Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Fruitful March & {Giveaway}






Top to bottom (left to right):
Pear Tart  -  Fruit Terrine  -  Pineapple Rice  -  Pineapple Salad


What a fruitful March!  After listing down all the bakes/dishes that I have made for this month (involving a fruit item), I am pretty amazed at my own productivity ^_^ (ha... pardon me).



{  FiRsT GIVEAWAY  }
(Note: Delivery of gifts restricted to Singapore and Malaysia only)

In addition, March calls for a celebration with a simple giveaway - my blog hits the first 10,000 views since I started blogging 6 months ago!  I'm no celebrity blogger, so I am pleasantly surprised to have visitors "dropping by" with kind words and to read what's cooking in my kitchen.  To share my joy of cooking and baking with you, here's my little giveaway - my self-assembled basic cookie starter-kit:

Giveaway Cookie Starter-kit:  Wilton 6 pc heart-shaped cookie cutter set, 15 lollipop sticks, 15 cookie bags, 15 aluminium foil strips, 3 disposable piping bags (for icing).

If you are interested to participate in this giveaway, simply provide your nameemail address (if you do not have a blog) and tell me which is your favorite pick among my March fruity creations in the comment box below by 8 April 20112359hrs:

I will pick one lucky reader on 9 April 2011 using an online randomizer and announce the result on 10 April 2011.  Please note that delivery of giveaway item is restricted to Singapore and Malaysia only.

Good luck! 

Updated 10 April 2011:  Result  for this giveaway is out!  Are You the Lucky One?







{GIVEAWAY}





Giveaway: My specially selected cookie starter kit


Details to be announced shortly ....

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cabbage Rolls (翡翠白玉卷)











Method:


1) Carrot, mushroom, cabbage stalk, ngo hiang (all shredded).
2) Stir fry the shredded ingredients, add seasoning.  Cool & set aside.
3) Blanch the cabbage leaves in water or stock for about 2 minutes to soften the leaves.  Drain and set aside.
4) Place stir-fried ingredients (step 2) onto each cabbage leaf (step 3) and roll up.
5) Steam the cabbage rolls for 5 minutes.
6) Thicken 1/2 cup stock with cornstarch solution and pour over cabbage rolls.







Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Banana Treats




Left to right: Chocolate Banana Cake Pops,   Banana Coconut Pie,   Banana Caramel Chocolate Cake

Bought a big bunch of bananas for S$2.00.  Ate a few and still have enough bananas to make all these treats.

This good old banana pie's recipe was taken from Aunty Yochana's blog.  The pie crust does not require chilling time or rolling out into a sheet.  Simply prepare the dough and press onto a loose-bottom pan (for easy unmolding) and transfer to the oven for baking (partial-baked).   Then, fill your crust with bananas, coconut custard and back into the oven again.  Thereafter, you are in for an aromatherapy treat cos your whole kitchen will be filled with the wonderful fragrance of baked banana + baked coconut!  This is one great recipe for your afternoon tea-treats:


Steps: 1) Make dough and press onto loose-bottom pan, 2) Blind-bake at 180C for 10 mins,
3) Fill the pie with sliced bananas & custard, 4) Bake at 160C for 50 mins till golden brown


Recipe for Banana Coconut Pie

For pie crust:
125g butter
40g castor sugar
30g custard powder
250g plain flour
1 egg

For fillings:
5 medium-sized bananas, thickly sliced
100g toasted coconut (toast fresh grated coconut in a pan till dried, then weigh 100g)
60g brown sugar
40g plain flour
60g melted butter
4 eggs
200ml milk

Method:
1) Pie crust: Cream butter and sugar till fluffy, then add in the egg and beat till well-combined.  Mix in the flour and custard powder till a dough is formed.  Add a tbsp of milk if the mixture is too dry.  Press dough into a 9" loose-bottom pan.  Blind bake at preheated oven at 180C for 10 to 12 minutes.

