Saturday, November 26, 2016

Matcha mousse tarts

How's November treating you so far ? 

Me ? Not so kindly *sigh* I'm a bit under the weather right now , the coughing fit that just won't stop !$#@*% ugh ! 

But that didn't stop me from enjoying some of these pretty drool-worthy goodies ! Ha ! 

Hey , I'm not mean , I donated some to Meanie ! 

These mousse tarts look pretty complicated to make , right ? Not ! Just an extra step by using a dome-shaped silicon moulds to create these sweet-looking tarts . Unlike some mousse tarts that uses mousse rings and easier to remove after chilling in the fridge , these tarts need to freeze first until solid so that you can easily remove each piece . You're actually looking at the tarts that have been removed after 2 hours and 15 minutes of freezing , you can see that most of them are not neat and smooth . So , have patience and freeze at least for 4 hours  ! Remember , Rome wasn't built in a day ! 

Making these tarts though can be time-consuming , you need to make the cookie crust , the strawberry puree to make the jelly and the mousse itself which is a combination of thin custard , Swiss meringue and whipped cream . On Swiss meringue , you can just make a regular meringue for this recipe but I was a bit under the weather when I made these tarts and I don't want to eat raw egg thus this type of meringue .

Time-consuming aside , these pretty-looking tarts are so worth it ! 

Cough ! Cough ! 

Darn it ! 

Matcha cookie crust , recipe adapted here

Makes 6 tarts plus 1 tart using a stainless steel mousse ring

50 grams icing sugar 
30 grams almond powder 
8 grams green tea powder 
90 grams cake flour 
60 grams unsalted butter , cubed and cold 
1 egg yolk 

* Sift icing sugar , almond powder , green tea , and cake flour into a mixing bowl , tip in lumps that sits on the sieve into the bowl . Add in the butter and use fingertips to mix ingredients together until it resembles a coarse breadcrumbs . Add in the yolk and use a spatula to mix until dough is cohesive . Knead dough gently 4 times and form into a smooth ball . Flatten dough a bit then wrap it with plastic wrap . Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour preferably , overnight . 

* Take out dough from the fridge , let dough soften a bit before rolling between 2 sheets of floured plastic wrap . Roll dough into 3 mm thick , cut out seven 7-cm circle and cut the rest with a small flower-shaped cookie cutter . Transfer each piece on a silicon-lined baking sheet . Freeze for at least 20 minutes before baking . 

* Preheat oven to 180ºC . Bake for 10 to 14 minutes . The ones in the photo below are over-baked by almost 2 minutes . Cool cookies on a wire rack then place in an airtight container until needed . Make this a day ahead . This recipe is suitable for an 18-cm / 7-inches tart , possibly with scraps . 

Matcha mousse , recipe adapted here 

5 grams gelatin sheet 
100 grams milk 
7 grams matcha powder
1 yolk 
1 egg white 
60 grams caster sugar , divided 
100 grams whipping cream

* Prepare a 6-cavity silicone mousse pan ( 7-cm diameter and 4.5 depth ) plus 1 mousse ring 

* Soak gelatin in cold water for 10 minutes . 

* Pour milk in a small saucepan and add in the matcha powder , whisk to break up lumps . Turn heat to low and heat the mixture , don't boil .

* In a small bowl , whisk together the yolk and 30 grams of the caster sugar until mixture is pale and fluffy . Pour the warm matcha milk mixture gradually into the yolk mixture mixing as you pour to prevent curdling . Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat until you'll have a thin custard , about 12 minutes or until temperature has reached 85ºC . Turn off heat , squeeze off excess water from soften gelatin and add in to the hot custard , stir until gelatin is dissolved completely . Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and let cool to room temperature . 

* To make the meringue : In a mixing bowl , whisk together the egg white and the remaining 30 grams of caster sugar . Place bowl on top of the pot with barely simmering water , whisk until sugar is dissolved completely . Take out bowl from the heat and beat the mixture with an electric beater until stiff peaks form , set aside . 

* Beat cream until soft peaks form , set aside . 

* When the matcha custard has cooled , add in the cream and mix until well combined . Fold in the meringue and mix well . 

* Pour mixture into a 6-cavity silicon mould , leaving a space for the jelly . Chill in the fridge until set . 

Strawberry puree

Yield : 180 grams 

375 grams frozen strawberries
60 grams sugar 
1 tsp calamansi juice 
1 tsp strawberry paste 

* Place strawberries , sugar and juice into a small saucepan . Turn heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes until mixture thickens and the berries are very soft . Strain mixture into a bowl , using a spoon to push strawberries against the sieve , extracting as much liquid as you can . Stir in 1 tsp strawberry paste , set aside to cool then chill in the fridge until needed . Make this a day ahead . 

Strawberry jelly , recipe adapted here

5 grams gelatin sheet 
100 grams strawberry puree 
40 grams caster sugar
40 grams drinking water 

* Soak gelatin in a cold water until soft for 10 minutes . 

