Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Valentine Special

Hello Kitty, Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse Chocolates

Could not believe that it's so easy to create such beautiful and yummylicious chocolates. Just in time for valentine's day. What better way to say I LOVE YOU that something made by yourself and not available anywhere else. Priceless!

Not only does it please the eye, it's also easy to make. It took me about 30 minutes from preparing to eating it. All you need is some cooking chocolate, mould and a freezer.

You will need to melt the cooking chocolate (make sure you do not buy the non-sweet time as it would be very bitter otherwise.) Melt the chocolate using the double boiled method as direct heat will burn the chocolate.

Once the chocolate is melted, spoon it into the moulds and let it cooled down before putting it into the freezer. You can eat it after 10 mintes - Simple, Easy and Cost Effective.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Almond and Pumpkin Seed Snap

Pooh Shape Nutty Snap

a. 4 egg whites (large or grade A eggs)
b. 1/4 tsp salt
c. 160g caster sugar
d. 1 tsp almond essence (I used vanilla essence instead)
e. 50g melted butter (to cool)
f. 100g plain flour (sieved)
g. 100g flaked almonds
h. 120g pumpkin seeds (kua chee)

Not thin enough.

1. Pre heat the oven to 175C.
2. Mix egg whites, salt, caster sugar and almond essence together with a whisk for 4 minutes until caster sugar dissolves. Then add in the melted butter and mix well.
3. Fold in the flour slowly. Add in flaked almonds and pumpkin seeds and mix well.
4. Spoon the mixture on a baking tray lined with well greased aluminium foil. Spread the mixture out into a thin layer using a spoon. (Make sure it is really thin as too thick and the snap will not be crunchy, it will be chewy instead)
5. Bake at 175C for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove and leave to cool before storing. Break or cut into smaller pieces and store in an air-tight jar.

Nin Koe (New Year Cake)

What is Chinese New Year without Nin Koe? This is however a cheat's recipe for making the traditional Nin Koe, using palm sugar to make it more aromatic. There is a popular belief that eating this cake assures you of a prosperous year ahead. Nin Koe in Cantonese roughly translates to "Better Every Year" .

It is also believed that one should not be in an angry mood or make bad comments while making the Nin Koe as it will refuse to set or it would be ruined. I was in a very happy mood while making the Nin Koe although I mixed the wrong flour together initially. (There are about 10 types of flour in my house). It was a blessing in disguised as I half everything otherwise I would have a VERY big batch of mixture and will spend the whole day waiting for it to cook.

Would you want to eat it?

Recipe as follows:

a. 600g palm sugar (gula melaka)
b. 900g caster sugar
c. 1.2 litres water
d. 100ml vegetable oil
e. 1.2kg glutinous rice flour, sieved
f. 400g tang flour (wheat flour or tang mien fun)

1. Put palm sugar, caster sugar and water into a sauce pan and bring to boil. Cook until the sugar dissolves completely, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
2. Put glutinous rice flour and tang flour together in a large mixing bowl. (It needs to be very large as you will need to knead the dough here)
3. Add the cool down sugar mixture into the flour mixture. Mix well to form a smooth paste. I used my hand as it is easier to handle.
4. Stir in the oil and mix well.
5. Pour into a greased stainless steel cake mould measuring 15 x 30 cm. If you want it to be more fragrant, you can use banana leaf to line the mould. I used the Silicon moulds (4 in a pan) to make and need not greased it as the mixture is already a bit oily.
6. Steam for about 3 hours over medium heat. Usually it is steamed using the traditional water in a wok method but I cheated and used the electric steamer instead.
(If you think 3 hours is long, the traditional recipes usually requires steaming of 8 -  10 hours!)
7. Remove, cover with plastic wrap (cling wrap) and leave to room temperature for 4 hours or so.

There are 2 methods in cooking the Nin Koe
1. Steaming - steam the nin koe until it is soft and sprinkle desicated coconut over it and serve immediately.

2. Frying - Slice the cooled rice cake into 1 cm think pieces, dip into beaten egg and pan fry in a hot, oiled wok until fragrant and slightly browned. Remove and serve immediately.
Idea** You can also cut out yam and sweet potato pieces and put a piece of Nin Koe in between and fry as above.

** If you are using a different type or smaller mould, you may want to use 1/2 of the ingridients stated above.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mickey Pancakes on a Sunday morning

Mickey Pancake with Milo powder.

Mickey Pancake with Nutella spread.

