Saturday, June 29, 2013

Topshell Salad Recipe

Quick and easy-to-put-together dishes have been always been welcomed; no cooking, minimal washing. This simple topshell salad remembers me of a Thai cold dish as it is sweet, salty and sour all at once.

Molten Chocolate (Lava) Cake Recipe

Contrary to popular belief, molten chocolate cakes or lava cakes are easy desserts which can be put together quickly. The key towards making this dessert is using good quality chocolate and sticking to the baking time. The idea is to underbake the chocolate cake such that the middle of the cakes still remain liquid and soft. However, even if you did overbake your cakes, you will still get a delicious moist chocolate cake. It really is a dessert which you can't go wrong.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

I have to admit that I love my cupcakes plain. However these days, commercial cupcakes come frosted in many types of flavours and colouring and I was tempted to follow suit. Buttercream frostings are basic and a common choice for frosting cupcakes. They are made from butter, sugar and are flavoured with vanilla essence or chocolate, etc. With some experimenting, you can probably come up with flavours which match and complement your cupcakes!

I was on a lookout for buttercreams which can last in our hot humid weather. Afterall, it will be so disappointing to see your lovely piped swirls melt into a messy puddle. Meringue based buttercreams were drawn to my attention for the stability which helps in creating better looking swirls when frosted.

There are 3 types of meringue based buttercreams - Italian, Swiss Meringue and French. You can read more about them at Wikipedia or Sweetapolita. Both articles really helped me understand what these buttercreams are and how to better prepare them.

chocolate cupcakes

Mashed Potato Recipe

Mashed potatoes are great side dishes which are overlooked in the greater scheme of things, i.e. when paired with sirloin steak you would probably focus all your attention on the meat.

I love a good mashed potato which can stand alone as a main. No other sauces are needed. Just plain old creamy goodness.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Braised Chinese Rice Vermicelli/Bee Hoon Recipe

Chinese rice vermicelli noodles or bee hoon is a common Chinese noodle used in noodle soups or are braised/stir-fried. It comes in a dried form, a pack of 400g and I like to use Tai Sun brand. It is very recognisable with its two red chillis printed on the packaging. You can get a pack from supermarkets like NTUC at $1.25 and it has a serving size of 8-10. If you are not using all at a go, simply break away the portion you require and tie up the bag with a rubber band.

When you stir-frying these noodles, you will need some good stock for the noodles to absorb the flavours. To keep things simple, my family likes to use canned stewed meat or pork leg with mushroom. Either brands Gulong or Narcissus works. Gulong stewed pork goes for $2.50 (250g) whereas Narcissus goes for $2.85 (250g). Narcissus pork leg with mushroom goes for $3.95 (400g). The idea is to allow the noodles to absorb the sweetness of the stewed meat so don't throw away the brine/stew which comes with the meat!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Butter Cake Recipe

A good butter cake is always a simple treat to enjoy with a cup of tea. Though a little sinful, its a cake enjoyed by both young and old.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Soft Centered Green Tea Cupcakes Recipe

After experimenting with green tea powder/matcha in my baking, I realise it is a tricky ingredient to work with; too much of it and there will be a bitter after-taste, too little of it and you don't get the taste and fragrance.

Wanting to try something new, I decided to make green tea soft centered cupcakes. This recipe by Rachel Yau, 丘桂玲 in 为你做甜品 Dessert for you, gives a twist on normal green tea cupcakes. Imagine peeling apart your warm green tea cupcake to reveal more oozing green tea custard!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Potato Carrot Salad Recipe

Salads are versatile dishes and you can add almost anything you love inside. For me, it is also a good chance to clear out my pantry.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mille Crepe Cake Recipe

I have always enjoyed the simple pairing of cream with pastries; strawberry shortcake and this time round, Mille Crepe Cake.

Cheese Tart Recipe

This no-bake cheese tart is really quick and easy, requiring minimal ingredients; cream cheese, whipping cream and sugar.

Chocolate chips Chocolate chips

Chocolate chips Chocolate chips

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pastry Cream Recipe

Pastry creams are delicious fillings for your tarts, cakes, pies and even cupcakes. It is simple and can be prepared in advance and chilled a day or two before use.

Homemade Vanilla Essence (Extract) Recipe

Vanilla essence/extract is one basic flavouring used in many recipes; basic sponge, butter or cupcakes. For a novice baker, the cheapest and most convenient way to get vanilla essence is from supermarkets or baking stores, e.g. Bake King's vanilla essence ($1.35 per bottle of 26ml).