* Combine the puree , sugar and water in a small saucepan , turn heat to medium and stir until sugar is dissolved , 2 minutes . Turn off heat , squeeze off excess water from the soften gelatin then add in to puree mixture , stir until gelatin is dissolved completely . Transfer to a small bowl and let cool to room temperature .

* When jelly has cooled , pour on the top of the chilled matcha mousse . Let set in the fridge , about 20 minutes or so before putting the mould in the freezer . Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight . 

To assemble the tarts : 

* Take out mould from the freezer , gently remove each mousse from the cavity and place each on top of the prepared matcha cookie crust .

* Thaw tarts in fridge before serving , at least 1 hour .

To serve : 

6 flower-shaped matcha cookies 
6 Pocky midi-matcha 
some Nutella , to keep the decorations on top of the mousse from sliding / falling off

* Dab a bit of Nutella at the bottom one cookie , place it on top of the mousse then spread another bit of Nutella on one side of the Pocky and gently press on top of the cookie . Repeat with the rest .

* Take photos , eat and enjoy !!! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Banana-green tea muffins

Somewhere in other parts of the world , people are in a tizzy over their Thanksgiving spread .....

Meanwhile , somewhere in Hongkong ......

This is my to-go banana muffin recipe whenever bananas are on sale at the supermarket . I seldom buy this fruit for eating , I like banana just fine but eating it for 3 days straight is not my cup of tea .

As with most Nigella's recipes , this one is a keeper . I've tried substituting the original cocoa powder with Milo ( I added 50 grams but the flavour was muted ) and so far , my favourite is the green tea version . As you can see from the photos , muffins look really tall which I really like , just like the ones they're selling in some bakeries here . But unlike most store-bought muffins , this version is wonderfully-soft and full of green tea flavour .

As with most muffin recipe , don't over mix the batter . I found that sifting the dry ingredients into the the wet resulted in less lumpy batter . I'm using a table top oven , so I can only bake 1 pan / 6 muffins at a time resulting in not so uniform muffins . I used 2 sizes of liners and the muffins baked in taller liners tend to look better ( see photo below , first 6 one from the top ) . 

Please check original  @ Nigella

Makes about 15 muffins 

225 grams all-purpose flour 
15 grams green tea powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
400 grams ( peeled weight ) ripe or overripe bananas , mashed plus extra for topping ( optional ) 
100 grams ( rice bran ) oil 
125 grams light brown sugar 
2 large eggs , at room temperature 

demerara or crystal sugar for topping , optional

* Preheat oven to 200ºC . 

* Line muffin pan with liners , set aside .

* Combine flour , green tea powder and baking soda in a small mixing bowl , set aside . 

* Combine bananas , oil and sugar in a large bowl and use whisk until well combined . Add in the eggs and whisk for about 1 minute . Sift in the flour mixture into the banana mixture and stir until  just combined .

* Spoon mixture into the prepared muffin pan , about three fourths full , top with some banana slices and sprinkle with crystal sugar , if using . 

* Bake for 20 minutes or until bamboo skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean . Leave muffins for 10 minutes in the pan then take out and let cool completely on a wire rack . 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Purple sweet potato and yogurt cream tart

Time flies when you're doing nothing .....

Need to take advantage of the mild weather we have here . It's easier to make pastry crust when it's 25ºC so , no French words were uttered in making this wonderful tart lol 

Making this tart is pretty straightforward . It has 3 components , the pastry crust , the 2 fillings , the yogurt cream and the creamy purple sweet potato . You can use your favourite pastry dough recipe , here , I used my tried and tested recipe that I pilfered from Washoku Guide , it yields a delightful crispy crust and not oily at all , also the excess dough is perfect for making some rolled cookies ! If you're new to tart making , this easy-peasy recipe is perfect for you !

The 2 fillings are simple to make as well , the difficult part in making this was to pipe the potato filling using the St Honore tip . If you've seen or eaten some French cakes and tarts , you probably seen those beautifully-piped , voluminous whipped cream or Swiss meringue on top of say , lemon meringue tart or the St Honore cake , using this specialty tip . It looks pretty easy when you watch how to use it in Youtube but in reality , it takes a bit of practice especially for me who usually sucks at piping cakes ugh ! But hey , you don't have to search far and wide for this tip , you can use any tips you have on hand if you want to try your hand in making this deliciousness .

Love sweet potato ? 

Makes 6-inch tart 

Pâte Sucrée / Sweet shortcrust pastry , recipe adapted here

1 grams salt 
50 grams icing sugar 
110 grams cake flour 
30 grams almond flour
60 grams unsalted butter , softened 
1 large egg yolk 

* Sift in salt , sugar , cake flour and almond flour into a mixing bowl , tip in lumps that are left on the sieve into the bowl . Use a spatula to mix everything together then add in the yolk , mix until it forms a cohesive dough . Knead dough gently 4 times and form into a ball . Weigh dough and take out 155 grams , wrap into a plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight . Do the same with the extra dough , you can roll and cut it out then bake as cookies .