Recipe for Pancakes
65 g butter
450 ml milk at room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 egg at room temperature
275 g floor
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
25 g caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1. Mix together the milk and the lemon juice.
2. Break the egg into the milk and whisk.
3. Melt the butter in a pan. Add into the milk and lemon juice mixture and whisk again.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
5. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the liquid ingredients and beat with a hand whisk.
6. Stop as soon as the batter is smooth. Overbeating makes the pancakes dry.
7. Heat a non-stick pan and put the mould onto the pan. Spoon the batter by the into the mould. Do not make it too thick as the underside would be too brown.
8. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the underside is a good pale brown colour (2 minutes at most).
9. Remove from the mould and flip over the pancake and cook until the second side is also a good colour.

Made lovingly from the Mickey Mouse Pancake / Egg / Burger Mould and Stencil.

Tapioca Kueh (Cake) aka Kuih Ubi Kayu

Part of my Tapioca Kueh

How it look like after being sliced open.

Recipe for Tapioca Kueh (Kuih Ubi Kayu)

a. 1 tbsp butter for brushing tray
b. 1 banana leaf for lining
c. 650g tapioca, peeled and grated
d. 200 ml thick coconut milk (I cheated and use the Low Fat Packet version by Ayam Brand)
e. ¼ tsp salt
f. 6 tbsp sugar
g. 1 egg
h. 1 tbsp tapioca flour
i. 1 tbsp butter

1. Grease a 20 x 20 (8 x 8) square tray with butter and line with banana leaf
2. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend together with a hand whisk. Pour into the tray.
3. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 30-40 minutes until cake is set. Turn up the hear to grill the kuih at 250 C for 5 – 10 minutes, or until the crust is brown and aromatic.
4. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least 6 hours or overnight, before cutting into 2cm thick squares.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Mi Koo (Pink Paus)

In conjunction with the coming Lunar New Year I have decided for the very first time to tryout some Festive Goodies. This Mi Koo is not exactly served during Chinese New Year but during the 9 Gods Festival in the 9th Month of the Lunar Calender. I used to eat this with kaya when I was young. Perhaps it's the pink colour that caught my attention. Anyway, the recipe is as below:

a. 150 g caster sugar
b. 350 ml warm water (to melt the sugar and yeast)
c. 4 tsp instant yeast
d. 600 g bread flour
e. 1/8 tsp pink/red colouring (I think you will need to adjust the consistency yourself)
f. 3 tbsp water

1. Combine the sugar and warm water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Mix in the yeast.
2. Add the yeast mixture to the flour and knead to form a smooth dough. Divide dough into 6 portions.
3. Mould the dough into an oval shape. Place on grease proof baking paper. Leave to expand for 45 minutes. Do not put the dough too near to each other otherwise it will stick together when it expands. It will also stick to the baking paper so once you have put it down, it is better not to move it again.
4. Stir together the colouring and the water to get a bright pink. Brush on the Mi Koo and steam covered for 20 minutes over high heat, opening the lid every 5 minutes. You may need to steam it in batches. Set aside to cool before serving.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Flour Free Chocolate Cake

I made a flour-free chocolate cake for New Year's eve. It was so delicious that I decided to make it again yesterday but the outcome was not as nice as I have used a different type of chocolate the second time. Here is the recipe:

5 Eggs (I used grade A or Large Eggs)
175 g caster sugar
225 g butter + extra for greasing
200 g plain dark chocolate
75 g ground almonds, sieved

1. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Grease the baking tin and place in the fridge.
2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, just enough to break the yolks, then add the sugar. Combine the mixture with a whisk, stopping as soon as it is evenly blended.
3. Put the butter and the chocolate in a saucepan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, turn off the heat and stir with a flexible spatula until the chocolate has also melted.
4. Pour the chocolate over the eggs and very lightly mix with the whisk. Add the ground almonds and mix again.
5. Pour the mixture into the tin, and give it a tap on the work surface to release any air bubbles. Transfer to the oven for 25 minutes maximum.

**For the first time I used normal cooking chocolate bought from baking supplies store and it came out beautifully. For the second time I used non-sweeted cooking chocolates and the result was not as nice as the cake tasted like dark chocolate with a hinge of bitterness. Happy baking.

New Year, New School

This is my first post for the new year. I would like to wish everybody a Happy New Year and all the best for the remaining 364 days. This morning I send both my kids to kinder, luckily everything went smoothly and Caley (just turned 3 2 weeks ago but considered as 4 this year) adapted to kindy life like a fish in the water. No crying spells, no hugging mummy and daddy. Hopefully this will be her behaviour for the whole year. I hope she enjoys kindy as much as Nigel (he is 6 this year). Crossing my fingers and toes.