Keto cherry clafoutis

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The hubby bought 3 kilos of cherries back from his trip to Germany last week. They are in season now in Europe and going for dirt cheap! Since then, we have been going berserk on fresh cherries – well, him and the kids to be precise. While cherries aren’t exactly keto-compliant (they are in the same league as blueberries – a little is okay, not too much), cheap and fresh cherries is just too much to resist

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Keto chocolate chip cookies!

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Sometime around 17 December, I kick started my Keto diet with the aim to reach my desired weight of 55 kg. A bit of background – the last time I was 55 kg, it was in 2002 during my postgrad days in Sydney when I was spending 2-3 hours in the gym daily.

I must admit that I was somewhat nervous about going on a zero (or 20gm carb only) diet as I love my pasta, bread, cakes, sugar, caramel lattes and Tealive drinks. Going Keto would be cutting out on all those things and just switching to full-on fat + protein for sustenance.

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Chocolate souffle

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It was the little man’s sixth birthday a couple of weeks back and he had been asking for souffles. I stalled as much as I could but after a while, I just gave up. Well, watching Masterchef helped his cause as one of the pressure tests was…yes, you guessed it – making chocolate souffles!

Since it was a slow Sunday, I thought hey, why not make some souffles? The hubby had never had any despite being a French (gasp!) and before we knew it, we had some cute ramekins from Daiso, dark chocolate couvertures from the local baking supply shop and eggs.

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Nutty thins!

Mixed nut brittle

With Chinese New Year fast approaching (I have under two weeks to go!!!), I had to get cracking on some CNY goodies. While I was in a flurry of baking last year (for the open house at my mother’s place), this year, things got off to a very hazy and slow start. I couldn’t figure out if it was the soaping or just distractions in the form of spinning, lazing in front of the computer and knitting…

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Kueh kapit stories.

Kueh kapit session 2014

When I was growing up, Chinese New Year didn’t just mean getting tons of red packets or angpaus. It also meant preparing the home and goodie table with cookies and other homemade items. Some of the yummy items were tedious to prepare and required either hours of prepwork or cooking. But my mother was fixed on making them herself and it was mostly because buying these goodies were expensive. At RM24 for a tin of 100 pieces of kuih kapit, we would easily spent RM100 for four tins just for this year’s open house.

I didn’t understand the importance of making things myself. After all, there are plenty of people selling these cookies and all just before Chinese New Year. At least that is the case if you are still living in Malaysia. When I got married and moved overseas, even buying decorations or cookies became difficult. And that was when I understood why my parents made me help out during prepwork for festive occasions.

I started to make my own cookies and roped in my hubby to help out. The first year in Switzerland, I made pineapple tarts, chocolate almond cookies, and cooked my own reunion dinner meals. The hubby helped with the preparation of the pineapple tarts and I made him open up ALL the windows and doors at midnight in the middle of a very cold winter season. Oh, till today, he still teases me about the stir fried noodles that I made for reunion dinner which we later ate for three days…

Then I got pregnant.

Suddenly who I am, what I did as a child became important because while my children are French, part of them is Malaysian-Chinese. I wanted them to experience what I experienced as a child – the traditions, the merriment, the practices and yes, even the food & experiences that come along with it.

Kuih kapit, pineapple tarts, these are festive foods that are important to me because they remind me of my family, especially my mother. The recipes are a secret, much to the disappointment of some of my friends – family heirloom is what my mother calls them as she inherited them from her mother and my grandmother. I remember the many hours of prepwork in the kitchen that is peppered with gossip and chatter as well as laughter. There is no way you can sit in front of the kueh kapit mold and fire for five hours without talking to the person opposite you or the one folding. It’s just not possible. It is a way to build relationships, cement ties as well as for children to learn a thing or two about a skill. Even folding these little crispy cookies (kueh kapit) is a work of art – fold too thin that it’ll take forever to fill up a tin. You need to fold them in such a way that the blemishes and imperfections are hidden. Of course you also need some self-control and not eat these as they are folded!

I started off as a folder and it took about five years or rather five Chinese New Years before I finally moved up to the “prestigious” position of mold handler. Even then, I was only given four molds to handle. Being a mold handler meant that I would be expected to help out with the prepwork and this means access to the coveted family recipe! It was only in 2007 that I was allowed to take on the 8-9 molds which is the max if two people were in charge of the molds (we had only 16 molds then). After that I got married so my mum packed up the molds for storage, gave away the pit and that was the end of it…for the next couple of years that is.

