Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Apple-pecan cheesecake

There is a nip in the air , a cool 25°C in the morning  but come noontime , it'll another hot day *sigh* I hope winter will come early here , I'm really fed up with you , summer ! 

I used the last of my cream cheese and one of the few times that it haven't got a chance to develop molds yet hee hee ! Planning on using it for another recipe of cream-cheese filled apple cake but don't have enough apples and eggs on hand . 

I've been wanting to make this cheesecake for quiet sometime but I always forget to buy pecans . This decadent treat appears during autumn/fall where apples are abundant . But don't worry , you can make this anytime , anywhere and whenever you have the urge . Definitely a nice change to the same old , same old blueberry/cherry/strawberry cheesecake ! 

Crust : 

90 grams gingersnaps , finely crushed 
20 grams unsalted butter , melted 

Filling :

235 grams cream cheese , at room temperature
90 grams caster sugar
150 ml soured cream , at room temperature 
1 large egg , at room temperature
1/2  teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping : 

1 Granny Smith , peeled , cored and roughly chopped 
50 grams toasted pecans , roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla sugar or raw/granulated sugar

* Grease a 6-inch square pan and line the bottom with a parchment paper , grease the parchment as well  . 

* Mix crushed gingersnaps and butter ; press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan , put pan in the freezer for 20 minutes . 

* Preheat oven to 160°C . 

* Place the cream cheese and sugar in a medium mixing bowl , beat over medium speed until light and smooth . Add in the cream and beat well until well combined ; add in the egg and vanilla , beat until just combined . Pour into the pan and gently drop the pan twice or thrice on the counter top to remove air bubbles . 

* Combine the ingredients for the topping , mix well  ; spoon mixture evenly on top of the cream cheese filling .

* Bake for 35-40 minutes . Let cheesecake cool inside the oven for 30 minutes , leaving door slightly ajar . Chill at least 4 hours or overnight before consuming .

This post is linked to the bloghop event , Little Thumbs Up , organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY . This month's APPLE theme is hosted by Kit of I Lost in Austen 


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Caramelized banana bread with browned butter glaze

Whenever I buy bananas , there are always some pieces left lurking on the table after few days and since nobody will touch it but me , either freeze the pathetic-looking pieces for smoothie or use them for baking . I already found my ideal banana bread , I like it cakey and sort of spongy , the Flour's Bakery recipe is the one I've been looking for a long time and I baked it 3 times last month alone . Because I can only eat so much banana bread using the same recipe I decided to try another one . I've seen this recipe from the Cooking Light magazine that I've borrowed few months ago and the caramelized bananas sounds very tempting  .

The recipe is pretty straight-forward , caramelizing the bananas is one easy step to have this very satisfying and moriesh treat . My only problem with the mixture is some small lumpy flour that just wont dissolve , I had to pinch several lumpy pieces before baking tsk tsk ! Note that the banana mixture will still be warm after you finished mixing everything and I think that's normal in this recipe or maybe our kitchen at that time was way too hot !  

When  making the glaze , make sure to keep an eagle-eye on it , my browned butter glaze nearly turned out black butter glaze ugh ! If your saucepan is not thick enough , use low heat and less time in browning the butter . 

This bread is very moist even straight from the fridge . If you don't like cakey and spongy kind of banana bread , you would love this recipe ! 

Please check original recipe @ Cooking Light

Makes one 8 x roughly 2-inch loaf and 2 mini-bundts

3 tablespoon / 42 grams unsalted butter , softened 
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
350 grams ( peeled weight ) very ripe banana , sliced plus extra for topping
1/2 cup soured cream 
3 tablespoon canola oil 
2 tablespoon dark rum 
2 large eggs ( 63 grams each ) 
9 oz / 252 grams / about 2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Glaze :

1 tablespoon / 14 grams unsalted butter , softened 
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon half and half 

* Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F . Grease a 9 x 3-inch loaf pan or an 8 x 3-inch loaf pan and 2 mini-bundt pans , set aside .  

* Melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat , add brown sugar and bananas . Cook for 4 minutes , stirring occasionally . remove from heat ; let cool for 10 minutes . Place banana mixture into a large bowl and beat at medium speed until smooth . 

* Combine soured cream and the next 3 ingredients ( through eggs ) . Combine flour , baking soda and salt . Add flour mixture and soured cream mixture alternately to banana mixture , beginning and ending with flour mixture , beat a low speed just until combined . Pour mixture into the prepared pans and top with banana slices . 

* Bake 35-40 minutes for the mini-bundts and 50 minutes to 1 hour for the loaf pan or until skewer inserted in the middle of the bread comes out with a bit of moist crumbs . Transfer to the wire rack , cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan ; let cool . 

