Sunday, July 30, 2006

More Pumpkins Please! (Golden Pumpkin Marbles)

Not satiated with the recent pumpkin dish and dessert I created, I made this savoury dish for dinner today. Something like the traditional Hakka dish called "Abacus Beads", this one uses pumpkins instead of yams.
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Golden Pumpkin Marbles (based on this recipe by Gina at KC)
Not until someone asked me, "Why they don't look like typical abacus beads?", I remembered that I was supposed to shape them (by flattening them a little in the center to look like abacus beads). Then again, I think they look kinda cute the way they are. Small and round...., like marbles.

Fat-Free but Sugar-High! (Norwegian Pear & Walnut Cake and Pandan Redbean Rolls)

One of the greatest irony for me was something that is fat-free and thus, deemed as being healthy but yet ladened with high-dosage of "unhealthy" sugar. Does this still classify the dessert as being healthy? To some, it could even be worse than not being fat-free. But to a sweet-toothed person like me, this fact is a good enough reason to dig-in. Yeah, Like I needed any. *grin*

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Norwegian Pear & Walnut Cake (I made a mistake in labelling the photo above)
One bite into the crusty exterior and soft interior, ladened with chunks of pear and walnuts, you will easily fall in love with this cake.
Based on the recipe from "Everybody Likes Sandwiches" blog, my version is as follows:
1/3c sugar + 1/4c demerara sugar (reduce more if you like)
1/2 c plain flour

1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 egg
1 generous cup diced pears
1/2 c toasted walnuts, chopped
1 t cinnamon powder
1. In a bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder.
2. Break an egg into the center of the mixture. Combine well.
3. Mix in pears and nuts. Pour mixture into a greased and floured 8" pie pan.
4. Bake 20-25 minutes at 175c (pre-heated), or until edges are crispy and pulls aways from pan.

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Chilled Pandan Red Bean Rolls (FAVOURITE RECIPE) (Recipe can be found from JoDeliBakery: see side bar for link)
This is like a "rolled" version of snow mooncake. I like them a lot! Best eaten just chilled from the fridge. Once it reaches room temperature, it may be just a bit cloyingly sweet.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

My Bread Maker Is Back! (Mixed Fruit Plaits)

(To the tune of the song "My Boyfriend's Back")
My Bread Maker is back, and I'm gonna be so Happy..

Yep, it is finally back from the workshop (service center)! To much relief. No more hand-kneading and sweating buckets while worrying that the bread ain't gonna be soft enough.
To celebrate, I made Mixed Fruit Plaits based on the ever-trusty Alex Goh's World of Bread.
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Based on original recipe in Alex Goh's World of Bread, adapted for bread machine
250g bread flour
35g sugar
1/2t salt
10g skimmed milk powder
2t instant yeast
1 egg (slightly beaten)
100ml cold water
30g unsalted butter, softened
120g dried mixed fruits mixed with 1/4t cinnamon powder
Almond flakes and egg wash
1. Dump everything into the bread machine pan except mixed fuits and almond flakes according to the order recommnended by your bread machine manual.
2. Set it to "Dough" function. At the first beep, add in the mixed fruits.
3. When it is done, turn the dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide them into 6 equal parts and shape them into balls. Rest for 10 mins.
4. Roll into 6 long strips, about 30cm each. Plait 3 strips together to form 2 braids. Tuck the ends under.
5. Cover with clean damp cloth and let rise till double in size (apx. 45 mins).
6. Brush top with egg wash and sprinkle almond flakes on top.
7. Baked in pre-heated over at 180c for about 15-20 mins (watch). Remove and let cool completely on wire rack.

Sweet & Savoury (Cocoa Cappuccino Cookies & Savoury Egg Sponge Cake)

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Cocoa Cappuccino Cookies (Recipe link)
Another cookie recipe worth trying, another batch of successful cookies worth to forgo any diet (heh,heh). Brownie-like cookies, it has a slightly crusty shell and soft chewy center. Coffee always provide a good contrast to chocolate. Using a good coffee powder makes it even better. You can reduce sugar slightly since it is rolled in sugar, but not too much otherwise the coffee powder may make it bitter.
Note: 1/2 recipe yielded about 20 cookies for me.

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Savoury Egg Sponge Cake (aka Kai Tan Kou) layered with chicken floss and crispy fried shallots
I first fell in love with this cake ages ago at my girl friend's house. Her mom made this cake and I nearly gobbled up the entire cake. Imagine my delight when I saw a similar recipe at SeaDragon's blog (see side bar for link).
Result was nearly as good, except that my cake was slightly soggy at the bottom. Two possible reasons for this. First, instead of a stainless steel steamer tin, I used a normal cake tin lined with greaseproof paper; and/or I left the cake in the pan for a good 8-10 minutes before remembering to remove it.I was busy with something else!)
Anyway like previously, I nearly gobbled up the entire cake!

