Thursday, May 21, 2015

Nigella's Mum In Law Madeira Cake


This madeira recipe comes from Nigella Lawson's mum in law and Nigella claims that it's the best version she had tried. I cant argue on that cos i have never made another madeira cake yet but everyone at home here said it's good. The cake was polished off within a day!.. or maybe everyone was hungry on that particular day!

According to Wikipedia, madeira cake is a sponge cake in English cookery, traditionally flavoured with lemon but let's not get confused with the term sponge cake with our usual sponge cakes here back home. Infact this is more like a pound cake with tender crumbs , golden and comes with a crispy top which gives the cake a bit of 'character' . I'm pleased with the cake, a good plain cake, it's easy to make and no stress!



So on a day when you have bugs biting your hands to bake, why not try out this , perhaps bake for your mother in law..and if you are really lazy, just bring the recipe over and ask your mother in law to bake one for you :)




Ingredients ( from How to be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson )
in a 9x5 inch loaf pan
225gm softened butter
170gm sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
3 large eggs
166gm self raising flour
62g plain flour

Directions
Preheat oven to 177C and line the loaf pan with baking paper. Using the paddle attachment on your mixer on medium speed,  cream the butter and sugar until light, then add in the lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour for each. Then lower the speed and mix in the rest of the flour and lemon juice and mix till well incorporated.

Pour batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of sugar across the cake and bake for 1 hour or until the cake tester comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan before unmoulding the cake.

JoyceZoe  and myself are baking this same madeira recipe for our bake along, hop over and have a look!


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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Homemade Mango Frozen Yogurt


I ran thru the internet to see how others make yogurt at home and was excited to see how easy with just a few simple steps that we can enjoy homemade frozen yogurt. I had a few mangoes at home brought back the day before, eaten one and it was very sweet so i thought it would be nice to try a mango flavoured frozen yogurt.

I have made this using a blender and i would like to try using a food processor and add sugar next time to see if it will produce a more smoother texture cos i read somewhere that the sugar thing will help to produce a more creamier and smoother during the freezing process but at this time , I only want to stick with just greek yogurt alone, no milk or cream, experimenting more like. The blending process just takes few minutes and after that, pour it into the ice cream maker bowl that has been freezed overnight, let it churn and freeze. That's it, a less-guilt frozen dessert :))



Ingredients

2 chilled ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks ( mine total abt 500gms)
1 cup greek yogurt
1tbsp maple syrup

Directions
Put half of the amount of mangos and half of the yogurt into a blender and blend. Add in the rest of the mangoes and yogurt and blend well.  Taste and add maple syrup or other sweeteners and adjust accordingly. Transfer to the ice cream maker machine and process according to manufacturer's instructions. Freeze the yogurt until it hardens.


Sharing this post with Litle Thumbs Up event( May 2015 : Yogurt ) organised by Zoe Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Cheryl of Baking Tai Tai


and also Best Recipes for Everyone ( May2015 : My Fav Dessert) organised by Fion of XuanHom's Mom and hosted by Aunty Young








Saturday, May 9, 2015

Coffee Marbled Cheesecake


I have the intention of making this cheesecake for a friend's birthday. So i tried out last week for myself, making sure of my correct oven temperature to well bake it and also because i wanted to make it a round cake as the original recipe was in a loaf form. I dont bake a lot of cheesecakes so just to be safe, i tested out myself first. 

I followed the recipe quite closely with a change in the cake base from oreo to digestive biscuits and i hv also used greek yogurt to replace sour cream. You can also use a 9inch by 6 inch pan, fully lined with foil paper . It is my first time making a coffee cheesecake,  i cant even remember if i hv eaten a coffee cheesecake before but i adore this version of a coffee cheesecake.



Ingredients ( from Table for 2..or more ) with minor changes
made in a 7 inch springform pan

120gm digestive biscuits
60gm melted butter
250gm cream cheese, at room temperature
125gm sugar
1tbsp cake flour
100gm greek yogurt
100gm whipping cream
2 large eggs ( size A )
1.5tbsp instant coffee mixed with 1 tbsp boiling water
1 tbsp cocoa powder mixed with 1 tbsp boiling water
1/2 tsp cornstarch

Prepare a kettle of boiling water. Grease the base and sides of the pan. Crush the digestive biscuits until fine and mix in the melted butter until well blended. Press that into the base of the pan. To level it evenly, you can use the back of the spoon. Wrap the outside of the tin with 2 layers of aluminium foil , put it in the freezer and proceed to make the filling. Preheat the oven at 150C ( mine at 155C) top bottom heat only, no fan. 

