Wednesday, 17 February 2010


In the English language, many terms are generic.  Take "Aunt" and "Uncle" for instance.  By Western definition my father's sister is my aunt.  So is my Mother's sister.  For us Chinese we are very particular when it comes to "kinship" terms.  For example:

My father's younger sister is my gu-gu (姑姑)
My father's elder sister is my gu-ma (姑妈)
My mother's younger sister is my a-yi(阿姨)
My mother's elder sister is my yi-ma (姨妈)

When the Chinese are required to translate the names of food into English, however, they decide to become generic.  For instance, 云吞  水饺 粽子  饺子  锅贴  are all known as “dumplings”.  It gets pretty confusing if you're a foreigner visiting a local food court for the first time.

Once upon a time, my Taiwanese friend, Joanne, taught me to make jiaozhi (饺子) Since then, Mum and I would make a batch every Chinese New Year. To me a 饺子 is really Tortellini.

Traditionally we fill our dumplings with chives (韭菜) and minced pork. This year - horrors of horrors! - chives were completely sold out at our wet market!  I blame the influx of China expats. They must've bought up every last strand!  So we made do with pork + Chinese mushrooms + finely chopped water chestnuts.  Our jiaozhi ended up tasting like wonton.  Delicious nevertheless.  I gobbled up seven in one seating.

Sunday, 7 February 2010


The moment that I had my first taste of TWG Grand Wedding Tea during our APAC Summit in St Regis Singapore, I began to wonder how great the black tea - infused with the flavours exotic fruits - would turn out in a shortbread or a tea loaf.  I couldn't get the thought out of my mind for months.  This afternoon, I finally turned notion into action and made Grand Wedding Shortbread Cookies.

In the oven, the cookies were already emitting a lovely fragrance. I couldn't quite place it. Light, sweet and fruity - is it mangoes or promegranade? Mum, who had just stepped into the kitchen, took a whiff of the scented air and declared, "我嗅到桃子香!" ("I smell peaches!")


225 grams butter
60 grams icing sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
260 grams all-purpose flour
4 x TWG Grand Wedding® teabags
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar just until smooth and creamy.  Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, tea leaves and salt.  Stir the flour mixture into the beaten butter until combined.

Form the dough into a log, about 4-cm in diameter.  Wrap with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven at 180 degrees C. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Unwrap the dough log and, using a very sharp knife, cut the chilled dough into slices no thicker than ½ cm. Place the slices on prepared baking sheets, spacing them well apart. 

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway during baking, until the edges of the cookies are lightly brown. When the cookies are baked, rest them for a few minutes to firm up a bit, then transfer to wire racks. Allow the cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.



Every once in a while, my mother would  makes fishcakes from scratch and my father always took care of the frying.

 Done, 22 fishcakes in all!

Read Homemade Fishcakes - the prequel .


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