Saturday, December 3, 2011

Edible decoration

I made oreo milkshake for the kids sometime back. I only used the biscuit part and normally discard the cream. Too much of those sweet creams are no good anyway. Before I threw them away, I used them to make into a flower. Maybe it can serve as a decoration in my future oreo cakes? Here is sharing a picture of it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Coconut Cakes

I was hoping this could be my entry for the Aspiring Bakers Challenge. However, I am writing this entry late and the method used in the recipe seems to be of the muffin way.

I have always love anything with coconut and I still have a packet of coconut cream that I bought for the purpose of last month's kuih challenge, so I planned to try this recipe when I am browsing the book after the kids' exam. It is a pity the maid side of me took over and I started cleaning the house on the first week when school holiday starts. It also happened that there were half day events like CCA etc in the same week so time flies and I was left with last 3 days of November. I finally made this at 8.30pm on 30th November but only has time to post it now so still not in time for AB challenge. :-(

My understanding was that cupcakes are made by creaming butter with sugar first, or whisking of eggs first. The wet into dry ingredient method usually means muffin. But this recipe with the title "Coconut Cakes with Lime Syrup" has the following short description :-

"These moist, coconut-lime cupcakes make an excellent dessert. for a sweeter touch, replace the yogurt with the same quantity of Chantilly Cream."

See that? It says coconut-lime cupcakes! Later on in the recipe I "attached" below, you will see it is the wet into dry method. So is this still a cupcake? Anyway, to make sure I will make it, I melted the butter before I cook my dinner. So the melted butter was sitting around for about 3-4 hours before it was being used. Would this affect the result? The batter was really very thick, so thick that whatever I spooned into the cupcake liner, it will stay in the shape that it went in. The batter did not change at all after 45 minutes of baking time accept the higher peaks of the batter turned golden brown. For some recipes, the thick batter melts into flat top then rises, some just rises as it is but this, I did not see any changes. The "peaks and valleys" were still where they were when I spooned batter in. The recipe mentioned it only takes 15-20 minutes and it is done when the tops spring back but I actually baked 45 minutes since it took so long for them to turn golden brown on top. After I took out the batch, I started to ponder, do I need to bake till it is golden brown at all? Perhaps they are never meant to be brown tops (book has no picture of the cupcake).

The cakes tasted lovely. Sweetness is just right as I reduced the sugar by 50g. Every one of them have slightly crispy top and a firm body. Every mouthful is filled with the desiccated coconut, just like eating the traditional coconut tart. I love it!

Here comes the recipe, from "desserts - 250 recipes for every occasion"

Coconut Cakes with Lime Syrup (Makes 8 cupcakes)

Coconut Cakes
2 cups (300g) all purpose (plain) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cups (270g) sugar
1 cup (125g) shredded (desiccated) coconut
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (250ml) cream of coconut
1 cup (250g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 cup (250ml) plain yogurt

Lime Syrup
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
3/4 cup (180ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
5 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
1/2 cup (125ml) water

1. Preheat the oven to 350dF (180dC/gas 4). Lightly grease eight muffin cups.

2. To prepare the coconut cakes, mix the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the sugar and coconut, stirring to combine. Combine the eggs, coconut cream, butter, and lime zest in a medium bowl. Whisk until blended to a smooth liquid. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour the batter into prepared muffin cups.

3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then invert onto the rack. Turn right side up and let cool completely.

4. To prepare the lime syrup. combine the sugar, lime juice, lime zest, and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until thickened to the consistency of honey. Pour a few spoonfuls of syrup over each cupcake. Allow to cool and absorb the lime syrup. Serve with a dollop of yogurt on the side.

Now, doesn't that look simple.

As usual I omitted the syrup, but I am sure it will taste better with the syrup. A little sweet sweet, a little sour sour ....

Here are the cupcakes in oven.

The results - see, no change from uncooked besides the brown top

The firm body

I hope someone will read this post and bake this and let me know what happen to her/his entire process and experience. I would love to see how much it differs from mine.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Pink Tiramisu

This is a strawberry tiramisu cake I made for my girl's birthday in the month of Oct.  It came from a magazine which I have returned to the library. Unfortunately, I cannot locate the recipe that I have snapped from the magazine and  again forgotten to note down the title of the magazine. There are many recipes that I wanted to try in that particular magazine so I will go and hunt for it again in the magazine section. After that I will update the recipe here.

It is a straight forward cake just like any tiramisu. The ingredients are almost the same except for dipping mixture. In place of the usual coffee and coffee liquor, it uses cranberry juice. I remember the magazine said that this cake is kid-friendly. However raw egg is one of the ingredient in the cake. :-(

The process of making the cake is pretty smooth. I asked the boy to help as I knew he would love to have a part in making his sister's birthday cake. He was in charge of cutting the strawberries into small pieces and helped assemble and decorated the cake. Everyone loves how the cake turned out and the taste was great. One thing I was puzzled about was the liquid found at the bottom of the cake. I do not remember giving the finger biscuits extra juices.

Let me get hold of the magazine as soon as possible. I will update the recipe once I get that.

Meanwhile, I will let the picture reminds me that the silver decoration balls went flat/melted into the cake after a night.

It is time for me to sleep again. 3am already. Gotta wake up early to bring kids out and about.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dessert recipes not to be forgotten

Was actually tidying my photo gallery halfway when I see alot of photos on things I have made. Time flies. October was gone before I can post up a few recipes that I have tried. These days I have not been staying up later than 12 so hardly get anything personal done. Have to summarise what was done and not recorded in this post so that I can still retry these recipes that I love.

