Kitchen Emotions

My profession in identifying and creating core emotions for tv promotion enables me to also connect up all the different emotions that leads me into cooking and baking.

It all begins when I often walk out from a restaurant feeling dissatisfied along with ANGER for paying high bills for lousy food and bad service in this city. And most of the time, what disappoints me is the way good ingredients are being treated poorly.

That is when the temptation and CURIOSITY of wondering if I can cook better food arouse my desire to take up the challenge and re-look at the function of my kitchen with a whole new perspective.

After numerous failures that eventually leads to a few good attempts with some recipes, the feeling of SUCCESS encourage me to create more to share with friends and neighbours which increases HUMAN CONNECTIONS without even noticing it. The reward is enormous.

Here’s a really simple recipe that makes me happy.

marinara w scallops

Pasta Marinara with Canadian Scallops

Canadian scallops

Sea salt

Black pepper

All-purpose flour

Olive oil

Heat up olive oil in a pan. Season scallops with salt, pepper and coat lightly with flour. Fry scallops for 2 minutes on one side and another minute on the other side.

For the sauce:

Fresh basil

Half an onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic

1 can of Italian tomato

Black pepper


Olive oil

Heat up olive oil in a pot with onions and garlic. The fragrance from the onion and garlic will infuse into the oil when heated up together. Add salt to avoid onions from burning. Sautee till onion turns translucent. Add black pepper, tomatoes and basil. Simmer for 30 mins.

Serve with your favourite pasta and top it up with the gorgeous scallops.

hk loaf 4

Now comes to baking. My FEAR of sending something into the oven and hoping it will come out good stays with me for many years ever since I failed terribly trying to bake a basic sponge cake.

It was until early this year when Anto from relaxingcooking encouraged me to bake my first bread. It is a big emotion of DARING to take up the challenge to start a bumpy journey which I am glad I did and to discover the many secrets of baking along the way.

hk loaf 2

I got to admit I am quite obsessed with bread baking for now and I just can’t wait to log this recipe in that uses ‘tangzhong’ mentioned to me by Jean from bentodays. This method creates a super soft loaf with a long lost flavor which brings me all the way back to my childhood days. Yum!

Soft white bread using ‘Tangzhong’


50g bread flour

250g water

Cook on low heat and keep stirring continuously until it becomes sticky.

Main dough:

270g bread flour

30g sugar

4g salt

1 egg

90g tangzhong

60g milk

5g yeast

30g butter (soften)hk loaf 3

Mix all ingredients except butter. Put in butter when rest of ingredients is well mixed.

Knead the dough till it passes the window pane test. Form it into a ball and put it into a greased bowl.

Sprinkle some water on dough and cover. Let it proof for 45mins to an hour.

Pre-shape dough into three round loaves and let it sit for 15mins.

For the final shaping, roll the dough to resemble soft rolls and put them side by side in a loaf tin.

Sprinkle some water on top and proof for 45mins to an hour.

Brush with egg wash and bake at 170C in a pre-heated oven for 30mins.

hk loaf 5

54 thoughts on “Kitchen Emotions

  1. Hi Danny! Sorry in which city do you live? I hate it too when I think I’ve paid a too high bill and that I would have enjoyed eating at home way more. Seeing the most beautiful breads that you make, it amazes me to think you could have had a “fear” for baking something and it not turning out right. Well done! I shall have to try making this pasta one day. Its so my kind of seafood dish and I love the idea of the scallops. The only thing is that though Spain is wonderful for getting seafood, scallops is quite weird to come by. I’ll be keeping a lookout!

    1. …Just checked out your LinkedIn. Now I know where you live 🙂 (Sneaky of me, yes). I lived there when I was small, until I was 5! And have been there plenty of times, love it!

      1. Thanks for visiting my Linkedin 🙂 I guess the only good thing about here is that one can still stroll on the streets alone in the middle of the night and get home safely. Other than that, I am sad to say this city has got no soul…everyone lives like a robot. Perhaps it is different when you are visiting. Let me know the next time you are here? We should meet 🙂

    2. Thanks Sofia, yeah I have become very selective with the restaurants I would like to try and read a lot of reviews too before heading there. I feel very sad that this issue exist everywhere. Seems like most restaurant operators these days don’t do their business with a heart any-more…..Baking is still such a challenge for me because I always like to try something new. And get disappointed when it does not turn out good…I am surprised to know that scallops are not common in Spain with the huge variety of seafood you have over there. Try it if you manage to get. I think you will like 🙂

  2. I feel the same way too when you go to an expensive restaurant and the service is crappy and the food taste like garbage. Your scallop and pasta dish sounds amazing and so does the bread. Sometimes it’s just better eating at home. Although I do like eating out for inspiration. Have a great weekend Danny!

