Tag Archives: Baking

The BEST Muffins EVER.

The title’s not just a declarative. It’s an imperative. Period.

 photo IMG_7046_zps6e482586.jpg

I’ve baked several muffins to date, and yes I’ve made some pretty delish ones like my Citrus Muffins, but this is hands down the best I’ve made thus far. It’s not because of the fillings that went into it, cause pfffwt we all know cheese/carrot/apple muffins ain’t a stroke of genius. It’s the base recipe that makes these muffins shine.

 photo IMG_7060a_zpse3a7bcff.jpg

Simple, versatile, with ingredients you can grab from your pantry right now, this is the best basic recipe I found so far. And with a few tweaks of my own it yields the softest and moistest muffin. I’ve been looking for such a recipe for a really long time cause my friends and family prefer moister muffins. If cakey fluffy ones are your preference this might be slightly a bit too moist, though fluffy enough for me I’d say.

 photo muffins2_zps634d5fca.jpg

The base recipe’s really versatile, and everything stays the same except for the 150g of added flavours. Be creative with your muffin fillings! Pistachio and chocolate chips; citrus and coconut; cheese and raisins; the possibilities are endless. Let your imagination run wild with this amazing recipe (:

 photo IMG_7053_zpsb07b4d48.jpg

Cheese, Carrots and Apple Muffins (makes 12)

220g spelt flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 olive oil
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 medium carrot, grated
*1/2 apple, grated
*100g cubed cheese

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line muffin trays with cases.

2. Sift the flour with the baking power and salt.

3. Mix the wet ingredients together. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Mix everything till its just combined and not overmix it.

4. Pour in the grated carrots, apple, and cubed cheese into the mixture and fold it in till just combined.

5. Divide the batter into the muffin trays, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

*These ingredients can be substituted with 150g of whatever ingredients and flavours you desire!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Super Slutty Cheesecake Bars

Photobucket

Why slutty? Just take a look at what’s going on in these bars: chocolate chip cookie crust, cheesecake filling stuffed with oreos, then topped with even more crushed oreos and nougat. So that’s essentially a pile of 2 kinds of cookies, cheesecake, candy, and a whole lotta sugar. Slutty indeed.

Photobucket

Me being the health freak that I am, it definitely took a while for me to get over how insanely sinful these treats are. But hey, every girl needs her dose of sugar.

Photobucket

And these are the perfect little culprits to snack on when you are in need of some sugar-induced happiness. Outrageously sinful, but so damn utterly delicious. I foresee a few more of these, and a whole lotta these *points to tummy flabs* coming up soon.

Photobucket

I am in no way exaggerating when I say I literally trembled with excitement just cutting these babes into bars. I cheated a little when making these, using a cookie mix instead of making my own from scratch. I don’t know if that’s the reason why the cookie layer took much longer to bake than expected. 9 minutes as per the instructions, but it totalled to a whole 25 minutes! I’d make my own cookie crust in the future, and I think that’ll kick these bars way up a notch.

Photobucket

Super Slutty Cheesecake Bars (makes about 16 bars)
Adapted from Baker’s Royale’s Slutty Cheesecake Bars

225g cookie dough (ready-made or homemade)
16 oreos
350g cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Toppings
100g nougat, chopped
8 oreos, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350C.

2. Roll out or using your fingers, press cookie dough to an 1/8 inch thickness and bake until crisp.

3. Place whole oreos on top of baked cookie crust.

4. Place cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla in a bowl and beat until blended. Pour mixture over oreos.

5. Sprinkle chopped oreos and mougat on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting. Chill the bars and cut it while its cold to get nice clean edges.

Tagged , , , , ,

Nutella Bread Pudding

Photobucket

This was the first ever bread pudding I ever made! Nutella of course, cause what can go wrong with nutella?

