Archive for the ‘Cookies’ Category

It’s been a while since Cookies graced my kitchen. I’m a bit of a snob in that I look at cookies and think that cookies are cookies, so there’s not much to them really. But when my man requested for a jar of his favourite Rennekookies to take to work, I buckled down and baked up a small cookie storm, first with his Cranberry Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, then with a new cookie recipe I decided to whip up.


So yes, a cookie is a cookie until it isn’t just a cookie. I know that the Rennekookies are usually well received with its vanilla caramel undertones, tart dried cranberries and bits of bitter-sweetness from the dark chocolate. They’re crunchy and perfect for dipping into milk, sit well next to a cup of tea, and make a glorious ending to a cup of black coffee.


Then, there are these Hazelnut Rye Cookies. It was a first for me using Dark Rye Flour to make cookies and I wasn’t sure whether they’d give the Rennekookies a run for their money or be a total flop. Turns out, it was too different to compare. Sure, there’ll be those with favourites, but like a Cookie Mama, I’d say that these two cookies are far too special to be compared. They are both delightful, and delicious in their own way.

Unlike the Rennekookies, the Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies were more soft-baked and chewy. They had a lovely, earthiness about them that was further highlighted by the salt. The hazelnuts gave crunch and a toasty flavour to the cookie that made me feel as though these would be perfect as a winter cookie, to be munched on one after another while sitting in front of a warm fire.


Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Rye Cookies (Makes about 24 Cookies)

100g Butter
1/4 tsp Salt
80g Brown Sugar
1 Egg
175g Rye Flour
1/2 Tbs Sea Salt
150g Dark Chocolate Chips
100g Toasted Hazelnuts, Chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C and line a baking tray.
  2. Cream butter with 1/4 tsp salt and brown sugar. 
  3. Add egg and mix well.
  4. Incorporate rye flour and sea salt.
  5. Fold in dark chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts.
  6. Place teaspoonfuls of cookie dough about an inch apart on lined baking tray and bake for about 16-18min. 
  7. Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container. 

I’d say that the Rennekookies are playful and more dynamic in its flavour while these Rye Cookies were more serious – deeper, and bolder in how restrained it was. Like a sensible older brother with his cheeky younger brother, both cookies had character and made my belly happy as pie! So perhaps, cookies aren’t just cookies after all!

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Being misunderstood especially towards the end of my adolescence is something I found difficult to contend with. Even now, I sometimes struggle to understand why. I remember at the beginning of University when we had Orientation Camp, my peers would comment that I looked like a clubber. Nothing wrong with clubbing only they made me seem like some wild child who started their day with a shot of vodka and chain-smoked after brushing my teeth. Funny thing is that on ‘clubbing night’, they were the ones gyrating to the music while I awkwardly spun myself around and headed out the door because I felt so uncomfortable. One guy who later decided he liked me said that he thought I looked quite ‘bitchy’ at first and was surprised to find out how easy to talk to I was when he got to know me.

I did actually find myself getting on with my camp mates but once Uni commenced, the girls in my group broke off into a little clique of their own without me, and the boys would hang out with me only for so long as they thought they had a slither of a chance to end up as my boyfriend. Not all. Some. That’s not to say I didn’t have any friends whatsoever. I had a few and perhaps on my part, I never felt a desire to develop them much further than at surface level because I decided that they would never last post-graduation anyway.

Perhaps it’s the case of resting bitch face, or perhaps I may seem like quite a tough cookie on the outside, but the fact is, I’m really quite a softie on the inside – just like these Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake bars.


At first glance, it’s easy to mistake these bars as a little naughty because OOoOoohhh… there’re chocolate chips in there! And Oh. Em. Gee. Cookies are little bites of sin that make your pants a little tighter. But sink your teeth in and you reach the creamy, gooey cheesecake middle that will make you think, well… looks like there’s more to this bar that meets the eye. Sure, it’s no angel but it’s worth getting to know because there’s a richness inside that I wouldn’t have thought was there to begin with!


And as you continue on your journey munching through these bars, you’ll get inflections of vanilla studded with dark chocolate chips, titillating butteriness that sinks into luxurious creaminess, and small bursts of caramel undertones from the brown sugar to keep you from getting bored. It’s no one dimensional cookie bar, that’s for sure!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars (9×9″ Square):

Cookie Layer:
170g Butter, melted and cooled
250g Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
250g Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
50g Chocolate Chips (or more!)

Cheesecake Layer:
250g Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
40g Sugar
1 Egg

For Cookie Layer:

  1. Whisk melted butter with sugar.
  2. Whisk in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Incorporate flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Place half the mixture into prepared baking tin and level out as evenly as possible.

