Thursday, April 28, 2011

Savoury Ham and Cheese Scones


For the past 2 days, i've been trying to bake a cake, a semolina cake which i found in the website. I do have a recipe on hand for a semolina cake but that takes more step to do it so i opted for a easier one instead. 2 times , i couldnt get it right, it was coarse and dry. So until i get that right, i will post it up. This morning , still feeling the urge to bake something, i chose something that i think it's more easier to do..scones. I'm thinking of  savoury ones and i found a recipe from foodnetwork.com. This time it didnt disappoint me , the scones rise beautifully and i find that the texture of these scones are different from my previous scones. Not as light as my previous scones but their inside are soft and doesnt crumble...almost resembles a cake texture. Instead of using milk in most of the scones recipes, this one calls for heavy cream, probably that's one reason, i'm not too sure. Rich and cheesy, if you love savoury scones, this is something that you might love. As for me, i still like the sweeter ones.

There's a slight change in the recipe as i have shaped these scones into rounds using cutter instead of wedges , replaced the bacon with some english roasted ham and also i used salted butter.
Recipe ( from foodnetwork.com )
1 big slice of roasted ham , chopped
3 cups all purpose flour ( i replaced with self raising flour)
1 tbsp baking powder ( skipped)
1tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
113 gm butter, cut into pieces
6 oz grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced chives
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper ( skipped)
1 cup heavy cream, plus 2 tbsps

Method:
1.Preheat oven to 400F/200C
2.In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter, cheese, chives and black pepper with  a pastry cutter or fork, work until it starts to form lumps and come together. Add the ham. Add the 1 cup of cream slowly and work just until it becomes a sticky dough, being careful not to overwork.
3.Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat until it comes together, form into a circle with 2.5cm thickness.
4.Cut them into rounds with  a round cutter with 6.5cm in diameter and transfer them to a baking sheet with a spatula, leaving 1/2 ich space between them. Paint the tops with the remaining 2 tbsps of cream and bake until golden brown, approx 22-23 minutes.
5.Remove from oven and let cool slightly on the baking sheet. Serve warm.


 Submitting this to the Aspiring Bakers Challenge#6 - Say Cheese ( April 2011) hosted by Jean (Noms I Must). Cheeeeeesee!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Herb Crusted Snapper on Couscous



Couscous is something that i eat like taking my instant noodles..not very regular but i do have a pack in the kitchen most of the time. Either i eat them plain or with some salad leaves just to stave off my hunger. To be honest, i dont really have much idea cooking with couscous until early this year, i began to search for some couscous recipes and it gives me a a lot of ideas what to do with them. Here is one idea of cooking with couscous which i saw in the local magazine, myNourishment this month. Simple and not heavy, you can adjust the amount of ingredient to your liking but i just list down a rough amount of what i put in. There's a little bit of herbs and cheese which are added to the fish which myself find it really tasty. The pumpkin here is also not a bad idea because the couscous by itself is actually quite bland unless you want to add some butter or lemon juice to it. You can use any fish fillet in replacement of the snapper that i used here and cook until the fish is done. After that just add on to the roasted pumpkin, onions and tomatoes.


Ingredients: ( serves one)
1 small portion of pumpkin, chopped into cubes
1 red onion ( sliced ito thin rings)
3-4 cherry tomatoes or vine riped tomatoes
some baby spinach
1 small snapper fillet
some dried oregano
some fresh thymes
salt and pepper
1/ 2 cup of breadcrumbs
parmesan cheese powder
olive oil
3/4 cup couscous ( cook the couscous as per packet instructions)

Method:
1. Boil the baby spinach leaves and leave aside.
2. Boil the chopped pumpkin until just tender. Place in an ovenproof dish or pan with the sliced onion, tomatoes, season and drizzle with a little olive oil and bake at 175C until tomato skins split. Remove form oven.
3.Season the fish fillet with salt and pepper. Pour the breadcrumbs into a mixing bowl , add in the dried oregano, fresh tymes and parmesan , then mix together.
4.Drizzle a little olive oil onto fish and place in the breadcrumb mix, coating well on all sides. Place the fish on a tray lined with baking paper or foil and bake for 10-15minutes( depending on the thickness of your fish)
5. Serve with the the roasted pumpkin, onions, tomatoes and baby spinach.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

5 recipes to celebrate Easter



Received an invitation from Elin from Elinluv's Titbits Corner this morning to join in an Easter Party. I dont  celebrate easter but i would be delighted to join in the party. There are rules of the game..suggest 5-10 recipes and upload the photos with their respective links and later tag another 10 friends to do the same. These are what i'm going to bring:


Italian Prawn Skewers




Mushrooms Wholemeal Pizza












From here, i would like to extend my invitation to my following friends. Sorry, i know it's kinda rush , try to join if you can. If you cant, no worries, we 'll party some other time! Hugs to everyone!

