The Cookie by Yeesum Lo

What they tell you about production life is that you will have no life outside of it. I can now attest that it is 100% true. So I am not kidding when I say that this cookie recipe was what I held on to for sake of my sanity to preserve a shred of that "normal life" throughout a brilliant little production called The Great Australian Spelling Bee :) I promise you, it is the most perfect chocolate chip cookie in the world (at least the world as I've known it)


Dark Chocolate Chunk & Sea Salt Cookies

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 's Salted Choc Chunk Cookies which in turn was from Ashley Rodriguez’s Not Without Salt (site) and Date Night In (book)

Yield: Approximately 18 to 24 cookies (for a production crew I make the below recipe 4 times, in 2 batches to yield approximately 100 cookies)

113 grams salted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons castor sugar
3/4 cup plus 4 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
250g dark chocolate, chopped roughly
Flaky Maldon sea salt, to finish

Heat oven to 360°F or 175°C Fan-forced and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, beating until incorporated, and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in salt fine sea or table salt and baking soda until combined, then the flour on a low speed until just mixed. The dough will look crumbly at this point. With a spatula, fold/stir in the chocolate chunks.

Scoop cookies into 1 1/2 tablespoon mounds, spacing them apart on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each with a few flakes of sea salt. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, until golden on the outside but still very gooey and soft inside. Out of the oven, let rest on baking sheet out of the for 5 minutes before transferring a cooling rack.

Eat them all, but it's better to actually share them. 

Gooey Sunday Morning Goodness. (or, Cinnamon & Dark Chocolate Rolls) by Yeesum Lo

This is a Joy The Baker recipe that I've modified, which is why after emailing a number of people the Joy The Baker link (Link Here) accompanied by a long explanation regarding what I changed, I decided just to write it out here :)

Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Rolls with Brown Butter Glaze

Original Recipe by Joy The Baker  with multiple modifications by me
It took me 75 minutes to do this, and yielded 10 rolls

For the Dough
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons castor sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk

For the Filling
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
Large pinch of Maldon Sea Salt Flakes or equivalent
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

For the Glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted and browned
A splash of milk


In a small saucepan combine milk, butter, and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted completely. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool from hot to just warm.

Place sweet milk and butter mixture in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast over the liquid. Stir to incorporate. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes to allow to yeast to activate, foam, and froth.
Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and the egg yolk to the milk and yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon or hand beaters with the dough hook attachment (or I used the dough hook on the KitchenAid Stand Mixer) and stir or beat until incorporated. Add more flour, a few tablespoons at a time if the dough feels to wet. Bring the dough together into a ball and knead a few turns with your hands.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a roughly 9 x 12-inch rectangle (I rolled mine bigger so it was thinner and yielded more rolls)

Spread with about 4 tablespoons of butter. In a small bowl stir together sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and salt. Generously sprinkle over the melted butter. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Roll starting at the longer edge into a tight coil.

Slice into 6 pieces. (I did 10)

Use remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8x8-inch baking pan. Place rolls in the pan leaving about 1/2 inch of room between them. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

While the rolls rise, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove plastic wrap and bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown, puffed, and bubbling.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool just slightly.

In a small bowl whisk together glaze ingredients. Drizzle over warm rolls and enjoy!!

Soy Milk Pannacotta by Yeesum Lo


It started with picking a dessert after a pretty outstanding meal at Tokonoma Sydney  - and from the list of three options was this entry - soy milk pannacotta, tropical fruits, black sesame. My friend and I had picked it on a whim along with something else that was completely unmemorable but from the first bite of the pannacotta dish, I was intrigued. It came in a bowl (pannacotta set on the bottom half of the dish), topped with a line of black sesame powder, various diced tropical fruits (mango etc.) and then what appeared to be a citrusy granita. In short, a perfect balance of flavours and textures. What impressed me the most was the sheer lightness of the dish despite it's many varied components, I attributed it to the soy milk pannacotta which had a clarity and mildness unlike any pannacotta I had tried. I had to figure out how to eat this more often. 

With many seasons of MasterChef watching under my belt I felt like I had the basic skills and mental preparation for tackling a pannacotta - it was the highlight of many an episode afterall (much like it's much less sophisticated cousin - the molten chocolate cake) known for it's consistency in providing on-screen "drama" - Will the contestant know how to use gelatine properly? Will it set in time? Will it turn onto the plate? Will it have the right texture? Will there be lumps?

It turns out I did have to use my own "television" knowledge because there seems to be nothing online that will properly teach you how to make a soy milk pannacotta, especially in a situation where the only gelatine you have is in sheet-form (thanks Simon Johnson). So I winged it. And it turned out really, really well.

Without further ado - 


Basic Soy Milk Pannacotta 

1 1/4 cup Soy Milk (For me, there is nothing better than Bonsoy)
3/4 cup Cream (Your Pannacotta will find it hard to set if you have no proper fat in it)
2 sheets (or 10g) of Titanium Gelatine
1 small handful of icing sugar

Bloom your gelatine. I cut my 2 sheets of gelatine up so they would fit in a bowl and filled set bowl with cold water. Took about 5 minutes for the gelatine to soften.

Spray your ramekins and then wipe off excess grease. The point is to make them slightly slippery to help you get the pannacotta out.

