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?