2) Fillings: Mix toasted coconut, brown sugar and plain flour (dry ingredients).  In another mixing bowl, combine melted butter, eggs and milk (wet ingredients).  Mix together the dry and wet ingredients till well-combined.

3) Arrange sliced bananas in the half-baked pie crust.  Pour the fillings (step 2) over the bananas.  Bake this at 160C for about 50 minutes or till the top turns golden brown.

4) Cool completely on rack before slicing.  




I am going to share this wonderful recipe by submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #5, hosted by Jess of Bakericious.

Like to see more of my fruity creations?  Click here for a summary of all the fruity treats in March and participate in a GIVEAWAY (Event ending on 8 April 2011).




Monday, March 28, 2011

Baked Pork Chop Rice (焗猪扒饭)





Preparing a delicious meal of baked pork chop rice at home


This is a classic Cantonese, western-style dish that I love to order when I go to one of those Hong Kong tea-house restaurants.  Baked rice dishes are generally quite expensive here and some restaurants served tiny portion.  But if you prepare this at home, it costs only a fraction of the price you paid outside (minus the heavily-laden MSG).

I prepared a simple vegetable soup to go with this baked rice dish for a more balanced-diet:




Ingredients:
(serves 3)
3 pieces pork loin (butterfly cut, gently pound on both sides with the back of a chopper)

Marinates for pork:
1 to 2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp mirin
1/2 tbsp cooking wine
1 tbsp water

Sauce:
onion, celery, carrot, tomato (1 each, chopped)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small piece of fermented red bean curd* (mashed)
2 to 3 tbsp tomato puree
Salt and pepper to taste
(* optional, I added for personal preference)

Other ingredients:
Cooked rice (enough for 3 persons)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp custard powder + 1 tbsp corn flour + 1/2 tsp curry powder (mix together)
Handful of shredded mozzarella cheese


Method:
1) Marinate the pork, cover and chill in fridge for at least 2 hours.
2) Heat up the pan over medium heat.  Add a little oil and stir fry the chopped onion and garlic till aromatic.  Add in the chopped celery, carrot and cook till slightly soften.  Add the mashed fermented red bean curd and stir till fragrant.  Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree.
3) Add about 1.5 cups of water and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
4) Add about half a beaten egg to the marinated pork chops, then lightly dust the pork chop with the flour mixture.  Shake off excess flour and leave it for 3 minutes (wait time is for the flour to stick on the pork and does not fall off during pan-frying).
5) Heat some oil in pan over moderately-high heat.  Pan-fry the pork on both sides till golden brown.  Set aside to drain excess oil on kitchen paper and cut into big chunks.
6) Drain off oil from pan (and wipe clean with kitchen paper).  
7) Heat oil in pan over high heat (going to prepare a simple fried rice).  Add remaining beaten eggs, then followed with the cooked rice.  Quickly toss or stir the rice till well-combined with the eggs.  Turn off heat and mix in 1/3 of the sauce (step 3).  Pour the rice mixture into a lightly oiled oven-dish.
8) Arrange pork chop (step 5) on rice and pour the remaining sauce over the pork chop.  Sprinkle cheese on top and bake in oven at 180C for 12 to 15 minutes, till cheese melts and turn golden brown.


Variation: 
Sweet & sour pork chop with potato
Cut a potato into thick strips or wedges - deep-fried.  Prepare the sauce and toss in the pan-fried pork-chop and fried potato, thickened with corn starch solution.



Sunday, March 27, 2011

两菜一“汤”:Simple Menu




From left: Stir-Fry Vegetables,  Braised Noodles (焖福建面),  Salted Pork Bone Congee (咸猪骨粥)


This is a simple menu for 6 persons.  If you read the title and wonder "where's the soup" ..... it's there with a twist.  The ingredients I have here are almost the same for preparing soup, except for the addition of rice grains, which makes it a porridge or congee.  Cantonese congee requires a few hours of simmering over low heat till the rice grains breakdown and literally melts into the water.