So when my son and daughter joined us yesterday for their first exposure to kueh kapit (my daughter next to my sis-in-law as she folded the loveletters and my son in the kitchen beating the eggs with the sugar), I am reminded fondly that some things – tedious and time-consuming – are worth the effort and time. My mum joked about me inheriting the kueh kapit molds (we have about 20 of them) and making some during winter in France if we do go back… That should be interesting.

As my mum gets older, chances of her being the major domo in charge will lessen since it’ll get harder for her to sit for long hours. This year, the test was to see if I could lead the charge with her on a supervisory level. It would seem that kueh kapit making in my family is very much an apprenticeship of some sorts. You can’t just jump into the role as and when you like. I reckon Mum will still have a big say next year and my kids will help out in one way of another but you’ll see some signs that soon, she’ll make way and allow the tradition to be passed on to my children.

Perhaps in time, they’ll have their own stories to tell…

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Fruit Cake 2013

Fruit Cake 2013!

The last time I made fruit cake was for my wedding in 2008. I kept the cake aside and never got to try it until nearly 2 years later when I moved back to Asia! The flavour was wonderfully awesome and rich which I was quite surprised with as I had half expected it to taste off (being as old as it was)!

I didn’t really plan to make a fruit cake this year but after a talk with some girls, I decided to give it a go. To be honest, I had forgotten all about the fruit & nut mix after drowning it with brandy, jam and honey! And then yesterday, I decided I had to make space in my fridge for other things apart from flour and fruit cake mix…so the oven saw some baking action.

The recipe below is adapted from the one by Good Housekeeping – a book that I bought recently. It is definitely easier to execute and has less ingredients compared to the first recipe I had which called for treacle, separating the eggs and so forth. Taste-wise, the hubs found this to be yummy – passed the taste test la! – despite the omission of allspice (I didn’t have any on hand).

We have wolfed down a third of this and the rest is now sitting in the freezer. The plan is that it stays there for at least four to six months to mature and develop its awesome flavour although I wonder if we can wait that long. Tehehehe.

Fruit Cake 2013


(A) Fruit & nut mix
900 g mixed fruits – red & green cherries, dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots
300 g mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts*) – roughly chopped
50 g orange peel – roughly chopped
150 g strawberry jam
2 tbsp honey
2 cups brandy

(B) Batter
275 g soft & semi-melted unsalted butter
350 g cake flour
225 g brown/demerara sugar
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essense
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp ground allspice (optional)

* You can use other nuts like hazelnuts, pecans, macadamias.


  1. Combine fruits and nuts in a container. Add jam, honey and brandy, and mix well.
  2. Cover and allow to sit for at least 7 days. Stir the mixture with a clean & dry wooden spoon every day. In this cake above, the mixture sat in the fridge for 1.5 to 2 months.
  3. Before use, add 50gms flour (deduct from the amount called for in the batter) to prevent the fruits & nuts from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
  4. Preheat the oven at 150°C. Grease a deep 8″ square or 9″ round cake pan with butter and line the pan with 2 layers of baking paper.
  5. Wrap the outside of the pan with brown paper and secure well. This is to prevent 1) the edges from cooking too quickly, and 2) the top to curve over (dome shaped).
  6. Sift the flour and ground spices into a large bowl. Add the butter, sugar and eggs (one at a time); using a whisk, beat for 1 minute until smooth and glossy.
  7. Fold in the fruit & nut mixture until the fruit is evenly distributed. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Tap the pan on the workspace several times to remove any air pockets. Press down lightly in the center to ensure that it doesn’t rise too much into a dome shape while baking.
  8. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 3 to 3.5 hours. Cover the top with greaseproof paper after 1.5 hours. The cake is ready when it’s firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Leave to cool completely in the oven in its pan. When the cake is cool, remove from the pan but leave the greaseproof lining around the cake on. Wrap the cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper before covering with foil. Leave to mature for a week in the fridge before serving. This cake keeps well; flavour improves with age – you can freeze this for up to 1.5 years!
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