Author Archives: Chii

Chocolate Bouchée

It was a couple of weeks ago that I found the recipe for this Chocolate Bouchée on Youtube through a channel named “HidaMari Cooking“. Bouchée is a pastry shell that is usually filled with a creamy mixture. In French, “bouchée” in “une bouchée de” stands for “a mouthful of”. And so, it was used to name the pastries for their savoury and mouthwatering taste.

Because of lacking ingredients, the recipes and instructions that I wrote below would be slightly different from the original. Please refer to the video here for original instruction.


  1. Bouchée
    • 2 egg white
    • 50g sugar
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 40g cake flour
    • 30g almond flour
  2. Chocolate filling
    • 80g chocolate (merci cholate)
  3. Topping
    • Dark chocolate

Let’s bake!

Step 1: Whisk the egg white until it forms a soft peak. Gradually add 50g sugar while whisking at medium-high speed. (Please use a hand mixer to make the work easier!)

Step 2: Add the egg yolk and continue to whisk until the mixture blended well together.

Step 3: Shift in cake flour and almond flour. Fold them well together with a spatula.

Step 4: Transfer all the dough into a pipe. Pipe the Bouchée mixture little by little on a baking tray and shape them like this (4.5cm diameter):

Illustration cut from the original video by HidaMari

Step 5: Bake in (pre-heated) oven at 170*C/ 340*F for 8-12 minutes.

Step 6: To make the Chocolate filling, I melt 80g of assorted merci chocolate using hot water. When the Bouchée is ready, I paste the right amount on one side of the pastries. For the drizzling, I melt about 10g of dark chocolate and transfer them into a pipe. Next, I cut only a little at the tip of the pipe then drizzle the chocolate on the top half of the Bouchée.

Don’t forget to wait for the Bouchée to cool down before putting the 2 halves together!

Cooling down~~

Have fun baking!

The post Chocolate Bouchée appeared first on Chii’s Sweet Home.

I made the first birthday cake ever!

It was a blueberry cake!

It was my roommate’s birthday yesterday and I decided to surprise her with a huge birthday cake!

It was really hard for me because I had to hide it from her for 2 days while we shared the same kitchen. When I asked her if she had any idea about the cake, she said it was until the afternoon of her birthday that she somehow guessed what I was hiding in the fridge (lol). Although it was my first time making such a big cake, I did struggle a bit but the process was really enjoyable. The recipe that I used to make the cake was from “Cooking tree” – a baking channel that I really like and usually learn from. For the detailed recipe and baking instructions, please refer to their video here.

Now, more cake pictures! ^^

I hope you feel inspired by these pictures and would try making a birthday cake for your loved one someday!

Happy birthday! 😛

The post I made the first birthday cake ever! appeared first on Chii’s Sweet Home.

Peer Review 3

For this last peer review of PUB201, I would like to discuss Gracie’s website, “Sincerely, Gracie“. First of all, from the web title, I assumed her blog would be where she shares her journals and stories, as it gives off a friendly and warm vibe. With her tagline as “My Photos & My Thoughts”, it proves that my guess was close. From what she wrote on the front page, it appears that she is a writer and photographer from Vancouver, BC.

Gracie’s home page. Source:

The Content

There are five main pages featured on her home page menu: Amusing, Photo Diary, Digital Portfolio, PUB 201, and Contact. I find the Musings page quite interesting. It is not a bad idea to have a separate page for the comment section since the audience may share their thoughts on more general inquiries than the fixed topics within her content. So far, all of her content is in the form of images, and they are all gathered in the Digital portfolio section.

The Design and Layout

The website’s theme is a bit plain with the two main colours of blue and mostly white. So far, this choice of design and layout has yet to convincingly represent her branding as a writer and photographer. The layout leaves too much white space on her pages. I really like that she made good use of her photographs. However, more description is needed to connect with the audience, and I would absolutely love to read more about her story.


