Thursday, November 26, 2009

My pandan chocolate cake...


I just had to try this Simple Buttercream Icing by The Culinary Institute of America and it is absolutely delicious!!! I've placed it in between a layer of chocolate cake (bottom) and pandan cake (top). I'd modified a Pandan cake recipe and overall, I thought it wasn't too bad but for people who loves dark chocolate like DH and friends, they loved it!! What I like about this recipe is how moist the chocolate layer is...

I'd used Green&Black's organic 70% dark chocolate instead of cocoa powder and next time I think I'll just make the chocolate layer and leave the pandan layer out as I thought the chocolate overpowered the pandan flavour and smell.

Here's the recipe for dark chocolate lovers out there:
Ingredients:

150g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 eggs
400 ml coconut milk
125g butter, softened
2 tbsn pandan juice
160g castor sugar
12 tsp pandan essence
1 tbsn caster sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
100g Green&Black organic black chocolate 70% cocoa - if you don't like your chocolate bitter, you may want to use milk chocolate instead of black chocolate.

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 160C/350 f (convection)
2. Pour the coconut milk into a saucepan and add castor sugar (160g). Bring to a boil, stirring slowly to dissolve sugar. Set aside to cool.
3. Sieve the cake flour, baking powder and salt and pour half of the mixture into another bowl
4. Chop the block of chocolate and melt using a bain-marie.
5. In a bowl, combine egg yolks, coconut mixture then pour half of the mixture into another bowl
6. Place pandan juice and pandan essence into one coconut mixture and combine well. Add one bowl of flour mixture and stir well.
7. Place melted chocolate into the other coconut mixture and combine well. Add one bowl of flour mixture and stir well.
8. Whisk the egg whites lightly and add in the cream of tartar and castor sugar (1 tbsp). Continue to whisk until the mixture is stiff. Split half into another bowl.
9. Gently fold half the beaten egg whites of one bowl into the pandan mixture and blend well. Then fold in the remaining egg whites and work very lightly with a spatula.
10. Gently fold half the beaten egg whites of the other bowl into the chocolate mixture and blend well. Then fold in the remaining egg whites and work very lightly with a spatula.
11. Place the mixtures into two cake tins ( greased and floured for easy removal ) and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until skewer comes out clean
12. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool on a rack.
13. When cake is cool, spread the Simple Buttercream Icing in between the chocolate layer and pandan layer. Decorate top of cake with more icing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I LOVE CUPCAKES!!


A CUPCAKE BOUQUET with the World's Premier Culinary College
Source: www.youtube.com
Get the recipe: http://www.ciaculinaryintelligence.com/2007/05/a-cupcake-bouquet-for-moms-special-day.html The Culinary Institute of America is the world's premier culinary college. Culinary school chef instructor Alison McLoughlin demonstrates how to create a floral bouqet out of cupcakes. ...

Orange Chiffon Cupcakes
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (divided use)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp grated orange zest
8 large egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place paper cupcake inserts inside cupcake pan.

Sift the flour, 1 1/4 cups of the granulated sugar, the baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the orange juice, oil, egg yolks and orange zest. Mixing by hand with a spoon or rubber spatula, blend the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Continue to mix until the batter is smooth and evenly blended, about 2 minutes.

In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until they are foamy. Add the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the cream of tartar. Continue to whip until the whites from medium peaks when the beater is lifted about 4 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/2 of the whipped whites into the batter. Gently fold in the remaining 1/2 of the whites into the batter.

Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake pan and bake until a skewer inserted near the center of on of the cakes comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip, 15-20 minutes.

Allow the cakes to cool and remove from pan.

Variations
Lemon or Lime Chiffon Cup Cakes
Replace the orange juice with 10 Tbsp water and 6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. Replace orange zest with lemon or lime zest. Continue as directed.

Simple Buttercream Icing
Makes about 4 cups

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted, plus extra as needed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk plus extra as needed
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until it is very light in texture, 2 minutes.

Add the confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and mix on a low speed until the sugar and butter are blended, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

Increase the speed to medium and, with the mixer running, add the cream in a thin stream.

