Friday, June 25, 2010

key01-yaaSummer in Japan





All these words brought me to Japan this summer.
Since I was coming back to Hong Kong to visit my family.
Mom and I planned to stay in Japan for 5 days on our way back to Hong Kong.
I booked the hotel on
Search for transportation direction and printed off maps from google.
I was all ready for this trip.
(If you would like to find out time table and price for train and subway in Tokyo in advance, I strongly recommend this site , all you need is the name of the place. I searched in English and it shows in Chinese and Japanese characters, please let me know if you will need help with it.)


First night, we went to a hot spring hotel at Choshi.
It is on the east of downtown Tokyo, near by the sea, 2 hours away from Narita Airport.
It cost about $150 USD per person (the cheapest one), including 1 night 2 meals and hot spring bath tax.
You can also choose other deal on the website.
To book this hotel, you will need to visit their website at

Unfortunately, it is only available in Japanese.
Now it is time to figure out how to book this local hotel.
I then found this free translation site, Worldlingo
all you need is to fill in a form on Gyoukeikan site to reserve a room.
You can always email to the hotel staff (in English)
they will provide very clear direction and answer all you questions in English.

When we arrive Choshi station, we called the hotel at a phone booth. (cost 10 yen, make sure you have some change with you. If you don't, there is a 24 hr conventience store at the station)
We only waited about 10 min, they send a shuttle bus to the station to pick us up.


After we checked-in the hotel, we have got 45 min to rest before they serve dinner in our room.
Yes, in the room =)
We managed to have a quick shower in the public bath and rest up in the hot spring.
They have some tranditional bath robe in different sizes for you to wear to the hot spring,
ofcourse we took some nice picture in it.


Dinner time!
I swear I have never had so much seafood in my life.
I didn't like raw fish/ sashimi but you must try the freshest ones in Japan.
Everything is caught in the sea near by the hotel.
I can't tell you everything because I will let you to experience your own.
Mom and I had so much fun during the stay.


key01-yaaAwenda Camping Trip Review




I really enjoyed the camping trip at Awenda.
You may wonder what were all the food I brought to the camp site.
I only prepare very little because cooking in the forest is the main part.

Cooking on camp fire is nice,
but sometimes it is hard to control the heat,
food always get burn on the outside and raw in the inside.

We brought a propane stove and a propane grill for this trip,
they help you to cook your meal easier.

To make this burger lunch plate, you will need:
propane stove
small frying pan
1 slices of mozzarella
1/2 small onion
4 mini burger patties
1 onion/cheese bun
1/2 sliced tomato
1/4 iceberg lettuces
salt & pepper

1- Pan fried the burger with 1/2 tsp butter on medium heat
2- Meanwhile, slice up the onion and bun
3- Once the burger is done, add the onion and satuee with the flavored oil in the pan
4- Next, assumble the burger in order, bun> burger, cheese, onion, ketchup (the heat will help melt the cheese
5- Plate the lettuces and tomato on the side

I did not use any dressing for my salad because the burger is very flavourful and it is nice to have something lighter on the side

You can make this recipe at your next camping trip too. It has only a few simple ingridents and easy steps. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did =)


Monday, June 21, 2010

key01-yaaBirthday Dinner Review



It was my Birthday last month.
I have been too busy to post up photos and recipes for my Birthday dinner.
I invited 8 people to the dinner that night, and spent hours in the kitchen to prepare the meal.
That night, we had a 3 course dinner in South East Asian theme.


First, we have mango salad with Vietnamese sausage and fried tofu.
I made the dressing with fish sauce, lime along with fried shallot oil.


Second course, I prepared my family famous recipe Burmese Coconut Chicken noodle soup.
The soup base taste like a enlighten curry chicken sauce.
I used spaghetti instead of the tradition oiled noodle, which I believe it is healthier.
I topped it with fried onion for some crispy texture, hard boil egg for the richness and coriander for fragrance.


Another plate was also serving as a main course.
I made roasted lemon grass pork tender loin and pineapple fried rice.
The pork tender loin was my first time recipe.
They did not turn out as good as I expected, I was a little disappointed with that.
But at least I have got the fried rice done right.
I was using canned pineapple and sausage that I just pick up in the supermarket.
I pre-made them and kept them warm in the rice cooker until I needed them.
For a final touch, I added Malaysian pork floss to balance with the pineapple.
It was the first time that I did not prepare dessert for dinner.
I was really running out of time working on all this first time recipes.
Glad my thoughtful friends bought me 2 cakes for dinner. Everyone was very full and happy that night.


key01-yaaWhat a steal from Ikea




On an afternoon, I have got some time to shop around before dinner.
I live very close to Ikea, so I decided to go for a walk in Ikea.
I always love to skip all the section and go right into the kitchen section.
On that day, I have got some chic nautical paper plates, cups and napkin for the camping trip.
When I walked into the baking section, I found this treasure.
It is pretty cup cake lining in a package of 60.
Guess how much?
They are only $1.49.
I couldn’t hesitate to grab 2 packs.
In Dollar Store, a pack of 50 sells for $1. Yes plain white boring cup cake lining.
Get them while they still have them.
I have baked some cute cupcakes using them.



