Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

121 bananas

Wow! Ready to eat. We have 121 bananas this time. Feeling happy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Christmas Gift Voucher 2014

Christmas Gift Voucher 2014

For more information, please visit website of

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How useful Banana Is

How useful banana is

Did you know that all parts of banana are very useful? Fruit can be eaten or used to make cakes, Asian desserts either yellow or green. The banana blossoms/flowers can be used to make salad or cooked which widely used in Vietnamese, Laos, Cambodian and Thai cooking. Leaves are used to wrap things or as a natural plate to get aroma for dishes such as Thai’s Hok Mok Pla, Cambodian’s Amok, Malaysian’s Nasi Lemak and others. Inner part of the stalk is also edible and can be used as vegetable in Cambodian cuisine. How about the trunk? As far as I can recall when I was very young, after harvesting the fruit, I would help my grandmother to cut the trunk into long strip and dry them up and used them as strings.

Banana grows and fruits in Melbourne

Why I am talking about banana here, especially in Melbourne’s climatic conditions? Well, many people get surprise how the banana can grow in the garden in Melbourne. Yes, trust me it can grow, flower and fruit in Melbourne. I think it needs a good spot where it is protected from strong wind and winter frost and a bit of patience. It takes a bit of time to fruit because it normally goes into dormant in winter and grows between spring and autumn. One banana tree newly flowers a month ago and two other banana trees, about 3 years old, fruited last summer and the bananas are still green and not ready yet by now because they did not grow at all in winter. Once they are ready, in the next month or so, I will have around 100 beautiful, organic and tasty bananas and it will bring back my childhood memories which I LOVE. 

Banana Flower

                                Banana Blossoms salad

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Vietnamese Crispy Pancake- Banh Xeo

                                                Vietnamese Crispy Pancake- Banh Xeo

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Birthday Party

I had been waiting for so long for this moment to celebrate my youngest daughter’s birthday. It was so precious and was not just for its purpose but also was to celebrate life, joy, food, memory of our family. The party menu plan was mainly to suit my little princess but it was a bit too much for her friends as she loves so much spicy food.  Thus, I decided to cook half of her favorites and other half to cater her littler friends and others.

I love to serve my guests with fresh food as possible with humble cooking methods- back from basics and oriental.  I decided to do Asian high tea with finger foods-mostly savory, a couple types of noodles, fruit and cakes. The day before the event, as usual, began with shopping, chopping, making spring rolls, preparing curry paste, Malaysian satay paste, satay, honey chicken, turmeric chicken and cake. The next morning, I started with curry, stick satay, curry puffs, fresh vegetables for gluten free Vietnamese paper rolls, stir-fried noodles, satay and chicken. Half way done by noon, my eldest daughter asked: “Mum, you forgot jelly!”  In fact, I didn’t forget it but I really ran out of time. Anyway, we tried it but I was sure we didn’t have enough time for jelly to set and as expected we did not have the jelly for our guests. It wasn’t too bad – we had it the next day. Fortunately, we had enough ice-ream for our friends. Finally, I prepared fruit plate and final assemble for all the dishes. Da, da, da…. off my stove, party started on time and food was ready to serve.

Even though it was a bit busy the whole cooking process was so relaxing and enjoyable. Everyone enjoyed the food and kids loved the play. It was the happy and precious moment to see little kids play and enjoy.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Crispy Fried Egg Salad

Hi, fried eggs again this week! Why? Well, continue to discover this simple and easy ingredient what can do beyond its nature. I am going to use fried eggs to make delicious Thai-styled salad. My both kids love this dish, especially the spicy and sour flavour.

Meanwhile frying the eggs, I run to the backyard to pick a few sprig of Chinese celery and coriander leaves and start making sauce and salad. It takes less than 10 minutes to make the salad. I hope you will enjoy it.