1) 柚子果凍

This is a very simple recipe. I have to use up my ice jelly powder before it expires so I have been very hardworking sourcing for recipes online as well as the library. However, there are so many recipes but hardly any uses 愛玉粉 which is the ice jelly powder. Most recipes uses 寒天粉 which is actually agar agar powder. Out of desperation, I chose a simple recipe and replace the agar agar powder with my ice jelly powder. The kids like it and so do I.  As long as it is a cooling tasty dessert, who cares if it is ice jelly powder or agar agar powder. But the ice jelly powder is yellowish.

Ingredients (材料), for 3-4 people

寒天粉          2g
水                  300ml
柚子茶          100g
蜂蜜               2大匙

Method (做法)
1。 將水輿寒天粉倒入鍋中開中火加熱,一邊用木匙攪拌一邊將寒天粉煮融。沸騰之後再煮2-3分鐘,一邊攪拌使其完全融解。
2。 加入柚子茶輿蜂蜜攪拌融解。
3。 倒入杯子內,待稍微降溫之後用保鮮膜封口,放入冰箱冷藏凝固。

This is my Korean Yuzu Tea dessert made from Yuzu tea and ice jelly powder. I have forgotten to take down the title of the book that I got the recipe from (before I return the book to the library).

2. Gula melaka and coconut milk agar agar

Besides this dessert, I also tried making layered agar agar that has coconut milk. I love to eat anything with coconut milk. However, I did not succeed in making the agar agar separated. When it was being pour out, the liquid is a light brownish in colour. Most of my friends whom I shared my concern on the separation issue seem to assure me that the liquid will separate when cool. So I put the agar agar into the fridge and wait. The outcome is still the same, uniformly brown! But like all desserts, as long as they taste good, no one minds. I tried the recipe from Blessed Homemaker. I must clarify that there is nothing wrong with the recipe as many others have got it with the same recipe. My friend did mentioned that the coconut milk I bought in small carton may be the culprit. I have no chance to try again yet as my kids did not take the gula melaka well.

My brown gula melaka coconut milk agar agar.

Ok, I have to sleep now and will find time to post another birthday cake that I have made. *yawn*

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I made it to another round of challenge with Bingka Ubi (Baked Tapioca Kueh)

It is a stretch of 4 off day for my kids as it is blocked off as PSLE marking days. I am pretty happy with the "off" because I am planning to do more by staying up since I need not wake up early to send boy to school. Furthermore, hubby will be outstation so no one to bug me to sleep. *sigh* but my body cannot take it. Cannot deny I am not young anymore.

I have wasted last night and so tonight I am going to update this post while it is still hot! Bingka Ubi was made today! Bingka Ubi's mandarin translation is "烤木薯糕" (baked tapioca kueh - if translated into English from Mandarin).

I love any form of tapioca - in form of chips (spicy or bitter), in its original form steamed and eaten with grated coconut or baked. Me and my mother were having trouble getting tapioca. The NTUC is not selling it, so we have to depend on the wet market. After a few tries, she finally saw it yesterday and she has bought some for me. The amount is enough to make a quarter of the recipe in the book. Luckily a quarter, I am already having trouble finishing them as me and my mother (maybe my girl) will be the only one eating the kueh.

I took probably 45 minutes to grate 450g of tapioca using the mini grater that is sold in NTUC. Quite alright as I have set aside time for this bake today. After that, the steps are easy. Just mix all ingredient and heat the mixture till thick then off it went into the oven. As I did not want to burn the mixture, I use a really small heat so it took quite a while of constant stirring before the mixture seemed to dry up abit. While the mixture is in oven, the whole house smelled of coconut milk (windows are all closed as it was raining heavily). I love it.

However, I think I overbaked my kueh. So disappointed that after all these years of baking, I can still overlook the relationship of baking time and amount of bake. I knew I overbaked, but did not realise I should have adjust the time based on amount of bake. I simply followed the required time to bake which was 95 minutes for a 10" round tray while mine was only an oval pie dish! Furthermore, I only realised the mistake when I was blog hopping just now and chanced upon other bloggers' Bingka Ubi baked under 1 hour for a smaller amount. I can only console myself that I did not think much as I tried to follow as close to the instructions as possible since this is a new bake. Luckily I know how to tent my kueh but I tented it too late. It started browning after 10 - 15 minutes. However I am afraid it will not bake well if I tent it too early (with respect to the 95 minutes baking time). So I had a very brown skin Bingka Ubi, rather tough skin but the inside is still soft and chewy. It also has a natural yellow colour even though the tapioca is whitish. It got its colour from the gula melaka. Good thing I did not use yellow coloring. I also reduce the sugar and the sweetness is just perfect for me.

Here's my pie dish of Bingka Ubi (ya, that corner went into my mouth).

See the dry top. But the inside is a nice yellow. (ok, now you see how dark the base is.)

I ate 1/3 of it and my mother took another third. The last third is in my fridge now. Anyone can advise me how long can I keep them both in room temperature and the fridge?

Ok, here is the recipe from Tempting Kuih(chinese title : 茶粿香), complied by Wong Kee Sun, published by ONE PUBLISHER, library call number : 641.86 AZI - [COO]


1800 gm tapioca (grated)
500 ml thick coconut milk
400 ml water
300 gm gula Melaka
150 gm  castor sugar
50 gm milk powder
80 gm butter
1 1/2 tsp fine salt
Little yellow colouring

1. Combine all ingredients stir till even.
2. Stir over heat till mixture is almost thick.
3. Pour into a 10" round mould and bake at 180dC for 95 minutes.

