Vanilla Cheesecake

2012 will the past in a few more days. So for those of you having a New Years Eve party, this rich and creamy cheesecake will make a delight addition. It is very simple to make and ingredients are easily available. Although it takes an hour to bake in the oven, it takes only a few minutes to whip up all the ingredients so there is minimum stress. The star to this cheesecake is really the vanilla. So use the best vanilla pod you have. I used the vanilla pod my friend brought back from his Madagascar trip so I was lucky. Remember to store your quality vanilla pod in an air tight container cause the last thing you need is a dried out vanilla pod.

Vanilla Cheesecake | The Trishaw
Little work for maximum pleasure. It melts in the mouth and tastes like vanilla heaven.

Vanilla Cheesecake

adapted from Foodbeam
serves 8 

Base Ingredients:

  • 150g digestive biscuits
  • 90g butter, melted
  • 20g dark muscovado sugar

Cheesecake Ingredients:

  • 300g cream cheese
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 150g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • seeds of 1 vanilla pod


  • Raspberries
  • Mint leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C . (Depending on the heat of your oven, never have it higher than 170°C)
  2. Crush the digestive biscuits and mix in the melted butter and dark muscovado sugar until well combine.
  3. Gently press the biscuits with the back of a spoon onto the lined 18cm cake tin.
  4. Refrigerate the base.
  5. Whisk the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, eggs and vanilla pod until consistent.
  6. Pour the mixture onto the biscuit base and bake in a bain-marie for an hour or until just set.
  7. Allow to cool and chill in the fridge for at least four hours.
  8. Run a hot spatula or knife round the edges of the cheesecake to remove from its tin.
  9. To serve, cut and decorate the cheesecake with raspberries and mint leaves.

Vanilla Cheesecake | The Trishaw

What you need to know for your India trip

Happy Christmas to everyone. It is Christmas eve and I will in India for the festive season so posts will be limited during this time. For those of you who might have too much time on hand during the holidays, and might want to plan for your next big trip to India, I have compiled some tips below. Hope this helps. I will post more about my India trip when I get back so in the meantime, have a great holiday. See you in the New Year.
What you need to know before travelling to India :

  • All visitors need to obtain a tourist visa to India, except for citizens of Nepal and Bhutan.

  • Remember to get vaccination before travelling.

  • October to March is the peak season to travel India due to good weather and many festivities.

  • December and January is extremely busy so book early to get the best prices and avoid disappointment.

Women travelling in a bus from Chennai. Picture from Guardian.

While in India :

  • Be aware of what you eat and drink. Avoid drinking tap water. Drink only bottled water and make sure the lid is sealed as some vendors would refill an empty bottle with tap water and sold as new.

  • Stay away from eating raw vegetables unless you are in an upmarket restaurant or hotel. Eat only cooked and peeled food.

  • Tipping is usually between 5-10% of your bill at sit down places but if service has been charged on the bill, no extra tip is needed.

  • Keep your valuables safe at all times; i.e: passport, credit card, money.

  • Carry some cash with you as many places do not take cards. Do not display 500 and 1000 rupee notes in public.

  • Pickpockets operate on buses, trains and densely populated area so beware.

  • Women travelling by train on off-peak routes should travel in the 2nd class where there are a few passengers.

  • Foreign women travellers should avoid crowded places as men will take advantage of the situation to grope. Also avoid being too friendly with strangers in a disco or bar as there is a high chance of being conned or worse.

  • Make a loud scene when you are in such situation or if you are worried about your safety as there tends to be someone who will come to your help.

  • Never let the taxi pull over before your final destination or pick up more passengers on its way.

  • Some police can be dubious so be careful. A women have her rights to demand for the presence of a female officer if stopped at night.

**Other related posts about India

Pumpkin Kuih, in memory of mum

It has been a year since mum passed and I think of her every day. Even though I get emotional each time, I believe she is in a better place now. At least she is not in pain anymore. It broke my heart seeing her suffer so the last months with her was hard but I treasured every single moment. I could tell she missed having me around and I am glad I was there for her when she needed me most. Fifteen years of the big C and she lived her life full of happiness and without complain. She was and will be the strongest and most genuine person I know. Every single one of her friends only had praises for her, a great friend with heart of gold. She also had great talents with crafts. I have memories of her helping me with a school craft project and we made a robot out of foil mini cupcake sleeves. She was creative and anything she touches becomes beautiful and special so I am proud her talents had influenced me a great deal.

