December 25, 2010

Breakfast Buddies

I have to wake up early every morning even when I am on long period of leaves. Can't help it. My son wakes up at 7am and mummy has to follow suit or else he will have to go hungry and his cot will be wet with leakages from his very very well filled diaper. Then of course, cleaning up his mess isn't entirely a holiday treat I give myself.


So we both wake up early just for our boy. And when both of us are up, only 1 of us need to attend to him. Since breakfast is supposedly a key element in every nutritionist's recommendations, recently I have volunteered myself to make breakfast for the both of us. Armed with Nigella Lawson's book and many inspirational blogs, I am more than ready.


I found this nice easy little bread recipe in Ju's The Little Teochew blog - Pão de Queijo. What a cool name isn't it? Or you can simply call it Brazilian Cheese Bread.


It was really easy to make and the batter can be kept in the fridge for up to a week. Taste wise it reminded me a lot of French Toast (no kidding!) but this texture is slightly more chewy.


What a good way to start Christmas Day! Merry Christmas!





Brazilian Cheese Bread
Recipe from here
(Makes about 20 mini muffin sized bread)


Ingredients
1 egg (at room temperature)
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup milk
Scant 1 1/2 cups (170 grams) tapioca flour
1/2 cup (packed, about 66 grams) grated cheese of your choice (I used grated mozzarella for this. Simply because it is found readily in my fridge)1 tsp salt (or more to taste)


Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. 
  2. Grease a mini-muffin tin. 
  3. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. (I like to leave the cheese bits intact so I did not pulse until puree stage). At this point you can store the batter in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  4. Pour into the mini muffin pan. (I sprinkled some sugar on top for half of it as I preferred a slightly sweeter version. Think French Toast with sugar and you'll get the idea)
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until all puffy and just lightly browned.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for a few minutes. Eat while warm or save to reheat later (Best to eat them fresh out of the oven).

December 21, 2010

Key Lime Pie

I first tried this sinful pie at PS Cafe. Friend and I decided to give ourselves a good lunch break and drove all the way there to have a good meal to enjoy ourselves before delving into the stressful work again... even on a Friday.


The place was crowded with chic young and dressed up tai-tais. As we lament about the life that we have vs theirs, we reckoned that we NEED to have desserts and we chose Key Lime Pie and others (yah, more than one).


Their Key Lime Pie looked pretentiously odd in lime green color (later I realized it's due to coloring being added) but instantly wowed me at the first bite. It was smooth, full of citrus tang and absolutely creamy. Hmmm... I think I am going back there again.


So when I was home, I went about searching for recipes and found it on Jamie Oliver's site. It is really easy to make.


The result is a slightly dense pie, not as smooth and soft as the one in PS Cafe and not enough zing to it. Nevertheless it was close enough. I would definitely up the amount of lime juice, reduce slightly on the condensed milk the next time I make this again.





Key Lime Pie
From Jamie Oliver's site but contributed by Andy Harris


Ingredients
• 4 egg yolks
• 400ml condensed milk
• 6 tbsp fresh lime juice
• 200ml double cream
• Lime zest (optional), to serve

Crust
• 12 digestive biscuits 
• 45g caster sugar 
• 135g melted unsalted butter



Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175C.
  2. For the pie crust, lightly grease a 22cm (across the top) metal or glass pie dish with a little of the melted butter. 
  3. Blend digestive biscuits, caster sugar and remaining melted butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Transfer to pie dish and spread over the bottom and up the sides, firmly pressing the mixture down. 
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and place dish on a wire rack to cool.
  6. For the filling, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. Gradually whisk in condensed milk until smooth. Mix in lime juice, then pour filling into pie crust and level over with the back of a spoon.
  7. Return to the oven for 15 minutes then place on a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
  8. To serve, whip cream until it just holds stiff peaks. Add dollops of cream to the top of the pie, and grate over some lime zest, for extra zing. (I added the lime zest into the filling itself)

December 17, 2010

Molten Chocolate Cakes (Lava Cakes)

After trying a few recipes on Molten Chocolate Cakes aka Warm Chocolate Cakes aka Chocolate Lava Cakes, this recipe from Nigella yields the best results for me so far. So good that I think I can start entertaining guests with this without shame or fear. Or bringing them to my longtime friends' potluck gatherings.