As for Gracie’s home page, I think that she should write more about her brand’s story, how she found her passion for photography, and maybe talk a little about her plan to develop the website. Throughout the course, Gracie shared that her brand’s mission is “To convey inspiring stories, experiences, and messages through photographs”. However, with a lack of information on her brand’s backstory, this mission may not be fully conveyed to the audience. It would be better for her brand if she included the statement at the end of her about section. Also, instead of having a separate page for contact information, she could create a sidebar widget that includes links to her social media. This not only gives the audience a broader view of her social platforms but also acts as a filler for white spaces on her site.

A website with a unique layout and colour palette is very important to make your brand stand out and reach more viewers. What Gracie could do to improve her visual presentation is reflect on her brand to find a suitable yet outstanding theme and try out different colour combinations that catch people’s eyes. One more thing I would like to suggest to improve her portfolio is that she can sort her work into different sections. From what I see, her portfolio now looks like a photo dumpster with no specifications. I think maybe adding titles and descriptions to each group of images would be a good way to communicate with the audience.


Overall, I like the branding idea of “Sincerely, Gracie”. It would be perfect if Gracie spent more time exploring some of the plugins to upgrade the web design. That way, her brand would attract more viewers. I hope to see more written content on her website soon, as I am curious about her as a writer.

Good luck Gracie!

The post Peer Review 3 appeared first on Chii’s Sweet Home.

Vietnamese Spring Roll

Spring roll is a traditional dish of the Vietnamese people in general and the people of the North in particular. During Tet (Lunar New Year), it was served with a wish for a fulfilling and warm year, just like the rolls. Nowadays, even in daily meals, many families still have spring rolls once in a while for a change of side dishes. Each region across Vietnam has a different method of making spring rolls, but the most famous recipe is from Hanoi, the capital city. It is quite simple to make authentic spring rolls. With just a little ingenuity and patience, you will be able to make delicious spring rolls to treat your family.

Because it takes a lot of time to make the dish, I usually fry a large portion to eat for the whole week. As long as it is preserved in the fridge, we can keep it for more than a week. Each time that I want to eat it, I can just take some out and reheat them in the air fryer.


  • 1lb/ 500g ground pork
  • 1/2 large white onion
  • 1/2 Jumbo carrot
  • Around 60g Daikon radish (or any other kind of sweet vegetable like Jícama, Kohlrabi, etc,…)
  • 3-4 large dried black fungus mushroom (wood ear mushroom)
  • 6-7 dried shiitake mushroom
  • Vermicelli
  • 2 eggs
  • Rice paper

Note: All the ingredients can be found in Asian markets! If you live in Vancouver, BC, I would suggest going to T&T Supermarket!

Let’s cook!

Step 1: Soak dried mushroom and vermicelli in water for 30 minutes. After that, roughly chop all the ingredients (onion, carrot, radish, mushroom, vermicelli)

Step 2: “Dump” all the ingredients into a large bowl (or into a pot, like me ^^)

Season with salt, pepper and 1tbs fish sauce
Mix everything together thoroughly

Step 3: Roll the filling inside a rice paper by following the steps below. (Remember to wet the rice paper before rolling). The rolling steps are not that hard once you get used to them. The more you roll, the prettier your rolls will be.

Scoop a spoon of meat and roll halfway
Fold 2 sides of the paper inward like this
And then roll all the way to the end

Step 4: You can start frying the rolls once you have a dozen ready. Wait until the oil is hot enough and start frying at medium heat. The rolls should be good to eat once all the surfaces are golden brown. It is okay to roll and fry at the same time to save time.

To boost spring rolls to a new level, the most important thing is making the right dipping sauce. My tip to make the best dipping sauce is to get the base right. First, I would make lime juice that is savoury sweet and sour. With half a lime, I use 3tbs of sugar and about 1.5 cups of water. Give it a taste to see if it is sweet and sour enough. Then, gradually add fish sauce until the colour turns yellow. Give it a taste before the yellow gets too dark. If the sauce is sweet, sour and salty, it is ready. Finally, finely chop garlic and chilli (if you like spicy) to add to the sauce. The sliced carrot and radish are just for decoration.