Friday, July 28, 2006

MyCoffee Eats: Dinner @ eatworkshop

First, I was intrigued by the name. The name alone contains 2 of my all-time favourite past time, "eat" and "shop". Err, can't say the same for the other remaining word in the name. Anyway, I always have a penchant for Australian-styled or Aussie-influenced cuisine/restaurant. (The chefs were trained and had worked in Oz.) But seriously, I was glad that I gave this eatery a try.

They say, “A picture speaks a thousand words!” Well, everything you see here was as good as it looks. (I hope my photos did the food justice.)
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Shared Starter: Smoked Duck Salad with Honeyed Walnuts & orange (I like the smoked duck, not overly salty or fatty. Most importantly, no gamey taste).
Mains Ordered:
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Pesto Prawn Pasta (I can’t get over how gorgeous this dish looks! Pasta was cooked really al-dente, and pesto sauce was good too. Second on my list of favourite pesto sauce, next to Nero Vivo.)
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Braised Lamb Shank on a bed of mashed potato (Generous serving. I thought it tasted good although I don’t really like lamb shank. You might have thought a guy ordered this – wrong! Nowadays, ladies can out-eat men anytime. Women rule!)
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Chicken – ‘something” (Aarggh! Somehow the name of this dish escaped me at this moment. Pretty similar to Chicken Cordon Bleu. Anyway, it is bread chicken rolled with seaweed and some cheese.)
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Breaded Dory Fillet (From the desc in the menu, I would have thought it is some version of Fish & Chips. After all, it said “Breaded Dory”. But surprise, surprise! It is literally ‘breaded dory’. A piece of toast on top of (pan-fried?) dory. Getit? My friend who had this gave it thumbs-up!
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I had the night’s special. Ta-ta-ta-ta….: Seabass on pan-fried risotto. (So glad I chose this! Generous cut of fresh seabass. Meat was succulent and juicy. The accompanying sauce was fantastic - slightly sweet and citrusy. The risotto was fried till crispy on the outside but still chewy on the inside, tasted like those Chinese Deep-fried Glutinous rice snack). *lol*
Exhilarating ending:
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Apple Crumble served with ice-cream (pretty average) and
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Chocolate Fondant with ice-cream and pineapple jam. Decribed as pièce de résistance, and rightly so.
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Melting warm chocolate sauce in moist chocolate sponge. Coupled with the vanilla ice-cream, I could only sighed with contentment. I think adding the pineapple jam on the side gave it a very interesting touch.

Eatworkshop also serves breakfast and lunch. Lunch menu looked very, very interesting. I definitely have to go back for lunch soon. Ambience-wise, it was erm, interesting. Located in a very ‘uncommon' neighbourhood for a restaurant. Both alfresco and in-door dining are available. We were a party of 6 and were seated at a long communal table, a typical feature of contemporary Australian bistros and cafes.

9 Jalan Peguam U1/25, Glenmarie Business Park, Shah Alam
Tel: 03-5569 7763 (Closed on Sundays)

Here’s another review by masak-masak

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Simply Irresistable! (Mini Lotus Pumpkins)

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When I saw the recipe here from "Cuisine Paradise", I knew that I had to make these little gems. I am so glad I did. These cute little morsels are such a delight! Pleasing to the eyes and to the taste buds.
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Steamed Mini Pumpkin Glutinous Dumplings stuffed with Lotus Paste
Pretty versatile too. You can stuff them with lotus paste, red bean paste or any filling to your liking.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Simple, Gorgeous (Oven-roasted Pumpkin & Pang Da Hai Tongshui)

Simple, gorgeous oven-roasted pumpkin,
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Recipe in "Comments"

and simple, gorgeous Pang Da Hai Tongshui with honey dates and longans.
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Simple to make; taste-wise, gorgeous. How could I not love them?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

3 of My Best! (Flourless Peanut Butter, Choc Chunk Cookies & Donna Hay's Cupcakes)

Recently discovered 2 really good cookie recipes. In fact, these recipes are 2 of the best batches of cookies I have baked so far.
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Top of the list is the Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies. Recipe is from Baking Sheet (see side bar for link to this blog). No flour was used here, this is a ‘pure-bred’ Peanut Butter cookie (hehe) . The cookie was simply held together by the egg(s) used. Crumbly but yet, melts in your mouth.