1. Kristy from My Little Space
2. Daphne from More than Words
3.Tze from Away of Mind
4.CG from Cooking Gallery
5.Koh from Yummy Bakes
6. Joyce from Kitchen Flavours
7.Pete from Pete Formation
8.Alice from iloveicookibake
9.Jay from Tasty Appetite
10. Juliana from Simple Recipes

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pumpkin Chiffon Cake


I'm a chiffon cake lover. There are huge varieties of  flavours that we can think of for baking a chiffon cake. From fruits to vegetables to nuts and there's even onion flavour and one with dried shrimps too that i saw in kevin chai's chiffon book. For more ideas on chiffon cakes, you can also have a look at the Chiffon Cakes Round up for the Aspiring Bakers Challenge last Nov. There are over 50 different flavours submitted in by all fellow bloggers! Isnt that amazing?! I've bookmarked a few from there and also this one no exception, a pumpkin chiffon , which i saw in Christine's Recipes blog. Christine is not only a good baker, she's a good cook as well, all delicious looking chinese and asian dishes in there.
My chiffon is relatively shorter compared to christine's as i was using a wider inch pan, 9". Instead of pumpkin seeds, i put in some diced pumpkin into the chiffon. During the folding process, i think i've deflated the egg whites a bit therefore it was not as light as it should be. The beaten egg whites came out stiff but i think it would be a little more stiff if i have added a little cream of tartar into the egg whites. Overall, it was a nice and soft chiffon, gone within a day!





Recipe ( adapted from Christine's Recipes, makes two 17cm round )
100gm pumpkin( peeled, steamed and mashed)
40gm pumpkin (peeled, steamed and diced )
35gm milk
35gm vegetable oil
8gm cointreau
100gm cake flour
100gm egg yolks
200gm egg whites
100gm caster sugar
70gm pepitas ( i omitted )



Preparation:
1. Steam the 100gm of pumpkin over high heat until cooked through. Press with a spoon or food processor into paste when it's still hot. However for the 40gm of pumpkin, you dont need to steam for too long as you do not want to get a really soft chunk of pumpkin.
2.Sift cake flour
3.Mix milk, oil and cointreau in a bowl.
4.If you are using pumpkin seeds/pepitas, bake in a preheated oven at 150C/300F for 4-5 minutes until they expand.

Method:
1.Combine pumpkin puree into milk,oil and cointreau mixture. Mix in cake flour.
2.Add egg yolks in pumpkin mixture. Combine well.
3.Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy and then add in 1/3 of the sugar at a time and beat well between additions. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
4.Spoon out 1/3of the beaten egg whites and mix into the pumpkin batter.
5.Lightly fold in the rest of the beaten egg whites and mix into the pumpkin batter .
6. Add in the diced pumpkins or pepitas ( whichever you are using ) into the batter and mix well. Pour batter into cake pan and level the surface with a spatula.
7. Lightly tap the pan on a table top to getrid of any trapped air bubbles inside the batter.
8. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C/365F for 10minutes or until lightly brown. Decrease the temperature, 150C/300F upper, 170C/335F lower and continue baking for 15-20minutes.( i baked mine middle rack at 180C for 10minutes and 160C for 20minutes)
9.Remove from oven and invert cake immediately and allow to cool completely.
10.Use a long and fine knife to loosen the sides of the cake. Remove from pan.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Black Glutinuous Rice Dessert and Ice Cream Potong



Today i'm combining 2 recipes in one post, just hold on a little longer. Actually the highlight of this post is the ice cream potong! But before we make the ice cream, we have to make this.. the black glutinuous rice dessert or in malay we call it ' bubur pulut hitam'. It is a popular dessert among the chinese, malays and also the nyonya peranakan. It looks very similiar to the red bean soup ( bubur kacang merah) but their texture is entire different. The texture of this black glutinuous rice is smooth, sticky and the soup itself is a bit starchy. I cooked this using a slow cooker as suggested by kitchen flavours, you can also cook it in a pot but probably you will have to monitor the water level and keep stirring to avoid them being burnt at the bottom of the pot. The slow cooker will take around 3 hours to cook this but this is very much easier, i will say and it still produces the same texture compared to using a pot. Please reserve 2.5 cups of this dessert to make the ice cream later on.