Note :
1. Brush mould with butter at sides and bottom.
2. If prefer a yellow kuih, use 450 gm castor sugar and little yellow colouring.

Note by self to self :
Only made a quarter of the recipe as follows :-

450 gm tapioca (grated)
125 ml thick coconut milk
100 ml water
75 gm gula Melaka
37.5 gm  castor sugar (I use only 30 gm for convenience)
12.5 gm milk powder
20 gm butter
1/8 + 1/4 tsp fine salt

The pot of mixture ready to go on stove
The ring of rainbow after I washed the pot

It is a pity my dh only comes back on Friday night. Not sure if I shall keep a piece for him to taste test, but surely no point since it will not be as tasty as when it is fresh from oven.
*sigh* I still do not understand why are my kids rejecting gula Melaka.

I am so happy that I am able to submit this to Aspiring Bakers #12: Traditional Kueh (October 2011), hosted by Small Small Baker.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Birthday cake for my mother

I seldom succeed in getting a homemade birthday cake ready on time for that special day of anyone... however this time, I delivered the cake to her on the day of my mother's birthday! I am so proud of myself. Haha.

This is a very simple all in recipe, so I gamely try it out as a birthday cake. The recipe asked that all the ingredients be thrown into a food processor and then just bake and decorate. Sounds so easy right? But I do not have food processor and I think the KA can do the job. The recipe is for a 4 layers cake and I half the recipe since I wanted to make a 2 layer one (* struggling to keep awake *).

Even though the butter is relatively soft, after some mixing, there are still cubes of butter not blended into the batter. I chose to leave it because I am worried about the gluten forming when flour is over beaten. But this recipe uses self raising flour .... does this applies to self raising flour too? I am also too lazy to lay the baking paper properly, so I just simply fold and tug to cover the 8 inch tray. I thought the batter would turn more "watery" and then will press out the folds but I was wrong.

The "naked" cake ended up looking like this.

Then I happily (dozed off for a while while writing!) prepare frosting. I did not use the recommended buttercream since I wanted to finish my whip cream in the freezer. I beat the whipping cream with my hands, so tired but I push myself and when finally done, I pour cooled melted chocolate into the cold whipped cream. I am sure all of you know what happens after that. This mistake is the 2nd time. The first time, I pour cool melted chocolate into the whipped cream when I served them ice cream like that of chocolate syrup... but the melted chocolate hardens upon touching the cold whipped cream. I can not imagine I can forget the mistake and made same one again. So in the end, the frosting was a whipped cream with bits of chocolate. Well, 另類 frosting then.

The cake was very sweet. I dare not reduce any sugar as I am afraid the cake will taste bitter if there was not enough sugar to compensate. The inside looked presentable but the cake is on the dry side and crumbly. However, it taste very good with the whipped cream. This is how my decorated cake looked like.

The recipe is taken from BBC Australian Good Food April 2011

Layered Easter Chocolate Cake 
Serves 12 Prep 20 mins plus cooling
Cook 35 mins 
Super Easy, Family favourite

1 1/2 cups (225g) self raising flour
1 1/4 cups (275g) firmly packed brown sugar
250g unsalted butter, softened
75g dark chocolate, melted
1/2 cup (50g) cocoa 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
16 mini Easter eggs, to decorate

Ganache icing
1/2 cup (80ml) cream
160g dark chocolate, chopped

buttercream filling
375g unsalted butter, softened
500g pure icing sugar
1/2 cup (80ml) milk

1. Preheat oven to 180C or 160C. Grease and line two 20cm round pans.

2. Place flour, sugar, butter, chocolate, cocoa, baking powder, vanilla, eggs and 2 tbsp water in a food processor and process until smooth. Spoon into pans, level surfaces and bake for 35 mins, until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Stand for 5 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

3. Meanwhile, to make icing, heat cream in a small pan on medium. Bring to boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stand for 2-3 mins, until chocolate is melted. Whisk until smooth. Stand for 20 mins. until cooled slightly and thickened. 

4. To make buttercream filling, use an electric mixer to beat butter until as white as possible. Alternately beat in sugar and milk, starting and finishing with a little sugar.

5. Using a bread knife, split each cake into two layers. Sandwich together all four layers with buttercream. Top with ganache and decorate with Easter eggs. Serve.

For those interested in the texture inside, I hope the picture can help a little.

Phew, I have finally managed an easy birthday cake on time for someone's birthday!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chocolate Snowskin

Finally, on my mooncake post. After the first try on mooncake, I am determine to make another batch so that I can participate in AB. The previous try was a snowskin premix powder, so this time I make a trip to Phoon Huat to understand about the ingredients.

I still have sesame paste not used up, but my boy only eats chocolate paste. We bought one box of snowskin from a bakery in JB and he only eats the chocolate snowskin with chocolate filling. As he did not try what  was made in the first batch, I am determine to make a chocolate skin with chocolate filling for him.

I googled the net for quite sometime, but no recipe seem simple enough. Then my mother came to my help with her mooncake recipe book which she borrowed from the library a few days ago. There is a recipe on chocolate snowskin mooncake with chocolate lotus filling. I went to gather the ingredients, snowskin powder and lotus filling. I cannot buy chocolate lotus fillings  because I will have too much filling to clear.

I am not satisfied with having only one type, so with lotus filling, I made the chocolate lotus filling and I made the chocolate skin as well as the strawberry snowskin from HHB's recipe. Luckily I did not use sesame filling, because I ran out of time. Initially my friend (with her kids) are interested to join me in trying out making mooncakes but after much consideration, I felt that time is too short to allow kids. It was a mad rush and my kids are happy to be able to play with each other instead of helping me out too (thank goodness). Good thing I am still on time to send my girl to school.

