Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Homemade Soy Milk & Vegetarian Soy Milk Whole wheat Bread

I have always wanted to make soy milk at home. Call me silly, but I always thought that it requires a soy milk machine or something to blend the milk out. Well, I was so wrong, lol! Great thing Wendy posted the recipe for making soy milk and the 'mystery' was gone, yippee!! It didn't take me long to buy a pack of soy beans and got to make fresh soy milk...at home! :) You must be thinking why bother with so much trouble if soy milk is so darn cheap outside. Well, it's hard to explain, but being able to make it yourself is fun! And furthermore, I know I am able to churn out more stuff with the soy milk later too. :)) Exciting!
And after making the soy milk myself then I realize that it's so darn easy to make it!After tasting my homemade soy milk, I am hooked! Think I will never buy another box of soy milk at the grocer ever again, lol! Up from the point I knew how to make it, I've already done it thrice! Which is all within this month, lol! As tempted as I already am, I still did not make the tofu with the soy milk. Why...somehow I always have some store bought tofu / egg tofu in the fridge (I always have tofu in stock since my family love tofu) I guess that should be all the more reason I should make tofu at home. Well, perhaps next month another post yah?

Recipe adapted from Wendy's blog
Ingredients for Soy Milk:
150g soy beans
750ml water + 750ml water
2 to 3 knotted pandan leaves

  • Soak the soy beans overnight or at least 8hrs. Throw away the soaking water. Use your fingers to loosen the skin of the beans. Then using a sieve to scoop it out. If it doesn't bother you, you can skip the step of removing the skin. But it is known that the skin of the beans can cause joint pains.
  • Put all the beans into a blender with 750ml water at high speed. Blend until very fine, for about 2 minutes.
  • Pour the blended beans puree into a fine sieve bag and press to extract the soy milk into a pot.
  • Place the soy mixture into the blender again and repeat the blending process with another 750ml water, then extract milk to the pot.
  • Add a couple of knotted pandan leaves into the pot and start boiling the soy milk. Keep a watchful eye over it as it over boils and flows out very rapidly. Serve warm or chilled.
I made quite a bit so I divide half of the soy milk to add different sweetening syrup. One was with plain white sugar and the other was with gula melaka. However I didn't like the gula melaka version since the taste was a bit off and over powering.
But after chilling it for a few hours in the fridge, it was still acceptable. Although I still recommend using plain white sugar if you like the traditional soy milk taste. I like mine chilled and having it with something savory like carrot cake or simply just bread (soy milk bread) is a breakfast bonus. Yum!!:)
Talking about bread, I bet those that follow my blog would not be surprise that I will make soy milk bread, lol! Being a soy milk fan, it does make sense to try out making bread from it. :)) Furthermore, I did see some bloggers out there already attempted that...so it should be pretty good. ;) Let me correct it...it's not good, it's great!
Ingredients for Vegetarian Tang Zhong “湯種" Soy Milk Bread:
Starter dough (“湯種"):
250ml fresh soy milk (you can use store bought sugar free ones)
50g cake flour

Main dough:
200g of starter dough
420g bread flour
80g wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant active yeast
45g caster sugar
240ml fresh soy milk (you can use store bought sugar free ones)
40g vegetable oil
30g butter @room temperature


  • Mix all dough ingredients 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.
  • Once it's doubled, punched out the air and divide the dough to 65g portions, roll round and cover to let rest for 10 minutes before shaping.
  • Fill the dough with any desired filling. Let proof for another 20 mins, brush with egg wash. Bake @ 175C in a preheated oven for 15 to 18minus till golden brown.
The first time I made these soy milk bread, for fillings I used black sesame paste, chocolate paste and cream cheese with dried cranberries. Some left over dough were used to make mini hot dog buns. The second time I made soy milk buns, I used red bean paste and also a small raisin loaf, upon request by my girls. :)
There is a nice evident smell of soy milk in the buns and loaf which I really like. ;) I like eating the raisin loaf the best as it can be enjoyed without any spread, but with nice sweet compliments from the raisins and still able to taste the soy milk in it. :) However, if you are not a fan of soy milk, feel free to substitute it with plain milk, it'll taste real good too. :)

A picture to show the softness of the soy milk buns. :)) What best is it's vegetarian and it's wholewheat too! Hope this post can get you really motivated to make some soy milk and breads at home. :) It's really worth every ounce of effort. :) I know for sure that I will be making more of these, perhaps trying out black beans next time, that would be really interesting! So stay tune folks!