On the latter, I have been bringing my failed experiments to them. Somehow they are now fearful of what I'll bring every time and yet are so sweet not to discourage me from bringing my bakes. Guess at the next gathering, I will try to do them some justice.



Molten Chocolate Babycakes
Adapted from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess
(Makes 4 ramekins)

Ingredients
50g unsalted butter + extra for greasing ramekins350g dark chocolate150g caster sugar (I used only half)4 large eggs1 tsp vanilla extract
50g plain flour (I used self-raising flour)
pinch of salt

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. 
  2. Line base of ramekins with baking paper. Grease the sides.
  3. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or over a pot of simmering water and let it cool slightly.
  4. In another bowl, beat or cream the butter.
  5. Slowly beat in the eggs, salt and vanilla extract till well-combined.
  6. Add flour to the mixture and beat till smooth.
  7. Scrape in the cooled chocolate and beat till smooth.
  8. Pour into ramekins.
  9. Bake for 10mins.
  10. As soon as the cake is baked, tip them onto serving plates.

December 12, 2010

Pancakes - Wendy's Style

I kind of owe Wendy this one. I wanted to make this and join her giveaway contest. To be honest, I even discussed with Hubby ideas on how various creative ways could be done to the pancake to win one of the coveted prizes. Then... it was endless days and nights at work, I lost track of time and missed the deadline. Argh.


But a promise is a promise and I had to make this pancake at least once. So here it is, THE Pancake - Wendy's Style.




Wendy's Pancake
(Recipe adapted from her post)


Ingredients
2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
A bit of butter for frying

Method


  1. Separate the eggs and beat egg whites until frothy and add in sugar and beat until medium stiff peaks.
  2. Add in egg yolks and mix.
  3. Sift in flour and fold into the egg mixture.
  4. Heat a 9 inch pan on medium heat and put in 1/2 tsp butter. Swirl it around to coat and pour the excess into batter.
  5. Lightly fold the batter to incorporate the melted butter.
  6. Turn heat to low and pour in all the batter. Put fruit toppings if desired.
  7. Cook until sides look golden, and center of pancake is cooked (doesn't stick to fingers).
  8. Flip into half or just flip onto plate.


Personally, I found this pancake too eggy for my liking. Still miss Rider's Cafe Blueberry Pancakes. It's odd that it's their best selling item for years and they decided to stop it just like that. Maybe the chefs got bored cooking it.

December 11, 2010

Domestic Goddess

I hate to drive to the library alone even though it's only a 5minutes drive from where I stay. Somehow I just dislike it. I like to do things t-o-g-e-t-h-e-r. You know, "together forever" type of concept? Hmmm.. which is why when my boy is ultra sticky especially to mummy, I actually feel a tinge of happiness and enjoys sticking to him too much to the dismay of Hubby.

Anyway, back to the library business, I was driven to the library and with the kid in the car, I was given only 10 minutes to return my overdue library books and borrow a few more. Hence, I can only rush to my favorite cookery section and grab what I find when I find them. This is one of them - Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking.

After going through the recipes, I realized why she is so popular. Her recipes are of the no-fuss category and looked effortlessly casual. It's like how Japanese office ladies are everyday. They looked so casually made up without looking like they tried too hard. Well, Nigella's recipes are like that.

This is the first one that I tried - Chocolate Mousse Cake. As I only had 2 eggs left in the fridge, I quartered the recipe yet used a 6 inch tin for this. Slightly overbaked I think. Nevertheless, easy and good. As usual, this is a keeper and I will try again.



Chocolate Mousse Cake
(Makes a 25cm round cake)


Ingredients
300g best dark chocolate
50g best milk chocolate
175g unsalted butter
8 large eggs, separated
100g light muscovado sugar (can use less sugar)
100g caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and put the kettle on to boil. 
  2. Line the tin with foil to prevent water from seaping in.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or microwave, let it cool.
  4. In another bowl beat the egg yolks and sugars until pale, thick and creamy like mayonnaise or ribbon stage.
  5. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form then fold gently into the chocolate mixture in batches (about 3).
  6. Pour the cake batter into tin.
  7. Place tin in a large roasting tin and add hot water from the kettle to come about half way up the sides of the tin.
  8. Place in oven and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. The inside of the cake will be damp and mousse-like but the top should look cooked and dry.
  9. Let it cool completely on a cooling rack before removing it from the tin.

