Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Apollo Pandan Layer Cake

Apollo Pandan Layer Cake
♥ Cute Little Slice of Pandan Chiffon Cake
Ladies and gentlemen, what you are looking at here is the ever so famous Malaysian Pandan Chiffon Cake. How can you tell that it is in fact the famous Pandan chiffon cake, you ask. I only hope that what you see on your screen is a slice of greenish looking spongy little thing - the only justification I have. If it's not greenish that you are seeing, just try and imagine the cake with a green tint (er, eoowww?).

Er, no, unfortunately Pinkcocoa wasn't the one behind the making of this cute little spongy sweet thing. The only thing I did was walked out of house, headed into the car, drove to the supermarket, grabbed a pack of these cute little pandan chiffon cake, paid the cashier, drove home, opened pack, camera out, snap, snap, snap and then chomp, chomp, chomp. Oh I forgot to mention I changed my pjs into casual wear too!

♥ tabeshimashita @ pinkcocoa's some time in August 2005
Apollo Pandan Layer Cake - Package
♥ Apollo Pandan Layer Cake
I wasn't aware of this particular instant pack Pandan cake until a friend from Malaysia kept raving about how good this cake was. She had bought one single pack of this at Randwick Oriental Supermarket and fell in love with it.

I didn't get to try this until I got back to Brunei last month. And you ask, why I didn't rush out to grab a pack when the friend raved about it given the pig I am. The reason is simple, it was simply a little too expensive at about A$0.55 a pack. I spotted these individually packed Pandan layer cake when I went groceries shopping in Brunei. The price was S$2.90 for a box of 24 individually wrapped cake. Very very good price compared to the one in Sydney. I think you can buy a box of this at around A$5 in Sydney, so I guess it is still not too bad.

Apollo Pandan Layer Cake - Bird-Eye View
♥ Beautifully Browned Top
The cake has a beautiful brown top and a slight pandan aroma which I suspect is purely of imitated pandan essence. The cake was a little coarse and not as soft and spongy as I thought it would be.

Apollo Pandan Layer Cake - Stack
♥ Stack of Pandan Layer Cake
I was expecting a layer of cream between the two layers but the cream was hardly noticeable. This is fine with me since I am not particularly in love with cream. This cake reminds me of swiss roll. It would be good if it's jam sandwiched in between.

The cake is not too bad considering it is not er, freshly baked. I definitely would love this very much if I were to live in a place where I couldn't get freshly made pandan chiffon cake. All in all, I think I still prefer to buy Pandan chiffon cake made locally in Sydney. Oh, I think this makes a good snack to pack for lunch. ;-)
Continue Reading Apollo Pandan Layer Cake


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Childhood Comfort Food - Taiwanese Style Meatballs

Pickled Cucumber Meatballs
♥ Taiwanese Style Meatballs
This is one of my favourite childhood comfort food - gua zhi rou wan - Taiwanese pickled cucumber meatballs. This dish is very children-friendly in that the two main ingredients - minced meat and pickled cucumber - are highly popular among children.

Mum sometimes get lazy and skipped the step in shaping into cute little balls. She simply placed all the mince mixture into a big plate and steam it. What you get is gua zhi rou bing - pickled cucumber meat pattie. There isn't really an exact recipe but I have here a rough guide. Hopefully you might find it useful.

♥ tabeshimashita @ pinkcocoa's kitchen sometime in August 2005
Pickled Cucumber Meatballs - A Closer Look
Gua Zhi Rou Wan - Pickled Cucumber Meatballs
This dish is particularly nice with congee. Strangely enough the combination of pickled cucumber, minced meat and congee remind me of the time I was sick with a poor appetite! The pickled cucumber is appetising, the congee is soothing while the mince provides a good source of protein.

Gua Zhi Rou Wan - Taiwanese Pickled Cucumber Meatballs

500g minced pork
50g-75g Taiwanese pickled cucumber (hua gua)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 stick of spring onion (scallion)


1tsp chinese rice wine
2tbsp juice from bottle of pickled cucumber
3tbsp soy sauce
1/2 C water

  1. Finely chop garlic, spring onions and pickled cucumber.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together mince pork, garlic, spring onions, pickled cucumber and seasoning A.
  3. Now comes the fun part. Grab the mince mixture in your hand, held it a little higher than the bowl then drop it as hard as you can. Keep pounding the mince mixture until it is slighty sticky, about 3-5 minutes, depending on how hard you pound it.
  4. Shape about 1 tablespoonful of the mince into ball and arrange with slight gap between each ball on a plate.
  5. Mix seasoning B and pour over the meatballs. Place into steamer and steam for around 20 minutes. Do note that the water must be boiling at time of placing the dish in.

I sometimes add in chopped chinese mushroom (soaked) and finely chopped carrots which usually hide quite well inside the mince - a very good way to get kids who don't love vegetable some vegetable in their meals! The pictures I have here are meatballs that have omitted spring onions (I ran out of them) and I added finely chopped water chestnuts for an extra crunch.

Pickled Cucumber Meatballs - Taiwanese Salted Pickled Cucumber
Hua Gua - Taiwanese pickled cucumber
Here is a picture of the pickled cucumber that I used. It is known as hua gua in Chinese. It literary means "flower melon". I am not so sure about the origin of the name though I think the name is quite lovely. I am using a brand from Taiwan called Wei Chuan where hua gua is translated as salted preserved cucumber.