It's the same ingredients for making soup, except for the uncooked rice grains.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Clay Pot Sliced Fish Porridge (鱼片粥)








I love porridge.  I can have porridge for breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper!  If I'm out for the whole day and like to come home to a simple home-cooked meal, porridge is one of my top choices.  This porridge base was cooked in a slow-cooker for about 8 to 9 hours, transferred to a clay pot, bring it to boil and then fish slices was added and cooked for less than a minute.  

Similarly, you can set the slow-cooker to cook at night and wake up to a nice pot of porridge the next morning ^_^

Ingredients:
(serves 3)

3/4 cup rice
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 handful small dried scallops (or 3 medium-sized dried scallops)
2 slices ginger
Approx 1.5 litre water

Approx 250g batang fish (sliced thinly)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1 to 2 tbsp water


Method:
1) Wash and drain the rice.  Season it with salt and cooking oil for about 30 minutes.
2) Bring a pot of water to boil and add seasoned rice, dried scallops, ginger.  Bring it to boil again and adjust to low heat and simmer for 2 hours (stove cooking).  If using slow-cooker, transfer content to slow-cooker and set on auto-mode.
3) Marinate the fish slices with salt, oil and water.  Cover and keep chill in fridge.
4) Just before serving, turn up heat on high (if cooked in slow-cooker, transfer back to pot).  Once the porridge starts bubbling, add the sliced fish, give it a few stir and turn off heat immediately (this takes less than a minute).
5) For breakfast, serves this with a nice crispy dough stick (油条).




Friday, March 25, 2011

Banana Caramel Chocolate Cake







When I attend baking lessons, I like to ask the instructor "WHAT IF":
"what if I pipe the lines wrongly ..."
"what if the cake cracks ..."
"what if I roll out the dough too thinly ..."
"what if I over-whipped the cream  ..."  
WHAT IF?  

Not that I'm a pessimistic person, but rather we always get to see beautiful pictures of baked products from books, magazines, internet, blogs etc, but how often do we see the ugly side, the failed attempts (except for the ones we did at home)?  And the next question is - how can we salvage it?  

I was faced with this burning question just a few days ago "What if my swiss roll cracked .... !!!!"  I was not attending any baking class, but rather was at home attempting this banana chocolate roll.  I have no expert to turn to immediately.  To make things worse - the banana fillings & chocolate cream were spilling out from the cracked swiss roll and my hands were all messy (gross!).  Two possibilities - throw the whole thing away or try to salvage it.  

I really love the texture of this chocolate sponge - soft and light.  And the banana caramel tasted really good.  OK, I'm not ready to give up.  Luckily for me, the crack was neat -  a straight line crack, not those zig-zag lines.   I scraped off some of the fillings, cut the sponge into three rectangular pieces, stacked them together and coated a thin layer of chocolate cream all round the loaf.  Chilled and poured chocolate ganache over the cake.

Presenting ... my Banana Caramel Chocolate Roll Cake:





Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cartoon Transfer Cake Decoration








Attended a cartoon transfer cake lesson this afternoon at Phoon Huat.  This is a hands-on cake decorating class, where we bake the sponge and then do the cartoon transfer onto the sponge.

How do you create the cartoon design?  Actually, the concept is very simple:
1) Choose a cartoon design you like and print it on a piece of paper.  
2) Roll out a thin sheet of marzipan (such that you can see the outline of your cartoon design when you place the marzipan over the paper).  
3) Using melted chocolate or royal icing, pipe the outline of the cartoon design on the marzipan and let it dry.
4) Trim the marzipan and carefully transfer the design outline onto your sponge cake (already covered with fresh cream).
5) Prepare your coloured piping gel and pipe the coloured gel onto the design.

Now, why do I have this chicken design on my cake?  Not that I love to eat KFC so much.  I would have love to pipe a Thomas train, Mickey Mouse or Hello Kitty on my cake.  The reason - there were only a few miserable designs that we can choose for our cake.  Maybe it has to do with copyrights law?  