Crispy Fried Egg Salad (Yam Khai Dao)

2 large eggs, carefully cracked into a small bowl
1/3 cup vegetable oil
½ medium onion or 1 big shallot, sliced
2 sprig Chinese celery, coarsely chopped
2 sprig coriander leaves, coarsely chopped


1 bird’s eye chilli or small chilli
1 small clove garlic
1 ½ teaspoons palm sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce

Heat the oil in a small fry pan or wok until very hot. Add the eggs to the fry pan and fry for about 1½ minutes (the egg white bubbles) or until the bottom of the eggs turns brown and crispy over medium heat. Carefully flip the eggs with spatula and keep frying for about 1 minute or golden brown. Remove the eggs and drain on a paper towel. Cut the eggs into bite seize or about 16 pieces in total. 

Pound the chilli, garlic and palm sugar with pestle in a small mortar. Add lime juice and fish sauce and mix well. Transfer the sauce into a large mixing bowl and add all the salad and eggs and toss well. Serve on a plate.

Note: If you don’t have mortar, simply chop the chilli and garlic into mince. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Rice and Fried Egg

Last week was a busy week. I was busy with cooking demo in the city and also preparation for classes. My lunch, thus as simple as rice and egg but I was happy with it. I'd love to share the recipe with you here.

Rice is the staple food in many Asia countries, it can have as simple as fried egg to serve with in anytime or when there is a last minute situation (I mean with a busy lifestyle, sometimes there is no time to cook or maybe there is only eggs left in the refrigerator and sometimes I just feel like eating it). In fact, this is a common way and the most convenience cooking in Asian family recipes. Honestly speaking, I do enjoy the nice taste of it. My grandmother and mother had fed me with this delicious egg and now I sometimes cook it for my daughters as well.

Fried Egg

2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 egg
1 bowl of warm steam rice
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Heat the oil hot in a small fry-pan over high heat. Fry the egg until well cooked or medium cooked and turn over let it fry until well done or medium cooked.

Pour soy sauce into the fry-pan and turn off the heat. Let the soy sauce stand in the fry-pan for a few seconds. Pour the egg and sauce on top of the warm steam rice. Serve hot.

Note: It looks simple but the secret of making the soy sauce nice in here is the method of cooking it.

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Stir-fried Choko with Prawns

Stir- fried Choko with Prawns

Choko (chocho) or Chayote, when did I start to love this funny looking shape vegetable/fruit (I did ask myself when I first saw it many years ago)? It is to native of Central America. But it has become one type of popular vegetables in Vietnam and Cambodia. It provides a good natural sauce of fibre and vitamin C, especially where there is a lack of supplements.

Back to Melbourne, I need to wait for the season to cook. Yes, yes, there are a lot in the market now. Thus, ya! Time to cook choko! I love to use it for simple stir-fry, like normally used in Vietnamese and Cambodian cooking. I love its natural flavour that surprisingly matches well with other ingredients. Here a simple recipe called “stir-fried Choko with prawns”.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
120 g prawns, peeled and de-veined (if use large prawns, diced)
1 choko (400 g or 14 oz), peeled, deseeded, cut into strips

Soy mixture (mix in a bowl):

½ tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Dash ground white pepper

    Heat the oil in a fry-pan, add the garlic and prawns stir-fry for 1 minute or until the prawns are nearly cooked.

Add the choko and the soy mixture and stir well. Cover the fry-pan with a lid and cook for a minute. Add two tablespoons of water and have a quick stir, cover it again and keep cooking over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until the choko is softened (if you like it crunchy and tender you can cook for just a minute instead). Serve hot with rice.

Prep & cooking time: <15 minutes

Serve: 2-4

I grew a couple of choko plants a few years ago in my back yard and it was very easy. You may think about doing it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Char Kway Teow (Malaysian & Singaporean Food)

Char Kway Teow or stir-fried flat rice noodle is one of the most popular hawker dishes in Malaysia and Singapore. The noodles are stir-fried over high heat with, Chinese sausage, prawns, de-shelled cockles, dark caramel soy sauce, soy sauce, egg, bean sprouts, Chinese chives and lard. Traditionally, a perfect Char Kway Teow is cooked on a charcoal stove. However, nowadays you hardly see any charcoal stoves in use in hawker centres any more.