To remember her, I would like to share one of the last things she taught me, her signature 'kuih'. Kuih is bite-size snack or dessert in Malaysia and the neighbouring countries of Singapore and Indonesia. They can be savoury or sweet. This was her modern take on the Nyonya ang ku kueh, a Hokkien word translated into red tortoise cake. It is a soft, chewy and sticky pastry made with glutinous rice flour wrapped around sweet filling. Mum's version used sweet potatoes to make the pastry orange in colour rather than the traditional way of using red colouring. This also calls for skilful hands and patience.

Pumpkin kuih filling | The Trishaw

The sweet filling

Pumpkin kuih | The Trishaw

Sweet filling wrapped with the dough made of glutinous rice flour. The outer layer has to be thin yet sturdy enough to hold the filling inside. The crease was marked with toothpick to mimic the pattern on a pumpkin.

Pumpkin kuih | The Trishaw

The kuih was topped with green peas

Pumpkin kuih | The TrishawSteaming of the kuih

Pumpkin kuih | The Trishaw

We made this for our neighbours who have been very kind to visit mum, to cook for her and spend time with her to distract her from the pain. They have been the greatest neighbours anyone could ask for. The least we could do as mum's children was to show our appreciation to them with mum's delicate signature kuih.

Indian tourist visa & vaccination

While we were planning for our trip to India for a friend's wedding, we were overwhelmed by the visa application mainly because the official website did not have very clear instructions. What should be a simple and quick process seemed daunting then. So I have simplified the process for those of you applying for Indian tourist visa from the UK who have resided here for at least 2 years.

Indian Visa Application
How to apply for Indian tourist visa


  • Visit the India Visa Online website

  • Click on ‘Online Visa Registration Application’

  • Fill in online application form, check and submit.

  • Print out form, sign and date.

  • Pay online.



  • Print Visa Checklist

  • Compile all relevant documents as per checklist and post to address below via Royal Mail Special Delivery:

India Visa Application Centre
1-3, Canalside,
Uxbridge Road
Hayes, Middlesex, UB4 0JN

  • Now wait for your passport with approved visa through the post.


  • It took us about a week to recieve our passport from the day it was mailed. Note: This was application for anyone who has resided in the UK for more than two years so it will be different otherwise.

  • For more information about applying Indian Visa, please click here. This is a very useful website.

Vaccination at a NHS clinic is free so make use of it. Make an appointment with a nurse at the clinic you are registered to, at least a month ahead of your travel date. Types of vaccination will depend on each individual. Some vaccination is a course so you will be needed to be back for a week or two after the first jab.
**Other related posts about India

Pollen Street Social

Pollen Street Social is the brainchild of Jason Atherton, the first British chef who completed a stage at the world famous Spanish restaurant, El Bulli. He was the executive chef at Maze of Gordon Ramsay Group before quitting to open this restaurant.
Table number & key to a treat | Pollen Street Social

Being so close to Oxford Circus station, one of the busiest in central London, Pollen Street is a contrast. It is a well located peaceful alley tucked behind all the bustles from shoppers, tourists and commuters. As we arrived, we were greeted at the reception and given a key as if checking in to a hotel. The key will open the letterbox filled with a surprise we could only find out after dinner, on our way out of the restaurant. That kept my curiosity on the high throughout the meal.

Chilled tomato soup, crab toast, grain mustard ice-cream | Pollen Street SocialChilled tomato soup, crab toast, grain mustard ice-cream

Scallop ceviche, cucumber & radish, yuzu soy dressing, apple | Pollen Street SocialScallop ceviche, cucumber & radish, yuzu soy dressing, apple

The crab and soup starter was a combination that came together well with sweetness of the crab, creaminess from the ice-cream, acidity of the tomato soup and crispy thin toast that added texture. The other starter of scallop ceviche was fresh and interesting. Then came roast cod, broad beans, peas, cockles & squid, parsley emulsion, creamed potatoes which we did not order. That was an additional main course, my birthday present from the kitchen. What a pleasant surprise. Apparently my friend told them it was my birthday.

