Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pesto whole wheat wreath bread

Pesto , at last !

Store-bought though ....

No way will I successfully grow my own herbs #Black thumb , for sure ! pffffffttttt

Hey ! That pesto tastes really great !

I played around with the recipe that I've seen from Christine's recipes' blog ......

This bread is a spin from her Tangzhong whole wheat bread  ....

What is Tangzhong method ? According to Christine's blog , Tangzhong is actually a flour paste ( water roux starter ) , cooked 1 part of bread flour and 5 parts of water to 65°C . It's originated in Japan and described as the secret ingredient to make soft and bouncy bread just like most Japanese bread .

This Tangzhong is very easy to make , so no excuses in not making it ! lol

I made this bread twice already .... Not for comparison , mind you tsk ! All the photos that I've taken from my first bake are all blurry ! ugh !

But it's no hardship making this deliciously moreish bread again .....

So , its really soft and bouncy ?!

My photos cannot express heh ! how super soft and bouncy this bread is , seriously ! ^__^

For those who wants to try this recipe , if you're using the bread machine , please check how-to at this site  ....

The dough of this bread is sticky but try not to add flour ( even a dusting ) as you knead the dough , just rub your hands together to dislodge some of the dough that will stick to your hands back to the dough that you're kneading and just continue to knead until dough is soft and elastic ; by the time you finish kneading the dough , it will still a bit slightly tacky to the touch and that's normal .....

* To make tangzhong , you'll need 1/3 cup/ 50 grams bread flour and 1 cup of water . In a small saucepan , put the flour in and pour in the water bit by bit while stirring it with a whisk or a spoon until all the liquid is absorbed and the mixture is smooth and lump-free . Turn on the heat , medium low and continue stirring until the mixture becomes thicker and thicker , you'll have the tangzhong if you can see the lines all over the surface of the mixture while you're stirring it or you can use a thermometer , it should be 65°C/149°F . Transfer to a container or a bowl , cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent mixture from drying up . Let cool to room temperature before using . Yield :  about 230 grams or so of tangzhong .


For the bread dough :

200 grams bread flour
150 grams wholemeal / whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
40 grams sugar
2 tsp instant dry yeast
40 grams butter , softened
100 grams tangzhong
45 grams whisked egg
110 grams lukewarm milk
some pesto for filling

* Sift both flours and salt in a large bowl , tipping in the remaining whole wheat flour that doesn't pass thru the sieve into the mixture . Add the sugar and the yeast  , stir until combine . Rub in the butter then add in the tangzhong , mix to combine .  Make a well in the center , add in the whisked egg and milk ; mixing in to form a soft dough .

* Turn the mixture into a clean surface , knead the dough for about 6 to 8 minutes until dough is soft and elastic . Form dough into a ball and transfer into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap . Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour and 15 minutes ( depending on how warm your kitchen )  .

* Knock back the dough in a clean surface , kneading to deflate the dough and roll into a 18 by 12 inches rectangle , spread some pesto on top and roll it up into a tight loaf . Cut in half , seal the top and loop or braid together and seal the ends , twisting to form a wreath  . Place the dough into a lightly oiled pan , cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in size .

* Meanwhile , preheat oven at 180°F/350°C . Lightly brush the surface with some egg wash and bake for 30 minutes , check after 20 minutes , if it's browning too fast , tent it with a foil .

* Don't wait until it cooled down , eat it straight from the oven er take some photos first !

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gon chow ngau ho

How do you like your noodles ?

Soupy , saucy or stir fried  ?

 Me ?! Isn't it obvious ?! ^___^ 

As with most of the Chinese stir fried dishes , stir fried noodles is also simple , fast , satisfying and if it's homemade , so much the better ! 

Now , if you don't have the time or inclination to make this , just buy it ! lol 

This version is much like ( give or take a few ingredients ) the gon chow ngau ho that I've posted a long time ago .

