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Blue Birthday Marble Cake


I have done many birthday cakes as well as cakes to befit different occasions so far.

Previously when I started to make cakes on a regular basis, I did not write down or took pictures of my cakes. In the last 3 years I have started to write and take pictures at the same time for the sake of my family, friends and readers of my blog.

When I was a teenager, one of the best cakes that I have eaten was from a hotel at Orchard Road. It was for my nephew’s first birthday which was shaped as a Concord plane. It looked so real that my father wanted to pick it up and give it to my nephew to play. When the cake was being cut, my father’s finger prints were at the sides of the cake which was the body of the plane. A cake that I would have loved to replicate of course but which I never did.

I have never spent alot for my childrens’ birthdays because I always thought it was a waste of effort and money as very very young children may not know what the fuss is about.

But I agree that any occasion to bring the family and extended family and even friends is reason enough to celebrate an occasion.

I remember doing simple birthday parties for my 2 daughters when they were in kindergarten and primary schools. Yes there will be cake and food and games in my house. And because they are a little older than babies or toddlers, they are able to see the cakes and enjoy them as well. One of my favourite cake was the Humpty Dumpty Cake. I used an empty eggshell for the face of Humpty and drew his face and let him sit on a brick wall cake. These are just memories because as I said earlier no photos were taken.

But now I take pictures and write down everything about the cake so as to improve or to bake the cake again when it turns out so delicious.

One such cake is this Blue Birthday Marble Cake made specially for a senior friend of mine who loves the colour, Blue! She does not like sponge cakes or chocolate cakes and definitely not too much frosting!  So I did a marble butter cake frosted  with fresh blue whipped cream icing and blue m&m chocolate buttons.



The cake was so tasty that it finished even though we had taken a full sumptious dinner earlier!

Anyone can make this cake – I have made this cake umpteen times just for the deliciousness and each time I had received many accolades. Simple and tasty and can be decorated elegantly to suit any occasion.




Singapore coffee festival is an event for all coffee lovers and more. I went to this year’s coffee fest held at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre  and was greeted with beautiful quotes along the way. Enticing me of course!



The first stop that caught my eye was organic coffee!. Had to try. Drank 2 cups of Peruvian coffee. Loved it. Especially the coffee named fiesta. My must buy to bring home!

I was looking around for breakfast but there was nothing much.  While looking for a bite I was intrigued by 3 vendors, selling pie tee buah kluak, chilli crab croissant  and vegan burger made totally with soya. Wasn’t keen on soya and chilli crab croissant was more like lunch so settled for the pie tee. Good choice, spicy with generous filling of chicken and buah kluak paste. It was definitely a ‘wow’. Should have reduced the salt though.

Pie tee full of buah kluak flavor!


Headed down to learn to make flat white which is what I normally order when I am in a cafe.

So it is 30% expresso with 60% steamed milk and 10% milk froth.   So I can do it at home for my daily caffeine fix..

I had always liked and have followed Sumiko Tan’s writings in the Sunday times for many years, so participated in Coffee with the columnists with Sr writer, Mr WongKH together with another best known columnist Ignatius Low in the forum.  Realized that they write their hearts out and not something they were told to write on. Great! Mr Ignatius Low was honest so will follow his column too.


This drink caught my eye at the wharf area.   But I loved the bottle more than the lychee tea that was inside it!

Walked around several vendors, surprised that Shiseido is not only a cosmetic house but a cafe as well. They had collagen drinks and cheese cake – couldn’t control my amusement..  They were promoting their skin care range at the same time.  Yes good idea!

I had time to listen to a talk on flat lay photography who is a blogger himself.    Delivery could have been better.

Some ST staff at the entrance of the activity corner  at the flat lay photography were not very helpful.  Maybe the organizers could do it better next time.

Nevertheless there was more than just coffee, there was wine, books, magazines, coffee in ice cream, and many cafes showing off their wares.  There were interesting forums, talks, learning to brew coffee, tasting like an expert and home roasting demonstrations. Of course there were chocolates and those from Nicaragua and Belize were worth a try.

Loved the ambience and the space to move around.   Happy to note recycling was a part of the festival to save the earth.  Great Move!  The crowd was basically young, from 20s to 40s, very hip and adventurous!

