Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009. Welcome 2010!



 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Black Sesame White Rice Loaf

It's only been a week since I last baked and it almost seems like a month to me. ;-P Frankly speaking, I have not been doing much recipe reading lately too...kind of lost touch of my hobby for awhile. But I am determine not to slag too long because it would also mean I am wasting too much time. :( Life's too short for that and there are so so many recipes out there that I would love to try out! However, at the moment, I am @ my MIL's place, so can't really have the liberty to bake up a storm in her kitchen....Anyway, today I will post up one that I have baked a couple weeks back but simply didn't have the leisure to post it up. It's Black Sesame White Rice bread loaf. As the name implies, it's namely black sesame paste and rice as the main ingredients for this dough.....and thus this gray look on the loaf:
I was kind of inpsired by some of the Taiwan bloggers out there using black sesame paste to bake bread and since I did purchase a bottle during my trip to Taiwan, I figured why not?! Interested? Here is the formula for the dough:

Ingredients for Black Sesame White Rice Bread loaf: (24cmX10cmX10cm)
Set A:
150g cooked white rice
325ml water

  • Combined rice and water in a small sauce pot and cook under low heat till the mixture is thicken and the water is adsorbed. Scoop up and let cool.
  • Place mixture into blender and blend till thick watery mixture with no evident grain of the rice. Set aside for later use.

Set B:

400g bread flour
all above rice mixture

4 tbsp black sesame paste
7g instant active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
50g caster sugar
100ml ice water (adjust accordingly to moisture of dough)
40g unsalted butter

Method:
  • Mix all ingredients in main dough except for butter together in a large mixing bowl to form a soft dough. Place on work area to knead or mixer to do the kneading. Knead the dough till it is not sticky, about 20 minutes.
  • Add the unsalted butter in and continue to knead till the dough is shiny and elastic. To test if the dough is ready, pull a small piece off and stretching it with your fingers. If dough is very elastic and pulls to almost see through without breaking, then it's done.
  • Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof for at least 90 minutes to 2hrs.
  • Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll round and cover to rest for another 10 minutes before shaping the dough.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll the dough flat into an oval shape and roll up from one end to a swiss roll shape. Place it in a greased bread tin. Repeat for the rest of the 3 dough balls.
  • Let the dough proof for 40minutes to an hour to almost the rim of the tin.
  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush simple egg wash solution over the proved bread and sprinkle some black sesame over the top.
  • Bake in the oven for 40 to 45minutes till the top is golden brown. If the top charred too fast, simply use an aluminum foil to over the top and continue to bake till done. Remove from mould after 5 minutes and let cool on rack.
Due to the poor distribution of the heat from my small oven, the bread top did not have a evenly baked brown top. And because I added some raisins into the left 2 sections of this loaf, it kinds of "hinder" the loaf to rise higher there too. :-P The overall texture and taste was great. The nutty taste and aroma from the sesame paste was really nice! Plus the starter rice mixture also helps makes this a really soft bread, yummy!
Overall a bread loaf worth trying out, especially if you like sesame. :) Spreading some cold butter over it makes it a great breakfast to have with a cup of your favorite beverage. Yum-O! Can't think of how to spend this coming holiday? Bake a fresh loaf of black sesame rice bread loaf for your family! They will love it.... ;) Happy bakes!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Friends Forever

It has finally happened. I have finally moved out of Malaysia. It was a bitter separation for me...leaving some really good friends behind. Tears were shed and speechless goodbyes. :-( Whenever I think about the moments we hugged goodbye...I find tears swelling in my eyes. I know I should be strong about it and not dwell so much about the sad things, but the truth always hurts. I find comfort by recalling those happy moments and laughters I shared with my dear friends when we're together. I am sure they too want me to carry on strong without them by my side. As I slowly try to adjust to my new life, I pray hard that I will keep these wonderful friendships strong. But my dear friends, as the days go by, will you forgive me if I did not give you a call to catch up on things? Will you forgive me if your birthday slipped my mind? Will you forgive me if I break my promise to go visit you? Knowing you, I know you will....thank you. Thank you for everything you've given me, your attention, your advices, your concerns, your help and your friendship. Thank you. You ladies will always be one of the greatest treasure I will ever find and cherish.

