Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pumpkin ondeh ondeh

Previously, I've mentioned that my fil has a secret garden, and occasionally he will harvest the vegetables and fruits and pass them to us. This time round, we got a big pumpkin and some dried roselles from him. Everyone at my aunt's place went 'wow' when they saw the pumpkin, it was really big at about 3.5kg, nice and round. My fil said that he has 'accidentally' harvested the pumpkin, otherwise it would have grown bigger.
Too bad I didn't take a picture of the pumpkin when it was in whole. The pumpkin is sweet and I managed to keep the seeds with intention to grow them too.
With about half the pumpkin left, I took it back from my aunt's place and have in mind a few recipes to try out. I've pureed the entire remaining pumpkin, and used some for my hubby's favourite ondeh ondeh. The balance pumpkin puree is in the freezer, waiting to be transformed!
The pumpkin taste is not imminent in the kueh, but the skin is really soft and with enough palm sugar, I can feel the ooze-sensations!

Pumpkin ondeh ondeh

Ingredients/ Method:
(Recipe modified from previous Sweet potato ondeh ondeh)
200g pumpkin puree
200g glutinous rice flour
10 tbsp water or less (depends on the moisture of pumpkin)
1.5 tsp corn oil
chopped pieces of gula melaka
freshly grated coconut (without skin)

  1. Steam pumpkin till soft.
  2. Steam grated coconut for about 5-10 mins. When ready, sprinkle a little salt over the grated coconut. (This will prevent the grated coconut from turning bad/rancid.) Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, mash pumpkin and add in glutinous flour and oil. 
  4. Slowly add in water and knead till smooth dough is formed. Add more water if dough is dry. If dough is too sticky, add more glutinous rice flour. 
  5. Chop gula melaka to bite size.
  6. Dust hand with some glutinous rice flour, divide dough (about 15-20g each) and wrap in the gula melaka (about 1 tsp or as much as you can to get ooze-sensation). 
  7. Put wrapped balls into big pot of boiling water. The balls are ready when it floats on the surface of water. 
  8. Toss on plate filled with grated coconut.
  9. Ready to be served.

Crispy roast pork belly v.3

Yet another crispy roast pork belly.

A tough fight amongst the few recipes (here & here) I've tried so far, but I think this is probably having a slight edge over the others because the skin was extra crispy! *Crackkk*
I'm copying the recipe here for ready reference.

Crispy roast pork belly 
(Recipe from MiMi Bakery House, originally from Vivian Pang's kitchen)

Ingredients/ Method 
500g pork belly, skin on with no bones (ask for very fat pork belly!)
1 tablespoon salt (I reduced it to 1 tsp, it was mildly saltish. Will increase to 1 1/4 tsp - 1 1/2 tsp the next time.)

Marinate for the bottom of the pork belly
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon 5 spice powder
3 gloves garlic (smashed to a paste)
*mix together and set aside
Some rice vinegar to brush on the pork

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add in pork belly and blanch for 15 minutes, drained. With kitchen towel wipe the pork belly dry.
  2. Prick holes all over pork skin with needles or something similar as much as you can. Make few cuts under belly with sharp knife to ease the marinate ingredients penetrate further and lead to more flavour. 
  3. Add salt to pork belly, rub on both skin and meat surface. 
  4. Apply bottom marinate ONLY underbelly (NOT SKIN). Massage evenly on the meat surface. 
  5. Wrap the pork belly with aluminium foil, skin facing up. Brush the skin with vinegar. 
  6. Place the pork into fridge, skin side up uncovered for about 1-2 hours. 
  7. Remove the foil from the marinated pork and leave it to reach at room temperature. 
  8. Preheat oven at 200C. Place the pork on roasting rack with a pan underneath. Roast the pork for about 25 minutes. 
  9. Remove the pork from oven, and turn up the temperature to 250C (grill or top heat only).
  10. Return pork to oven and bake for another 25 minutes or until the skin is slightly charred.
  11. Leave it cool down before chopping.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Aglio olio

Aglio (garlic) Olio (oil) my-style, with salmon and asparagus added to make it a healthier and delicious lunch.