    1. Thanks Anne! I still eat out at selective restaurants for inspiration too. Just disappointed that these days most restaurant operators does not seem to have the pride in what they are serving. And that is really sad.I am so glad all of us here can cook with love 🙂

    1. I am so surprised to know it is happening everywhere. Always thought it only happen here because we are not known for our good service. Even though I have tried, I am not quite sure how TangZhong is able to make the bread so soft. It’s not even a starter. It’s just a 5:1 water to flour ratio cooked into a paste over low heat. Try it? 🙂

  3. great post Danny…scallops looks just beautiful! and that have such a talent for bread making..wish mine looked half as good as yours…I to think emotions play into cooking, but cooking makes me happy and eating makes me really happy, so I’m just glad there is something still in this world that can make people like you and me happy 🙂 lovely post and I hope your having a great weekend…sarah

    1. Thank you Sarah. you are good at your specialities. That awesome tart and upside down cake is a touch of genius! I am glad to have found my only hobby too! I am so with you. Cooking and baking makes me happy. Enjoying it with friends and families is priceless. And it connects you and me 🙂 Have a good week ahead…..danny

  4. This recipe looks great!

    I read this article a few days ago that talks about guilt in the sense that if you have bad food and bad service at a restaurant, people sometimes are more willing to leave bigger tips because they feel self guilt and don’t want to upset the staff. I thought that was interesting!

  5. Wow, that bread looks so incredible! I’ve wanted to try the Tangzhong technique for so long, but found it intimidating to attempt… This looks quite simple though, so maybe it’s about time I take the plunge. Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Thank you Hannah. I think you will like the Tangzhong method of baking bread. It stays soft for 3 days! If you try, let me know how it goes 🙂

  6. I agree with you…paying high price for so-so food in the restaurant is just so wrong. 🙂 That’s why I dine in a lot more often these days. 🙂 Your Pasta Marinara with Canadian Scallops looks scrumptious. I love scallops and can’t wait to make this. OH…and your TangZhong loaf bread! Looks so perfect, nice and fluffy. I’ve been making this bread for a few years and I bake at least 2 loaves each week. Sometimes 4 when I’m baking for my In-Laws as well. It’s just so good!

    1. Me too Amy. I cook even on weekdays whenever I have the energy after work. These scallops are really a gourmet. I can’t wait to make it again. Maybe this time with a butter cream sauce to go along. Thanks for you compliment on the bread. I hope I am making it the right way 🙂

    1. Aw….that is such a nice compliment Kelly. I am flattered. Thank you very much! Will you drop by to visit if I start my own little cafe? 🙂

  7. hi Danny, sorry to hear about these bad experiences you’ve had with food/restaurants
    Danny, your pictures look amazing as always, they make me hungry and love your breads, they look delicious and I don’t want to start baking bread, I’m scared I won’t stop eating it 🙂
    wish you a great week Danny! 🙂

    1. Aw…thank you for your compliment Ingrid. And the reason why you can’t stop eating your own bread is because I am very sure you will be baking gorgeous bread if you start. 🙂

    1. Aw…I am still far from that 🙂 But thank you for the kind compliment. It’s a huge encouragement coming from you and I would love to work towards it.

  8. Danny – I cannot understand why this post did not show up in my reader. What a wonderful post – strikes so many chords with me. I love the bit about curiosity and human connections. Cooking well is a labour of love, and an art and a science. And I too relate to the frustration of eating out- paying too much – and getting mediocre food. It’s so wonderful though when you eat out – and they get it right!
    Love your scallop recipe and you used Canadian scallops! Beautiful! Your bread looks fantastic too. Will try both. Scallops first… 😉

    1. Thank you so much for your nice comment Lindy. I so agree with you that cooking is a labour of love, an art and science. Nothing beats cooking with love and put the food into our love ones body. I am actually quite surprised that overpriced restaurant food and service is happening everywhere. Always thought we are the worst here..Canadian scallops are the most fabulous I’ve eaten. Nothing beats the flavour and texture! If you try, do let me know how it goes 🙂

  9. Such a wonderful double post, Danny! That bread looks fenomenally tasty & even superb & I absolutely love scallops!! I am a big saccops eater but rarely make it fresh at home! 🙂 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

