Hasselback Potatoes

I like to include potatoes in my Christmas baking. Mainly because it's the only source of carbohydrates...and a good natural source too. Usual years, I will bake gratin. However, when I saw Veronica's Hasselback Potatoes, I decided this has got to be the potato for this year!! My children loves Jack's Place baked potatoes, mainly because it has sour cream and bacons. So I knew this can't go wrong. Even if others don't like, I can count on my children! True to it, it was the most popular food on the Christmas table spread! We loved them very much.
Recipe for Hasselback Potatoes, adapted from Peng's Kitchen.
(Makes for 6 persons)

6 Russet potatoes, washed & scrubbed cleanly
8 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Rock salt
1 tsp Parmesan & Garlic herbs
Freshly grinded black pepper

6 Bacon rashers, pan fried till crisp & brown

150g Cheddar cheese (I mixed 150g cheddar and mozzarella cheese)
200g Sour cream 
2 sprigs Spring onion, chopped


1. Using a shape knife, slice the potatoes thinly without cutting all the way through. Refer to Veronica's picture.

2. Combine olive oil, salt, herbs, and pepper and mix thoroughly.
3. Spread the mixture evenly all over the potatoes.
4. Bake in preheated oven at 200C until the skin is crisp and tender inside, about 45 mins.
5. Meanwhile cook the bacon until crispy and crumble it.
6. Sprinkle the potatoes with the cheese and return to the oven until the cheese has melted, about 10 mins.
7. Top with sour cream, bacon bits and spring onions.
This post is submitted to "My Treasured Recipes #4 - Ho Ho Ho It's Christmas (Dec 2014)" hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders and co-hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House.
This post is linked to "Cook and Celebrate: Christmas 2014" organised by Cook & Celebrate Christmas 2014 hosted by Bake For Happy Kids, Eat Your Heart Out and Domestic Goddess Wannabe.

Orange Pork Loin stuffed with Bacon and Mushrooms

Near Christmas is the time when I'm most busy. Busy baking Christmas presents, and planning Christmas parties which I usually host for my own family and my in-laws. This year was no exception. My spouse likes our Christmas with Turkey and Honey baked hams. So we usually order from the local supermarket, then roast the marinated Turkey. It was huge, but it was good. Besides just buy and roast, I decided to make Pork Loin this year. I made reference from Martha Stewart's Orange and Cumin Pork Loin and Honey Bee Sweets Pork Loin. I like the idea of Orange Pork Loin.

Pork Loin can be quite tough if not cooked properly. So I decided to see how nice or tender it can be when baked. Well, although it wasn't melt-in-the-mouth tender, it was quite soft and had the tangy orangey taste. It was pretty nice and refreshing. I actually like it although I'm not a pork person. And the good thing about baking meats is that you can add any flavour or sauce to suit your taste. It's that versatile.
Recipe for Orange Spearmint Pork Loin stuffed with Bacon and Mushrooms
(Makes for 4-5 persons)

1.5kg fresh Pork loin
1 packet Brown button mushrooms (brown or white will do), sliced
4 sprigs Spearmint (or peppermint) (or any other fresh herbs)
1 Orange (squeeze the juice and use the zest)
250g Bacon rashers
2 cloves Garlic, chopped


1. Slice the pork loin almost all the way through lengthwise; you can then open the tenderloin like a book. This is called butterfly. You may refer here to see how to.

2. Marinate the pork in orange juice and zest for 2 hours.
3. Heat up a saucepan. Add a little olive oil, add in garlic. Fried until fragrance. Add in mushroom and cook well. Drained and leave aside.
4. Open up the butterflied pork loin. Lay bacon rashers over it. Then spread the mushrooms over it thickly.
5. Wrapped it up like swiss roll tightly. Place in your baking tray.
6. Then wrapped it up with bacon rashers.
7. Use toothpick to poke through from the top to hold it's shape.
8. With the remaining orange juice and zest, add in spearmint, salt and pepper and mix well.
9. Pour over the bacon top. Scoop some spearmint for the top.
10.  Bake in preheated oven of 180C for 45mins.
11. Let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with pan juices.
pork_orange04 pork_orange01
This post is submitted to "My Treasured Recipes #4 - Ho Ho Ho It's Christmas (Dec 2014)" hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders and co-hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House.
This post is linked to "Cook and Celebrate: Christmas 2014" organised by Cook & Celebrate Christmas 2014 hosted by Bake For Happy Kids, Eat Your Heart Out and Domestic Goddess Wannabe.