For Cheesecake Layer:

  1. Beat cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add sugar and cream together.
  3. Add egg and vanilla. Blend until mixture is smooth.
  4. Spread cheesecake mixture on top of the cookie layer.
  5. Spoon the rest of the cookie batter on top of the cheesecake layer. Don’t worry if not all the cheesecake is covered.
  6. Bake for 25-30min or until the cookie layer on top is a nice golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Then chill in fridge for 4 hours (or overnight) before slicing.


So have I made peace with the fact that I’m special and full of goodness on the inside whether people see it or not? On the whole, I believe so but there are moments where I would be sharing with Flo about my thoughts and my past only to have my emotions surface.

In a way though, my ED has enabled me to cherish the friends that have stood steadfastly next to me through all my ups and downs and in part, I have to blame myself as well for not wanting to nurture some friendships that I did have in Uni because growing up and constantly moving schools/countries made me feel that most friendships, no matter how strong they appear to be, are fleeting. These days, I make more of an effort to stay in touch and meet up with friends.

Perhaps in some way too, I may have haphazardly appeared nonchalant towards opening up to deeper friendships without realising it. Regardless, it’s not the quantity but the quality of friendship that counts and while like all relationships, maintaining friendships is hard work too especially as we get older and have partners and start our own family, the ones that continue to stand the test of time are truly friends who are worth having!


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Friday was our last full day in London. The few days we had there just whizzed by too quickly and the evening before, I was lamenting about how sad I was the be leaving Europe this time around. Usually I’m ever the eager beaver to return back to the warmth of Singapore, but I guess the weather had treated me so well that it made me fall that little bit in love with Europe – especially Hamburg. And already I can’t wait to return again to that side of the world next year, hopefully to Italy or Switzerland or another city in Germany.

Friday morning Flo and I made our way back into London but more to the CBD where we met Leena during her lunch hour. It was really sweet of her to sacrifice her precious hour off work just to see us.

We met at To A Tea near Farringdon station, which is this cute little bistro that specialises in teas and they also do healthy lunches – think full salads with lean proteins or veggie options.

I chose a Flowering Tea just because it looked so pretty in the picture. A glass of hot water came and I was like “Whuuuuut?!” before the server dropped a blob of something into it. It took about a minute to slowly unfurl and open up.

Green Tea with Lily and Osmanthus.

Definitely rather girly to look at and perfect for Instagramming. The tea carried a lovely aroma of osmanthus but towards the bottom, it got quite bitter, naturally, as the tea has steeped quite a while by then so it was a little difficult to drink.

It was great catching up with Leena and learning about how the year ahead is going to be quite an exciting one for her, and especially Brian who’s taken over his parents’ restaurant down in Southampton. Lots of things are starting to come together but at the same time, there’re lots of issues to iron out. I hope that all goes well for them!

After tea, Flo and I walked along the River Thames to get to Borough Market.

I love love love Borough Market! Yes yes, it’s full of tourists and food prices aren’t exceptionally cheap but the buzz in the air as you walk through the market is amazing. The delicious smells of food sizzling on the grill, the wide array of pastries, the sweet scent of fresh bread. It’s a feast for the senses!

First thing Flo and I had was an oyster each from this man here.

£2.50 per oyster, with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of tabasco, downed in a mere 2.5 seconds. Faster than that in fact!

There were two girls next to us who appeared never to have seen or eaten oysters before and were both keen yet hesitant to try them. After Flo and I had swallowed our delightfully fresh oysters that tasted of the sea, they asked if they were good. I said that they were and Mr. Oyster Man complained that I wasn’t loud enough for him to hear. So I sportingly exclaimed that they were AWESOME!


Which we skipped. 

Now Flo and I enjoy good food but we’re not the types to go around and stuff our faces with every appetising thing in sight. It’s not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just that we both realise that sometimes overeating not only makes you feel sick, it also taints your memory of the food and the place. Instead, we tend to zero in on something we think we’d like and savour it. If we are still hungry after, we might get a small snack or dessert. And the next time we return, we can always try something else. In this case, it might be a while but still…

I more or less zeroed in on Big V.

They specialise in vegan burgers and I opted for the Salad Box that came with two salads and a choice of burger patty. I chose the Spicy Chickpea Sweet Potato Patty. Cost me £7. And it was quite a hefty box which left me very full after.

I loved the Spinach and Broccoli Salad but the Shredded Beetroot Carrot Salad that’s hidden below was a bit too dry and rabbit-food like. Then again, I tend to prefer my veggies on the softer side so yeah… I’m like an old woman in that respect.