Photobucket

Chocolatey decadent custard, but slightly spiced and elevated by the rosemary bread used, this bread pudding was absolutely heavenly. I love the combinations of rosemary and chocolate! It’s surprising how the sweet and savoury blend resulted in a kind of spiced chocolate. My sisters thought it was refreshing and kept the bread pudding from being jelak and boring after awhile, but they’d prefer a full blown chocolate one. Chocolate purists you see (:

Photobucket

I really like the spiced-ish flavour though, so I’d probably use another savoury bread the next time I attempt this. I might mix it with some wholemeal bread too to give it a nuttier taste. On the whole though this recipe is a winner! A great and simple base recipe to work with.

Photobucket

Nutella Bread Pudding
Recipe adapted from Jaden’s Nutella Bread Pudding Recipe

3 croissants (preferably 1-2 days old)
3/4 cup Nutella
1/4 cup pecan halves
2 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugarpowdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Slice each croissant in half lengthwise then slather one side with Nutella. Put the halves back together to make sandwiches and cut into 2-inch pieces.

3. Add sandwich pieces and pecans to a small baking dish (suggested: 10-inch x 5-inch loaf pan).

4. To make the custard, add eggs, cream, vanilla extract, salt and sugar to a medium bowl and whisk until combined.

5. Pour the custard over the sandwich pieces then gently push down the bread so the custard starts to absorb.

6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes then remove the foil and continue to bake uncovered for about 10 minutes until the bread pudding is golden brown, has risen slightly and the liquid has bee completely absorbed. Let cool and then sprinkle on powdered sugar to finish.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

A Carrot Cake, but which one?

Photobucket

The problem with foodsurfing every day is that I end up bookmarking almost every wonderful recipe, or copy it down crazily like some mad woman. That kinda explains my 3 notebooks worth of recipes. The problem with having so many recipes is I have to make a note on which of the recipes I tried and which I hadn’t. The problem with cooking at a pace that far exceeds that of blogging is that I forgot which pictures refer to which particular recipe in which particular notebook.

That’s the problem I’m facing with this carrot cake that I made way back earlier this year. I forgot which of the sea of carrot cake recipes it follows!! So I have to go through the hazardous task of looking through my recipe repertoire to search for the recipe that looks and sounds most alike this one I made. It ain’t fun I can tell you that.

Photobucket

If this is the correct recipe though – and I do believe it is – I remember that it was a good one indeed! After some adaptations, this recipe turned out to be the healthiest and most successful carrot cake that I’ve attempted thus far. Not that I’ve tried many that is! The very first carrot cake I made was an extremely healthy one that consisted of 5 ingredients, whose recipe I just realised I have not posted either, but was a tad too moist. My sister loved it that way though. I prefer my carrot cake soft, moist, yet fluffy like a normal cake. This cake hit the spot. It was a perfect balance of moistness and fluff! I’ll still be trying out other carrot cake recipes to see if they are as good, but as of now this is my favourite carrot cake (: assuming it’s the right recipe.

Carrot Cake (makes 1 loaf pan)
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup olive oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated peeled carrots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts (optional)
1/4 cup mix of cranberries and chopped dates (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Grease a loaf pan with olive oil and flour them.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend.

4. Whisk honey and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time.

5. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, macadamia, cranberries and dates, if using them. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

4 Ingredients Nutella Brownies

Photobucket

I’m super excited to share this recipe with all you guys! No silly pfft not because it uses nutella, but because it takes only 4 ingredients to make it! 4 simple ingredients available in everybody’s pantry. Anyone can whip this up in no time at all. Quick, easy, delish. What more can you ask of a dessert?

Photobucket
Blur picture I’m sorry!

The texture of these brownies are more similar to a gooey cake, but of course you can adjust it according to your baking time. Bake it slightly longer and it’ll be a chewier brownie of course. But beware: these chocolatey yumminess are not for the weak-hearted. It took all of my willpower to stop myself from eating all 12 of them straight out of the oven. Practise exercising your self restraint people cause you’re gonna need it!