550 grams fresh rice noodles
140 grams beef slices 
35 grams yellow chives , cut
40 grams spring onion , cut
60 grams carrot , cut in thin strips
1/4 onion , sliced
 1 clove garlic , minced
1/4 tsp chicken powder
scant tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
a dash of ground white pepper
a generous pinch of salt

* Heat wok and add some oil , when oil is hot , add garlic , stir fry until lightly brown , add the chicken powder and white pepper to the beef slices and stir fry beef until it changes color , transfer to a plate and keep warm .
* In the same pan , add the onion and carrot , cook for 2 minutes . Add in the noodles , cook for about 4 minutes , stirring gently from time to time ; add in the beef , green onion and the chives , stir well to combine ; add in the dark soy ,  light soy and the salt , give it a thorough stir , adjust seasoning . Cook for a minute or so . Dish up . Serve hot .

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mini cheesecakes

Compare to my previous bakes which involved a lot of sighing though I did mind my French that day  ! ....

These individual cheesecakes are such a joy to make ....

I never thought I'll say that ! lol

But if you're making cheesecake like there's no tomorrow heh ! , it gets easier and easier ....

Come to think of it , I've got lots of hits and misses in my bakes ( you should revisit some of those ) like the flat cookies that didn't look remotely like the one in the book , muffins that looks like cupcakes , frosting that I can't frost as the consistency was so thin ......

But cheesecake ? I got some small cracks  every now and then but not earth shattering and never a hollow center though texture-wise , for sure it needs more improvement -___-''

I bet most of you are already gearing up for Christmas .....

So , why not make these cute cheesecakes ?!

It's pretty small , you still have more room for more of the calorie-laden offerings during holidays !

Remember , no calorie-counting during Christmas or New Year or in my case almost everyday   ! lol

Anyway , these cheesecakes are not for personal consumption ! Boo ! Okay , I got 6 left hee hee

For sure , more of these small cakes will be baked in the coming days er weeks !

Recipe adapted from marthastewart.com

Please check original recipe at the link above .

100 grams finely ground graham crackers + 1 T melted butter , mix together for the crumb base
scant 2/3 cup caster sugar
350 grams Philly cream cheese , at room temp
1 pack / 236 grams sour cream , at room temp
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs , at room temp
some cherry and mango purée

* Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C . Line tins with liners and press about 2 teaspoons or more of the crumb mixture into the bottom of each cup . Bake for 5 minutes until set ; let cool .
* With the mixer on medium speed , beat cream cheese until fluffy and add in the sour cream and mix thoroughly . On low , add sugar in 4 additions ; mix in salt and vanilla until well combined . Add eggs one at a time , beating just until combine after each and scraping the side of the bowl . Do not over mix .
* Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoon or more of the filling over the crust in each cup . Drop 2 or 3 small dots of the purée and drag the tip of a toothpick through centers of of dots to create a heart .
* Bake in a water bath for 25 minutes until set . Let cool completely and put in the fridge to chill overnight .

**** I used 26 small liners , 1 1/2-inch at the bottom and 1 1/4-inch high . Some are barely half but some are two-thirds full . You can fill up the liners nearly to the rim with the mixture , if prefer .

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mini linzer tart with cherry-raspberry jam

Linzer  tart is said to be the oldest cake in the world and named after the city of Linz , Austria  .

It has a crumbly pastry base , a jam filling and a lattice top .

Now , if only making a lattice top is as easy as a pie ! -__-''

As I seldom make a pie or tart for that matter , handling the pesky tart dough is an arduous heh ! task ....

Kneading a sticky bread dough is much easier than handling a pastry dough ! pfffttt

I had no problem while doing the tart base but making a lattice strips that keeps breaking in several pieces made me sigh ....

Just sigh ! lol

No swearing at that time as 'twas nice and cool in the kitchen , great for manhandling the pastry dough ! hee hee

After several broken strips and several re-rolling of dough , I finally gave up and added several dusting of flour and my last attempt produced a respectable lattice top  ^___^ ''

It looks cute , isn't it ?! Okay , don't answer that ! lol

That's the only one though , the rest are blah ! tsk tsk !

The recipe that I used is from Good Housekeeping site and baking powder is listed as one of the ingredients in making a pastry dough , which you don't usually see in most tart dough recipes .

