Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Easy French bread

Apologies to French bread purists ! You want it stuffed or plain ?!

After several weeks of browsing and re-browsing two bread books .....

I finally made some !

The easiest as usual ....

Not the recipe from the books though lol

I've borrowed Peter Reinhart two bread books at the library few weeks ago but baked  Daily Delicious easy French bread recipe instead . Her bread really looks like a French baguette !

I've seen her recipe more than a year ago when Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover baked some fantastic French bread using the same recipe .

I even bought a French bread pan but sadly it can't fit into our oven so I just use it to prove the dough ...

I need to practice how to slash the top of the bread ^___^''

They look sort of bleeeeh hah !

That said , they tastes really good especially the one with the bacon , mozzarella cheese and chili sauce filling  !

I just can't resist adding that filling lol

Recipe adapted from Daily Delicious

Makes 2 ( 33 cm bread ) I made 1.5 of the recipe ( three 11-inch bread )

300 grams bread flour
1 tsp honey
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
200 ml water
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
some yellow cornmeal for dusting
2 cups hot water for baking

* Mix olive oil and water together ; combine flour and salt then add in the yeast and whisk to combine . Use a large spoon or a dough scraper to mix everything and knead briefly to bring ingredients together . Turn dough on a clean surface and knead until dough is soft and elastic ; if the dough is a bit dry , sprinkle with 1 to 2 tsp water .

*Put dough in a lightly oiled bowl ; let rise in a warm place until doubled in size .

* Place a parchment paper over a baking sheet or a French bread pan and sprinkle with some yellow cornmeal ; set aside .

* Transfer dough in a clean surface and divide it into two ; roll into balls and let dough rest for 10 minutes . Press the dough lightly and shape it into a long oval ; do the same with the other dough . Use the side of your hand , press the center of the dough , fold and seal  to create surface tension . Working from the center of the dough , roll the dough until you get a desired length .

* Place the shaped dough  into the prepared pan ; let dough rise until double in size .

* Preheat oven to 220°C . Place a roasting pan in the lowest shelf of the oven . With a very sharp knife , make a 3 to 4 diagonal slash/cut about 1/4-inch deep across the top of each loaf . Put bread in the oven and pour the hot water into the roasting pan . Bake for 10 minutes . Reduce the temperature to 200°C and bake for another 10 minutes or until bread is golden .

Where do you proof your bread dough during winter ? Mine is usually under the desk lamp  ^___^ 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Strawberry , soy and banana smoothie

It has been more than 2 years since I've had a smoothie ....

And it was not even homemade !

I don't know why it's only now that I rediscover heh ! how much I really like it lol

Actually , I've been meaning to make strawberry ice cream but I just finished scraping and licking the container of my mocha ice cream so this easy , refreshingly yummy and healthy concoction is the result ...

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Serves 2

2 cups ( 8 oz )  frozen strawberries
1 cup soy milk
1 ripe banana
2 tablespoons honey

* Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth .

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Taiwanese pineapple shortcakes ( pastry )

So , how do you like my pineapple shortcakes ?

Pretty shapes , don't you think ?

I couldn't help but grin when I finished baking these ....

Never thought that it would look a bit like the ones being sold here ....

Though shops here don't sell flower-shaped or heart-shaped pineapple cakes hee hee

Now , don't mind the patchy spot on that square one , actually that's the bottom part ^___^ ''

The Taiwanese pineapple cake version don't use egg wash . I want to see how it would turn out so I uses some and planned to brush half of the top only but got carried away :P The bottom part though patchy is what I like most .

That said , the recipe that I used is really spot on , er according to my taste buds , except on that tiny or maybe I should say big problem ...

Good thing that the computer is on while I was mixing the dough ....

I immediately lurked at Zoe's blog to check her pineapple cakes comparison chart to see why my dough is still dry after rubbing together all ingredients .....

Maybe the publisher had overlooked one ingredient ? I've never encountered pastry without any liquid yet heh ! So , based from Zoe's , I added 13 grams of egg yolks to the mixture and yup ! hello , soft dough  lol

The dough is very easy to handle or maybe because the temperature was 17°C when I made it ....

I've eaten pineapple cakes that are made in Taiwan before and the local bakery here ,  Kee Wah sells pineapple cakes ( HK $ 6.50 each ) all-year round so I usually buy one or two whenever I feel like eating it ....

I love the rich , buttery and crumbly texture . It smells like the one from Kee Wah .....

It's homemade , cheap , simple , really easy and fast to make ( the dough not the filling ) and most of all tastes fantastic !

But don't take my word for it , you gonna bake it yourself to find out ....

Zoe , you really need to try this recipe ! ^__^

Recipe clipping from one of the free dailies here

190 grams ready-made or ***homemade pineapple filling
125 grams cake flour
30 grams icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk powder
15 grams custard powder
90 grams frozen salted butter , cut into small pieces

* Preheat oven at 200° ( I baked mine at 180°C all the way through )

* Divide pineapple filling into eight portions ans shape into balls ; set aside .