I did not make alot of chocolate filling since it is a trial batch. I reduced half the lotus filling with the recipe so that the filling can be more chocolatey. So with two types of filling, two types of skin, there are four combination of mooncakes.

The chocolate lotus filling is dry. Pretty sure it is so because of the additional chocolate. The chocolate skin is ok, not too wet to handle but it gets more difficult to handle as time ticks by.  Initially we (my mother came over too) try 20g skin, 30g filling but it is too difficult for us to handle, so we sticked back to 21 - 22g skin, 28g filling. I will challenge the 20,30 next year perhaps.

We still did not get nice prints on the mooncake but I think it has nothing got to do with the mould since my friend can create nice mooncake from the same mould my mother bought from Phoon Huat. The strawberry skin is pretty easy to handle (all thanks to HHB's fine tuning). I did not add any colouring and the pink is very acceptable to me.

I still have both types of filling and the snowskin powder left. Not sure when I will be doing mooncakes but if I do not, what else can I use the powder for?

Here's sharing the chocolate snowskin mooncake recipe from "月餅精選" Published by One Publisher

130gm water
70gm brown sugar

40gm cooking chocolate
10gm coco powder
10gm chocolate elmuco (I omitted this)

20gm shortening
60gm fried glutinous rice flour

300gm lotus seed paste
1/2 tbsp chocolate elmuco  (I omitted)
60gm cooking chocolate (melted)

1) Cook (A) till boil.
2) Add in ingredient (B), mix well. Leave to cool. Then add in ingredient (C). mix become a smooth dough, divide into equal portions.
3) Wrap in chocolate filling, press into the mould and knock it out. Chill to set.

I am not sure how many can this recipe make ? I forgot to count and I have eaten them all up. :)

I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #11 : Mid-Autumn Treats (Sept 2011). Too tired again to write any further.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Banana Walnut streusel Pound

It seems that I have tried alot of recipes in July. Besides the ice cream, the strawberry trifle, the crispy skin chicken wings and garlic bread (thou posted in Aug), I also baked a Banana Walnut Streusel Pound Cake. I have referred the recipe from HHB. It was a great success.

It is almost two months ago that I attempted this recipe. My super ripe bananas is the pushing factor. The bananas stayed in the fridge for a few days before I took the time to bake this pound cake. Thanks to my friend who told me that the banana will stay fresh in the fridge even though the skin turns black. I washed and cleaned the equipment and tray in the morning and the actual action started in the afternoon. I find this method of "slicing up the whole baking job" works for me.

The process is just like any other cake, putting the ingredients one by one into the KA. However, my batter curdles even though I patiently dribbled the eggs in. Not sure if it affected the final product, but even if it did, no one noticed. The new thing about this bake is the streusel. Usually I will totally omit any extra work, but this time, I had the walnuts, the whole ones! I wanted to just sprinkle the walnuts bits (yup, I broke open them and smashed them to big bits) on tops but I am afraid they get burnt. So I obediently followed the recipe and made the streusel dough. In the end, I am so happy with the end product and I am also very happy doing the grating of the streusel dough as it is very fun.

The cake is a hit but the walnut bits are left behind. My kids are not nut people. Please tell me walnuts are healthy and not fattening because I ate all the walnut bits!

I will end this post with the pictures of this lovely cake. Please refer to HHB's blog for the recipe. I must find a time to backup the recipe.


Finally, I am quite up to date on the bakes and makes. The final one will be the snowskin mooncake that I tried this morning for AB challenge.  But I must go sleep now .. it is 3.21am .... zzzz....

Easy chocolate Ice Cream - no machine needed

I googled this recipe off the internet. Luckily I photographed it down with the link. I was trying to use up my Baileys so have to find other ways besides just drinking. This ice cream was made in July 15th.

Here is the recipe from David Lebovitz The Easiest Chocolate Icecream Recipe .... Ever

Easy Chocolate Ice Cream : No Machine Needed
(Makes 4 - 6 scoops)

You will need :
55g Dark chocolate (around 50% cocoa), chopped
80ml milk, whole or low-fat
80ml Baileys liquor
1 medium-sized ripe banana, peeled, and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon (about 15ml) dark rum

Directions :

1. Put chocolate and milk in a medium bowl and melt in microwave. Use 20 second burst and stir well after each.
2. Pour that chocolate milk, Baileys, chopped banana and rum into a blender and whiz together until smooth.
3. Tip into a plastic or metal container, cover, and freeze for at least 4 hours. And that's it.

Isn't that simple? No need for ice cream maker. Did not even mentioned have to take out and whiz for a few times. Well, I find that the texture is not like ice cream. It is more like Gelato texture and it melts very very fast. I read that the banana is there to help create the creamy feel but I did not feel it. This time I do not have nice magazine pictures to tempt you but my melting away one. :-)

Well, I don't think I am going to try this recipe again. Luckily it is a small portion, otherwise I will gain alot of weight just by eating this one.

Strawberry Trifle

My index are getting more and more disorganised. I started this blog to help me organise the tried recipes but don't think it is helping. Only the recent ones are helpful as I tend to forget what I have baked or made. Wonder if it is possible to revamp the whole index. Haiz.

Anyway, I remembered I made layered desserts before (should be a recipe from HHB) and this should not be my first one, but I could not locate the previous try in my blog (will try harder when have time). I made this on July 7th (as my picture is dated).

It looks very pretty, like this, from the magazine

But mine looked like this :

I do not have much time to bake, so I use the small amount of time to make these simple desserts.