In the bowl on an electric mixer using paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Put in that 1 tbsp of flour and beat till smooth. Add in the greek yogurt together with the whipping cream and beat till well combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add in the eggs and beat till smooth. Add in the coffee mixture and mix till well blended.

Mix dissolved cocoa powder with cornstarch. Spoon 3 tbsp of the coffee cheese batter and mix with the cocoa powder mixture until smooth. Remove the pan from the freezer and pour the cheese batter into pan. Drop dots of cocoa mixture into the coffee cheese mixture and using a knife or test skewer, make swirls . Put the pan in another larger pan and position it in the lower rack of the oven . Pour in the boiling water into the larger pan, almost half way up the cake pan.

Bake the cheesecake for an hour. Turn off the heat, slowly remove the tray with water and let the cake cool in the oven for another one hour with door ajar. After one hour, remove from oven and let cool completely before chilling in the fridge. 


So here's another cheesecake post linked to the Bake Along 4th Annivesary Theme

Linking this to Little Thumbs Up event ( May: Yogurt ) organised by Zoe of  Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen  of My Little Favorite DIY hosted by Cheryl of Baking Tai Tai

and also Best Recipes for Everyone May2015 ( My Favourite Dessert ) organised by Fion of Xuanhom's Mom, cohosted by Aunty Young

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes



A blogger friend was telling me that it's amazing that our Bake Along event has been running for 4 years now, it's a long period! Yes, 4 years is indeed a very long period for me too. I guess myself, Joyce and Zoe are simple people...maybe.....well, we dont really have major issues with each other, just at times different views on something but that's not really an issue as far as i'm concerned.  As you can see, i hv been blogging much lesser now and i must say that this bake along event has been keeping my blog at least not dead yet. Here, i would like to thank Joyce and Zoe for co hosting the event together, for baking along with me and especially to Joyce, very patient lady. Let me tell you something.  Joyce is the one who normally fixes the date for each of our bake along post. Me and Zoe will keep changing the dates that she fixed. Actually im not that bad, just 2 or 3 times, Zoe is the worst!...and one occasion if i remember correctly, we fixed and we changed and then changed again but joyce will politely tell us, okay, no problem, etc.If i were Joyce, i will probably say " halo! can you all decide properly?you think i'm very free ah? :D




Also i would like to thank those of you who have been baking along with us, greatly appreciated. Here's a simple and yet delicious cheesecake adapted from AnnCoo Journal. You can of course use any topping as you wish. I am sure you will like it too.




Ingredients ( adapted from Anncoo Journal )
makes 6 or 7
250gm cream cheese, room temperature
65gm diary whipping cream
55gm caster sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1tsp lemon zest
1tsp lemon juice
1tsp vanilla extract ( omitted )
2tbsp plain flour
Blueberry pie filling

Method:
Preheat oven to 160C and line muffin pan with 6 paper cases. Beat cream cheese and sugar at low speed. Gradually add in whipping cream and beat the cream cheese mixture at medium speed till smooth and creamy. Add lemon zest, juice and vanilla if using, mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition . Beat until everything just well combined and lastlya dd 2 tbsp of plain flour into it and mix well.

Divide cream cheese mixture evenly among all the paper cases.. Bake in water bath for 20 mins or until just set. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Spoon the blueberry filling on top of the cheesecake and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Decorate as desired.



Also linkin this post to Best Recipes for Everyone May2015 ( My Favourite Dessert ) organised by Fion of XuanHom's Mum , cohosted by Aunty Young

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Viennese Whirl Biscuits



After missing here for several weeks, i do find it hard to start writing a post. I just came back not too long ago from my holidays and have not baked anything for many many weeks. Well, i did cooked a little and took pictures of those and hopefully post it up as well , to keep my blog a little more active. I would also like to share some of my holiday pictures with you all later if i can.

...And so these cookies were baked just few days ago. After some absence from  baking for quite a while, i was a little afraid that whatever i know about baking has deteriorated . Ask me now to bake a chiffon cake, i would be in anxiety..true. Luckily this shortbread recipe isnt a too difficult one to master and i am happy and relieved at the same time that they turned out great. The cookie itself is buttery and light. I believe that  it must be the work of the cornflour that makes it light. It is crumbly but i have no issue with that. Perhaps it is also the combination of the cream and jam thats sandwiched together, i find it so delicious..!