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Next, we have the Chewy Chocolate Chunk cookies (FAVOURITE RECIPE) made famous by ‘the baker’. This is easily my favourite chocolate chip/chunk cookie recipe. Those who were lucky enough to taste them (namely my nephews and niece, Amos the eldest in particular) exclaimed,
“These cookies are even better than Famous Amos!”
I preened with pride….. ;-p

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Not forgetting this cupcake recipe by Donna Hay. It has somewhat relegated to a ‘cult’ status among food bloggers. After baking this for the first time previously, I could see what the hype was all about. Here, I baked the original version – Peanut Butter Self-frosting Cupcakes. (FAVOURITE RECIPE)

Mother’s Blunder Part Deux

First, it was the vanilla pods. And now, my precious Varlhona Jivara chocolate buttons!

She told me she didn’t really know what those dark brown discs shrink-packed in clear plastic were. Thought they had been in the fridge forever. Plus, she added, the fridge was getting crowded and she needed the extra space (despite the fact that we have 2 fridges). So she threw them away… *faints*

Lesson learned: Line Your Pans! (Low-fat Lemon Walnut Slice & Mixed Berries Yogurt Bread)

Yup, line your pans people. Especially when baking slices. Do not take chances (or be lazy) like me. Although the recipe did not ask for this step, I have baked enough to know that it is best to line the pans when baking slices and squares. Especially when no or little fat is involved.

Alas, I didn’t. And as a result, my lovely lemon curd on walnut crust stuck to the bottom of the pan. Like glue. I guess the instruction to “let it cool in pan” gave it plenty of time to adhere itself like a 2nd skin to the pan. I spent a good 20 minutes trying to pry it up from the pan. A task similar to Cinderella’s step sisters trying on the glass shoe aka impossible! If I hadn’t tasted the “oh-so-fine-tasting” lemon curd, I would have abandoned the attempt altogether.

So, for my hard work, I got these. Out of the entire square, I managed to save 3 ‘ok-looking’ slices.
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Click for original recipe
The rest? In my stomach…

And somewhere along the way, I also baked a Mixed Berries Yoghurt Bread with Blue Poppy Seeds. Coincidentally, like the lemon slice, it contains no fat too.
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Sunday, July 16, 2006

So Good! (Pumpkin Sesame Slice)

I was browsing through my ever-growing collection of recipe books. Came across this one titled "Simple Slices" by Women's Weekly which I have not tried before.Was looking for a quick recipe to bake so I chose one that is originally titled "Pepita & Sesame Slice". Seems that Pepita is another word for Pumpkin Seeds.
Basically, the bottom layer is made up from wholemeal flour and pumpkin seeds. I added sunflower seeds. The top layer is actually caramelized apricot jam (didn't have this so I used pineapple jam) with sprinkles of pumpkin, sunflower and white sesame seeds (again, didn't have white sesame so used black sesame seeds).
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End result? Very good! Full of nutty goodness - very nice to chew on!

Recipe (adapted from Women's Weekly Simple Slices)
- 45g butter
- 1/2t lemon oil or lemon zest
- 1/2 egg or 1 egg white
- 1T sugar (add more if you like)
- 50 g plain flour
- 40g wholemeal flour
- 40g toasted mixed seeds (I used pumpkin and sunflower)
- 40g apricot or pineapple jam
- 1T toasted sesame seeds (either white or black)
1. Grease and line a loaf tin (make sure to extend the ends of baking paper for easier removal after baking)
2. Spread jam evenly on base. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and 1/2 or 1/3 of the mixed seeds.
3. Beat butter, lemon oil/zest, sugar and egg till light and fluffy. Stir in sifted flours and remaining mixed seeds.
4. Press mixture into prepared pan.
5. Bake in pre-heated oven (200-210c) for about 13-20 minutes OR until lightly brown. Watch sides carefully, there's tendency for it to burn slightly. But to ensure crispiness, wait till it reaches a "lightly browned" hue overall.
6. Cool slice in pan. Invert and let cool completely before slicing.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

KFC Chicken Cookies??? (Lemon Poppy Seed Oat Cookies)