Cooking a meal for my lil boy has been the only motivation why more thoughts and efforts are put in, if I'm home alone, I'll go for instant noodles anytime (equally delicious but unhealthy, isn't it?)

Aglio Olio
(serves 2)
Ingredients/ Method

Linguine (as I don't have spaghetti)
4 gloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
cracked black pepper
a dash of mixed herbs (as I don't have parsley)
thin asparagus, optional

  1. In a pot of hot water, add 1 tsp salt, boil pasta per instruction indicated on box.
  2. Drained and toss some olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking (if not cooking immediately). Reserve some pasta water. 
  3. In a pan, pan-fried salmon. Using fork, loosely breakup the salmon. Set aside. 
  4. In the same pan, with some salmon oil left-over, add 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil. 
  5. Add in minced garlic and stir fry till fragrant and lightly brown, about 1 - 2 mins. 
  6. Add in asparagus and fry for another 1 - 2 mins, or 80% cooked. Season with some black pepper, mixed herbs, and salt. 
  7. Add in pasta and continue frying for about 2 mins. Add 1-2 tbsp pasta water and let it simmer till sauce reduced, giving it an occasional stir. Takes about another 2 mins. 
  8. Turn off heat and add in salmon, and give it a few stirs to mix salmon with the pasta. 
  9. Ready to serve. 

Tokyo banana roll

Recently I've been doing a lot of blog-hopping and my to-do list is getting longer and longer. Definitely I won't be able to bake or cook as fast as I bookmarked an interesting recipe. Often times, the 'old' bookmarked recipe get forgotten and the 'new' bookmarked recipe cut the line, like This one.

It looks like a straight-forward recipe and I have 2 over-ripen bananas in the fridge. I'm not fully satisfied with the end result as my custard cream turned out slightly runny, and the sponge cake looks kinda rough when I sliced into halves. That's why you will see that I've some brown banana rolls too.

I guessed if I've followed the originator steps 100%, I should be able to achieve a much better results for the sponge cake. As for the custard cream, I noticed that it was quite runny when cooking it, but thought it will solidify after cool which didn't change much eventually. I may have to add more corn starch the next time I prepare this (which won't be too long...hehehe).

I've copied the recipe here for ready reference. Or you can also watch this Youtube video on How to Make Tokyo Banana Roll  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6wxd72vM_A&feature=youtu.be. 

Banana custard cream 

Ingredients/ method: 
100g banana, without skin
1 egg
1 tbsp corn starch
3 tbsp granulated sugar (I reduced to 2 tbsp)
150ml milk
a few drops of vanilla extract
  1. In a bowl, mash banana with a fork
  2. Add all other ingredients and mix well.
  3. Strain the mixture through the sieve into a saucepan. 
  4. Put on low, stir constantly, and stop the heat when the cream starts to thicken. Mix well with the remaining heat. Add a few drops of vanilla extract. Leave to cool completely.
  5. Transfer the cream into a pastry bag or into a dish covered tightly with plastic wrap. (Make sure the cream sticks to the plastic wrap to keep from drying out). Chill in the fridge. 
Sponge cake
Ingredients/ Method
2 eggs
50g superfine sugar
35g cake flour
20g milk, room temperature
  1. Beat eggs and sugar with whisk in a metal bow. Placed it over the pan of hot water and melt the sugar and warm them up to 40 deg C. (I did not measure the temperature. When the egg white is warm to touch by hand, and there's no sugar grains, it should be ready.) 
  2. With an electric mixer, beat the batter on high speed for about 5 mins until white and fluffy. Then on low speed, beat for about 2 mins to set the texture. 
  3. Sift in the flour and fold together with spatula for about 10 mins. 
  4. Add milk and fold together with spatula for about 50 times until combined. (For Steps 3 & 4 , I used my KA on speed 1.) 
  5. Spread the batter in a lined 9" square tin. Drop the pan lightly on the counter to raise the air bubbles out of the batter. 
  6. Bake at preheated oven 180 deg C for 11-12 mins or until lightly brown. 
  7. When it's done, drop the pan lightly to prevent shrinking. 
  8. Remove the sponge cake from the pan by lifting the wax paper and place it on a wire rack to cool.
  9. When the cake is cool, remove the parchment paper and place the sponge cake on the parchment paper with brown side up.
  1. Cut the sponge cake into 4 squares. Then cut them by half horizontally (will have thin slices, about 0.2 inch).
  2. Place the cake on plastic wrap (with brown side up), pipe out the banana custard cream, roll and securely twist the ends like a candy.
  3. Serve chill. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rainbow cake