You can simply chill the entire cake after step 6 if you want a non-bake mousse cake. Very flexible recipe.








November 26, 2010

Scary Brownies

I went for a function and they had these brownies with HP logo on them.
They looked really scary to me.
Taste wise, actually quite good. Not as bad as they looked.

November 14, 2010

Fruity Upside Down Cake

The thing about me is that I love to buy fruits. They looked so inviting and screaming "buy me buy me" each time I visit the supermarket (which is very often). Being nice and soft hearted, I'll heed to their cries and buy big packs of this and that.


The problem is I don't like to cut fruits and only eat them when they are peeled, cut and served to me in a nice platter with cute forks by the side. Yeah, diva diva.


The good thing is that my dear Hubby loves to eat fruits. However, he is very strict about his selection and would not bother to touch them if they are suspiciously from China or not his usuals.


So I bought a bunch of nectarines and it has been staying in the fridge for weeks as they do not match my Hubby's stringent selection process. They have been sitting there for so long that I have practically ignored their presence whenever I am reaching for this or that from the fridge.


Until one day.... Hubby took them out to be thrown away since no one is touching them.


I felt guilty and searched high and low for a recipe to use them.


Here it is... a David Lebovitz recipe... an Upside Down Cake.








Ok, I admit, I don't do the cake justice with the pics. I just don't really know how to cut and position the fruit pieces nicely. Needs practice. Well, we'll have to wait till the next batch of fruits call for my attention again.




Upside Down Cake
From David Lebovitz Blog
(Makes 1 10-inch cake)


Ingredients


Fruit layer
3 tablespoons butter (45g), salted or unsalted
3/4 cup packed (135g) light brown sugar
fruit: 8 quartered plums or apricots, 3-4 thickly-sliced pears or nectarines, or 2 cups cranberries; add a handful of huckleberries, cherries, raspberries, or another bushberry


Cake layer
8 tablespoons (115g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (210g) flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (125ml) whole milk, at room temperature
Method
  1. Melt the 3 tablespoons (45g) of butter in a cast iron skillet, or cake pan (see Note). Add the brown sugar and cook while stirring, until the sugar is melted and begins to bubble. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Once cool, arrange the fruit in a pinwheel design, added berries if desired. Set aside.
  3. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350F. (190C)
  4. Beat the 8 tablespoons (115g) of butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, until smooth.
  5. Whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. Stir in half of the flour mixture, then the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients. Do not overmix: stir just until the flour is barely incorporated into the batter.
  7. Spread the batter over the fruit, then bake for 45 minutes to one hour (depending on the size of the pan, and the thickness of the batter.) The cake is ready when it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and the center feels just set.
  8. Remove from oven, let cool about 20 minutes, then place a cake plate on top, and wearing oven mitts, flip the cake out on to the plate, taking care, as there may be some hot caramel that might escape.
  9. Serving: Upside Down Cake is best served warm, perhaps with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. It can be made in advance, left in the pan, and rewarmed in the cake pan or skillet right before serving. It’s also very good rewarmed in a microwave, and served immediately.

October 3, 2010

Steamed Layer Tofu

I was so inspired by Wendy's Steamed Layer Stuffed Tofu that I went to buy myself a pack to try.

And of course, somehow her pics looked so much more appetizing than mine. I added some veggies by the side to be steamed together as I was so lazy to cook another dish that we had this only for our dinner with rice. Hence, I got to somehow make it a balanced dish. *wink*

Nevertheless, we had a good time with this and best compliment ever is when Hubby ate most of it, for someone who doesn't like tofu at all.


Recipe can be found in Wendy's post.

October 2, 2010

Sticky Date Pudding

Ever since I read about Sticky Date Pudding, I had a great desire to try it. Hungrygowhere had users raved about it at Marmalade Pantry. Not once but at least twice. And twice I was disappointed.

Then I saw it in the menu at Prive at Keppel which had a few cakes that I was fond of. Unfortunately, it was again disappointing.