Increase the speed to high and whip the buttercream until very smooth, light, and a good spreading consistency. Adjust the consistency if necessary by adding a bit more confectioners' sugar or cream.

Note: Once blended, buttercreams can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. To use after refrigeration, let the buttercream soften at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until it is a smooth, light spreading consistency, 3-4 minutes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Moist Coconut Pie


This is a Thai recipe and it is definitely one of my favourite desserts to make and eat!! Definitely not one recipe I'll want to forget so here it will stay. I've made this many many times for many many parties and each time, loved by all, guys and gals, young and old and all nationalities. My plate will come back empty and someone always asks me for the recipe and here it is:

Ingredients:

4 eggs
125g butter, softened
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup coconut ( you can use dessicated coconut as substitute for fresh coconut )
400ml can coconut milk

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Blend or process all ingredients until smooth
3. Pour into greased 23cm pie plate
4. Bake in over 1 hour
5. Cool to room temperature
6. Turn onto serving plate, if desire, decorate with whipped cream, glace cherries and toasted shredded coconut.

*pie can be made a day before required - tastes even better after it's been in the fridge
Hope you enjoy this recipe :D

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

dumpling cravings...


I've been staying in quite a bit lately due to the rain and this kind of weather makes me want my comfort food dumplings!!!!! If there's one food I never tire of eating, it's this!!

Here is my own recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do :D

Serves 4
Ingredients:

Meat mixture -
400g pork mince
1 onions
4 clove of garlic
1 small bunch of chives
1 small can of whole water chestnuts ( chopped and diced)
2 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sesame sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ginger (chopped and diced) * I only use ginger if I'm pan frying, no ginger if boiling the dumplings.

1 pkt of dumpling/gyoza wraps ( approximately 50 pieces ) ~ if you like to make your own dumpling dough, click here for the recipe.

Directions:

1. Throw all mince mixture ingredients in a big bowl and combined
2.Wrap the mince mixture in dumpling or gyoza wraps
3. Boil kettle of water
4. Use a frying pan with lid and heat up frying pan for frying
5. Pour a tbsp of vegetable oil in frying pan and lay the dumplings in the pan
6. Pour boiled water in the pan of frying dumplings until dumplings are 2/3 covered, cover with lid. *be extra careful when pouring hot water into the frying pan as you can easily burn your hands from the rising heat!!
7. Cook for 3-5 minutes, checking occasionally until the water have completely evaporated.
8. Once water have completely evaporated, leave for 1-2 minutes frying in the pan, or until the base of the dumpling is brown and golden.
9. Remove from frying pan and serve with soya sauce and wasabi or chilly sauce - whichever you prefer.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dumpling and noodle dough


Photos taken by: my friend KH Lim :D


Serves 2
Ingredients:
1 cup plain flour - extra for coating and kneading
1 tbsp corn flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup of water
pinch of salt

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until the water and flour have combined
2. Knead flour for about 10 minutes and roll in to a ball.
3. Place flour in a bowl and cover with damp towel - leave for 30mins
4. Knead flour for 5 minutes adding flour if wet.
5. Roll dough in to a ball and flatten using a rolling pin to create the dumpling skin - sprinkle with flour to keep skin from sticking.
6. Skin is ready for use to wrap dumplings or eat as noodles.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sugar makes me happy!


now you know I love my cupcakes but for me nothing beats a chocolate and pandan layer cake from the Chinese bakery "Maxims"...perhaps it's because they don't offer this variety all the time and it's hit and miss as to when they do have it in store...sadly for me, it's mostly miss therefore I want it even more but not today! I have two slices savoured and waiting for after dinner!! :D
Not sure what it is but the Chinese cakes have a light and fluffy texture to their sponge and the cream is sweet and buttery but not heavy. Believe me I've tried looking for recipes to make my own Chinese like sponge cake but for $1.90 a piece, it costs me more than that to make and probably won't taste as nice.
Maxims have been around for a looooooooong time and is also famous for their pre-ordered birthday cakes (Taro is my fav) and also their freshly baked egg tarts which is absolutely delicious!! I'm sure most Melbournians know Maxims so why blog about them? well, this blog is about my favourite eats and not that they need the exposure since they're always busy and have been operating for a very long time...but I sure hate for one my favourite cake shop to go belly up and disappear when I need that happy sugar fix. For everyone who's not had the Maxim experience, life can only get sweeter! tee hee
Photo above: 2 x chocolate and pandan layer cake + 1 x black sesame roulade just sitting and waiting...

