A more “refined” pavlova than I’m used to. Usually I would just roughly spread the meringue onto a baking sheet, bake then top with copious amounts of fruit and chantilly cream. This one involved drawing a template for the base and piping little rosettes all the way round to contain the cream. Oh and cutting up the fruits and arranging in a nice way on the pavlova. I do like the more refined look, it tastes the same so why not spruce it up a bit :)


This recipe calls for quite a bit of sugar which means that it needs to be added to the egg whites more gradually and more time needs to be taken to whisk it in properly so that the whites stiffen enough to be piped. We had to whisk the meringue in true Westking style (no machines allowed!) and several of us had problems getting the egg to stiff peaks. We just about whisked our arms off, wondering whether there had been some grease in the bowl or whether we had added our sugar too quickly… in any case Chef took pity on us and let us get the mixer out :p

Makes approx 6 portions

3 egg whites
120g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cornflour

1) Gradually whisk the sugar into the egg whites, until stiff peaks form.

2) Gently fold in the vanilla, vinegar and cornflour.

3) Pipe into a circle onto a silicon mat or baking paper and with a star nozzle pipe small little “twists” of meringue all around the edge. Bake for 50-60mins on 150c until the outside is crisp but the inside is still soft.

4) Leave to cool then fill the centre with whipped cream and any fresh fruit you like.

Quiche Lorraine

Whilst watching the latest series of Masterchef Australia I was inspired to try and make quiche lorraine. I usually end up watching Masterchef in the evening as I’m doing some recipe translations. It’s a triple whammy of being hungry, watching … Continue reading

Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

This is a wonderfully easy lemon drizzle cake which I first saw a few years ago on Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets.

I made this cake several times whilst I was at university just because it’s so quick and perfectly fitted in with my study schedule: 20 minutes to make the batter, study for 1 hour whilst it’s baking and then a 15 minute break to glaze (a very therapeutic task by the way), back to studying for an hour or so before taking the perfect excuse for another break and settling down with my flatmates for tea and a slice of lemon drizzle cake.

As you can probably tell baking was on par with studying in my priorities, even during final year exams hehe (notice I say on par with, not higher than, so don’t get any funny ideas kids) But there was always time to cook and definitely always time to bake.

Adapted from BBC Food

5 eggs
300g caster sugar
140ml double cream
3-4 large lemons, zest only
1 pinch salt
80g unsalted butter, melted
240g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp apricot jam
1 lemon, zest and juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Lightly butter a 26cm x 9cm x 8cm loaf tin and line with greaseproof paper.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cream, lemon zest, salt and butter.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
  5. Pour batter into the tin and bake for 50-60 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.
  6. Remove cake from the tin and turn out onto a cooking rack. Allow to cool for 10 mins, this allows the steam to escape before glazing. Leave the oven turned on.
  7. Brush the cake with the warmed apricot glaze and leave for five minutes whilst you make the lemon glaze.
  8. Mix together the lemon juice, zest and icing sugar.
  9. Heat the glaze in a small pan or in the microwave, until the sugar has dissolved and you have a syrup.
  10. Brush the glaze all over the cake and leave for a few minutes to set.
  11. Then place the glazed cake in the oven on a baking tray, turn off the heat and leave for 5 minutes to dry the glaze and turn it translucent.
  12. Remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature before serving.

Al Fresco Salmon Teriyaki

Who doesn’t love fried fish?

But the one thing that always stops me is that everything ends up smelling of said fish. My hair, my clothes, the whole house. Urgh.

Oh wait. Problem solved…… my dad bought an outdoor gas cooker and now that summer has finally decided to grace us with its presence, perhaps we’ll be able to use it more.

The recipe he used for the teriyaki sauce is here.

Just marinade the salmon fillets in the sauce for a couple of hours, fry skin-side down until coloured and crispy and then flip the fillet over to cook the other side.

Serve with stir-fried vegetables and white rice, drizzled with more teriyaki sauce. 

Hazelnut Praline Cake with Coffee Buttercream

WARNING: Not suitable for a low fat diet….hehehe

Hazelnut sponge cake filled with coffee buttercream, covered in chocolate ganache and topped with praline pieces.

For the cake: (adapted from Martha Stewart)
35g whole hazelnuts
150g hazelnuts, crushed in a food processor
170g caster sugar
100g plain flour
110g corn flour
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
180ml vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease an 8 inch round baking tin and line the bottom with baking paper or a silicone sheet.

  1. Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor with 60g caster sugar. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cornflour and hazelnut mixture. Set aside for later.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, yolks, the remaining 110g of sugar, salt and vanilla essence on a high speed until thick and pale in colour and the mixture holds a thick ribbon when the whisk is lifted from the bowl (this will take 7-8 minutes).
  3. Then quickly fold in the flour, gradually adding the oil whilst folding.
  4. Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and turn out immediately onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least one hour.