I had the salads drizzled with Ume Dressing and they also scooped a generous amount of Beetroot Hummus and Tahini dressing on top as well. Those last two were really yummy. I added Sriracha for the extra kick on my burger. I enjoyed the patty so much I actually returned home and made some for myself! In fact, I made two kinds of veggie burgers so stay tuned for those recipes in a few blog posts’ time!

Flo on the other hand, stayed away from the greens since I had enough for the both of us, and went for the good ol’ British Classic – Fish&Chips from Fish!.

It was ironic because Flo was always drawing flak about how England’s doesn’t have much good food to speak of, and that Fish & Chips are often drowned in oil so why would anyone want to eat them?! I only found out the day that we were at Borough Market that he’d never actually had proper fish and chips before! Tsk! Anyway, he finally decided to give it a go to see if there was some redemption in the English food scene to be found.

And it looks like Fish!, with their £9.95 Cod Fish and Chips managed to impress him after all!

The batter of the piping hot fresh, flakey fish was thin and crisp, while the chips were fat and so very lightly salted. Great with the ketchup although salt and vinegar would have been the more traditional way to go.

Flo said that he was very pleasantly surprised that the fish was fried well and not at all oily. Same with the chips. I’m glad he enjoyed this typical English pub grub especially since this is something the English have definitely got a deft hand in cooking this speciality of theirs. It’s not easy to find Fish & Chips of that same standard in Singapore so having it in London was definitely the right choice.

Happy bellies! We did take a lot of pictures of the food and the food with ourselves. Funny because I think it was in my last post that I was laughing at people taking wefies with the swans at Hyde Park. I guess we all have our little fetishes. Flo’s, and mine, just happens to be food.

So after we filled our bellies, we walked a little more around Borough Market, soaking in the gorgeous sights of beautifully made pastries and desserts.

Giant cookies, German cakes, Dessert slices…

Tarts, Sliced cakes, Chocolate fondants…

Fudge! I’m not really a fudge fan but they’re really popular in the UK.

We skipped the cheeses and breads because we knew that we’d be tempted to buy some but there wouldn’t have been much point since we were leaving the next day – me back to Singapore, and Flo to Zurich for a week at head office.

I wanted to take him over to Bermondsey Street to this place called Fuckoffee. It’s this super quirky, hipster, coffee cafe place where the youngsters go to. It’s like an ‘alternative’ cafe that’s a little rough round the edges.

We were a mere few hundred metres off when it began to pour, so Flo and I quickly found shelter at Bermondsey Street Cafe instead which looked a world away from Fuckoffee. It took quite a big space and looked upmarket-industrial. There was a group of hot mamas with their babies there and two Japanese girls who looked to be having a late brunch of delectable looking fluffy pancakes.

Flo had his Cappuccino. I had my Piccolo.

We didn’t make it to Fuckoffee in the end and I think it was kind of a good thing because the more I think about it, the more the place seems a little dank and grungy. That’s just my opinion. 

When the rain finally cleared, the temperature dropped quite a bit and the winds turned a touch icy. Just a touch.

Flo and I continued on towards the Thames…

Where we then wefied with Tower Bridge

And The Shard

Awesome huh? We took pictures with some of the most iconic, world famous buildings in the world!!!

Then we crossed Tower Bridge, which is one of the prettiest bridges ever. I used to think it was the London Bridge just because. But one day, I found out which one was the real London Bridge and felt rather disappointed that it didn’t look as impressive as it sounded. Also, I guess because there was the song about London bridge falling down, I simply assumed it had to be an amazeballs looking bridge.

Flo and I had quite a journey home because we went to Tower Hill station where we had to make a few switches before we got onto the Met line home. Thought we’d be late for family dinner but nope! We had about a good half hour before most of the family started to pile in.

Grandma cooked the perfect amount for 16 of us – there was a bit more food kept aside in the kitchen for the latecomers.

Sambal Squid with Lady’s Fingers, Roast Pork Belly, Curry Prawns, Stir-fried Asparagus with Runner Beans and Pork Ribs. She later took out some of that Spinach Curry from the night before that I love.

T’was a great final dinner in London and it was wonderful being able to catch up with Rachael especially and find out how her wedding plans are coming along. First cousin on Mum’s side to get married!! 

And seeing Suk Gong, as well as Uncle Peter and Aunty Betty. It’s been a while and sometimes, it’s only after not seeing them for a while that I realise just how much they, and my parents too, are getting on. I’m happy though, that they are all blessed with good health and are looking lively and happy.