Yes I will join again next year.




The first time I had avocado was in Jakarta many years ago. I had gone on a 7 day cruise in Leisure World (Now this ship is no more) with a friend, Ms Mandy and she introduced the avocado as a miracle fruit. And this fruit was made into a shake which can be found in many cafes. street corners as well as restaurants in Jakarta. Her favourite way of saying something so shiok is “Shokudu”   Sometimes I  use this word when something is so out of this world in taste.

Yes I agree with her so much that this avocado shake is so shokudu in taste especially when gula Melaka (palm sugar) is added.

Back in Singapore then, hardly  could I find avocado except in specialty fruit shops and later the avocado shake was in the menu in Sanur Indonesian restaurant at Centrepoint, Orchard Road, Singapore. They used to make a fantastic avocado shake. Now somehow this drink has been so commercialized and I guess the ingredients are not authentic.

Now practically all kinds of fruit is available all year round due to imports from various countries.   We are very lucky too because I have seen the prices are sometimes much lower than the countries they have been imported from – could be due to economies of scale.

Avocado itself is so versatile. It grows in many countries. The common ones we find here are from South America, USA, Australia , Vietnam, and Indonesia. I have tried Sri Lankan varieties. They are much smaller but the Thai and Vietnamese variety tend to be the size of our palm. In Asian countries it is known as butter fruit. This is quite a suitable name because you can substitute mashed avocado for butter in your toast. Sometimes I sprinkle demerara sugar on my toast or even spread honey with it.  Because of its bland taste and the creaminess, butter can be substituted with avocado puree in cakes. I have tried some cakes and it did turn out well. So you can eat more cake as it contains no butter which is all fat. No need to feel guilty after eating cake!  I have done pancakes and waffles with avocado.  Do find time to check them out  in my blog.  Extremely delicious.

In my home, avocados sit on my fruit basket. Used daily for breakfast, shake and many times in salads.  I also make a Mexican dip known as guacomole.

As in most fruits, avocados ripen best off the tree. But here in Singapore I haven’t seen that so you’ll find that a lot of them are unripe when you shop. Choose avocados that feel heavy. The skin should be dark, with a hint of green, and taut, with no dents.

If a little ripe, when you hold an avocado, it will give a little give.

If avocados at the market are green and unripe, you can ripen them at home. Put them in a brown paper bag out of direct sunlight. Within three days they’ll be ripe and ready to eat. Press the skin gently. It will be tender but not too soft.


As for the shake you may put all the ingredients and blend and pour it into a glass, or if you want restaurant style, then the ingredients can be layered to make it so inviting. Of course you can stir and not stir too much to avoid too much of a certain ingredient.

Some may not like too much sweetness or too much coconut cream. And this can be decided if the shake is layered accordingly. For me I prefer to mix all and drink it chilled or slurp it slowly so as to maximize the joy of tasting my favourite fruit shake.


Sambal Belachan – So shiok!

Some years ago, I went to Janda Baik in Malaysia for a course on Awareness Before Change 

It was my Company that encouraged me to go for it. To go for this course was one of the best  decisions that I made – I should say. It changed my life, the way I think and what to do if I ever need to get what I want. I am not saying need. It is What I want!. I didn’t practise what I learnt because I don’t have any wants in life. If I had been the go getter probably I would be a multi millionaires now!

No! I was more intrigued by the lifestyle of the trainers, the Colonel and his beautiful petite wife and who they have become to be.

At Janda Baik, at lunch time, our long wooden table always carried a cane basket full of this winged beans which were plucked  from the garden or maybe from the jungle nearby.

I was not going to eat vegetables that were not cooked especially vegetables that I am not familiar with. But I was coersed by the Cooks that I should try as it is very good for health.  Decided to give a try and it was indeed very refreshing.  I was hooked!

Back in Singapore – I couldn’t find it for a long time. I wanted my girls to eat this vegetable because they enjoy raw food. And I got a friend to buy it at a local market. (now I can get it at the Kranji farm which has this organic vegetable and other varieties too). But to eat this raw one needs a sambal to go with it.