Have fun cooking!

The post Vietnamese Spring Roll appeared first on Chii’s Sweet Home.

How I make potatoes gratin

My version of Potatoes gratin

Hi, everyone! I’m back again with another delicious recipe that is very easy to make with potatoes.

In case you’ve never heard about potato gratin, let me briefly explain the dish to you. Potatoes gratin or Potatoes au gratin is basically layers of thinly sliced potato with cream and cheese, baked in the oven until golden brown and crisp. The dish is called “Potatoes gratin” because “gratin” refers to any dish that is topped with cheese or bread crumbs mixed with butter. And that is the basic definition of traditional potatoes gratin. What I would like to introduce to you today is slightly different as I have added a little twist to the dish to make it more flavourful.

Traditional Potatoes gratin. Source: Pinterest


For my version of Potatoes gratin, you will need:

  • Russet potatoes (thinly slides)
  • Heavy cream
  • Grounded beef
  • Onion (choped into cubes)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Minced garlic

Let’s cook!

Step 1: Potatoes layer

Soak the potatoes slices in cool water to remove all the excess starch.

Step 2: Beef layer

* You can replace grounded beef with any other grounded meat that you prefer.

Heat up a pan on the stove. Add a little bit of oil to saute the garlic until fragrant. Add the beef and keep string to let it cook roughly. Season with salt and pepper. You only need to cook the beef 75% since it will be cooked again later in the oven and you would not want your beef to be dry and burnt from overcooking. Set the meat aside.

Step 3: Onion cream layer

On the same pan, use the remained oil to saute the onion until transparent. Add as much heavy cream as you want and bring it to boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4: Build the layers

Grease a baking tray or a casserole with butter or oil. Layer the ingredients in the order of potatoes, meat, onion cream.

Step 4: Bake in oven

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the dish for 20-30 minutes.

Take the dish out to spread a nice and thick layer of shredded cheese on top and put it back in the oven for another 5-8 minutes.

And done!

This is what it should look like after the first bake!

I hope you have a fun time cooking this dish! See you in the next blog!

The post How I make potatoes gratin appeared first on Chii’s Sweet Home.

I ran out of cake flour…

My flour container becomes lighter these days ;(

In baking, it is very important to identify and choose the right kind of flour for different kinds of pastries. There are three main types of flour that we come across a lot: all-purpose flour, cake flour, and bread flour. Of course, there are many more types of flour like almond flour, coconut flour or rice flour, etc… However, those 3 types of flour are the ones that decide the texture of the pastries.

Here are my thoughts on the three main flour. They are concluded from my knowledge and personal opinions. So, if you think otherwise, please feel free to leave a comment below! I would love to know what you think.

Cake flour contains less protein than all-purpose flour. Therefore, we use cake flour to get the spongy and light feeling of the cake. On the other hand, if we use all-purpose flour, the texture of the cake will be denser and gives a heavy feel of carbs. As a result, all-purpose flour is more suitable to make cookies and fried pastries. As for bread flour, it contains more gluten and protein than the other two. This characteristic creates the chewy and low moisture in bread texture.

Recently, I have gotten really into baking, and so cake flour is at the top of my must-have list at all times. However, because I rarely used it, I always looked for all-purpose flour when grocery shopping. Whenever I needed cake flour, I would just make it by mixing all-purpose flour and cornstarch. A couple of years ago, I found this recipe for making cake flour from all-purpose flour online and still use it now. It is said that to make a cup of cake flour, you need a cup of all-purpose flour, from which you take out 2 tablespoons and replace them with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. The use of cornstarch is to saturate the protein in all-purpose flour.

When I think about how often I use cake flour, it is more convenient to premix a big container for later use. Therefore, I rewrote the recipe and would like to share it with you here.