The filling is a cranberry and raspberry jam combo but I don't have cranberries so I used some of my frozen cherry stash instead and together with the raspberry jam , I might say , it's really a great combo !

I made eight 2-1/2 inch mini tart and about 20 small cookies  .

Mixed berry linzer tart , recipe from goodhousekeeping.com

( Please check original recipe of the pastry dough , the filling and how-to make at the site )

2/3 cup / 100 grams almonds
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
6 T butter / 84 grams butter , slightly softened
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
about 125 ml of cherry-raspberry jam filling

Cherry-raspberry jam filling : Boil 1 cup frozen cherries , 1/4 cup cherry syrup  ( from my Cherry almond ice cream ) and a pinch of salt  for 8 minutes , over medium heat , stirring from time to time until cherries are soft and thickens . Add in 5 tablespoons of good quality raspberry jam and cook for 2 minutes more , cool completely before using . Makes 200 ml cherry-raspberry jam .

* In a food processor , blend almonds and 1/4 cup of the flour until nuts are very fine .
* In a large bowl , with mixer at medium speed , beat sugar and butter until blended ; increase to medium-high and beat until creamy , about 3 minutes . Beat in vanilla and egg until smooth , 1 minute . Reduce speed to low and add the ground almond mixture , cinnamon , salt , baking powder and the remaining 1 cup flour and beat until just combined . Gather the dough and form into a disc , wrap in a  clingfilm and chill for an hour or until firm .
* On a lightly floured surface , roll about 2/3 of the dough out to a thickness of about 1/8-inch  and carefully put dough into each individual tin , spoon out some filling on top . Roll out the remaining dough and cut it into thin strips , and arrange strips in a lattice across each tart shell . Chill for 30 minutes .
* Cut out the remaining dough to make some cookies and spread some jam between each piece , freeze or chill before baking .
* Meanwhile , preheat oven to 190°C . Lower to 180°C and bake tart for 25 minutes or until golden . Let cool in the tin before turning in the wire rack .  Bake cookies for 14-15 minutes .

I'm submitting this post to the Bake Along event featuring Linzer tart , hosted by  Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids , Joyce of Kitchen Flavors and Lena of Frozen Wings


Do check out some blogging friends yummy offerings !

Monday, November 12, 2012

Stir fried udon noodles with seafood in XO sauce

Here's another fave version of fried udon .....

As with the one I've made few months before , this version is usually seen at some cha chaan tengs ( Chinese -style diner that serves Chinese-Western food on the cheap )  all over Hongkong .....

It's simple and hearty dish that's easy to prepare and makes a very satisfying meal for the whole family .

Recipe adapted from  A Taste of Local Tea Restaurants
                                                                                       My modification :
40 grams fish fillet                                                            
40 grams squid                                                               150 grams fish fillet
20 grams Japanese crabstick                                          80 grams shrimp
20 grams baby octopus                                                  150 grams crabstick , sliced in half
20 grams shelled shrimps                                                1 small green bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper , sliced                                          1/2 each of yellow and red bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper , sliced                                              1/2 of a medium onion , sliced
1/4 onion , sliced                                                               1/2 of a small carrot , sliced
1 1/2 pack udon noodles                                                  1 sprig spring onion
some sliced carrot                                                            1 tsp fermented black beans
20 grams yellow chive ,sectioned                                    4 packs ( 200 grams each ) udon noodles
1 sprig spring onion , sectioned                                                      
some fermented black beans                                            Seasoning : 1 T dark soy sauce , 2 T water
                                                                                                          1 tsp salt , 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
Seasoning : 1 1/2 T dark soy sauce                                                     1 T XO sauce
1/2 tsp salt
some XO sauce

* Rinse seafood ; drain well and pat dry . Heat oil in a wok and pan-fry seafood until cook and set aside .
* In the same pan ,stir fry udon until cook ( I stir fried mine  for 5 minutes ) ; set aside. If the wok or pan is sticky , wash it .
* Heat oil in a wok , stir fry fermented black beans , until fragrant ; add the bell peppers , carrot and onion and cook until tender , about 3 minutes .
* Add in the noodles and mix well . Add in the seasoning , mix well to combine , continue stir frying for another 2 minutes ; add in the seafood and spring onion , give a thorough stir . Dish up . Serve hot .