For the coffee butter cream:
160g unsalted butter
300g icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coffee granules
1 1/2 tablespoons hot water

  1. Cream the butter and mix with icing sugar.
  2. Dissolve coffee granules with water and stir into the butter mixture.
  3. Mix vigorously until smooth.

For the chocolate ganache: (adapted from Epicurious)
225g semi-sweet chocolate
120ml double cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
60g unsalted butter

  1. In a saucepan, bring double cream, sugar and golden syrup to the boil.
  2. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Finally, stir in the butter and allow to cool until spreadable.

For the praline:
60g whole hazelnuts
80g caster sugar
20ml water

  1. Place water and sugar into a pot and heat over a medium flame.
  2. When mixture begins to bubble add the hazelnuts and stir to coat.
  3. Continue heating until the sugar caramelises.
  4. When the sugar turns a rich golden colour pour onto a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool completely.
  5. Break into small pieces using a rolling pin or food processor.

To assemble:

  1. With a serrated knife, level the top of the cake and then carefully cut into half.
  2. Place bottom half onto a serving plate and spread with buttercream.
  3. Sandwich with second half.
  4. Ice the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate ganache and press crushed hazelnuts around the sides.
  5. Garnish the top with praline pieces.


  • after adding the buttercream press down gently on the two layers of cake to close the gap between the two layers, this will make the icing of the cake easier.
  • to obtain a smooth finish on the chocolate ganache use a palette knife dipped in hot water and dried.
  • keep serving plate clean whilst icing and adding the crushed hazelnuts by using strips of parchment paper, wide enough to partially go under the cake and also to cover the plate.
  • for the crushed hazelnuts and the praline it is nicer to remove the skin of the hazelnut. To do this, toast in the oven at 200c for 15-20 minutes until the skins are dried and flaking off, then rub in a damp cloth to remove the skins.

Granny Ellice’s Jam Drops

Apologies for the hiatus guys, I blame Youtube. And Criminal Minds reruns.

Anyway, if you’ve read my “About Me” page you will have seen me mention my great grandmother Ellice Handy and the cookbook she wrote. For a while now I’ve been wanting to start blog series testing, updating and photographing her recipes, but instead, haven’t done any form of blogging for almost 2 weeks now. I’ve decided to break the dry spell with one of the simpler recipes from her book, jam drops.

In later editions of My Favourite Recipes, Granny Ellice (as she is known to the family) credited a Sophia Blackmore with this recipe. Sophia Blackmore was an Australian missionary who arrived in Singapore in 1888. She was the founder of the Methodist Girl’s School (of which Ellice Handy was a student and later the principal) and also Fairfield Methodist School (where my paternal grandmother was a teacher).

The legacy of the Methodist Girl’s School (MGS) is a great one. I don’t think there is anyone in Singapore who does not know someone who attended the school. In my family (save myself, born and bred in Britain), MGS is a school which is held close to the heart and it is interesting to know that this family’s MGS tradition can be traced back so many generations.

Anyway, without my further ado, a recipe for ridiculously simple and moreish jam drops, perfect with a cuppa….

Ingredients: (makes 32)

30g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
140g self raising flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 160c.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla essence. Mix well.
  4. Add the flour and mix until a soft dough forms.
  5. On two greased baking tray divide the dough into 32 balls. Using your hands flatten each ball slightly and with a finger make a depression in the centre of the ball, make it as deep as you can without making a hole in the bottom.
  6. Fill each depression with jam (any flavour you like), be careful not to overfill the jam drops (fill to at least 1mm below the top of the depression).
  7. Bake for 16-20 minutes, until the dough is cooked and slightly coloured.

Some changes from the original recipe:

– I added 10g more butter to give a richer dough.
– these jam drops are half the size of Granny Ellice’s, I guess I just prefer things to be a bit daintier!
– in the original the jam is encased in dough, these are open-faced purely for aesthetic reasons.

Simple “Surf n’ Turf” Egg Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of my all time favourite foods. I have eaten it in many different restaurants all over the world, but nothing can beat home made fried rice. This recipe is great for using left overs as you can put almost anything into it. Plus, it’s simple, tasty and can be made with no fuss and very little washing up afterwards! :)


2 cups long grain rice, cooked
4 eggs
500g deshelled frozen prawns, defrosted
500g minced pork
700g frozen peas
Vegetable oil
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Oyster sauce
Deep fried shallots for garnish, optional


  1. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of oyster sauce, 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil and 2 tablespoons soy sauce into the minced pork and leave to marinate for about 30 mins.
  2. Once marinated, fry in a dry, hot wok until cooked through and browned. Set aside for later.
  3. In a bowl whisk the eggs and season with a splash of soy sauce. Add a tablespoon of oil to the wok and cook, like an omelette, but breaking the egg into pieces as it cooks.  Set aside for later.
  4. Add 2-3 tablespoons of oil into the wok and wait until very hot. Place the rice into the wok and fry until the rice is broken up and slightly shiny from the oil.
  5. Stir the prawns into the rice, then add the peas, minced pork and egg.
  6. Add soy sauce to taste and continue frying for approximately 5 minutes.
  7. Divide into bowls and sprinkle some deep fried minced shallots on top.