* Sift the cake flour , icing sugar , milk powder and custard powder into a medium bowl .

* Add butter into the flour mixture and rub with fingertips until mixture resembles bread crumbs , tip it in into a clean surface and knead to form a soft dough . Divide into 8 pieces .

* Fill each dough with the pineapple filling , shape into a ball , make sure that the filling is well-wrapped . Put into a pineapple pastry mould ; press with palm from top , turn it over and press the other side . Put on the baking sheet with parchment paper .

* Bake in a preheated over at 180°C ( don't know if  temperature needs turning down ) for about 25 minutes or until golden brown . Flip once during baking . Set in a wire rack to cool before unmolding .

***For the pineapple filling , recipe idea stolen from Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover and from Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY

830 grams ( peeled weight ) pineapple , sliced
150 grams sugar

* Pureé pineapple slices in the food processor until smooth . Pour into a wok or a large pan and cook over medium low heat , stirring from time to time , the mixture will splatter so better watch yourself . Add sugar when mixture is a little bit dry and continue to cook for about an hour or until thick . Transfer to a heatproof container to cool before using .

I've used cookie moulds in this recipe , the square one measures 4 by 2 cm and both flower and heart shape , a bit smaller .

The weight of dough is 295 grams , I divided it into 10 portion ; the filling , some are 20 grams and some are about 18 grams .

I'm submitting this post to the following blog hop events :

Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover 

Little Thumbs up  , Pineapple is the theme this month hosted by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY 


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thick and chewy triple chocolate cookies

Remember these pretty double chocolate cookies ?

It's the same recipe as this new batch ....

I've only added some white chocolate chips since it has been sometime that I've eaten some .

Last time , I used Ghirardelli baking chocolate ....

As you can see , now , now stop drooling over that Lindt chocolates ! lol

You'll drool further when I tell you how much are those  ^___^

We're talking about HK dollar here !

It's $ 9.00  each  .....

Cheap , right ?

Just in case , Lindt will go out of style here heh ! I've got some stash !

Loads .....

I think I'm gonna hit the shop later just in case there are some left after the buying frenzy of some people before the Chinese New Year here ....

Compare to the first one , the taste is almost the same though this batch is much more chocolaty .

I made the whole recipe and added 1 cup of white chocolate in half of the cookie dough . I've made 79 cookies ( sizes vary from 1 3/4-inch to 2 1/4-inch  )

Recipe from Baking Illustrated ( Makes about 42 )

2 cups ( 10 oz ) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ( 1 1/2 oz ) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
16 oz semisweet chocolate , chopped ( 355 grams dark chocolate + 100 grams milk chocolate )
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder ( 4 teaspoons instant coffee powder ) 
10 tablespoons ( 1 1/4 sticks ) unsalted butter , at room temperature but still cool
1 1/2 cups ( 10 1/2 oz) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup ( 3 1/2 oz ) granulated sugar

* Sift together the flour , cocoa , baking powder and salt in a medium bowl ; set aside .

* Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of almost-simmering water , stirring once or twice until smooth ; remove form heat . In a small bowl , beat the eggs and vanilla lightly with a fork , sprinkle the coffee powder over to dissolve , set aside .

* With an electric mixer , beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy , about 5 seconds . Beat in the sugars until combined , about 45 seconds , the mixture will look granular . Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the egg mixture  until combined , about 45 seconds . Add the chocolate in a steady stream and beat until well combined , about 40 seconds . Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula . With mixer at low speed , add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined . Do not overbeat . Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until consistency is scoopable and fudge-like , about 30 minutes .

* Meanwhile , preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C . Line baking sheets with parchment paper . Scoop the dough onto the baking sheets with a 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop .

* Bake until the edges of the cookies have just begun to set but the centers are still very soft , about 10 minutes , rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time . . Cool cookies on the sheets about 10 minutes , slide the parchment with cookies onto wire racks and cool at room temperature . Remove cooled cookies from the parchment with a wide metal spatula .

I'm submitting this post to the blog hop event Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover .

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Taro cake aka wu tao goh

This is my 4th taro cake since October and with a cup of coffee , there's something comforting about eating it while it's cold and windy outside .

When you think of taro cake , one would say sweet cake/goodies but in this side of the world , they love it savoury  and pan-fried , for that matter .

Just like loh bak goh / turnip cake , it's made the same way , with rice flour , dried mushroom , dried shrimp , Chinese sausage , steamed then pan-fried .

And just like turnip cake , it's also commonly served during yum cha as part of your dim sum choices

This cake is one of the must-have snacks during Chinese New Year . During this festival , when somebody visits you at home , you should serve this or turnip cake or some other CNY goodies to the visitor(s) or else  you wouldn't receive any lai see ! lol

So for those who haven't tried this delicious savory bites , when you go to your neighborhood Chinese restaurant next time , do order this .