I am giving this cake to my girl's class for their tea-time treat.  And since they were born in the Year of the Rooster, I guess this chicken design is not a bad idea after all!  
  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chocolate Banana Cake Pops





Colourful cake pops on jumbo straws


Cake pops is really a "think-out-of-the box" and clever creation.  When everyone is trying hard to make a smooth & soft velvety cake, cake pops did just the opposite!  You are to DECONSTRUCT a perfectly tasty cake (sounds wicked), and reconstruct it by adding some frosting cream to combine the cake crumbs together, and then cover it with candy coating.  If this sounds absurd to you, just hop over to the Queen of Cake Pops, Bakerella, you will certainly be wowed over by her amazingly cute cake pop designs. 


Making of cake pops:
Mix cake crumbs with vanilla buttercream, divide cake mixture into small balls, wrap a small piece of banana in the centre, coat with chocolate ganache and sprinkle over with your love (i mean hundreds and thousands) 


I'm a newbie in making cake pops.  In fact, this is my first cake pop.  I gathered a small container of cake crumbs from my earlier coffee butter cake (where I used for making my 2-tier fondant cake).  This is just the perfect ingredient for making cake pops!  I simply breakdown the cake crumbs further with my fingers,  mixed in some vanilla butter cream, and rolled them into small little balls.  I am not sure whether the original cake pops come with any fillings in it, but mine has a small piece of banana right in the centre.  Since I do not have any cake pop sticks (or lollipop sticks) on hand, I just use some colourful jumbo straws instead.  



Cute little cake balls - perfect for kids' parties

How about some cake pops for your next party gathering?


Like to see more of my fruity creations?  Click here for a summary of all the fruity treats in March and participate in a GIVEAWAY (Event ending on 8 April 2011).




Tuesday, March 22, 2011

3-plus-1 menu: Light & Healthy Weekend Dinner







It's weekend dinner gathering again!  I planned this dinner around a light and healthy menu, i.e. I used more boiling and steaming method, rather than deep-frying or shallow-frying.  And because most of the dishes were either boiled or steamed, it means lesser time spent in the kitchen (sweating away) and more time to chit-chat with your family!  

I will be sharing this dinner menu over the blog event ""2 Dishes, 1 Soup (两菜一汤 )", hosted by Ellena of Cuisine Paradise.  The above dinner menu is enough for 8 persons.  For the purpose of this event, I will select 2 dishes + soup with a $20 budget:

1) Dumpling Soup: pork ($2) + caixin ($1.50) + stock ($1) + others ($2.50) = $7.00
2) Steamed chicken: chicken ($4.50) + mushroom/cloud ears/dates ($1.50) = $6.00
3) Stir-fry broccoli with prawns: broccoli ($1.00) + prawns ($4) + bell pepper ($1) = $6.00
[Total: S$19.00]

[^_^ The broccoli was on special offer on the day of purchase.  Normally, it would costs around $1.80]

You can click on this summary for more ideas on 3 plus 1 menu.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Mad About Mango!





From left to right: Mango Mousse Cake, Mango Sago, Mango Roll

Oh yes, I love mangoes!  From $1.99 for three mangoes to $2.99 for five mangoes, I have been happily grabbing up these sweet and juicy offers!

And to share my madness over mango, I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #5, hosted by Jess of Bakericious.


Easy recipe for making Mango Sago
(serves 6 to 8)

Ingredients
3 to 4 mangoes (I used Thai sweet mangoes)
6g agar agar powder
1/2 cup sago pearls
800ml mango juice (store bought)
Ice-cubes (optional) - to dilute the mango mixture
2 to 3 heap tbsp of vanilla ice-cream (optional) - gives a smooth & creamy texture (adds flavour too)

Preparation:


1) Mango puree: Combine one mango with about 150ml mango juice in a blender and blend till smooth.  Keep in fridge 
[Note: You can puree two or more mangoes if using less mango juice.  If using 100% mango puree without any store-bought mango juice, you may want to make some light sugar syrup to blend together with the mangoes]

2) Mango-flavoured agar agar: Combine 250ml mango juice with 250ml water in pot.  Add agar agar powder, bring content to boil and remove from heat.  When agar agar has set, cut into very small cubes and chill in fridge till ready to serve.

