Fruitless Hot Cross Buns


1 1/2 cups warm milk
2 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar
60g butter, melted
1 egg, lightly whisked
4 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp all spice
1 egg, lightly whisked for brushing


1. Combine the milk, yeast and 1 tbs of sugar in a small bowl, cover with cling wrap and set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes or until frothy.

2. Combine the milk mixture (from step 1), butter and egg(lightly whisked before mixing with the milk mixture) and whisk to combine. Combine 4 cups of self raising flour, salt, all spice and remaining sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the milk mixture and use a wooden spoon to stir until just combined, then kneed for 10-15 minutes or until smooth and elastic on a lightly floured surface. Or kneed for 10 minutes in a electric mixer with the hook attachment.

3. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with cling wrap and place in a warm place for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

4. Preheat oven to 190°C fan forced. Grease a 23cm square cake pan.I used a ceremic dish this time and it worked out alright too.But I think it takes longer to heat up. Punch the dough down with your fist. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Divide dough into 16 even pieces and shape each portion into a ball. Arrange dough portions, side by side, in the prepared pan. Set aside in a warm for 30 minutes or until dough has risen 2cm.

5. Meanwhile, mix the remaining flour and water together in a small bowl until a smooth paste forms. Place in a small plastic bag and snip off the end. Pipe crosses on the buns. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 170°C. Take the buns out, lightly brush whisked egg to add colour and shine. Be quick and return the tray to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes or until golden and cooked through.


1. If you don’t have a warm place suitable for the dough to rise. Place the dough in a bowl (bowl 1), cover bowl 1 with cling wrap, then place bowl 1 in a larger bowl (bowl 2) filled with warm water.

2. You can add sultanas to make fruit hot cross buns.

My Fusion Pantry: Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise sauce is probably the most famous of all French sauces and if you master the technique, it can be extremely easy to make.


  1. The egg yolks must be heated slowly and gradually. Too sudden or over-cooking will make them scramble.
  2. The butter must be added slowly and gradually. Give egg yolks enough time to incorporate each addition of butter before another is presented.

Serve 2-3 people

1 egg yolk
1 tsp water
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of salt

1 tsp cold butter (step 2)
1 tsp cold butter (step 4)

60g melted butter (step 5)


1. Beat the egg yolks, water, lemon juice and salt for about 1 minutes or until they are thick and sticky.

2. Over low heat or water bath, add 1 teaspoon of cold butter, let it melt a little bit, then beat it with a whisk. If they seem to be thickening too quickly, remove it from the heat.

3. When you begin to see the bottom of the pan between strokes, and the mixture forms a light cream on the whisk, remove the bowl/saucepan from the heat.

4. Immediately add 1 teaspoon of cold butter, to stop the egg yolks from cooking.

5. Slowly and gradually add melted butter and keep whisking. The sauce is ready.

Traditional Christmas or modern Christmas? Turkey and Ham Terrine

The difference between a traditional and a modern Christmas menu is just like the difference between my mother in law and I. She is old-fashioned and honest; I’m creative and multi-cultural. Which is best? Roast vs. seafood? Pudding vs. chilled desserts? or bit of both?

There are some really good traditions in my extended family. They always try to all sit on one long pew at the Christmas eve church service. The number is getting bigger, it’s almost impossible now. My MIL always asks everyone in the family to stir the Christmas pudding and make a wish. I remember one year, I had to work on the night she was making the pudding, she drove to my work with the mixing bowl for me to stir, how lovely!

She is cooking whole turkey and ham again this year, and the pudding is already made. Can I add something to her menu? Last year I made a Cherry Pavlova, it was a very good alternative to those whom don’t like pudding. This year we were asked to bring some nibbles before the meal, anti-pasto it is, super easy! Or maybe this one – Turkey and Ham Terrine? I made it once for a Christmas dinner party with friends and it was so nice and looks beautiful!~!!

Turkey and Ham Terrine


250g pancetta
500g turkey fillet
300g turkey mince
300g ham
2 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
a small handful of parsley
1 sprig sage
3 fresh chilli,finely chopped
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup verjuice
Zest of 1 lemon
10 prunes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp olive oil


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

In a food processor, add the turkey mince, half of the herbs including rosemary, parsley, sage and chilli. Add 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil. Mix well.

Dice the turkey fillet and ham into medium size squares. In a large bowl, mix the diced turkey and ham with the other half of the herbs and the rest of the ingredients, including 1 tsp of salt, olive oil, verjuice, lemon zest, prunes & pine nuts. Use your hands to mix.

Spray a loaf tin with non-stick spray and line with baking paper and then plastic wrap, then line the base and sides with pancetta slices just overlapping each piece. Now let’s put the terrine mix in. There are 3 layers, the bottom(upside down, later become the top when serve) and the top layers should be turkey mince mixture. It’s because mince mixture with bread crumbs are solid and it will hold the shape well. The middle layer is the chunky turkey fillet and ham mixture. They look nice and taste great in chunks. Make sure you fill in the corners of the tin and firmly press by hand. Use more pancetta to cover the top and remember to overlap with the sides. Cover with the plastic wrap, then baking paper. Now we need to place some weight over it. Here is my little trick – place another loaf tin on the top, face up and place something heavy, like mortar and pestle in the top tin. Save you some bucks instead of buying a terrine mould.

For the plastic wrap, actually I’m not 100% sure whether you can leave it in. I was going to, but my husband was worried it will melt on the meat in the oven, so I took it out at the end. But I remember I read someone’s terrine recipe and they left it on. We cook the terrine in a water bath in the oven, so it’s not too hot. Maybe it’s ok?





