Friday, September 30, 2005

Rolling...Rolling... Breaking...(Green Tea & Red Bean Swiss Roll)

Spurred by the success of making a swiss roll without breaking last time, I attempted to make one again. This time, I decided to make a Green Tea & Red Bean Swiss Roll.

I used a different recipe this time, one that uses no oil or fat and with 3 eggs. I added 1 tsp of green tea powder to it. I did what the previous recipe asked me to do after baking, rest it in pan for 5 minutes before turning it out and roll although the current recipe said to turn it out immediately. Well, I should have just follow the recipe for when I attempted to roll it after the '5 minutes break", the worst that could happened to a swiss roll materialised. It broke! When it did, my heart sank and I was half tempted to just chop it into pieces and smear the red bean paste on top. But in the end, swiss roll was what I intended to make and by George, swiss roll is what it will be albeit a broken one. Haha...,
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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Series of Unfortunate Incidents! (Apricot & Walnut Bread)

A series of unfortunate incidents.... Does this ever happen to you? Well, it does to me but thankfully, only once in a while. What I am trying to describe here is not one or two isolated incidents, but a series of problems happening (more or less) one after another. Not necessarily anything major, but big enough to feel irritated about. I nicknamed this sort of situation "a series of unfortunate incidents..." and coincides with the saying, "anyhing that will go wrong, will go wrong."
Well, it happened to me again and it started on Monday. To sum it up, I lost my faithful pair of gym shoes along with my gym membership card (my 4th time) and had to splurge on a new pair. A good investment but expensive nonetheless. Luckily, I managed to persuade the uppity front desk girls at my gym to waive the penalty charges for my lost card (a good deal of acting skills were put into this). In addition, I was still experiencing some irritating digestive problem further made worse by indulging in a spicy and fried food for Monday's lunch, a very delicious 'Sang Har Mein" (blame it on my lack of self control). On Tuesday, I arrived at work and it didn't take long before I was piled on with a series of complaints and problematic issues resulting in me being very, very irritable. Furthermore, I received 2 calls from the bank. The first one telling me that they had lost the cheque that I banked in recently and consequently, both the deposit as well as the cheque had to be cancelled. The second call was to advise me that I had insufficient funds in my current account for a cheque that I had made (look, I was expecting the first cheque to be cleared without problem) hence I had to pay a penalty despite transferring the necessary amount immediately upon receiving the call.
It carried on into the evening. I was already feeling not so well from the diarrhea and I could feel my body becoming heaty so I decided to give myself a rest and not go to gym. Since I reached home early, I decided to bake an Apricot & Walnut bread. The full recipe makes 2 loaves so I halved the recipe. Also, I decided to make the dough in the breadmaker and bake it in the oven. For some reason, the dough did not rise much when the beeper on the BM sounded. I was concerned but I thought it would be ok after the 2nd proofing. Instead of the suggested 30 minutes, I planned to let it proof for another 1 hour. I looked at the clock and calculated that I will need to put it in the oven to bake at 10p.m. Then, I went to my room to rest a bit, but fell asleep 10 minutes later. One minute, it was 9.50p.m. and the next moment (when I woke up), it was already 11p.m. Oh darn! My bread....!!! I rushed to the kitchen, expecting to be confronted by a "giantic" bread dough (as a result of over-proofing). To my surprise, it looked pretty much the same as when I left it. This is the first time that my bread dough refused to rise.
I was so tempted to throw the dough away after being disheartened, but I thought of the generous portions of expensive apricots and walnuts that I'd added into the dough. So I decided to bake it nonetheless.
Barely less than 10 minutes in the oven, the top became almost blackened so I removed it from the oven. It looked more like a flat loaf than a proper bread.
The next day, when I sliced it, I discovered (much to my alarm) that the center was not baked. What to do..., I sliced it into pieces and toasted them in the oven. The edges turned very brown and looked disfigured. I reckon I was the only one consuming them.
There is still one piece of good news though, the toasted pieces of my failed Apricot & Walnut Bread were very yummy!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Today's Breakfast: Simple White Sandwich Bread & Coffee Cake Bread

Finally... A perfect loaf of simple sandwich bread. Despite baking so many breads before (almost daily), this is the first time I shaped a perfect loaf. All this while, I had always used my trusty bread-machine, which is simple and hassle-free; but resulting in odd-shaped loaves. Far from the first time of having bake a loaf of bread, I still can't keep my eyes from this loaf.
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Fresh from the oven:
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On a less successful note is this Coffee & Chocolate Chip Cake Bread. The original recipe yields 2 loaves, and since I planned to only make 1 loaf, I halved the recipe. Unfortunately, the sponge dough did not seem to be quite enough, as you can see below. Still, it is rather yummy.
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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Bananas Over Bananas! A continuous adventure... (Part 3 in the series)