3) Sago pearls:  Soak the sago pearls in some water while bringing a pot of water to boil (make sure you have a big pot of water - I used about 1.5 to 2 litres).  When water starts boiling, add the sago pearls into the pot and cook till the sago pearls turn translucent.  Turn off heat, cover the pot and let sago rest for another 5 minutes in pot.  Pour sago pearls into a sieve and rinse it under cold tap water.  Drain excess liquid.  Mix about 100ml mango juice with the sago pearls and chill in fridge.

When ready to serve:
1) Cut mango cubes from 2 mangoes.
2) In a big serving bowl, stir 300ml mango juice with the chilled sago pearls to separate the pearls.  Mix in mango cubes, mango puree, mango-flavoured agar agar.  
3) For a creamier option, stir in the vanilla ice-cream and let it dissolve into the mango mixture.
4) Add some ice-cubes to dilute the mixture, if necessary.


Check out recipes for mango mousse cake and mango roll.

Like to see more of my fruity creations?  Click here for a summary of all the fruity treats in March and participate in a GIVEAWAY (Event ending on 8 April 2011).




Saturday, March 19, 2011

3) 两菜一汤:Comfort Food





A comforting home-cooked meal (serves 3) for about S$10.  Your love in preparing it - PRICELESS!



Garden Salad with Citrus Sesame Dressings 


Ingredients:  A few romaine lettuce leaves, 5 to 6 cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cucumber, 1 hard-boiled egg.
Salad dressing (mix together): 1 tsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp Japanese sesame sauce, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp mirin, 1 tbsp chopped spring onion, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, zest & juice from 1/2 lemon.

Method: Mix salad ingredients in bowl/plate and pour over salad dressing.

Cost: About $2.00


Cream of Broccoli Soup with crispy bacon bits


Ingredients:  1 broccoli (about 350g) - cut into chunks, 2 strips of streaky bacon (cut into small pieces), 1/2 potato (chopped), 1/2 onion (chopped), 400ml chicken stock, 20ml heavy cream.

Method: 
1) Fry streaky bacon in oil till crispy.  Drain oil and set aside.
2) With remaining oil in pan or pot (about 1 tbsp oil), stir-fry the onion till translucent, add chopped potato.  Add broccoli and stir for another minute.  Add chicken stock and sufficient water to cover ingredients.
3) Bring content to boil and cook for 5 minutes.  Cool content briefly before blending it.
4) Pour blended soup back to pot and bring it to boil again (without covering the pot, to prevent the soup from turning yellow as a result of overcooking the broccoli).  Add some crisp streaky bacon into the soup, add salt to taste.  Stir in half the cream and remove from heat.
5) Serve the soup with some crispy streaky bacon bits and a swirl of cream.

Cost:  About $3.00



Baked Potato Pie

To prepare the meat sauce (see ingredients below):
1) Heat oil in pan till hot, add onion and stir-fry till translucent, add garlic and 1 tsp mixed dried herbs.
2) Add the Taiwan sausage, stir fry to release oil and fragrance.  Add the minced meat and stir well.
3) Add celery, carrot and button mushroom.  Stir well to combine all ingredients.
4) Add tomato puree and sufficient water to just cover the ingredients.  Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.  Add salt/pepper to taste.

To prepare the mashed potato:
1) Cook about 2.5 potato (cut into big chunks) in a pot of water till soft (the remaining half potato used for broccoli soup as a thickener).
2) Remove from water and mash up the potato immediately.
3) Mix in a little milk and add salt/pepper to taste.