Create a water bath by adding water in a large roasting tray, then sit the terrine tin in it. Cook in the oven for 1 hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer or more accurately, when the internal meat temperature reaches 57 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow the terrine to rest in the water bath for 15 minutes until the internal temperature has reached 65 degrees. Maggie Beer said the magic temperature is 65-66 degrees finished internal temperature. I haven’t been able to master it yet.

Pour off any juices from the terrine and place into fridge to chill for several hours or overnight.

To impress your guests, decorate with fresh cranberries and baby rocket salad, looks just like holly :) I bought 1km frozen mixed berries and picked the cranberries out. Big job!

Traditional Moroccan Chicken Tagine

This is only the third time that I used the tagine since I got it as a present almost a year ago. I must admit, food cooked in a terracotta tagine does taste better than when cooked in a normal pot or pan. It’s very tender and the flavour is well developed. The key point to this dish is the use of perserved lemon. After weeks of preserving, the lemons lost some of their sourness, and add some earthiness to it. The skin can be eaten as well. I’m sure you can buy them in the shops, but it’s very easy to make and can last for several months in the fridge.

Chicken Tagine


Marinade Spice Mix

2 cloves garlic
Big knob of ginger
1 onion
1-5 fresh chilli
2 tbsp paparica
1 tbsp turmeric
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
handful coriander
handful parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
2 fresh bay leaves
2 tsp cumin powder
1 persered lemon

Other ingredients

2km chicken maryland
1 onion
2 tomatoes
1 potatoes
10-15 olives
handful of coriander
1 perserved lemon


Put all marinade ingredients in a food processor, mix for 1 minute or until finely chopped and turned into a paste. Add little water if it’s too thick. Save the liquid.

Marinade the chicken pieces with the spice mix for several hours. It works best if left overnight for the flavours to develop.

Get the tagine ready, put 1 roughly chopped onion and 1 tomato on the bottom, drizzle some olive oil, then add the chicken pieces. On top of the chicken, add 1 more chopped tomatoes, potatoes, olives, lemon and handful of coriander. Mix the leftover marinade with 1 cup of water, pour over the top. Cook for 1 hour, stir occasionally.

Serve with couscous.

My Fusion Pantry: Perserved Lemons

Perserved Lemons

Key ingredient in many Moroccan dishes. It takes minutes to make and can be kept in the fridge after it’s ready for several month.




Prepare a clean glass jar.

Wash lemons, cut lengthwise into quarters, but not cut all the way through. Pack the crevices of the lemon with lots of salt. Place tightly into the jar. Repeat with the remaining lemons.

Add the juice of 1 fresh lemon and a generous sprinkling of salt. Fill it up with water. Put the lid on, set aside in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks or until the rinds are very soft.

Transfer the jar to the fridge.

My Fusion Pantry: Balsamic Glaze

I discovered this fantastic glaze, sauce, syrup or reduction… whatever you call it in Italy. The B & B host in Tuscany served balsamic glaze and olive oil with bread, it was unbelievable! Trust me, I’m definitely not a bread person and hardly eat any toast for breakfast, but I eat lot’s bread when I have this glaze. You can also add it to salad or even serve it on strawberries and ice-creams! You can buy it from supermarket, but it’s one of those things you can save heaps of money by making it at home.

500ml balsamic vinegar
300g white sugar
1/2 tbsp golden syrup

Place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a medium size saucepan. Heat on low, stir with a whisk to dissolve the sugar. Simmer until the liquid reduced by half and it reaches 110-112 degrees (syrup stage). Stir occasionally. It normally takes about 20-30 minutes. Add 1/2 tbsp golden syrup to thicken at the end for best result.

My Fusion Pantry: Jing’s Slow Cooker Everyday Stock

I make this stock every a couple of weeks. I tend to leave half in the fridge to use in the next few days, the other half in the freezer for the next week or later weeks. Stock is great for everyday cooking, it can be the base for soups, also adding to casserole and stir-fries. Liquid stock is one of those things that many people don’t have time for at home and quite expensive to buy in the shops. But here is a Read more »

Tapas Feast: Dessert Fried Milk

This gallery contains 4 photos.

One of the traditional desserts in Spain, interestingly can also be found in China – Fried Milk or Cui Pi Zha Xian Nai. I found this dessert was very fascinating when I had it in the restaurant. Incredibly soft milk … Read more »

Tapas Feast: Chorizo in Cider, Potato Omelette, Prawn Fritters & White Bratwurst Sausage

Apparently in Spain, if you make an appointment to see someone at 2, they will turn up, without fail, unabashed and unashamed at 2:30, 3, or even 3:30. What will you do if you are the person kept waiting? Find a tasca (tapas bar) around the corner, order a drink and a tapa or two and wait comfortably. Thanks to this Spanish culture, we have beautiful tapas dishes today around the world.

There are a lot of similarities between Spanish tapas and Chinese yumcha. Both have a large selection of dishes in small serves, that can be a snack or a proper meal. Pasta originated in China thousands years ago. Who knows whether there is connection between tapas and yumcha.

Mia bought me a Spanish cookbook for my birthday, The Food of Spain – A Journey for Food Lovers. On a free weekend, we tested some of the recipes in the book and created a tapas feast at home. It was very successful! We couldn’t wait to eat after we finished cooking, so I didn’t play around with the photos too much. Pictures can’t do it justice! BTW, we know bratwurst sausage are German. It just Read more »

Crispy Skin Chicken in Cabbage and Tomato Sauce

This Asian influenced crispy skin chicken is actually bursting with Italian favour. One of my fusion recipes. Enjoy!

3 large or 6 small chicken thigh fillets with skin on

2 cm fresh ginger, finely grated or 1 tsp ginger paste
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1/3 cup white wine

1/2 cabbage, sliced into 1cm wide strips
1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g)
4 sprigs of thyme
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Atta bread
Read more »