Sunday, April 30, 2006

For the Kids (Vanilla Madeleines, Sugar Butter Cookies, Red Bean Ice-cream

It was a long weekend with Monday being a holiday (Worker’s Day). Baked some stuff to keep their mouths occupied. Otherwise I shall have no peace.

Vanilla Madeleines (recipe found here)
These were as good as claimed. I managed to take a bite but the rest was gone within 2 hours.
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Sugar Butter Cookies (recipe from latest issue of Appetite Magazine). Simple and nice! The kids helped me with cutting out the cookies. They had fun (although their poor aunt was starting to develop a headache by the time they were almost done).
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Red Bean Ice-Cream (recipe from using condensed milk and evaporated milk). Smooth but slightly too sweet with the milks and red bean paste that I used).
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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Need a Healthy Fix? (Angel Muffins, Chewy Walnut Squares, Homemade Protein Bars, Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Chowder

Sometimes, I would the occasional guilt from having over-indulged on desserts. This was what happened to me recently so rather than putting a total stop to desserts, I set about looking for healthier dessert recipes and here’s what I found (and made):

Angel Muffins (Fat-free, primary ingredient: Egg whites)
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Chewy Walnut Squares (Fat-free and yummy! Recipe found from Comfort Food blog page. I used a mixture of molasses sugar and light brown sugar)
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Updated: I have posted the recipe here.

Homemade Protein Bars (Main ingredients: Yoghurt, Wholemeal flour, toasted almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, dried cranberries and golden raisins – yum)
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Updated: I have posted the recipe here.

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Chowder (so good….! Particularly with some plain bread or Pumpkin Seed Sandwich Bread)
Note to Malaysian readers: Recipe found in complimentary recipe booklet by HL Milk together with latest issue of Appetite Magazine
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Friday, April 28, 2006

Almost a Total Disaster (Yummy Fudgey Brownie)

This was supposed to be a gift to a friend. Although I have never tried this recipe before, I was convinced that it would be good after seeing the recipe here.

I substituted with plenty of toasted almond flakes (I didn’t have any other type of nuts) and used Hershey’s cocoa powder and light brown sugar. Everything went well, and it smelled heavenly during baking.

Problem came when I tried inverting the brownie barely 10 minutes after baking. First of all, I forgot to line the pan and then I forgot to let it cool down completely in the pan. It’s not to hard to picture what happened next. The brownie fell and crumpled. So what I had was what I would call a “Deconstructed Brownie”. I tasted it, it was every bit as good as I expected it to be. But sadly, it was in no condition to be given as a gift. There goes my good intention and efforts….

But why did I say “almost a total disaster” instead of a total disaster? Well, rather than having this rather perfect-tasting brownie going to waste, I had it for myself. Now, I wouldn’t call this a disaster, would I? *wink*

This is a pic of the last piece of "deconstructed" borwnie. *hehheh*
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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sunday Roast (Roasted Sesame Chicken)

My first attemp in roasting chicken. I used Gina's Roasted Sesame Chicken recipe found here.
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I love it! Definitely a keeper in my books!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sweating It Out In The Kitchen (XO Layer Cake)

It was a hot day. The kitchen felt like a 100-degree and I had to choose this day to attempt baking a Layer Cake. I knew it wasn't going to be easy. To achieve the multiple-layer effect of this cake, one has to bake each thin layer, layer-by-layer. This is the major reason why I never attempted this earlier.

However, I still remember the best layer cake that I ever tasted was baked by my aunt. Why was it so special? She used XO in the cake to enhance the flavour. It's so good, I tell you. So when I saw a Layer Cake recipe that contains brandy in a Recipe Book which I got as a gift
Each layer takes about 5-8 minutes, I decided to take up the challenge. I have to admit. initially I was 'shocked' by the amount of ingredients used. I just could not bring myself to bake a cake that requires 18 egg yolks and 375g butter! So what I did was I halved the recipe and bake it in a smaller loaf tin instead. Also, I substituted the brandy with XO Cognac.

The process was every inch as tedious and time-consuming as said to be. The batter needed 3 different preparations. Of course, the most tedious part was baking the individual layers. Each layer took about 5-8 minutes. And all this time, I had to keep watch in front of the hot oven in a hot kitchen to prevent over-browning of each layer. All in all, it took me a little under 3 hours to finish baking this cake (from start to finish). This cake by far is the most tedious and the longest time I took to bake a cake - ever.
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So, was the end result worth the effort? Well, presentation wise, I wasn't satisfied by the layering effect. I think there were some layers that weren't brown enough (I was just too impatient to wait longer). But taste wise, I have no complaint. Family loved it. Although to me, it wasn't as good as my aunt's legendary cake but definitely getting there. If it was for adult's consumption only, I couldn't help but to wonder how it would taste like if I poke holes in the cake right after it's done and drench it with more liquor. Hmmm.... Anyway, it would definitely be a while before I would bake this cake again.

