Monday, October 31, 2005

Monday's Breakfast: Coconut Pandan Custard Buns

Coconut Pandan Custard Buns. I first made this a year ago, and this time managed to improve the recipe.
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Note: This picture was taken from the previous try. Lazy to take again since it looked the same.

Updated 2-Nov-05: Click on title for link to recipe.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Re-Experimenting Old Favourites (Ang Ku & Sweet Corn Pudding)

Sometimes, despite having found a good recipe that yielded good result, I still couldn't resist the lure of trying out new recipes for these old favourites.
That's what happened today, I found new recipes for two of my old favourites. The "Ang Ku Kueh" and Sweet Corn Pudding. My previous tries were a success. Both were delicious and a hit. Unfortunately, these 2 new recipes couldn't recreate the past successes.
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The "Ang Ku Kueh" recipe that I used here omitted any use of sweet potato. Using only glutinous rice flour, it is said to remain soft and chewy the day after. And since it uses no sweet potato, I thought it will be "less work" and hence, easier. Yes, it delivered what it promised. The kueh remains chewy the day after, no hardening of skin but it was much harder making it than the previous recipe. The dough was so sticky that it was almost impossible to remove it from the mould without any damage. I had to "rest" the dough in the fridge for almost half an hour. So what I thought to be an much easier recipe turned out to be twice as hard... And I found I prefer the skin from the previous recipe too. But well, at least I tried....
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As for the Sweet Corn Pudding, this new recipe looks to be healthier than the previous option although it uses corn flour too. But what I didn't like so much about it is I could taste the presense of the corn flour. Perhaps microwaving it for a short while would have done the trick in erasing the "floury" taste (I read about this tip somewhere and had tried it. It worked!). I think I will just stick to the previous recipe next time, unless if I chanced upon another interesting-looking recipe again.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Buttery Goodness (Butter Cake & Butter Rolls)

Going back to the basics, sometimes simplest food is the best food.
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Butter Cake was among the first cakes I baked when I first started baking. There is nothing exciting about butter cakes because it is so plain (unless of course, if you add other flavours to it) but yet there is something very nice and comforting about it. Recently, I was given a new recipe and tried it out. I was glad that I did for it turned to be the best so far, in my opinion (particularly if you prefer butter cakes that are not too rich or greasy). Simple, buttery goodness with just the right texture, it is butter cake at its best!
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Continuing this "buttery success", I also baked plain Butter Rolls. Yum, it is so good to have it slightly warmed and slathered with butter or jam (especially my Pumpkin Marmalade jam) or even have it plain., over a cup of coffee, of course!
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Friday, October 28, 2005

Volcanic Experience (Black Magic Mountain Cupcakes)

It is indeed black magic! And why wouldn't it be so with the perfect rich combination of coffee and chocolate?
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I got intrigued when I first saw this recipe (click on title for link). With a catchy name like that and the author's insistence that one must not use anything else but Hershey's Chocolate Powder or something more superior when making this, I was convinced that this is a "must-try" recipe. Of course, I am always sold for anything that has both "coffee" and "chocolate" in it.

Instead of making this into a cake, I baked them in individual cupcake tins. I also substituted with some organic molasses sugar (that is said to enhance the flavour of chocolate cake more). To make it even more interesting, I added chunks of chocolates in the middle of the cupcake.
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To my surprise, the cake looks like an exploding mountain when it was baked. In fact, it reminds me of a volcano!
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What the heck, since it already looks like a mountain, why not make it a "snowy mountain". And that's how a simple Black Magic cake became a Black Magic Mountain cupcake.
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Monday, October 24, 2005

Today's Breakfast: Honey Almond "Pai Pau"

What is "Pai Pau"? It is actually a soft & fluffy plain sweet bun, usually distinguished by its yellowish hue. The name literally means "buns in a row". Check out the pic below.
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To make it slightly different, I sprinkled almonds on it and glazed it with honey.
Close up:
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This is the same dough from which I made the failed and burnt bread before. Wonder why this bread turned out alright and the other didn't? Again, must be because my oven was being temperamental then.

Look how soft and fluffy the texture is. All I need now is a cup of coffee to go along with this bun. Yup, that will be perfect..!
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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Honey Walnut Bread & Pumpkin Marmalade Jam

Actually, the food stuff mentioned here were done both yesterday and today.