Photobucket

4 Ingredients Nutella Brownies (makes 12 mini muffins)
Recipe adapted from Alice’s 4 Ingredients Nutella Brownies

1/2 cup Nutella spread
1 large egg
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 12-cup mini muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

2. Put the Nutella and egg in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and well blended. Add the flour and whisk until blended.

3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins (about 3/4 full) and sprinkle with the chocolate chips.

4. Bake until a pick comes out with wet, gooey crumbs, 11 to 12 minutes. Set on a rack to cool completely. Serve immediately or cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies (Entirely Guilt-free)

No really, these are absolutely guilt-free.

Made with grounded nuts, gluten free flours, and sweetened with a combination of honey and pure maple syrup, these cookies are my current favourite cookies. My whole family’s in fact.

Photobucket

It came as quite a shock that I actually like these cookies, cause they are chewy ones. Everyone knows I abhore chewy cookies and only ever eat crispy crunchy ones. Even I was surprised that I ate 5 of them in a row! And each cookie ain’t small. They’re roughly palm-sized. Unlike your conventional cookies, these are intensely chocolatey in a different way. Not the Famous Amos kinda chocolatey, but the deep I-can-taste-the-cocoa-combined-with-the-honey kinda chocolatey. The flax and almonds gave it a unique nutty and crunchy texture in spite of the entire cookie being chewy! So every bite was a burst of textures and flavours. Marvelous!

Photobucket

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies (Entirely Guilt-free) (makes about 10)
Recipe adapted from Sweet Roots’ Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

2 1/4 cups grounded hazelnuts
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup ground flax
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, and then mix in the wet ingredients till incorporated and sticks together.

5. Drop large spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until they are done. Mine took about 23 minutes, so I guess it really depends on the size of your cookies. Let them cook for 10 minutes, then try to keep your hands of them.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Pumpkin Cakey Bars

Photobucket

I hate dilemmas.

Butter or oil? Cream or yogurt? Salad or chocolate cake?

My heart yearns to explore innovative savoury dishes. Say pork three ways: cheek braised in wine and served with balsamic roasted cherries and chestnuts, belly roasted and served with a ‘mille feuille’ of root veges, thigh poached in pork stock then seared with garlic and chili infused olive oil and topped with fried basil and smoked paprika? Or a deconstruction of roasted pork belly: bone marrow stock blended and gelatinised into thin layers, alternating with slow-cooker braised pork loin with peppercorns and bay leaves, topped with a square of roasted skin? *slaps slaps* losing myself here! But my brain breaks down the various components and ingredients required, and informs me that naaaaah either a lot of oil, cream, or various other less healthy ingredients are required.

And so I end up whipping up more baked goods. Cause I can safely and easily substitute various unhealthy components after so many many trials. I guess until I can find the perfect substitutes for such ingredients in savoury dishes, sweets will dominate this blog!

Soooooo, awhile ago pumpkin desserts were dominating every major food site. Like literally every site. And pumpkin bars were one of the most common of the autumn sweets made, with variations popping up everywhere. Absolutely annoying thing was that most of these desserts used super lot of cream, sugars, and various other unhealthy processed stuff. Sad me had to avoid all these wonderful drool-inducing desserts, until I stumbled upon Katie’s recipe. Seeing her list of wholesome and nutritious ingredients, I absolutely absolutely had to make these babies!

Photobucket

If you could describe “Fall” with a bar, this would be it. They were fantastic!!! Everything a fall pumpkin dessert should be! Lightly spiced, every bight was a refreshing warm fall breeze. It’s almost like fall in a bar. Oddly though adapted from the “Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars” made by Katie, these were not at all bar-y. They were extremely cakey and fluffy, and they tasted delish that way too! I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe cause it makes a really mean pumpkin spiced cake. Mind you it won over the hearts of the pickiest of eaters (: though I’ll probably have to search longer for a healthier pumpkin bar recipe!