To make the ultimately huge batch of cake flour from all-purpose flour, you will need:

  1. 7 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup cornstarch

I hope this will help you prep the right amount of flour without having to remake it frequently whenever it runs out.

Happy mixing flour!

The post I ran out of cake flour… appeared first on Chii’s Sweet Home.

Signature Noodles in Vietnam

Signature noodle dishes across the country


Pho originated in northern Vietnam in the early twentieth century. The breadth of the noodles, the sweetness of the broth, and the herbs used in the Hanoi (Northern) and Saigon (Southern) types of pho differ. The popularity and origins of pho may be traced back to a confluence of historical and cultural events in the early twentieth century, including increased beef supply owing to French demand. For me, pho is more than just a meal. It is a representation of Vietnam’s long-standing culture.

Pho Bo (Hanoian Beef Noodle Soup)

Beef noodle soup is a transparent beef broth with thin cuts of beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket) served in a bowl with a special cut of flat rice noodles. In southern Vietnam, slow-cooked tendons, tripe, or meatballs are common variations. Chicken pho is cooked with the same spices as beef pho, but the soup is made using chicken bones and flesh, as well as parts of the chicken’s organs, such as the heart, undeveloped eggs, and gizzard.

I remember when I was back home, once a month, my mom would make a big pot of chicken pho and my whole family would eat it for the whole weekend without getting sick of it.

Pho Ga (Chicken Noodle)

Bun Cha (BBQ Meat Paddies with Vermicelli)

Bun Cha is made of grilled pork, pickled green papaya and carrots, and warm fish sauce from Northern Vietnamese. The pork is marinated with lemongrass, pepper, garlic, shallot, fish sauce, honey, and oyster sauce. Traditionally, the pork paddies should be grilled over charcoal, which gives them a distinct flavour. The fish sauce mixture is a must-have. Fish sauce is mixed with sugar, vinegar, and pickled carrots. The sauce is heated up before serving, which compliments the cold vermicelli perfectly. The veggie side dishes are fresh lettuce and Vietnamese herbs.

Bun Thang (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)

Another traditional dish from Hanoi is Bun Thang (Bún Thang). In Vietnamese, “Thang” literally means “ladder.” However, I would like to tell you a couple of abstract meanings for this dish. In some Asian countries, medicine formulas are created by selectively drawing herbs that would help cure the patient. This mixture of medicine is called “Thang” (Thang thuốc). Therefore, Hanoians call this soup “Bun Thang” to refer to the classic, flavourful, and healthy features of the dish, despite the variety of ingredients used. My grandparents explained the meaning to me in a different way, which is more straightforward. In Chinese Vietnamese (the old Vietnamese language), “Thang” means “soup.” And so, Bun Thang is just a kind of soup.

Bun Thang consists of regular vermicelli, fried egg, chicken, mushroom, Vietnamese ham (giò lụa), and is topped with green onion and fried shallot. All the ingredients are uniquely cut into strips. Because of its simple recipe, Bun Thang is referred to as “Vietnamese chicken noodles.” One of the main elements that highlights the fresh, clean, and sweet taste of the dish is the chicken broth, which is seasoned very lightly.

Cao Lau (Cao Lầu)

Cao Lau is a specialty from Hoi An, a city in the Central region of Vietnam. The dish is a harmonic combination of large yellow noodles, meat, shrimp, raw vegetables, and mixed sprouts, all served in a broth cooked from rich pork bones. During the 17th century, Japanese and Chinese merchants came to Hoi An to trade. They brought their own culinary cultures with them, and Cao Lau was developed as a result of the fusion of flavours. Over time,  Cao Lau was gradually changed to fit Vietnamese cuisine while at the same time developing its own unique and distinctive traits.

The texture of the noodles and the distinctive rich broth from the Central area are what distinguish this dish. The pig bones are first stewed for a couple of hours at a low temperature. The pork is marinated before being placed in hot oil to fry. This makes the outside of the meat crispy and the inside juicy. Excess oil is set aside as the surface of the meat turns orange. Some bone broth and extra meat juice are added to cook the inside of the meat thoroughly. Any remaining liquid after cooking the meat is added to the broth to make it taste even richer.