Now i do have to highlight that i have added quite a bit of milk to the batter, i probably would not have done that if it wasnt for the piping. The batter was quite stiff to be piped out , so i have to return the batter to the mixer again and beat in some milk. As a result, i have lost a bit of batter in between, otherwise i would have more number of cookies here. I have piped them at 2 inches in diameter, to me a little smaller than 2 inches would be nicer :)

Next on our bake along list will be cheesecake for our bake along 4th anniversary theme. Steam, bake or non baked cheesecakes, all are welcomed to join JoyceZoe and myself here. Bye!


Recipe ( from bbc.co.uk ) with some changes
makes around 13 sandwich cookies
Ingredients
250gm very soft butter
50gm icing sugar, sifted
250gm plain flour, sifted
50gm cornflour, sifted
1/2tsp pure vanilla extract
4-5 tbsp milk ( my addition )

Filling
50gm soft butter
100gm icing sugar
1/2tsp vanilla extract
jam of your choice

Directions
Mix the icing sugar, flour and cornflour together. Using electric mixer, beat the butter till smooth and add in the vanilla extract. Put in half of the  sifted dry ingredients and continue beating on low speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl of the mixer if necessary. Put in the remaining half of the dry ingredients and beat till well incorporated. Add in milk if necessary to achieve a softer consistency for easier piping.

Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe in 2 inch rosettes or smaller and space them apart.Bake in a preheated oven at 170c fan forced or 190C for 13-15 minutes or until pale golden brown and firm. ( i used 2 trays and baked them at 170C on fan for 15 minutes, switch the trays in between baking time )

For filling, beat the butter, icing sugar, add in the vanilla extract and beat till very smooth. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag. Put a little jam on one piece of the cookie and pipe some buttercream on another piece of cookie and sandwich them together. Repeat the same for all the cookies.

* the original recipe uses food processor to blend in everything. You can refer the link above for the original recipe and method.



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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Salted Caramel Apple Pie


Today is the last day of Chinese New Year. Happy Chap Goh Mei to all my chinese friends and readers!  Sorry that i have not been dropping by at any of your blogs, i will try to catch up whenever i can.

JoyceZoe  and myself are making apple pie this week but this is no ordinary apple pie. The ingredient that makes it not so ordinary is the salted caramel and it's homemade!Ya, i sound excited because i never knew that making salted caramel is rather quite simple. Before this, i thought making salted caramel would require a candy thermometer and is a complicated process., i am so wrong and ignorant. The recipe here is using fleur del sel for making the salted caramel and i hv read that using maldon salt is also another alternative. I have some fleur del sel at home which is kept in a precious container and i have been keeping it for 3-4 years! I think it's alright cos i guess salt doest have any expiry date...err..do they? They are still in good form, not in clumps and i have tasted them...yes, they are salt...hehe..


Putting the salted caramel into the apple pie filling, you will get some sweetness, sourness and saltiness altogether. Hmm..i dont know if you like that ..and while baking these individual pies which have been baked using a non stick muffin pan, some of the caramel oozed out from my small pies, otherwise the taste of the salted caramel would have been richer. But hey, we can still drizzle the caramel all over the pies upon serving, i actually like it this way more!






I wished i could bake a little more longer than i had here, but at the same time the caramel was flowing out so i had stopped baking after 35 mins. This is bcos i find that my crust turned a little flabby the next day.  The actual whole recipe actually indicates baking for a total of 80 minutes for baking the whole large pie.

Recipe ( from the book, Back in the Day Bakery ) with some changes
this is half of the recipe which makes a dozen muffin sized pies.
Ingredients for Pie Crust
125gm  plain flour
63gm cake flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 egg ( take 1 egg, lightly beaten and take half of it )
40m ice water, plus more if necessary
1/2 tsp white vinegar
113gm cold butter, cut into cubes*

Put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the food processor. In a large measuring cup,  beat the egg with water and vinegar. Turn on the food processor and blend together the flour, sugar and salt. Put in the butter cubes and blend them using pulse mode till the butter resembles small peas. Add in the egg mixture slowly until the dough comes together. ( i did not use all of the egg mixture ). If the dough seems dry, add a little more ice water, a little at a time as necessary.

Gather the dough together on a lightly floured surface and shape into ball. Flatten it with the palms of your hand into a disk . Chill for at least 1 hour and store in refrigerator up to 4 days. Let the dough comes to slightly soft or soft enough to roll out.

* the book has indicated to use half shortening and half butter to create more flakiness in the tart but i have used all butter. 