Pumpkin Cakey Bars (makes about 25 bars)
Recipe adapted from Katie’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon spelt flour (or white flour, oat flour, etc.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground flax
3 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (or cooked, pureed pumpkin)
2 tablespoons nonfat milk
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Combine dry ingredients, then fold the in wet ingredients. Spread into an oiled 7×5 pan (or double the recipe for an 8×8) and cook for 14-15 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Simple Bread Pudding

Photobucket

Away from catching up on old posts and back to real time, the last week’s been an awesome one of culinary experimentation! We’d just returned from our annual trip, this time to Spain and Portugal, and I was dying to get cooking once more. And so lunch was under my charge for a few days, for me to play around with ideas and recipes.

Photobucket

Clockwise from top to bottom: Sweet potato chicken shepherd’s pie; Seared chicken breasts with a simple salsa, served with some caramelised apples with oregano; Seared scallops with blueberry glaze, served with roasted vegetables; Chicken roulade with watercress and fig and walnut cheese; Pork tenderloin bolognaise; Seared scallops and poached egg, served with roasted vegetables.

Recipes will be up as soon as I’m done catching up with a few posts!

Now back to the protagonist of this post, I always put of making bread pudding cause of all the cream that’s usually involved. This recipe however caught my attention cause, hey hey, no cream’s involved! That my hands were itching to make a lil something probably gave me a nudge in baking this. It’s my second attempt at bread pudding, with the first being a Nutella version that I haven’t posted about! Sighs.

Photobucket

The house smelled absolutely wonderful while this was baking up in the oven. I guess it’ll suffice to say everything was gone within an hour (: it was honestly quite funny to see my sisters eat it, cause they were exclaiming “ohmygosh I’m so full I can’t take another bite!” while eating! Oops bad time planning on my part cause they just finished lunch not long ago.

Soft, custardy yet not at all egg-ish, the texture of this bread pudding was way better than the previous nutella one (whose recipe I’d post up real soon). Taste-wise this recipe fared real well. It isn’t overly sweet, and the vanilla scent was distinct in every bite. Mixing wholemeal and white bread did give it an extra delish nutty taste. The next time I make this I might use a savoury bread instead, like the rosemary herbed bread I baked and used in the nutella bread pudding. I think it’d kick the bread pudding up a notch, making it more special than the usual vanilla flavours.

Foolproof and disgustingly straightforward, you really don’t need to be a baker to make this wonderfully hearty dessert. From prepping to chucking it into the oven, it’ll take less than 10 minutes!

Photobucket

Simple Bread Pudding (serves 6)
Recipe adapted from Cemplang Cemplung’s Bread Pudding

2 eggs, lightly beaten
625ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
500g mixture of wholemeal and white bread, cut into cubes
110g sugar
70g raisins
Handful of dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. In a large bowl, combine the beaten eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar and salt, stirring gently.

3. Place the bread slices and raisins into a well-greased baking dish, spreading them to get an even distribution of bread and raisins. Pour the egg mixture over the bread slices and sprinkle with extra cinnamon powder if desired.

4. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes before eating.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Birthday Saga Part 2: Mumzie’s 5-course and 4-course meals

Mumzie’s birthday was in early November, but just so unfortunately it coincided with the first day of the Lunar month. To some of us stricter Buddhists it means we gotta go vegetarian. Vegan vegetarian, with additional stuff we can’t eat like garlic, spring onions and ginger. That meant that she’d miss out on a lotta delicious foods on her actual birthday! To make it up to her, I decided to cook a non-vegetarian meal a few days before her actual birthday so she could enjoy a lil! And so the menu goes:

1. Lemon jelly and sauteed barley with prosciutto
2. Crispy pork floss rolls topped with tomato salsa
3. Steamed fish with fresh and fried garlic in flavoured sauce
4. Wolfberry and chrysanthemum jelly with chilled almond cream and ginger-tea cooked ginkgo nuts
5. Ginger honey cake with chai spiced yogurt