West Country ox cheek with tongue & sirloin, carrots, caper & raisin purée, horseradish | Pollen Street Social

West Country ox cheek with tongue & sirloin, carrots, caper & raisin purée

Roasted halibut, catalan paella, sprouting broccoli, pork ham fat | Pollen Street SocialRoasted halibut, sprouting broccoli, pork-ham fat and Catalan paella

The roasted halibut and broccoli was well cooked and the pot of paella that came with the fish was big portion but sublime. We would have finished it but decided not to, because we were saving space for dessert. I recommend that you have the dessert at the dessert bar as you will be sat on the high chair. It was a lot of fun watching the chef at work and chatting to him while he prepares our dessert. Every single element of the ingredients were explained to us.

Sangria pre-dessert | Pollen Street SocialWho woud have thought Sangria could be made into dessert.

Tiramisu | Pollen Street SocialDeconstructed tiramisu was the winner of all our tasting of desserts of the night.

Ham, cheese and herbs dessert | Pollen Street SocialHam, cheese and herbs sounded like a simple starter but it wasn't. I was the a dessert with compressed watermelon, finely sliced to look like ham and the frozen tarragon added a unique touch to the already exciting dessert.

PBJ Parfait, cherry jam, creamed rice puffs | Pollen Street Social PBJ Parfait, cherry jam, creamed rice puffs

 | Pollen Street Social IMG_3925These are not elegant doggy bags but a beautiful surprise from the restaurant; the surprise promised as we enter and an additional gift of a birthday cake.

Breakfast | Pollen Street Social The surprise was a paper bag filled with little financiers and tea bags for breakfast the next day, with a thank you note. It was a lovely touch. The birthday chocolate cake was moist and indulgent, decorated with silver leaf. Now this is definitely a restaurant that knows how to make their customers happy and make sure we return. The wonderful meal and surprises made the night wonderful and memorable.

Birthday Cake | Pollen Street Social

Jason Atherton should be very proud of himself for doing so well, a lot better than Maze I would say.

A restaurant that pays attention to details with fun and inventive concept and high level of cooking techniques.

Nothing negative except it being pricey but for such a wonderful experience, it was expected.
Will I return?

Definitely yes. Do remember to tell them if you are there to celebrate an anniversary or something special. You will be surprised.

Pollen Street Social

8 Pollen Street
London W1S 1NQ
Tel: +44 (0)207 290 7600

Closest station: Oxford Circus (central)

Pollen Street Social on Urbanspoon

Bigos (Hunter's Stew)

M is always raving about Bigos and he has it every Christmas morning. Since we will be up in the sky on Christmas eve, making our way to Mumbai for a friend's wedding, we will have to have plane food for Christmas. So I volunteered to make Bigos for my darling dearest as an early Polish style Christmas celebration. The sound of cooking Bigos for the first time is daunting. This is one of the most popular food in Poland, also M’s favourite food of all time. What is more intimidating is that he absolutely loves the one his grandmother makes. He thinks it is the best in the world, like many of us think that our nan is the best cook in the entire universe. So how can a Malaysian girl who only had Bigos twice in her lifetime make 'The Best Bigos' ? Well, I took up this challenge and used my instincts to make an amazing Bigos M will also love after his nan and mum’s version. I don’t mind coming third when it comes to Bigos as long as I am his favourite woman under the age of fifty.

Bigos | TheTrishaw

For those of you who does not know what Bigos is, it is known as Hunter’s Stew. I am not sure why it is called the Hunter’s Stew. I can't seem to be able to find information of how Bigos came about, other than it was introduced to Poland by a Lithuanian Duke who became the King of Poland in 1385. It was said that he served it to his hunting-party guests.