* Lightly-butter a 6-inch round tart tin with removable bottom , set aside .

* Lightly dust some cake flour at the bottom so as the top of the dough , then place dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap . Use a rolling pin to roll it into about 7-inch round , remove the plastic wrap on top , put the 6-inch tart tin on top of the dough then invert the tin and fit in the dough , smoothing gently , no need to trim the dough . Use the tines of the fork to poke holes all over the pastry , even the sides , if you have time in your hands 😁 . 

* Place tin in the freezer and freeze for an hour . No need to use pie weights . 

* Preheat oven to 180ºC . Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry shell is lightly golden . Place tin into wire rack and let cool a bit before removing pastry shell from the tin . Let cool completely before using .

Yogurt cream filling  , recipe adapted here

35 grams cream , chilled 
10 grams caster sugar 
50 grams Greek yogurt , chilled 

* Beat cream and sugar until soft peaks form then add in the yogurt and beat until well combine . Spoon filling into the cooled pastry shell , chill in the fridge until needed .

Purple sweet potato filling , recipe adapted from Homemade pies and tarts / Charles Ho 

170 grams steamed purple sweet potato , mashed I used 190 grams 
20 grams unsalted butter , softened
30 grams caster sugar
10 grams cornstarch
1/3 teaspoon ginger powder I used 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
75 grams whipping cream

1-cm round piping tip
St Honore piping tip
piping bag

* On low speed , beat mashed potato until smooth , it may look lumpy after about 3 minutes , so use a spatula to smear it at the side of the bowl to check whether it's already smooth . Add in butter , sugar , cornstarch , cinnamon , salt and whipping cream , beat on medium speed until smooth . Transfer mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip .

* Pipe sweet potato filling on top of the yogurt cream filling until it is completely covered ( forgot to take photo ) . Change the tip to St Honore and pipe more filling on top ( you can do a triple layer of sweet potato filling , if desired ) . 

* Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving . Dust with anti-moist icing sugar or the usual icing sugar , take some photos , fast ! Cut and serve immediately . Enjoy ! 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Gyudon / Japanese beef rice bowl

One of my favourite Japanese beef dishes is gyudon , a sweet and savoury simmered beef and onions served on top of steamed rice . A quick and simple dish that you can whip easily in one pan and in less than 10 minutes cooking time ! How's that for fast food ?! 

This recipe is more soupy than the first Yoshinoya-style gyudon recipe that I made a long time ago so , I decided to use half of it to top my udon noodles . I never like udon noodle soup but the umami-rich flavour of the beef broth that flavoured the noodles changed my mind ! 

I made half of the recipe and used 200 grams sukiyaki-style beef , 1/2 cup water plus 1/2 cup chicken broth instead of dashi . I don't like beni-shoga so I used gari , a much more refreshing pickled young ginger and chilli flakes instead of shichimi . An egg topping is optional but it tastes great in this dish . I cooked onsen egg or hot spring egg , a perfect add-in in this simple yet hearty and comforting dish .

If you're wondering if this gyudon tastes like Yoshinoya ? 

This is way better 😋

Recipe adapted from Japanese Soul Cooking

My slight modification in italics ( half of the recipe ) 

Serves 4

1 medium onion , about 3/4 pound , peeled
6 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tbsps sake
6 tbsps mirin
2 cups dashi I used 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsps toasted sesame oil
1 pound shaved beef / sukiyaki-style beef , cut into bite-sized pieces 200 grams 
1/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt 

To serve :

6 cups cooked Japanese white rice
shichimi togarashi / Japanese seven-spice powder
beni-shoga / Japanese red pickled ginger

 1 1/2 cups cooked Japanese rice 
200 grams instant udon noodles , cook according to package direction 
gari , Japanese young pickled ginger 
chilli flakes 

* Cut onion in half lengthwise and cut each half into 1/4-inch slices .

* Combine soy sauce , sake , mirin and dashi in a bowl , set aside .

* Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over high heat . Add beef and cook , stirring frequently for about 2 ( I cooked mine for about 1 minute ) minutes or until beef browns slightly . Add sugar , wait for 10 seconds before adding the onion . Cook , stirring constantly , for about 1 minute , until it begins to soften . Pour in the liquid mixture into the skillet . Let simmer for about 5 minutes , until the ingredients are cooked through . While the mixture is simmering , use a large spoon to skim off any scum and fat that appear on the surface . Add a pinch of salt , if necessary . 

* While the mixture is simmering , divide rice among 4 large bowls . As soon as gyudon is ready , spoon it over the rice , sprinkle with shichimi and top with beni-shoga . Serve immediately .