Monday, April 30, 2012

A Steamed Chocolate Layered Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Filling

I thought this might be interesting to some of you who may like doing a steamed layered cake instead of a baked one. Of course then, if you just look at the pictures, i dont think you can tell that this is a steamed sponge cake. I was browsing through one of alex goh's books, " Magic Steamed Cake" and saw a few pictures of this kind, layered cake and kind of celebration cakes and thought, ' yeah, why not?' isnt a bad idea to make an iced cake from a steamed cake . I used his vanilla sponge cake recipe to make a chocolate sponge cake instead and just made a simple orange cream cheese filling and iced the cake with whipping cream. The sponge cake is nice, it isnt dry but i personally find that a baked one would be more spongy but after storing it in the fridge, i find that it doesnt really matter so much to me when there's a layer of  fillings in it. Dont know why my whipped cream frosting cracked a little on the cake, never had this problem before..

Recipe ( from Magic Steamed Cake by Alex Goh )
Chocolate Sponge cake ( makes one 8 inch cake )
3 eggs
120gm sugar
30gm melted butter
2 tbsps cocoa powder
120gm cake flour
1tsp double action baking powder

1.Combine cocoa powder, cake flour and double action baking powder in a bowl and sift.
2. Whip eggs and sugar until fluffy, add in the melted butter, mix until well blended and finally fold in
the flour mixture using a plastic spatula until well combined.
3.Pour it into a greased and lined 20cm round cake tin and steam for 30 minutes. Let the cake cool down completely and cut into 2 layers.

Orange cream cheese filling
200gm cream cheese, at room temperature
30gm sugar
rind from 1 orange
1 tsp of cointreau ( optional )
1.5 tbsp of gelatine powder
70ml orange juice
140ml whipping cream

1. In a small pot, sprinkle gelatine powder over orange juice and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir and melt over simmering water ( double boil ) till gelatine fully dissolves. Remove from heat.
2. Cream the cream cheese with sugar till smooth and mix in the orange rind and cointreau.
3. When the gelatine mixture has slightly cooled down, pour the gelatine mixture into the cream cheese mixture and mix until well blended.
3. Beat the whipping cream till medium stiff peak and fold over the cream cheese gelatine mixture. Spread the filling onto a piece of sponge cake and cover it with another sponge cake. Freeze the cake till the filling set, about 45 minutes to an hour. Ice the cake with whipped cream.

I am submitting this post to the Aspiring Bakers #18 : Layers of Love ( April 2012 ) hosted by Sam of Sweet Samsations.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Indian Style Fish Curry

I love eating banana leaf rice. When i was staying in KL, i remember there was a period of several months that i never missed having banana leaf rice every week. The curry was so good, their marinated fried fish, curry crabs, their indian style chilli chicken and along with their side condiments like deep fried bittergourd, mango chutney and papadum..whooh..i was eating like a hungry wolf! But that was dangerous cos i was putting on weight constantly! Now back home in Ipoh, i'm happy to find my favourite banana leaf stall but i dared not go there so often thinking of the amount of rice that i will eat. Few weeks back, i went to that stall again and the lady boss asked me how come that i've never been there for so long. " Cannot" i told her..."come here means must eat a lot! Dangerous to my waistline! " She giving me a big grin said " who asked you to eat so much?" haha! How not to eat so much when they have all those mouthwatering and appetising food?

When doing my blog visiting one day, i was excited to see a Indian style Fish curry recipe posted on The Sudden Cook blog. I know that i will cook that one day when i have all my ingredients ready. So here it is. I'm happy with the taste, the indian curry taste.. and when i was looking for fenugreek in the market, i was told  that this is one of the main spice that a lot of indians use for cooking fish curry, the indians call it venthayam. I only did some very little changes to the original recipe for its sourish and creamy taste.