Recipe: ( taken from kitchen flavours )
1 cup black glutinuos rice
8 cups boiling water /hot water
2/3 cup sugar ( or less, you prefer)
thick coconut milk from 1 coconut and mix with big pinch of salt
2 pandan leaves ( screwpine leaves, knotted )

Method:
1.Wash the black glutinuous rice until water runs clear
2.Put into a slow cooker and add in the hot water, cover and cook on high for 2 hours.
3.Stir in pandan leaves and add sugar to taste. Cover and continue to cook for another hour.
4.Put a spoonful of coconut milk mixed with salt earlier upon serving.

Now comes to the ICE CREAM POTONG! I was very excited the moment when i saw it in kitchen flavours blog again. This is truly our traditional ice cream here! Potong means 'cut'. Unlike the western types of ice cream where we scoop out from the container to serve, this is being cut out from blocks or tubes of ice cream and poke it with a little stick, hence the name. It comes with very traditional flavours too like red bean, sweet corn, durian and chempedak, another fruit resembling jackfruit. I made the ice cream into tubes form using ice cream plastics bags.You can also make this in a popsicle mould or a container if you like. I got those bags from the eggs and plastic bags ware shop. Now this is how we do it..



cold and creamy..




Additional ingredients here for the ice cream ( makes around 15 sticks)
21/2 cup of the cooked black glutinuous rice dessert.
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups of thick coconut milk

equipments needed :  ice cream plastic bags and a plastic funnel



Method:
1. Add that 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water  to the reserved 2.5cups of black glutinuous rice dessert that has already been sweetened earlier and cook on medium heat till sugar dissolves.
2.Pour in the thick coconut milk and remove from fire once it starts to boil. Cool uncovered or cover partially to room temperature.
3.Use a funnel to pour the ice cream into the ice cream plastic tube bag, about 3/4 full and tie a knot to secure. Freeze overnight in the freezer.

in ice cream bags before cut

I'm submitting this post to Muhibbah Malaysian Monday event hosted by 3 hungry tummies

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tomato, Basil and Cheese Loaf


Fresh tomato and basil bread sounds lovely to me! I havent tried tomatoes in my bread before and that was when i saw it in Kitchen Flavours  blog.  Do hop over to her blog, she has nice surprises there which i'm sure will delight you and if you like curry, especially indian curry, you wouldnt want to miss that! The original recipes comes with the instructions using a breadmaker machine but i did that with a mixer, so there is a slight change in the recipe. If you prefer to do that in a breadmaker machine, you can always refer back to her blog. A little cooking is required here where we have to saute the onions and the tomatoes first  but it's really no hassle. I added some grated cheddar cheese here for extra flavour.But i did have some difficulty handling the dough after mixing in the tomatoes and the cheese, the dough was very wet and i needed to flour my palms from time to time. I couldnt really shape the dough becos of that..i just dumped the whole dough into my bread loaf. Thanks to the hot weather here, the loaf proofed well and filled up the entire pan!



Recipe ( taken from Kitchen Flavours with some changes )
15ml/ 1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, about 200gm/7 oz, peeled, seeded and chopped
500gm/1lb 2 oz/4 1/2 cups unbleached white bread flour
2.5ml/1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper ( i skipped this )
7.5ml/1.5tsp salt
10ml/2 tsp granulated sugar
5ml/1tsp easy blend dried yeast
15ml/1tbsp chopped fresh basil
20ml tomato concentrated juice
40 gm grated cheddar cheese

For the Glaze:
1 egg yolk
15ml/1tbsp water


Method:
1. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the chopped onion and fry over moderate heat for 3-4 minutes, until the onions are light golden in colour.
2.Add the plum tomatoes anc cook for 2-3 minutes, until slightly softened. Drain through a sieve placed over a measuring jug or bowl, pressing the mixture gently with the back of a spoon to extract the juices.
3.Set the tomato and onion mixture aside. Add the cooking juices and the tomato juice and make this up to 280ml/10fl oz/1 1/4 cup with water.Set aside.
4. In a mixer bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar and yeast . Slowly pour in the liquid and beat till dough is smooth. Remove and let it proof till double its size. Lightly oil a 23cmx13cm/9"x5" loaf tin.
5. Knead in the tomatoes, onions, grated cheese and the chopped fresh basil. You  may need to add a little flour if the dough becomes too moist when you have incorporated the vegetable mixture.
6.Flatten the dough and shape it into a 2.5cm/1" thick rectangle. Fold the sides to the middle and press down the edge to seal. Make a hollow along the centre and fold in half again. Gently roll into a loaf about 40cm/16inches long. Shape into a "S" shape and place in the prepared tin. ( i couldnt manage this step, i just put the dough into the loaf tin. )
7.Cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm place to rise for 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6
8. Make the glaze by mixing the egg yolk and water together. Remove the clingwrap and brush the glaze over the bread. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40minutes or until golden.