I was quite lucky to have a Charcoal Char Kway Teow with my friends on Siam Road in Penang during my visit. An old vendor who is well known throughout Penang Island for his signature charcoal Char Kway Teow for so many years continues to use charcoal stoves. I was surprised to hear that and went to his stall. After an hour long wait, we finally got our Char Kway Teow and, no doubt, it was amazing. It had that kind of strong smoky flavour. We were happy and our long wait was paid off.

At home, one of the most important ways to cook good Char Kway Teow is to stir-fry the noodles one plate at a time. This method ensures that all sides of the noodles are thoroughly heat up. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Easy Stir-fried Pasta

I used to live in a remote town where there was very limited Asian grocery around. Whenever I travelled to a city, I would buy many important Asian ingredients I need the most to fill up my pantry but they never met my cooking needs. So, I used whatever I could get my hand on as cooking is always flexible and can be creative. When I missed stir-fried yellow noodles but didn’t have, I used pasta (spaghetti- looks like yellow noodle). It was a humble stir-fry, even without Chinese greens or bean sprouts. The taste was just right and as good if not better.

Nowadays, I still use the same recipe but I do not purposefully boil pasta for stir fry - I often used left over pasta from my Bolognese. (Yes, I do love Italian food especially for my young children, they love the fresh and rich Bolognese sauce with cheese on top, yum…oh with extra chilli flakes too). So don’t waste it if you have leftover pasta.

The stir-fried pasta recipe is very simple. It just needs ingredients that are available in your pantry – oil, garlic, eggs, pasta, soy sauce, ground pepper and any greens in your fridge.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
250 g (9 oz) cooked pasta (spaghetti)
1 egg
Dash of ground black pepper
1¼ tablespoons soy sauce
¼ green capsicum or green leaves (spring onion, lettuce, choi sim), cut into pieces

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a fry-pan or wok until hot, add garlic and stir fry until light golden.

Toss in pasta, stir fry for 30 seconds. Push the pasta to a side, crack the egg into the other side. Slightly break the egg yolk and mix with egg white and cook for 30 seconds and cover it with pasta for few seconds.

Stir the egg and pasta well for another 30 seconds.

Add a dash of ground black pepper, soy sauce and capsicum and stir well until the pasta is heats and cooked through for about 1- 1½ minutes. 

Preparation time: 5 minutes (if using left over pasta)                                                 Cooking time: < 5 minutes
Serve 1

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Healthy Oven Bake Fish

I bought a few fish from the market and decided to use the same recipe that I published weeks ago - 2 ingredients. If you are not a meat lover, use the same ingredients with different formula as below. The recipe turns out a good dish as well.

600 g (1 lb 5 oz) fish (mackerel, yellow tail fish or any fish fillet) 
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Clean and scale the fish and make 2 slashes in in the middle of the fish (if using whole fish). Season the fish with salt and turmeric powder and oil for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200⁰C.
Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil (to make it easy to clean). Bake the fish for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Enjoy your fish and happy cooking!

Note: In the original Asian cooking, we use deep fry method. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Garlic- How to peel garlic in few seconds.

One of the most important ingredients that I use in Asian cooking is garlic. I mean raw garlic. Garlic has its pungent flavour, spicy that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking. Besides, it is not just for culinary use but also extensively used in medicine.