Recipe ( from The Sudden Cook )
2 pieces mackerel cutlets ( ikan tenggiri )
1/2 tsp mustard seeds ( biji sawi )
1/2 tsp fenugreek ( biji halba? not too sure..)
100gm peeled and sliced shallots
small piece of ginger, sliced ( about thumbsize)
2-3 sprigs of curry leaves
2 tbsps coriander powder ( serbuk ketumbar )
1tsp turmeric powder ( serbuk kunyit )
1tsp cumin powder ( serbuk jintan putih )
1.5 tbsp chilli powder
2 tbsp of tamarind paste mixed with 375ml water ( i did not used all ,left with 100ml of this mixture )
5-6 tbsps of coconut milk
a bunch of ladies finger
2 green chillies
1 tsp of salt, more or less and pinch of sugar
2 tbsps of oil

1. In the wok, heat the oil and fry the mustard seeds and the fenugreek till aromatic. Put in the sliced onions, ginger, curry leaves and saute for till onion turns light brown, several minutes.
2.Add the coriander powder, turmeric powder cumin powder, chilli powder and the tamarind mixture and let it  boil for several minutes, stirring well. Add in the coconut milk and put in the fish cutlets, ladies fingers, green chillies and cook for further 5 minutes. Taste , you may want to put in more or less salt, sugar and tamarind mixture. When the fish is cooked and the ladies fingers are slightly soft, can remove from heat.

Sharing this with the Muhibbah Malaysian Monday event hosted by Shaz from Test with a Skewer

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Apricot Pistachio Lemon Coffee Cake

Moving on with our second bake at The Home Baker's ( THB), we are baking this Apricot-Pistachio-Lemon coffee cake from the book , Coffee Cakes by Lou Seibert Pappas. I'm glad that this cake turned out much better than our first bake, the cheese swirled chocolate cake. It is moist and also it's nice to be eaten warm or cold and i didnt find the cake dry out even after 2 days in the fridge, just a little hard. I also think that it's nice to use other nuts besides pistachio , just that it's a little prettier seeing the specks of the green pistachio and the pieces of chopped apricots in the cake. However, i had a slight problem with this cake that is slicing the cake..the apricots are just falling off from the cake and some of it sticked onto my knife.  The ones that you see here are slightly better ones among them.

I made half of the recipe in a 7 inch round cake pan, for full recipe please refer to Chris from Yummy Bakes blog and to see the rest of the members who had done this, visit here

this is what i mean, these are the better ones but still not nicely sliced..

less apricot and no pisctahios in this slice, hence better shape!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Avocado and Bacon Quesadilla

To continue with my quest for some breakfast ideas, i'm making something out of tortilla again. It's not wraps this time but what i know that they are known as quesadilla, originated from Mexico. It is basically a tortilla filled with some savoury fillings, grill, fold them into half and cut into pieces or you can also top it up with another piece of tortilla,just like how we make sandwiches but instead of using bread to sandwich the fillings , we use tortillas to sandwich them and get it toasted.  What i made here is a simple quesadilla..naah....none of the ingredients here comes from mexico but i wished i had them...these are just stuffs that you can easily get from your place...avocado, tomatoes, bacon and some cheddar cheese. For those of you that cannot take bacon, you can always use some grilled chicken to replace that.

the fillings...followed by some shredded cheese on top again which is not shown here. It's preferably we do all these directly on the stove so that you dont have to transfer the tortilla here and there. This one here is exceptional cos i need to take photo..))

then of course if you have a big mouth, you can also stack them up like this and eat  :D

Recipe ( inspiration comes from here )
makes 8 wedges
4 flour tortillas
4 slices of bacon, pan fried till crispy
1 tomato, cut into slices
1 avocado, cut into thin slices
100gm of shredded cheddar cheese

1. Place a piece of tortilla in a flat or frying pan. Top it up with some shredded cheese, avocado and tomato slices, 2 slices of bacon followed by some shredded cheese again. Heat up on low fire and till cheese has melted. Top it up with another piece of tortilla and flip everything over. When the cheese has melted, remove from pan and cut into 4 wedges. Do the same for the remaining piece.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Salad with Purple Potatoes and Fried Silver Fish

Not too long ago, my friend took me to a japanese restaurant here in ipoh, "Mokuren". She, being there a couple of times suggested me to try one of their salads. "They got tofu in it" she told me. She likes tofu a lot and at the same time, we also ordered agedashi tofu. When the salad arrived, i saw there were some salad leaves, some cherry tomatoes, some tofu and what suprised me was that there were also fried little fishes on it, not just a small amount but quite a lot . Looking back at the menu, it says those are baby sardines. It looks and tastes much alike to our silverfish here (银鱼仔) where chinese are fond of putting them in fried rice. The salad was nice, with their salad dressing together with those baby sardines which give a salty touch as well, it was very nice to eat.

the silver fish

So i'm going to be a copycat, i want to make this at home. I managed to grab some purple potatoes from Tesco ( thanks wendy!) and thought of adding that to the salad without the tofu. Boil them with skin on for a couple of minutes till they are cooked and a little soft, peel away the skin and cut them into cubes.  I have very little idea how to go about making the dressing but i have a bottle of japanese salad dressing in my house. Earlier, i saw Elin posted this japanese dressing in her blog here so i went and bought a bottle too! I just added some apple cider vinegar to it and there goes my dressing.

purple potatoes
Japanese salad dressing

Now do i hear protests? " What?! A salad is a salad, supposed to be healthy, why are you putting those fried little monsters into it??" Hmm.mmmm..mmm..i got no answer for that but nice!