Saturday morning, I finished packing everything. By packing I actually mean stuffing everything into my check-in bag. I was a little worried that it might burst open while transiting from London to Singapore. Thank God it didn’t.

Mum, Dad, Grandpa and Grandma left quite early to Southampton to catch their two-week cruise around the Baltic. Flo and I managed to say goodbye to them before catching a bit more zees. At 11am, just an hour before their ship was due to depart, Uncle David got a call to say that they’d left their tickets at home! So there was a bit of a panic where Uncle David had to drive fast and furiously to get the tickets to them, while Kor had to dash Sophie to her tuition class in Harrow.

So lunch with Kor at this Japanese place we enjoy was scrapped and Flo and I made a simple lunch at home before Kor dropped us off at the airport.

Flo’s flight to Zurich was at 4.55pm so I managed to send him all the way to his gate before I somehow managed to burn the other 3 hours until my flight was due to leave.

And so, our two week Eurotrip came to a close. Eurotrip isn’t really the right term because we were really only in two places. Hamdon trip? Lonburg? It was a great one though, one that far exceeded my expectations especially spending it with Flo. In fact, I daresay it was my favourite holiday ever. So far. Especially because it was with Flo.


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It’s funny how whenever people visit Singapore and ask for places to visit, I always say that the zoo is a must for every visit(!) and that the aquarium is good to visit just the one time. And yet, I’ve now been to the aquarium about 4 times and I have to admit that it’s actually pretty awesome.

Granted, the moray eels are horrors to look at – at least to me, but the jelly fish and the brightly coloured tropical fish are hypnotic.

And for sure we cannot forget my ultimate favourite fish. Forgive me for I do not know what it’s called. It might be a boxfish but no matter – a fish by any other name will look just as adorable with its round body, pouty lips, and its need to wriggle its tail extra hard to keep balanced while it swims. Ok, the last bit about needing to balance I kind of made up.

I find the world of water both fascinating and frightening at the same time. To know that as much as researchers have accumulated such a vast knowledge of the sea and its creatures over years and years of detailed study, there is probably still very much more we have yet to learn.

What will we find if we were to go to the deepest part of the ocean? How many more creatures are there left to be discovered? What kinds of dangers lurk beneath where man has gone before?

Anyway, it was another fun-filled afternoon with Naima and F as we slowly went around the aquarium gazing at the myriad of different fish. Immersing ourselves into the underwater world just for those few hours also reminded me that oftentimes, we forget that this world has so much more to reveal to us if we only just opened our eyes to explore it.

So, yesterday, I decided that I would do just that – explore! I decided to explore the more unique flavours of Japan in my baking, away from the more commonly used Matcha. Now, I love Matcha and I think it works amazing with almost everything, but recently, I have been feeling the pull to work more with Kinako – a roasted soy flour that the Japanese frequently use as a topping for mochi. It has this beautiful toasty, nutty aroma that evoked within me this sense of comfort and familiarity which is strange considering I’ve never used it before.

I read online that kinako is quite versatile and can be used in baking cakes, cookies and bread. I’m not a strong bread baker so I decided to play it safe and go for Kinako Cookies.

These were more like shortbread cookies, and to amp it up a little, I thought to swirl some earthy bitterness in with Black Sesame Paste. The cookies turned out nice and short, and the dough was a snap to make. I liked that the Kinako and Black Sesame married well together, neither superceding each other in flavour.

Kinako Black Sesame Cookies
(Yields 12 – 0.75″x2″ Bars)

30g butter, softened
20g brown sugar
15ml cream
50g flour
30g kinako powder
1g salt
20g black sesame paste

1. Preheat oven to 175 deg C. 
2. Cream butter with sugar.
3. Sift flour, kinako powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
4. Add cream into butter mixture and blend.
5. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just incorporated.
6. Add black sesame paste and swirl it in gently. You might want to hand-knead the dough gently for it to come together.
7. Roll dough out to a thickness of 0.5cm and cut to size. You can also choose to use cookie cutters to stamp out other designs. 
8. Place onto lined baking sheet and chill for 20min.
9. Bake for 10min, rotating the tray halfway through. 

10. Let cool for 10min on the tray then remove to finishing cooling on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to a week, although you’ll definitely polish them off before then!

I love how Asian and Western ingredients have come together especially in the last few years. It reminds me that the world is evolving into a ginormous melting pot, not just within countries, but amongst countries and across cultures. I have always believed that food is one of the best ways to explore a country’s culture, and incorporating the flavours of another country into our foods and desserts is surely a powerful testament to how we are becoming more accepting of the unfamiliar, and more brave towards exploring the exotic.

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