Monday, November 30, 2009

More fruits & walnuts wholemeal loaf

I've finally used up the almost-expired wholemeal flour; yippee!! Left with 160g of wholemeal flour, I made 2 portion of this recipe. Enough to give away to my other family members ;-) With some dried fruits left (cranberries, blueberries, tart berries), i added more golden raisins, goji berries (wolf berries) and toasted walnuts!

Other than the standard 20 mins & 60 mins proofing, the dough is left to proof for more than 6 hours and got another round of kneading, just because i over-slept!! You see, the dough was prepared after we came back from dinner, and my heavy eye-lids couldn't keep open for another minute. Think the texture was slightly affected, but not too much harm caused though.

(Note: To reduce the oven temperature to 180 deg C next time, as 190 deg C might be a little bit too hot and the crust is almost too black by end of baking time.

Siew Mai

Little children are usually fussy eaters especially during their proper meals. Mine is not exactly fussy but a "temperamental" eater i.e. during his meals, sometime he likes it with vegetables, sometimes he refuses them; sometimes he likes meat but other times he refuses to take them at all. One thing he definitely loves to eat these days is Siew Mai, and of course, junk food or tibits, ice-cream, chocolates, sweets, ANY time.

Other than dim sum restaurants where you will good siew mai, good ones are not readily available even though it sold at most coffeeshops, foodcourts, supermarkets. The frozen we bought from NTUC sucks and I won't even take a second piece. Nevertheless, my aunt ivy knows where to get good ones from the market stall she frequents, and they are a regulars on our dinning table.

Whilst at my dad's place last Saturday, I tried to make some siew mai but they fell under the look-alike but not taste-alike category. I thought they taste more like steamed 'wu xiang', anD my little boy lamented why the siew mai is so "dark" (in colour)!! He took them only with lots of ketchup...kekeke. So coincident that my mil also made siew mai on Sunday, it too didn't taste like those siew mai we eat at dim sum restaurants. Ok, got to look elsewhere for really good siew mai recipes, any recommendations?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Orange chiffon cake

At last, i got to try out 2 things yesterday at my dad's place .... (1) the broiler can be used to bake a cake (happy!!), (2) the orange chiffon cake which was a newspaper cut-out recipe and i had wanted to try for some time.

Now that i had to bring my little one for his music class every Sat, i got wake up early in order to get a ride from T, before he heads to his office. Which means to say that if i wanted to bake anything at my dad's place, i got to plan in advance, including preparation of baking tools and ingredients to bring over. Luckily my dad's place have most of the baking tools/ bulk items like weighing scale, broiler (to replace the oven), mixer, etc as my mom used them to whip up delicious food, snacks, kuehs, huat kuehs ;-) Till now, I can still find traces of 'remnants' on the weighing scale and mixer. As for the broiler, it had been serving us very well for at least 20-odd years, that is how reliable old gadgets are. I always remember one 'old' mixer which my mom bought when she attended some cooking classes when we were in our primary school, but i threw it away as it's slightly mal-function and we had got a new one for her. She would frequently bring it up how i threw her things away..... now that she's at a better place, somehow i won't want to throw any of these items away.

Anyway back to the orange chiffon cake, the recipe is straight forward and very easy to follow, without compromising on texture and taste. Except for the egg white which i had over-beaten slightly which i thought would fail the cake, it didn't, luckily. In fact, the cake rise so much higher than the 17cm tube pan that i don't have a flat chiffon cake. Otherwise, the cake is very springy to touch. On the day itself, the cake exudes very slight tinge of orange taste, but the following day, the orangey taste got deeper.

Ingredients/ Method

(Recipe is for 25cm tube pan, i halved the recipe using 17cm tube pan)

7 eggs

200g cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

200g icing sugar

150ml freshly squeezed orange juice (abt 3 oranges)

150ml corn oil

2 tbsp orange zest

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1. Pre-heat oven to 170 deg C.

2. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. (abt 240ml egg whites)

3. Sieve cake flour, icing sugar, and baking powder into a mixing bowl.

4. Make a depression in the centre of the cake flour mixture, add egg yolks, orange juice and oil and stir until well combined.

5. Add orange zest to the mixture and stir well.

6. Beat egg white and cream of tartar on high speed until stiff.

7. Add in cake batter to the egg white gradually and fold gently in batches, until well mixed.

8. Pour into tube pan and abke for 50 mins at 170 deg C. ( I reduced baking time to 40 mins for 17cm tube pan).

9. When done, remove the tube pan from the oven and invert on a cooling rack and leave to stand for 2 hours.

10. Remove the cake from the tube pan by running a knife along the perimeter of the pan and inverting the cake onto a plate.