I cannot remember which magazine I have got this recipe from, but it goes like this :-

Strawberry Trifles (Makes 4 servings)


1 tbsp icing sugar
250g strawberries, finely diced and 4 sliced strawberries to garnish
200g sponge cake or pound cake, diced
250g Yoplait Creamy Light Strawberry Yogurt
2 gingersnap biscuit, finely crushed


1. Sprinkle the icing sugar over the diced strawberries and let them stand for 5 minutes.
2. Line the base with a wine glass with the sponge cake. Top with 1 tbsp strawberry yogurt and 1 tbsp strawberries. Continue to layer until the glass is almost full.  Repeat with remaining glasses.
3. Top each cup with the sliced strawberries and sprinkle the gingersnap biscuits over. Serve immediately.

Of course I did not buy any gingersnap. I have used the last few pieces of Sara Lee pound cake so I have scrapped off the pound cake skin sticking to the aluminium foil tray and sprinkled them on top. You did not see it in my cups here because the kids cannot wait till I finish photo-ing it.

I guess desserts cannot be anymore simpler than this assembly job. I did not create the layers but am sure you can. Give this treat to yourself and your family. :-)

p/s : now I am thinking of making it again.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Brownie suitable for breakfast?

There are nothing for breakfast tomorrow and I am not willing to buy bread today as I am doing marketing tomorrow, so I quickly took out the magazine that I have renewed  a couple of times just because I have not tried out the few recipes in it. There are 3 recipes I wanted to try in this Australian GoodFood Magazine but I only have most of the ingredients in one recipe - Triple Chocolate Fudge brownies.

Look how tempting this recipe is with this picture from the magazine.

I marked down this recipe due to the flaky top. I once baked such a brownie but I lost the recipe. However I did not achieve that and I cannot even explained what happened during the whole baking process when it is such a straight forward recipe. Perhaps I should not have meddle any single bit of the process and ingredients.

First, I replaced some white chocolate with cookie and cream chocolates I got from my Perth trip and I even reduced the amount of white chocolate. Then I used chocolate chips as milk chocolate. As the sugar is added into melted butter so I used normal sugar instead of caster sugar as I guessed they will melt anyway. I also reduced the sugar to 50g since my cookies and cream chocolate is very sweet. I also beat the eggs vigorously instead of lightly as instructed because I was thinking of adding more rising power to the brownie (LOL). Perhaps I am all wrong....

The mixture became like a dough. It did not even stick to the sides of my pot. I felt that if I did not reduce the white chocolate amount, I will get an even firm mass of batter.

I have chosen to try out fan mode again. Actually I am not too sure if the mode called "turbo" on my oven is the same as fan mode. The manual said that "convection makes hot air circulate around the food ..." so doesn't that sounds like fan mode? Anyway, halfway through the baking process, the cooking in process batter turned to this below -

The surface has alot of oil, all bubbling. I am not sure why is that so. When baking time is up, I see that the top did not achieved the flaky look, so I turn on the top heat and wanted to dry up the top. This process went around 3-5 minutes. In the end, the brownie seems kind of dry but I still did not get the flaky top. The kids like it thou. I guess it will go well with vanilla ice cream like my friend suggested. Presenting my dry top brownie :-)

After I settled the "no breakfast tomorrow" problem, now I started to wonder if this bake is suitable for breakfast tomorrow..... *sigh*

Here is sharing the recipe from the magazine (Australian GoodFood April 2011) -

Triple chocolate fudge brownies (Makes 16 Prep 10 mins plus cooling Cook 25mins)

125g cold unsalted butter, chopped
200g dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar (I used normal sugar and reduce amount to 50g)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup (185g) plain flour, sifted
180g white chocolate, chopped ( I think I used around 130g)
100g milk chocolate, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 180dC or 160dC fan. Grease and line a 20cm square cake pan.
2. Place butter and dark chocolate in a small saucepan on low heat and stir until melted. Stir in sugar. Cool for 10 mins.
3. Stir in egg, then flour, and then white and milk chocolate. Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 20 - 25 mins, until firm to touch, Cook in pan. Cut into 16 squares and serve.

So simple and yet I did not make it. Haiz. I think I will find a time to try this again, follow to the perfect T (but really worried about the sugar and the sweetness).

If there are any health concious readers, the following information that came with the recipe would be helpful to you (but not me :-( ) -

In each brownie 1216 kilojoules, 4g protein, 16g total fat (10g sat fat), 33g carbohydrate (23g sugar), 1g fibre,  31mg sodium.

*phew* I managed to update my blog today with today's bake! :-)

Friday, September 9, 2011

A recipe good to keep - Soy & Ginger Chicken noodles

No, this is not a baking recipe but I have to type this recipe down for easy reference as it is still a new recipe that I have not put into my routine menu. I cooked this for yesterday's dinner and the whole family love it so much. My kids even ask me to cook it again for today's dinner! It is a one dish wonder - Soy & Ginger Chicken Noodles. This is how the dish looks like in the Kitchen Culture - Food & Travel Magazine Dec 2010 issue.

This recipe has very simple ingredients and very easy to cook. It uses yellow noodles but I am afraid my kids cannot accept the yellow noodles "alkaline" taste so I change the noodle to spagetti. I am so happy that the whole family likes it.  I know I will be cooking it again real soon but will add in more ingredients like button mushrooms.