Maxims Cake and Pastry
173 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Ph: 03 9662 1980

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Breakfast for Walter's daddy - HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!


At some stage, I had so much trouble getting the batter for pancakes right even after referring to recipe books. After several attempts, I stopped making pancakes for breakfast to DH's dismay! One day, having nothing in the pantry or fridge to cook breakfast I had to make do with what I had..flour, soya milk (lactose intolerant), sugar and frozen berries that I really needed to eat before they expire. Throwing food out is one of my pet hates!

Not bothering with looking up the recipe for measurement, I just threw all the ingredients in a big bowl and mixed. To my delight, it turned out the be the best batter I've ever made.

Today is father's day in Australia and Walter and I thought we'll make daddy's favourite breakfast..MIX BERRY PANCAKE WITH FRESH STRAWBERRIES AND SMOTHERED WITH CONDENSED MILK!! OK, he doesn't like it smothered with condensed milk..I DO!

I realize not everyone is a fan of condensed milk but with my sweet tooth, I go through cans and cans and cans each week. One of the best thing about having a Costco opening up close by, now I can buy bulk and save! lol

If you like to try my "Mixed Berry Pancake with fresh Strawberries" here it is:
Measurements makes enough for 2 or just 1 for a very hungry daddy!

Ingredients:
* 1 cup S.R flour
* pinch of salt
* 1 tbsp raw sugar (am trying to stay away from processed foods so have been using raw sugar instead). I found for some reason, having sugar in the batter helps to create a crispier pancake.
* approx. 350ml soya milk
* large handful of mixed berries - I like to use the frozen berries, they're great and no need to defrost beforehand
* butter

Directions:
1. Throw all dry ingredients in a big bowl
2. Pour in soya milk and stir - add more soya milk if required. The batter should be runny but not too liquified. It doesn't matter if the batter is a little lumpy either :-)
3. Heat up frying pan on medium heat, add some butter to the frying pan to coat but make sure you do not burn the butter.
4. When butter have melted and coat the pan, scoop a ladle of batter into pan and wait about a minute.
5. When the batter starts to form holes on top, flip the batter on the other side to cook about 1 minute or until golden brown.
6. Remove from pan to plate, sprinkle fresh strawberries and pour over with condensed milk! :D

HOPE YOU ENJOY IT! Happy Father's days to all father's out there!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Durian Choux ~ cream puffs


okay, not quite the croquembouche I'd wanted to make but I think this was a great recipe for someone like me who's never made choux pastry before.
I've loved cream puffs ever since I first tasted them in Japan and although we have chocolate coated, custard filled profiteroles in Australia, nothing beats the cream puffs from Japan! Every visit to Japan always ends up with me eating 1/2 dozen cream puffs on the bed in the hotel room after my long day of sightseeing and of course a few kg heavier! lol

I was thrilled when the Japanese franchise Beard Papa opened up in Melbourne city however although the cream puffs are pretty good, I was a little disappointed because it's not as yummy as what you get in Japan...maybe it's the ingredients used, the milk there does taste different and nicer over there.

Why haven't I made cream puffs before? The thought of it was very daunting and I didn't want to destroy my love of cream puffs with my disastrous attempt of creating perfection for myself!
Why now? A greedy appetite knows no fear! LOL

While a vanilla custard is my ideal, mum wanted a durian filling because someone had made it for her once and she can't get that out of her system. Durian is not for everyone, it's one of those fruits you either LOVE it or HATE it with a passion.
While some guests politely left with the "have to wash my hair" excuse, others secretely relish the idea of having more for themselves!