I recently re-discovered that I still have some frozen bananas in the freezer so I browsed through for a new "banana cake" recipe to try. I came across this Nigella's recipe. Looks good, sounds interesting and plenty of raves, so I decided this shall be it! Rum & Raisin Banana Cake.
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What makes this recipe intereting is the addition of rum-soaked raisins. Later, I discovered (from another blog) that it is possible to substitute with other dried fruits and also use coffee liquor instead of rum. I think I shall try using coffee liquor next time. Maybe I didn't not use enough rum or maybe the rum that I used was not strong enough; somehow the rum scent or flavour was not obvious enough in the raisins.

I also substituted some of the plain flour with wholemeal flour. I think this works well in providing a richer or denser overall texture to the cake.
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Previous posts in this series can be found
here (Part1)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

No Cream Ice-Cream

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You read it right. No cream ice-cream. No cream as in no whipping cream or double cream is used in creating this ice-cream. The only dairy product is the UHT milk that is used. Comprising of Coffee-Mate (non-dairy creamer), gelatine and milk, this is really easy to make. The only hassle perhaps is the length of time needed (particularly having to wait for it to be half-frozen before whipping it again).

I wanted to make some fruit-based ice-cream but with later changed my mind when I thought about the 4 kids (my nephews and niece) at home. So I ended up making:
Double Chocolate Chip & Cookies Ice-Cream
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Friday, September 23, 2005

Testing 1..2..3.. (Apple Mixed Fruits Cake)

I have got a new oven and I wasted no time in trying it out!

For its maiden voyage, I baked Spiced Apple Mixed Fruits Cake.
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Not to say there wasn't any teething errors but I will not dwell on that. Let's just say that despite a couple of errors, the cake is still good particularly if enjoyed over a cup of coffee.
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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Farewell & Hello (New Oven)

Friends have been hearing me lamenting about my "small oven" and how I'm tempted to buy a bigger oven. My main gripes about my small oven is the uneven temperature (too hot!) and the size of course (cannot bake anything bigger than 8" typically). I went as far as to scout around for a new oven and at one time, nearly wanted to splurge on an impressive but expensive Tefal oven that costs more than one grand.

Despite it all, I never parted with my old oven. I bought it last year when I first started to learn to bake. At that time, I got the most economical oven I could find, not being sure if my new-found interest would last. But it lasted, and so did my oven. Until today, when my dad accidentally dropped the oven onto the floor (don't ask me how he did that or what was he doing with the oven).

So today, I have to stay farewell to my old & faithful oven. It had served me very well, through my many trials and errors in baking. At the same time, I have to welcome a new addition, which also happened to be her sister. It's of similar family (brand) but with bigger capacity. This new one also has an in-built lamp and also turbo fan for more even temperature control (I hope). Hmmm.....

Here are some snapshots of my new oven during its first few days at work:
Baking Sausage Rolls:
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Baking Rum & Raisin Banana Cake:
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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Fancy A Quickie? (Easy Microwave and Chocolate Chip PB Oatmeal Cookie)

Fancy a quickie? Here's something to bake whenever you are short of time or just too lazy to bake anything that is slightly more strenuous:

1) Microwave Chocolate Cake (frosted with Betty Crocker's Ready-Made Rich Chocolate
Preparation time: 5 minutes / Cook time: 5 minutes)
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Sliced :
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2) Outrageous Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Preparation time: 5 minutes / Bake time: 10-12 minutes
(No kidding! This is really the name of the recipe. Basically a dump and mix recipe.)
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Monday, September 19, 2005

Today's Breaksfast: Yam Buns and Sausage Rolls

This is what I made for breakfast today:

Yam Buns
(This is from the leftover yam fillings that I made for the spiral mooncakes)
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Note(s): Some of them are a bit dark. Left them a little too long in the oven. The buns are supposed to be triangular. Somehow, this is not obvious.

Sausage Rolls
(And later on, I didn't have enough yams to fill all the buns, I made Sausage Roll with the additional sweet bun dough.)
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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Fly Me To The Moon (Baking Mooncakes, Final Part)

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Ok, this is it. The last of the mooncakes that I will bake for this year. And just in time too, for Mooncake Festival is today. Happy Mooncake Fest, everyone!