To assemble and bake the pie:
1) Lightly oiled the baking dish.  Pour in the meat sauce and cover with mashed potato.
2) Sprinkle shredded cheese and top with breadcrumbs (rubbed in with some butter).
3) Bake in oven at 170C for 15 minutes till pie is golden brown.

Cost:  About $5.00

Tip:  Cook more meat sauce, keep them in small containers and store in freezer.  Simply defrost the amount you need for a yummy pasta with meat sauce, fillings for bread or toppings for pizza.


Ingredients: [Meat sauce:tomato puree, minced meat, russet potato, onion/garlic,
button mushroom, Taiwan sausages, celery, carrot], shredded cheese, breadcrumbs, butter


To stretch your dollar further, save some meat sauce for next day breakfast:

Toasted Ciabatta with fried eggs, meat sauce and shredded cheese.


Here's a summary of my other 3 plus 1 menu.




Friday, March 18, 2011

Mango Mousse Cake







Ingredients:


Sponge: See recipe & instructions here

Mousse Fillings:

160g mango puree
140g whipped cream
10g sugar
3.5 sheets of gelatine leaves
1/2 tsp mango essence
1/2 mango (cut into very small cubes)

Toppings
1 mango (cut into cubes)
2 tbsp mango puree


Method:
1) Stir 30g of mango puree and sugar in a small pot over low heat.  Remove from heat once sugar has melted.  Pour and stir with remaining mango puree.  Set aside.

2) Soak gelatine leaves in cold water for a minute to soften.  Squeeze out excess water and place in microwavable bowl.  Microwave on low heat for 30s or until gelatine melts.  Stir the gelatine and pour into (1).  Add the mango essence and stir to combine.  Set aside 2 tbsp of this mixture for toppings later.

3) Chill mixing bowl and whipped cream in freezer for 5 minutes.  Whip the cream to soft peak.  Fold mixture (2) above (less 2 tbsp mango puree) with the whipped cream.  




To assemble:

1) Place a thin layer of sponge at the bottom of cake ring or cake pan.

2) Pour or pipe a thin layer of mango mousse and add some small mango cubes.  Pour another thin layer of mousse.

3) Place another thin layer of sponge (trim this piece of sponge slightly smaller than the cake pan, so that it is hidden within the mousse when you unmold the cake).  Repeat layers: mango mousse, small mango cubes, mango mousse.

4) Chill in fridge for 2 to 3 hours to set the mousse.

5) Mix the 2 tbsp mango puree with the mango cubes.  Place this mango mixture on top of the mango mousse cake.  Chill in fridge for another hour before serving.


Like to see more of my fruity creations?  Click here for a summary of all the fruity treats in March and participate in a GIVEAWAY (Event ending on 8 April 2011).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

2) 两菜一汤: An Orange Food Menu








I did not especially plan for the orange food menu or a 2 plus 1 menu.  I just remember I have a big chunk of pumpkin sitting in my fridge, so out came the pumpkin, then followed by two carrots, one tomato and .... an orange would be nice too .... And slowly one by one, the picture of an orange menu came to my mind as I picked up the food items and started preparing my dinner. I'm usually very free and easy when I prepare my weekday dinner since I'm cooking small portions.


Ingredients & approximate cost:
(serves 3)

1 big chunk of pumpkin - $1.50
Carrot, tomato, orange, onion, lime - $1.00
2 tbsp dried cranberries, 1 tbsp cashew nuts - $1.00
2 pieces of oiled sun-dried tomatoes - $0.50
1 salmon steak - $5.00
2 tbsp butter, 50ml cream - $1.00
3 to 4 stalks spring onion - $0.50

Total: $10.50

I shall be submitting this post to Cuisine Paradise for the "2 Dishes, 1 soup $20 Budget meal" event. 

Here's a summary for my other 3-plus-1 meals



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mango Roll








This week shall be mango week as I have a few mangoes to clear.  First on my list - mango swiss roll.