Have a good week ahead all! Cheerios!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Steamed Pumpkin Cake "金瓜糕"

It's Thanksgiving today! Well at least at the other side of the globe it still is. :) I can already imagine all my friends back in California gathering together for this wonderful holiday and feasting on all the delicious food. I do miss the nice warm feeling of this festive day, it reminds us how we should be thankful of what we have and cherish it wholeheartedly. I remember distinctively during Thanksgiving dinners, everyone at the dinner table will take turn to say thanks before we dive in to the feast in front of us. As boring as it is, I would always say the same old thing year after year, that is I am thankful for my husband and kids. But the truth is that is what I am really thankful for, lol! Have you given it a thought too, what are you thankful for?

I wanted to post something in regards to Thanksgiving, but after much pondering, I decided to just make with something that is in the season, pumpkin! No, not pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread. I made Steamed Pumpkin Kueh, "金瓜糕"...the Chinese way, lol!

Perhaps, just perhaps the Chinese will serve this during our version of Thanksgiving dinner, lol! And considering the nice golden pumpkin color in the kueh, it looks auspicious. ;)) Not only that, it taste really good too! If you are not a pumpkin person, no worries, there is actually little to no trace of pumpkin scent in it.

Recipe Adapted from "Delightful Snacks & Dim Sum' by Agnes Chang

Ingredients for Steamed Pumpkin Cake (makes 22cm square pan)
4tbsp oil

6 pips garlic, chopped
6 shallots, chopped
60g dried prawns, soaked and chopped
2 pairs Chinese sausages, diced
200g minced meat (I used pork), 6 tbsp oil
600g pumpkin flesh, uncooked and shredded
1 tbsp chicken stock granules (I added 1.5 tbsp)

300g rice flour
60g tapioca flour
1000ml (4 cups) water
1 tsp salt (I added 1.5 tsp)
1 tbsp sugar ( I added this since I like a hint of sweet)
1/2 tsp pepper

  • Heat up oil, saute chopped garlic and shallots until fragrant. Add dried prawns and stir-fry until fragrant. Add Chinese sausages, minced meat and stir well till cooked.
  • Mix in the pumpkin, chicken stock granules, batter and stir until thick. Taste and adjust as required.
  • Dish the batter into 22cm (9") square tray and steam for 45 minutes with high heat until cooked. Remove and leave to cool before cutting into pieces.
  • It can also be pan fried with a little oil until golden brown on both sides before serving.

I pan fried the remaining half the next day and it was delicious! I love the crispy outside and the creamy, flavorful inside! The Chinese sausages gave some extra texture and taste, love it! In fact I am going to make this again over the weekend because my kids loved it very much and has been asking for it again. :)

Shall keep this post a short one today. Hope you guys will give this recipe a try, it's yummy! Lastly, wishing everyone out there a very Happy Thanksgiving! And remember to snatch up more stuff during the Black Friday sale!! Have a super weekend all!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A memorable birthday

As the title tells it all, this post is about my birthday celebration this year. :) I managed to sneak out some free time to go up KL over the weekend with my family. Although my birthday has already past, I was really delighted that my girlfriends back in KL planned a nice birthday celebration with me. :) To clarify, its not one group but 2 groups of good friends celebrated with me on 2 separate occasions...lucky me!! So you can imagine my short stay was still packed full of fun and laughter, one trip that I truly truly enjoyed for the longest time. :) All the credit goes to my dear friends whom I have not seen for months and yet the time has not changed our friendship a single bit. :)
After our swift drive up to KL, I immediately went to meet my first group of dear friends. They were warm and welcoming, just as I remembered them to be. Exchanging hugs and concerns, we were back in our happy group again. Seeing their smiles, hearing their voices and laughter, really strikes me how much I miss being with them.....very much. They then surprise me and J (another birthday girl) with some lovely homemade cupcakes. Upon seeing them, I was close to speechless....
All these fondant cupcake toppers symbolizes some of the things I love in baking! Starting from the top left, it's flour, sugar, chocolate bar and eggs; middle top is a chocolate cake; top right is 2 loves of bread; bottom left is a rolled out cookie dough with a rolling pin on a pastry board; bottom middle is a pretty cherry topped iced cupcake; and lastly the sweet oven mittens and floral apron. :)))
Aren't these the cutest?! Besides looking so good, it taste great too, my dear friend EP made peanut butter cupcakes with dark chocolate ganache....another of my favorite combination, yummy!This has got to be my favorite. All the essentials to make something These toppers were so well made, such details really showed how much effort my friend has put into them.
Another one that I especially love is this apron and mittens topper too! Just too sweet, lol! It is a little "painful" to remove the toppers and eat the cupcakes, lol! But my girls and I loved the peanut butter cupcakes....thanks so so much EP!!