There is no proper recipe here, what i have are some round lettuce and frisee leaves, some purple potatoes, some halved almonds and a big handful of silver fish. Boil the potatoes and fry the little silver fish. Put them all except the silverfish into a big bowl, add in the dressing , give it a toss, transfer them into the serving bowls or plates and top it with the fried little silverfish.

Salad Dressing ( adjust to your liking )
3 tbsp of Japanese salad dressing
1 tsp apple cider viegar

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tiramisu Cake - For Amelia

This is an overdue bake and an overdue post. Three months ago, I received a package from Amelia of Amelia's De-ssert, she sent me a box of goodies and in there were some sponge fingers, a tiramisu pre mix, some vanilla beans, fruit cakes and 3 containers of cookies just in time for Chinese NewYear. Now you know why i said overdue. Easter is over, QingMing Festival is over and I'm still writing the word ' Chinese New Year '. I'm sure some of you already know who Amelia is , not only she's good in baking, she also draws, crochets and i dont know what other hidden talents she has..maybe she knows how to do a 2 1/2 somersault dive, high kicks in martial arts or a pianist?? take a look at some of Amelia's works..

chicken pom pom - made from wool

cross stitch

fondant mahjong, impressed?
goodies from Amelia

tiramisu mix
I made this tiramisu cake few weeks ago from the tiramisu mix that Amelia gave me. She is so kind to write me an email , gave me the recipe and the steps of doing it. Even though this comes from a premix, i can tell you that it is no less delicious than doing it from scratch. I will be putting down the recipe anyway, though i know it's not really applicable to all of you here but just in case amelia sends me another packet, i have something to refer to ;))

Amelia, i enjoyed eating the tiramisu very much and thanks for your generosity! This is from me to you.

Recipe ( courtesy from Amelia )

250 gm cream cheese tiramisu powder
220gm whipping cream
120mls water
30 mls baileys Irish cream
10 mls mocha coffee

1. Mix tiramisu powder with water, mocha, baileys and mix well. Baileys can be replaced with  3 in 1 coffee.
2. Beat whipping cream until slightly thicken, add in the tiramisu mixture and beat
until smooth in high speed,about 5 mins.
3. Dip the sponge finger lightly in the coffee syrup. Then arrange in the cake pan or cake board,sieve some cocoa powder on top
4. Spread half the tiramisu mixture evenly on top the sponge finger.
5. Dip the sponge finger in coffee syrup, sieve 1 tsp cocoa powder, spread the remaining tiramisu mix. Cover with cling wrap and chill in fridge for 8 hours.
6. Remove cling wrap and sieve cocoa powder all over. Cut and serve immediately. This dessert can last 4 to 5 days in the fridge no problem.

Coffee Syrup
50 mls water
50 mls milk
30 mls baileys ( Irish cream )
15 mls mocha coffee

1. Mix the water, milk, baileys and coffee together.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bake Along #22- Creme Brulee

Another challenging bake for me, I actually feel a little intimidated making a creme brulee. Firstly, i am afraid that my custard wont set. Secondly, although i had once tasted a creme brulee but at that time, i was still unsure what was actually creme brulee and all i knew was that it tasted good when i had that and i cannot remember anything about that sugar crust. How is that sugar crust supposed to be? Crunchy hard or not that hard?

So here i just want to make a plain creme brulee, flavoured with vanilla. In my mind, i was thinking even if it fails, i dont have so much ingredients to waste. I was just reading some of the recipes of creme brulee in the internet and came upon this interesting post here by Hunger Hunger. She made and tested out some creme brulee recipes by some famous chefs and what interests me is that she made a comparison and sort of analysis of the number of egg yolks and the amount of cream used thus giving her the ratio of cream per yolk. Even though i did not try out any of those recipes, it gives me a better understanding and the possible outcome of the texture if it was of a certain ratio. Do jump over to Hunger Hunger  if you want to read more on this.