Lemon Jelly and Sauteed Barley with Prosciutto

The first 3 dishes are actually adapted from Sam Leong’s cookbook “Sensations”. I was originally going to make some other contemporary European kinda dishes I always cook, but then I saw his recipes and got so excited by the look of them! Finally, a man who seemed to nail the delicate art of Chinese haute cuisine! Take note I’m referring to his recipes and cuisine alone. I personally don’t like him and his haughty arrogant tv persona. Oh but that aside, the recipe wasn’t that bad. Sisters loved the lemon jelly and the prosciutto, but they couldn’t appreciate the sauteed barley. I guess that’s mostly my bad cause it wasn’t soft enough. I’d make this dish again but change the prosciutto and use something a little less neutral in flavour. Maybe a salmon carpaccio.

Crispy Pork Floss Rolls topped with Tomato Salsa

These were actually real good! The combination of the pork floss and diced chicken inside the rolls gave it a really nice savoury sweet balance, and the salsa was a wonderful textural contrast to the crispy spring rolls. The rolls ain’t looking pretty here though, cause once again anal me didn’t want to deep fry the spring rolls (have I mentioned how much I hate fried stuff?) so I baked them. Not a gorgeous sight, but hey everyone loved it. That’s what counts in the end (:

Steamed Fish with Fresh and Fried Garlic in Flavoured Sauce

Another fave of the night! Simple, elegant and absolutely delish.

Wolfberry and Chrysanthemum Jelly with Chilled Almond Cream and Ginger-Tea-Cooked Ginkgo Nuts

I cooked the ginkgos in a ginger-honey tea that I made, but I couldn’t really taste it in the ginkgo. Wonder if it’s cause of the ginkgos, or if infusions just don’t work that way with ginkgos hmmm. I got a lil’ lazy here though cause there was just so many things to prepare, so the almond cream was store bought.

Ginger Honey Cake with Chai-Spiced Yogurt

This, was my favourite. My mum and I loved ginger, so I was looking for an intensely ginger flavour. Recipes I found seemed more sweet than spicy though, so I upped the amounts of grounded ginger called for, and added freshly grated ones! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Brought it to school the next day and everyone loved it! Success!!

I was going to cook a one-dish vegetarian meal on her actual birthday, but then I got ambitious. I thought “nah heck it I might as well go all out and give my mama a wonderful unforgettable vegetarian birthday meal!” So here goes!

1. Vegetarian soy fish and cucumber salad with sweet vinegar dressing
2. Maple roasted shiitake mushrooms with mash
3. Grilled portobellos with romanesco sauce
4. Thai pumpkin curry with raw cauliflower ‘rice’

Vegetarian Soy Fish and Cucumber Salad with Sweet Vinegar Dressing

Everything was ok for this dish, except that the cucumbers were cut way too thick. Hmm I think I need those kinda cut veges press machine things.

Maple Roasted Assorted Mushrooms with Mash

I was kinda worried about this one and wondered if it would work, but surprisingly the match was simply perfect and everyone loved the dish!

Grilled Portobellos with Romanesco Sauce

And I’m totally not exaggerating when I say they dig this sauce. Even I did. Just between you and me, I shoved a lot of it down my throat while I was making it xD oh and cause I don’t own a food processor, I had to combine everything using the mortar and pestle. Old style, but I think the chunky texture definitely worked to my advantage. It tasted real great with this simple grilled portobello.

Thai Pumpkin Curry with Raw Cauliflower ‘rice’

Thinking everyone might be sorta full by now I decided on replacing the rice staple with raw cauliflower. I was glad I did that cause everyone was pretty much filled by then! Ohmy ohmy but this dish…absolutely heavenly. The first time anyone in my family had ever attempted curry, and from scratch too, and it was a total success!! The right amount of heat, the right amount of tastiness, mmmm loved it. My fave of the night!