I notice most of our various cultures have some form of sambals/dips in the diet. Indians have their chutneys, pickles, Italians their various olive oil dips, Thais have their nam prik, nam pla and many more.

But I love a mean sambal belachan which can be eaten with raw vegetables, or stir fried or as an accompaniment to rice.

As a child in my grandma’s place in Bukit Timah, I have seen my Malay neighbours eating together as a group using one huge tray of food. They sit on the floor in a circle around the tray and enjoy their rice with boiled vegetables, sambal belachan and fried fish. It is a sight to behold. I remember allowing them into my grandma’s garden to pluck sweet potato leaves and tapioca and some other vegetables on a regular basis.

My grandma was a giver of food, just like my mum. I remember that almost daily, some people will come and ask for permission to pluck fruits and vegetables. We had plenty to eat and to give away too.

I remember too, when I was married and had my own place, there were just too many ladies fingers and brinjals in my backyard that I gave away daily. Sometimes I pack it and give to whoever I meet when I go for a walk or when I wanted to fetch my girls from school.

Somehow this habit of giving food has been instilled in me that I tend to cook more than necessary so that I can pack the leftovers for my guests to bring home too.

Now when I am teaching baking or cooking at my Potong Pasir Community Club, I also tend to cook extra and my student residents are just too happy to have more. And I do this teaching voluntarily too.   I remember my WEC Chairman, Ms Jenny Yong, telling me once when I initially started to teach about 5 ½ years ago, that we want happy residents.  I totally agree with her.

This joy of seeing others happy is just too great. Money definitely cannot buy that, right? (more…)


Avocado Waffles

BREAKFAST. We need breakfast daily. Not simply bread and toast all the time, or our favorite local prata, nasi lemak, chee cheong fun, etc. Once in a while make it special and different.

Lately I am experimenting with different types of whole grain and nutritive flours. I did the following breakfast on a Sunday morning which I know my family members will enjoy.

It is so simple once you have your ingredients on hand.

Avocados are always in my house, it is a staple for my daughter who eats it daily with one of her meals at least.

I told her I will make avocado pancakes the night before, but decided to do waffles instead.

At first I thought the buckwheat flour will not marry with the avocado well but I tell you, it happened to be a good combination. If you like buckwheat and avocado then please go ahead and make it because it gives a satisfying and fulfilling breakfast without the feeling of “Oh dear too much of a flour meal first thing in the morning”

The waffles were perfectly cooked, crisp on the outside and soft inside.

I gather this can be an all day breakfast meal if you include a piece of roast chicken or ham etc. Include a green salad and it becomes lunch or dinner.

That’s what I did with leftover batter. So enjoy a different kind of meal for a change, albeit a nutritious clean meal!


Avocado waffles


1 cup self raising flour

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 cups milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 avocados



Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend to a batter . It is alright to have some lumpy avocado.

Heat a waffle iron, brush with butter.

Pour half a cup of batter into the waffle iron and cook till desired crispness or softness is reached.

Serve with maple syrup, strawberries or blueberries and sunny side eggs.


You may replace oil with any other preferred oil or melted butter.

You may use half cup self raising flour and 1 ½ cups buckwheat flour.

As this is not a cake recipe, you don’t need to be exact in the measurements.

Please reduce the salt if desired.

Use ripe avocadoes if possible and if you use another 1 more avocado, you don’t need the eggs.

You can make pancakes if you do not have a waffle iron. Add half a cup of water to dilute the batter if necessary.




Pineapple tarts have been a firm favourite since I had helped my mum making it as a little girl. I remember rolling the pineapple jam into small marble sizes and placing them on a tray.

My mum is the person who had made such great tarts that many of her friends would come over just to get a tin. My mother never sold any food to anyone, she always gives them.   And which I do follow till today. The satisfaction of seeing someone’s joy is just immense.

And I love pineapple tarts so much that I must share this incident that may leave you dumbfounded.  It is  a true incident.

You should know if you read about me  in my home page, that my mum passed away when I was barely 18 years old.

I got married at age 23.   I was in the family way at age 27.

And guess what, I craved for my mum’s pineapple tarts, but how?

