AFC GRILLED : Chef Sean Connolly

An evening of good food.

Lap Cheong Watermelon Bites

An asian take on watermelon bites!

Baked Fish with Kiwi in Sweet and Sour Sauce

Add a twist to sweet and sour fish!

Semperit Pandan Cookies

Cute cookies for the festive season!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Basic Butter Cake


It's been a rough year for Malaysia in general.

Today, we celebrate Merdeka Day (Independence Day) on a solemn note. For the first time in as long as I can remember, no celebratory fireworks were lit at the stroke of midnight. As I write this, it is all quiet in the night sky. The only noise is the sound of passing cars and the screechy vroom of small motorbikes - the Mat Rempits, we label them.

Basic Butter Cake

Since we had decided on loafing at home for the long weekend, I decided to bake a cake to keep us company ..and it does make good company. It's always comforting to know that there's something within reach to snack on.They say that a hungry man is an angry man. We don't want any of that happening here, now do we *wink*

I tried this recipe from For the how-to and tips, visit the page directly. This is my adventure in pictures and my personal experience baking this wonderful recipe.

1) Lightly grease baking tin. Line with baking paper.
2) Beat butter with sugar. Add the eggs one by one, beating as you go.
Then, add 1 tsp vanilla essence.
Slowly add sifted flour +  double action baking powder +  tsp salt.
Finally, mix in 4 tbsp of milk.
3) Pouring the batter into a 18cm square tin. Level the mixture out.
4) Bake at 175c for 40-45 minutes

1)'s rising. It's also browning a little too quick.
2) Ecstatic that it's evenly cooked and browned.
3) Lovely bottom too.
4) Letting it cool.

Perfectly Browned Butter Cake

Let's Eat!

Texture: It's moist enough and not as dense, as you can see. I admit rather embarrassingly that five slices have made their way into my stomach whilst composing this blog post. Uh-oh!

A great tip I learned from this baking experience: When I noticed that my cake was browning a little too quickly, I loosely placed a foil over the tin to prevent the cake from getting burnt on top (as suggested in the recipe) - but I waited for it to brown evenly to a nice shade before doing this. Yes, I was glued to the oven door.

I used an 18cm square baking tin instead of the suggested 22cm baking tin. This left me with a small portion of batter remaining. I baked what's left over in a medium-small round baking tin, lightly greased with butter. No baking paper was used to line the tin. This was the result:

Butter cake - no baking paper

It slid out of the baking tin effortlessly. This is one recipe that I'm noting down where baking paper is not a necessity.

You know what will go nicely with this cake? A good movie. I hope you enjoy your weekend as much as I am loving my day. You know the saying - eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we diet.

To fellow Malaysians, Selamat Hari Merdeka!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Bok Choy Greens In Ginger-Garlic Oyster Sauce


Bok Choy Flowers (the decoration) have been a regular feature in my meals ever since I learned how to do them. It's hard not to get carried away with something this pretty and too easily done.

Besides using it as a centerpiece on several noodle and rice dishes, I also serve it the typical oyster sauce way along with white rice.

This recipe is just one of the versions I cook regularly. When it comes to working with oyster sauce, I let my moods take over so I end up with a variety of gravy. Sometimes I use onions instead of garlic, sometimes I add a tablespoon of rice wine, sometimes I sprinkle in a bit of black pepper. You get the idea!

Bok Choy Greens In Ginger-Garlic Oyster Sauce

- 3 pcs bok choy greens (slice through just below the leafy parts, about one inch from the bottom, as shown below)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- ½ tsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce or to taste
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- ¾ tsp tapioca starch (mixed with 1 tbsp water)
- ½ cup water or more
- 1 tbsp cooking oil

1) Slice bok choy stems away. This makes the flowers.
2) Blanch bok choy in water.
3) Admire bok choy flowers for a bit.
4) Arrange bok choy on serving plate.

1) Blanch bok choy (stem first because it takes longer, then leaves) in boiling water until almost cooked. Leave aside on a strainer. Immediately begin making the sauce (below) to pour over.

The Sauce
2) Heat oil in pan.
3) Saute garlic and ginger until lightly browned.
4) Add water, fish sauce and oyster sauce. Stir to combine.
5) Once it begins to boil, switch the heat off. Stir in tapioca starch to thicken.
6) Place blanched bok choy on a serving plate. Pour oyster sauce over.

Bok Choy Greens - Well, don't wait too long to eat it!