Ingredients:
(makes 2 rolls from 2 rectangular cake pan: 30cm x 20cm)

Sponge:
6 eggs (separate into yolks and whites)
110g caster sugar
90g top flour (sifted)
25g melted butter
25ml milk
1 tsp mango essence

Fillings:
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 tbsp icing sugar
1 mango - cut into small cubes


Method:

1) Whisk egg yolks with 30g sugar over a small pot of hot water until thicken and pale in color.  In another bowl, whisk egg whites with remaining caster sugar until peak foam.

2) Fold the egg yolks into the egg whites and gently fold in the sifted flour. 

3) Pour 1/4 mixture in step (2) into a bowl, mix in the melted butter, milk and mango essence.   Pour the mixture back to step (2) and gently mix to combine. 

4) Pour batter into 2 baking trays lined with baking paper.  Use a spatula to spread out the batter evenly.  Bake at 190C for 10 - 12 minutes.  

5) Remove sponge cake from baking tray and place it on a rack to cool completely.

6) Flip the sponge onto a clean sheet of baking paper and peel away the backing paper from the sponge.  Spread whipped cream on sponge, add mango cubes and roll it up.  Chill in the fridge for 1 hour before slicing.  

To prepare fillings:
Chill the mixing bowl and whipping cream in freezer (for 5 mins).  Add in the icing sugar and whip up the cream.



Like to see more of my fruity creations?  Click here for a summary of all the fruity treats in March and participate in a GIVEAWAY (Event ending on 8 April 2011).





Monday, March 14, 2011

My First Fondant Cake








This is my very first fondant cake and is an anniversary present for me and hubby.  Behind is a draft of the cake design, which I modified a little in my final cake.  






Underneath the fondant paste is my homemade coffee butter cake with Bailey Irish Cream, which I adapted from Aunty Yochana's recipe.  This is a soft lovely coffee butter cake.  You need to make your cake at least one day in advance and chill in the fridge before covering it with fondant.  In any case, the butter cake will also taste better after one day.

The fondant covering was done at Sugar Inc workshop.  You can see other beautiful creations at the workshop over here.  


Recipe for the Coffee Butter Cake
(makes two 6" cakes)

300g butter
180g caster sugar
4 to 5 eggs (beaten)
300g cake flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 packet 2-in-1 instant coffee + 1 tbsp hot water
1.5 tbsp Bailey Irish Cream
1.5tsp coffee emulco
7 tbsp buttermilk or UHT milk 


Method:

1) Sift cake flour and baking powder together.  Set aside.
2) Cream butter and sugar till light and creamy.
3) Add in eggs, a little each time and beat well with the butter mixture before the next addition.
4) Combine the coffee mixture, Bailey Irish Cream, coffee emulco and milk. 
5) Fold in half the cake flour and coffee mixture, mix well before adding the remaining cake flour and coffee mixture.
6) Pour cake batter into two lined 6" round cake pan, tap it against tabletop to release any air bubbles.
7) Bake at 175C for 40 to 45 minutes.
8) Cool completely and keep in fridge for 1 day before covering with fondant.



A simple card for this special occasion




Sunday, March 13, 2011

Avocado Cheesecake with Gula Melaka







Gula Melaka or coconut brown sugar, is a golden brown sugar with a rich caramel flavour.  In Asia, we often use gula melaka to prepare desserts, such as sago gula melaka, chendol, ondeh ondeh and of course, the irresistible avocado mousse with gula melaka!  

I wanted to try an Avocado Cheesecake as this is something that I had in mind for a long while, but never materialised.  But at the same time, a creamy avocado mousse drizzled with gula melaka would be too yummy to give it a miss.  Hey, why not combine the two together?  





The results?  The avocado fillings is light and smooth with a hint of coconut milk fragrance.  It would have been one of those good bakes, if not for my sponge cake, which did not turn out as expected.  The texture is a little coarse, maybe I have over-folded the batter when I combined the cake flour with the egg mixture.  Or maybe, I should cut back a little on the cake flour?  Nevertheless, this is one cake that I have given lots of thoughts and efforts into making it.  So, I'm going to submit this to Aspiring Bakers #5, hosted by Jess of Bakericious.  