For Sunday breakfast, I turned my favourite Honey Walnut Bread recipe into a coffee version and hence the name, Honey Coffee Walnut Bread topped with Sunflower & Sesame Seeds.
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To go with it, some Pumpkin Marmalade jam, marinated since yesterday and cooked today.
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And also made some "healthy" lemon curd (no oil nor butter used). I had it with some leftover yogurt cake I made the other day and it was pretty good. Really tangy and zesty!
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Note: Click on title for link to Pumpkin Marmalade Jam recipe

Saturday, October 22, 2005

2nd Try (Lou Por Peng)

Not to give in to my "oven's bad attitude" today, I tried baking again later in the day. This time, I made Lou Por Peng (Wives' Biscuits) which is one of my favourite Chinese Pastry, particularly the ones from Hong Kong. Ideally it has soft but flaky pastry skin with a sweet and sticky filling made from candied winter melon and sesame seeds.
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This time, my oven behaved well. *whew..* All my biscuits survived the baking without any damage. Although these biscuits do not taste like how I picture my perfect lou por peng to be, they are quite good. However, it should only be consumed in small bites at a time for the candied winter melon can be a potential root cause for toothache. Next goal is to find out how to reduce the level of sweetness for the candied melons.

Bad Oven Day (Honey Chocolate Muffin)

For some reason, my oven was misbehaving today. It burned my baking not once, but twice!
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Started with the Honey Chocolate Walnut & Raisin muffins. Recipe calls for 25 minutes. I should know better than to let my guard down by not checking. Barely past 20 minutes, I smelled food burning from my oven. I rushed to my oven but was a minute too late. Half of the 6 muffins in the oven already have blackened tops. Oh darn!!! And just when I thought these muffins are going to turn out very good. *Sigh* And I was going to give one to a friend too. There goes my effort in trying to impress...
However, I did taste one of the "ok" ones. And it was what I expected all along, it was good! A combination of dark chocolate, white chocolate, walnuts and raisins, it was decadent and luxurious. A perfect muffin for autumn, if only we have autumn in Malaysia.
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I was lucky that I managed to salvage some of the muffins. Look what it did to my bread next. And it was only in the oven for less than 10 minutes!
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Too bad for inside was still good. Look at the nice texture inside!
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My oven must have been having a bad day today...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Simplicity (Sweet Corn Yogurt Cake)

I was in the mood to bake a simple and down-to-earth but good-tasting cake after seeing Clotilde's plain yogurt cake recipe. A plain and "earthy" cake, it seems to represent simplicity at its best. This cake has a nice crust while the inside remains moist.
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Some adjustments made include:
Using low-fat plain yogurt in the 150ml tub and adding sweet corn kernels (a layer in between dough mixture and also on top of the cake). Also added an additional 1/2 tbsp of rum.

Dreamy Mango Ice-Cream

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I have been very tempted to make a fruit-based ice-cream but was thwarted by the fact that the kids at home prefer vanilla or chocolate based ice-cream. But since the kids are down with flu and I have a big packet of cut mango slices in the fridge, I grabbed the opportunity to make some Sweet Mango Ice-Cream. I used the "no cream ice-cream" recipe as before, the only adjustments I made were to use low-fat plain milk and added about 400g of mango puree. I also added chopped mango pieces to make it more attractive.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Meme - Childhood Memories of Food

Oops, I have been tagged by Florence at Do What I Like. This is my first meme and the topic of the meme this time is “Food from Childhood Memories”.
Hmmm…. , after pondering long and hard, I finally managed to short-list them to the 5 items below:

1) Iced or Plain Gem biscuits.
These seems to be a favourite with quite a number of people and were usually bought from traditional grocery shops (sold by weight) or from the “pasar malam” (night market). If given a choice, I would binge on the iced ones. Loved to separate the coloured icings from the biscuit base and eat them separately. But sometimes, when my mom became a “meanie” and stopped me from taking too much of the coloured icing by saying that “too much coloured stuff is no good for you”, I would find comfort in the plain ones. These are seriously good when dunked into a cup of hot beverage (e.g., milo, milk, milk coffee).
You can see the picture here .

2) Sugar Floss “Ice-Cream”
Usually sold by the “roti” man and comes in individual packets, they are mini sugar floss (both coloured and uncoloured) on top of a small wafer cone. Loved them, especially after my mom forbade me to have too much of the stuff. I would usually wait for the roti man to come, secretly buy them without my mother’s knowledge and chomp them down befor my secret is "discovered".