Spiral Yam Mooncakes
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Notes: These are better looking than my first attempt. But next time, I will roll them 3 times instead of the suggested 2. I think by doing so, I will get more layers.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fly Me To The Moon (Baking Mooncakes, Part 2)

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Are you ready for more mooncake pictures? Mooncake Festival is happening this Sunday, so it's either now or I got to wait for one whole year to make mooncakes again. ;-p

1) Teochew-styled Spiral Mooncakes with Mungbean Paste
* Supposed to use yam filling only to find out there wasn't any at the last minute. May make another attempt at it this weekend. By the way, the skin is really crispy!
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Check out the inside!

2) Mini Yam-flavored Snow Skin Mooncakes
* Tried another different recipe. This seems to be more chewy and also nicer.
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3) Baked Lotus Paste Mooncakes
* Tried another different recipe. This is softer than the previous one. Most prefer this one though.
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So here you have it, Part II of my mooncake-making experience. Would you be terrified if I tell you that there is a Part III?
To be continued...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Muffin Odyssey

Muffins! This was what I frequently made when I first started baking. Relatively simpler to make compared to cakes and cookies since most recipes do not require creaming the butter.
A matter of whisking the wet and dry ingredients together and voila! Yet sometimes, things can still go wrong. Overmixing, and you will get a tough muffin but the question is always the tenderncy to overmix or undermix due to this paranoia. I mean, it is quite hard to judge when to stop mixing the batter. Plenty of trials and errors, I would say. Even now, I would not dare to claim to have master the art of baking muffins yet. There is still plenty of room for improvement. That said, here are some of my muffin experiments with mixed results. Some are pretty good where as others are near disasterous. You figure out which is which.

1) My 1st muffins: Ice-cream Muffins
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2) Strawberry Milk Peach Muffins
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3) Pumpkin Muffins
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4) Pandan Coconut Muffins
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5) Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
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6) Chocolate Chip Muffins
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7) Chocolate & Orange Muffins
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8) Sweet Corn Muffins
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Special Note: Most of the recipes above are from this forum. This is also where I learned most of baking tips and skills. Definitely a site rich with baking/cooking resources!

To be continued....

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Today's Breakfast: Red Bean Loaf

This is for today's breakfast, Red Bean Loaf. I have to say that this wasn't the shape I had in mind. Was playing around in trying to mould it into a fancy shape, gave up because it wasn't going right so ended up in this shape. Nice?

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Monday, September 12, 2005

To Mommy Dearest... (Pandan Layer Cake)

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To my mommy dearest, I shall bake for you your favourite cake, a Pandan Layer Cake. I hope that you will like it as this is my first try and I have not had a very successful experience in making sponge cake and dealing with agar-agar.

After sliced:
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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Fly Me To The Moon (Baking mooncakes, Part One)

The Mooncake Festival is drawing near. Thought this would be an appropriate time to add another new baking experience to my growing resume.

So here's my first baked mooncake, aka Mini Lotus Paste Mooncake.
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Note: I find the skin to be a little too tough. I actually burned the bottom of some of the minis and had to use the knife to scrap off the burned bits. As for lotus paste, I discard any bravery to make my own and bought it from the store. Overall, the end result was not bad. But I have another different recipe for making mooncake pastry which I shall try this weekend.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Easiest Recipe Ever? Carrot Walnut Cake/Bread

This is definitely the easiest recipe that I'd baked so far. Granted, it is baked through the microwave and not the oven. So the entire cooking + preparation time took less than 20 minutes.

Ladies & Gentlemen, presenting the easiest Carrot & Walnut Cake:
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This is the link to the recipe:

Monday, September 05, 2005

Today's Breakfast: Sweet Honey Almond Loaf

This is what I made for breakfast today. Can you say yummy?
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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Yummy Yams! A mission accomplished!

Mission accomplished. Had been meaning to try my hands at making steamed yam cake (orr kueh, in Hokkien) since last year. Finally did it yesterday.
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It's not a tough recipe but quite labouring though (i.e., imagine stirring of the thick batter in a hot kitchen). Luckily I have my maid to help me, I just need to give the instructions (haha). ;P

However, I did not follow the recipe to the T. First of all, I could not find chinese mushrooms in our pantry so I substituted with "mok yee" (a type of chinese dried black fungus). Also I added additional salt and sugar here and there. Lastly, I lost count of the number of cups of water that I added in, for it never seems to be quite enough. Also, steaming took about 90 mins instead of 50-60 mins stated in the recipe (I guess I was being overly cautious in making sure that all parts are cooked).

Result: My family, especially my mom, like it. For me, I would prefer the texture to be drier or more solid but my mom said it's better being slightly wet. However, we all agreed that it would be even better with more yams in it!

Note: Do not mashed all the yam. Leave some in cubes to provide more bite in the finished yam cake.

After steaming:
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After garnishing:
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