Apologies to those whom come to my blog to check out new recipes. Will put up some of the posts that I had not find time to do so in the past weeks soon. Currently trying to get back on my feet and adjust to my new life. You might find that I will only put up very few posts in the coming months, but I promise I will keep this blog alive. Because it harbors so much wonderful cooking memories, and letting it go seems impossible. ;) So bare with me and hope you will be by my side as I embark on my new journey. Thanks!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chocolate Banana Christmas Cake

Have been so busy with packing up everything around the house. And also using every single free time to meet up with good friends for the last time before we leave. Although I am still not done with the packing, I am still baking away, hahaha! Even as I am typing this post right now, I have another cake in the oven! Anyway, I wanted to put up this post before Christmas arrive. Yesterday I managed to baked a simple Chocolate Banana Cake and decorated it with Christmas theme. I wanted to share this cake with my good friends/neighbors here whom have always been good friends, moral supporters and lending me a helping hand. Gonna miss them so much. :-( So this cake is dedicated for them, hoping they will have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas & New Year.Basically this is a chocolate sponge cake covered with dark chocolate whipped cream, and then poured over a layer of dark chocolate ganache, with banana slices between the cake layers. The chocolate sponge cake is apated from Kitchen Corner, thanks! As for the chocolate whipped cream is mainly just quality melted chocolate folded into whipped heavy cream.
Really did not have much time to do real nice deco, so simply used tinted white chocolate ganache and buttercream icing to pipe out everything. :-) I added mini chocolate chips around the cake edge for extra taste & texture. :)The end result was delectable, everyone loves it, including me. :D The cake was soft and spongy, the chocolate buttercream and ganahe was just smooth and chocolaty, not too sweet and went really well with the sponge cake. ;0 The bananas were really yummy with the chocolate too, I was super glad I choose bananas over blueberries. ;) The kids were especially fond of the mini chocolate chips at the side! ;)

Overall, a wonderful desert to have after dinner So glad I managed to bake it up for my friends and their family to enjoy this Christmas. ;) Last but not least, I want to wish everyone out there, a Wonderful Christmas this year and may all your wishes come true! Warmest wishes from yours truly, HoneyBeeSweets. ;)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Little Musicians

As the month comes to a close end, my elder daughter attends her last piano lesson here in Viennique Music School located near our condo. She's been there for a good 2.5yrs now and I am proud of her overall performance there despite her school load and other curriculum occupying her. :) I remembered there was a point where she nearly gave up her piano lessons because she was not catching on well during class. We had a heart to heart talk and after consulting her piano teacher, we decided to take things slower, at her pace and continued on. She was happy there after and was always looking forward to her piano class every week. Altogether, she had 3 Piano Recitals since she started taking lessons. I remembered all too clearly how "blur" she was in her first recital performance, hahaha! She was still looking around, oblivious that her piece was over before she could press a single note! But she was still all smiles and waving at us in the crowd. :D We had a good laugh over that as we were not expecting much from our 4 yr old at that point. :P Last Saturday was her 3rd Recital and everything went well, she did her 2 pieces flawlessly and we couldn't be any more proud. :)

Since we shipped our piano back to California in February this year, my girl has not got much hands-on practice except for occasional sessions at our neighbor's place. Her teacher, which is also the school principal, has generously loan a portable piano to us for a month so as to allow my girl to practice it at the comfort of our home. :) So to thank her, & "award" my girl, I seized the opportunity to make a batch of cupcakes for the Recital. Since my in-laws were in town with us, we were always out with them. I tried to be a little less ambitious and made only a dozens of these cupcakes. Luckily I still managed to get it done in time. ;) I was a little disappointed when I found out that there were 12 performers altogether! I was hopping my daughter's teacher can get one too. :-P But when I told this to my daughter, she said "Don't worry Mummy, I can give mine to Teacher." And she smiled and hand her cupcake to her teacher. :) I was really touched of her generous move! Indeed my little girl has grown up and more mature then I thought. ;) This is truly something we adults should learn from them on simple generous thoughts and make the world a better place. ;)
I made violin cupcakes as well since one of my good friend's daughter is also performing a violin piece that day. :) Surprisingly, the ones that were snatched up first were the violin cupcakes. Then I figured it's probably the amount of fondant that is on the cupcake that attracts the kids! Seriously, fondant are made for kids. They can really handle the sweetness, hahaha!