For example if number of egg yolks used is 8, cream amount is 625ml, the cream per yolk 625/8 = 78ml ( ratio 1:80 )

I learned from her tested recipes that this above ratio gave her the best creme brulee and the one ratio that is above 100ml cream per yolk could result in a runnier texture. Some of you might think why take the trouble to calculate all these. Well, it's just a matter of learning and i want to be safe. I want something that can set well and at the same time, not too thick. Apart from that, I also just wanted to make a small recipe so it helps me here to work out a smaller recipe. 400ml of cream and 5 egg yolks, ratio is 1:80ml, so this shall be it. But if some recipes use additional milk or whole eggs, then it's a different story.

i did not get a nice caramelised surface, as you can see, the left side of the surface above didnt get melted thru but they are still crunchy in piece. Same goes for the rest of the ramekins.I also think that i probably sprinkled too much sugar over the surface.

Recipe ( makes 4 ramekins)
5 egg yolks ( 115gms)
400ml dairy cream
2.5 tbsp caster sugar
1 vanilla bean
some extra sugar for sprinkling
boiling water ( for water bath)

1.Pour the dairy cream into a saucepan, scrape the seeds out from the vanilla bean, put that into the cream and cook on medium-high heat till it almost reaches boiling point. Turn to low heat and let it simmer.
2. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together till smooth. When this is ready, turn on the heat again and cook the cream till it reaches boling point, quickly remove from heat and stir quickly into the egg mixture. Keep stirring quickly till all the cream has been poured in. Using a siever, pour the cream into the ramekins.
3.Place the ramekins into a tray and fill the tray with boiling water, halfway up the sides of the ramekin.
4.Cook the custard in waterbath in the preheated oven at 150C for about 40-45 minutes.
5.Remove and allow to cool down, then leave it in fridge overnight.
6.To broil, sprinkle about 1 tbsp of sugar into each ramekin and broil on the upper rack for 5 minutes or so to caramelise the sugar.

Let's hop over to see my baking partners,Joyce and Zoe who did theirs and also the rest who have joined us.

get the InLinkz code

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Egg Whites and Cream Bread Loaf

If you are a regular visitor to Honey Bee Sweets blog, you will know that Bee Bee loves making breads. Not only she has a wide number of bread recipes in her blog, there are also various methods used in her bread making. This is one of them, using some diary cream and some egg whites besides the normal bread ingredients. Oh, dont get me wrong, Bee Bee doesnt only make bread, she is good at handling almost everything! If you have not been to her blog, drop by! Back to the bread talk, there's no butter for this loaf of bread but i would like to call it an enriched bread due to the cream. It gives a rich flavour to the bread..kind of milky and creamy taste and i also believe that the cream together with the egg whites provides a good texture to the bread..The texture of the bread is soft and tender, just like what most asians like. See the texture for yourself. Perhaps the next time you have some whipping cream that you need to finish it off, why not try making this?

i was admiring the texture so i cant help myself to take one closeup

Recipe: ( from Honey Bee Sweets, original source from here )
I made this in a 9"X5"x3" loaf pan, makes one loaf
Ingredients A
300gm bread flour
22gm egg whites
7gm instant yeast
90 gm fresh milk ( i used 100gm )
120ml diary cream

Ingredients B
all of the above pre dough/starter
20gm egg white
36gm caster sugar
3.6gm salt ( i used 1 tsp)
1/4 tsp instant yeast

1.Combine everything in set A and knead till everything is well combined and dough is slightly smooth. Not required to knead till elastic stage. Cover and let it proof for 2.5 hrs.
2.Punch out the air froe the prefermented dough and combine with the rest of the ingredients in Set B. Knead till window pane stage. ( i took 25 minutes to reach window pane stage with 2 minutes break in 1 time)
3.Cover and let rest for 30 minutes ( i rested mine for about 50 minutes ). Lightly knead the roll again and shape into one loaf and put it in a greased and floured loaf pan. Let it proof in the baking tin till almost 90% full.( i was busy meddling with some other things and my loaf had risen up reaching the rim of  the loaf tin)
4.Bake in a preheated oven at 175C fan forced for 30 minutes. ( I baked mine at 200C without fan function for 30 minutes). Once done, remove from baking tin and let it cool in the rack.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cheese Swirled Chocolate Bundt Cake