Here, I am going to share with you my simple and quick technique to peel the garlic in just a few seconds. Firstly, pick one of the garlic cloves from the bulb. Put it on a chopping board, cut off the root end, place the flat side of the knife on top of the garlic clove holding the knife handle firmly and use another hand (hand palm) to smack the knife to crush the clove. The skin will easily break and makes it easier to peel.
Enjoy your cooking!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Vietnamese Cooking Class

How do you like your Pho? I love to have it with beef bone (I love the juice of the bone) and extra paddy mints.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Melbourne's Golden Bananas

After a few weeks of ripening, our home grown bananas turn golden and ready to eat. Backyard and organic bananas’ flavour is so unique and great for sweet and warn creamy dessert – bananas and sago in coconut milk which is prefect for winter.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Easy Asian Recipe - 2 Ingredients

2 Ingredients – Simple and Healthy Turmeric Chicken

This is my favourite childhood party dish. Nowadays, I don’t have to have a party to enjoy it and I’ve come up with a healthier option by cook it in the oven.  

You simply need two ingredients- 1kg of chicken and a packet of turmeric powder, I normally don’t count salt as an ingredient because we all have salt in our kitchen. Then you need to spend just a few minutes to marinate the chicken and put it aside at least 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge. Cook it in the oven at 200⁰C, go to enjoy a cup of coffee and it should be ready in 25-35 minutes.

1kg chicken, cut into pieces (chicken drumettes/chicken thigh with skin on)
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1½ teaspoons salt

Preparation time: < 5 minutes
Cooking time: <35 minutes
Serve 4-6

I hope you enjoy it. Happy Cooking!


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Thai Cooking Class, Melbourne

4 ingredients with 2 minutes preparation and the rest is have a cup of coffee while waiting for cooking

This is an  easy meal to cook with left over curry paste.
I marinated 400g chicken (thigh or breast fillet with skin on) with 1 tablespoon of Paneang curry paste, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and 1 tablespoon of palm sugar. Let it over night in the fridge. Cook it next day in the oven (200c) for about 25 minutes or until cooked through (you also can cover it in foil if you want it a bit juicy).

Serve it with rice or slice some for sandwich

Next coming up Thai cooking class this Saturday at 10am
More details of Thai cooking classes, please visit

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Basics Asian for Beginners Cooking Class

No secret in cooking

If you are not sure how to cook simple Asian meals with big flavour, there is a good news. The good news is there is no secret and what you need is to understand and have basic skills. Here are some tips:
1.       Understand the flavour of each fresh ingredients
2.       It is simple- use the right amount of sauce, minimum as possible
3.       Who is “marrying” who? (It means which ingredient is a good match with another)
4.       Who “jump” in to the wok first, second then on and on
5.       Right cooking utensils

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Thai Cooking Class in Melbourne

Paneang Beef Curry

Booking: Please email:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Vietnamese Cooking Class, Melbourne

We harvested some of our bananas and fresh herbs last weekend. We decided to use those fresh ingredients to make a beautiful and classic Vietnamese meal for Mother’s Day dinner called Nem Nuong or Vietnamese Grilled pork patties skewers. This meal serve with rice paper parcels, on top with  lettuce, vermicelli noodles (after steam), pork patties,  fresh herbs, fruits (sliced green banana and pineapple), beansprout (optional), dip with Nuoc Chem (sauce) with glutinous rice porridge and ground roasted peanuts. This is a mouth-watering dish.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Voucher- Cooking Class, Melbourne

Special Mother's Day Cooking Class Gift Voucher!
Buy a special gift voucher for your mum who loves cooking or book a whole class on 10 May or 11 May for 4 people with your mum's favorite food.
Please provide a code: MGV2014 for this special offer (offer end 11 May 2014)
Voucher valid for 6 months
Contact Jean:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

Asian Cooking Class, Melbourne

Butterfly Pea Flowers-Natural blue colour for using in Asian cooking

Monday, March 10, 2014

Asian Vegetarian Cooking, Melbourne

The class introduces a mixture of beautiful banquet begin from starter, curry, noodles and vegetables. You will learn to make a fresh red curry paste, red vegetarian curry, spring roll, vegetarian noodles or pad Thai and stir-fry mixed vegetables with fresh mushrooms in this cooking class.