Saturday, March 12, 2011

Clay Pot Noodles (煲仔面)






This is my simple one-dish meal for dinner.  You can use any ingredients that you like to prepare this clay pot noodles.  Seafood noodles, beef noodles, kimchi noodles or fish cakes and hot dogs for kids etc.  For me, it's anything available in the fridge.  So, I have beancurd, carrot, green peas, leek, button mushrooms, prawns etc.

Notes:
1) As I am having prawns in this dish, I made use of the prawn heads and shells to prepare a flavourful prawn stock base for the noodles.

2) Briefly boil the noodles in hot water to soften it a little before cooking with the other ingredients.  Simmer the noodles for 3 to 5 minutes with the ingredients to allow the noodles to soak up the yummy stock.


This is the 煲仔面, comes in four noodles disc in a pack.






Friday, March 11, 2011

Almond Jelly Longan







Ingredients:
(makes 6 small cups)


4 to 5 tsp instant almond powder
6g agar agar powder
50g sugar
400ml water
100ml milk
1 canned longan


Method:
1) Mix almond powder, agar agar and sugar together in a bowl.
2) Bring 400ml water to boil in pot and stir a little hot water to mixture (1).  Pour the mixture to pot and stir well until sugar dissolved.  Stir in the milk to combine and remove from heat.
3) Cool and pour into jelly cups or molds.
4) Chill in fridge and serve with canned longan.


Like to see more of my fruity creations?  Click here for a summary of all the fruity treats in March and participate in a GIVEAWAY (Event ending on 8 April 2011).

Red Rice Wine Chicken (红糟鸡)







For 30 years in my life, I never like this red rice wine chicken.  The first time I tried this dish, I was still a teenager.  My aunt gave us a bottle of of her homemade red rice wine (红糟) and my mum used it to cook with chicken.  None of us like it as the dish was very sour and the taste to us ... just weird.  Since then, my mum did not cook it again till many years later (it must have been a disappointing dish to my mum, since she is really a great cook).

I don't think I would ever try it again, if not for my mother-in-law, who cooked this dish for me during my confinement.  Initially, I hesitated when my MIL served this dish (oh no... that red thing chicken again, after so many years!).  But again, it is rather impolite not to eat it when my MIL cooked it especially for me.  So, I tried and surprisingly,  I LIKE IT!  Has my taste bud change during confinement?

Now, I cook this dish more often ... than my mum ;)  Since we are not on confinement, I omit the extra wine or sesame oil, but just use a few slices of ginger to stir-fry the chicken.  You can prepare this dish with  thicker gravy to go with rice or prepare it as a soup and add some vermicelli (mee sua or 面线) as a one-dish meal.  Sometimes, I will add some fried eggs (荷包蛋)into the gravy or soup and let the eggs soak up the 红糟 gravy!

Now, when I see how my little girl is enjoying this dish and licking her fingers, I am so glad that I tried this dish again!


Ingredients:
(serves 2 to 3 persons)

8 to 9 mid-joint chicken wings (or other parts of chicken)
1 handful of wood ears (rinsed, soaked and trim into bite-sized)
1.5 tbsp red rice wine paste (红糟) - available from supermarket
3 slices of ginger
1 tbsp sugar (or adjust to taste)
Salt to taste


Method:
1) Marinate the chicken wings with 1/2 tsp salt & dash of pepper for 30 minutes. 
2) Heat a little oil in wok on high, add ginger and stir. Add chicken wings and stir till aromatic.
3) Lower  heat to medium, add 红糟 and stir well to combine with chicken.  Be careful not to burn the 红糟.
4) Add enough water to cover the wings (can add more water if prefer soupy) and add in the wood ears.  Cover and bring it to boil.
5) When contents start boiling, add sugar and adjust to medium-low heat.  Simmer for about 20 minutes till gravy has thickened and the chicken is soft and tender.



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