Almond cookies!

I love baking traybake bakes because of the ease that they present.  You mix the batter and you spread them on a greased and prepared pans, pop them in the oven, wait for the appropriate time, et voila!  You have cake!

photo © @the_yukistar

However, that being said, I do love the care and attention that’s required when making cookies, or as the Brits call them, biscuits.  I love the drop cookies and the cookies that require a bit more care and precision and a cookie cutter.  It’s the care and attention that is involved in making each biscuit that counts.  Each piece is individual.

One of my favourite cookies to bake (and eat) are almond cookies.  These cookies are Chinese bakery staples and most of my Chinese friends have a happy childhood memory involving an almond cookie.  So when Alan found a recipe and we perfected the recipe and cookie production, it became a staple for us.

photo © @the_yukistar

Sure, it’s a little more complicated than mixing the batter and dolloping them on a cookie sheet, but it’s the process that makes it special.  Because every time you scoop the mixture, press the almond into the centre and brush egg wash on each cookie, you are putting a little piece of you in the cookie.  Too sentimental?  Okay, here’s the recipe instead!


  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 24 blanched almonds
  • 1 egg (beaten for brushing)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Cream together the butter, sugar and salt.  Then add the almond extract and egg, and mix well.  Slowly add the flour, the baking powder and ground almonds and make sure it is all combined.
  2. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper and then divide the mixture into 24 equal sized balls.   I use a small ice cream scooper to the balls uniform.  Lay the balls out on the baking trays and use a round measuring spoon to press an indentation in the middle of the ball.  This will also flatten the ball into a cookie shape.  If you do not have a round measuring spoon, flatten the ball with your hand and indent with your thumb.  Place a blanched almond into the indentation of each cookie and then brush with egg.
  3. Place into the oven for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden.  Allow cookies to cool down for 10 minutes.  Reduce the oven to 150°C.
  4. Brush the cookies with more beaten egg.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until they turn golden.  Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.
  5. This recipe makes approximately 24 cookies.  If you’re not making halal versions, you can also add about 1 generous tablespoon of Amaretto liqueur to make it even more almondy.  

Thank you to Yuki (she’s @the_yukistar on Instagram.  Have a look at her photos, they are blow-you-away amazing!) for the lovely photos of the almond cookies!  She made them look extra pretty!💖



I’ve always loved blondies but they’re not necessarily not something you see in most bakery stalls because it is more often overlookby it’s more popular cousin, the chocolate brownie.

This is my recipe for these gorgeous morsels.


  • 225g good white chocolate, chopped
  • 125g butter, cubed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanila
  • 160g plain flour
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 170ºC.
  2. In a heatproof bowl place the cubed butter, and the chopped white chocolate.  Place the bowl over slow boiling water, making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of your bowl.  Allow the butter and chocolate to melt slowly, stirring it occasionally.  Once in a while, lift your bowl off the heat, rest on a towel and stir to help the chocolate to melt along with the butter.  This stops the butter-white chocolate mixture from getting too hot and the mixture won’t become grainy.  Once the white chocolate has completely melted, left the bowl from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. While the butter-white chocolate mixture is cooling, measure out the ground almonds and flour and mix with a balloon whisk to make sure they are well-combined.  Set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs and sugar until smooth, thick, moussey and a very pale yellow colour .  I use a free standing mixer and this usually takes about 10 minutes on medium speed.  It will take about 15-20 minutes if you’re doing this by hand (depending on your forearm muscle strength and endurance!).  Add the vanilla and mix for a few seconds to make sure the vanilla is completely incorporated.
  5. Add your almond-flour mixture in three parts, each time making sure everything is mixed thoroughly before adding more of the dry ingredients.
  6. Pour the batter into a tray bake tin foil or a rectangular pan (about 20×30 cm) that has been greased and lined with baking parchment. Bake for 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven (this varies because of how hot your oven can actually get), until the top becomes firm and shiny and when tested and a toothpick or skewer is inserted in the centre of the bake and comes out clean (sometimes with a few sticky crumbs sticking to it).  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes (about 5 minutes during a cold winter!).  Once cool, gently lift from the pan and place on a cooling rack and allow the bake to get cold.
  7. Depending on how greedy you are, you can slice this into 18 to 24 squares.

Variations to flavours:

  • Raspberry and rose blondies – instead of the vanilla, add 3 tablespoons of rosewater to the eggs and sugar mixture (step 4). Wash your raspberries and dry thoroughly and roll them in flour.  The number of raspberries you add will be equal to how many blondie slices you want, i.e. for 24 slices, you add 24, etc.  Add 50g more of flour to your almond-flour mixture because the more fruit you want, the wetter the bake.  Bake for an extra 10 minutes, making sure you cover the top with foil when it browns too quickly.
  • Cardamom blondies – add 3 teaspoons of ground cardamom to the flour and almond mixture (step 3), instead of adding vanilla.