The recipe is as follows (extracted from Kitchen Culture - Food & Travel Dec 2010) :-

2 chicken thighs fillets, skinned
1/2 cup light soy sauce (I converted to 2 tablespoon soy sauce)
1/4 cup mirin (I converted to 1 tablespoon)
2 tbsp sake or white wine (I use chinese cooking wine)
1 tbsp sugar
2 thumb sized pieces of ginger (about 40g)
2 tbsp canola oil
250g fresh yellow noodles
A large handful of kailan or chye sim, sliced
Red chillies, spring onions or coriander leaves to garnish

1) Cut chicken into large dices and place in a bowl with light soy sauce, mirin, sake or white wine, sugar and ginger. Leave to marinate for about 10 minutes.

2) Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan.

3) Remove chicken from marinade (reserve the marinade) and fry over high heat until half cooked, about 2 minutes.

4) Add noodles and 2 tbsp of marinade mixture, and stir fry till evenly mixed. If it looks dry, add a little water.

5) Add vegetables and fry for a further minute, adding more water or marinade of the mixture looks dry.

6) Once the vegetables turn dark green and are cooked through, transfer to a plate and serve, garnished with red chillies and spring onions or corriander leaves.

Mine doesn't look that nice without the chilli and spring onion garnish. Perhaps I should try using dice red bell pepper as a replacement. I must remind myself to go easy on the oil too, cos the last portion of noodles from the bottom of the wok is rather oily. Perhaps due to the extra half tablespoon of sesame oil I put inside the marinate. I have intended to reduce the 2 tablespoon canola to 1.5 tbsp and to change the 0.5 tbsp (of the 1.5 tbsp) of canola into sesame oil for that extra fragrance.
I made a mistake by adding the sesame oil into marinating the chicken meat, so the end product is rather oily as I did not reduce the canola portion. Anyway, there will still be second time to make amendments.

My kids super love this dish. I hope yours too.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

First try on Mooncakes

*This post has to supercede the older bakes and makes cos I need to ride on this post to show some pictures of a plant for a forum purpose.

Mooncakes ah mooncakes ... this item always in my to do list .. just like any others and the CNY cookies. I casually mentioned during my visit to my in law that I wanted to try make snowskin this Sept holiday but has not purchase the powder yet then one of my sister in law promptly gave me a packet of snowskin powder. I declined as I am afraid I will not be able to find the time to purchase the rest of the ingredients but she insisted so I roped in my mother to help (got extra push factor mah).

We have decided that yesterday morning will be D day. It is not her first as she has done it many years ago but it certainly is my first and my kids' first. She came over after my hubby left for work and when we are about to start, I noticed that my laundry hanging outside has been "attacked"!

So we have to spent some time tidying up the mess, rinse the laundry again and it is noontime. I have to cook lunch while my mother go ahead to make the skin for the mooncake. She also taught my kids how to wrap the mooncake but my boy gave up halfway. I managed to make 4 pieces and am quite satisfied with my kungfu. Hee hee. See below and you will not be able to tell which is done by me, my mother or my girl. (ya so my girl is the smartest lah :->)

The designs are not very clear. Not sure if it is due to the insufficient mooncake to fill up the mould (but the mooncake did come to the brim) or the mould is not good (LOL) but I am satisfied that they look pretty decent. We did not try any fancy favour as it is the first time after all. Not too difficult to wrap in my opinion. It is after some read up that there are certain ratio to follow for certain weight of the mooncake. This time it is 20g skin with 28g filling. I must go research more and perhaps try our HHB's strawberry flavour (using strawberry milk).

Below is the cross section of one that I made. I like that the skin thickness is balance all round. Not sure if that is the only one out of the four thou. I don't think I will be able to submit this post to AB challenge since I do not have any recipe. The skin is from premix powder that has shortening packaged together and my mother has threw away the packaging before I can see the amount of ingredients. I hope I can try again soon.

Snowskin mooncake with black sesame filling

Before I go off, I have to use this post to show the plant that fell from the "sky". I need to ask experts how to take care of the plant as I am hopping to adopt it. The rest of my plants died cos I gave them overdose of fertiliser. :-(

I hope I can complete the other post sometime soon, very soon.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Playing with the same recipe

No one to be blame but myself. I have not been able to stay up late lately. Used to the early rest routine. Not able to motivate myself to try new recipes too, with lack of time I dare not buy new ingredients while trying to finish the old expiring ones. PC has been collecting dust when all I did was to post what I baked and cooked and made to Facebook using the phone.

Today deliberately drank another cup of coffee so that I can stay up to transfer my scribblings (the experiences I had on my bakes) on the pieces of papers stucked on my strong room door to the blog. It really helps when I can just come into my blog on my phone and refer to the recipes that I have tried before. I even told myself that I should do "last out (from oven), first in (to blog)" but now that I am staring at the scribblings, some just did not make sense. I still have to try my best.

I am still busy as ever with "do not know what", but has to use up the expiring ingredients and to provide variety of snack choices for kids to bring for recess, so I did a few rounds of muffins with oat, and chocolate. I had combined the recipe 1 from the banana muffin trial with Nigella's chocolate chocolate-chip muffin (NOTE : this link brings you to Small Small Baker's blog since I refer to the recipe from her site). My "recipe" goes something like this since I half the portions :-

125 g SR flour
37.5 instant oatmeal (Quaker brand - red packaging)
92g sugar
30g butter, melted
92g milk
1 egg
1 tbsp cocoa powder
75g chocolate chips (save 1/4 for topping)

I did worry if the lack of banana and addition of the cocoa powder will make the muffin dry. I cannot remember what is the outcome as this batch is baked in Aug 15th. I vaguely remember it is rather hard and they could be overbaked. However, they were still tasty as the kids protested when my mother took quite a few pieces.