All the puddings were too cakey. Definitely doesn't taste pudding like nor was it moist enough. You can taste the baking soda in some. No kidding.

One day I chanced up Ju's blog at The Little Teochew and had to try making it myself.
Slightly cracked top
 
The result was the BEST ever sticky date pudding I ever had. It was moist, not so sweet as I reduced the sugar drastically, warm and freshly nice. This recipe is a sure keeper!
Sticky Date Pudding
Adapted from The Little Teochew who got it from Exclusively Food
(Makes 1 6" round cake)

Ingredients
Pudding
135g deseeded dried dates
156ml water
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
30g butter, roughly chopped
1 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
94g self-raising flour
75g brown sugar (I used only 40g)

Butterscotch sauce
92ml whipping cream
82g firmly packed brown sugar (I used only 55g)
75g butter, chopped
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Method
Pudding
  1. Place dates and water in a small saucepan over high heat. When the mixture starts to boil, add bicarbonate of soda and 30g butter, and remove from the heat. Stir and then set aside for 25 minutes (the butter will melt during this time).
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C
  3. Grease a 6" diameter cake tin and line the base and side with baking paper.
  4. Place cooled date mixture in a food processor. Pulse mixture a few times to form a chunky paste. (You can simply mash it with a fork if you wish to have chunkier dates in your cake) 
  5. Add eggs and vanilla to date mixture and pulse a couple of times until just combined. 
  6. Stir flour and brown sugar together in a medium bowl. Use the back of the spoon to break up any lumps of brown sugar. Add date mixture to the flour mixture and gently fold the ingredients together until just combined.
  7. Pour batter into prepared tin. If, when baking, the pudding starts to overbrown, loosely cover it with greaseproof paper.
  8. Bake the pudding for about 50-60 minutes or until it springs back when lightly pressed in the center. A thin-bladed knife or wooden skewer inserted into the center of the pudding should come out without any batter attached.
  9. Leave to cool for 10minutes on a rack
Butterscotch sauce
  1. Melt all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture thickens. Make sure the sugar does not burn.
  2. Leave to cool slightly.
Assemble
  1. Using a skewer, pierce several deep holes in the pudding. Pour about half of the hot butterscotch sauce over the pudding. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.
  2. Serve the pudding with additional butterscotch sauce and ice cream. :D
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September 12, 2010

Egg White Usage 4 - Amaretti

I have been making quite a far bit of ice creams recently and not surprisingly, I am left with a lot of egg whites each time I make a tub of cream. Donna Hay's book helped a lot as it seemed to have a lot of usage for egg whites! Here's number uno for you - Amaretti.
What is amaretti? Here's an excerpt from Joy of Baking :
Amaretti (pronounced "am-ah-REHT-tee") is the Italian name for macaroons, which means little bitter things. These small, domed-shaped cookies that are crisp and crunchy on the outside and soft inside, originated in Venice Italy during the Renaissance period. Amaretti cookies are made from either ground almonds or almond paste, along with sugar and egg whites and can be flavored with chocolate or liqueurs. Oftentimes, two baked cookies are sandwiched together with ganache, buttercream or jam. Traditionally these cookies were served with a sweet dessert wine or liqueur, but they are also a wonderful accompaniment to a bowl of ice cream, sherbets, or mousses. Another favorite way to use these cookies is to finely grind them and then add them to desserts (such as trifles) for added texture and flavor. 

Frankly, I find this so so only. The almond is nice but somehow I think I am still more into intense rich and buttery cookies.




Amaretti

Adapted from Donna Hay's Modern Classic2
Ingredients
200g almond meal (I just used ground almond)
1 cup sugar1/4 cup plain flour
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
Method
  1. Preheat oven 180°C
  2. Process almond, sugar, flour, egg whites & vanilla extract in a food process till combined
  3. Roll tablespoonful of mixture into balls, place on baking sheet and press to flatten them slightly
  4. Bake for 13mins or till light golden. Cool & serve best with coffee.
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September 8, 2010

Apple Tarte Tartin

Nearly every blog I read had tried a apple pie recipe of some sort. I am still shying away from doing a pastry dough. It seemed... tedious. And you need to get your hands dirty with butter and flour in your nails. Fine, I am diva even when it comes to the kitchen. But that doesn't stop me from making an Apple Tarte Tartin from Donna Hay's Modern Classics Book.