3) Tau Fu Fa (Silky Beancurd)
Although still widely available now, there was a period of time when I was young that I used to have it almost every day. Again, a vendor on motorcycle would come by every afternoon. He would sound his honk and hollers, “Tau Fu Fa!” My mom (she approved of this snack) would send me out to buy, either plain in white or brown sugar, or half-mixed with the soy milk.

4) Home-fried French Fries
When I was young, I used to dislike main meals a lot. You can say I was a junk food junkie (come to think of it, I still am in certain ways). Anyway, I used to dread going home after school to eat my mom’s home-cooked lunch. Usually, I would play the food around my plate until my mom said that I am done with lunch. But there was one dish that I really look forward to; frozen French fries (fried of course). I would eagerly open the “tudung” (food cover) to see if my “favourite dish” was part of the menu of the day and gleefully dig in, if it was indeed available. My mom had to make me promise to have them “with” my rice though.

5) Home-prepared Western Food
Continuing from above, although I generally dislike having proper main meals, there is one meal that I would look forward to and that is a “western-style” meal. My late second sister would usually prepare this for me as an occasional treat. She would fry some fries, a piece of Ramli burger (either chicken or beef) patty, with some French toasts. I would be most happy when I found out whenever she was planning to make this meal. Till today, this meal gives me bitter-sweet memories for it had never tasted the same ever since

Now, whom shall I tag this meme to? Seems like all the food blogs that I know have already been tagged. Maybe just this one although it's not a food-related blog... :o)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Today's Breakfast: Apple & Pear Cinnamon Buns

What I made for breakfast today, Apple & Pear Cinnamon Buns.
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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Discovery of a New Favourite! (Sweet Corn Layer Cake)

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Announcing the discovery of a new favourite, the Sweet Corn Layer Cake. Based on the recipe by Alex Goh, I have to say this cake is highly successful. Nice presentation and even nicer taste, I already have people asking me whether would I made this for sale. Sorry, it is not for sale yet. :-)

The many looks of this cake:
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Click on title for link to recipe.

Sunday's Breakfast: Chinese Peanuts Pancake

Quite often, my father buys this Chinese Peanuts Pancake (otherwise known as "Min Jiang Kueh" in Hokkien) for breakfast on Sundays. Well, today he need not buy this from the market. Easy to make (although I prepared the dough the night before and rest it in the fridge until this morning), my father said it's even better than the ones he bought athough I think he's just being overly proud of his daughter... ;)
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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Tea Time Treats (Green Tea Almond Crunch Cookies)

Although not feeling on top of the world today, I still crave for something sweet but not decadent. These Green Tea Almond Crunch cookies seems to fit the bill. Slightly bitter sweet, they are best enjoyed with a cup of green tea to enhance the essence of green tea even more. And I named them "crunch" cookies because they provide a nice crunch when you bite on them.
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Blooming...(Water Chestnut & Sweet Corn Sweet Soup)

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Tis' a rainy season right now. Despite that, there was a period of a sunny day with clear blue sky earlier today. The flowers in my garden were in full blooms. Look at them, aren't they lovely?
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This cheered me up a bit. I was feeling a bit "under-the-weather" lately. And it also inspired me to make this dessert known as "Ma Tai Pau Sok Tong Shui" in Cantonese or just simply, Water Chestnut & Sweet Corn Sweet Soup. And since it is said to have cooling properties, I reckon it would be ideal for sore throat.
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I hope you think this picture is lovely. And it did taste as lovely as it looks. Adding a lightly beaten egg also made it looked as if it is "blooming"...., don't you think?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Getting Creative (Teh Tarik Muffins)

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The average Malaysian loves "teh tarik" (literally meaning "pulled tea" resulting in a frothy and bubbly milk tea), and dare I say even more so than coffee? A popular hot beverage to have for breakfast, tea time and even during supper, there is indeed something very comforting about drinking a hot glass of "teh tarik".
That is why I was very curious when I saw this recipe (click on title for link to recipe). I have never seen nor tasted a Teh Tarik Muffin and I was dying to find out after coming across the post. All you need is a glass of "teh tarik"and some self-rasing flour, and voila!
I took the cheater's way by using those pre-mixed "teh tarik"sachets. To make the taste and scent stronger, I used 2 packets for one glass portion. Well, the end result was less spectacular than I expected but I least I got over my curiosity, for now.
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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Irish Soda Bread