Bun Bo Hue (Spicy Noodle Soup)

Combination of thick vermicelli with beef shank and ham in spicy lemongrass soup

Bun Bo Hue is a dish of noodle soup originating from Hue (Huế)—a city in central Vietnam associated with the cooking style of the former royal court. The dish is greatly admired for its balance of spicy, salty, and umami flavours. The predominant flavour of the dish comes from the lemongrass. Compared to Pho or regular vermicelli, the noodles are thicker and more cylindrical. The dish is served with vermicelli in a bowl as the first layer. Next, the soup is added with pork and beef bones, with a kick of lemongrass, annatto, and shrimp paste. Finally, it finishes off with a tangle of herbs, a squeeze of lime, and a few delicious add-ons like sliced brisket and crab balls. In some cases, cubes of congealed pig blood are also added.

Mi Quang (Vietnamese Tumeric Noodle)

Mi Quang (Mì Quảng) is a Vietnamese noodle dish that originated from Quang Nam (Quảng Nam) Province in central Vietnam. It is one of the most popular and nationally recognized food items and is served on various occasions, such as at family parties, death anniversaries, and Lunar New Year (Tết). Mi Quang is also served in a lot of restaurants across Vietnam for lunch, and it is a big hit.

The main ingredients of Mi Quang are rice noodles, meat, shrimp, and herbs. It is most commonly served with a small amount of broth, which is generally infused with turmeric. Wide rice noodles are placed on a bed of fresh herbs in a bowl (sometimes the herbs are set as a side dish), then warm or lukewarm broth and meat are added. The broth usually has a strong flavour so only a small amount of it is used.

Bun Thit Nuong (Grilled Pork with Vermicelli)

Bun Thit Nuong in a bowl surrounded by chopsticks, salad and dishes of pork fat and crushed peanuts


Pictures: Pinterest

Peer Review 1

For the first peer review, I got to take a look at Leigh’s website called “The Visual Meditator.” The website appears to be a platform for Leigh’s photography and digital works at first glance. As an outside observer, I can tell that her blog is about visual art and culture by looking at the sub-heading and the header image, which give out a very artistic vibe, along with the quote “A state of “becoming”, rather than “accomplishment”‘

The title and header image of “The Visual Mediator”

The content

There are three main pages featured on the menu bar: About, Academic, and Blog. On the “About” page, Leigh stated that her content would be about “image ethics, visual literacy, and art history in the context of an ever-changing media landscape”. She also did a good job of showing the readers her personal branding and passion for photography through each and every one of her carefully edited images. Her posts about thoughts on changes in the media as well as photography-related topics are very well written. I found those insights admirable and inspiring to me, a person who is quite insensitive to art. All the content about her ongoing projects can be found right below the header image as I scrolled down the home page. The sub-sections are divided and titled clearly for readers to understand.

“Projects” blocks of “The Visual Mediator”

The design and layout

Logos are the faces of brands as they communicate the brands’ value and meaning while interacting with the community that they approach. However, a brand is not just a logo or a design. It can be anything that marks the brand’s existence, making it stand out. So far, Leigh is doing really well in making a difference in her brand with the harmonized combination of colour choice, web page layout, and visual presentation. I find the theme of the website very creative and eye-catching, with the main colours of black, red, and white. The layouts of her posts change flexibly according to the correlated content. I don’t know if this is her intention, but her posts are inconsistent in terms of theme and the size of the fonts. I think this is because she wants to match the fonts with her unique content for every post. Leigh also makes effective use of images throughout her posts, so they always keep readers’ attention.


I just have a small amount of minor feedback that I hope Leigh will consider. I notice that in most of her posts, she has a lot of external links embedded for readers’ references. Those links are usually opened on the same tab as her web page, which I find quite inconvenient for readers as their flow is interrupted. It may be a better choice if she sets the links to be opened in a new tab for later posts.