To make the glaze : 

* In a small saucepan , cook butter until it starts to turn brown , depending on how thick is the saucepan , it'll take less than a minute so keep an eye on it . take pan off heat , sift in icing sugar and add in the half and half , whisk until mixture is smooth . Drizzle immediately over the cooled bread . let glaze set before slicing the bread . 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Spicy chicken karaage and Apple-cabbage salad with sesame dressing

I was thinking this the first time I've made chicken karaage , " Here goes another unhealthy treat that I would love to eat occasionally ha ! more like , I could eat this everyday ! "  Now , remember , moderation is the key ! I seldom deep-fried , for one ,  I hate to store used oil in the fridge for a long time and since I'm the only one here who dig this fantastic but unwholesome deliciousness , cooking it for one person seems superfluous . 

But because it's nearly the time of the month ....

Excuses , excuses ! 

If your compare this karaage to my previous one , you'll see that this version is much fluffier . At that time , I thought I also used potato starch as I bought it at one of my favorite baking supply store . By the time I finished cooking and photographing it , I compare it to Sonia's and No Recipes' sites . The coating of mine looks thinner and thinking maybe I did shake off too much excess flour or starch , for that matter . 

I've made it again for our New Year's dinner , I bought a pack of potato starch at one of the shops that sells Japanese products . If only you've seen my face while I was cooking the karaage , using the right potato starch , it looks like the authentic-looking version  lol

The potato starch is made from potato that has been peeled , the flesh is grind into a mushy slurry then dehydrated ,  the texture is similar to that of cornstarch , it's usually use as a thickening agent and of course , makes a great crispy coating . Potato flour on the other hand , is made from whole potato , including the skin and it gives baked goods such as loaf bread a nice soft and moist texture . It makes a nice , crispy coating as well though a bit thin and you still can use it in this kind of recipe if starch is not readily available . 

To offset the unwanted calories from the karaage , I've made this simple but wonderful salad as a side . Initially , it was supposed to be an apple-cabbage slaw but I've been wanting to make homemade sesame dressing . The bottled version tastes good but making it at home is easy , cheap and certainly delicious ! The tangy dressing goes really well the crunchy salad and the salad itself is a good foil for the greasy karaage .

Spicy chicken karaage , serves 4 

550 grams boneless whole chicken leg , cut into bite-size pieces
4 teaspoons sake 
4 teaspoon mirin
4 teaspoon light soy sauce
20 grams / 1-inch peeled ginger , finely chopped or grated
2 cloves garlic , finely minced or grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon teaspoon chilli flakes
 pinch of salt 

2/3  cup potato starch
dash of ground black pepper

oil for frying
lime or lemon wedges , to serve 

*  In a bowl , combine the chicken and the rest of the ingredients , chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes , more ,  if time permits . 

* In a bowl or plate . combine the potato starch and the black pepper . 

* In a saucepan , heat oil , the oil is ready if you dip a bamboo chopstick and it sizzles or use a deep-fry thermometer , if available .

* Dip several pieces of chicken into the starch mixture until each piece is well covered up . Gently drop each piece into the hot oil and fry in batches until chicken pieces floats on top and lightly golden . transfer to the plate and repeat with the remaining pieces . 

* Once all the chicken is done , turn up the heat , gently drop chicken in batches until each piece is golden brown , transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and continue with the rest . Serve hot .

Apple and cabbage salad serves 4-6 

1 Gala apple , unpeeled , cored and thinly-sliced 
1 Granny Smith , unpeeled , cored and thinly-sliced
2 teaspoon lime juice
200 grams thinly-sliced red cabbage
50 grams thinly-sliced carrot
1/2 cup steamed fresh corn kernels

* In a large bowl , toss the 2 apples and lime juice , add in the rest of the ingredients , chill in the fridge for about an hour . To serve , divide into bowls and drizzle in the sesame dressing . 

Sesame dressing , makes 1 cup ( Recipe adapted from Just One Cookbook )

6 tablespoon sesame seeds
4 tablespoon mayonnaise
4 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
3 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoon raw sugar
1 teaspoon mirin 
1 teaspoon sesame oil 

* In a wok or a large pan , toast sesame seeds over medium heat ; stirring from time to time , for 6 minutes or until lightly golden . Place seeds into mortar and pestle , grind into a paste . Transfer paste into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients , mix well to combine . Chill in the fridge before using .

This post is linked to the bloghop event Little Thumbs Up and is organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Favourite DIY . This month's theme is APPLE and hosted by Kit of I Lost in Austen 

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