Pumpkin Chiffon Cake

Just out of the sudden, I feel like baking a chiffon cake. I've not baked a chiffon for a long time. Lately, I was more into breads since I usually have them for breakfast. Wanting to practice my chiffon again, I did a Pumpkin Chiffon Cake. I agreed with a friend that my chiffon wasn't good looking. Until I find the time to learn from her, I'll just continue to bake them based on my understanding. :p
Recipe for Pumpkin Chiffon Cake, adapted from Honey Bee Sweets.
(Makes a 9" cake)


5 Egg yolks
60g Caster sugar
60g Vegetable oil
100g Mashed steamed pumpkin
95g Whole milk
150g Plain flour

5 Egg whites
1 tsp Fresh lemon juice
70g Caster sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the caster sugar till well blended. Then blend in the vegetable oil and mix well.
3. Now add in the pumpkin puree and milk, mix well again. Finally add in the sifted flour and whisk till everything combined together well. (I added some almond nibs because I had some leftovers.)
4. In another large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and lemon juice till foamy. 

5. Then add the caster sugar gradually and beating at the same time till all is added in and the batter is stiff and glossy.
6. In 3 separate portions, add the whites into the yolk mixture and gently fold in to combined.
7. Gently pour the batter into the tube pan and bake in the oven for 40 minutes till browned.


Vacation in Tokyo and Nikko

School holidays are when we can have vacations with our children. Going holidays with a family of five is different from family of four. Some places can accommodate up to a family of four, and I'll have odd one out. So arranging accommodations or seats can be quite a daunting task. Well, I'll just have to make it happen, don't I? ;) 

This vacation, was to Tokyo and Nikko. I've been to Tokyo once and have always wanted to go back. My spouse and eldest son used to spam Tokyo...until last year when my son got a chance to travel to Tokyo to his grandpa and fell in love with it! Thereafter, he knows why I love Japan, and convinced his dad to go. So finally, it was decided, and of course, I did all the booking and planning of itinerary again. I'm not complaining, but it does get a bit stressful planning out the timing and the transport at times. Fortunately, it was a great trip for everyone and we enjoyed it! However, if we had delayed by a week, we will probably see snow in Nikko. *sigh* No chance of snow this year... we'll try next year. ;)

Our apartment for the first three nights. Booked through Airbnb and the host was really really very nice. This apartment is in Ginza area. Very nice and cosy apartment that accomodates five of us. IMG_4074 IMG_4264 IMG_4076
Dinner at Gonpachi.
Christmas tree at Ginza.
Potato chips at Calbee plus at Harajuku
Cakes from Hidemi Sugino
Food alley at one of the shopping mall
Ichiran at Shibuya
Mt Fuji seen from the Monorail to DisneySea
Minnie at DisneySea
Minnie ice cream stick
Toy Story at DisneySea
X'mas Fireworks Special at DisneySea
Tempura Soba near my apartment
Shinkyo Bridge at Nikko
Rinnoji Temple (under renovation till 2019)

Addictive Haagen Dazs ice creams.
Tobu World Square at Kinugawa-Onsen area.
Mini NYC twin towers at Tobu World Square.
Mini Neuschwanstein Castle at Tobu World Square
Akechidaira Plateau
Akechidaira Ropeway
Irohazaka winding road
Overlooking Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls
Kegon Falls
On the streets at Lake Chuzenji
Cold Soba
Ryuzu Falls
Irohazaka winding road
Nikko Station Hotel Ladies Onsen shower area
Nikko Station Hotel Ladies Indoor Onsen
Nikko Station Hotel Ladies Onsen change area
Chirashi Don
Chirashi Don
Steak by weight at Ikinari Steak. Superb.
Yummy garlic rice.
Asakusa train, Ginza line.
Free refreshment at Sotetsu Fresa Inn Tokyo-Kyobashi
Kaminarimon gate
Tokyo Tower
Pen Station. Pilot Pen museum and cafe.
Illumination at Omotesando
Illumination Tokyo Square Garden
Mt Fuji from afar
Odawara sulphur park
Lake Ashi
Nice bright moon at 4pm
Shinkansen at Tokyo Station
Alaska crab legs at Tokyo Station Buffet
Kit Kat stall at Daimaru at Tokyo Station
Tsukiji Fish Market
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Sashimi Nigiri