Goes well with white rice.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Food Decoration : Bok Choy Flowers


I've always found cooking an adventure of sorts. To me, it's a playground of endless ideas and creativity.

Check out this tip I picked up from our Facebook group. The stem of a bok choy vegetable, once sliced, looks like a flower. This is what I call a food decoration quickie. For me, it also makes the humble bok choy more attractive to eat.

How-to : Cut the vegetable between one inch to one-half inches from the bottom part (shown below).

Bok Choy Flowers

Rinse with water. I used a small brush to clean the in-betweens.

Cleaning Brush

It's ready to be used.

Bok Choy Flowers

How am I eating this? I'm blanching these in water and drizzling yummy gravy over.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Squid and Pineapple Stir-Fry


It's a lovely day for a pineapple dish, so my taste buds informed me. You may ha-ha me on this one but sunny weather and clear skies played a role in further encouraging the tropical mood. It's the haze season. We haven't had really clear skies in awhile. The heavy downpour in the earlier hours helped.  

Anyway, I headed into the kitchen to find something to put together. It's one of those days I set google and recipe books aside. Instead, I took the 'this-could-work' and 'that-could-work' approach, after going through my food cabinet and the refrigerator.

Here is the result. Am I happy with it? Completely!

Garlicky Squid and Pineapple With Black Pepper and Chilli Flakes

Flavour-wise, sweet and savoury with a bit of peppery spiciness is how I would describe this dish. This is what I tossed together in my moment of inspiration.

- 245g canned pineapple cubes (drain the syrup but leave aside 2 tbsp for use)
- 2 pcs squid tubes, each about 5.5inches long (slice open and cut into strips)
- 4 garlic cloves (chopped)
- ¼ tsp chilli flakes (seedless)
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- A handful of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Pinch of salt, or to taste
- Cooking oil

Top: Squid, pineapple, flat-leaf parsley, black pepper, chilli flakes and garlic.
Bottom: Stir-frying squid and pineapple cubes.


1) Heat oil in pan.
2) Saute garlic until lightly browned. Add the squid slices and stir-fry.
3) Once the squid is cooked, add the pineapples. Stir-fry for a bit.
4) Add a pinch of salt, pineapple syrup, chilli flakes and black pepper. Stir to combine.
5) Turn the fire/heat off.
6) Add flat-leaf parsley. Give it a good stir and serve.

Serving Squid and Pineapple

Eat as a side dish or with flavoured rice.

Best eaten as a side dish or with lightly flavoured rice.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Chicken and Pumpkin With Noodles (Slow-Cooker)


There are occasions, largely sick days (I confess!), that I turn away from chocolate chip cookies, fried chicken, cheesy bites and scrumptious cakes. Not even the sight of gooey Nutella oozing out of a puff pastry can lure my dulled sense of taste.

Slow-Cooked Chicken and Pumpkin

These are days I call for healthier food. I deserve a smack on the head really, to think about eating healthy only when I'm under the weather, but that's how things work with me. A lot of soul bashing goes on when I'm plonked on the bed with a runny nose and a box of tissue.

Cooking would be the last thing on my mind, but the idea of a pizza delivery guy at the door? Mmm.. not someone I'd want to get up for.

So, this is my go-to recipe for not-so-sunny days. It's plain but tasty nonetheless and a no-brainer to prepare.

- 2 whole leg of chicken
- 2 to 3 cups pumpkin (which has been cut into small chunks)
- 10 pcs baby carrots
- 1½ to 2 cups hot water
- Light soy sauce to taste
- Salt to taste
- 1 packet dried springy noodles


1) Pat the chicken dry using a paper towel. Marinate chicken with soy sauce and leave aside.

2) Add half cup hot water into the slow cooker.

3) Lay pumpkin and carrots into the slow cooker. Then, place marinated chicken on top.

4) Add additional water around the sides, until it just touches the chicken pieces.

5) Sprinkle a bit of salt over. Cook on high for about 2 to 2 ½ hours (Timing may vary depending on slow cooker brand/type).

Note : I basted the chicken once after 1 hour 45 minutes (using the sauce in the cooker).

1) Add the ingredients into the cooker.
2) Cook for 2 hours plus!
3) Serve!

6) Boil dried noodles in water until cooked, following packet instructions. Rinse with drinking water and drain well. Eat with slow-cooked chicken in pumpkin gravy, as pictured below.

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pumpkin With Noodles

Alternatively, have this with rice.


August 8, 2014 - This recipe was featured by Asian Food Channel on their Facebook and other social media pages.

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