Okay, enough of the yadda...here's the recipe.
I've had to make 4 batches of this recipe to feed 11 people...

Serves 10
Ingredients:

2/3 cup plain flour
pinch of salt
50g butter
2 eggs (beaten)
2/3 cup water

Durian and cream filling:
250ml thicken cream
1 durian
1/4 cup caster sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 220C/424F
2. Sift flour and salt into a bowl
3. Add butter and water in a saucepan and boil until butter is melted. Bring to boil and tip the flour all at once.
4. Remove from the heat, using wooden spoon, beat until mixture forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan. Cool slightly.
5. Gradually add the beaten eggs, beating well after each addition, until a smooth, thick paste is formed. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle.
6. Pipe 10 (approx 5cm wide) balls on to the baking tray, place on the top shelves of the oven and back for 20minutes or until well risen and golden.
7. Remove and make a slit in each one to allow the stream to escape, then return to the oven for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Filling:
1. Beat cream in a mixer to thicken, add sugar and beat until stiff peeks
2. Use as many durians as your heart desires, remove pip and mash with folk. Add to cream mixture and mix with folk.
3. Scoop mixture into piping bag and fill the puffs.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Chocolate Roulade...



I had such a craving for chocolate roulade last week which made it difficult for me to focus on my bears. It was pointless trying to push the craving back, my mouth was salivating at the thought of eating it! lol No more sewing was going to get done so I dropped my needles and scissors and headed to the kitchen to make my chocolate roulade!! Despite the strong craving from earlier on, when I finished baking and decorating the cake, I was too full from the process and didn't eat a slice until I got back from a 1 hour walk with Walter.

This was my first attempt at this recipe and I thought it turned out rather well if I must say so myself! lol It tasted just like something purchased from a cake cafe but fresher :D Next time, instead of the dark chocolate topping, I'm going to try spreading it with chocolate ganache, think this will taste even better.

Serves 10
Ingredients:

1/2 cup cocoa, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup SRF plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
5 eggs
1/2 cup caster sugar plus extra for dusting

baileys & cream filling:
3/4 cup thicken cream
1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream

dark chocolate topping:
200g butter at room temp
1/2 cup pure icing sugar plus extra for dusting
250g dark chocolate, melted

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 190c or 170c fan. Line a 30cm x 25cm swiss roll pan with baking paper. Grease paper with a little butter and dust lightly with extra cocoa.
2. Sift cocoa, flour and baking powder into a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and caster sugar for 8 minutes until thick, pale and trebled in volume. Using a large metal spoon, carefully and quickly fold in flour mixture. Pour into prepared pan and spread out gently, so batter is evenly distributed. Bake for 10-15 mins, until firm.
3. Cool sponge in pan for 2 mins. Dust a sheet of baking paper with extra caster sugar. Turn sponge out onto paper. Peel paper from sponge base and roll up sponge using paper underneath. Sponge may crack while rolling but must be rolled warm. Cool.
4. To make filling, whisk cream until firm. Stir in Baileys and refrigerate until required.
5. To make topping, beat together butter and icing sugar. Fold in melted chocolate and stand until cool enough to spread.
6. Gently unroll sponge. Using a teaspoon, dot half of chocolate topping over sponge. Gently spread to cover sponge. Top with a spread of Baileys cream. Re-roll roulade as tightly as possible, using paper to help, without pushing filling out either end.
7. Spread remaining topping over roulade. Use a metal spatula to give a rough surface. Dust with extra icing sugar to serve.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Onde Onde - stuffed glutinous rice balls



photos taken by my friend KH Lim who takes amazing photos especially for a non-professional photographer! Thanks KH! :D

This is a classic Malaysian dessert and definitely one of my favourite desserts to date however, it's only been recently that I learn how to make it. The key is the palm sugar which can be purchased at many Asian grocery stores. Make sure the ingredients on the packet says palm sugar because some are actually coconut sugar although the packet says palm sugar! If you don't get the right one, the sugar will not completely melt inside the balls while cooking, you want the sugar to melt completely so when you bite into the ball, the sugar oozes out and it's just heaven!! You'll notice the different in taste also, the palm sugar is much richer and much more delicious! :D