I had a dream that night, my mum who was dressed so regally knocked on my door and was holding a huge tin of pineapple tarts. I remember the tin so well – it was a 2 kg EveryDay milk powder tin.

She told me this “this is just for you, enjoy it”.

I took the tin and started eating and devouring the pineapple tarts one by one. I was so satisfied. And thanked her profusely. She smiled and went away.

When I woke up that morning, I could sense the taste of pineapple tarts in my mouth and throat.   You will understand this when you eat one too many.   I was so shocked and do you know, it was the best and till today I don’t crave it that much even though it is my favourite festive treat.



Now to the main tart itself, I have done many variations of this tart but yet to perfect the one that my mum made. She didn’t leave a recipe. So it has always been a trial and each time doing the tarts slightly differently. Yes I did have many successes along the way, and as always never wrote the recipe down. One day, my younger daughter who also loves these tarts told me that she is going to tape me while I am doing it. Which she did. That is the recipe that I have been using to make tarts for her.

As she lives in London, whenever she comes to visit me or when someone goes to London, I will pass 2 jars of pineapple tarts, one for her and another for my best friend’s daughter, Mary Laura who loves these tarts too. Mary Laura has told that my tarts are the best.

Me being always on the look out for a pineapple tart recipe, came to read about pineapple tarts in the Straits Times quite  recently and so decided to have a go with this recipe. I found the dough  very difficult to handle as it had too much butter to flour ratio. But the taste was good.


Today’s recipe is the adaptation from the article in the Straits times  with some modifications and  it turned out so well. You will not be disappointed with this recipe of course. So those friends of mine who have requested for the recipe, here it is. Enjoy making it and eating it too.

Both the jam and the pastry are important elements.

But to save time, you may buy the jam from reputed stores. There are some good ones, for today’s recipe I bought the premium jam and I did some modifications to suit my taste.

For the pastry, it depends on your preference, some like it crumbly, some like it crisp and soft, and some like it meltingly smooth.

The pastry that I have in this recipe is slightly crisp on the outside and soft in the inside. If you bake it a little longer maybe another 5 minutes more, it will be crisp crumbly.

My personal preference is a pastry which is crisp on the outside and soft inside, which melts in your mouth but at the same time very flavourful.


Pineapple tarts


210 gm plain flour

20 gm cornflour

30 gm icing sugar

¼ tsp salt

140 gm unsalted butter – must be direct from fridge and cubed

2 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

I to 2 tbsp ice water if necessary.

Pineapple jam as required

METHOD for Dough

In a food processor, add all the ingredients except the ice water.

Pulse it or use low speed to get the dough together. If it does not form a ball of dough, add 1 tbsp of ice cold water. Repeat if necessary to form a nice soft dough.

Keep aside in the fridge for 15 mins to 30 mins.

Or you may roll the dough to about 0.6 cm if it is not too soft to handle and proceed to use the tart mold to cut into shapes and fill with the jam.

Bake in a preheated oven at 175C for 15 mins or to your preferred pastry texture. Not more than 20 mins or your jam will become too hard.  This happens if you use store bought jam.

Remove the baked tarts to a rack to cool.

Once cooled, store in an airight jar.

This recipe makes about 40 tarts.

INGREDIENTS for Pineapple Jam

300 gm store bought premium jam

1 tsp of cinnamon powder or less

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

1/2 cup to ¾ cup hot water

5 cloves


Put all ingredients except the water in a pan to heat through till well combined. Add the water if it is too thick and  combine until you have the right ball forming consistency. If you like the taste, remove to cool and roll into 6 gm balls. Place in a tray and keep aside to be placed in each tart shell before baking.



If the jam is too tangy, add soft brown sugar, a pinch of salt to counterbalance the taste.   This is only necessary if you are using store bought pineapple jam.

Alternatively you can prepare the jam by using fresh ripe pineapples. OR you can use canned pineapples.   Reduce the sugar as the canned pineapples are already very sweet, Coarsely pulse the pineapples ,add lime juice and salt , 1 tbsp of butter, cinnamon stick and cloves, cook it till it is jammy and cool to use it. Do it a few days earlier.