I'm glad to be part of The Home Bakers, a new baking event organised by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours. Together with the rest of the members of the group, we are baking recipes taken from Coffee Cakes by Lou Seibert Pappas, not just few recipes but the group is looking at baking every single recipes from the book! Sounds challenging, sounds ambitious or you think this is crazy and unachievable? well, we'll try..i'll try..i'll try to follow the group to bake as close as possible.  If you are interested to join the group, please visit its homepage here.

the book

The first recipe chosen from this book is this cheese swirled chocolate bundt cake. Cream cheese with chocolate fillings on the inside covered with chocolate cake on the outside. The name itself is good enough to tempt me and the picture of the cake in the book looks very pretty. Despite the cheese filling is delicious, the chocolate cake itself was a little let down, the taste of the chocolate cake isnt there right for me, i used unsweetened cocoa powder as what states in the recipe, the rest of the ingredients seem pretty normal to me and it uses canola oil instead of butter. I just wished that the cake tasted more chocolate like and a little more moist. I would have to read the rest who made the cake and how they find it. You can also take a look at how the rest who did it here. Cheers!

For full recipe, please refer to Joyce's blog here. I made half of the recipe in a 10inch bundt tin, which came out reasonably quite a big piece for half the recipe.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Herbed Rice ( Nasi Ulam)

This is my second time cooking nasi ulam ( herbed rice). The first time i did this was several months back, i didnt blog about that becos i think my nasi ulam that time didnt come with a lot of ulam (vegetables/herbs) Just like the westerners have their western herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano..etc ..over her in malaysia we also have our locally grown herbs like ulam raja, kemangi, daun pegaga and lots more. Nasi ulam is a malay rice dish..quite an authentic malay cuisine. It is cooked rice mixed with shredded herbs and toasted coconut , can be spicy or non spicy and as i looked thru some of the cooking books i own, I see that it also comes with vegetarian or non vegetarian version. A non vegetarian version would include some shredded fried fish or salted fish. I see a lot of nasi ulam pictures in the internet and all are heavily loaded with ulam, therefore this time i added more of the vegetables so that it looks more like the real thing. Well, putting more of the herbs also means that the flavour of the herbs is more heavy in the dish.

Initially what i wanted to put in were turmeric leaves, mint leaves, basil leaves, laksa leaves cos these are the leaves that i'm more familiar with but on that day, when i was searching for turmeric leaves at the stall, the malay lady asked me,' what am i looking for.?' Daun kunyit ( turmeric leaves) i told her and that i wanted to make nasi ulam. She then said, " nasi ulam, angkatlah ini, ini, ini..ini ( in english means take this, this, this, this ) as she pointed and grabbed those leaves for me. As she handed those leaves to me, i took a smell of the leaves because some of it i never heard of , one or two smell quite plain to me though, some are pleasant and some are really fragrant.  I can tell you that when all these leaves come together, it really gives a very nice aroma to the dish. I was also told that some traditional nasi ulam can used up to 50-60 different types of herbs and leaves. I cant promise that if you make it ,you will love it but if you intend to make nasi ulam one day, just go to the market , see the variety of leaves and ulam and if you are unfamiliar with those ulam like me, can always ask the seller to recommend, you can always select those that you think you like them in your dish , i'm sure that they will be very kind enough to help.

Here are the ingredients that  i used for my nasi ulam
the stalks or sprigs of each herbs are quite thin, that i never counted some of it . It's not necessary to follow, just a few sprigs of each. 
enough for 3-4 persons
4 bowls of cooked rice
daun selom, 10 sprigs, cut into shreds
daun ulam raja, 14 sprigs, cut into shreds
daun pegaga 25gms, cut into shreds
daun kemangi (lemon basil)40gms, cut into shreds
daun selasih ( thai basil leaves) 8 sprigs, cut into shreds
daun cabang tiga 8 sprigs, cut into shreds
daun gajus (cashew leaves)8 sprigs, cut into shreds
kacang botol (four angled beans) 4 pieces, sliced
small onions 30gms, sliced
lemongrass 2 stalks ( mainly white and a little green part, sliced)
bunga kanthan ( torch gingerbud ) 2
2 1/2 tbsp kerisik or more or less( pounded toasted coconut) - i got mine from the wet market
fried salted fish 30gm, shredded or cut into small pieces (optional)
salt to taste

1. Once rice cooled down, put in the pounded toasted coconut, stir till well mixed with rice, add in all the shredded herbs and leaves and the rest of the ingredients followed by pinches of salt to taste.

Thought this dish looks quite green to me so off this goes to the Saint-Patrick Challenge organised by Very Good Recipes