baking fiends unite!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Teacher's Day Cuppies

Teacher's day is round the corner again. This year, the day actually falls on a Sunday, so schools will be celebrating it today. Furthermore, for primary/secondary schools, tommorow marks the start of the 1-week Sept school holidays.

I decided to prepare cuppies for this year. DD requested for it when she saw a cupcake recipe book that Elyn lent me. She was so "inspired" by it that she even told me what were the favourites colours of her teachers. I kinda agreed to make fondant flowers according to that fav colour list... but in the end, I only used pink fondant for the flowers. :P

As one of her teachers is a vegetarian, I decided to use a cake recipe that is eggless and contains vegetable oil instead of butter. However, I had an oversight. I added butter into the chocolate while making the ganache! ARGH....*smacks head* So I told DD to alert her teacher abt it. Hopefully she remembers to highlight that when she passes her the cuppies.

I had intended to use white chocolate ganche for the cuppies but i had so much problem trying to get it to melt and then it even seized! Thankfully I still had a bar of dark chocolate in my pantry that I can use in an emergency.... but if only it was white chocolate... the cuppies will look much prettier and sweeter! *grumbles*All packed and ready to go! :P
Hope the teachers will love these.... to all teachers out there.....


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Limpa Bread

J was so kind to share this recipe with me she learnt at a breadmaking class.(sorrie folks, I won't be able to share this recipe...) Initially when I got the recipe, I was apprehensive as it's main ingredient was rye flour. It was a flour that I had never touched in my years of baking. Furthermore, it looked really rustic and that to me meant dense and hard bread, although flavoursome, was not a texture that is preferred/accepted by the family. But after taking a bite, I casted all the "what ifs" aside.... I was SOLD.
This bread is swedish in origin. And the many different herbs added to it created a really nice flavour. Furthermore, it used the sponge and dough method. However, I was cautioned that it'll be a very sticky dough... but I still went ahead and tried after getting a pack of rye flour. (now that I've to figure out what to do with the remaining rye flour! LOL) True enough, the dough was really sticky and it took me a while to be able to be able to shape it decently.

After baking, I really felt a sense of accomplishment. The appearance of the bread is really fantastic... but I got all kinds of questions like "why did u put icing sugar on the bread?" "What's that white flour that's coating the bread?" " Eeeeee.... it looked really hard and dense... are u sure it's nice?"... I had to ask everyone who had any doubts to touch the loaf... it's soft! Not as hard as it looked like.
So I cut the loaf and then toasted it lightly before spreading butter, jams and marmalade on it... HEAVENLY.... and I got the thumbs up from the kids too!


Monday, August 25, 2008


Tried out pizza making y'day. Wanted to have a super thin and crispy base, so what I did was used a usual bread recipe and rolled it out REALLLLLLLY thin after the 1st poof. Then, proof it for only 10mins and in the oven it went. Worked well!

I used a tomato paste base, added mozarella cheese, mushroom and sausages and finally topped with more cheese. Did not use pineapples as I'm not a fan. :P


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Kuih Lapis 九层糕

Every once a while, I'll have cravings for some nonya kuihs. And kuih lapis has been a favourite of mine since i was a child. There's something abt this kuih that makes kids love it... maybe it's the many layers, the colours or the method of eating it? I know many ppl love peeling it off layer by layer and and then slowly chewing and enjoying the soft and "q" layers. So, how do you eat your kuih? *wink*

This is a very good recipe and it yielded a kuih that's compareable to Bengawan Solo's. Yes, it's that good.