Another check on my to-do list ~ Rainbow cake! Looking at the cake itself makes one so happy lol.

I'm using my usual vanilla sponge cake recipe to make a 7-layers 4.5" round cake. I'm also using my now-favourite cream cheese frosting. Both the sponge cake and frosting turned out very good!

My frosting skills is still quite bad, so I've to create some "designs" to hide the flaws.

Vanilla Sponge Cake

Ingredients/ Method:
150g cake flour/superfine flour
1/2 tsp (2g) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1g) salt
10g milk powder

60g cooking oil
50g water
4 (75g) yolks
80g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

4 (150g) whites
90g castor sugar (original 100g)
1/4 tsp (1g) cream of tartar

Colour gel
  1. Sift ingredients (A) and put it aside
  2. Whisk yolks and sugar till it turns lemon color
  3. Add oil, water and vanilla and mix till well blended
  4. Add ingredients (A) and mix it slowly till it forms a smooth batter
  5. Whisk (C) till stiff
  6. Fold in 1/3 of egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture and gently stir, then fold in the remaining egg white mixture and mix well gently
  7. Divide batter equally into 7 portions and into individual small bowls. (I got about 90g for each portion, but I would reduce it to 60-70g the next time.)
  8. Add colour gels into batter and mix well gently, and not to deflate too much air bubbles.
  9. Pour batter into lined cake tin. (I used disposable aluminum foil-type 4.5" round tin as I don't have so many cake pans.)
  10. Bake in a preheated oven 180C for 10-12 mins or when skewer comes out clean when inserted to the centre of cake.
  11. Removed from oven and let cake cool in pan for 5 mins on wire rack.
  12. Remove cake from pan and let it cool completely on wire rack.
  1. If using the same size 4.5" round tin and 7 layers, just need to prepare 2/3rd of this recipe. Alternatively, you can bake the balance 1/3rd batter as vanilla cupcakes.
  2. As my oven can only bake 4 small tins at a time, I mix the egg yolk mixture and egg white in 2 batches.
  3. I used toothpick when adding and mixing colours to the batter, and using a small spatula to give a last few folds to ensure colours are evenly mixed.
  4. Insert straws to hold the cake, especially when this cake base is small and pretty tall. 
Cream cheese frosting
250g cream cheese
170g unsalted butter, softened
70g icing sugar, sieved
1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar in three batches, then add vanilla and mix till smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. (If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 3 days in airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth again.)

Baked chicken thighs

Another quick and easy lunch. Happy tummy, happy boy!

Baked chicken thighs 

Ingredients/ Method 
2 medium-sized chicken thighs
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp ground ginger powder
1 tsp ground white pepper
4 cloves garlic, roughly pound with skin

Sides/ Veg
Thin asaparagus
1 potato, cut in big cubes
1/3 Japanese cucumber, cut in big cubes
1/3 white onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1 tbsp olive oil/ macadamia oil
Black pepper, cracked

  1. Marinate the chicken thighs overnight, or at least 4 hours.
  2. Place the chicken thighs on a tray, lined with aluminium foil so there is minimal washing. Pour the remaining marinate over the chicken.
  3. Put all the sides/veg (can be any kind of sides you like) in the same tray as the chicken thighs. Drizzle olive oil/ macadamia oil over the sides/ veg, and sprinkle cracked black pepper and salt as well. 
  4. Bake in pre-heated oven 190 deg C for 30 mins. I baked a further 3 mins on grill function to get a little charred on the chicken. 
  5. Drizzle the chicken oil/ juice on the chicken thighs and sides/ veg before serving. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pan fried salmon

Our simple but high-omega lunch today. Just sprinkle salt and cracked black pepper as seasoning. Add some sides to make it healthier - we have potatoes, thin asparagus, baby carrots, white onion and sliced garlic.


