresh lemon juice. Stir well.
7) Now, divide the batter into three parts. The bigger portion, let it be in its original colour. Put three dollops of the batter into two different bowls. (One bowl =3 dollops) .
8) Colour the batter in the bowl with green, another one with red.
9) After that, put a dollop of the original batter in the baking pan, followed by the red and green batter. Let the batter meddle into each other. Do this until all the batter has finished. Level the batter using a spatula. Put the baking pan into the oven.
10) After 25-30 minutes, you can check if the cake is ready by inserting a skewer into the cake. If the skewer comes out clean, your cake is ready.
11) Let the cake cool in the pan, for about 7-8 mins. Then transfer it to a wire rack.

Then, it is up to you- to cut it into squares.


Simple, marble, butter cake is always the best- I guess
  Happy baking every one...;)

Eid-ul-Adha and Memories

My grandma's house is all lit up for Eid
 Eid-ul- Adha has just passed, but I am still longing for the times spent with loved ones at my maternal grandmother's house in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan. It's always a pleasure to celebrate Eid at our own ancestral home. If you have been following my blog for a while, I have mentioned that Eid-ul-Adha has always been my favourite celebration. I maybe biased here, but I personally think that there is more time to spend with family during Eid-ul-Adha compared to Eid-ul-Fitr. 

Lemang in the making. Lemang is a type of delicacy where glutinous rice and coconut milk
are cooked in the bamboo casing. 

For Negeri Sembilan folks, we celebrate Eid-ul-Adha in a very big scale. Even though this year, my family did not do any "Qurban" ceremony, we still celebrated Eid in a very grand style. Apparently, my cousins decided to cook their own "lemang" during the eve of Eid, and they really worked hard until midnight. So, this year I did not even buy a single "lemang" courtesy of cousins.

Home-cooked lemang
Meanwhile, my son really enjoyed this year's Eid as he got to spend time, playing games with cousins and second cousins. 
My son and his second cousin- they really looked like twins

Rainbow marble cake- my tradional cake for Eid-ul Adha. I have made
adjustments from my own original recipe.

And I as usual, needed to bake something to bring to my "hometown", remembering that my mother does not really like fancy, frosted cake- ended up baking the ever versatile rainbow marble cake. This time around, I have made adjustments to my original recipe.( I will do another entry specially on that recipe). The cake turned out nice and fluffy and tasted even better after a few days. My mother brought a plate full of cake pieces to the kampung surau for Eid morning prayers.

Rainbow marble cake- cut into pieces. Original recipe- please see here

Using grandma's old crockery, it feels like I am being transported to yesteryears..

Sometimes, what really matters in our life is time spent with our loved ones. It has been two months since I went back to my "home town" and I felt that this year's Eid was definitely the best. Never mind for the massive traffic jam of going back to grandma's house- what really matters is the idea of going back to our own roots and culture. My grandmother has passed away for 21 years, but the picture of her grandchildren and great grandchildren happily playing hide and seek in her massive compound, is sure  something to be treasured in my heart.

This little girl- my niece who was excited as well to celebrate Eid.

Well, I have definitely coming back to my roots once again and humbled by memories of spending time with my ever lovely grandma. And life is even sweeter with the idea of celebrating Eid with family and relatives, having dinner of barbecued fish and steak. Nothing beats the feel of celebrating Eid in my grandmother's house.

We even had barbeque during the second night of Eid.

I belong here, I am..... Yes, I am.

Friday, October 19, 2012

1234 Cake

The sold-out  1234 butter cake

It's definitely a winner - a buttery yellow cake

For months I have been craving for a pure butter cake. A simple no-fuss butter cake, without all the trimmings and frosting. A simple cake with no strings attached, or guilty indulgence. A cake which I could readily whip up within minutes, without the need to measure the ingredients using the kitchen scale. So after looking around, flipping through the pages of baking books and even blog walking- I have tracked and discovered the simple recipe of 1234 cake. 1234 cake  has been around for ages in the American kitchen. This butter cake recipe is definitely suitable for layered cakes, it has that "linger on" taste. But be warned, you will not stop eating this. 1234 cake is a classic yellow American cake. A cake which is so dense and airy, and I think is suitable for frosting or to be covered with fondant.

  After more than a month of not baking anything, I finally found the mood to bake again. 1234 cake has finally broken my spell of a "no- no- baking" again. In the previous entry, I have mentioned about the overzealous tasks in my work place, and of me being in a very stressful place. Then came morning, and I finally got the answer to my stress. It's my mistake- I have forgotten my passion all this while, neglected and pushed it away at the corner of my life. Now, here I am- back on track. About this cake- I have loosely based my 1234 cake recipe to  this wonderful lady. You could check on her wonderful blog.

   Now, back to my 1234 cake - I have baked this cake at 3.45 in the morning. And finished all the clean-up of utensils by 5.15 a.m. But, anyhow, I felt like I was given a new spirit. It's like visiting an old friend, a friend with lots of chemistry, sharing happy moments, reflecting on painful days. It's like finding  a lost soul of mine.

    Happily, I cut the cake into pieces, put them into a container and brought  it to my work place. Immediately, asking colleagues to give the cake a try.  And I came home with an empty food container. phew ;) Well, I thought that my cake did not really rise up. But after checking several images in the net, I have concluded that it was meant to be. I have used a 9X9X3 square baking pan and I have managed to get a flat cake. Probably if I were to use a smaller size baking pan, I would get a rise-up cake.

    All right, this is my version of 1234 cake recipe. I have made adjustments to the cake  so that you'll get a better version  than mine. Probably my baking method for this morning was wrong, but I had discovered what went wrong. Perhaps, I would do another entry for this cake. But, now I am posting the better version of the cake's recipe. Here goes;

The ingredients

1 cup of unsalted butter ( I have used SCS and Emborg unsalted butter)
2 cups of fine sugar ( caster sugar)
3 cups of all-purpose flour ( plain flour)
4 large eggs
1 cup of fresh milk +( 2 tbsp of fresh milk- optional)
1 tbsp of double-action baking powder
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp of salt

** In a clean bowl, sift in flour and double-action baking powder. Stir well.

1) Grease your baking pan with butter. Line it with baking parchment.
2) Separate your egg  whites and yellow into two different bowls.
3) Beat your egg whites using electric mixer until you reach the soft peak. (At this stage, you could add 2 tbsp from the 2 cups of fine sugar)
4) Cut the butter into cubes. In a baking bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and the colour changes to yellow white.
5) Add in the egg yellow, one by one. (Or in my case, I beat the egg yellow lightly- before adding them into the baking bowl).
6)Add in vanilla. Mix well. Stir in the salt.
7) Add in half of the flour mixture. Mix well. Then, add in half of the milk. Mix it again.

** At this stage, you could pre-heat the oven at 150C for at least 8 minutes ( I use the electric conventional oven)

8) Add in the last half of the flour mixture. Mix well. Next, add in the last half of the milk. Mix it again. (Add in the 2tbsp of fresh milk-if any)
9) Lastly, add in the soft- peak egg white. Stir well, using the wooden spoon. Add in the lemon juice. Stir well.
10) Pour the batter into the baking pan. Level the batter.
11) Put the baking pan immediately into the pre-heated oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or less.
12) Check if your cake is ready by inserting a skewer. If the skewer comes out clean, then your cake is ready.

Happy baking, everyone...Thank goodness for a butter cake.

This is a happy -feel-good butter cake...

Nothing beats  the taste of a butter cake with a cup of dark, black coffee


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