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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

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Egg Tarts


My love for egg tarts was rekindled recently after a lovely dim sum breakfast in a restaurant. Flakey pastry with smooth creamy custard, totally yummy! Fat cheeks enjoyed it very much and kept asking for more. So last weekend I thought I'll try to make them for her. My recipe was complied from bits here & there. I'm quite pleased with it. It didn't look very pretty but the tart's pastry was crispy, fragrant and the custard was thick and creamy. If you prefer a smoother filling, reduce the amount of cream and add more milk instead.

Ingredients:
(I managed to get 12 egg tarts)
Filling:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 milk
- 1/2 cup cream
- 4 yolks
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
- combine ingredients together, mix till well combined (try not to beat too much bubbles into mixture)

Pastry:
(a) Water dough
- 120gm plain flour
- 30gm icing sugar
- 30gm shortening
- 60gm water

(b) Oil dough
- 120gm flour
- 60gm shortening
Method:
- preheat oven to 200 deg c
- mix (a) till smooth, rest for 10
mins, divide into 12pcs
- in separate bowl, mix (b) till smooth, rest for 10
mins, divide into 12pcs
- (a) wrap (b), roll into long strip then roll up like
swissroll
- rest 5
mins, repeat above step
- shape dough into circles, then press into cups
- fill with egg mixture, bake for 20mins till pastry is nicely browned.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bow Pasta with Mince Beef & Beans

It's another pasta dish! We simply love pasta at home and it's easy to prepare. This time I've made pretty bow pasta with mince beef and kidney beans. This dish is inspired by beef chilli which hubby loves. I can't add the "chilli" to it else Fat Cheeks won't be able to eat it. Hence it's basically beef chilli without the chilli =). I made the sauce from a scratch, left it in my thermal pot overnight and the result is a very flavorful, gratifying sauce. Very yummy. Fat cheeks finished every morsel on her plate; the carrots, celery including the beans and that makes me a very happy mummy. =)

Ingredients:
- mince beef 300g
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 can of diced tomato
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 can kidney beans, drained
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 bay leave
- 1/8 tsp grounded cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp all spice
- 1 tsp cummin powder
- 2 tbsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 tbsp parsley
- 1/2 cup of water

Method:
- fry onion in olive oil till lightly brown
- add mince beef, let it brown stirring every now & then
- when beef is nicely browned, add cumin, cinnamon, all spice, dried basil, oregano & parsley, mix well
- add dice tomato and its juice, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, water and bay leave, stir well again
- lastly, add kidney beans and bring to boil
- leave it in thermal cooker or simmer for a couple of hours.
- serve hot with pasta, bread or rice.

Fat Cheeks finish all her veggies & beans! =)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Carbonara

It's a long weekend, unfortunately Fat Cheeks is under the weather so we can't really head out for fun. To comfort ourselves & to cheer my darling Fat Cheeks, I made Carbonara. Both hubby & Fat Cheeks loves it but I try not to make it often...our waistlines really cannot afford too much it! The rich, creamy & cheesey pasta with smokey bacon is really delicious and comforting. This round, I added a bunch of small white beech mushrooms and also used swiss cheese instead of the usual parmesan. Yummy! =)



Saturday, August 7, 2010

Brown Butter Chiffon Cake


I love the taste of brown nutty flavor. Like chocolate, I find it very difficult to resist toffee, butterscotch & caramel flavours. I first came across brown butter while watching a cookery program on tv. It fascinated me & so I googled it to look for more recipes. I found cookies, pound cake and ice cream recipes. How interesting! They are all on my "to make list" for sure. However for today I'm craving for chiffon cake (after spying a very yummy looking coconut chiffon cake from friend's photo). This recipe is adapted from my previous post, Gula Melaka Chiffon cake. Glad it turned out not bad. It's very light, moist with a fragrant nutty after taste. It was well received by hubby & fat cheeks. =)

Brown Butter:
- butter 100g
- heat butter in heavy skillet over medium heat until milk solids on bottom are dark brown
- transfer to shallow bowl, allow to cool

Ingredients:
(I used my 21cm tube pan)
- 4 eggs yolks
- 2tbsp corn oil
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 95g cake flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 100g brown butter (from above)
- 60g milk

- 4 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 60g brown sugar

Method:
- preheat oven to 175 deg c
- sift flour, salt & baking powder
- mix egg yolks, corn oil, brown butter, milk & flour till well combined
- in separate bowl, whisk egg whites & cream of tartar till foamy
- add brown sugar gradually & whisk till stiff peaks are formed
- fold egg whites into batter in 3 stages
- pour into tin and bake for 40-45mins
- invert cake pan & allow to cool

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Marble Cake

Wow time flies, I didn't realise my last entry was almost a month ago. I had a wonderful short break and my hands have been itching to bake since then. If only I had more time!! This week, I've decided to bake marble cake. It was one of my favourite cake when I was a child, the combination of butter & chocolate is just heavenly. This recipe I found has a secret ingredient...rum! The original recipe calls for 2-3 drops of rum essence but I used a tsp of the real thing. The cake turn out to be really light and fragrant. You can't really taste the rum, but it give a very pleasant aftertaste. Very very nice, another addition to my to "make again" list. =)

Ingredients:
- 170g butter, soften at room temperature
- 110g sugar
- 210g cake flour
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2-3 drops of vanilla essence
- 1 tsp rum
- a pinch of salt
- 3tbsp of milk
- 3tbsp of cocoa powder

Method:
- preheat oven to 180deg c
- grease loaf pan ( I used my 8" x 4" pan)
- beat butter & sugar till pale & fluffy
- add vanilla essence and rum
- add one egg at a time while beating at high speed
- sift flour and fold into batter in 2 stages
- fold in milk
- take out 1/3 of the batter, fold in cocoa powder
- pour batter into tin while dropping cocoa batter randomly then use chopsticks to create marble pattern
- bake for about 45 mins then test with skewer
- cool for 5mins then remove from pan