It seemed simple enough. Peel, core and cut apples. Cook apples with syrup & butter. Place a ready-prepared puff pastry over the apples and wait for it to bake. No sticky hands. No flour in fingernails. My kind of recipe!

In the end, I found it a tad too sweet for us. Especially when the apple is sweet enough. And... I wasn't patient enough and underbaked it slightly.

Hmmm... will have to try again. Maybe you'll like it.



Apple Tarte Tartin
Adapted from Donna Hay's Modern Classic2 

Ingredients
60g butter3/4 cup superfine sugar
2 tbsp water
4 Granny Smith apples or any green apples (around 600g), peeled, cored & quartered


375g ready-prepared puff pastry
Method

  1. Preheat oven 200°C
  2. Place 18cm frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Add butter to melt. Add sugar & water. Cook & stir for 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Continue to cook for 5 mins or till golden & syrupy.
  5. Add apples to the pan to cook for 5 mins. Allow bubbles to subside then arrange apple pieces in a circular pattern, core side up over the base of the pan. (I am really bad at this step)
  6. Roll out pastry on lightly floured surface till 3mm thick.
  7. Cut 24cm diameter circle and place the pastry over the apples. Tuck the edges in.
  8. Bake 18-20mins till pastry is puffed and golden. 
  9. Cool slightly (for the syrupy to crystallize. Cool too long and it will hard to invert onto plate). To serve, invert tart onto a plate & serve with ice cream.

September 5, 2010

Egg White Usage 3 - Coconut Macaroons

Macaroons are different from macarons. The latter is the "in" thing now but the former has all been forgotten. Macarons are difficult to make but macaroons are so much easier. Macarons are French and macaroons are....it seemed that they are all French. Funny how French rule the world with their bakes.





Yet again, I don't like this. I think I don't like all things non-fatty and no yolk in sight. Ha!


Coconut Macaroons
Adapted from Donna Hay's Modern Classic2
(Makes 28)

Ingredients
2 cups dessicated coconut
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg whites



Method

  1. Preheat oven 180°C
  2. Mix all ingredients till combined
  3. Roll 2 teaspoonful of mixture into balls. Place on baking sheet & press to flatten slightly.
  4. Bake 10mins or till golden brown
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Egg White Usage 2 - Friands

I searched quite a bit to find out what is a friand. It took a while since Google comes out with "friend" more than "friand". Trusted wikipedia provided the explanation:
The friand pastry, which has become popular in Australia and New Zealand appears to have been based on the French financier; however, Australian and New Zealand friands typically have additional flavorings such as coconut, chocolate, fruit, and nuts. Australian / New Zealand friands are also baked in oval shapes.


Hmmmm...   so it's basically a financier just that they come with additional toppings and are rounder in shape.





Personally I do not like this cake at all. Not sinful enough perhaps. Hubby lapped them up though.



Here's my green seedless grape, prunes and dates version. ☺



Friands
Adapted from Donna Hay's Modern Classic2
(Makes 10)

Ingredients
125g butter, melted
110g almond meal
200g icing sugar, sifted
100g plain flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
5 egg whites

Optional: 1 cup fresh blueberries, strawberries or any fruit to your liking

Method
  1. Preheat oven 180°C
  2. Combine almond meal, icing sugar, flour & baking powder
  3. Add egg whites and combine
  4. Add butter and combine
  5. Grease 10 x 1/2cup muffin tins
  6. Spoon mixture into tins and sprinkle with fruits or berries on top
  7. Bake 15-20mins or till golden in color and springy to touch but moist in the center.
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Rum & Raisin Ice Cream

I falling in love again.
With David.
With David Lebovitz.
With David Lebovitz & his ice cream recipes.
With David Lebovitz & his super yummy absolutely delicious adult alcoholic ice cream recipes.

And this is an example of my love for him - Rum & raisin ice cream.
And the result is so good that I forgot to copy down the recipe!!!

Argh! I'll find it again and definitely going to buy that book - The Perfect Scoop!



September 4, 2010

Egg White Usage 1 - Tuilles

What is a Tuille? Here's what I found from WiseGeek:
A tuile is a type of very lightweight, dry, crisp cookie. These cookies come in a dizzying array of shapes, sizes, and flavors, but every style tends to be delectable. Tuiles are also incredibly versatile, and they can be used for everything from ice cream garnishes to crusts for tiny, delicate tarts. 

I think I whisked my egg whites too much. Hence, it was a bit "fluffy" for a biscuit center when it's supposed to be flat and crispy. The recipe should be changed from "whisk" to "lightly beat" or "mix" for the egg whites! Well... I changed it in this post.

Also I didn't like the fact that only the edges are browned so I waited a little longer and errm... it was a bit too brown. Hmmm.. this is easy I can do this again.


Tuilles
Adapted from Donna Hay's Modern Classic2
(Makes 16 8-10cm tuilles)


Ingredients
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind/zest (can substitute with orange)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
50g butter (melted)


Method
  1. Preheat oven 190°C
  2. Mix all ingredients together till well combined
  3. Place 1 tsp of mixture onto baking tray lined with baking paper
  4. Spread out the mixture to a 8-10cm diameter circle
  5. Bake 5-6 minutes till golden around the edges
  6. Remove from tray while hot and use a rolling pin to curl over the edges
  7. Serve with dessert

Ooh I did it again

Yeah... I simply love this ice cream. This version has much more Guiness, 1/3 of the sugar and Hubby adores me now.☺

September 1, 2010

Con Chicken

Hubby came out with a wonderful fried chicken wing dish. I was so impressed as they tasted very good. Then it turned out that his "secret recipe" was a prepared instant pack sauce. Chey!

August 21, 2010

Nicely Poached

Hubby and I have been spending loads of money every weekend on brunches. After a while, I realized that I am paying too much for just 2 eggs and some toasts. So one fine day, I took it upon myself to prepare a nice brunch for the 2 of us at one tenth of the costs.
The problem is... presentation. And it has to do a lot with the eggs. After a quick search on the internet from a few sites which I cannot find anymore, I managed to poached the nicest eggs in my life straight out of my own kitchen. Mann... I have indeed come a long way.
Easy peasy way to poach an egg
 
Ingredients/Tools
Eggs
Oil
Cling foil/wrap (microwaveable or able to withstand high heat)
Small bowl/container/ramekin
Pot

Method
  1. Place cling wrap over bowl.
  2. Lightly oil the cling wrap.
  3. Crack the egg onto the cling wrap.
  4. Tie the cling wrap
  5. Boil water. Drop egg into boiling water and poach for about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Once done, all you have to do is to cut the cling wrap and slide the cooked egg on the plate. Ta dah!
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August 20, 2010

Guinness Rocks

What do you think of Guinness Stout?

Somehow friends from my generation associated it with older men. Men who are "uncles". Men who have gone through a hard day's work and needed a big chill out at a local coffee shop a.k.a. kopitiam found near their homes with equally uncle-ly friends. Somehow, that's the image that has been jarred into my mind till now. Effects of marketing. Maybe the choice of artiste George Lam 林子祥 in the past as its ambassador deepens the image.

Oddly, Hubby loved this drink and he is no uncle. Every time I'm back from a trip, without fail, I will get him 3 cans of this uncle-ly drink. I was doing so even when we were courting! See how far back he started this uncle-ly vice.

When I found this ice cream recipe in David Lebovitz The Perfect Scoop, I think Hubby will love it. With the stock-up pile of Guinness in my fridge, I embarked on this project immediately. It was easy to make and was so creamy and nice that half a tub was gone in one sitting. I loved it to bits!


Then after, the taste of Guinness just became so different now. With each sip of the drink (not the ice cream), I remembered the ice cream, felt the soothing comfort and oaky foam swishing in my mouth. I now called Guinness a thing to be enjoyed by all....uncles or not.