Personally I like the piano cupcakes, so simple to make and with a clean look. If I were to make these cupcakes again, I vow to make more, so that at least everyone gets one. ;)

I shall keep this post short since I need to go pack up more stuff and finish baking my bread loaf (next post). So till next time, have a good day! ;)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Roast Pork, Fried Eggplant with Salted egg & Strawberry Shortcake

So much to do and so little time. That is how I feel everyday now. And counting down the days I have here, I realize I only have 10 days left before I leave. :-P Sometimes this feeling can be really overwhelming and screaming into the pillow isn't gonna help. I wish I can pause the time for awhile, just awhile, for me to appreciate some of the people and stuff surrounding me. *sigh* But I am just avoiding the inevitable isn't it. Sounds like old age, hahaha! Anyway, in the days to come, you will see posts like this, a bundle of stuff I cooked/baked, all post up together for time saving purpose. Today, 2 dishes and a desert. First dish is roast pork, recipe from my dear friend ReeseKitchen. This time is my 2nd attempt making this and I was glad I did not give up and gave it a go again. ;) Because it's pork-a-licious, that's why! To me, a good piece of roast pork must meet the following criteria:
  1. Balance amount of fat and lean meat. Yes, the fat almost melts in your mouth.
  2. Well seasoned but not overpowering so you can still taste the original flavors of pork meat.
  3. Crispy, crackly (not hard) skin, that gives the perfect contrast and texture to the overall taste....mmmmm! (check out the photo below, see the "bubbly" skin)
You must be wondering did I get it? Heehee...I would give myself a 90% score. But all these is not just easy peasy means of achieving this quality. How? 3 days of marination and air dry (no wrapping) in the fridge. The first time I attempted it, I actually skipped a super important part of not air drying it in the fridge....resulting in a relatively hard skin. Please read your instructions (recipe) carefully woman! Anyway, I am pretty contented with it and vow to make it again soon. ;) Thanks Reese! Interested? Head over to ReeseKitchen to check out her secret. :)

Next up is Fried eggplant with salted egg (咸蛋香茄条). This is a simple, easy & delicious dish to whip up anytime of the week. Look out for fresh, firm egg plant, a.k.a. brinjals while in the market, an salted egg and some curry leaves and you are good to go!Ingredients for Fried Eggplant with salted egg:

2 or 1 large eggplant, about 500g
150g cornstarch

2 cups oil for deep frying

2 salted egg yolks, steamed ( I used 1, which is suffice for me)
2 tbsp curry leaves

Seasoning:

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp sugar


Method:
  • Cut the eggplant into wedges and coat it with cornstarch. Deep-fry the eggplant in hot oil until golden brown. Dish and drain.
  • Leave 1 tbsp oil in the wok, add in salted egg yolk (mashed) and stir fry till aromatic. Add in curry leaves, seasoning and stir well.
  • Add in fried eggplant and stir-fry until well mixed. Dish up and serve.
Simple right?
Slight crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and with salty, slight sweet & flavorful taste. Went really well with stream rice, so good! Highly recommended, please try this out. ;)

Yesterday, me and some of my good friends decided to have a mini pot luck cum Christmas party. Yeah, brought forward for my sake, thanks ladies! We brought our little ones and we even have gift exchange too. Not only did the kids had loads of fun, me and my friends had such fun too. Good food and great company, what more can I ask for? Since it's pot luck, I decided to make yam cake and Strawberry Shortcake, my style. You probably think there's nothing so special about Strawberry shortcake, almost anyone knows how. Actually, instead of the usual sweetened whipped cream for the filling, I used custard cream + whipped cream. Result, a much tastier combo!
Justified by my dear friends and their kids, they thought it's great. And I can proudly say it was all gone before the party was over. ;) Yippee! This sponge cake recipe is actually the same one I always use when I do my swiss roll cake. Interested bakers can proceed to here. So instead of 40g plain flour, use 55g and omit the cocoa powder.