Superman 2-tier cake

Another birthday cake for my nephew 6th birthday!

Instead of the usual chocolate cake base, I found another similarly good one which was used by Jane in her salted caramel cake.

Chocolate cake 
(recipe adapted from Passionate About Baking, originally from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients/ Method
375g plain flour
380g castor sugar
129g unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
4 large eggs
368g buttermilk (or 366g whole milk with 1 1/2tsp lemon juice, mix well and let it sit for 5 mins)
90g warm water
137g vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Beat on low speed until just combined.
  2. Add eggs, buttermilk, warm water, oil and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed, until smooth. Takes about 3 mins.
  3. Pour batter equally into two 9" lined round cake pans. 
  4. Bake on pre-heated oven 180 deg C for about 35-40 mins, or until skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. 
  5. Let cake cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 mins. 
  6. Remove cake from pans onto wire rack, and let cool completely. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pineapple coconut muffin

I always wanted to bake something with pineapples and coconut. And when I have balance canned pineapples after making pizza and coconut milk after baking pandan chiffon cake, it was a good time to clear the fridge too! It also had been a long time since I last baked muffins and this quick and easy recipe yields a very moist and coconut-y one!
Pineapple coconut muffins
(recipe from Serious Eats, with modifications. Makes 18 muffins)

113g (4 ounces) unsalted butter, soft
175g castor sugar (reduced, can increase to 200g if you want it sweet)
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt
100g desiccated coconut (to reduce to 75g), leave some to sprinkle on top of muffin
195g plain flour
2 1/2tsp baking powder
240g (1 cup) drained pineapple cubes/ slices, chopped

  1. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Beat butter with sugar and salt in a large bowl until creamy.
  3. Whisk in eggs, one by one, until combined.
  4. Add in coconut milk and desiccated coconut and whisk till combined.
  5. Add in sifted flour and baking powder and whisk till combined.
  6. Stir in chopped pineapples. Do not over-mix.
  7. Scoop batter into muffin cup and sprinkle desiccated coconut on top.
  8. Bake at pre-heated oven 180 deg C for 20 mins - 22 mins.
  9. Cool on wire rack.

Avocado bundt cake

A recipe that I've bookmarked for a while but only managed to try out recently. Instead of p seeds, I've replaced it with chia seeds. Similarly to Edith, I also did not get the green hue from avocado although I tried to puree the avocado just before using it.

The avocado taste is not evident but still the cake is good especially when they are warm and the chia seeds give the cake a slightly crunchy bite. With avocado as fats replacement and chia seeds added, this is definitely a healthier version of cake-without-guilt.
Avocado cake
(recipe from Rumbling Tummy, originally from Food Me Over)

Ingredients/ Methods
50g unsalted butter
125g small avocado
180g caster sugar
4 eggs, separate
100g plain flour
50g chia seeds
50g almond flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Puree avocado with lemon juice until creamy. 
  2. Beat butter and sugar until creamy. 
  3. Add avocado puree to butter/ sugar mixture and beat until creamy. 
  4. Add egg yolk , one at a time, until well combined.
  5. Fold in sifted flour and baking powder, almond flour and chia seeds to the mixture. 
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk egg white with a pinch of salt, till stiff. 
  7. Gently fold into egg yolk batter. 
  8. Pour into greased pan and bake in pre-heated oven 160 deg C for 50 mins. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Love & bear swissrolls & pandan chiffon cake

This is part II of the September school holiday post. See how the kids were having fun with baking, and I had as much fun guiding the little chefs! It was a very productive day, the kids made a Lots-of-love swissroll (recipe here) for my aunt's house-warming, and another pandan chiffon cake (recipe here) to bring home for daddy & mommy!