Lemon Poppy Seed butter cake is one of my all-time favourite recipe. Simple to make but elegant to taste. I also like adding poppy seeds to a moist banana cake, but with the addtion of lemon zest of course. To me, the combination of lemon and poppy seeds cannot go wrong, or so it seems.
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I tried to be creative today and give a twist to a rather simple but nice healthy oat cookies which I had tried before. This time, I added lemon oil and poppy seeds. During photography time, one of my nephew, Clement was excited and couldn't wait to try the cookies. So I gave him one. Then I asked him, "Nice or not?" to which he nodded his head while savouring the cookie, "Yummy! Tastes like KFC chicken."
I nearly dropped the plate of cookies that I was holding. Now, I haven't tasted the cookie yet but I was like "WTH???" I mean, I haven't had my cookies being compared to a fried chicken before, have you? Nor would I want it too. So I took a bite. Hmm, strange that it may seem, but it does taste somewhat like KFC chicken skin (haha). These cookies are the crunchy and crispy type. The addition of poppy seeds upped the 'crunch' factor and also gave it a slight peppery taste while the lemon took a back seat. It is only after a couple of bites that you could taste a slight hint of lemon. Despite having it likened to the taste of a KFC chicken skin, I wouldn't call these cookies the savoury type. Crispy, crunchy, nutty, peppery, lemony - I definitely took a liking to them.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Looks Like Concrete But.... (Black Sesame Pound Cake)

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It has been said that this cake "looks like concrete but melts in your mouth", to which I strongly agree.
Aesthetic wise, nothing much to say. After all, how else can you describe a block of absolute blackness? But texture wise, it is meltingly soft with a taste accentuated by the nutty taste of black sesame.

Black Sesame Pound Cake
· 150g unsalted butter (softened)
· 175g cake flour
· ¾ tsp baking powder
· 170g sugar
· ¼ tsp salt
· 3 eggs
· 120ml low-fat or full-fat milk
· 1 tsp vanilla paste
· 4 - 6 tbsp black sesame paste (adjust according to your taste)

1. Preheat oven to 180c. Flour a chiffon cake tin. (If using square or round tin, line base).
2. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add sugar and salt to mix. Combine well.
3. Beat eggs, milk and vanilla in another bowl. Divide this mixture into 2.
4. Add butter, sesame paste and half of egg mixture to flour mixture. Beaton low speed until just combined (flour no longer visible). Increase speed to “medium” and beat another for 30 seconds.
5. Add remaining egg mixture in 2 batches, beating 15 seconds after each addition. Beat for 20 seconds more.
6. Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for 30-35mins OR until inserted toothpick come out moist but clean.
7. Cool cake on rack for 15mins, then remove from tin and cool completely on rack.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Re-creating a Favourite (Peanut Butter Layered Sponge Cake)

Two of my favourite cakes can be found at Bon Bon Cafe in Damansara Jaya. One is the infamous and seasonal Durian Cream Cake (ooh.....) and the other is the Peanut Butter Coffee Cream Cake. Truly delicious, I tell you.

So today, I tried to re-create the latter. Not that I didn't want to try to re-create the former but so far, any plans to make durian desserts had always failed; reason being the durians were all gone (aka in my stomach) before I could manage to use them for desserts...haha.
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Anyway, what I did was to bake a coffee-flavoured sponge cake, sliced them into 2 and sandwiched them with some Peanut Butter Frosting (recipe found on the net). Now the Peanut Butter Frosting recipe that I used was one of those icing sugar frosting type. In others, it could be sickeningly sweet. So what I did was to reduce the amount of icing used and upped the quantity of peanut butter.
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So was the result anywhere near the BB's version? Unfortunately, nope. The frosting was still far too sweet but it can be quite addictive for a sweet-toothed person. But next time I should probably use a buttercream type frosting. The sponge cake was ok but could use a little bit more coffee flavour.

Oh well, first try down and 2nd try to come about soon!

Friday, July 07, 2006

MyCoffee Eats: Lunch @ San Francisco Steakhouse, KLCC

Lunch time at KLCC.

The obligatory question of "Where to eat?" came to mind.

I had a few suggestions but the steak-lover (my brother) already made up his mind.

San Francisco Steakhouse, he said.

My first thought - "Aiya....". Honestly speaking, that place has not impressed me so far. Then again I seldom eat steak let alone crave for steak. But I wasn't about to make a fuss since I was hungry and just wanted to put some food into my stomach.


I happened to have my camera with me so I managed to take a few shots of our lunch.
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The complimentary bread roll. I like the fact that it was served warm.
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My Popcorn, Crispy Turkey Ham, Walnuts and Radish Salad. I was taken with the description but actual product fell short of expectaton but it looks beautiful here, doesn't it? Dressed with what looked like simple balsamic vinegar.
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He had Steak (I forgot which cut) with Brown Garlic Sauce served with a side of stir-fried salad and chips. Medium done, it wasn't bad. Pretty good actually.
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Side order - Onion Rings. Exactly 12 pieces. Portion looked so measly served on a large plate. Would be better if they served this in a basket instead. I prefered the chips on his plate (see pic above). Thick cut and fried just right (aka not soggy).

