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Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Cookies



Blessed Christmas everyone! =)

This year I've finally managed to make a batch of pretty decent looking cookies and they were given out to my colleagues as Christmas gifts. Nothing expensive or fancy, but I hope they liked them. Thus far the cookies were well received. In all, I took 3 evenings to make it. One evening to bake, the next to make the fondant and the final and most interesting evening is when I finally got to decorate the cookies by hand one by one. Altogether I made about 30 pieces of cookies. I'm very pleased with this batch and I can't wait to start the next. The cookies recipe can be found here. Decorating the cookies is hard work but it's also so much fun!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Cupcakes with Marshmallow Fondant

It's the season for shopping, feasting and presents! Christmas is just round the corner! So much to eat! So much to shop and so much presents to buy! =)

Last week, Fat Cheeks and myself attended a baking workshop for mummy & child at the Community Centre. We made cupcakes with marshmallow fondant. Everything was made from scratch and we had a really fun time. A while ago, I tried doing marshmallow fondant myself. It was so sticky, gooey & messy I gave up. This time round, I've finally learnt the right technique to do it and I have say, it does take a lot of patience and hard work but you will be rewarded with soft pliable play dough. Still it was not easy doing the figurines. The ones I made were ok and I like my snowman best. =)

Here's the marshmallow fondant recipe:

Ingredients:
Shortening - 15g
Marshmallow - 100g
Icing sugar, sifted - 200g
Water - 8g
colouring

Method
- Grease a stainless steel bowl with a thin layer of shortening.
- Put marshmellow into bowl, let it melt over a pot of shimmering water, sprinkle water (8g) occasionally.
- Pour melted marshmellow on a greased tabletop, then slowly knead icing sugar into marshmellow over 4-5 times, until it becomes smooth (not sticking to fingers) and pliable.
- Add desired colouring, if fondant becomes sticky, add a little icing sugar.
- Cling wrap and keep in container until ready to use.
    

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fresh Blueberry Cupcakes


We've been under the weather lately. Runny nose, cough, headaches and backaches have been plaguing us. Poor Fat cheeks is the most affected of us all. We've all been taking medication faithfully and I am keep our fingers crossed that after this weekend, all will be well. To cheer up Fat cheeks, I decided to let her do some simple baking. This time we're doing Blueberry cupcakes. Seems they are in season and a punnet of blueberries cost less than $3. I measured out the ingredients and had her do the rest with me giving instructions at the side. I adapted the recipe from my Nutella cupcakes here. I replaced the white sugar with brown sugar and folded in the punnet of fresh blueberries in the end. The cupcakes turned out really well, very light & fluffy. The brown sugar tastes less sweet & I love how the fresh blueberries explode when you bite into them. Yummy! Fat cheeks followed instructions well & did a fantastic job!! =)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I've got presents! =)


I've got presents all the way from Sweden. =)

Thank you Sylvia for your lovely handmade key chains, we love them! Just looking at them makes me smile.

It's really wonderful to have friends. As I grow older, I realise genuine friends are hard to come by especially for me. I'm quiet, boring and don't socialise much. I don't like attention and am actually happy to be part of the flower vase in the background observing things going on around me. I also enjoy doing things alone. I find it much less complicated that way. Hence it's no surprise my group of friends is small. But the few I have, I treasure them much. We may not go out often and we hardly meet up, but I know they are there for me like I will be there for them. I use to work with this small group of friends and I do miss them much. Pai seh, the key chains is making me mushy!! =)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hot Dog with Tomato Salsa


Hot dogs!! I love hot dogs. They are salty, juicy and bursting with flavors. They are not the healthiest food but I just cannot resist them. I try my very best not to eat them too often but when I do, I try to buy the better quality ones & they don't come cheap. After a tough work week, today I thought we indulge ourselves. I simply pan fry my hot dogs over low fire till done and served it with my self-made tomato salsa. For my tomato salsa, I diced up 1 tomato, add a small portion of chopped onion, a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, a few dashes of tobasco sauce, a few tbsp of ketchup, a sprinkling of dried parsley leaves and a pinch of salt to taste. A dash of lemon juice would brighten it up but I didn't have any. Nevertheless, it still went well with the hot dogs. This is like the perfect brunch for me. =)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Teddy Bear Cookies