With leftover cream and ingredients, I made another long-ear bear swissroll (recipe here) in the night! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Peanut butter jelly rice cereal bars

This September 1-week school holiday has been the most fruitful and fun! We were visiting various places of interests in town, like a tourist, from Science Centre, taking a river cruise at Clarke Quay, Gardens by the Bay, Universal Studios, Kranji farms, to a special invite Skippy Yippee family day, and also baking at home with kids!

When I first received the invite for the launch of Skippy new product range, natural & healthier version, I was kinda surprised but nevertheless accepted it to "fill" one of the school holiday activities. My lil boy was all prep to see Dr jiajia and a radio DJ (Jamie Yeo). And because we went to the Kranji farms in the morning, we actually overslept for the afternoon event (ohno...) ... Luckily we had the car on that day so it was pretty fast speeding reaching Tott where it was held.

I didn't know what to expect in a product launch, but this is pretty cool and fun especially for my lil boy, making peanut butter jelly rice cereal bars like a chef!

Also there were array of food and desserts using peanut butter, and they all look too pretty to eat...haha

Peanut butter jelly rice cereal bars

Ingredients/ Method
60g Skippy natural creamy peanut butter
140g marshmallows
3 cups rice puff cereals
20g grape jelly (or any jam/ spread)

  1. Microwave peanut butter in a large bowl for 1 min. 
  2. Add in marshmallows and stir, coating them evenly. 
  3. Microwave coated marshmallows for another 1 min, or till melted. Using spatula, stir till mixture are evenly mixed and looks gluey. (Have to be quick otherwise the marshmallows will start to turn hard quite fast.) 
  4. Pour in rice puff cereals and stir. 
  5. Pour half of the mixture in a 7x9" tray and press down.
  6. Spread grape jelly on the pressed rice puff cereals. 
  7. Pour the remaining mixture over the grape jelly, and press down.
  8. Cool completely before cutting into bars. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gone fishing! cake

This Gone fishing! cake was prepared especially for my uncle Simon, after knowing that he likes playing with the fishing game on mobile! Although I was very happy with the design of the birthday cake, the texture of the cake was slightly on the dry side. I'm using my earlier successful vanilla sponge cake base. Mistake 1: the cake was not thoroughly baked at 33 mins, and I gave it a couple more minutes (a minute too many) and turn it to fan-oven; Mistake 2 - wanted to slice the 8' round cake into 3 even slices, but end up slicing up to 2 uneven thickness.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Almond orange chiffon cake

I'm sort of addicted to baking chiffon cake these days, especially after seeing each of them rise and brown so nicely. They are also easy to bake and because they feel so light, I feel less guilty eating more of them. I also have a big family to share my fats bakes!

The crunch from the almond flakes give a nice twist to an ordinary orange chiffon cake.

Almond orange chiffon cake
(yields 23cm chiffon tin)

Ingredients/ Method
5 egg yolk
100ml fresh orange juice (from 2 1/2 oranges) 
orange zest from 2 oranges
50g unsalted butter, melted  
1/8 tsp salt
60g cake flour, sifted, 
30g rice flour, sifted
Almond flakes 

Egg whites:
5 egg white 
75g caster sugar
1 tsp corn flour 
  1. Mix orange juice, melted butter and salt in a bowl and stir. 
  2. Using hand-mixer or whisk, add in orange juice mixture to egg yolk and mix well.
  3. Add in flour and whisk till smooth batter. Add in orange zest and mix well. Set aside. 
  4. Mix sugar and corn flour, set aside. 
  5. Use a cake mixer, whisk egg white till foamy and add in sugar/corn flour gradually. 
  6. Whisk egg white till stiff peak. 
  7. Turn cake mixer to low (KA 2) and slowly pour in egg yolk mixture to egg white. Continue whisking till well combined. 
  8. Pour batter into a 23cm tube pan, smooth the surface. Add almond flakes on top of the batter. 
  9. Bang the tube pan on the table top for a few times. 
  10. Place pan into a preheated 150 deg C fan-oven and bake for 45 mins (23cm chiffon tin). 
  11. Remove from oven, invert cake onto table top.
  12. Leave it cool completely before removing from tin.