Heat your soy milk and cream until it gets just slightly above room temperature - remember you are not boiling it or even simmering it. You should be able to keep your finger in it at all points. 

When gelatine is soft (like kelp!), pull it out and wring it out. Add to heated liquid. Mix till fully dissolved. Add icing sugar to taste. I just used icing sugar because I wanted to make sure it was going to dissolve well. 

Pour mixture (should be silky smooth) into ramekins. Chill overnight.

When you are ready to plate, set the ramekins on a warm water bath for about 30 seconds. Take it out, put a plate on top of the ramekin and flip both. Hold your breath and tap on the ramekin. Your pannacotta should slide out on it's own accord, and it should be amazingly wobbly :)

Dress with fruit, I only had some raspberries and mint at home which is what I used. Enjoy. 


Dumpling Time by Yeesum Lo


I grew up on dumplings. Not the frozen, quick cook kind (those would come in college), not even the kind that came in a little steaming basket, but this kind, the kind only a mother can make. Everyone knows - whichever version of dumplings your mum made you is forevermore the correct version of dumplings. You get the gist. 

These are the dumplings I ask for every time my mum comes to visit. The garlic chives can be substituted with bok choi, watercress, or even kale if it so tickles you (I might sauté it first though)

Mum's Dumplings
2 bunches garlic chives (or any green, tender leafy vegetable)
500 grams lean pork mince
3 tbs Chinese Cooking Wine
1 tbs Soy Sauce
1 tps Chicken Powder
Liberal pinch - Salt & Sugar
1 egg
1 tbs Corn Flour
1 pack 40 pcs Shanghainese Dumpling Wrappers (Remember they need to be white not yellow and it will be in the refrigerated section of a good Asian food store - or Harris Farms apparently has them too! )

To make the dumpling filling:

Season the pork mince with the wine, soy sauce, chicken powder, salt and sugar, let stand for a while - maybe 10-15 mins. Finely chop the garlic chives, squeeze all the moisture out of it and mix it in. (Note: If you're using Bok Choi, make sure it's cooked, then chopped and squeezed). Now add the corn flour, and lightly beaten egg. Mix well. 

To make the dumplings

Do what my mum does and basically divvy up your filling on a plate into quarters and halve that etc. until you can eyeball how big of a spoonful you can allot to each dumpling (it will be around 1.5 teaspoons) (Pro tip: don't take all the wrappers out in one go as they tend to dry out)

0. Find a small sauce dish, put some water in it (this is your glue)
1. Place the filling on the middle on the wrapper
2. Fold the bottom up to the top, covering the filing
3. But take care to leave a small gap (such that the bottom edge is folded up but does not reach the top edge)
4. Now, using your finger, dip some water to wet the underside of corner A.
5. In one smooth motion, bring corner A on top of corner B (they'll meet in the middle) and stick them together. Edge C should now be standing up perpendicular to the bottom of the dumpling and curved. 

To cook the dumplings:
You can boil them (just boil until they float, cut open, make sure the pork's cooked.. yada yada yada). Or, you can pan fry them. (You can also put them into large ziplock bags and freeze them - if you freeze them, you can still follow the below pan frying instructions without defrosting them. Just put them in the pan frozen)

To panfry: heat a flat pan, spray well with oil. Heat. Add dumplings, line them up so they're sitting up - flat bottom down. Cook on medium high for about 3-5 mins. Now have your pan lid ready, and pour in a cup of water. It will sizzle. Place the lid on it and cook at medium low for 5-10 mins (5ish if they're fresh, 9-10 if they're frozen). If the water runs out, add in more bit by bit. When time is up, open the lid and let the water cook out, then wait another 3 mins or so for the bottom to brown and crisp 

Serve with whatever dipping sauce you like. I use Chinese vinegar and worcestershire sauce but I'm weird. :D  

Converting the Cauliflower Hater (Me) by Yeesum Lo

I hate cauliflower. Or I used to. I think it's because about five years ago, I made a huge batch of cauliflower mash & bolognese  for a weekday freezer meal, and then took 6 months to finish the lot. But even before that, I just never quite gave it a place on the vegetable totem pole. Everything has changed with this recipe. 

This recipe was born out of convenience. I bought two heads of cauliflower because they were on sale, and decided I wanted to try to roast them. I couldn't find anything that was simple and easy, so I made up my own (see below). This is a dish for the cauliflower hater, comfort food at it's finest, it is a three ingredient-buttery-crunchy-miracle of a vegetable dish. I have been so enamored with this that I went out and bought two more heads of cauliflower today just to make it again. 

Roasted Cauliflower with Panko Breadcrumbs

One head of Cauliflower (Large)
Panko Bread Crumbs
EVOO / Garlic EVOO
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 200C. Break down the Cauliflower into slightly smaller than bite-size chunks. Definitely keep all the little bits that fall off too because those will crunch up really well in the oven. Throw it into 1-2 large ziplock / freezer bag(s). Give each bag 3-4 good glugs of EVOO, large pinch of sea salt flakes, good grind of pepper. Shake for your life. Open it and add in the panko crumbs - gauge with your eyes and good conscience. Shake again.

Pour it out onto a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Spread into one even layer - I then give it one small drizzle of garlic EVOO.

Bake for 30 mins or until golden brown. Eat it all.