However, after baking for some time, one will realise that the taste of the baked product depends heavily on the type of ingredients used. By that I am referring to the specifics; i.e. brand of butter, flour, etc. With so many commercial brands available, quality and price are two things I look out for when I buy my ingredients. Best-value-for-money is my mantra.

So why not invest in making your own vanilla essence? It is much simpler than you think; all you need is some good quality vanilla beans and vodka.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Pumpkin soups can be delicious hearty meals given their high nutritional content. Having a bowl of golden-yellow creamy soup at the end of a hectic day is pure comfort.

Pair pumpkin soup with croutons or bread

Monday, June 17, 2013

Chilled Beancurd (tau huey) Recipe

The whole chilled beancurd (tau huey) craze started last year and I remember being fascinated by how smooth the texture was. It is rather different from the the traditional beancurd which tends to be "rougher" and is sweetened with sugar syrup and other toppings like red bean, grass jelly, etc. Put simply, chilled beancurd tastes like soy bean jelly.

Personally, I am a big fan of chilled beancurd over the traditional beancurd as I heard that traditional beancurd contains gypsum (石膏粉), which is also used in the manufacture of casting (plaster, surgical castings). Even though the amounts used are probably negligible but it still freaks me out that I am consuming something so seemingly inedible and highly artificial.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dark Chocolate Almond Tart Recipe

A sweet buttery crust coupled with dark chocolate and roasted almonds; you really can't go wrong with this combination.

Chewy Subway Chocolate Chips Cookies Recipe

Cookies. Some people love them crunchy (think Famous Amos), others love them chewy/soft-baked (think Subway). Either ways, they are still a delightful source of comfort food for me.

In my research, I chanced upon Baking Library's Homemade Subway Chocolate Chip Cookies. To me, baking is a form of Science; measurements have to be accurate and the type of ingredients used determine the taste of the baked goods. For instance, butter imparts a fragrance and flavour whereas unflavoured oils give a moist texture. Some of the technicalities of creating a chewy cookie texture have been succinctly and clearly explained by Bakertan.

<update> Refer to Soft baked Chewy Chocolate Chips Cookies Recipe for a variation!

Crispy Almond Cookies Recipe

This post can be dated back to the Chinese lunar new year this year. I have just gotten my oven and was looking for easy-to-bake goodies to give my family and friends.

These almond cookies are super easy to make, cheaper and more yummy than the commercial ones. My recipe is from Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover, with minor adaptations.

*refer to original blog posting

1. Reduced sugar to 60g

2. Instead of almond meal (which is finely crushed/grated almond), I used whole blanched (skin removed) almonds. I toasted them in the oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, placed them in a big plastic bag and started smashing the almonds up with an heavy object (think hammer). Place some newspaper on your kitchen floor before crushing your almonds. This helps cleaning later in case loose almond bites escape from your bag.

3. Reduced salt to 1/4 tsp


Instead of rolling out dough and using a cutter, I just used a bottle cap from any plastic/PET bottles. Wrap cling wrap around the bottle cap and press cap into dough mixture. Level the bottle cap and drop the dough onto a lined baking tray. It is important to have approximately equal amounts of dough per cookie to ensure even and thorough baking.

To check if the cookies are done, they should be dry to touch and break apart with a jab from the toothpick.  The easiest way is to pop one in your mouth (if it's not too hot of course)


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Green Tea Mochi Cakes with Red Bean recipe

In a recent trip to Korea, I picked up a few bottles of Green tea/Matcha powder at O'sulloc Tea Museum from Jeju. O'sulloc Tea Museum is a beautiful place with green tea plantations and there is lovely section selling a variety of green tea and tea products.

Jeju island KoreaJeju island Korea

Jeju island KoreaJeju island Korea

Apple Crumble Tart Recipe

Having bought a new tart pan recently, I couldn't wait to try it out! This 20cm tart pan with removable base was bought from Bake King's outlet in Haig Road for $14.90 (if I remember correctly). They did not have a big range for me to choose from; another option being a 23cm tart pan with removable base going at $8-ish. Personally, I prefer a smaller pan despite the heftier price tag as I do not want to bake such big portions each time.

Making the tart is relatively easy but having proper time management and knowing when to do what will help to speed things up. The tart base has to be frozen at least twice and the apples need to be sautéed for 20-30 minutes. I took reference for tart base from joyofbaking and adapted apple fillings and crumble from smallsmallbaker!

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