Rushed home from work and managed to make this in record time for a dear friend. Hope she liked it. =)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Shredded Pork (Pulled Pork)


I saw this recipe on Food Network Asia and I knew I had to try it coz it's so interesting! Basically it's like braising pork with Root Beer! Yes...Root beer! Rub down the pork with spices, put them into the slow cooker, fill with root beer & let it cook overnight. After an hour or so, the whole house was filled with lovely aroma. Hubby kept telling me that it smells so good and that it was keeping him awake. By the morning, the pork was soft & tender. All I had to do was shred them, stuff them into pita bread, drizzle a little gravy & start munching. Fat Cheeks loved it so much, she couldn't stop to talk but gave me the thumbs up sign as she munched. =) I think it will go very well with pasta too. Yumz.

Ingredients:
- 1kg pork shoulder
- 4 oz root beer
- 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tbsp pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 med onion, diced

Method:
- wash pork and pat dry
- mix spices & herb, rub all over pork
- place diced onion at bottom on slow cooker, followed by the pork on top
- add root beer
- cover & cook over high for an hour or 2, then turn to low heat & cook for another 4-5 hours
- remove pork & shred
- drizzle with gravy & serve warm
- Note: you can make the gravy thicker by adding some flour to the gravy & boiling it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mango Sago


Inspired by my favorite dessert from Hong Kong. I made a simple version with cubed mango, evaporated milk, sago & sugar syrup. I think coconut milk works best as it gives a more fragrant, creamer dessert but I didn't want to get addicted hence risking all the extra calories. This is good enough for me for now. =)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Waffles

I have a new toy! Hubby got me a waffle maker! Yay! I've always wanted it so when hubby saw one on sale, he grabbed it for me. How sweet! =) It's been sitting in its box for a couple of weeks coz I've been real busy & stressed at work. Didn't have the time or mood to do much. Today however, I've decided to try my new toy out. Once again my kitchen helper, little Miss Fat cheeks helped me whipped up the batter. =) I'm quite sure she'll be a better cook when she grows up. I'm just so proud of her. The waffles turned out really nice. It's the way I like it. Crisp on the outside, light & fluffy inside. Honestly, I was quite surprised. I didn't expect a simple no fuss recipe like this to turn out this nice. It's a keeper. Fat cheeks had her waffles with vanilla ice cream while I had mine with Nutella. I wanted to have another with honey & butter but just didn't have the space in my tummy. Next week perhaps. =)

Ingredients:
(makes 6 pcs)
- 125g self rising flour
- 5g baking powder
- 20g sugar
- 30g melted butter (I used salted butter)
- 125g milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg

Method:
- preheat waffle maker
- mix all dry ingredients in a big bowl
- in separate bowl, beat egg, milk, butter & vanilla till frothy
- pour into dry ingredients, mix till well blended (but do not over mix)
- ladle into hot waffle maker
- cook till golden & crisp
- serve warm


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nutella Cupcakes



It's been a while! I miss my baking so much! =) So glad I managed to squeeze in some time to meddle in my kitchen today. My kitchen helper, little miss Fat Cheeks did a fantastic job. She helped me cream the butter & sugar, added eggs & spooned the batter into the cups. So proud of her! The cupcakes turned out really wonderful. It had a nice crusty top, light fluffy insides with creamy Nutella swirled in. We couldn't stop eating eat. Totally yumz!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Crispy Spiral White Bean Mooncake

This is my very 1st attempt at making Crispy Spiral Mooncake. I love these and never fail to get them every year. I didn't have very high expectations when I decided to make them. I knew it was difficult to make but I just wanted to try it anyway even if it was going to be ugly =p. I tried not to fret too much and actually enjoyed experimenting with the pastry. The white bean paste was really nice. It tasted much like yam paste which I love. All in all, I'm quite pleased with it. Not very pretty but the pastry was very crispy and fragrant, the bean paste soft & yummy.