The 2nd time I used the same recipe is on Aug 24th. I had the time, so i tried out fan mode with two trays of mini ones (minis are easier for them to bring to school). I remembered I read that using fan mode, one must turn down the temperature roughly by 20 dC, so I used 190dC this time for 15 minutes. I had a hard time deciding if the muffins were cooked because I was not sure the stick (testing doneness) turns out chocolately due to it being uncooked or that I had poked into a chocolate chip, so I added 3 more minutes. The top tray had hard crust while the bottom try was fine. It is school holiday week now, so let me see if I still have the chance to try this recipe again. This time I must make sure I update the blog asap.

Initially I thought that things will not get burn in fan mode as there is no direct heat, but I was wrong. Some of the chips in the top tray got burnt but the rest are all just nice. The chips inside the muffins are still darker in colour (towards the colour of being burnt) rather than the nice brown on the outside of the cupcake. I still have not solve the mystery of "inside darker colour chololate chip". Haiz.

I am dozing off (at 4am!) so will leave the other items till the next time (hopefully tomorrow night). I hope I talked sense at 4am.

Here's a picture to share that depicts all my "complaints".

The burnt chips on top and those inside

Thursday, August 4, 2011

hobby vs "job"

It has been (almost) another month since I last wrote. I missed the Aspiring Baker Challenge on Swiss Roll! It is really fun to have an aim to work towards but pity, baking is just one of my hobby and my job is housewife. So, I got to manage the kids, the house as well as cook meals (but I love cooking too!). It is not helping that I have to sleep early most of the time since I got to wake up at 6am (tonight not counted as I really want to write something before stuff I want to record down get lost).

For the past few weeks, NLB has this DEAR program where one can borrow up to 12 books! So I spent most of my evening infront of the TV, ears with the Chinese news and eyes over food magazines. Nowadays I use my phone to snap down pictures of recipes that I want to try and of tips that are useful to me. I need to "record" the tips here so that I can easily refer to them when I needed them. I do have alot (of recipes) stored in the harddisk but the "find file" function sometimes is not as trustworthy as the search engine here.

This is one which I find quite interesting. There was a time where steel soap is an in-thing that can remove odor. This tip highlights to us that we had that "soap" all along!

 Isn't this interesting?

So I said I have to cook meals right and trying out different/new recipes is really one of my favourite too.  I was reading HHB's blog and noticed her crispy skin roasted chicken.  I knew I had to try it but I have to do it with wings/drum sticks/ chicken legs. After I have bought required ingredients, and has read her blog in details umpteen times before I set on cooking, I realised that I borrowed that very same magazine home too! Anyway I still refer to her steps since it is tested by someone I knew and can be trusted. I really ended up with crispy skin chicken wings. HHB advised that I try the whole chicken, so that the meat will be more moist but I think to cater for my kids, drumsticks/wings are still the way to go. Here is the proof of the crispy skin.

I also tried my hands on garlic bread, with homemade garlic spread on the free hotdog buns that came with the Gardenia white bread every weekend and were very well received by my family members. Just a few days ago, I made pancake for breakfast too and had a go with making mickey mouse and mickey's hand shape pancake. Not a success thou. I used the stainless cookie cutter dipped in butter but the batter still stuck to the cutters. So I had to remove the whole cutter thing and push out the half cooked pancakes and return them to pan. Due to this trouble, I only made one each, haha.


It is 1am now. Got to wrap up. I need to write my experience on baking HHB's banana walnut streusel pound cake another day.

Here's sharing this investment strategy that I find interesting, also from a food magazine.

Good night.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Something new from Down Under

It has been a month since I last post. I thought I will have more time to bake during the school holiday and perhaps also to engage the kids in baking, but no, I was wrong. The holiday flew pass.

The first weekend was spent on board Royal Carribean and there are housework to be done when we came back. After that, I have to go searching for cheap winter wear for the kids in preparation for the Perth trip on the last week of the school holiday. Top that with alot of last minute research, planning, booking and finally flew off.

We came back right before school starts, so besides kicking in the routine, I have housework and this is the first time I touch the PC at night as I did not stay past 12 midnight previously.

I have no bake to share, but I knew Aspiring bakers are on swiss roll this month .. I hope I can have time to  join.

This post will then be dedicated to new fruits that I got to know during the Perth Trip.

This is called Tamarillo. I found this in the farm we stayed. The owner say this is a delicacy. The market there sells one for around AUZ70cents. The owner of the farm has warned me that he did not like the taste and it is like passionfruit and has also advised me to sprinkle sugar on top before I eat it.
I finally got a chance to try it on the next night after we are back. The inside does look like passionfruit with little seeds. The taste is a little sour and a little mild sweet but I can take it. No one else in my family wants it. Here are the pictures of the insides.

Besides the above fruit of the size of an egg, I got to taste another fruit from the "wild". We are touring the Caversham Wildlife Park when I see the Park's staff picking up fruits from the ground and the tree into a basket. More daring overseas, so I went over to KPO. The staff told me (of course upon me asking), those are called Irish Strawberries. She is collecting them for feeds to the birds in the park. I asked if they can be consume by human (silly question?) and she said yes, but not those on the floor. So I pluck one out from the short tree (or should I say shrub) and I munched it. It was sweet. Let me show you how it looked.

The berry

With this, I leave you to goggle more about the fruits I talked about if you are interested.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Two recipes of Banana muffin

Purposely bought a bigger bunch of banana so that I can try out these two recipes in the library books. However,  I am busy with "not sure what" that I have to fridge my spotty banana in the fridge till the skin turn black. That forces me to find a time to do it.