Recently, I saw a simple and easy bread recipe in Alex Goh's World of Bread recipe book. If you have been reading my posts, you should know by now that I could not resist recipes that are said to be simple and easy.
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The Irish Soda Bread recipe here does not use any yeast nor does it require any proofing. In fact, there is hardly any kneading (the hardest step in bread-making without the bread machine, in my opinion) required as the recipe advises against over-mixing the dough. It is almost like an instant bread. I followed the recipe and the only alteration I made was to add whole-wheat bran to it as an effort to make it even healthier (it is also low-fat and low-sugar too).
The bread has a thick and tough crust, just like how European breads usually are. I am surprised to discover that it has a very addictive yummy scent given its simple ingredients. Although the crust is thick, the center is considerably chewy and soft. I am satisfied with just eating it plain. Of course, it is also good with stews.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Today's Breakfast: Jackfruit Tea Cake

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What I had for breakfast today, Jackfruit Tea Cake. Since it has real fruits inside, it is considered a healthy breakfast right?
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Just so that you know, the smell of it baking in the oven was "oh, so divine"!

Click on title for link to recipe.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Mission Accomplished! (Red Bean Pancake)

I like this dessert very much. Known as "wor ping" in Chinese, they are usually served at the end in Chinese wedding banquet dinners. They are usually very much worth looking forward too. So when I chanced upon this recipe and particularly when I discovered that it is relatively easy to make, I wasted no time in trying it out.
Do not under-estimate recipes. It was harder than I expected but probably due to my inexperience with the frying pan. My first pancake skin was torn while trying to flip it over. Subsequent ones fared better; practice really does make perfect.
My parents love the pancakes too. I only pan-fried two and froze the remaining two. They almost finished the whole thing. I reckon I will do this again and again. Then again, I guess I will wait until my maid is free before I attempt this again.

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Red Bean Pancake

Saturday, October 08, 2005

An Inferior Cousin...(Chocolate Chiffon Cake)

After the very successful recipe for Pandan Chiffon Cake that has become a staple in my household, I wish to replicate the success with a different version. Since I had just bought a tub of Hershey's Chocolate Powder, I thought why not Chocolate Chiffon Cake?
So using the same recipe, I changed the ingredients slightly to make the chiffon cake. And I also reduced the amount of sugar.
However, the end result was not as successful as the Pandan Chiffon Cake. Although still fluffy and very soft, it is rather bland (could be due to the reduction of sugar used). Some commented that it is still nice but from their tone, I can see that it has not achieved the status of its superior cousin yet. Then again, I can't help but to think that this cake will be excellent as a base for an "iced" cake (e.g., Black Forest, etc..).
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Getting Creative with Buns (Lotus Buns & Peanut Buns)

Every other week on a Saturday, I will made a big portion of sweet bun dough. I will then use one half of it and freeze the other half for the following week. And usually, I will take out my Alex Goh's bread recipe book (I forgot the title) to hunt for new ideas. If you have this book, you will know what I mean. There are so many different type of breads and buns in this book of various shapes and sizes.
This week, I decided on making Peanut Buns and Lotus Buns. For the former, the bun is in the shape of a cross and as for the latter, it is supposed to shape like a butterfly. I know it is not easy, but do try to visualize based on this pic: :)
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Friday, October 07, 2005

Decisions, decisions..(Lemon Syrup Tea Cake)

Quite frequently, I find myself at a dilemma when having to make a decision. It may involve a life-changing decision or it may be something as simple as deciding what to bake today.
It happened again today, I was at a cross between baking a Green Tea Chiffon Cake and a Lemon Syrup Tea Cake (Nigella Lawson's recipe). I even went as far as to ask a friend to decide for me; she chose the former. But her input was in vain for in the end, I ended up baking the Domestic Goddess' recipe (not to mention the fact that I also have a lemon that has been in my fridge for ages!)
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The recipe looks like a butter cake recipe, but it was really soft and fluffy. When just out from the oven, the top was poked all over with a skewer and then the prepared lemon syrup was poured all over. The result was a "lemon syrup infused butter cake". The cake was light and tangy. A must for people who love this citrus fruit (the lemon sauce was quite potent!). For the rest who cannot fathom any slight taste of sourness, stay away; so I can have your share too!
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Just baked!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Oh, My Fudge! (Chcolate Fudge Candies)