Fruits & Walnuts Wholemeal Bread

I'm still trying to use up the wholemeal flour that is going to expire end of this month. Actually baked this bread last week but has been very tired to write a blog or edit the pictures. Furthermore, my laptop is giving me alot of problems, and the slow speed is killing me! I think it's almost time to get a new laptop soon....

I followed the recipe from Kitchen Corner, and I must say the added dried fruits and walnuts really gives the oomph to the bread. We ate it plain without any spread and it's really nice and tasty. However, the shape of my bread looked kinda odd, like "golden pillow". It was supposed to be nice round shape with very rustic look, which i got the idea from Happy Homebaker who proof the dough in a colander. Perhaps my colander is too big for the dough, or i didnt do a proper job in shaping it. Anyway, the shape didn't matter as long as the taste of bread turns out good! My little boy likes the dried fruits more than the bread, and my poor dad got to eat the left-over hole-y (after all dried fruits removed) bread .... hahaha

Ingredients/ Method
250g bread flour
80g wholemeal flour
30g sugar
3/4 tsp salt
5g yeast
1 egg
150g ice water (i replace with milk)
15g milk
30g butter

Optional ingredients
Dried fruits
Sunflower seeds

1. Put all ingredients except butter and optional ingredients into the BM and knead for 30 mins. Add butter at the 8-10th min.
2. Let the dough rest in the BM for 20 mins.
3. Knead dough and punch out gas.
4. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces and roll to form 3 ball shape.
5. Flatten dough and roll out into longish shape. Roll up the dough like a swiss roll.
6. Flatten rolled up dough and roll out again into long rectangular shape. Add in dried fruits and walnuts on top and then roll up the dough tightly.
7. Place rolled dough in floured colander, and put it in oven with door close and proof for 60 mins.
8. Take out dough and bake dough in pre-heated oven at 190 deg C.
9. Bake approximately 40 mins or until golden brown.
10. Cool before slicing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pizza for lunch

Our second weekends that we are staying at home due to our little one's HFMD. Although the spots are cleared, we have not gotten the doctor to certify he's alright to return to school. Anyway, before heading back to school, we have to check whether there's any new cases in his school, better don't take anymore chances like what we did. I bet the happiest person is zak, of course! He's not excited at all to go to school, neither does he miss his friends or teachers. It's still tough getting him to school every morning, after 11 months!

Instead of porridge, instant noodles or fried mee tai mak which we had been cooking for our lunches, I made a pizza today! Pizza toppings are whatever we fancy, shitake mushrooms, pineapples, ham, cherry tomatoes, and of course, mozarella cheese (lots of them)! Cold Storage sells value shredded mozarella cheese at less than $3 for 150g, that's quite a bargain and no wastage if just making one pizza.

We fell on the late breakfast - very late lunch cycle, and by the time the pizza was ready we were all quite hungry. We almost gobbled down the 11" pizza in less than an hour. Don't we have a big appetite - 2 adults 1 toddler?

Ingredients/ Method:
Pizza base
250g bread flour, sifted
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
150ml water

1. Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and with a dough hook, knead to form a soft pliable dough.
2. Leave covered with cling wrap and damp cloth till dough double in size.
3. Roll out dough to fit pizza pan. The dough fit nicely to my 11" ikea pie dish.
4. Bake dough in pre-heated oven at 220 deg C for 10 mins.
5. Remove from oven and prepare toppings.

(*quantity depends on individual's preference)
Shitake mushroom, sliced & sauteed
Canned pineapples, cubed
Pinic ham, cut into small squares
Cherry tomatoes, diced
150g shredded mozarella cheese
Pasta sauce

1. Spread pasta sauce generously on the pizza base.
2. Next, spread half of mozarella cheese and followed by all ingredients.
3. Add the balance mozarella cheese and put back to the oven and continue to bake for another 10 mins at 220 deg C.
4. Slice and ready to serve.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rum balls

The last time i baked some chocolate cupcakes, it shrinked till so small that i can't decorate with it. I've kept them in the freezer thinking to turn them into rum balls and these are what i'd done when my little baby is taking his afternoon nap.