Makes about 20 balls
Ingredients:

1 and 1/4 cup glutinous rice flour
1/4 cup corn flour
1/4 cup rice flour
150ml (2/3 cup) pandan juice
*optional use a tsp of pandan essence and mix in 150ml of hot water for pandan juice substitute
1/2 tsp fine salt
3/4 cup grated young coconut
3 tbsp + 1 tsp water
*or dessicated coconut as substitute
1 and 1/3 cup palm sugar finely chopped

Directions:

1. Combine all flours, pandan juice and water together in a medium size bowl, kneading well to form a smooth, pliable dough. Cover dough with a damp towel to prevent it drying out.
2. Mix salt and grated coconut together and place on a plate.
3. Bring a pot of water to boil then lower heat so that the water simmers gently. Pinch out a ball of dough about the size of a calamansi lime (about 20g each) and roll into your palms to form smooth balls. Carefully make a small well in the centre of the dough and fill with chopped palm sugar. Pinch dough together to enclose, roll them gently to smoothen and as you make them, drop them into the simmering water.



4. When the dough balls float to the top, carefully remove them with a slotted spoon and allow any excess water to drip off.



Drop the balls into the grated coconut and roll them around to coat evenly. Transfer to a serving plate and enjoy! :D

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

CUPCAKES:: lemon poppy seed cupcakes


Qty: makes approx 12 large cupcakes

Ingredients:

1/6 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup milk
2 cups plain flower
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
150g softened unsalted butter
zest of 2 lemons
1 1/2 cups of white sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Soak poppy seeds in milk for at least half an hour
2. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C
3. Line muffin tin with cupcake cups
4. Shift flour, baking powder and salt together
5. In separate bowl, cream butter for 1-2mins
6. Add lemon zest and beat for 1 min
7. Add sugar a third at a time and beat 1-2min each add and finally beat until sugar is almost dissolved and mixture is light and fluffy
8. Add eggs one a time and beat for 1min each add. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy
9. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine
10. Add a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and fold using a wooden spoon
11. Add half the milk with poppy seeds to mixture and combine
12. Repeat adding flour, milk then flour ( do not over mix the mixture just make sure the flour and milk is combined)
13. Spoon mixture into cupcake cups and bake in the over for approx 20min or until inserted skewer comes out clean.
14. Remove and allow to cool before frosty

Frosty::

25g softened butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups of icing sugar

Combine all ingredients and mix with butter knife. You may need to add more sugar depending on the consistency.

I've also used this recipe with orange instead and I do prefer the orange flavor but DH liked lemon! You decide :D

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Portugese Egg Custard Tarts


Egg Tarts Originally uploaded by chkee

Ingredients:

1 cup milk
3 tbsp corn flour
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup white sugar
6 egg yolks
1 pkt frozen puff pastry, thawed or filo pastry (my preference)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)
Lightly grease 12 muffin cups and line bottom and sides with pastry
2. In a saucepan, combine milk, corn flour, sugar and vanilla. Cook stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Place egg yolks in a bowl and slowly whisk 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into egg yolks. Gradually add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly. Cook stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove vanilla bean.
3. Fill pastry-lined muffin cups with mixture and bake in preheated oven for 20 mins or until crust is golden brown and filling is slightly browned on top.

Crème Caramel



I saw this recipe on "Alive and Cooking" and here it is...there is even a video to show you how to make it! :D
Here's my version of the Crème Caramel...not sure why it's called Crème Caramel instead of Brulee because the sugar is on top! ah well, who am I to question a chef!
For someone who loves crockery and cooks a bit I've never invested in any ramekins so instead of ramekins, I'd baked them in coffee cups. It was one of the easiest recipes I've ever tried especially when making custard and brulees, it's always been a bit daunting for me.
I've never been good at controlling the heat and often the egg and cream mixture curdle then the whole thing ends up in the bin instead of my tummy!
Hope you had given it a try also and was just as successful as mine...it was rather very yummy, if I do say so myself! LOL