Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cinnamon fantans

I don't really like buying cinnamon rolls at the bakery ....

It's either too cinnamony heh ! or too sweet! tsk tsk

Okay, I'm just saying that as I just baked my first cinnamon bread and it's really , really good ! lol

It has this nice balance of sweetness and a subtle cinnamon taste that won't overwhelmed your taste buds ....

I've been wanting to bake this bread since forever but I got a lot of recipes to choose from .....

Currently , I've bookmarked 3 recipes , I baked this first because I love the name ^___^''

And minimal kneading as well , er only 5 minutes of it ?! hee hee

I didn't even think of my KA mixer back home , getting dusty or worse , rusty tsk tsk , while kneading ! lol

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

Makes 8

2 1/2 - 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
1 egg

For the filling :

2 T butter , melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup walnuts , chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

* Combine the sugar , walnuts and cinnamon , set aside for later use .

* In a large bowl , combine 1 1/4 cups of the flour and the yeast . Set aside .
* In a small saucepan , heat and stir the milk , sugar , butter and salt just until warm ( about 120 to 130°F ) and butter almost melts . Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture ; add egg . Beat with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds , scraping the sides from time to time ; beat on high speed for 3 minutes more . Using a wooden spoon , stir in a much of the remaining flour as you can . ( At this time , I dumped in all the remaining flour , just added a sprinkle of extra flour to the dough while kneading as it was still a bit sticky )     
* Turn dough in a lightly floured surface , knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smoother and elastic - 3-5 minutes total . Shape dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl , turning once to grease the surface . Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size , about 1 to 1 1/2  hours .
* Grease baking sheet and set aside . Punch down dough and turn out in a lightly floured surface , cover and let rest for 10 minutes . Roll out dough into a 20-x-10-inch rectangle , brush with 2 tablespoon of butter and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon/sugar/walnuts mixture ; starting from the long side , roll up the dough into spiral  , cut into 8 slices ; be careful not to cut all the way through, snip or cut each slice into quarter . Place slices seam sides down , 3 inches apart on the pan ; cover and let rise for another 30 or 45 minutes in a warm place until double in size .
* Preheat oven to 350°F/ 180°C . If desired , brush rolls with water and a sprinkle of sugar before baking .
* Bake for 12 to 15 or until golden brown .

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cherry almond ice cream

It's nearly October but there are still some cherries at the market .....

But some enterprising vendors mix good and bruised , sometimes bad cherries tsk tsk

Oh well ! Beggars can be choosers ^___^''

You get what you pay for ! lol

The ones I bought few days ago were not-so fresh and the stems were already dry but still good for cooking .....

So , another cherry-inspired recipe !

I borrowed this Sweet cream and sugar cones book from the library last week and can't make up my mind on what to make first ....

If not for those not-so good cherries that I've bought , it would be coffee ice cream , again ! lol

Recipe from Sweet cream and sugar cones ( Makes about a quart , mine's about 1 1/2 liter )

My modification in red

For the cherries :

2 1/4 cups sugar ( scant 2 cups )
1 1/2 cup water
2 cups cherries ( nearly 3 cups ) 

* To poach the cherries : In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium-high-heat . When it reaches a boil , reduce the heat to a simmer and add cherries . Cook until cherries are soft and cooked through , about 5 minutes .
* Remove from the heat and let cherries cool completely in the syrup . Once cool , drain the cherries ( save the syrup for other uses ) and squeeze the pits out of the fruit . Chop cherries into a 1/4-inch pieces ; refrigerate until you're ready to churn the ice cream .

For the base :

3/4 cup whole raw almonds
3/4 cup sugar ( 2/3 cup )
2 cups heavy cream ( 1 1/2 cups ) 
1 cup 1% or 2% milk ( 425 ml UHT whole milk ) 
1/4 tsp kosher salt
5 large egg yolks ( 3 yolks ) 

* Prepare the nuts by toasting in a preheated oven , 350°F/180°C , for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and smell nutty  . Let cool completely .
* Combine cooled nuts and and sugar in a food processor . Pulse until very finely ground ( about the consistency of the sand ) . Do not over process or the mixture will become oily and pasty .
* Transfer the almond mixture to a saucepan and stir in the cream , milk and salt .
* Cook over medium high-heat and when mixture just begins to bubble around the edges , remove from heat and cover the pan ; let steep for about 20 minutes or until a distinct almond flavor has infused into the mixture
* In a medium bowl , , whisk egg yolks just to break them up ; set aside .
* Reheat the almond mixture over medium-high heat ; when the mixture approaches a bare simmer , reduce the heat to medium . Scoop out some hot cream mixture and whisking the yolks constantly add the hot cream mixture into it , pour back the egg-and cream mixture from the bowl into the pan .
* Cook mixture over medium heat ,stirring constantly until thickened , coats the back of a spatula or a spoon and holds a clear path when you run your finger across the spatula/spoon , about 1 to 2 minutes longer .
*Strain the mixture , ( use a chinois if you want a very smooth ice cream or a regular fine-mesh strainer for a more rustic-textured  ice cream ) Set the container into an ice-water bath to cool . Cool completely before chilling the mixture in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight .
* Churn the mixture in the ice cream maker , adding the chopped cherries in the last minute or so of churning . Transfer in a container and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight .

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fettuccine with chicken meatballs in creamy sauce

I've been lurking at the MasterChef Australia's site looking for some dish to submit at Zoe's blog hop

Can't seem to decide which dish to make ....

I'm eyeing the macarons recipe for quiet sometime but still afraid to take a plunge ! lol

So the safest dish is pasta ....

If I got to cook something over and over again , it'll be pasta ....

Simple , easy and oh-so satisfying ....

Just like dim sum , I can subsist on this alone  ^___^''

This is Curtis Stone's recipe and if you've seen his photo , he looks as scrumptious as this dish ! lol

I only had 1 can of tinned tomato so instead of making Napoli sauce , I've added some cream cheese to make a creamy sauce .

Fettuccine with chicken meatballs in a homemade Napoli sauce

Recipe from MasterChef Australia by Curtis Stone

For the tomato sauce :

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion , finely diced
2 cloves garlic , minced
2 large sprigs of fresh thyme ( I used 1 tsp dried thyme ) 
800 grams of tinned tomatoes ( 1-400 grams tinned tomatoes , 100 grams catsup , 300 ml chicken broth and 85 grams cream cheese )
some brown sugar 
generous teaspoon of chili flakes

* Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat ; add onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes , then add thyme and tomatoes and bring to a simmer .
* Simmer gently , uncovered , stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has thickened ( I added the cream cheese after the sauce has thickened a little bit )  ; add a little water during the cooking process if the sauce thickens too much ; remove and discard the thyme stems and season with salt and pepper .

For the meatballs :

500 grams minced chicken
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp parsley ( cilantro )
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small egg
generous pinch of chili flakes
1/4 cup olive oil , for frying
350 grams fettuccine
1/4 cup , parmesan cheese , finely grated to serve

* Combine the minced chicken , breadcrumbs , parsley , mustard and egg in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper . Gently mix until just blended ; be careful not to over mix the mixture as it will toughen up .
* Form mixture into 8-12 meatballs , dipping your hands in a bowl of cold water to stop chicken mixture from sticking .
* Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat ; cook meatballs until golden brown all over , about 6-8 minutes . Transfer the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer gently until meatballs are cooked through , about 10 minutes .
* Meanwhile , bring a large pot of salted water to the boil , add the fettuccine and cook according to package direction .
* To serve , you can either add the fettuccine to the sauce or divide pasta between four serving bowl and pour over the meatballs and sauce evenly between the four bowls of pasta ; sprinkle the grated cheese .


This blog post is submitted to the blog hop event Cook like a Star featuring recipes from MasterChef and hosted by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids , Anuja of Simple Baking and Yen aka Baby Sumo of Eat your Heart Out

Do check out some blogging friends scrumptious offerings !

Monday, September 17, 2012

Banana butterscotch chip muffins

It's been a while since I baked anything with bananas  .....

I seldom buy it as I'm the only one who's going to eat it all tsk tsk

Bananas here are cheap especially at the market , a bunch ( about 5-7 pieces ) for 5 bucks ....

It's my first time to try Dole bananas , I usually buy Del Monte but if I get to choose between the two , it'll be Dole ....

Come to think of it , I love Dole canned pineapple compare to Del Monte which I find a little bit mushy -__-

But it's neither here nor there , let's go back to banana muffins lol

Instead of using chocolate in this muffins I used my remaining butterscotch chip and I like this combo more ; I also reduced the sugar as both the bananas and the chips are already sweet and let's not forget the sweet crumb topping !

If you like you may omit the crumb topping but I like the crunchy texture of it in contrast to the soft almost cupcakey texture of the muffin .

Recipe from Clinton St Baking Company Cookbook

Makes 10 standard-sized muffins

1/2 stick / 4 tablespoon / 56 grams unsalted butter , softened
1/2 cup sugar ( I used 1/4 cup ) 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chunks ( butterscotch chips ) 
2 perfectly ripe to overripe medium-sized bananas , cut into 1-inch chunks ( smaller is way better )

10 tablespoon **crumb mix

** Crumb mix : Makes about 1 1/2 cups , enough for 2 to 3 batches of muffins

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 stick unsalted butter , cubed

* Mix the dry ingredients with the butter by hand until mixture is pea-sized ; the mix can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks .


* Preheat oven to 190°C ; lightly grease muffin tins or use paper muffin cups .
* In an electric mixer on medium speed , cream together the butter , sugar and vanilla .
* Sift the remaining dry ingredients together in bowl .
* Add egg to the butter mixture and blend until combined .
* Add 1/4 cup of the sour cream to the butter mixture , then half of the dry ingredients , mixing and repeating with the remaining sour cream and then the remaining dry ingredients until the batter is combined . Be sure to end with the dry ingredients .
* Fold in the choco chunks and bananas until evenly mixed .
* Spoon batter into muffin tins , leaving room on the top for the Crumb Mix ; top each muffins with 1 tbsp of the crumb mix . Bake for 25 to 33 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean .

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Plaited Herb Bread

Made with sweat er love ! ^____^''

Hopefully , if I make bread frequently , my flabby arms will get toned ! lol

As if vacuuming and moping the floor is not enough tsk tsk

I never thought making bread is so enjoyable , sweat aside hee hee

This is a plaited bread and the instruction says that divide the dough into two but I've seen Lena's beautiful Challah and made a 3 strand braid instead .

I find the bread quiet delicious though I barely tasted the cheese , more is needed I guess or my cheddar cheese is not flavorful enough heh !

I used Italian seasoning as I don't have herbes de Provence and it's little bit strong for my taste ....

The texture is really good - that's according to me hee hee - and comparable to the ones they're selling here ...

Ha ! Mine's way better ! lol

The easiest bread  I've made so far .

And a must-try for those who seldom bake bread .

Recipe from The Big Book of Bread by Anne Sheasby

Makes 1 loaf ( Mine's 12"x5'' )

450 grams strong plain white flour
1 1/2 tsp salt ( I used 1 tsp )
25 grams butter , diced
1 sachet/ 7 grams easy-blend dried yeast ( 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast )
85 grams mature cheddar or red Leicester cheese , finely grated ( boring cheddar )
1 tbsp dried herbes de Provence ( Italian seasoning )
150 ml warm milk , plus extra for glazing
about 150 ml warm water

* Grease or flour a baking sheet and set aside . Sift flour and salt into a large bowl , then rub in the butter . Stir in yeast , cheese and dried herbs . Make a well in the center , then add the milk and enough water , mixing to form  soft dough .
* Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic . Shape the dough into round , then place it in a lightly oiled bowl , cover and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size .
* Knock back the dough on a lightly floured surface , then divide it into half . Roll each piece into a long sausage or rope shape and place them side by side , pinching them together at one end to seal  Loosely plait the ropes of dough together , then pinch them together at the other end .
* Place the plait on the baking sheet , cover and leave to rise again for about 30 minutes or until double in size .
* Meanwhile , preheat oven to 190°C . Lightly brush the plait with a little extra milk . Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the bread is risen , golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped underneath . Transfer to a wire rack to cool . Serve in slices .

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cherry Financiers

To save myself from another heartache ......

Instead of making more feetless macarons .....

I made some financier  lol

These are not as gorgeous as macs but at least I don't have to sigh and look forlorn when I've got another batch of flat macs -___- ''

any takers ?! lol 

I've been meaning to make pistachio financier when I saw the recipe from Laduree's book that I've borrowed form the library but I still can't get hold of pistachio paste .....

And if you've already made financier you would agree that the smell of browned butter is just wonderful !

Go on , get that butter from the fridge and try and don't forget to keep an eagle eye on that browning butter least you gonna burn it ! lol

Financier recipe by  Gordon Ramsay @ BBC Good Food

125 grams salted butter
25 grams plain flour , sifted
125 grams ground almonds
100 grams caster sugar
3 egg whites , beaten slightly
50 grams sultanas soaked in 3 tbsp rum ( omitted this )

* Butter and flour 24 financier moulds or 12-hole muffin tin and put them in the fridge so the butter sets .
* Melt butter in the pan over high heat until it starts to brown ; strain through a fine sieve and let cool .
* Combine the flour , almonds and sugar in a bowl , fold in the egg whites and stir in the sultanas and the butter . Chill for an hour or overnight .
* Heat oven oven to 190°C ; pour mixture into the moulds and bake for 10-15 minutes , until golden brown and risen in the centre ; let cool before removing from the tins .

*** I added chopped pitted  fresh cherries to the bottom of  6 moulds before adding the batter , 2 whole cherries in 2 moulds and leave some financier plain .

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Coffee , almond and white choco-chip ice cream

don't forget to click all the photos ?! lol 

It's September in this side of the world but it feels like it's still mid-summer ugh !