Makes 12pcs.

White Bean Paste:
- 300gm black eyed beans
- 200g castor sugar
- 100gm cooking oil
- 1/2 tsp alkaline water

Method:
- soak beans with water & alkaline water overnight
- wash well
- cover beans in water & cook till soft
- blend beans with just enough water till it becomes a fine paste
- add paste & sugar into wok and cook till slightly dry then add in oil, mix well
- cook till paste is quite dry and comes away from the wok

Pastry:
Water dough
- 200g plain flour
- 50g cooking oil
- 100ml water

Oil dough
- 150gm plain flour
- 75gm shortening

Method:
- water dough: rub flour & oil, gradually add water & knead into dough. rest for 15mins
- oil dough: mix all ingredients & rest for 15 mins as well
- divide both doughs into 12 pcs
- take water dough & wrap oil dough
- flatten & roll out to resemble a long stick
- roll up like swissroll, turn dough facing up (round shape up)
- flatten & wrap filling
- fry till golden brown


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Shanghai Moon Cake


So exciting! Mooncake Festival is coming soon! Time to bring out my moulds & start messing around. =) Unlike last year, this year I won't be able to make my own paste. It's too time consuming. Ah...how I miss my tai tai days. Anyways, first up; Shanghai Moon Cake. I found this recipe in U magazine and decided to give it a try. It's pretty straight forward and with the ready made paste, the mooncakes were done fairly fast without much fuss. The pastry tasted like a cross between the traditional baked skin & shortcrust pastry. I made 2 fillings, lotus & red bean. Everyone at home liked the mooncake & we also thought that the red bean filling tasted better with the crust. Not bad at all. =)

Filling:
- 240g lotus paste
- 240g red bean paste

Ingredients A:
- 85g fine sugar
- 50g egg (about 1 med egg)
- 25g evaporated milk
- 75g corn oil

Ingredients B:
- 200g plain flour
- 25g custard powder
- 15g milk powder
- 5g baking powder

Decorations:
- egg wash
- almond slices / white sesame seeds

Method:
- divide fillings into 60g portion each & roll into balls. Set aside
- mix ingredients A together & stir till sugar dissolve
- sieve ingredients B into separate bowl, make a well in centre and pour in A
- mix to form a soft dough
- cover with damp cloth & let it rest for 30mins
- after resting, divide into 8 portions
- preheat oven to 180 deg c
- take 1 portion of dough & wrap filling, shape into balls
- arrange on baking tray
- brush with egg wash & decorate as desired
- bake 10-15mins till golden brown

Monday, September 6, 2010

Glaced Cherry Chiffon Roll with Buttercream


Here's another swissroll attempt. Finally it looks fairly decent. I even made the buttercream filling. The cake recipe is from my Mixed Peel and Chiffon roll here. Before baking, I placed thin slices of glaced cherry on top of the batter before it went into the oven. I love how it adds colour to the cake, quite pretty like little jewels. =) The cake is very soft and it melts in your mouth. Hubby says the buttercream is really nice and it reminds him of the cakes he had during his childhood days. Very nostalgic. =)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Rich Creamy Chocolate Pudding

This chocolate pudding is rich, creamy and luscious. Chocolate makes me drool...yumz. I haven't been eating well lately coz I have this terrible ulcer in my mouth. This cool, smooth chocolate dessert is just perfect. It's fast and easy to do. Without a doubt, Fat cheeks loved it too licking the cup and spoon clean. =)

Ingredients:
- 1 egg
- 2 yolks
- 1.5 cup of milk
- 2 tbsp flour
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup of chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp butter (I just cut a small chunk of butter)