What I like: Strategic location as it overlooks the KLCC park. Beautiful view on a bright sunny day (provided that the blinds are not pulled down).

What I dislike: Still not impressed with the food. And the service could be better too. The waitress who served us was pretty sullen-looking. Or maybe I over-exhausted her with my relentless questions about the menu which unfortunately, she wasn't really knowledgeable. For example, when asked to tell me more about the the salad which I eventually had (see pic above), all she could muttered was "just some popcorn, turkey ham on top of some salad" Yeah, like I couldn't read that from the name of the dish. "What's the dressing used?" I implored further at the risk of really exasperating her. She shrugged and said she wasn't sure (aka dunno lah). To give her credit, she did apologize. Or at least I think she did.

San Francisco Steakhouse @ KLCC. (Upstairs)

ps: By the way, they do not serve Set Lunches there. If you want a Set Lunch, you have to dine 'downstairs'.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Seeking refuge from the HOT weather (Boiled Sea Coconut Dessert & Pandan Jewels)

It was such a hot day yesterday. Badly needed something to cool down the body. Would be perfect if served along with some desserts as well.
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Pandan Jewels (recipe from the most recent edition of Famous Cuisine magazine)
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Soft and chewy translucent dumpling skin stuffed with sweetened ground peanuts, toasted sesame seeds and dessicated coconut, wrapped with pandan leaves for the added aroma. Recipe posted in "Comments".

And the much needed remedy for a hot afternoon,
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Boiled Sea Coconut with Longans, Red Dates and White Fungus
Recipe link

Now, I can say "Ahh...."

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I want a Cookie or Two (Cocoa Fudge Cranberry Cookie & Doggie Malted Cookie)

Ever since this incident, I have been increasingly attracted to cookies or for that matter, cookie recipes. Best time to try these 2 cookie recipes in my archive:
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Cocoa Fudge Cranberry Cookie
Got the recipe from Esurientes. Based on a recipe by Alice Medrich, this cookie boasts the extra benefit of being low in fat as well while maintaining high in taste. Fabulous, just what I wanted!
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Doggie Malted Cookies (recipe posted in Comments)
Cute, arent they? Couldn't resist baking these when I saw it here on KC. Baked using Horlicks (a type of malted drink) with no additional sugar used. It is also a cross between a butter and choc chip cookie. Nice and crunchy!
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Doggies? Looked more like a dog, a bear and a mouse, don't you think? (hehe)
My nephew, Clement had fun helping me in assembling the ears, eyes and nose.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Three Desserts and A Dish (Choc Chip Walnut Butter Cake, Egg White Tarts, Crystal Dumplings & Foil-Wrapped Baked Salmon

Hear, hear, the weekend is here. Time for another baking frenzy in the kitchen.
This time, I made "three desserts and a dish". Well, not exactly 3 desserts for one of them is a savoury snack but nevermind....

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Forgot to dust the walnuts and choc chips with flour first, hence they tend to sink to the bottom of the cake.
Chocolate Chip & Walnut Butter Cake
Got an idea for this after tasting a similar one made by an ex-colleague. Sometimes, simple cakes like this really rocks!

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Overbaked the pie crust a little.
Instead of the usual Egg Tarts that I normally made, this time I attempted a "healthier" version (Egg White Tarts) using egg whites only and low-fat milk. I like this version a lot; they kind of reminded me of the smooth "tau-fu-fa" (soybean pudding). Silky smooth and milder in taste. But somehow, the kids prefer the normal version, with the yolks and other rich stuff although I didn't tell them about the change in recipe used. They seem to have a in-built 6th sense to repel any "healthy" food stuff given to them.

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Asked my maid to wrap the dumpling and the next thing I know, she wrapped them into the shapes of curry puffs! LOL!
My SIL cooked copious amount of "pang kaun chai" (a shredded carrot and yam beans dish) to be made as popiah fillings. Previously, we talked about using this filling to be wrapped with crystal dumpling skin. Ta-da! We finally achieved what we planned -
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as modelled by my eldest nephew who in real-life loathes anything vegan. Sadly, this proved to be no exception either.
Crystal Dumplings filled with stir-fried shredded carrot, yam beans, dried shrimps and dried cuttlefish.

Lastly, for a good dose of Omega-3, I also prepared this simple salmon dish -
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Foil-wrapped Baked Salmon.
Simple dish with simple and healthy ingredients such as lemon juice, plump tomatoes, onions, spring onions and olive oil. Most importantly, it tastes good!

That wraps up today's kitchen frenzy.