Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Recipe: Raisin Cupcakes with Lychee

This recipe is adapted from ‘Baking with Tropical Fruits’ by Melinda Lim

Makes 12 Raisin Cupcakes with Lychee (Sugarless) – I replaced 200 g castor sugar with 3 tbsp honey

  • 1 can of lychee, drained and chopped, reserve the liquid
  • 220 g (7.5 oz) cake flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 200 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp honey OR 130 g (4.5 oz) castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20 tbsp reserved lychee water
  • 180 g raisins OR Sunmaid Natural California Raisins 6Sx30G
  • Drain the lychees and cut into small pieces, set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, set aside.
  • Line a 12-cupcake pan with cupcake liners, set aside.
  • Cream butter and honey (OR sugar) in a bowl by hand or  an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla extract and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Add in the eggs and beat on medium speed till it is incorporated.
  • Turn the speed to low and gradually add the sifted flour mixture.
  • Mix until no trace of flour is left.
  • Slowly add in 20 tbsp (or lesser) lychee water and mix.
  • Fold in the raisins and diced lychee.
  • Scoop into cupcake liners about three-quarters full.
  • Bake in oven at 180 C for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


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Recipe: Kimchi Jeon (Korean Kimchi Pancake)

This recipe is adapted from ‘The Food of Korea

Makes 1 10 cm wide round pancake

  • 1 cup (200 g) cake flour
  • 3/4 cup (185 ml) water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (OPTIONAL)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250 g kimchi
  • 150 g pea sprouts (you can also use carrot or green onions)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Combine the flour, egg (optional), salt, stiring it to make a smooth, thin batter.
  • Stir in the kimchi and pea sprouts, and set aside.
***Note:  In making Korean pancake, the batter should just cover and coat the ingredients. You have too much batter if the ingredients are swimming in the batter.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet
  • When moderately hot, add a ladleful of batter.
  • Add in more batter until it forms a thin 10 cm round pancake.
  • Cook for 2 minutes or till it turns golden brown underneath.
  • Flip over to the other side and cook till light brown.
  • Repeat until all the batter and mixture is used up.
  • Serve hot with the Soy and Vinegar Dip (Refer to the below recipe) or chilli sauce.

Recipe: Soy and Vinegar Dip

  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp fine chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp grounded black pepper
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Alternative Seoul Itinerary: Changgyeonggung Palace—The Most Beautiful Palace in Spring

I visited Changgyeonggung Palace during the early spring when beautiful spring flowers, such as plum blossoms, apricot flowers, and cherry blossoms, were blooming around every corner of the serene palace!

 Though it was a rainy day on April 5, 2017, but the weather didn’t put a damper on my mood to admire the grandeur and simplicity of Changgyeonggung Palace

Changgyeonggung Palace—one of the hidden gems in South Korea, is not a common tourist attraction in Seoul

But, in my opinion, the sublime beauty of Changgyeonggung Palace surpasses that of the popular palaces such as Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace

Changgyeonggung, situated nearby Changdeokgung, were collectively known as Donggwol, or the East Palace

Changgyeonggung was initially built by King Sejong (r.1418-1450) as a retiring residence for his father, King Taejong. It was served as a secondary palace where the King’s father, the queens, the princesses, concubines, and the attendants lived

The palace was extended by King Seongjong (r.1469-1494) in 1483 and 1484, to include residences for the widows of King Sejo. It was during this time that the royal residence was renamed Changgyeonggung Palace

King Jeongjo ordered the construction Jagyeongjeon, situated above the ground of Changgyeonggung for his mother, Lady Hyegyeong, in 1777

The beautiful rear garden of Jagyeongjeon offers a spectacular view of the surrounding area

The chilling murder of Crown Prince Sado took place in the courtyard of Changgyeonggung Palace’s Munjeongjeon

To prevent mentally-ill Prince Sado from inheriting the throne, he was driven into confinement in a rice chest by his father, King Yeongjo. He was eventually starved to death eight days later.
This infamous secret was disclosed by Lady Hyegyeong, the wife of Prince Sado, in her memoir.

Taesil is a placenta chamber of various sizes where the royal family kept the placenta and umbilical cords of their children. Below is the Taesil of King Seongjong

The Chundangji pond, comprises of one large pond and one small pond, was once the rice paddies and a mulberry field of the king and the queen

Changgyeonggung Palace was converted to a park with a zoo and a botanical garden during the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910-1945

The Korean government eradicated the zoo in 1983, and Changgyeonggung Palace’s old charm was restored after years of reconstruction

Closed on Mondays


185 Changgyeonggung-ro, Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Admission Fees (International visitors):

Adults (ages 19 and more): Individual 1,000 won / Group (over 10): 800 won
Children and Teenagers (ages 7-18): 500 won 
Children under age 6: Free 

Getting there: (From http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/FU/KTO_EN_15.jsp?cid=1910822)

  • Alight at Anguk Station (Subway Line 3)
  • Exit 3
  • Walk straight from the exit (east) along Yulgok-ro for about 1 km.
  • Turn left (north) onto Changgyeonggung-ro.
  • Walk about 300m to find the palace entrance on the left. 


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