My rationalisation is that during the stone age, men were hunters and women stayed home to cook. So Polish men came home to their wives and children with lots of animals from their successful hunt. The families were blessed with overwhelming meat supply, the Polish women created this stew that uses up these meat from the hunt and spices they had nearby. There is a mixture of all types of meat and is cooked in a big pot for many hours until the meat fall off its bones. Since it was a big pot of Bigos, there tend to be leftovers and the pot will be left outside in the natural freezer to be reheated the next day. The stew tastes better the more they are cooked so the fifth day of chilling and reheating the stew makes it burst with big hearty meaty flavour. Again, this is just my reasoning and I shall share with you the exact facts about Bigos once I find out from a trust-able source. For now, I hope my made up story will keep you entertained.

Bigos | TheTrishaw

This stew is perfect for the cold winter; warm and hearty, piping hot and lots of meat to provide energy to keep warm in the winter. With Polish winter time being arctic cold, no wonder this is one of their favourites.


adapted from Simply Recipe
makes 8 servings


  • 250g bacon
  • 400g beef
  • 1.2 kg pork shoulder
  • 1 ham hock
  • 400g kielbasa or other smoked sausage or kabanos
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 head white cabbage (regular, not savoy or red), shredded
  • 700g  sauerkraut (drained)
  • 40g dried porcini or other wild mushrooms
  • 300g mixed fresh mushrooms
  • 250g pitted prunes, sliced in half (optional)
  • 1 large carrot, julienne (optional)

  • 1 tbsp juniper berries
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp dried marjoram
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bottle of pilsner or lager beer (500ml)
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
  • 10g dark chocolate (I used 90%)
  • salt to taste


1. Submerge the dried porcini mushrooms in hot water until soft.
2. Cut the pork shoulder into 2 inch chunks and sausages diagonally.
3. Clean the mushrooms and make sure all dirt has been removed and cut into large pieces.
4. Sauté onion until translucent, add the cabbage, carrot and garlic to the pot, stirring until cabbage is soft and wilted. Set aside.
5. Heat a separate pot and fry the bacon to render the fat. Brown the pork shoulders, ham hock, beef and sausage over medium to high heat. Do not crowd the pot and work in batches if needed. Set the browned meat aside.
6. Using the same pot, deglaze pot with a splash of beer and cook the mushrooms without additional oil until the mushroom juice is released. Season with a little salt. When the liquid is almost completely evaporated, add the browned meat, cabbage and onion into the pot.
7. Add the beer and tomato paste into the pot of ingredients, with the bay leaf, roughly crushed juniper berries and black peppercorn. Stir well to combine. Pour some of the water used to hydrate the dried porcini into the pot.
8. As Bigos is a dry stew, don’t worry if the liquid does not cover all the ingredients. The ingredients will give off some liquid when they are cooked. Bring everything to simmer and let it cook for about 3 hours (or at least 6 hours in the slow cooker), with lid on or until the meat falls of the bone. Cut the ham hock into chunks and place back into the pot. Discard bone and fat.
9. Now add in the prunes and dark chocolate and let cook until tender for at least 30 minutes. Season with salt and taste.
10. Serve with rye bread or potatoes.


  • Bigos tastes better the longer you cook them. Also, it improves with age so the leftovers are often tastes better than it was on the first day.
  • Bigos is also made differently in every household.

Bigos | TheTrishaw

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Lemon glazed madeleine & Story of Madeleine de Commercy

My new toy just came through the post and I am happy already. How easily satisfied! It is the De Buyer Moul'Flex Mini-Madeleine Baking Mould. I have been meaning to buy a mini madeleine mould for as long I could remember and this one seem perfect. It was packaged in a cutout box so the madeleine mould makes the feature. The pretty brown box packaging has pink text and the tray was accompanied with a recipe booklet of French cakes.

Lemon-Glazed Madeleine | The Trishaw

The last I made madeleine was many years ago when my ex-flatmate had madeleine trays. How convenient! Finally, I have my own and without wasting any time, I made madeleines of course. Everything seems perfect until my madeleines came out of the oven. The shell biscuits popped out of the mould really well, with distinctive form but it lacked the golden colour I was hoping for. It is a good mould for any modern baker as it is dish washer friendly, which is always helpful. But now that I have seen the result, I have to say I prefer the metal tray more as it has better distribution of heat. Golden biscuits are always better than pale yellow.