Ingredients/ Method:

300g sponge cake
60g raisins
80g butter
20g sugar powder
1 tsp rum (to increase to have a stronger rum flavour)
150g Semi-sweet chocolate

1. Break the sponge cake into crumbs using hand.
2. Put butter and sugar powder into mixing bowl. Beat on low speed until well mixed, and turn to high speed and beat until mixture turns pale yellow and fluffy.
3. Add the rum and butter cream into cake crumbs and mix well to form a dough.
4. Weigh about 20g dough and roll into balls. Put in the fridge for about an hour.
5. Melt chocolate in microwave, about 2-3 mins on mid-heat.
6. Dip the balls into the chocolate and drip any excess. To decorate, roll on chocolate sprinkles, or hundreds & thousands or mini hearts.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Long-winded post

Whilst writing my last few posts, i realised that i'm reaching my 100th post real soon... and this is it! I was planning to bake something special to mark this post, something that i've not tried before like a swiss roll or tiramisu which my sis-in-law's sister had passed me a good recipe, or a vanilla chiffon sponge cake. It didn't turn out as planned as these last couple of weeks was short of 'happy', there was also health scares concerning T and then my little zak got the dreaded HFMD from his childcare centre just last week. Things just seemed to be going the wrong way then. Anyway, T got the doctor's clearance today, except for a 'fatty liver' and little zak's spots did not develop into blister-like ones and he's eating and playing well. Things are smiling again ;-)

Since last Friday, we were mostly cooped at home. Little zak is bored, i'm bored (a little). But there is real good rest. For the longest time, we have not ever stayed at home 24-hours straight, and surprisingly, it feel good!! I've never cooked 3 meals a day, and only managed to do it during this period. Although i have so much time on hand, i did not go into baking-frenzy which i probably would a few months back.

There were simple fares like vegetable & minced meat porridge, dorayaki (little zak's all-time favourite), whatever-ingredients-in-the-fridge spagetti, fried mee tai mak, instant noodle (oops! without the seasoning is a redeem), cereals from the box, bread with jam/ peanut butter, walnut & raisin banana muffin (i wonder why they called it banana bread?). Also bake a vanilla chiffon sponge cake eventually, but no good snaps taken, so until then. Personally i thought the texture is soft and fluffy, but the whipped cream (maybe too much?) does not compliment the cake.

For this 100th post, there are a few random things/ thoughts i want to write down:-
  1. This humble blog first started cos i had too much free time; i used to spend these time with my family (mum, dad, grandpa, baby, hubby) either eating, playing mahjong, shopping, cooking for them, just being together, etc.
  2. Blogging and baking kicks in, and became almost addictive.
  3. This is a good way to record and made a comment or two on tried & tested recipes; it's a much better way than filing the recipe somewhere and couldn't find it. The human memory bank is getting limited.
  4. Baking can be done whatever the mood is, good bad neutral, it usually end up feeling better. It's so therapeutic. Period.
  5. There are few occasions which i hesitated to continue writing the blog, but continue because it became more of a little diary for me, just like what i am doing right now.
  6. To avoid wastage, i will attempt to make small portion of trial recipe in my subsequent bakes.
  7. So far, I've attended 2 baking classes. Still interested in attending more baking classes, if time permits.
  8. Everyone has different taste, it's difficult for my level of (baking) standard to satisfy all of them.
  9. My most ardent baking supporter is - little zak; he eats almost everything. Does toddler have sensitive or not-so-developed taste buds?
  10. For every nine bakes that turned out not-so-good, that tenth bake that is good makes the day.
  11. Will there be a 200th post?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another go at wholemeal bread

Following my earlier trial on wholemeal bread, i had another go of the same recipe today. Dodol & Mochi is very kind enough to drop a note on trouble-shooting, and bearing in mind a few 'errors' which i did earlier, i'm more mindful of:

  1. Not overcooking the water roux (tangzhong)
  2. If proofing in the fridge, i ought to bring the dough to room temperature before baking
  3. The dough should be abt 1/3rd of the height of loaf tin if i want a square loaf
  4. Since i'm using BM to knead the dough, i left it in the BM for the first proofing. It was almost 'spilling' over after an hour or so + weather is extremely hot today!

I did the whole portion of recipe and ended up with a 7x4x4" loaf, and 2 approximately 10cm long twin-bread, and 2 approximately 8cm long baguette-like bread. I gave the loaf to my aunt ivy, 2 twin-bread to aunty cat, and left 2 for T & my tomorrow's breakfast. They simply smell wonderful!

Shall update on the taste and texture of the bread after i try them out for my breakfast tomorrow.