Photobucket

These 2 menus feature dishes I never regret making, and I’d definitely definitely keep in my “Frequent!” list.

Lemon Jelly and Sauteed Barley with Prosciutto (serves 4)
Adapted from Sam Leong’s recipe Beef Carpaccio with Sauteed Barley in Yuzu Jelly, from his book Sensation

1 packet of prosciutto, about 6 slices
45g barley
1 tablespoon cooking oil
20g carrot, peeled and diced
10g cilantro stems, diced
10g celery, diced
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon chicken stock
1/4 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with 1 teaspoon water

Lemon jelly
1 cup chicken stock
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 tablespoons powdered gelatin, bloomed in the lemon juice

1. Prepare this dish one day ahead.

2. Prepare the barley y bringing a small pot of water to the boil. When the water is boiling, add he barley and cook for 20 minutes or until the barley is tender.

3. Heat the oil in a wok and add the cooked, tender barley together with the carrot coriander and celery. Stir-fry the mixture lightly, then add salt and chicken stock. Stir-fry again to mix the seasoning well, then add the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce. Remove the mixture from heat then transfer to a small container and refrigerate overnight.

4. Meanwhile, place all the ingredients for the lemon jelly in a pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring until the gelatine melts. Remove the pot from the heat and leave to cool slightly before refrigerating overnight to set the jelly. Cut the jelly into smaller cubes before serving.

5. To serve, spoon the chilled barley mixture into a serving plate, topped with a slice of rolled prosciutto, and lemon jelly cubes. Serve immediately.

Crispy Pork Floss Rolls topped with Tomato Salsa (serves 4)
Adapted from Sam Leong’s recipe Crispy Chicken Floss Roll coated with Seasame seeds and topped with Tomato Salsa, from his book Sensation

Some cooking oil to brush the surface of the rolls
1/4 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoons minced shallot
45g shiitake mushroos, caps wiped and minced
100g minced chicken
1/4 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with 1 teaspoon water
100g pork floss
4 sheets of wafer paper/rice paper

Seasoning
1/2 teaspoons yellow bean paste
1/2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoons ground white pepper
1 teaspoon chinese cooking wine (hu tiao)
4 tablespoons chicken stock

Salsa
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
1 mango, peeled and diced
Olive oil
Salt

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok and stir-fry the minced garlic and shallot until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry lightly, then add the minced chicken and seasoning ingredients. Stir to mix well and bring the mixture to the boil. Stir in the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce, then remove it from the heat. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, then toss with pork floss and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes.

2. Remove the chicken mixture from the refrigerator and divide it into 4 equal portions. Spoon 1 portion of the mixture in a row on a sheet of wafer paper and roll it up like a spring roll. Repeat to make 4 rolls.

3. Heat the oil for deep-frying in a wok. Dip the rolls into the beaten egg yolk, then roll them in sesame seeds to coat them. Deep-fry the rolls for about 1 minute, or until golden brown and crisp. Remove and drain well

4. Prepare the salsa. Toss the tomatoes and mango with olive oil, then sprinkle the salt over.

5. Cut each roll into 3 rounds and top with salsa. Serve immediately.

Steamed Fish with Fresh and Fried Garlic in Flavoured Sauce (serves 4)
Adapted from Sam Leong’s recipe Steamed Australian Lobster with Fresh and Fried Garlic in Flavoured Sauce, from his book Sensation

800g snapper fish (or any other fish)
2 tablespoons olive oil
160g garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
Chopped chives

Sauce
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 clove ginger, peeled and sliced
1 scallion, cut into short lengths
2 sprigs coriander leaves
100ml chicken stock
4 teaspoons light soy sauce
10g rock sugar
1/4 teaspoons dark soy sauce

1. Prepare the sauce. Heat the oil in a wok and saute the ginger and scallions until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and bring to the boil. Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside.