For this recipe, I took 8 gm of dough each which I rolled into a ball. Pressed my thumb into the centre and while holding, pinched it with the pinch maker all around  with my other hand.

I finished the whole process and placed them in a baking tray.

Then I placed 1 ball of pineapple jam, 6 gm each. Slowly patted the jam onto the tart base.

To make it pretty, I crinkle cut strips of thin dough or just roll strips and put a cross on each.

And some I used a mini star mould to cut the shape of a star to decorate each tart.

You may leave it out if it is too much work but then I love to do them.

For the dough, you may reduce the icing sugar or leave it out completely  if your jam is sweet enough.

It is very important to have everything cold, including the flour, butter, eggs etc.

The pastry is a short one, so it has to be cold.



I have been teaching baking skills for free in the last 2 months for single mums and to ladies who wanted to learn basic baking  but were unable to pay the fees.


I taught them basic muffins, savoury muffins, cup cakes with frosting, German Marble crumble Cake, Nuttella Blossoms  to name a few.



I am happy to note that each of them had learned well and now have the confidence to bake on their own. Some of them have been baking recipes from cookbooks etc. They have sent pictures of their bakes and I feel so proud of them.

I will open up more free classes if I can make some time and get a bigger venue to accommodate more ladies.










Alot of work goes into planning the classes – from creating recipes to buying the right ingredients and providing the refreshments.


I derive much happiness in teaching and to impart my passion and knowledge to anyone who is keen.



I would rather teach a person to fish instead of giving a fish to eat.

I am not posing any pictures of the ladies who came to my classes but only pictures of their bakes.



Dear ladies – who attended my classes – you know who you are,  keep on baking and keep on learning!  Keep in touch. Feel free to call me if you have any queries in baking. I will gladly assist.



These are english shortbread, a type of rich cookie or biscuit as it is called in asian countries.  In my early days as a child, I remember eating these cookies but it is also called butter biscuits because of the vast amount of butter used.  My mum used to do beautiful biscuits just for us kids which were  very yummy and which melted in the mouth.

Of course it was very expensive then to buy them which comes in colored round and oblong tins.  I used to reuse the tins for keeping knick knacks. These are very good too.  It is still available at very good shops.  I do buy them as gifts if I don’t have time  to prepare them myself.  But most of the time, I will prepare these shortbread bars and beautify them by putting them in beautiful art tins which becomes my signature!  And of course you know that mine is free of any chemicals or preservatives and  definitely more tasty!

So today I would like to share my recipe which I have altered a little to include flavouring and zest.  I have baked many different types of shortbread but this is one of my favorite.  It is a little finicky to do as the dough can become very soft in our hot climate.   But the hard work pays off as you will bite into a crunchy yet soft cookie when baked.  The flavor in this shortbread is just too awesome as I have used orange zest and orange extract.    You may substitute with grapefruit, lemon or just leave it out.


 250 g plain flour

1 tbsp rice flour

220 g butter

80 g fine sugar

1 orange – zest only.

1 tsp orange extract or more if you like the flavor.

coarse sugar for sprinkiling.


Preheat oven to 180C

Beat butter till smooth and creamy. Add sugar and continue to beat till fluffy.

Add the orange extract and the orange zest and blend well.

Slowly add in the flours and gently form a dough.

Wrap with cling wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.

Roll dough onto a floured surface to ¼ inch (0.5 cm) thick, cut into 8cm by 2 cm or 3 inch by half inch bars.

Place the shortbread onto a baking sheet.

Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired. Keep the shortbread in the baking sheet in the fridge for about 20 minutes to chill. Poke a few holes  on the top of the shortbread with a cake tester or a skewer stick if desired.

Take out and bake in a preheated oven  for 10 minutes or till shortbread is very lightly brown.

Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container. Keeps well.


These shortbread keeps very well if stored in an airtight container.

Its a very good gift to bring along for children.

If you can’t find the orange extract, substitute with 2 tsp orange juice.

Handle the dough lightly as it may become soft, or chill well before cutting into bars.


travel eat – french-italian food fare in a countryside garden


Recently went to a restaurant in a very unlikely place, a park which is called HortPark in Singapore.

Vineyard – as it is called is a charming and cosy restaurant serving french-italian food with selections of wine of course.