Let me know how you get on with the recipe or suggested variations and leave a comment please!


Chocolate crinkles

Over a week ago, I gave in to the urge to finally make chocolate crinkles.  It’s a popular cookie in the Philippines.  It’s rich, indulgent and fudgy.  It’s something that might just make you go mmmmm.  I approached the idea of making crinkles with a little trepidation.  I always worry that my memories of what things taste like in Manila is different from reality.  But I did manage to work up the courage to finally make crinkles!

Chocolate crinkleI’ve written a recipe that I’ve tweaked below and I know that it works.  I would love for y’all to make chocolate crinkles and let me know if the recipe works for you.


  • 150g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ salt
  • 150g icing sugar


In a bowl, using a balloon whisk, mix the flour, salt and baking powder together and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the cocoa powder, sugar and oil.  To mix, I’ll use a free-standing mixer.

Chocolate mixtureWith a paddle attachment, on the lowest setting (just so that the cocoa powder doesn’t fly all over the place), start mixing the cocoa powder, sugar and oil for about 2 minutes.  Once the mixture forms a thick paste, increase the speed and mix for a further 2 minutes.  The mixture should turn shiny and smooth.  Add each egg individually and mix until the mixture is again shiny.  Once all the eggs are added, add the vanilla.

Chocolate and egg mixAdd the flour mixture and mix until well-incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

Chocolate and flour mixCover the mixture and chill in the fridge for at least 2½ hours (I initially only chilled it for 1½ hours and it seemed to be okay), the longer you chill it, the better.

Chocolate mixPreheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.  I like to use a small ice cream scoop or a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon.

Chocolate crinkle mixScoop a generous 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball.  Coat each ball with icing sugar and place on the lined sheet.

Crinkles in icing sugarBake for 10-12 minutes.  Once the cookies are baked, take them out of the oven and allow to cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Crinkles for bakingThe cookies have a recognisable cracked surface and that’s how you know it’s a chocolate crinkle!

Choccie crinkleThis recipe makes about 40 crinkles.


Fruitcake oatmeal cookies

I was craving cookies.

I knew I had enough ingredients in the cupboard to whip up drop cookies.  I leafed through my cookbooks for inspiration and decided on oatmeal raisin cookies as the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook was making my tummy growl in anticipation!  I started to get the ingredients together and found a bag with about with still a third of the mixed dried fruit and peel languishing in my baking supplies basket.  So instead of following the recipe in the cookbook, I improvised and put together what I call a cupboard cookie recipe – because you’re basically using ingredients you find in your cupboard!


  • 135g unsalted butter, room temperature and softened
  • 80g soft brown sugar
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 190g plain flour
  • 80g oatmeal (I used wholegrain rolled oats, but quick cooking oats work too)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 110g of mixed dried fruit and peel
  • 70g ground almonds, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C
  2. In a bowl, mix flour, oats, dried fruit, salt, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ground almonds (if using), until well-incorporated.
  3. Because my hands get tired really quickly, I now, more often than not use a mixer, but this can be done by hand (it’ll just take a lot of elbow power) first with a pastry blender (which I will always call a pastry cutter) and then with a balloon whisk.  Cream the butter and sugars until the mixture is smooth and a light brown colour.  Add the egg and the vanilla and mix until well-combined.
  4. Add the flour and dried fruit mixture to the sugar and butter mixture until combined and you can no longer see the flour.
  5. Drop batter, a heaping tablespoon at a time, onto a lined baking tray (Useful tip: if you’d like more uniform-sized cookies, use an ice-cream scooper.  I use a 45mm one.).  Make sure the cookies are evenly spaced.  I bake 6 cookies per tray.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 11-13 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to sit in the baking tray for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Makes 24 cookies.

Fruitcake oatmeal cookies


Brownie points

Who doesn’t like chocolate?  Apart from chocolate cake, one of my favourite chocolate consumption delivery systems is the good old chocolate brownie.  And after trying all the ways to make a brownie, looking through so many recipes, I have finally settled on my own.  Because I’ve made the brownie this way several times now and it comes out with that thin, shiny, crackly film on top, which I firmly believe is a sign of a good brownie!  Of course, other opinions are welcome.


So, if y’all are interested in trying it out, my brownie recipe is written down below.