Madeleine mould

The story of Madeleine de Commercy

Madeleine is a traditional small scallop-shaped cake from Commercy, a town north of the Lorraine region in France. There are a few stories or legends about the origins of madeleines. The most commonly known story is of Stanisław Leszczyński, a Polish King who was seeking refuge in Commercy, Lorraine during the mid-18th Century. A young female servant had to prepare some desserts for him but only knew how to make the shell-shaped cookies she made at home during holidays. Stanisław was delighted when presented with these sweet, golden shell-shaped cakes and named it Madeleine de Commercy, after the young maid. He liked them so much that he frequently sends them to his daughter Marie in Versailles, who was married to Louis XV (1710-1774). It became popular amongst the nobility.

It is now a classic of French tea time snack, often dipped into a cup of coffee or tea.

Madeleine of Proust

It was Marcel Proust (1871 – 1922), the French author who immortalised the madeleine in his novel Swann's Way, in a beautiful poetic manner.



adapted from David Lebovitz
makes about 64 mini madeleines


  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 130g golden caster sugar
  • 170g all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 130g unsalted butter, melted, then cooled to room temperature

Lemon glaze:

  • 150g powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs of lemon juice
  • 1 tbs water


  1. Brush the mould with melted butter and dust with flour then put it in the fridge.
  2. Whip the eggs and sugar until it becomes thicker and frothy.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture and fold.
  4. Add the vanilla extract into the cooled melted butter.
  5. Slowly dribble the butter into the batter, a spoonful at a time. Fold simultaneously until butter is just incorporated.
  6. Cover the bowl with a cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (maximum of 12 hours).
  7. Preheat the oven to 220C.
  8. Bake for about 8 minutes.
  9. Remove madeleines from mould onto cooling rack.
  10. Once cool enough to handle, dip each madeleine into glaze and make sure both sides are coated.
  11. Scrape off excess and place on cooling rack until set.

  • Mini madeleines make very good edible gifts.

Crepe au citron (Lemon crepe) & wonders of milk

There has been an ink disaster recently. My duvet cover has been stained with a big blue patch from ink leakage. *sigh* Don’t ask me how ink got anywhere near my bed. It is a long story. What I learnt from this incident is to soak the fabric in milk for about three hours and hand scrub the stain. It works! Some of the lighter stains disappeared and some got lighter so I am about to repeat the process until my duvet cover looks like new. It seems milk not only makes wonders to a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, it removes ink stain as well!! Handy.

After a long session of hand scrubbing those evil blue stains, I had about half a litre of milk left so instead of making more frothed milk for my favourite hot chocolate, some crepe will make me happy.

Crepe au citron

adapted from Nigel Slater's perfect crepe


  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g unslated butter & more for cooking
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 free range egg
  • 220ml whole milk
  • 100ml water

  • basic crepe
  • lemon
  • powdered sugar / castor sugar (for some sugary crunch)


1.  Melt the butter and let cool slightly.
2.  Break the eggs into the bowl of flour and mix.
3.  Whisk in the salt, milk and water until lump free.
4.  Stir in melted butter at the end.
5.  Heat a crepe pan with some butter and wipe it off with a kitchen towel.
6.  Ladle about 3 tablespoon of batter onto pan and quickly swirl around the pan to form a thin layer.
7.  Cook for about 1 minute one side until golden, flip and cook for 30 seconds.
8.  Repeat for the rest of the batter.
9.  Squeeze some lemon and dust a generous amount of powdered sugar / sprinkle with sugar on top.
10.  Garnish with a slice of candied lemon.


  • For a sweet crepe, add a tablespoon of sugar to the batter.
  • The basic crepe can be served sweet or savoury, to your liking.

Trojka restaurant with russian doll mural

This was a completely random find. We were in the area for Lanka’s delightful green tea gateau for our girly afternoon tea. As we were walking towards the station on our way home, we saw what looks like an interesting restaurant with a Russian doll mural. So we had a peek inside and a browsed through the menu. It took us about 30 seconds to decide that we were having early dinner after our tea and cakes. Odd girls, I know but it really was hard to say no to what will be our first Russian experience.