However, I learnt a few things along the way... I looked thru' the comments section for this recipe and still did not know if the tin needed any greasing. I went ahead without greasing as it contains quite a huge amt of coconut milk. I meticiously weighed the batter and divided it to 3 portions and then subdivide into another 3 equal portions... and arrived at 9 layers after completion. When the kuih was done, I was really impatient to try and started cutting it up while warm. To my horror, the kuih stuck to the tin! So in the end, the portion that I tried to remove was very badly disfurgured! LOL... So I left the remaning 2/3 in the tin and by the next morning, it was easily removed. One final note to myself... DO NOT put the kuih in the fridge! I was planning to bring some to share with Elyn and colleagues but the kuih in the fridge turned really hard. Even after I "thawed" it to room temp, the texture changed. It's not as soft and chewy anymore. *sob*... sorry guys... no kuihs for you today.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Lou Por Paeng (winter melon puffs)

I love eating lou por paeng, esp those from HK. While it had crossed my mind to try making some myself, I've not come across a recipe that was tried and tested and GOOD. so imagine my happiness when i saw SD posted a recipe in his blog! I gathered my confidence and that little experience in handling chinese pastries and went ahead to make these.

The results were really good, esp when it was piping hot out from the oven. I couldn't resist and took a bite.. and then the kids also tried and love it... and most surprisingly, DH also gave it the thumbs up! He never liked lou por paeng for some unfathomable reasons. LOL.
Thanks SD for the recipe.... only regret is that we dun have lard to make the dough with, or else it'll be perfect!

I only made one change in the recipe, that is, i used ground black sesame instead of the normal ones... for a simple reason that I have a pack of ground black sesame in the fridge!

The recipe can be found here.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Friends and Birthdays

Baked some choc cuppies for 2 friends who's b'days is/was these few days. "Was" 'coz I remembered one of the dates wrongly!

I'm not someone who warms up easily to strangers and have very few close friends. As one aged, in my case, seems like my circle of friends got smaller. I'm more careful in choosing who I want to be associated with, as with experience, I kinda know how to filter ppl I meet everyday to a few categories, ie, people I'll avoid at all cost, people I take at face value (the "hi and "bye" kind) and the most impt gp... individuals which I click with and consider them friends. Of course, all friendships need time to develop too. Some of you may not agree with me, but being in my 30's and having 2 young kids hanging ard me after my work hours in the office (it's work hours after i leave the office everyday.... as a mom. :P), it leaves me very little time to have much interaction with other people. That's why I value the (few) friends around me.
I came to know E only 2 years ago, thru' my love for baking. Needless to say, she quickly became a very good baking khaki. By pure co-incidence, we later discovered that we were colleagues! But 6 mths ago, I left that company. Still E and I kept in close contact, going on shopping trips, experimenting and exploring baking recipes together and exchanging tips and pointers. I truly enjoyed her company and enjoy this friendship very much.

As for the other friend, B. I got to know her thru another friend. Came to know abt her problems getting along with another gp of friends. I'm taking this opportunity to extend my friendship to her. I'm not good at consoling others but I'm glad to provide a listening ear anytime.

It was pretty late when I did these cuppies last nite. I used nutella as the frosting on the tops and it's simply decorated. My brains were pretty fried by the end of the day, so this was the best I can manage. I hope the gals will like what I did...

Happy Birthday E and B!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Banana Chiffon Cake

Saw a bunch of bananas hanging in my mom's kitchen. So before I left her place, I went to pluck one off and made a chiffon cake with it. However, after looking thru' the recipe and some calculations, I realsied that the banana was not enough! Still I went ahead with it.... (but that's after scambling to the fridge, loooking for some choc chips, hoping to make up the difference with it! but I found NONE!!!! no chocolate chips in my kitchen!!!!! LOL)

The banana's not ripe enough, so the cake was not very fragrant. I underbaked the cake a little, 'coz I saw that the top was getting a little too brown for my liking. But it meant that the interior of the cake was very soft and nice! hehe

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Food Review 2008 #08 - Botak Jones

This eartery created a huge hype when it 1st opened. Seems like it has a good following and 'coz it's so successful, now there are 10 outlets all over the island. Started off by an american, it sold american food at coffeshop prices... and of course the stalls are located at coffeeshops!