For the Salted Caramel
there's probably 1/3 cup left after making these individual pies
1/2 cup/125gm sugar
1/2 tsp fleur del sel
85gm unsalted butter, at room temp
1tbsp heavy cream

Method: Combine sugar, fleur del sel and add 1/4 cup of water in a medium saucepan and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Wash down any crystals from the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Turn the heat down to medium and cook without stirring, until the syrup becomes a medium dark amber caramel, about 15 minutes, we can carefully swirl the pan around to check the colour.

Remove the pan from heat and immediately stir in the butter and heavy cream.Do not worry if the butter starts to separate, it will come together once the caramel is cooled. Using a hand whisk, whisk the caramel until it comes together. Set aside.

For the Apple Filling
1tsp lemon zest
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large Granny Smith ( or you can use a combination, cored, peeled and sliced, i hv cut them into cubes )
1/8 cup plain flour
1/8 tsp ground cardamon ( skipped )
1/8tsp ground allspice ( skipped )
1/8 tsp freshly grated nuteg ( i used nutmeg powder )
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup turbinado sugar, for sprinkling ( i did not sprinkle any sugar )

some beaten egg for egg wash
fleur del sel for sprinkling
ice cream for serving ( optional )

Put the lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl, add the apples and all the spices in and toss gently.

Method :
Dust the rolling pin with some flour. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough into a thickness abt 1mm. Cut the dough using cookie cutter ( here , i have used a 3" round cutter for the bottom crust and 2.5" for the top crust) Place the dough for the bottom into the base of a muffin pan
, poke a few holes in the dough and spoon some filling in the crust , followed by a dollop of the salted caramel and cover it with the dough for top crust. Pinch both the crust together to seal them and cut a cross across the top crust. Reserve the remaining caramel for serving. Brush the crust with some egg wash and sprinkle lightly with some turbinado sugar and a pinch of fleur del sel. ( i hv put the pies into the fridge for about 15mins before baking them ). Preheat oven to 205C

Turn the oven down to 190C and bake them for about 30-35 mins till the crust turns golden.(  Note that there may be some caramel ooze out from the pie itself while baking them). Remove from oven and remove completely from muffin pan after several minutes.



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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Grissini ( Italian Breadsticks )




Grissini, also known as Italian breadsticks is our present bake along theme. I have tried grissini once at a buffet breakfast and they were crunchy type, just like crackers. I am not exactly sure if there are also the soft types of grissini because i do see some soft grissini recipes out there. The ones that i made here are the crunchy ones. Before i had my first grissini, apart from its unusual cute long sticks, i had the impression that they might be a little bland to eat, they were just plain looking sticks to me, ..i mean the ones that i had at the buffet. But it wasnt, somehow they had the kind of fragrant aroma of some herbs and also accompanied with some soft cheese which were nice to eat!


Here in this recipe, i have incorporated some italian herbs into the dough, if you want a stronger taste, you can add another half tablespoon more. No cheese but i have made a dip to go with these breadsticks, almost similar dip that i have made last time , Smoked Salmon Avocado Spread  but without the smoked salmon! Just as good!!


On the other hand, even wihout any dips or spread, i do think that these breadsticks are still much enjoyable to eat. Apart from the light flavour of the italian herbs which we get to taste in the sticks, there is also a good aroma of sesame seeds, i would think this is something fun to snack too!

Recipe ( from kingarthurflour.com )
makes around 20 sticks
Ingredients
1 tsp instant yeast
1tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp milk powder
1/2 tbsp pizza dough flavour ( i used italian herbs )
95g bread flour
95gm OO flour*
95ml lukewarmwater ( i needed about 130ml water )
1tbsp olive oil

egg whites ( just little, less than 1 )
black and white sesame seeds

* can use all bread flour


Directions
In the bowl of an electric mixer, put in all flour, sugar, salt, milk powder, italian herbs, instant yeast and mix them using a fork or dough hook. On low speed, pour in half the water, then the olive oil and slowly add in the rest of the water till a dough is formed. Run the machine to knead the dough into a soft dough, approx 5-6 mins. Remove the dough onto a lightly oiled bowl, cover with kitchen towel and let it proof for an hour.

Lightly knead the dough and shape into a rectangle about 9in x 13 in. If you find it difficult to roll, you may rest the dough for a few minutes before proceeding. After shaping into rectangle, brush the surface with some egg whites and sprinkle the sesame seeds all over. Using a pizza roller, cut into about 1cm ( or thinner ) width strips. Twist the strip or roll ( both ends in opposite direction) and lay them on the prepared baking tray, do the same for all strips  and let it proof for about 40 mins. Bake them in a preheated oven at  215C for about 12-14 mins till they are brown ( i used 2 trays, upper and lower rack, rotate the trays half way between the baking time and i hv baked them on 190C fan forced )






Cream Cheese Avocado Spread
1/2 piece of small ripe avocado
110g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 small onion, chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon
some chopped parsley or spring onions
some salt to taste

Blend them all together using a food processor.