  • 200g dark chocolate (at least 56%), roughly chopped
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 150g plain flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (350°F).  Grease and line a brownie pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a heat-proof dish and place the bowl over boiling water, making sure the boiling water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.  Melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally to make sure the butter doesn’t burn.  Once butter and chocolate are melted, take off the heat and set aside.  Allow to cool to room temperature, making sure you stir occasionally (I usually add the paste made from 1 heaping teaspoon of instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water at this point when I want to add a slightly different flavour to the chocolate).
  3. In a free-standing mixer with a paddle attachment (you can also do this by hand with a wire whisk, but it’ll take a bit longer), beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture becomes a very pale yellow mixture (will usually take about 7-10 minutes, depending on the mixer, about 15-20 minutes by hand).
  4. Add the flour in three additions, making sure that the flour is incorporated each time.  Add the melted chocolate mixture to the batter ensuring that you scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure that everything is well-combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared brownie tin and level with a spatula.  TIP:  I place a baking tray (or cookie sheet) in the oven whilst it pre-heats and I place the brownie tin on it so that the brownie cooks evenly (raw brownie batter is lovely but bad for the tummy!).  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Brownie is baked when a crackly film forms on top and a skewer/toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Serving suggestions:

  • Plain, just sliced into squares (sized definitely according to preference)
  • Topped with caramel and salted roasted peanuts
  • More melted chocolate
  • A sprinkling of icing sugar (if you can handle even more sweetness), add a little coffee or cinnamon to add  different dimension to the taste

TIP:  Caramel cheat – in a deep saucepan, boil water and add a can of unopened condensed milk (sans paper label), yes the whole can.  Boil for 3 hours.  When you open the can (after it has cooled enough to touch), the caramel will be ready to spread on anything!



Dry rub Yelly-style!

I love cooking meats low and slow.  There is a nuance of flavour that you can’t get anywhere else.  Plus, it’s one of the easiest ways of cooking.  You mix your spices for the rub, you slap it on the meat then bung the meat into an oven and (almost) forget about it.   I particularly like slow roasting pork.  I’ve tried a few rubs and I think  I think I’ve cracked the whole dry rub thing, at least for my pork.  I’m happy to share my recipe because I think it works really well.

  • 200g dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli pepper

Just mix all the ingredients together.  This will be enough for at least 2 kilos of meat (pork shoulder or beef brisket work best).  Place the meat in a baking tray lined with baking parchment and then covered with foil.  I put a piece of parchment in between the foil and the meat so that the foil doesn’t stick to the meat.  Preheat your oven to 220°C.  Once the oven is heated, put in the meat.  Cook at this temperature for 20 minutes and then turn the oven down to 150ºC and cook for at least 5 hours.

Then serve with coleslaw and cheesy cornbread! Voila!

If you’re trying out my recipe, I’d love to hear from you!  I’d love to know how you got on.

Pulled pork, southern style



A few weeks back I finally started making kedgeree.  I remember seeing cooking shows in Manila talking about kedgeree.  The idea of a curried rice dish appealed to my very Filipino palate.  We have rice with everything.  Plus, in the shows, it looked like a very easy dish to do.  I never got around to making it.

So when Alan announced we should try to make kedgeree, I was excited.  I’d seen the Hairy Bikers and the Spice Men (Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh) do their versions and I always end up wishing I could try it myself.  So I searched for a relatively easy looking recipe.  I wasn’t sure it was going to work but I was hoping it would.

And it did!  And it was good!

KedgereeSo after making it once, I made notes, tried to remember what my thoughts were on improving the taste (mostly add more salt!).  I’ve done it a few more times but this time, I think I’m brave enough to share my version of how to make a quick and easy version of kedgeree.


  • 4 fillets of smoked haddock (can be just 2, I just like a lot of fish in my kedgeree)
  • 500ml water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp curry powder (I used medium)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground dried coriander
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 400g basmati rice
  • 500ml water
  • 25g flat leave parsley, chopped finely
  • 25g coriander, chopped finely
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, quartered (optional)


  • In a saucepan, heat up 500ml of water and add bay leaves.  When the water starts simmering, add smoked haddock fillets.  Allow the water to come to a boil and turn down the heat to medium and allow the haddock to poach until it turns a light colour.  Poach for 10 minutes.
  • Once the haddock has poached, drain water and allow the fish to cool.  Once cool to touch, peel off the skin and flake the fish into large flakes.
  • In a pan, heat up the vegetable oil and add the onions.  Allow onions to become translucent and slightly brown around the edges on medium heat.  Add curry powder, turmeric, ginger, cumin, and dried coriander and heat until spices become aromatic.  Add the lemon juice to form a paste.
  • Add rice and mix until the rice grains are coated with the spice-lemon paste.

Rice and spice!

  • Add salt to spice and rice mixture.  Mix until everything is well-incorporated.  Pour 500ml of water and mix slightly.  Cover pan and allow water to boil.  Once the water starts boiling, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and allow rice to cook and absorb the water.  Cook covered for 10 minutes on low.
  • Once rice is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed, stir in flaked fish and chopped parsley and coriander.
  • Top with hard boiled eggs and serve.

Kedgeree my wayMy recipe has a bit more spice, a bit more salt.  But that’s to my taste.  Feel free to customise to your taste.  If you try the recipe, I’d love to know how you get on!  I have fallen completely in love with this beautifully spiced rice comfort dish.

This recipe will serve a greedy 4 or 6 average eaters.