Here, i would also like to thank Alice from iloveicookibake and Nancy from Bake for a Queen for sharing with me the lovely award ..


and also Jay from Tasty Appetite for this award..





Monday, April 11, 2011

Blueberry Cheese Tarts


These cheese tarts need no introduction, i think many of us have probably baked this before. I was first introduced to these tarts at a local confectionery shop here many many years ago and i thought they were pretty cute and they tasted good too. But ever since i knew how to make these, i hardly buy from them anymore cos i think this is better. There are also quite a number of recipes available from the internet, Tatura has also got one from its product leaflet, 1 got mine from a baking class. You can also bake this in a normal size tart cases but i prefer them in petite size, i think they look more attractive and can just finish that in two bites. 1 or 2 pieces would be enough for me , got to watch my diet nowadays..


Recipe ( makes around 20 small tarts)
Ingredients A for Pastry
250gm plain flour
125gm butter
60gm icing sugar

Ingredients B for pastry
1/2 beaten egg + 1 tbsp water

For bake blind
some cupcake liners and beans

Method:
1.Using a food processor, mix flour, butter and icing sugar together until resembles breadcrumbs. Remove from the machine to a big bowl.
2.Add in the (B) to make into a dough. Rest for 15mins.
3.Using metal tart cases, make a layer of pastry . Put some beans into the cupcake paper cases and put it on top of the pastry and bake blind at moderate heat for 10mins ( bake at a slightly higher temperature than your normal butter cake, i baked mine at 150C )
4.Remove paper and beans and bake for another 10-15mins until the pastry looks dry and golden. Let it cool and remove from tart cases.



Cheese Filling
375gms cream cheese
90gms caster sugar
90mls emborg whipping cream
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
some blueberry pie filling

Method
1. Using slow speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add in whipping cream and egg yolks slowly until well combined.
2. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste. You may want to add in more lemon juice if you want.
3. Using a piping bag, pipe the cheese fillings into the pastry .
4. Using another bag, add in blueberry pie filling into the centre of cheese and make designs using a bamboo stick or cake tester.
5.Bake for 15mins in a low temperature oven. ( i baked mine at 115C)

I'm submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #6 - Say Cheese ( April 2011 ) hosted by Jean from Noms I Must

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Homemade Wholewheat Tortillas


My first experiment with tortillas, one of the staple food of Mexicans.  I think they taste very much like chappati but probably tortillas require more oil to make them whereas chapatti requires very little oil or none at all. Taken from the book ' 500 pizzas and flatbreads', the following recipe comes with a few variations. You can replace the wholewheat flour with bread flour for plain tortillas; you can add 1/2 tsp of italian seasoning to the mixture for a herb tortillas; for a sun-dried tomato tortillas, just add 1tbsp of sundried tomato pesto to the flour mixture.  I did add some bread flour to my wholewheat tortillas , not intentionally but it's just all that i have. This  recipe will make 8 pieces of 8inch tortillas, i couldnt make it to 8" , mine was around 6 inches...that's the thinnest that i could make. Quick to make, it will take less than an hour to come up with these soft tortillas.



Basic recipe
250gm ( 9 oz) bread flour, preferably unbleached
( i replaced that with 220gm wholewheat flour and 30gm bread flour for a wholewheat tortilla)
5ml ( 1/2tsp salt)
45ml ( 3tbsp ) corn oil
120ml ( 4 fl oz ) warm water