Update on 26 Oct 09: The smell of this bread is heaven, and the texture is soft. Taste good even on its own. A keeper for anyone who wants a healthy bread!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ondeh Ondeh

My saturdays' routine has changed recently, that's because my little zak is attending music class in the late morning, and the centre is near my pa's place. So i'll end up idling at my pa's place the whole day. There goes my (almost) only day to do any baking ;-( Do i call this a little sacrifice for my little darling? Not the least!! Haha!!

Thinking through, i can still do something without using the oven, although if i want, i think i can still use the broiler. Anyway, before i got married and have my own house with a built-in oven, i had always used the broiler for baking of cookies, tarts. What i have done today is not using the broiler, just simple wrapping and boiling -- ondeh ondeh. When i was doing it today at my pa's place, i remembered how i was doing the same thing years back, in the same place, but with a very lonely feeling now. Shall stop writing or else get too emotional again :-(

Ingredients/ Method:
(Adapted from Florence's Do What I Like, with modification)

200g sweet potato
200g glutinous rice flour
13 tbsp water or more
1.5 tsp con oil
chopped pieces of gula melaka
freshly grated coconut

1. Steam sweet potato till soft.
2. In a bowl, mash sweet potato and add in glutinous flour, water and oil.
3. Knead till smooth dough is formed. Add more water if dough is dry.
4. Chop gula melaka to bite size.
5. Divide dough and wrap in the gula melaka.
6. Put wrapped balls into big pot of boiling water. (Boil the balls for about 20 mins to ensure gula melaka is melted.)
7. Toss on plate filled with grated coconut.
8. Ready to be served.

This recipe yields very soft and 'chewy' ondeh ondeh. However, the amount of gula melaka put in each ball is not consistent, and resulted in some balls with either too little or just enough fillings. Other than that, i have some balls that still have crystallized gula melaka and some nicely melted ones..... hahaha.... it's the inherent vice of hand-made products?!

1. Boil the balls for about 20 mins to ensure gula melaka is melted.
2. Put as much gula melaka as possible, otherwise the ball would be too bland and you don't get the ooze-sensation.
3. Steam the grated coconut for about 5 - 10 mins. When ready, sprinkle a little salt over grated coconut. This will prevent the grated coconut from turning bad.

Healthy wholemeal bread

I bought a packet of wholemeal flour few months ago thinking of baking a loaf of wholemeal bread, but didn't get to find recipes until I realised that the flour is going to expire next month! Didn't know that wholemeal flour has such short 'life-span', and wonder if it is ok to still use if it is over the expiry date? Anyway, i will try to use them up asap, instead of feeding the trash bin again.

Was following dodol & mochi's blog and just so coincident that she did a 65 deg C Tangzhong Wholemeal Bread Loaf. The last i tried bread making using tangzhong, the result of sandwich bun turned out very good! This is it, I'm going to use her recipe to make my first wholemeal bread ;-)

As i hasn't been successful to manual knead the bread dough, and partly because i'm lazy, i used the BM to help me do the kneading job! As the original recipe yields two 22cm(L) x 10.5cm(W) x 10cm(H) loaves, i halved the recipe since it's like a test trial and also because i only have 1 bread tin.

Despite that my dough didn't rise properly, the smell and taste of bread is wonderful! After 2 days, i put the bread in the microwave for half a minute to warm it and it turns out still as soft.

The bread has nice brown crust

Ingredients/ Method:
Water Roux (65 deg C tangzhong)
250g water
50g bread flour
1. Cook 250g water with 50g bread flour at medium low heat, keep stirring until becomes thicken and no lumps left. Cook until 65 deg C, or if you do not have a thermometer, cook until mixture resembles baby porridge.
2. Transfer to clean bowl and cover with cling wrap to prevent skin forming.
3. Water roux can be stored for 2 days, and if colour turn dark grey, to discard.

65 deg C Tangzhong Wholemeal Bread Loaf
(make 22cm x 10.5cm x 1ocm loaf)

1. Put all ingredients, except butter, in sequence as per bread machine, and use dough function and knead for 30 mins. Add butter after dough is formed, about 10 mins. The BM pre-set kneading time is 20 mins, re-start the dough function and knead for a further 10 mins.
2. Round up dough and place it in a greased bowl and cover with cling wrap. Proof until double double in size about an hour. (Next time will try proofing the dough in the BM.)
3. Divide dough into 4 portions and shape it into smooth ball shape. Rest for 15 min.
4. Flatten dough and roll into longish shape. Roll it up to a sausage shape and seal tightly.
5. Place dough in loaf tin and cover with cling wrap. Proof till dough reach 80% of tin.
6. Bake at 180 deg C for 30 mins or until golden brown.
7. Remove from oven and immediately unmould bread onto wire rack to cool completely.