Useful tips:

  • cook the rice 1-2 days before as this will give a chance for it to dry out slightly. If you use freshly cooked rice the finished dish may be too wet.
  • it doesn’t matter too much if ingredients stick to the bottom of the wok, just make sure you scrape them off before they burn and this will all add to the taste of the rice.
  • use a well seasoned wok as this will add a lot of flavour as you fry the rice. The longer you fry the more taste will be imparted to the rice (this is a good upper arm work out!)
  • you can replace the pork with a packet of bacon rashers, smoked bacon adds a wonderful taste to the rice, or if you’re a real meat lover then you can use both minced pork and bacon!

Mexican Avocado & Bean Salad

This delicious Mexican salad was introduced to me by a friend. I’m no aficionado of South American cuisine and so I’m always eager to discover new recipes. I hadn’t come across Mexican salad before, and I found it to be fresh, colourful and delicious. For the meat eaters out there you could always add some strips of chicken and for the wine drinkers, this salad goes well with a chilled white.  It’s pretty healthy (if you don’t consider its fried tortilla base) and is just the thing for a light summer supper…. if the summer weather ever comes that is!


For the salad:
350g tinned sweetcorn
350g tinned black beans
1 red pepper
3 tomatoes
2 avocados
200g green beans
6 flour tortillas
10ml sunflower oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning

For the dressing:
1 red onion
1 garlic
Half a bunch of coriander
1 red chilli
10g ground cumin
60ml balsamic vinegar
120ml olive oil

To serve:
100ml sour cream


  1. Dice the red pepper, tomatoes, avocados and garlic. Top and tail the green beans, slice the onion and chilli, and roughly chop the coriander.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, add the green beans and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Place the pepper, green beans, avocados, tomatoes, black beans and corn into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl mix the ingredients for the dressing.
  4. Heat sunflower oil in a frying pan. Cook the tortillas in the pan, one at a time, on both sides until they are crisp and golden in colour.
  5. Mix the dressing with the salad and spoon onto each tortilla. Top with sour cream.

Iced Gems

I hope everyone has enjoyed the bank holiday and all of the Jubilee celebrations. On Saturday morning I went to see the boats gathering by Tower Bridge before sailing to the starting point of the river procession, and even that early on was struck by how many people were gathering. There were Union flags everywhere, and even several life-size cardboard cutouts of the royal family. Sunday and Monday I spent watching everything on tv, before going to the common near the house to watch the village beacon being lit for the Jubilee.

This has been said way too much over the past four days, but the Queen really is a timeless symbol of this country and it’s at times like this I am so thankful to live in Britain and be to be able to see celebrations such as this.

This weekend I also made hundreds of iced gems. For some reason they popped into my head, and I was distressed to find that they are no longer sold in supermarkets. They remind me so much of my childhood, snacking in the car on the way home from school or being kept occupied at various boring occasions. And obviously I would eat them in the traditional way of biting off the sugary top and eating the biscuit last. 

So, not being able to buy them, I decided to make my own. I adapted the recipe from here, adding extra flour as the dough was very sticky, and using brown sugar instead of muscovado.


125g butter, softened
50g caster sugar
50g brown sugar
2 eggs, medium or large, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
360g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
500g royal icing sugar


  1. Cream the butter and sugars together in a bowl.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  3. Sieve in the flour and baking powder and mix until a soft dough forms.
  4. Sprinkle some flour onto a clean worktop and knead until the dough becomes smooth.
  5. Divide into 2 flat disks, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about 30mins.
  6. Remove from the fridge and using a rolling pin roll out the dough between two sheets of cling film. (the dough should be about 5mm thick).
  7. Use a 3cm round cutter to cut out the iced gems and place onto a lined baking sheet. You can place them quite close together as they will not spread.
  8. Preheat the oven to 170c (fan) and place the baking sheets into the fridge for another 20 minutes.
  9. Remove from the fridge and bake for 12-15mins, until golden brown.
  10. Make the royal icing according to instructions on the packet, ensuring that the consistency is quite stiff so that it will hold its shape once piped.
  11. Mix in the colouring of your choice before placing into a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle.
  12. Pipe each biscuit base with the icing and leave to dry completely (this will take a few hours).