It took me so long to finally try their food..... when they finally opened an outlet that's considered near my place.

We ordered 4 main courses and a side dish that nite....
Fish and Chips.... This dish turned out ok... in fact, i found it the best of the 4 dishes we ordered. The fish is nicely fried and remained crisp when cold. Still managed to maintain it's moisture after frying and the oil is drained off quite well. The tartar sauce is done just rite... not too sour or heavy. Huge serving of fries at the side.

Australian Ribeye Steak.... The steak comes in 3 servings, and I decided on the smallest one. However, it's quite a disappointment when I received the dish. The steak is a little on the dry side. The meat's cooked unevenly. It was very red and raw on one side of the steak while the other half of the steak was rather "well done". The accompanying sauce tasted alright.
"You've got balls" spaghetti.... this is for the kids to share. The tomatoe-based sauce was rather well done... with the right sourness to it. BUT the meatballs were really dry and tasteless, furthermore, they only served 2 meatballs for the whole plate of spaghetti! Portion of the pasta was huge tho'... good enuf for 2 kids.Cajun Chicken.... I did not expect the chicken to be topped with cheese. It's a nice touch but they used breast meat! (EEEWWWW!!!!) Tho' i've to say that the breast meat was tender, but it was cut so thick that the marinating wasn't sufficiently "absorbed" by the meat.So what we tasted was a thin layer of seasoning on the "skin" of the meat and then it's all white and tasteless underneath.Cheese fries.... I ordered additional plate of fries as I had no idea how big was the serving of the main dishes. Turned out that 3 of the main dishes came with fries at the side. Furthermore, I intended to let the kids share this as they love cheese and fries (which kid doesn't huh?). When I saw the cheese fries, I got a shock. They actually baked the fries after sprinkling some cheese on it! the fries turned out hard and oily. Needless to say, none of us enjoyed eating this. We had problems finishing the fries that came with our main dish and suffered an overdose of fries here!Service-wise, I am very pleased. The crew was very efficient and polite. The food arrived at our table within 5-10mins. My only gripe is that when I placed an order for the cheese fries, the cashier could've alerted me to the fact that the main courses that I ordered already come with fries. One of the crew actually went ard each table offering sweets and chocolates for the kids, being National Day! LOL....

Lastly, I don't think I'll patronise this stall again. Maybe I'll visit another outlet, but the food really disappointed me. :P

PS : For those interested in trying out Botak Jones, visit their website for more info...


Monday, August 04, 2008

Pandan Chiffon Cake

I remembered my 1st time baking this cake and it turned out to be a total flop. The baked cake was so densed and collapsed that it tasted like kueh that had been left in the open for days, all hardened and flat! LOL.... At that time, I had no idea wad had gone wrong, until a few years later when I really went to read-up and ask ard for the proper way to make a chiffon cake.

Fast forward to many years later, I finally came to understand the "theory" and technique to create a good chiffon.

This is a pandan chiffon I baked in the weekends. I love making chiffon for the fast and minimal cleanup/washing up needed. The resulting texture is so light and airy that the family has no problems finishing it up. :)
I'm pretty pleased with this cake. It's tall and the structure's quite firm, the cake did not collapse at all and the sides are all nicely and evenly browned when I removed from the mold.

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Cheese Chiffon Cake with Blueberries

Since the pandan chiffon was so well-recieved, i decided to bake another chiffon cake. This time I revisited the cheese chiffon cake recipe I had used b4 long ago. Decided to incorporate some blueberries into the cake so that the flavour will be stronger and blueberries complemented the cheese very well too. To make it more visually pleasing, I mixed in some violet colouring into half of the batter and swirl it.

The end results? The cake's airy but still very soft and moist. I think I'll need to tweak the recipe abit, maybe add in more flour so that the cake has a firmer structure. But overall, the tart blueberries provided a nice dimension to the cake.

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