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cappuccino cupcakes with chocolate frosting

I love cupcakes but haven't been keen in baking it ....

For me , cupcakes wouldn't be cupcakes without frosting .....

And I really suck at making frosting !

If only I don't have the urge to reduce too much sugar or butter when making it ! pfffftttt

There are loads of recipe of frosting online but the one I like most is the buttercream frosting ....

I like it but not enough to make it ! lol

So , I'm really glad when I saw this chocolate frosting at BBC Goodfood site ....

Still , the ingredients are also loaded with fats , hello ! whipping cream and chocolate ! but at least you wont go into a sugar coma after eating just one frosted cake !

Don't mind the grainy look of this frosting , it's quiet smooth actually if only I gave it a good whisk but my frosting has been lurking in the fridge for 2 days now and I just stirred it using a chopstick as it is much more easier to clean it than a whisk ! hee hee

The cupcake itself tastes really really good ! Yup ! Even without frosting ! heh !  It's coffee-flavored so it's always good to me ! lol

No cracks on top of my cupcakes but got this uneven top , probably by using a homemade self-raising flour - too much baking powder ? But it didn't affect the taste .....

Er I've forgotten to take photo of my unfrosted cupcakes tsk tsk !

Recipe adapted from How to be a domestic goddess - Nigella Lawson  ( I made half of the recipe )

For the cupcake :

125 grams self-raising flour
125 grams soft unsalted butter
125 grams golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 heaped tablespoon instant espresso
2-3 tbsp milk

* Preheat oven to 200°C .
* Put all cupcake ingredients except for the milk into food processor and blitz to combine . Pulse again , adding milk to form a batter with a soft dropping consistency . Spoon mixture into a muffin tin with paper liners and put i the oven and bake for 20 minutes . Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out into the wire rack .

For the frosting : ( recipe from BBC Goodfood )

140 grams dark chocolate
140 grams milk chocolate
300 ml whipping cream

* Melt chocolates together in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water ; remove from heat and stir in the cream and let cool or chill until spreadable . ( I made my frosting by melting the chocolates and let it cool completely first then whipped the cream , add 1 1/2 tablespoon of icing sugar then added in the cool melted chocolate - this way , the frosting becomes fluffier ) . Pipe or spread on top of cooled cupcakes .

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Creamy shrimp and bacon spaghetti

We love creamy pasta here !

Okay , I love pasta , creamy sauce or not er except macaroni ....

What's not to love ?!

Shrimp , bacon and cream cheese all in one dish ? ....

What more could I ask for ?

Less calorie sauce , perhaps ?!

Bah ! Humbug ! lol

500 grams spaghetti
1 1/2 cups pasta water
1 cup milk
150 grams cream cheese , diced , at room temperature
200 grams shelled shrimp
6 rasher of bacon , cut
1/2 of a medium onion , finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic , finely minced
1 tsp chicken powder
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp brown sugar
some ground black pepper
a handful of cilantro , coarsely chopped
some grated cheese

* Boil pasta according to the package direction . Reserve 1 1/2 cups pasta water .
* In a wok or a large pan , heat some oil then add in the onion ; pan-fry until softens then add in the garlic ; fry until garlic turns lightly brown . Add the bacon , shrimp , some of the chili flakes and a dash of ground black pepper , stir fry until shrimp turns pink ( or light orange ?! ) , transfer in a plate , keep warm .
* In the same pan , with heat turn low , pour in the pasta water , milk and cream cheese , stir with a whisk and blend until smooth and add the chicken powder , the remaining chili flakes , sugar and a dash of black pepper . Let the mixture boil and adjust seasoning ; let simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes , stirring from time to time  . Add in the bacon and shrimp mixture , stir and add in the pasta ; mix well to combine , add in the cilantro , give it another good stir . Dish up and serve hot with a sprinkle of grated cheese and some chopped cilantro on top .