It was a Thursday night and I felt like making something in the kitchen. It was kind of late to bake anything but yet, my hands were "itchy" to make something.
Then I remembered a very simple recipe that I saw recently, a very easy recipe for Chocolate Fudge candies that anyone can make. Seriously, anyone! All you need is a microwave (to melt the ingredients but i reckon the good old stove will do as well) and a fridge (to chill the fudge until it is set). Oh, and of course, the ingredients too but they are really simple ingredients.
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I am sure that you will not regret using the best quality chocolate that you can in making this fudge candy but all I had at that time was a plain, no-frill cooking chocolate bar in the fridge. So in order to make the taste similar to a rich dark chocolate, I added in some instant espresso coffee powder. And it really did the trick, or almost... (what could I say, can anything substitute for say, a bar of Godiva chocolate?)

Click on title for link to recipe.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

In Sweet Heaven (Part I)

I am without doubt, dessert's biggest fan. I am one of those people who can go without a main or proper meal and just have desserts as my meal. Not wise, I know. But old habits die hard...
Anyway, I decided to share some desserts that I have had recently. Some were fabulous while others may not be so good. Stay posted!
Disclaimer: Photos may not be the best quality. All were taken with my Samsung handphone.

1) One of my all-time favourite Chocolate Cake
Found at the cake shop along Asian Heritage Row. I forgot the name of this but this one of their most popular cakes. Sounds something like Sacher Torte but I don't think this is the actual name. Anyway, this cake is so smooth and rich, and really melts in your mouth kind. No wonder since according to the shop, premium grade quality Belgian chocolate is used in this cake. A must try for all chocolate lovers!
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2) Mango Cheese Cake & Warm Chocolate Cake @ Delicious Cafe
Delicious Cafe is one of my recent favourite place for casual dining. Originally a fashion boutique (the first outlet is located at the back of their boutique in 1Utama), this restaurant has managed to become quite popular with patrons. Their outlets are usually rather crowded.
Back to desserts, the latter is their most popular cake and rightly so. This cake is very rich and decadent, a cross between a rich chocolate brownie cum flourless cake. Served with rich chocolate sauce and ice cream with sprinkles of nuts, how can one dislike this dessert (unless if you are a sworn chocolate hater). I like it too, but I wouldn't rank it among my 'all-time favourites'. I personally feel that the overall combination is slightly 'OTT' although delicious.
I much prefer the more subdued Mango Cheese Cake. The sour tang and sweet notes are rightly balanced. Cheesecakes are usually not a light dessert, but this comes across tasting like one. I like.....Enough to rank it as one of my favourite cheesecakes.
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3) Bread & Butter Pudding @ Ceylon Hill Cafe
I was once told that all B&P lovers must try this dessert at this outlet. With a cache like that, how can I resist. But I was slightly disappointed. Maybe I was expecting to be truly overwhelmed. I find it to be a basic b&p (and they used simple white bread which is slightly dry, not pudding-infused enough) laddened with lots of sauce and a sprinkle of cocoa or cinnamon powder (I forgot which). It was 'ok' but I much prefer the cheap but very good 'no-frill B&P' served at the Ikea Cafe. My own attempts are also comparable too...., but that is another story.
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4) Strawberry Shortcake @ Bakerzin
I have been to Bakerzin quite a number of times. And almost each time, I will see hoards of Japanese ladies coming to the shop to buy this cake. Yes, according to the shop, this is one of their most sell-able cake in the store. Normally not a fan of fresh cream sponge cake. but I finally yielded to temptation to see what the fuss was all about. Well, I can understand the reason this cake is so popular with the ladies. The sponge cake is really soft and fluffy without being dry at all while the cream is as light and fresh as possible, accompanying succulent strawberries. Thumbs up!
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5) Famous Afternoon Tea Scones @ Teapot Cafe
Ah..., the famed scones. Only available from 3pm onwards and in limited quantities only. These are very famous and that means I got to try, of course! I am no scone expert but I must say these are the best-tasting scones that I have had the chance to come across. Best taken with the accompanying devonshire clotted cream (thick and 'very rich') and strawberry jam, and of course a pot of English tea. What a blissful way to spend an afternoon....
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