The shops are in full throttle displaying winter (un)necessities ! ^___^''

But outside ?!  It's about 32°C tsk tsk

Hey ! I just love carping about the weather ! lol

At least I still have more time to make ice cream !

Coffee is definitely my first choice when making ice cream , I may try different flavor now and then for variety ...

But that flavor is the most satisfying .....

Much as I would like to buy whole coffee beans , I find it too expensive for my taste heh !.....

And I'm just  low maintenance when it comes to coffee , a cup of instant coffee , coming right up  ! lol

Luckily , the ever generous Missus So , bought me 2 packs of ground Vietnamese coffee and a friend also gave me this Viennese blend ......

As plain coffee ice cream won't do this time , of course , something needs to be added .....

That's the best thing about making your own ice cream or if you don't have any inclination to make your own , just buy the best quality ice cream you can afford and add everything you want in there , presto !

Who wants plain when sky is the limit when it comes to ice cream ?! hee hee

I bet Häagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry's doesn't have this combo ?! I've said it before , right ?! lol

Makes about a litre

400 ml whole milk
250 ml cream
5 tablespoon ground coffee
1 generous tablespoon instant coffee powder (  better if you use instant espresso powder )
90 grams sugar
3 egg yolks
25 grams flaked almonds
about 50 grams white chocolate chips

* Toast almonds in a wok , stirring from time to time to prevent burning , until lightly brown or bake it in the oven . Let cool .
* Pour the milk and cream in a saucepan then add the ground coffee , stir over low heat for 5 minutes , without boiling ; turn off heat and leave to steep for at least 15 minutes . Strain the mixture and return to the pan .
* Whisk the yolks and sugar in a small bowl until well combined ; reheat the coffee mixture and add the instant coffee , stir until dissolved ; then add some to the yolks and sugar mixture , whisking as you pour to prevent the the yolk mixture from curdling ; pour back the mixture into the saucepan and cook , without boiling , until the mixture thickens . Set aside to cool completely then chill in the fridge
* Churn mixture in an ice cream maker for 20-30 minutes , add the almonds and choco-chips alternately during the last 3 minutes of churning . Transfer in a plastic container and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight .

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Spinach , Pork and Prawn Wonton

Here's another Chinese dumpling that everybody knows and love .....

Wontons are usually boiled  , served in soup or deep-fried ....

But the one I really love , adding some dressing after boiling it ....

Nothing tricky in wrapping/folding/shaping these tasty morsels  .......

You just shape it anyway you like , as long as the filling stays inside .....

Though I had such a hard time making mine , as I want to shape it just like the ones from Kylie Kwong's book ! lol

Told myself , " tsk tsk after you boil it , that pretty shape , which you've painstakingly made , will just wilt  ! " -__-

So true ! hee hee

To tell you the truth , I had to watch this Youtube tutorial while I was making my wontons ! lol

Makes about 25 to 30 wontons

at least 30 pieces of wonton wrapper

about 250 grams , fresh spinach , blanched , squeezed and roughly chopped
60 grams ground pork
60 grams prawns , deveined and roughly chopped
1 T sliced spring onions
1 T roughly chopped cilantro leaves
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp chicken powder
1 1/2 tsp tapioca starch
1 tsp brown sugar
generous dash of ground white pepper and a pinch of salt
few drops of sesame oil

* Mix ingredients above , adjust seasoning according to taste .

To fill and shape the wontons ( from Kylie Kwong's Simple Chinese Cooking )

* Place a teaspoonful of the filling in the middle of the wrapper , moisten the lower edge of the wrapper ; fold the wrapper in half to enclosed the filling ; press gently to seal the edge ; hold the wonton lengthwise between your hands with the folded edge facing down ; fold the sealed edge of the wonton back on itself then lightly moisten one corner of the folded edge with water , then taking the two ends in your fingers bring them together with a twisting action and press tightly to join . Repeat with the rest .

For the Spring onion , ginger and vinegar dressing ( Kylie Kwong's recipe )

2 1/2 tablespoons light soy
2 tablespoon finely sliced cilantro leaves and stems
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
2 tablespoon finely sliced spring onions
2 tablespoon kecap manis or sweet soy sauce
2 tablespoon malt vinegar , I used rice vinegar
1/2 tsp chili oil , I used a generous teaspoon of homemade chili garlic sauce
dash of sesame oil

* Combine ingredients above while boiling the wontons ( about 4 minutes )
* Transfer boiled wontons onto a plate or a shallow bowl , drizzle with the dressing and serve hot .

*** This sauce is for Kylie Kwong's 16 pieces of cooked wonton , adjust ingredients depending on how many wontons are you going to cook .