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Archive for the ‘cinnamon’ Category

I recently baked another cake called a “coffee cake” which also had no coffee. The name refers to cakes that are best when accompanied by a cup of steaming, aromatic coffee (as described here).

Coffee cake photos and recipes here and also on this site, which explains that coffee cakes are usually made in the same manner as muffins: wet ingredients + dry ingredients with minimal mixing. This method is also used in the Blueberry Muffin and Applesauce Nut Bread recipes which I posted earlier.

A search on the internet seems to point to coffee cakes as a particularly American type of cake, which is consistent with the other very American recipes in my grandmother’s notebook.

Tea lovers like me should perhaps be baking tea cakes (which also do not contain any tea) instead :)?

Raisin Apple Coffee Cake

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This is one of the only pie recipes here with instructions for making the pie shell. It’s basically a shortcrust pastry using vegetable shortening (such as Crisco, see my comments here.)

Giveaway sign of an American recipe: the word ‘Jell-O’. In Singapore, we’ve always followed the British usage – ‘jelly’.

Also, the inclusion of vanilla ice cream. From the sound of it, one is expected to have ready-made commercial ice cream available. I’m amazed to read on this page about the history of ice cream that commercial ice cream production began as early as 1851, in Baltimore, USA. (See also here.) For commercial ice cream to be sold in the tropics, refrigeration was all important, and of course this depended on the generation of electricity. Cold Storage supermarket got its name in the days when refrigerated foodstuffs were something special. As company website says,

Established in 1903, Cold Storage was the child of the Industrial Revolution and Pax Britannica, when Singapore was the “Clapham Junction of the Eastern Seas”. Together with electricity and refrigeration, it allowed European agents of change – the colonial civil servants, merchants, miners, planters, traders – to acclimatise to living in the tropics. It can thus be said that if there were no Cold Storage the modern history of Singapore would probably be quite different.

As early as the 1920s, Cold Storage in Singapore was already mass producing ice cream for sale, not just at its own retail outlets, but also at local provision stores and cafes. You can see from the following ads (published in the Malaya Tribune newspaper in from 1925 to 1929) the names of places where Cold Storage ice cream was available, as well as the fact that there were many varieties including Eskimo Pie (1925), Neapolitan (1929), and vanilla, strawberry, lemon, coffee, tutti-frutti, pineapple, banana, maple nut, raspberry, cherry nut, chocolate and fruit salad flavours (1929)!!

Cold Storage ice cream 1925

Cold Storage ice cream 1925 B

Cold Storage ice cream 1929

No wonder grandma always had a penchant for cassata ice-cream, layers of different flavoured ice-cream a bit like Neapolitan. As a child in the 1970s, I remember she would always order cassata for dessert (and I hated the bits of fruit inside the layers :P — only peach melba no nuts no cream for me, thank you).

I’m sure grandmother has a recipe for ice cream somewhere in her notebook…. and here it is :).

Date Nut Parfait A
Date Nut Parfait B

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Yet another one in the series of pie recipes.

[22/9/07 update: Grandmother’s recipe for shortcrust pastry for the pie crust here.]
[19/12/07 update: another shortcrust pastry recipe from grandma here.]

Pear Almond Pie

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This was an interesting recipe to try and figure out because of all the unfamiliar names, with non-standard phonetics. They sounded like Cantonese, so I went around asking Cantonese speakers to get some answers. Once I got the English names, it was easy to check up the Chinese characters and double check the pronunciation in Cantonese and Mandarin, thanks to CantoDict.

“Loa may” = 鹵味 = lou5 mei6 [Cantonese] / lu3 wei4 [Mandarin]
My Ee Poh Peggy tells me that this basically refers to a braised dish, and this style of cooking used to be very popular in the past – there were many types of “loa may” dishes. When I visited Taiwan, I came across a lot of
鹵味 lu3 wei4 dishes, especially 鹵肉販 lu3 rou4 fan4, which is bits of soya-sauce-braised pork fat spooned over your bowl of white rice as an alternative to plain white rice to eat with various small dishes. It’s harder to find lard cubes in health-conscious Singapore these days, as compared to the 1960s.

“Yin sye mai” = = jyun4 seoi1 mai5 [Cantonese] / yuan2 sui1 mi3[Mandarin] = coriander seed

“Park-kork” = 八角 = baat3 gok3 [Cantonese] / ba1 jiao3 [Mandarin] = star anise

“Kwai phay” = 桂皮 = gwai3 pei4 [Cantonese] /gui4 pi2 [Mandarin] = cinnamon
This was the hard one,
not everyone knew it and the ‘phay’ [skin] part of the phrase made us guess all sorts of other things, such as lemon peel, which didn’t sound right in the context of this recipe.

Chicken Loa May A

Chicken Loa May B

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