From what I read on her website, I believe Leigh has a second website that features further content related to her posts on The Visual Mediator. She might not notice this, but the link seems to be broken. Fixing it would be really helpful for her followers who are curious and interested in looking deeper into her works. On another note, I would suggest creating a section for any contact info or links to her works outside of the website.


In my opinion, I think Leigh has a clear picture of what her branding will look like and the potential that comes with it as she goes on. I am looking forward to seeing her progress in developing as a brand throughout this course.

Good luck Leigh!


Godin, Seth. “Definition of a Brand“.

Suzanne Norman. “Week Three-PUB 201 Intro to Branding – Visual Branding” PowerPoint slides.

Peer Review 2

Self-illustration of Kelly on the “About” page

Hi, everyone. Today I would like to discuss my peer Kelly’s blog, “Kelly in Saturn.” Looking at the home page, I could feel a very calming vibe. The description of the blog is placed in a block on the sidebar. It states clearly that her blog focuses on her daily self-care routine.

Description of the blog

The content

After browsing the website, I got some main points about “Kelly in Saturn”.

Her blog was created last month, which was at the beginning of this semester, so there are only a few posts. However, she is doing really well in building her online self. It seems that her content is not just about self-care; it is also about personal opinions on social issues, mental health issues, and updates on daily activities.

Storytelling is crucial to a brand’s image. Sometimes, stories can make a brand venerable. Hence, if it is interpreted in the right way, it reflects the background story of the brand, represents the brand and inspires the audience. By engaging the audience with her own stories, using universal language and a neutral tone, the brand’s backstory is subconsciously shaped in the minds of the readers. At the same time, it encourages the readers to take care of their lifestyle by showing empathy through Kelly’s daily life stories. In one of her posts, I like how she uses the lunar new year as a bridge to discuss Asian hate crime in New York, which has been aching on social media a lot recently.

An illustration from Kelly’s post about Asian hate crimes

The five main pages are organized on the menu bar: About, Blog, Resources, Personal Projects, and Pub 201. On the “About” page, Kelly explains the reason behind her brand name and briefly introduces the blog to establish a standard foundation relationship with the audience. The “Resources” section really impressed me with how she managed to make connections for her brand in the early days. To me, as a reader, it’s interesting to be able to quickly find her other works in the “Personal Project” section.

The design and layout

The main colours of the website, which are marigold, midnight blue, and off yellow, harmonize well together. With her art as most of the illustrations, it does mark the brand’s existence, making it stand out and unique. The layout of the website is not too dense but also not too loose, leaving enough blank space to ease the eyes of readers.


Overall, I think Kelly has built her brand really well, especially in terms of storytelling. Although the website is new, it has a lot of potential. I would like to thank Kelly for creating such a fascinating website to spread positive energy to everyone. It is exciting to see how the brand will grow in the future.

Good luck, Kelly!


Suzanne Norman. “Week Six-PUB 201 Brand Storytelling” PowerPoint slides.

Healthy Oatmeal Yogurt for Healthy Diet

If you ever feel like you want to go on a diet but still want good food at the same time, I would recommend you to try this Oatmeal Yogurt recipe.


Oatmeal of your choice

Greek Yogurt

Milk of your choice

Fruits of your choice


First, scoop a decent amount of the yogurt in a bowl then mix it with some milk (I usually use soymilk but you can use any kind of milk that you like). The yogurt milk mixture would be not too liquidy but also not too thick.

For the fruits topping, I prepared fresh cut strawberry and banana with frozen raspberry and blueberry. Frozen fruits are also a good choice if you don’t have fresh fruit in your kitchen. You can cover it all with oatmeal or fit all the ingredients on top of the yogurt.

That’s it for a healthy dish that you can eat for breakfast, brunch or as snack!

Have fun cooking!

The post Healthy Oatmeal Yogurt for Healthy Diet appeared first on Chii’s Sweet Home.