Pickled Cucumber Meatballs - Salted Pickled Cucumber
Hua Gua - Taiwanese pickled cucumber
This is how the pickled cucumber that I used look like - long and stripy. Taiwanese pickled cucumber comes in other form too. The other most common form is tiny round bite-sized slices.

It is very similar to American pickles but the taste is completely different. I find the American pickles slightly more soury and acidic while the Taiwanese one milder and sweeter.
Continue Reading Childhood Comfort Food - Taiwanese Style Meatballs


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Reminder: Chinese Valentine's Tomorrow!

Chocolate Valentine Cake
♥ Chocolate Valentine's Cake
Just a quick and short one from me for now. If ever you missed out on celebrating Valentine's Day on 14th Feb this year and are gritting your teeth thinking about it, regret no more!

Tomorrow, 11th August (7th day of 7th Month of the Lunar Calendar), is Chinese's Valentine's! This gives you another chance to re-celebrate Valentine's Day again. I will have no guilt when I pig out on choccies tomorrow. *yay*

If you are interested, I have written briefly about Chinese Valentine's Day (Qi Xi) last year.
Continue Reading Reminder: Chinese Valentine's Tomorrow!


Friday, August 05, 2005

Brunei Fresh Fruit & Veg Market - Kianggeh Tamu
Part I: Fruits

*yikes* Yes, I know. I know that I have not written a thing for two weeks now. What else could I say but a sincere apology *bow*

Trip back home to Brunei was extremely short. There were still so much I have yet to eat and drink and see! Once back in Sydney I was thrown straight at work. *yay* Pinkcocoa is now officially an OL (Office Lady). I am still trying to get used to working life. Tell me, people. How do you manage to work and blog at the same time? I am lacking the motivation to go sit in front of my computer after looking at one for the whole day.

So let me get used to working life and hopefully I shall be back to normal blogging soon. And sorry if I haven't visited for so long too. Meanwhile, I will just do some very short articles. Probably just lots of pics and very little writing. :-p

Brunei - Kianggeh Tamu - Local Lady
♥ Local Lady at the Market
It's been years since Mom and I visited the local market - Tamu Kianggeh. It was in fact my Brunei Food Project that prompted us to head to the local market early Friday morning - the only time Mom is free from work. We woke early in the morning to find it was raining! My heart sunk at fear of not being able to visit the market on the second last day of my Brunei Trip.

pinkcocoa: (sobbing) Oh noooo, the market must be closed on the rainy day! Nooooooooooo.
Mom: Aiya, please lar. This is Brunei lar. The Tamu is opened everyday be it rain or shine.
pinkcocoa: (brighten up) Oh really? Let's head to the market now. Yipppeeee.
pinkcocoa: Oh wait. But it's so early in the morning woh....
Mom: Aiya, Tamu is opened as early as 4-5am one. Some people go buy their veggies as early as 5am one. No need to worry lar.
pinkcocoa: yippeeee

♥ tabeshimashita @ Tamu Kianggeh, Brunei on 22 May 2005
Brunei - Kianggeh Tamu
Tamu Kianggeh
Kianggeh is simply a place name whereas Tamu stands for market. As the name suggested, the market is located in a little area called Kianggeh and right next to the Kianggeh river (see the front bit in the pic), which in turn is right next to the town centre of Brunei.

The Tamu has changed quite a bit since our visit and I remember there used to people trading on the boats or sampan on the river but there wasn't any when we arrived. Mom was just as surprised as I was.

Brunei - Kianggeh Tamu Stalls
Tamu Kianggeh Stalls
The colourful umbrellas and the neat floor stalls with a huge array of frest fruits and veggies on display are what made Tamu Kianggeh so attractive. Did I mention the Tamu is opened every single day, be it rain or shine?

It was raining so it was a little hard to do some photo snappings. Then again I have managed to snap quite a few though many of them are blur. *sigh* shaky hand!

Brunei - Kianggeh Tamu - Lemongrass and Pineapple
♥ Lemongrass, Melon and Pineapple
Most of the stalls displayed their fruits and veggies on a large piece of canvas on the ground. And the fruits and veggies have already been tied into a bunch or displayed as a bundle. Each bundle or bunch costs around S$1-2 which isn't too expensive though compatibly expensive when compared to Malaysia and Thailand.

I wish I could bring back that huge bunch of lemongrass back here. I think the whole bunch was selling for S$1. To think I am buying 3 tiny stalks at A$2 here.

Brunei - Kianggeh Tamu - Local Mango
♥ Local Mango
See what I mean by the fruits display into a bundle? One lot of 3 mangoes for S$1.

Brunei - Kianggeh Tamu - Banana
♥ Banana S$0.80/kg
There are many different varieties of banana. I can never tell the difference since I am not at all in banana unless it comes in the form of banana bread.

Brunei - Kianggeh Tamu - Coconuts
♥ Coconuts
How could I have missed out on coconuts?

Brunei - Kianggeh Tamu - Durian
♥ Durians
And not to mention about durian!

There are still a few picture of local fruits that I haven't managed to edit. The pictures were in fact quite blurry. I will see what I can do. And stay tuned for my next post on Brunei Fresh Fruit & Veg Market!
Continue Reading Brunei Fresh Fruit & Veg Market - Kianggeh Tamu
Part I: Fruits