Ingredients for custard pudding cream:
375g fresh milk
55g unsalted butter
180g whole egg beaten
15g egg yolk
75g caster sugar
50g cake flour
250ml fresh whipping cream, whipped

Method:
  • In a saucepan, heat up the butter and milk till butter is melted and the milk is almost boiling. Remove from fire.
  • Add sugar and stir well till combine and melted.
  • In another mixing bowl, add eggs and egg yolk together. Then add about 1 tbsp at a time of the milk mixture into the eggs and stir well. After about the 6 to 8th tbsp, add this mixture back into the reminding milk, butter mixture and stir well to combine. (this is an important step as it might cause the whole thing to cuddle, so be extra careful when doing it)
  • Lastly, sift the cake flour in and stir well until combined and no clumps.
  • Continue to cook mixture at low heat till thickens. Then remove from heat and let cool before use.
  • Once cooled, fold in the fresh whipped cream. Chill mixture for an hour before use.
I guess serving this light and refreshing Strawberry shortcake after meals can never go wrong. Be sure to find fresh sweet strawberries, usually the Korean ones are the best. :) Better sign off for now...loads to do. Bon appetit!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lo Mai Kai (糯米鸡)

One of my all time favorite dim sum is Lo Mai Kai, a.k.a. "糯米鸡". It seems like if I do not get to make it before I pack and go, I probably won't forgive myself, hahaha! Neh, not that serious! It's just that I have this packet of glutinous rice siting in the cabinet for awhile now, so it's super duper idea to make Lo Mai Kai! ;) I have been searching and researching for a good recipe for some time now, but I realize it's all about the correct seasoning and the texture of the glutinous rice. :) So I came up a version that I like and went with it (fingers crossed). :) Good thing I did not mess up and it was pretty well received by my family and friends! *phew* My friend even asked me for the recipe immediately after she tasted them. *victory!* Sometimes passion and hard work does pay off. :)Come to think of it, Lo Mai Kai is not that difficult to make. It's actually a much much simpler treat to make then dumplings. Wanna know how? Read on:

Ingredients for Lo Mai kai (makes about 12):
3.5 to 4 cups glutinous rice, rinsed and soaked overnight

Seasoning for rice:
3 tbsp oyster sauce
4 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tbsp Shaoxing wine

5 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

100ml water

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp dark soy


6 shallots, peeled and sliced
1 chicken whole leg deboned, skinned and cut into chunks
1 chicken breast, cut into chunks
6 dried mushrooms, soaked and cut half (Note: reserve water used for soaking the mushrooms for steaming later)
1 Chinese sausage, remove netting and slice thin

Seasoning for chicken & mushrooms:
1 tbsp oyster sauce

1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp dark soy sauce

1.5 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour
sesame oil and pepper to taste

Method:
  • After soaking for 8hrs or over night, drain water away from rice and steam it at high heat for 40 minutes.
  • Marinate the chicken and mushrooms with the seasoning and let seat for at least 2hrs before using it.
  • Remove rice from steamer after steaming, and add seasoning while still warm. Stir and mix well. Adjust the taste and seasoning as to your preference.
  • Heat up the work with 5 tbsp of cooking oil and add shallots and slow fry till crispy, dish up. Leaving the oil in the work, add chicken and mushroom in and stir fry till almost cooked. Dish up and stir in the fried shallots.
  • Get ready your Lo Mai Kai metal bowls or use disposable ones like me. Place 2 to 3 chunks of chicken meat, one mushroom and 1 chinese sausage at the bottom of the bowl. Then stuff the seasoned gultinous rice over the meat and cover to almost full (about 90%). Repeat till all ingredients are used up.
  • Add one tsp of the mushroom water that was reserved into each bowl.
  • Steam the Lo Mai kai at medium high heat for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from steamer and invert out on plate to serve.
Perhaps the next time I make this I will replace the chicken breast with another chicken leg. Somehow I much prefer the fattiness present in the chicken leg to make the whole dish more tender and juicy.
Just want to note that if you happen to run out of glutinous rice while packing the Lo Mai Kai towards the end (which happened to me), just rinse another 1/2 to 1 cup of raw glutinous rice, add equal amount of water and steam at high heat till the rice is about 75 percent cooked. Season it and it's good to go. Although this method the texture of the rice might differ a little, but to me it's almost the same...made me question why we need to soak the rice overnight!? :-P
I am so glad that my first attempt for Lo Mai Kai turned out great. Me and my family had it for breakfast for consecutive mornings and my younger daughter was still asking for more after she finished her portion. ;) I guess as much as I want to make it again, it will be awhile then. I have so much to do bakes to do before the end of the month that I could hardly breadth when I think about it!! Anyway wish me lots of strength and luck to pull this through! Have a great day all!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Macaroon buns and Japanese Dark Pearl cake