Feel free to join me, Joyce and Zoe making these Italian Breadsticks from today up till Feb14, 2015. Happy Baking!





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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hot Milk Cake with Peaches and Cream


The cake gets its name as hot milk is one of the ingredients for making this. Heating up the milk and butter together is the key step that what makes it called a hot milk cake. There are also different, but quite similar recipes which we can find in the internet on hot milk cakes and in this bake along, me, Joyce and Zoe are trying out the recipe from the book, Bon Appetit. Infact, last year i had made Tish Boyle's Hot Milk Sponge Cake so i was expecting the cake to be the same, sort of.



This recipe has suggested us to bake them in custard cups, i have used my muffin pan instead and
instead of serving them in cups with cream and strawberries, i just left it as it is and filled with sliced peaches and cream. The little cakes turned out fine but less fluffier if compared to the hot milk sponge cake which i had made last year. Both are quite similar recipes but then again, at times we might not know there might be something we have not done good enough such as creaming or beating of the eggs and so on. Anyway, the peaches and cream made up for it :D

Recipe ( from the book , Bon Appetit )
makes 9
Ingredients
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp self raising flour
2/3 cup whole milk
70gm unsalted butter
3-4 peach halves, from the can, sliced
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
1 tbsp icing sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 210C. Using electric mixer, beat eggs in medium bowl at high speed until thick, about 3 minutes. Gradually add 2/3 cup sugar, beating until thick and pale yellow, about 1 min longer. Beat in 1/2 tsp vanilla. Add flour and beat 30 seconds. Bring milk and butter just to boil in small saucepan, stirring until butter melts. Beta hot milk mixture into batter. Continue to beat for 30seconds and pour the batter into a non stick muffin tin.

Bake cakes until firm to touch and pale golden, and tops form rounded peak in center, about 16mins. Let cool before filling in the cream. Cakes can be made 8 hours ahead , cover and let stand at room temperature.

For filling, just combined the chilled whipping cream and icing sugar and whisk till soft peak . Cut the cake into half, put in 2-3 slices of peach and a dollop of whipping cream and cover with the cake top.



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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mille Feuille ( with custard cream )




Happy New Year 2015!

I had made this simple mille feuille or also known as Napoleon on the 2nd day of new year and by the way, i have no idea how to actually pronounce " mille feuille " :) ..and so it says mille feuille is made up of 3 layers of pastry which is filled with pastry cream, whipped cream or any filling that we like in between the layers . I have made the same custard cream that i made for my Swan Cream Puffs, only that this time i cooked it so that it becomes a little thicker.There are some napoleons i see that comes with a thicker pastry layer and some with a thinner layer. I personally like mine with a thinner layer and if you have not tried making this and like it thin, the key thing is to a put a baking tray on top of the puff pastry while baking it so that it wont puff up so much.

Start by putting a parchment paper on the tray and then lay down the puff pastry onto the paper.


Then put another piece of parchment paper on top of the pastry and followed by another baking tray and this is how it looks like when it goes into the oven . Bake at 200C on middle rack for 25minutes.


After 25 minutes, remove the tray and the parchment paper( the one which is on top of the pastry ) and continue to bake for another 5 minutes.


after baking ..
Cut the pastry sheet into 3 equal strips and spread one layer of cream onto the first layer, top with a second layer and another layer of cream and finally the 3rd layer. So 2 layers of cream in between the layers.






Use a very sharp knife to cut into pieces as this gets quite messy..




Dust with icing sugar to cover up imperfections...:D




Recipe for custard cream filling
enough to use for 3 puff pastry sheets
1 cup milk
1 egg, well beaten
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of half an orange

Directions
Mix together the egg, sugar, flour and salt and using a hand whisk, beat well. In a small pot, bring the milk to just boiling and slowly pour in a thin stream to the egg mixture and stir vigorously as to not to cook the eggs mixture. Return the mixture to the pot and cook on low heat till it thickens , keep stirring all the time. Please watch this carefully as it gets thick rather fast, less than a minute. Remove from heat and let cool down. Cover with cling wrap and stick it directly to the custard. Can keep in the fridge after it has cooled down .



Joyce, Zoe  and myself welcome everyone who wish to join us in our first bake along for the year! You can use any of your favourite cream or filling and fruits. Also here wishing everyone who dropping by here a healthy and a wonderful 2015!

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