We did not order a lot of food but enough to make me come back with an Eastern European to conclude its authenticity. We started off with some caviar and blinis which were soft and nutty, then the hot and earthy beetroot soup.

To say that I used to hate beetroot is too harsh. It was more like if mum forced me to eat some and that it was good for me, I would take a few bites but never more. So ordering Borschtch, a beetroot soup served with smetana (sour cream) was adventurous. Surprisingly, I liked it and would ask for more if mum came to me with this soup. This soup has transformed my views on the once upon a time, odd tasting red root vegetable. Either that or my palate has changed through time.

Coulibiak | TrojkaThe Russian version of salmon pie named Coulibiak was sandwiched with mushrooms, spinach and rice served with smetana and fresh tomato sauce. The pastry was crisp with lots of ingredients inside. It would have tasted divine with more seasoning. Nevertheless, we still enjoyed it. The hunter's stew (Bigos) of smoked sausage, sauerkraut and chicken served with mash was enough to keep the Polish diner occupied. Bigos is his favourite dish in the world. Although this was not the ones his grandma makes, it was enough to make him reminisce of home. 

We did not have desserts cause we had some before dinner. And we were not about to leave an Eastern European restaurant without vodka. It can never be too early for Vodka shots so we tried a few. Had Zubrowka for the first time, and lets say that was not the last.


No-fuss Eastern European home cooking and cheap.

They close pretty early (probably only on weekdays), although written on their website 'open till late'.
Will I return?

I will and have happily returned for some comfort food.


101 Regents Park Road
Primrose Hill, London W8 4RT
Tel: +44 (0)207 483 3765

Closest station: Chalk Farm

Trojka on Urbanspoon

Christmas Gift Ideas

It is December again. Christmas lights are up, the air is crisp and cold, the grass starts to frost and snow will be dusting across London real soon. This means it is time for Christmas shopping! I don't know about you, but I always find it hard to buy the perfect gift. It makes it harder when it is for someone we care and love. So the best is always the most thoughtful. So know who you are buying for and what they want or like. All I can do here is to suggest a few ideas and hopefully spark your inspiration.

Felt notebookTweed gloves

L: Felt A6 notebook from Habitat £7 ~ for old fashion note taking
R: Handmade wool tweed gloves by East Workshop £11 ~ to keep hands warm in the winter

anglepoise booklightScratch Map

L: Anglepoise booklight from Rigby & Mac £14
R: Scratch off world map from Luckies £18 ~ suitable for travellers to scratch off places they have been to


L: Designer energy lightbulb by Plumen £20 ~ small details for the home goes a long way
R: Box of hand packed food and drinks from Flavorbox £20 ~ for any foodie, a surprise box of selected food goodies is always exciting


L: Walnut owl from Howkapow £25 ~ for any owl figurine collector
R: Edge Clock from Culture Label £38 ~ for home

Dessert vouchersalt and pepper shaker

L: Dessert bar voucher for two from William Curley £40 ~ for the dessert lovers
R: Salt and pepper set by Georg Jensen £49 ~ fun shaker for the dining table

puzzlesalted caramel

L: Bricks from Culture Label £84 ~ for any puzzle lover
R: Salted caramel class from William Curley £85

red beltipad leather case

L: Red leather belt by Oliver Spencer £95
R: Hand-stitched leather Macbook Pro case by 1point61 £96

cuff linksuniform wares watch

L: Engraved silver plated cuff links by Lanvin £110
R: 152 series watch from Uniform Wares £220

box necklacesalome ring

L: Golden Nicholas Box necklace with personalised note by Hannah Livingston £275
R: Salome stud ring by Katie Rowland £295

monica vinader earringslego

L: Green quartz and gold nugget cocktail earrings by Monica Vinader £330
R: Star Wars Super Star Destroyer from Lego £350

Fujifilm XE1

L: Fujifilm X-E1 mirrorless digital camera with 35mm lens kit from Camera in the Post £959