This was done before I went away for a weekend cruise. I have no time to update then so I cannot remember much about the experience, or any hiccups (Haiz, so old already) but the only thing that I remember was, the muffins are not oily, both types. After I eat them, I do not even need to wash hands with soap!

The kids helped with the mixing and scooping. They are as excited as me because these are done with the new oven. As the muffins are of the ever popular flavour, there was no problem of "excess stocks". I have to type down these two tried recipes before the books are to be returned to the library. Wish I will be able to find them again, because there are still quite a few recipes I would like to try out.

Recipe 1, taken from Great Tastes Little Cakes published by Bay Books

Banana Muffins (Makes 12) 
250 g (9 oz / 2 cups) self-raising flour
75 g (2 1/2 oz / 1 cup) oat bran
185 g (6 1/2 oz / 3/4 cup) caster sugar
60 g (2 1/4 oz) unsalted butter, melted
185 ml (6 fl oz / 3/4 cup) milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
240 g (8 1/2 oz / 1 cup) mashed, ripe banana (2 medium bananas)

1. Preheat the oven to 210 dC (415F / Gas 6-7). Lightly grease a 12 hole standard muffin tin. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the oat bran and the sugar. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.

2. Combine the butter, milk, eggs and banana in a separate mixing bowl and add to the flour mixture all at once. Using a wooden spoon, stir until just mixed. Do not overmix - the batter should remain lumpy.

3. Spoon mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 15 minutes, or until puffed and brown. Leave in tin for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Note : For an extra treat, beat 100g ( 3 1/2 oz) cream cheese, 2 tablespoons icing sugar and 2 teaspoons lemon juice with electric beaters until light and creamy. Spread over muffins and top with dried banana slices.

Recipe 2, taken from healthy lunchboxes for kids by Amanda Grant

muffins (makes 12)
50 g butter (or sunflower oil)
300 g self raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
80 g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
110 ml natural yogurt (if you don't have yogurt, you could use milk)
110 ml milk
a few drops of vanilla extract
2 big handfuls of berries (e.g. blueberries or raspberries) - I replaced it with mash banana

1. Preheat the oven 200dC (400F) gas 6. Line the 12 muffin holes with paper cases - if you don't have any, just grease the muffin holes really well with butter.

2. Melt the butter in the microwave or in a small pan. Leave to cool slightly. Sift the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the sugar to the flour.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork, add the yoghurt, milk, vanilla extract and melted butter.

4. Quickly and gently mix everything together in the large bowl. Don't over-mix or your muffins will not be light. Quick fold in the fruit, and then spoon the mixture into the cases.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Take the muffins out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. When they have completely cooled, place in an airtight container, or you could bag, label, and freeze half for another time.

I halved both the recipes. I like the first recipe as it uses oat. I like the second recipe as it is very versatile. The author said that the muffins can be freeze and she encourages experimenting with different fruit. That is why I use banana. Here's sharing with you the products - product of recipe 1 in ikea paper case, product of recipe 2 in white cup.

I think handmix mufins are really good for my kids' bento. Easy to make and best do them in mini cases so that the muffins can fit into their bento boxes. However, in my case, baking is a troublesome process, because my oven is also a storage place. Not only do I need to move away the stuff I put on the counter top infront of the oven, I also have to move out the baking trays in the oven, as well as a oven toaster on top of my oven before I can start a baking session. If only I had more counter top space.

This is the new oven at work, now with lights so that baking can also be done at night. ;-)

p/s : Anyone has idea how to enter fractions that are used in dictating the measurement of ingredients? I hope the recipes are understandable.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More tries on sandwich maker

 Previously, I folded it triangular ... this time I tried rectangular. However, the milk toast is not big enough!!! So one end is still not seal properly.
So can you see that the sealed line actually pressed on the bread skin? It will not work this way, so I still have one end opened bread.

I tried one more time, with two pieces of bread, but once the sealed line pressed on the bread skin, the part will not be sealed. 

So after two more tests, I think can more or less conclude that the bread need not be steam soft before it can be sealed.

Also, I will be using a new oven for future bakes. The old one is working but my mother who has shifted further away from me (used to be next block) wanted the oven back to do occasional baking, so she asked me to get a new one. With the limited tabletop space, I do not have much choices and thus settled for the below.

The salesman says this is the latest model, has double layer glass door for better heat retention, with light (a must for me) and got self clean wall.  However, I am not very happy with the wall that has coating that will come off. 

See, even before I use, the coating is already off a little. I wonder if there will be any problem with heating up this chemical coated wall... but I really have not much choice due the the space limit. I hope to start baking soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another nice drink

Long long time ago, I ordered this drink 西洋菜蜜棗水 from Macau Express in Expo and I liked it very much. I was recently told it is also served in Crystal Jade.  I remembered asking my friend from Hong Kong to share the recipe, but I had since "lost" the email in the inbox.

Actually, my intention is to cook watercress soup as requested by hubby but it is such a big bunch of watercress (bought from NTUC) so I think the taste will be too overpowering if I used all. I wouldn't want to drink the soup again 2 days later (I will definitely have leftovers since kids will only drink a little) so I had the idea to cook it into the sweet drink. I googled the net for recipe (in mandarin) but it returns mostly the version with pork/pork bones. Finally I found one. My hubby thinks the drink is close to what we have then, but the watercress taste is still rather strong. I am only using 100g of watercress to abt 1.5 litre. So I will try to reduce the watercress portion the next time I try.

This drink is said to be good for the lungs and for cough. No matter what it is for, it will be a good drink.

p/s : I happened to itchy hand, google with english and it returned with more results. Perhaps will try the rest of the recipes the next time.

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