Method:
1. In a large bowl of standing mixer, combine flour and salt. Slowly stir in oil. When oil is well incorporated, add warm water. Mix on slow speed  until flour is moistened and dough sticks together. ( add up to 60ml or 4tbsp more water as neccesary to get dough to hold). Change to dough hook and knead for 1-2 minutes.
2. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape pieces into 8cm( 3" ) discs, place on baking sheet and cover with cling film. Set aside for 30minutes.
3. Using a tortilla press or rolling pin, roll out rounds to form 20cm( 8") tortillas. Preheat large cast iron or nonstick frying pan over medium heat ( do not put in oil)
4.Place first tortilla inhot frying pan and cook for less than 1 minute per side, or until brown spots appear. Repeat with remaining dough. Stack cooled tortillas and keep warm in tortilla basket or wrapped in clean paper towel. ( pls keep an eye while cooking, i have 2 burnt tortillas which turned out real hard )



Monday, April 4, 2011

Elvis Presley Pound Cake


well, i'm not a great fan of elvis presley but what prompted me to make this cake is because i saw quite a number of reviews on this cake, mostly good. True, it's one of the best pound cakes i've ever tasted, simply awesome. Beautiful textured, moist and velvety soft and i think this is the opposite of the usual dense like butter or pound cake that we usually have. Nice and fine crumbs that almost melt in your mouth.  Not too long ago, i also saw Wendy making this cake, it looks so good that i know that i have to make this very soon. I used really cold butter, chopped them into few pieces thinking that the mixing process actually would take some time. The method is slightly different from the usual butter or pound cake where after mixing in the flour and the cream, we still got to beat the batter for additional 5 more minutes. You would be surprised that despite beating this for additional few more minutes, the cake didnt turn hard. But there's one thing which i dont understand is why do we have to bake in a cold oven? Yeah, we do not need to preheat the oven..wonder why..





Ingredients: ( from Table for 2 or more, sourced from Epicurious, slight adjustments )
225gm unsalted butter, cold
350gm cake flour ( i used super soft cake flour)
350gm sugar ( i used 400gm)
3/4 tsp salt
7 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
250ml whipping cream

I baked this in a 10inch bundt pan

Method:
1.Put oven rack in middle position, do not preheat oven.
2.Generously butter pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess flour
3. Sift together sifted flour and salt into a bowl. Repeat sifting into another bowl ( flour will have been sifted 3 times total)
4.Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl wth an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or 6-8 minutes with a handheld mixer.
5. Add egg one at a time, betaing well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour, then all of cream, then remaining flour, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl, then beat at medium high speed for 5 minutes. Batter will become creamier and satiny.
6.Spoon batter into pan and rap pan against work surface once or twice to eliminate air bubbles. Place pan in cold oven and turn oven temperature 350F/175C ( i used 160C for 40mins and 150C for 20 mins). Bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in middle of the cake comes out few crumbs adhering, 1 to 1 1/4 hrs.
7.Cool cake in pan on rack for 30mins. Run a thin knife aound inner and outer edges of cake, then invert rack over pan and invert cake onto rack to cool completely.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Chinese White Sugar Cake ( Pak Tong Koh 白糖糕 )


 This cake or 'kueh' gives me kind of some nolstalgic feeling. It's like going back to old times..imagining myself wearing a cheongsam , hair tied up in a bun, sitting on those old antique wooden chairs that are yet elegant in style, marble tables, probably hearing some sounds of ringing bells from the trishaw nearby and enjoying the cake. Ha! Probably i watched too many old chinese dramas when i was young and yeah, i hear about this cake a lot in those dramas. This is just one very old traditional kueh. I've made this kueh several times, each time a different recipe..some turned out to be quite tough, some smell yeasty, some with very little honeycomb effect..etc. The one that i'm showing now is okay but still not too satisfactory . The sweetness is alright, the texture is fine..it's not tough ,it's smooth and springy but i just wish there could be more honeycomb effect...or maybe it's my mixing skills..I still think that the ones that i usually get from outside looks much prettier. So this is not the ultimate recipe yet..


Recipe taken from Homemade Dishes by Patsie Cheong)
Ingredients A
230gm rice flour
150ml water

Ingredients B
180gm castor sugar
380ml water

Ingredients C
1/2 tsp yeast
2 tbsps water

Ingredients D
1/8 tsp oil
1 drop of alkaline water

Method:
1. Bring(B) to boil and pour it into (A) mixture. When cool, add in (C). Allow 2 hours for fermentation.
2. When tiny bubbles form all over the surface, add in (D) and blend evenly. Pour batter into a steaming tray about 1 inch thick and steam for 25minutes. ( i used 6"x6" square tin )


You can also hop over to My Kitchen Snippet and Table for 2 or more for more on this white sugar cake. The honeycomb effect on their cakes are beautiful , using different recipes.