  10. Oh Danny, your bread and scallop dish look absolutely beautiful and gourmet! I completely agree with you too, honestly I don’t eat out hardly EVER. I know that I can cook better and healthier at home and control what goes ino my food….I live in Houston, TX and most restaurants are full of greasy, unhealthy food. Plus, I don’t want to pay for it. Sometimes it’s nice to get out, but yes, it’s upsetting when the food sucks! You are a talent in the kitchen my friend 🙂

    1. Aww….thank you so much for the nice comment Brandi. I totally agree with you about able to control what goes into our food. Understand the frustration of eating out and paying a high price for awful food. In a way, I am lucky that there are hawker centres over here where they sell good local dishes at reasonable price. Only set back is that the environment and atmosphere can be really bad. So glad we can cook 🙂

  11. I love scallops. They’re one of my favourite things, but yet I’ve never actually cooked them at home. I need to try your recipe! In regards to the bread… your loaves always look absolutely perfect! I’ve never heard of ‘tangzhong’ though. How does it make the bread taste? Thanks for sharing this lovely post with us Danny. I definitely agree re the frustration of bad restaurant meals. I experience that often (sometimes I wish that I was a worse cook, so that I could enjoy average food a bit more! Isn’t that strange?!). Thanks for another inspiring post 🙂

    1. Thank you Laura. ‘tangzhong’ is a method used mostly in oriental baking where it can create really soft bread that can stay soft for days. It doesn’t really add to the flavor of the bread. I still prefer using an overnight starter (poolish) to bake crusty bread. The poolish adds a lot of flavor to the bread and give it that unique taste it should have. Your are not the only one who has that ‘strange’ thought o f wishing we were a worse cook to enjoy mediocre food out there. I felt the same way too. Keep smiling my friend 🙂

  12. Danny, I know what you mean when you talk of your frustration of bad restaurants. I hate it when I have a meal that isn’t prepared freshly, and when I pay the bill I think: my god, if I’d spent this in the supermarket I would have come home with bags of shopping that I could have made several great dishes from! I have to say though – when I was eating in raw food restaurants in New York I was always satisfied. My eyes were really open. That’s not to say I don’t love cooked food too, and this scallop dish looks yummy!

    1. Gabriela, sorry for not able to squeeze out time to enjoy your beautiful posts in the pasts weeks. I am aware there are three of them in my email. I am entering a horrible phase at work with the restructuring of the company and things are not looking good for employees who are doing creatives like me….am seriously thinking of doing something else in the next ten years. Maybe as a freelancer or maybe totally out of tv….I know…you are thinking of asking me to go into the culinary industry…well…I’ll need a lot of courage to take it on as a profession.
      I share the same experience as you when I pay the bill after a bad meal…luckily there are still a few good ones out there which may be more expensive but always worth a visit once in a while. And I am lucky that we have hawker food which is cheap and reasonably good. Just that the eating environment can be dirty and nasty…popping over to your latest post now 🙂

  13. That bread. Once again, just perfect. In this house we love scallops too. In fact, I will be having some on Friday. We just fry them with some olive oil and butter until they caramelise and that’s it. I’d like to try your sauce for a pasta since I like being a minimalist with my seafood. I’m sure it would be excellent. Sorry to hear Singapore isn’t that great on restaurant service and quality buy hey, it led you to trying out your own recipes. Maybe you should start a restaurant. I will definitely tell my traveller friends about it 😁

    1. Thank you so much for your nice comment. I love the way you fry your scallops. It should always be cooked simply to retain its original flavor and sweetness 🙂 Try that sauce. I am sure you will like it. And let me know how it goes. You are so right that I got to thank those horrible restaurants out there who has encouraged me to do my own cooking. I glad I did it. I can’t imagine handling a restaurant..a small cafe maybe…and thanks in advance for sending your friends here if my dream come true 🙂

  14. It’s so true what you’ve said about the high bills in restaurants.
    I near to a city in the Netherlands, some 5 km from Germany away. And every time I go eating somewhere (both in the netherlands and germany) we see that beautiful ingredients are not getting the attention they need. Salt, fat and sugar are the three ingredients that are getting the most attention, wich makes me a little bit sad.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience. I am glad that I’m not the only one who felt it that way but really sad that it seems to be happening everywhere….

    1. Thank you so much! Australian scallops are great too! I’ve been eating them 🙂 I found this cute video on youtube about tangzhong which is a flour paste that acts like a bread starter.

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