2. Prepare the fish. Remove its scale and rinse it. Place it on a steaming plate.

3. Heat the oil in a wok and fry half the garlic until crisp and golden brown. Set the garlic aside.

4. Combine the remaining minced garlic with salt, sugar, sesame oil and cornstarch. Sprinkle the mixture over the prepared fish and steam for about 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked.

5. Sprinkle the deep-fried garlic over the fish and drizzle the sauce over. Serve the fish hot, garnished with chopped chives.

Wolfberry and Chrysanthemum Jelly (makes about 10 cubes)

500ml chrysanthemum tea
2 3/4 teaspoons powdered gelatin
Handful wolfberries

1. Sprinkle the gelatin over a few tablespoons of room temperature chrysanthemum tea and let it bloom for a minute or two.

2. Pour the bloomed gelatin back with the remaining chrysanthemum tea and heat it over a double-boiler, stirring till the gelatin has melted, without bringing the tea to a boil.

3. Pour it into molds/containers then refrigerate it for a few hours to set. If set in a container, cut it into cubes before serving.

Ginger Honey Cake with Chai-Spiced Yogurt (makes about 20 cubes)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons grounded ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
3/8 cups olive oil
1 1/2 cups honey
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cups milk
10g ginger, grated

Chai-Spiced Yogurt
1 cup of nonfat greek yogurt
3 teaspoons of a mixture of nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and ginger (I forgot my proportions!)
2 tablespoons of honey

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Sieve the dry ingredients; mix the wet ingredients.

3. Fold the liquids into the dry ingredients till combined. Fold in the grated ginger.

4. Pour the batter into a well-greased rectangular pan and bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 150C and bake for 10-15 minutes or when the cake is done. Do the toothpick test. Let the cake rest for 5 minutes, then remove it from the pan and cool completely before serving.

5. Mix the ingredients for the spiced yogurt together till combined, then drop a dollop on each slice of cake before serving!

Vegetarian Soy Fish and Cucumber Salad with Sweet Vinegar Dressing (serves 6 as appetizers)

1 Japanese cucumber
1 teaspoon salt
12 slices of vegetarian soy fish
1 teaspoon olive oil
3cm old ginger, shredded and soaked in ice water

Sweet Vinegar Dressing
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoon soy sauce

1. Prepare the dressing by mixing all the ingredients with your fingers till dissolved.

2. Rub the skin of the Japanese cucumber with salt to smoothen the skin, then rinse it with water and slice thinly.

3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and pan fry the soy fish.

4. Drain the shredded ginger. Combine the cucumbers and dressing, then top it with 2 slices of soy fish and the ginger to serve.

Maple Roasted Assorted Mushrooms with Mash (serves 4)

2 pounds shiitake mushrooms
1 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
2 big pinches of paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Toss all the ingredients together, spread it on a baking sheet and roast all till the mushrooms are tender. Took me about 20 minutes I think.

Grilled Portobellos with Romanesco Sauce(serves 6)

6 big portobello mushrooms

Romanesco Sauce (makes more than required)
2 large red bell peppers
150g lightly roasted hazelnuts
1 clove garlic, peeped
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons paprika
4-6 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 225C. Cook the peppers for an hour, rotating it every 20 minutes. Pop it into a bowl, cover and allow it to steam and cool.

2. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, removed the seeds and blakcened skin.

3. Transfer the pepper flesh to a food processor with everything but the oil. Whizz for a minute or until a smoothish puree is obtained. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and combine. Do a taste test and adjust for seasonings, adding a little more vinegar or paprika if needed.