Guinness Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz The Perfect Scoop
(Makes half liter)




Ingredients
100g milk chocolate, finely chopped
125ml whole milk
50g sugar
pinch of salt2 large egg yolks
125ml heavy cream
90ml Guinness Stout (I used 125ml by mistake but it still wasn't strong enough for us)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method
  1. Put chocolate pieces in a bowl with a strainer over the top
  2. Warm milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan over low fire. Set aside.
  3. Whisk egg yolks in a separate medium bowl.
  4. With one hand (use right hand if you are right handed) whisking constantly, pour the contents from the saucepan into the medium bowl gradually (or else the yolk will be cooked and curdle)
  5. Return the saucepan to the fire. Heat till mixture thickens and you are able to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  6. Remove from heat and pour through the strainer over the chocolate. Stir till chocolate is melted.
  7. Once mixture is smooth, whisk in the cream, then Guinness and vanilla.
  8. Freeze and done. It was so smooth that no whisking or re-freezing needed.
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Little Angel

Whenever I had extra egg whites, there are only 2 items in my mind to make - macarons or meringues. For the latter, my oven is simply too unstable to hold a 100°C temperature for a long time or rather, not even a good 15 minutes. As for the former, I have succeeded twice but failed the third time and I had come to the conclusion that I don't like that sweet cookie that much to try it so many times. Back to Donna Hay's book and I went for the classic Angel Food Cake instead.

The recipe required 12 egg whites, I only had 2. So I reduced the recipe by 6 times and felt really odd making it. It's like playing masak masak, as my friend once put it since I tend to use such small amounts when it comes to baking.

I followed the recipe to a T and glazed it with chocolate as well. Ok, not very my style but I admit, I had spare pouring cream in the fridge that I needed to get rid of. The book served it with nice cute red raspberries as well and I thought I will use what I have in the fridge - big black cherries.
How did it go? Guess a picture tells a thousand words. As always, Hubby liked it. Just like.. not loved since he has a dense personality and does not take to a chiffon or for that matter, an angel food cake. Fortunately, he loved the chocolate glaze and we had it with cherries after, a mini-fondue.
Angel Food Cake
Adapted from Donna Hay's Modern Classics2
(Makes a tiny little cake using a 6" chiffon tin)

Ingredients
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 tbsp sugar
few drops of vanilla extract
2+3/4 tbsp plain flour

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 190°C
  2. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar till soft peaks form.
  3. Add sugar to the egg whites, one tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat till firm peaks form and mixture is glossy.
  4. Add vanilla and beat slightly.
  5. Sift the flour twice and sift a third time over the egg mixture. Fold gently.
  6. Spoon mixture into an ungreased angel food cake tin (or chiffon tin), levelling it with a spatula.
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  8. Remove from oven, invert the tin and allow the cake to cool completely before unmoulding.
  9. Serve with cooled chocolate glaze (see below) and raspberries or whatever fruits you like. (Strawberries and blueberries now sound like a good idea)
Chocolate Glaze
My own version. Steps adapted from Donna Hay.

Ingredients
50g chopped chocolate
50g cream

Method
  1. Place chocolate and cream into a saucepan and heat over low fire. Stir until melted and smooth.
  2. Set aside for 10 minutes till mixture thickens.
  3. Ready for use on cake or can be stored in fridge.
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August 10, 2010

A Tale of 3 Ice Creams

I simply cannot remember what got over me. It had to be the patriotic pride in me running amok on a non-eventful National Day. Or just the fact that I failed in my Lemon Cookie experiment and decided that I'll stay of baking for a while.... and start on ICE CREAM!

It was so easy the previous time  when I had my maiden attempt at this sweet creamery stuff. I searched slightly and found Quinn's Perfect Scoop! I copied down one maple syrup ice cream recipe. Then off to Pook's blog and found another coffee gelato. Lastly I remembered reading Evan's matcha ice cream and copied that down as well.
 
So ta-dah! 3 ice creams. All done without a ice-cream maker. In the end I adjusted the recipes here and there to my likings and they all turned out well. That's the beauty of ice creams I guess. Easy peasy. On average, I took less than 20minutes in preparation and cooking for each flavor. I should have started this earlier.

Taste wise, they were so good that Hubby kept eating them for desserts every day and refused to share them when there are visitors. He simply gave some excuses and walked away when I asked if I should offer to guests. He is simply fond of the matcha one. As for me, I selfishly took the maple syrup one to myself since I love the cinnamon that I have added in there.