Eastern Delights: Marble Greenbean Jelly, Kuih Talam & Redbean Cream Soup

In the mood to make Nyonya-style desserts today:

First on the list, Marble Green Bean Jelly. I didn't do the marbling effect well enough. Otherwise, it is a very cooling and refreshing dessert.
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Next, Kuih Talam. Recipe found on Kitchen Capers (see side link) courtesy of Gina. Before this, I have a conception that Nyonya kuihs are very tedious to make. But Gina's recipe is very easy to follow. I would say definitely not bad for a first try although I would definitely use coconut cream for the top layer as suggested instead of coconut milk for a richer and better taste of the coconut layer.
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Last but not least, Red Bean Cream Tongshui. I wanted to make a cream style where all the beans were already mashed and blended. It was like how I intended it to be when I put it back into the Thermal Pot to keep warm but when I had it later in the afternoon, it was quite watery. Hmmm... I suspected my mom added water to the mixture as that's how she would normally cooked red beans - the usual watery style (as seen below).
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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Have A Break, Have a Biscotti (Cashew Nut Almond Biscotti)

Perfect combination for a coffee lover like myself. This recipe is fat-free and so easy to make. Supposed to be Almond Biscotti but since I wanted to finish some leftover cashew nuts, I made Cashew Nut Almond Biscotti. So crispy and crunchy. I made it with the intention to keep all for myself and savour them slowly over coffee breaks, thinking that no one at home would enjoy this type of dry and somewhat hard biscuits (I sliced them about 2-3mm thick and intentionally over-baked them slightly). Kept them in a jar and left it in the kitchen but surprise, surprise, when I went to get it the next day, half of it was gone! Till today, I have no idea who the "secret admirer of the biscotti" was. (???)
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Monday, April 10, 2006

Today's Breakfast: Buns!

Breakfast for the family:
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From L - R: Crabmeat Mayo, Sesame Chicken Floss Mayo and Sausage Roll

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Lor Mai Fan (Steamed Glutinous Rice)

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Lor Mai Fan with sliced cucumbers and sambal chili

Recipe from the ever-reliable Kitchen Capers. This recipe is easy to follow (trust me, I am an absolute klutz when it comes to chinese cooking) with simple ingredients. I find it yummy but I think I might have been overly heavy-handed with the thick black soy sauce for the rice turned out to be rather dark. I have no problem with it but my mom commented, "wah, charcoal dark ya...." *lol*

Saturday, April 08, 2006

All About Bananas! (Banana Loaf & Muffins)

Feel like I haven't bake banana-anything for a while now. So I asked my dad to buy me some seriously-over-ripe bananas from the market. Seriously, I think that bananas that are really, really ripe yield the sweetest and most aromatic banana cake. So I was kinda disappointed when I saw that the ones that my good ol' dad bought were still kinda firm, and slightly green even.

But nothing could deter my from my determination to bake banana cakes. I used this recipe which I had used before to quite a success. However, this time I omitted walnuts and baked in 2 mini loaf tins. As I still have extra bananas, I used another versatile basic muffin recipe and baked banana muffins. The latter is obviously much lower in fat than the cake (2T of oil for 6 muffins).
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Results weren't bad at all but I still wished that I had riper bananas...

Links to recipe included.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cupcakes & Muffins Galore (Carrot Cupcakes & Chocolate Almond Muffins)

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It started with the MPH Bookstore anniversary sale. I wanted to get a Betty Saw cookbook with a voucher that I have and also take advantage of the discount offered during the sale period at the same time. But I was disappointed to discover that the store that I visited was out of the book that I wanted. However, on the shelf I saw Judy Koh's VCD that Gina mentioned recently on her forum. Since I had a voucher and it was on sale, I got that instead; which was where I saw her recipe for American Carrot Cake. It was a simple recipe and it looked yummy so I gave it a try with some minor alterations.
I added some raisins and substituted about 1/3 of the sugar portion with molasses sugar. Used plain flour instead of cake flour (couldn't find the cake flour until when I was almost done with the baking!!!) Also, since I didn't have cream cheese on hand, I made some simple buttercream and infused it with orange oil. I must say I like the end result very much.... Also, for the first time, I found myself not able to stop licking the orange infused butter cream (usually, I don't like buttercream). Very delicious indeed.
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Carrot Cupcake with Orange-infused Buttercream and topped with orange zest.

As the recipe is simple and I was done in no time, I decided to make another batch of muffins. My nephews and niece are due back on that day from a short holiday trip so I decided to bake some treats for them. Using a packet of chocolate pancake mix that I got from Japan, I baked Chocolate & Almond Muffins for the kids. I have to say these are not bad too. I added lots of chocolate sprinkles so during baking, the chocolatey center oozed out to the top.
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Chocolate & Almond Muffins