4. Grill the portobello mushrooms, then top each with a few tablespoons of romanesco sauce to serve.

Thai Pumpkin Curry with Raw Cauliflower ‘rice’ (serves 6)

1/2 small pumpkin or 1 squash, cubed
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1-2 medium carrots, cut into thick slices
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons grated orange rind

Curry Sauce
3-4 cloves garlic
1-2 fresh red chillies
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 lime, juiced
1 medium orange, juiced
1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 tablespoon rice/apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon groun coriander seeds
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/3 red onion, sliced

1 cauliflower

1. Make the curry sauce by placing all sauce ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Process it well and set aside.

2. Place the pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes together with the curry sauce in a wok over medium-high heat. Stir it well.

3. When the curry begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium. Let it simmer 6-8 minutes until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally.

4. Meanwhile, wash the cauliflower and grate it till it resembles rice. Put it in the colander and dry it well before dividing it into 6 bowls.

5. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate. Simmer for 2 more minutes, then check for seasoning.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Warm Fudgy Pudding Cake

IMG_1375

Warm Fudgy Pudding Cake

So I kinda made this one like a real long time back, but totally forgot to post about it when I went to Japan!(OMGOSH speaking of which I realised I have not concluded my series of travel posts yet!!!) I was trying to recall what I’ve made that I haven’t talk about yet, dug through my picture folders, and tadah found this!

IMG_1376

I saw this sinful looking babe on foodgawker and I was hooked. I simply had to make it. Seriously who in the right mind can resist a messy, gooey, fudgy blob of chocolatey goodness?

I’d slap you right now if you’re saying “me”.

IMG_1379

These were actually pretty good! Though they didn’t turn out exactly the way they were supposed to. Have to blame my massive adaptations for that. I replaced all the sugar with honey, which gave the cake a slightly denser and chewier texture, and quite a strong honey flavour. That wasn’t the problem. The pudding was. The original recipe called for a total of 1 cup of sugar, which I substituted entirely with 3/4 cups of honey. Standard substitution, but what I didn’t account for was the stickiness and utter honey-ness of the resulting puddling. It looked brown, looked chocolatey, but tasted cloyingly honey-ly. And possible because it was honey and not sugar, the cocoa could not combine well with it, and didn’t sink to the bottom of the dish when baked to form the pudding. Instead it remained at the top, still dry, like a super dusting of cocoa.

IMG_1378

Honestly though that’s not to say that they weren’t good! In fact half of it disappeared within the first 15 minutes of being taken out, and the remaining was gone the next day (: not too shabby after all! I still think there’s much to be done to make it the chocolate pudding I’ll head back for over and over again. Next time I might use only 1/2 cup of honey – or possibly a tablespoon or two lesser – for the cake batter, double the vanilla, and reduce the honey in the pudding by 2 tablespoons, adding 2 teaspoons of vanilla. I’d probably incorporate the cocoa with the honey first to prevent the dried cocoa layer from emerging.

Hell I might just follow the recipe!

Till then,

Warm Fudgy Pudding Cake (serves 6-8)
Adapted from The Kitchn’s Warm Fudgy Pudding Cake

For the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces) milk, whole or 2%
1 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the pudding:
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup cold water

Nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruits, or any toppings you desire (optional)

1. Heat the oven to 180C. Grease or spray with non-stick cooking spray an 8″x”8 baking pan.

2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt through a fine-meshed strainer into a mixing bowl. Combine the milk, melted butter, honey and vanilla. Pour the liquids over the dry ingredients, and stir gently with a spatula just until no more dry flour is visible. Fold in toppings if you’re using. Scrape this batter into the pan and smooth the top.

3. For the pudding layer, combine the honey and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Pour over the cake batter and shake the pan to evenly distribute the sugars.

4. Pour the cold water over the mixture. Do not stir. Put the pan immediately into the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. As it bakes, the cake will rise to the top while the pudding forms beneath. The cake is finished baking when the edges of the cake turn dark brown and crispy, and when the top of the cake is shiny and dry to the touch.

5. Let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Scoop slices of cake and the pudding beneath into individual bowls and top with ice cream. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to a week and can be reheated for 20 seconds in the microwave.

Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: