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.