Friday, June 11, 2010

key01-yaaAre you Hungry? I know Onciu is!




I know all of you are hungry for more recipes.
My friend Matthew is re-launching his website
You can post on the site from the everyday website by log onto Google, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, OpenID and Flickr.
He has some exotic Korean food recipes, Asian fusion recipes and Americanos!
I can't wait here.
Because there will be more new recipes add to the site and also VIDEOS.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

key01-yaaCheese Sticks!




They are my experiment.
I was baking some French Baguette but I thought maybe I want cheese inside.
I have a big chunk of Canadian Havarti Cheese sleeping in my refrigerator and thought I should stuff some of this in my baguette before they go bad.
I follow the French Baguette recipe
Divide the dough into quarters instead of halves.
Roll chunks of yummy cheese inside. ( you can use chedder or other kind of aged cheese)
I did the 3 cuts on the top just like regular baguette too,
that can allow the steam to come out.
I also grill the bread in the oven for extra 1 min to give it a golden, more appetite look.

After they are baked, you will notice the bottom of the bread is very crispy because of the cheese oil.
This is very tasty as is.
I did not wait for it to cool and finished half a stick right the way.

key01-yaaWinnie the Pooh Fondant Cake




I made this cake for my friend's new born baby Zack.
My friends Paul and Phobie invited us for a Shanghai dinner to welcome their new born baby Zack.
He was such a good boy. Look right into the camara for pictures.

If you look close to the cake you may thought I have cloud shape cookie cutter.
But I don't!
I found a very simple trick to cut out random cloud shapes.


I bet you guessed it after seeing that picture.
That's right, it is to use 2 different sizes of piping tips!
It works well on fondant, gum paste, pie dough or cookie dough.
I would like to see your cloud shape pastry work too!
Let me know at the comment below =)


Friday, June 4, 2010

key01-yaaChinese Steam Buns (Custard)




Have you try this at a Dimsum restaurant?
Since I was a kid, my family have always order this bun right after we are seated.
We do not see the Custard bun as dessert.
Beacuse when you are very full your stomach would not have space for this yummy sweet bun.
Now you can make it at home too.


Remember the left over Old bun dough from the Bokchoi Bun?
There should be 100g left in your refridgerator
Which is perfect to make another Bun dough for this recipe
Visit Bokchoi Bun recipe for review
However, I didn't use oil in this dough for a super smooth texture

The filling is what make it different.


Custard filling Recipe:
Milk 180g
Sugar 75g
Salt a pinch
Unsalted Butter 50g
Egg 2
Custard powder 15g
Corn starch 25g
Pastry flour 30g
Salted Egg yolk 1 (chopped) they are available in many Asian supermarket, if there isn't one near you, you can make them at home, Recipe link at

1- Add butter, salt, sugar and milk in a pot, bring it to small bubble, turn the heat off
2- In the mean while, mix egg, custard powder, corn starch and pastry flour with a piano whisk
3- Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk till all combined
4- Transfer everything back to the pot with the salted egg yolk, on a low heat, whisk untill the heat bring the mixture into a paste, let cool before using

In this bun recipe, divide your dough to 12 small piece, using the same method of wrapping the bun, you will stuff about 2 Tsp of filling into the bun.

Turn the ruffles side down and stick it with a parchment paper
So you will have a nice round shape for this sweet bun
I hope you enjoy it =)


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

key01-yaaChinese Steam Buns! (BokChoi)



I tried to use another method to make the Chinese steam bun dough this time.
I found a pretty cool recipe at Carol's blog.
But another Carol who also loves cooking.
If you are interested in reading the original recipe,
you may read her blog at
However, her blog is only available in Chinese.
Don't worry, I am going to share the recipe here from my cooking.



This dough is different than the earlier recipe I used for the Veggie Bun
This is more chewy and more of a North Eastern China style.
Try it to see if you like it!