In this side of the world , they don't garnish taro cake with fried shallots . Alvin recommended adding some , so why not ?! I even added some to my taro mixture .  Thanks , Alvin ! 

Do check out one of my taro cake ( I still got one more but I haven't re-posted the photos yet :P )

550 grams ( peeled weight ) taro , cut into small cubes
2 pieces ( 100 grams ) Chinese sausage , cute into small dice
3 dried mushroom , soaked then dice
30 grams dried shrimp , soaked
3 tablespoons fried shallots plus some for garnish
175 grams rice flour
50 grams tapioca starch
3 cups water

Seasoning : 1/4 tsp salt , 1 tsp brown sugar , 1/2 tsp chicken powder , 1/2 tsp five spice powder , generous dash of ground white pepper

some chopped spring onion for garnish

* Grease an 8-inch round pan , set aside .
* In a medium mixing bowl , combine the rice flour and tapioca starch ; add in 1 cup of the water gradually to the rice flour mixture until well blended , set aside .
* Heat wok or a large pan , add about half teaspoon of oil , then add the diced sausage , stir fry until it releases some of its oil . Add in the shrimp , mushroom and the fried shallots , fry until fragrant . Add in the cubed taro , stir well to combine . Pour in the remaining 2 cups of water and add in the seasoning , let the taro mixture boil and adjust taste ; turn off heat and add the rice and water paste , stir with a wooden spoon or a spatula until well incorporated .
* Pour into the prepared pan and steam for 45 minutes over medium-high heat . Let cool completely before removing from the pan .
* Cut and pan-fry then serve hot with chili sauce . Don't forget to give some to your visitors to get your lai see !

I'm submitting this post to the blog hop event Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chocolate cupcakes with raspberry jam whipped cream

Lately , I've been too lazy , again , to bake much less blog .....

Good thing though that nobody's paying me to blog ( though wouldn't it be much better if there's some money involved , right ? hee hee ! ) or I'll be out of the job lol

But I'm craving for some chocolate cake and eating chocolates just won't do the job ....

So to kill two birds with one stone , bake then blog it , presto !

I'm not really fond of chocolate cake without chocolate listed as one of the ingredient , so most of the time when I see recipes that only list cocoa  , it's a no-go for me .....

Until I baked two chocolate cakes from  Rose's Heavenly Cakes' book .

It's my second time using her chocolate cake recipe and cocoa is the primary ingredient .

Most of you have baked Rose's cake and will agree that her recipes always deliver , just don't mind the looooong instructions  ^___^ ''

I've been meaning to join the Bake-Along blog hop event two months ago when the girls baked designer chocolate baby grands ( cupcakes ) but as usual there's this same ol' same ol excuse of mine .....

This time , I baked it ( sans the chocolate glaze ) , the frosting that I've used is the raspberry jam whipped cream , which in my opinion , easier to make with only two ingredients to whip and really go well with the utterly chocolaty and moist cupcakes .

Have you baked any cakes from Rose's Heavenly Cakes book ?

For the batter :

33 grams unsweetened ( alkalized ) cocoa powder
59 grams boiling water
54 grams canola or safflower oil , at room temperature
2 large eggs , separated , plus 1 additional whites , at room temp , 37 grams yolks and 90 grams whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
37.5 grams cake flour
37.5 grams bleached all-purpose flour
150 grams superfine/caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

* Prepare 14 foil cupcake liners ( I've used 18 1 3/4 x  1 1/2-inch liners ) , white liners still attached , coated with baking spray and flour , set in muffin pans .
* Twenty minutes or more before baking , preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C .
* In a large bowl , whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth . Cover with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and let cool at room temperature , about 30 minutes .
* Add oil and yolks to the chocolate mixture . Starting on low speed , gradually raise speed to medium and beat for 1 minute or until smooth and shiny and resembling a buttercream . Scrape down the sides of the bowl ; beat in vanilla for few seconds .
* In a medium bowl , whisk together the flour , sugar , baking powder , baking soda and salt .
* Add half of the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture . Beat on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened . Scrape down sides of the bowl . Add remaining flour mixture . Raise the speed to medium-high and beat for a minute . Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl . The mixture will be very thick . Starting on low speed , add the egg whites . Gradually raise speed to medium-high and beat fro 2 minutes . The batter will now be like thick soup . Transfer mixture to a 2-cup or larger cup with spout . Pour batter into the prepared liners . They will just under half-full , 3/4-inch from the top .
* Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until wire cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean .

For the raspberry jam whipped cream frosting :

Makes about 4 cups ( I made half of the recipe )

348 grams heavy cream , cold
252 grams seedless raspberry jam

* In a large mixing bowl , pour the cream and chill for at least 15 minutes ; chill the beater alongside the bowl .
* Starting on low speed , gradually raising the speed to medium-high as it thickens , whip the cream just until beater marks begin to show distinctly . Add the jam and whip just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised . Use at once.