Fruity cheesecake

For the first time, T requested me to bake a cake and that's for his mum/ my mil. Something using fruits, and can't be sweet. I kept thinking of what to bake, doesn't want to repeat what I have done before, flipped through couple of recipe books, and finally found 1 that seems interesting.

Interesting it may seem, but alas it didn't taste what i expected it to be. I don't think i will try this recipe again so won't be posting the recipe here. Better luck in trying out other recipes then ;-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The making of bumble bee

Got to know Grace and Jane at the blogger's party in May this year. Grace's bakes are always amazing and interesting; whereas Jane seems to have 24 hours more than anyone else with her constant baking and cooking and recently her new venture in conducting baking workshops. Both have been very encouraging through their little notes left in my little blog-space and i'm grateful for that ;-) As requested by them, here's the step-by-step of making a bumble bee. Hopefully the below illustrations are helpful and clear.

Happy fiddling with fondant!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bumble bee cupcakes

One of my closest friends recently shifted house and the group of girlfriends decided to do a bbq at her place... not a housewarming (just a gathering), otherwise I would get her a chopper as she said her apartment lack of one...hahaha. Anyway each of us brought something for the bbq, so it's not that tiring for the host. Think she would be a dead-meat if she's doing it alone. It was a fun gathering but the night ended early as my little boy started to get grouchy when it's near his sleeping time. Something unusual happen when he reached home - he kept crying and can't really get to sleep and insisted i carry him. Either he was playing too much earlier or some kinda of unexplained presence **eerie**. Alas it didn't last very long, just about 2 hours before he's into deep slumber again.

I also made a few bumble bee cupcakes for the little children. Wanted to prepare the fondant bees earlier in the week, but this week was simply too busy at work and tiring. Only managed to mould them yesterday morning, and let dry in air-conditioned room for an hour plus. Just in time for bbq and hope to have another one soon ;-)

Ingredients/ Method:
(makes 6 standard-size cupcakes)

60g unsalted butter, softened
70g caster ugar
95g self-raising flour
65ml milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1. Preheat oven at 180 deg C.
2. Beat all ingredients, except flour, until well combined.
3. Add in flour and beat until batter is pale and smooth.
4. Pour batter into lined cupcake tin and bake for 30 mins or until cooked and golden.
5. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Updated 25/4/2011: You may click on this link for step-by-step of making these cute Bumble Bees.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chocolate swirl cheesecake

Ever since i baked a brownie cheesecake months back, i was looking out for other brownie cheesecake recipes which would yield creamy and fudgey texture. There are a few brownie recipes which i have found but yet to try, but this one caught my eye with its fabulous pictures and description of the cake! Although it is not exactly a brownie, but it did taste like one!

The outcome of cake is close to what I was looking for, except that i did not do a very good job with the swirls which resulted in a not-so-even mixed of chocolate and cheese. Furthermore, the butter used in the recipe seems way too much, hence it is not so healthy for a regular treat! However, i would want to give this recipe another try, except maybe to replace the chocolate portion with another chocolate recipe. Wonder how it would turn out?

Ingredients/ Method

250g cream cheese, softened
80g castor sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 egg

120g plain flour
20g unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4tsp baking powder

250g unsalted butter, softened
120g castor sugar (reduced from 160g)
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

1. Preheat oven at 180 deg C.
2. Sift (B) and set aside.
3. Mix (C) till well incorporated. Set aside and use as the cream cheese batter.
4. Mix butter, sugar and salt of (A) till creamy. Add in eggs gradually till well-mixed. Fold in (B) till just blended. Set aside and use as chocolate batter.
5. Spoon both cream cheese and chocolate batter alternately onto lined 20x20cm cake tin, until both batters are used up. Swirl around the batter with knife or chopstick to create marble effect. Swirl enough to have a good mix of cheese and chocolate batter.
6. Make sure surface of batter is even before putting into oven and bake for 45 mins or till cooked through.
7. Remove cake from oven and let it rest in tin for 10mins before unmoulding. Let the cake cool completely on the cooling rack.
8. Store in airtight container once it's cooled or serve chilled.