The dough using the combination of two different kind of doughs to create a smooth fluffy texture

A) Old Bun Dough base Recipe:(makes about 200g)
All purpose flour 120g
Instant dry yeast 1/2 tsp
Sugar a pinch
Warm water 90g (original recipe used 80g, since it is very dry in Ontario I am using a little more)
Salt a pinch

1- Add yeast and sugar into the warm water, stir to dissolve, let it sit for 5min
2- Mix salt with flour, make a hole in the middle, using the back of the wooden spoon or a chopstick to stir in the yeast water
3- Knead for 5-6 min, then form the dough into a ball with smooth surface
4- Spray some water on the dough, cover in a container, let it raise in the refrigerator for 5-6 hours or over night

According to the site you can keep it in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days or in the freezer for longer, remember to defrost it 1 day ahead before using


B) The main Bun Dough:
Old Bun Dough base 100g
All purpose flour 300g
Instant yeast 1/2 tsp
Warm Milk 180g
Sugar 20g
Oil 30g
Salt a pinch

1- Warm the milk for 20 sec in the microwave, stir in yeast, sit for 5min
2- Mix flour, sugar and salt in a big bowl, make a hole in the middle and pour the yeast mixture and oil, stir until combined
3- Add the old bun dough base, knead for 7-8min
4- Roll into a big ball, spray some water and cover for 1.5 hour


C)Prepare the BokChoi stuffing:
Ground pork 1Lb (you can substitute with other kind of ground meat or 1.5 cups of scramble eggs for vegan)
BokChoi 2cups (uncooked)
Ginger 3slices (finely chopped)
Small carrot 1 (peeled and finely chopped)
Mushroom 4-5 (chopped, optional)
Corn starch 1Tsp
Soy sauce 3 Tsp
Salt 1tsp
Sugar 1Tsp
Oil 1Tsp
Rice wine 1Tsp (optional)
White pepper a pinch

1- After all the chopping, wash your Bokchoi a few times because they usually have a lot of sands, I suggest to cut them in halves to get the inside clean too
2- Put your clean Bokchoi in a microwaveable bowl (they are already drained, but still wet, we are taking the advantage of it to cook them in microwave), cover with a microwave lid or microwaveable plastic wrap, heat it up for 2min
3- Let it cool for 5min before handling the Bokchoi, chop them finely and squeeze all the liquid out, discard the liquid
4- Now mix all the ingredients with the Bokchoi, set it aside


Assemble the Bun!
1- Before you start making the yummy buns, you will need to cut 18 small squares of parchment paper, around 5cm X 5cm
2- Dust some flour on the surface where you are going to roll the dough, make sure your hand is always dusted with flour too
3- Punch off the air of the dough in its bowl, move it to the working surface, roll it to a long rope
4- Divide the dough into 18 small pieces, put them back into the bowl and cover with a wet towel before using
5- Take the dough out one at a time, roll into a ball and then roll it to a 8cm round shape
6- Now put about 1 Tsp of your stuffing in the middle of the dough, slowly gather the edge together by making small ruffles
7- Place the bun on a parchment paper, keep them on a plate cover with wet towel before steaming, which allow the bun to rise for another 30min while you are making other ones
8- Steam the buns for 12min on high heat, remember to give each of them some space because the steam does the magic and the buns will double their size after cooked
9- The trick to keep the buns nice and fluffy with a smooth surface: is to leave a small gap open after 8min on the steaming process. At 12min, turn off the heat and allow the buns to remain there for extra 3min, at this time the lid is still covered with a small gap to allow the extra steam to come out. This way the buns are slowly changing its temperature and will not shrink.
DSC02551 DSC02550 DSC02552

I have also found a video on youtube,
it shows you how easy you can close the bun

Hey everyone wants a bigger bun! Thanks for sharing the tip Carol :)
I hope you all enjoy the recipe.
Also, I would like to ask you what kind of bun will you want to try next month?
Leave a comment below and I will try my best to create a recipe for it.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

key01-yaaWasaga Beach & Tofu fish cake




What is the best place to go in summer time?
Beach of course.
This year I decided to celebrate my Birthday on the beach with the lovely weather.
We simply bought everything from supermarket without spending hours to prepare in the kitchen.
Here is the Grill!


People often ask what is the square things?
I beg you want to know too.
They are Asian tofu fish cake that has invented in the past few years.
They are not as tough as fish cake,
very soft inside, almost like a uncooked marshmallow.
The taste is also lighter then original fish cake but still very flavourful.
If you live in the Toronto area,
you can easily find them in Asian supermarket (like T&T, Sunshine, etc.) freezer aisle
They are good for both grilling and in soup.
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