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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.




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.




When we were young we ate fruits as it is.  Now with the import of every kind of fruit to Singapore, we are so lucky to have and eat many different kinds of fruits all year round.

Sometimes there are just plenty of fruits in the house that I came up with recipes using fruits.

This time I experimented with fresh grapes and came up with this moist and delicious cake instead of using dried fruits which was normally done. I converted it to  cupcakes as I had some leftover champagne grapes.  It became one  elegant dessert for an afternoon tea.

Because of its taste and elegance I taught this in my baking class.  Some members tried it at their homes and sent me their pictures.  What more can you ask when your students are successful and so happy with their bakes.  So here is the recipe – do try my simple yet elegant cup cakes and you wont be disappointed of course! (more…)

Cornflake Cookies

deepavali cookies 1



The word alone brings back memories for me. Suddenly I can visualise myself throughout my childhood – most of it centering around food, of course!

And recently when I had a request for a cookie bake to pass on to needy families, I agreed immediately. Each volunteer baker had to bake a certain number of jars of cookies, namely, chocolate chip cookies and cornflake cookies. The best part, all the bakers were not known to each other, but we introduced to each other in a “Whatsapp” group. So many messages and the person who brought us together is Sonia. She coordinated the bake, and gave us the recipes and instructions on how each cookie should look.

I am sharing the recipes here as they were very good. I did a sample bake of each cookie and passed them to about 30 people to taste test. I listened to their comments and did some very minor changes to make them the best tasting cookies.

I did a total of 70 jars of cookies. Even if it was for needy families whom I did not know, my intention was, and is always, very clear. When you give anything to anyone – it must of the best quality! So I did take the trouble to source for good ingredients as I wanted the end result to be the best!


deepavali cookies 3


As they turned out very well, I decided to do more of these cookies for my dinner party this week as a party favour for my guests, so that they could also enjoy these cookies with tea in the comfort of their own home.

Here’s the recipe for the cornflake cookies. Don’t forget to check out the recipe for the chocolate chip cookies!


deepavali cookies 2


Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Icing

carrot cake 3


This cake has been very popular with my friends, especially friends who have gone overseas and have travelled well. Each time we meet it has always been carrot cake and coffee at various cafes in Singapore for that little tête-à-tête with my lady friends.

Each time the carrot cake has been a great disappointment. Somehow there seems to be a metallic taste to it. I attended a famous chef’s class just to learn to bake this cake, well, it was a disappointment too. It was too dense and the taste was unpleasant. This actually encouraged me to test some carrot cake recipes from Europe and the United States some years ago. I observed that US carrot cakes come with cream cheese icing and are always much sweeter (their cupcakes and the famous red velvet cakes do have cream cheese icing). Whereas the European versions seem to have butter cream or plain glacé icing.

My version has cream cheese as it adds a nice tang to the cake. The cake itself can be eaten on its own as it is wholesome with all the carrots and goodies in it! The magic ingredient seems to be the canned pineapple! You will not taste the pineapple, but it makes the slightly dense cake moist and gives a softer texture which is a pleasure to eat. Everyone who have tried my cake always asks for more and more.


carrot cake 2


Recently I had a baking class where I taught this cake. My friends in the class gave the thumbs up for this cake. Those who do cake hopping to try cakes told me that this is the best carrot cake that they have eaten. One participant told me that my cake matched her high standards. I was so happy as my experiments in this cake have paid off very well in making others happy and beaming with joy as they were eating the cake. They also found out that my method is very easy to make too. Once you have gathered the ingredients, just separate the wet and the dry ingredients and work from there. I have given measurements in cups to make it easier and you don’t need a cake mixer too. So do bake this cake and I would surely love to hear from you!


Eggless Date & Walnut Coffee Cake


choc walnut cake 3 (1)


Friends always request eggless cakes from me and this is for them. I like dessert at the end of lunch and dinner so this is a perfect ending to a vegetarian meal. Or you may serve at Afternoon Tea, which I do most of the time.

I observe vegetarianism a few times a week so I experiment with bakes that do not need eggs. I substitute eggs with other ingredients. Surprisingly, some taste better without the eggs. I will be posting these recipes in due course.

I served this to my cousin recently.  At first she refused to eat it, I had to convince her that the cake had no eggs in it! When she tried it, she was very happy with the texture and the taste of this cake. She asked for more!

A non-vegetarian will not miss or guess that there are no eggs in this cake!


choc walnut cake 1 (1)


Furthermore, the addition of walnuts and dates makes this cake healthier than most others!

It is moist, delicious and most importantly easy to make. I have made it easier for you to measure in cups instead of grams etc. We will at least have a cup in the kitchen! So no excuse if you do not have a measuring scale etc to avoid baking! Little washing up as well!


choc walnut cake 2 (1)


So yummy and good – do bake and give me your comments please.


Bulgur Wheat Payasam

payasam 3


This is definitely one of my all-time quick payasams (payasam is creamy sweet porridge in the Tamil language). It is a go-to comfort food for me. It is very tasty, easy to make and needs very few ingredients. It is also versatile and you can add lots of dried fruits and nuts as well to make it a very nutritious food.

Bulgur wheat is a quick-cooking whole wheat grain which has been parboiled. It is nutritious and has a very pleasant nut-like flavour. This grain can be used as a substitute for rice, couscous or quinoa. Most middle eastern recipes use this wheat. One famous recipe is tabbouleh.


payasam 2
Bulgur wheat 


The recipe below serves 3 people or 4 small eaters.

I have given 2 methods of cooking, one on a normal stove and another for a faster method – the microwave. Both methods are very tasty. Try both methods and let me know which method you prefer!


payasam 4


winged bean mango salad

Winged Bean & Mango Salad

winged bean mango salad 1


I became interested in the winged bean when I was at a retreat in Malaysia in a place called Janda Baik. At this retreat, everything was organically grown and picked for lunch and dinner.

We were served a big basket of the winged beans with a condiment on the side. I saw my friends taking each bean, dunking it into the sauce and eating with relish and gusto! That was many moons ago!

But I have grown to like and enjoy this angled vegetable as it is eaten raw.

It is low calorie, and is a great source of vitamins such as folates and Vitamin C, as well as minerals. Surprisingly, it has proteins too.

Not many people know about the goodness of this vegetable and I thought to introduce you to this by making a salad.

You can eat it on its own or as a side dish to fish or chicken. It goes well with lamb biryani too.


berry muffins

Berry Muffins

berry muffins

Muffins are very easy to make and can have endless combinations of fresh fruits, dried fruits, and nuts mixed in.

I love this recipe for the simplicity as well as the fact that it can be made quickly. Once you gather your ingredients, it takes just 2 steps to bake. You need very few utensils and this recipe can be done in a jiffy, making this muffin a great breakfast for people on the go, or for school children.

Use fresh fruits in season, as you can have extra to serve on the side too. I have used blueberries as they are in season now and also inexpensive. Happy baking!