Method:
- add milk, sugar, flour, salt in a heavy base saucepan and cook over medium heat till it comes to a boil, stirring all the time
- lightly whisk egg in a separate bowl and slowly add hot milk mixture and whisking at the same time
- return egg and milk mixture into saucepan over med heat, continue to whisk
- cook till thickens
- remove from heat, add butter and chocolate
- whisk till well combined and cool
- spoon into container, chill for at least 3 hours

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sugar Cookies


Fat cheeks celebrated Teacher's Day at school today. She wanted to give her teachers presents and was so disappointed when she found out that I forgot to help her get any. To make up, I thought I'll bake her teachers some cookies. These decorated cookies have been on my waiting list ever since time in memorial. So I quickly prepared all the ingredients and started creaming away. The dough was done relatively quickly, it was then chucked it into the fridge to chill. In the mean time, I prepared the royal icing for decoration. The dough was suppose rest and set in the fridge for an hour to 2 but being pressed for time, I thought I'll try cutting them anyway. BIG mistake. I only managed to cut about 3 pieces before it started to melt & fall apart. I kept trying & it went from sticky dough to gooey mess. I was so frustrated that I almost threw everything away. Fed up, I threw everything back into the fridge and went on to make cards with Fat Cheeks. Fortunately by the time the cards were completed, the dough firmed up nicely and I was able to cut them finally. It also helped that I've divided the dough into 3 parts, leaving the unused parts in the fridge & only taking it out just before cutting them. By the time I was done with baking, cooling & decorating, it was 1am. ZZZzzzz. So what have I learnt? Planning & patience!! But after all said and done, I have to say the cookies were crispy, butter and delicious. I had tremendous fun decorating the cookies. They weren't as pretty as I had hoped for but they were ok. Lots more practice needed! =)

Ingredients:
- 1.5cups flour
- 1/2tsp baking powder
- 1/4tsp salt
- 115g butter
- 1/2cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
- preheat oven to 180 deg c
- mix flour and baking soda
- beat sugar and butter till light & fluffy
- add eggs and vanilla essence
- beat in flour till soft dough is formed
- wrap in cling wrap and chill in fridge for an hour or 2 till firm
- cut into desired shapes
- bake 8-10 mins till cookies a lightly browned
- cool completely before decorating or storing

Royal Icing:
- 2 cups of icing sugar
- 1.5 tbsp meringue powder
- 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup warm water

Method:
- mix all ingredients in a bowl except water
- add water gradually while whisking mixture till desired consistency is reached
- continue whisking till icing is glossy
- add colour, mix well and decorate

Saturday, August 28, 2010

French Madeleines


The weekends are here! Hubby was away for a week and is finally making his way home this late afternoon. My darling energetic Fat cheeks will be stuck at home with me for almost a whole day. So before we both go nuts, I decide to distract her a little by doing some baking together. I found this really simple uncomplicated recipe that is just perfect; French Madeleines! No need to cream butter and sugar, no need to whip egg whites; just mix everything together, chill then throw into oven & tadah....yummy madeleines. This is the 2nd time I'm making madeleines. The last recipe uses lemon zest, this one uses orange zest and ground almond. Very buttery, fragrant and a little denser than the last recipe. It also has the signature "hump" that Madeleines are suppose to have. We both love the taste and enjoyed making it very much. Fat cheeks can't wait to show it off to her Daddy. =)

Ingredients:
- 1 cup self rising flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 125g butter, melted & cooled
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup ground almonds
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 tsp of orange essence
- 1/4 tsp of vanilla essence
- pinch of salt

Method:
- mix zest & sugar
- in separate bowl, sift flour and add sugar zest mixture
- beat eggs lightly & add to flour mixture
- add melted butter, salt, almond, orange & vanilla essence
- mix with wooden spoon till well combined
- chill in fridge for an hour
- preheat oven to 200 deg c
- grease moulds
- half fill moulds and bake for 10-15mins till golden