Don't be fooled by my lousy photo taking skills. I don't seem to know how to take ice-creams. They were all all good. :D
Maple Syrup, Cinnamon & Vanilla Ice Cream
(Makes 1/2 liter)

Ingredients
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup maple syrup (try using less e.g. 3/8 cup if you do not like it too sweet)1/2 cup milk
few drops of vanilla extract
1 tbsp cinnamon powder (use less if you do not like cinnamon)

Method
  1. Whisk everything with a electric beater and freeze
  2. When the edges have frozen with a soft center, take it out and break the ice with a fork or whisk. Freeze and repeat for 1-2 more times.
  3. Done.
Kahlua Gelato
(Makes 1/2 liter)

Ingredients
125ml milk
125ml cream
40g sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp coffee powder
30ml coffee liqueur e.g. Kahlua (can omit)

Method
  1.  In a saucepan, heat milk & cream till bubbles form around the edges of the pan.
  2. Sprinkle coffee powder into the saucepan and stir. Set aside.
  3. In another medium bowl, whisk egg yolk and sugar till thick, smooth and pale in color.
  4. With one hand (use right hand if you are right handed) whisking constantly, pour the contents from the saucepan into the medium bowl gradually (or else the yolk will be cooked and curdled)
  5. Return the saucepan to the fire. Heat till mixture thickens and you are able to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  6. Remove from heat and stir over ice bath to bring it to room temperature. (I simply stir and let it cool till room temperature, stir and freeze).
  7. When the edges have frozen with a soft center, take it out and break the ice with a fork or whisk. Freeze and repeat for 1-2 more times. Done.
Matcha Ice Cream
(Makes slightly above 1/2 liter)


Ingredients
1/2 cup full cream milk
1-2 tbsp matcha powder (I used 1.5 tbsp)
1/3 cup vanilla sugar (I simply used brown sugar)
Few drops of vanilla extract
300ml cream

Method
  1. Whip cream till soft firm peaks are formed
  2. Using a blender, blend milk, matcha powder, sugar and vanilla extract.
  3. Pour the blended mixture over cream and fold
  4. Freeze and done. (Mine doesn't require any whisking later. It was very creamy)
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August 9, 2010

Getting to know Donna

Everybody who bakes seemed to know Donna Hay - an Australian-based food stylist and author of many cookbooks and food magazines. I have not read any of her stuff till I chanced upon her book in the library. As I only had 5 minutes to get my stuff and go (shan't go into details here), I picked it up (since the pictures were so pretty) and went.

I was glad I did as there was this recipe for Tiramisu that is simple and most importantly, no raw eggs needed! Just the thing I need since I absolutely would want a recipe to get into Hubby's good books quickly whenever the-you-know happens. He has a terrible weakness for tiramisu and orders it without fail if he spots it in the menu...unless the waiter strongly recommends something else.

After scouring many many recipes online, most of them either require raw eggs to be added so that the filling is light or went for the lower quality version of tiramisu where cream cheese is used instead. Without a doubt, this was the first recipe I tried in the book.

Results? Hubby couldn't get enough of it and gave praises over and over again as I reduced the sugar to suit his not-so-sweet tooth and added slightly more liqueur in it. Definitely a keeper. Glad to know you Donna!
Tiramisu
Adapted from Donna Hay's Modern Classic2
(Makes 2-3 glasses)

Ingredients
Sponge base
60ml strong espresso coffee (I used 40ml of coffee and 80ml of liqueur. ;>)
60ml coffee liqueur e.g. Kahlua
8 sponge finger biscuits, halved widthwise
cocoa powder for dusting

Filling
150g mascarpone cheese
180ml cream
1 1/2 tbsp icing sugar (I used only 1 tbsp)

Method
  1. Beat mascarpone cheese, cream and icing until light and creamy. Set aside.
  2. Mix the coffee and liqueur in a bowl.
  3. Dip both sides of the 4 sponge biscuits into the coffee mixtures and place into glasses as sponge cake base.
  4. Top the glasses (with the cake base) with half the filling.
  5. Repeat step 3 and 4.
  6. Dust with sifted cocoa powder and refrigerate until required. (I refrigerate first and dust when about to serve)
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