In order to be able to fully utilize the remaining time I have, so that I can still bake, blog, pack, keep my kids busy and do my daily duty, I drafted a rough time table for myself. Been following this time table for these couple days now and I realize the only time I seat down & relax is when I am blogging! But I really do not mind, because I get to do what I like, so tiredness isn't gonna get in my way. I guess the trick to it all is to plan ahead what I want to do and things will fall in place if I follow through. This time I decided to bake some bread and a chocolate chiffon cake. Why? Because I realize I have not baked these 2 for a long time! This Macaroon bun recipe was inspired by a Taiwan blog I saw awhile back. Thought it was really special and decided to give it a go. :)I did modified the bread recipe a little to suit my taste, so here is my version:

Ingredients for Macaroon Bun recipe (makes 8 to 10):
400g bread flour
8g active dry yeast
40g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
25g milk powder
80ml water
200g whole eggs, lightly beaten
100g unsalted butter, room temperature

Filling:
3/4 cup plump raisins
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Macaroon Coating:
75g egg white
75g caster sugar
70g fresh ground almond powder

Method:
  • Mix all ingredients in main dough except for butter together in a large mixing bowl to form a soft dough. Place on work area to knead or mixer to do the kneading. Knead the dough till it is not sticky, about 20 minutes.
  • Add the unsalted butter in and continue to knead till the dough is shiny and elastic. To test if the dough is ready, pull a small piece off and stretching it with your fingers. If dough is very elastic and pulls to almost see through without breaking, then it's done.
  • Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof for at least 90 minutes to 2hrs.
  • Punch out the air in dough, roll round and let rest for another 10 minutes covered before shaping.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a large rectangular sheet, about 40cm to 30cm. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and raisins generously over the surface.
  • Roll it up from the shorter length end into a swiss roll form. Cut it into equal 8 to 10 pieces. Place on baking tray lined with parchment to let proof for another 60 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • In the meantime, make the macaroon topping. Beat the egg whites till foamy, add the caster sugar and continue to beat till thick and creamy. Add almond powder and continue to beat for 30 seconds till nicely incorporated.
  • Using a tablespoon, scoop a spoonful of the creamy topping over the proofed buns.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes till the topping is slight brown. Remove from oven and cool on rack before serving.
Overall it's kind of like the cinnamon buns I made quite long ago. :) Taste wise, quite similar to cinnamon buns but with a soft chewy macaroon topping.
Perhaps I did not let the buns proof longer in the 2nd proofing, or perhaps my yeast is already old...the buns did not turn out as soft as I hope it will be. :-P Overall I would say the buns are satisfactory but not that fantastic. But if you love macaroon, why not give this a try?
Next item in this post is Japanese Dark Pearl Cake, recipe extracted from Yochana's blog. :) I have been wanting to bake this for awhile now. Deep, dark chocolate chiffon cake, what's not to like?! Reading her post, she mentioned that she forgotten to add the egg yolks into the recipe but still turned out great. I was contemplating whether I should follow her "mistake" because it seems more healthy! But ended up just added the yolks because I didn't know what I do with it anyway, hahaha!Verdit? Superb! Soft, moist and rich in chocolate taste! I wish I had made it earlier! Furthermore it wasn't hard to make at all with simple ingredients that you can surely find in your pantry. :) If you ask me, it's a clear win compared to the last chocolate chiffon I made. :)
A definite nice treat to serve during tea time.
I apologize for the lighting of the pictures as I am trying to experiment on taking it with extra lighting in the room. Because this cake is really dark in colour, so taking a nice shot is not that easy with my simple canon camera.

Everyone likes the cake plain on it's own. But when I served up for my girls last night, I topped it with some fresh whipped cream and a couple of fresh strawberries. They loved it even more! After devouring the cake, they demanded to have it the same thing served again tonight. :) Do try out this cake, it's wonderful, I know I would make it again. :) Have fun!