The greenscape of the Hortpark was recreated to an experience of a countryside with beautiful gardens all separately cloned somewhat.  There was this Bali Garden, Edible Garden, and even a Butterfly garden.

Imagine having a meal surrounded by a luscious green all around you.

But the restaurant had very old aged tables and it was very brown with an artificial fireplace and domed cane lighting.  The lights were pretty though!

We can eat either at the air-conditioned room or just outside amidst  a recreated garden.

As there were two of us, we tried some wine, an appetizer and 2 main dishes to be shared.

We skipped dessert as  I had tea only at 4 pm.  And Dinner was at 6 pm!

The waitress was not able to suggest the wines properly, even though the restaurant is called Vineyard!  I expected some good suggestions but she was just stammering and we decided to take their house wine, which happened to be a right choice.

But the  food, especially the appetizer that we had, Baked brie fondue with toasted brioche was very good and we loved the slight sweetness of honey and balsamic vinegar over the small pot of brie. It went well with the strawberries and grapes that came with it,  Will recommend this to anyone who loves cheese or for that matter even for non-cheese lovers!


For the main course we had Roasted chicken with a balsamic and a dark sauce,  Chicken was juicy, tender and went well with the sides of baked crispy potatoes, baked asparagus, carrots and 1 roasted garlic.

The next main that we had was Miso Cod, and it was served with ramen noodles – surprising as it was supposed to be a french-italian restaurant.  But regret not, it was very good and  flavorful and the only french thing about this dish was  – it was a very small portion.  Definitely not enough for a person who eats moderately.  For me it would have been enough as I eat small meals throughout the day.

There was no room for dessert for me as we both had tea around 4 pm at our respective offices.

Food was good,  there was of course other main courses which looked so tempting,  pastas and pizzas were in the menu too.

Service  needs to be improved.  Some were experienced but some are not.  No personal touches, no thank you and no proper recommendation for the food.  We went through the menu and decided for ourselves what to eat.

Ambience would have been nice probably in the daylight hours  but needed some room fragrance.  It was very musty as we were one of the early customers. The room seemed dreary with the dark brown furniture and dim lights.    Nevertheless you will be able to catch the setting sun in the reflecting infinity pool just outside the restaurant while sipping wine and forget your worries, if any!

I  will definitely return with my close friends who love food!  Thank you Vineyard!


links – HortPark  website:

Vineyard 33 Hyderabad Road, Hortpark Singapore 119578



Stay positve be positive, switch to positivity each time you feel negative.

I am so tuned to this after I went to a mind blowing course at Janda Baik many years ago.

The trainer who was a Colonel together with his wife were excellent in imparting postitivity in me. I have never felt better in life. I have gone through some tough times, but this training has helped me tremendously.  I want to thank them profusely.

One analogy that was used was the SWITCH to turn off and on.

Just switch on or off whenever negative thoughts creeps in – I was told. From then somehow or rather each time I see a switch anywhere I turn my postive mode on.

Nothing bothers me – I keep calm and cool. Always ask what can be the worst thing that can happen – will I be able to accept that, If yes then there is no issue, if no then learn to cope.


To help you further always look at the end result and work backwards from there.

You will have more resources and energy to reach your end result and objectives as you already visualize it.

Have inner peace and calm. It is no point to have a mind when a rat goes round and round. Give yourself some 10 to 20 minutes of me-time and cultivate the inner peace. You will feel better and sometimes realization and answers will just appear.

All of us go through some form of conflict, unhappiness and exasperation. Write down your anger instead. Let out your fear, anger, frustration and everything negative which surrounds you on paper.   Then after a few minutes, tear out the paper slowly and release the tension within you. You will feel so much better . You will feel refreshed and then forgiveness will surface and everything is all smiles again.


Exercise your mind and body. Physical exercise takes care of your body , need not specially go the gym, a walk around your homeground for 30 minutes daily is sufficient. Importantly your mind must be detoxed as well. It removes all toxins and you have a beautiful mind after that.

Don’t ever fall prey to negative comments or irritations from others. Just leave them be, Dont get flustered and learn to let go. Don’t carry any burden that doesn’t belong to you.