We then went to Dave's Cafe and had a nice dinner there. Lot's of catching up and walks on memory lane. ;) The ladies then presented us the birthday cake they prepared for me and J for the night: A strawberry cheesecake!! Sorry, forgotten to take a picture before I dive into it, lol!

This cheesecake was delicious! It's creamy, just the right sweetness, salty buttery crust base and an intense strawberry flavor, super yum! ;) It's a no bake cheesecake, so hopefully I would be able to make this myself next time. ;) Even though some of us did spend extra time chatting till pass 1am that night, it was still really sad to part with them. Thanks to my dear friends for such a lovely night out, I couldn't have asked for more....well perhaps more time together, lol!

The next evening, I managed to meet up with another group of good friends. They are like ex-neighbor cum kids same school cum baking buddy good friends, lol! I literally see these mummies everyday when I was there, but we were never sick of each other. ;)) It was so good to catch up with them again, even just casual chatting really smooths my mind. :) And it sure feels like we were only apart for a month or so only even though it's already almost half a year. Because we were "in tune" once we see each other and "click" immediately when we were together again. I hope you know what I mean, lol!

We had a great dinner with the whole gang plus family at this new restaurant @ Giza Mall call The Italiannies Kitchen. The food was contemporary Italian food, with lots of pasta and pizza choices to choose from. Great food and wonderful company sure makes the whole experience a memorable one. We ended the dinner with a little surprise for me from my dear friend Reese (I am sure you all know who she is by now, lol!) She made me a Triple Chocolate Cream Chocolate Birthday cake...quite a mouthful isn't it, hahaha!
Love the chocolate fondant roses. :) This is indeed a very chocolaty cake, with 3 kinds of chocolate cream, dark, milk and white. :) Everyone enjoyed it very much, all thanks to Reese!
Looks really decadent isn't it? Interested bakers will have to wait for Reese to put up the recipe in her blog. :) Also I do have to apologies for the poor quality of some of the photos...really did not do the lovely cakes justice. :P

I truly appreciate my dear friends for taking their precious time out to meet up and celebrate my birthday with me and even to make such lovely cakes for me. My gratitude for them is really beyond words. And their love and friendships have in many ways make me a much better and happier person. I am truly lucky to have these ladies as my good friends and I would do my best to keep this friendship going strong. :)

Last but not least, thank you for staying on and reading my post. Hope you have a wonderful week ahead! Cheerio!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Aspiring Bakers #1: Dark Chocolate Chiffon Cake

School holiday is just around the corner and somehow this year I am equally as excited as my kids for it's arrival. :)) First of all, no more early early mornings and no more rushing to chauffeur the kids to and fro school. Of course besides this, the best incentive is having to enjoy a couple of getaways with the family. Besides that, the excitement to be able to see my good friends back in KL again is pretty much indescribable. These ladies has been a lively support throughout my 2nd half of stay there. I am proud to say that they are gem of gems that are hard to come by. But due to my daily duties, I am unable to catch up with them as much as I hoped. Nevertheless, they are always there for me, which undoubtedly what a true friend should be. Hopefully I will be able to do much catching up with them during my short visit. :)

Back to today's post. I am actually participating in Small Small baker's Aspiring Baker chiffon cake event. I made Dark chocolate Chiffon Cake this time. The choice was actually "aspired" by the recent inquires from some of readers. The interest in Chocolate chiffon was pretty high and seems like there are quite a number of unsuccessful attempts out there in making Chocolate chiffon.
Thus I decided to give this a go again, my version. :) I did a little research, reading recipes and came up with this. I just hope it will work out fine for you as well. :))

Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Chiffon Cake:
Egg Yolk Mixture
90g Valrohna chocolate(70%)
150ml vegetable oil

80g egg yolk
100g caster sugar
165ml milk (water should be fine)
70g plain flour
70g cake flour
30g Valrohna cocoa powder

Egg White Mixture
255g egg white
80g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar


  • In a saucepan, heat up the vegetable oil at medium high heat, then add in the chocolate and stir till all the chocolate melts and well combined. Add in the sugar and stir till melted. Turn off the fire and let cool.
  • In another large mixing bowl, add in the egg yolks and beat gently with the milk till combined. Then stir the chocolate mixture and mix well.
  • Lastly, sift in the plain flour, cake flour and salt into the chocolate egg batter. Mix till no lumps and well combined. The mixture will be slightly thicken but till runny. Set aside till needed.
  • Preheat the oven to 175C and prepare a 25cm tube pan.
  • Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar till foamy. Then beat at medium high speed and gradually add in the caster sugar while beating the egg whites. Beat till the whites are stiff peaks. To check for "doneness", just make sure when you turn the whole bowl upside down, the whites stay put. :) Sounds a little scary, but it is the best way. ;)
  • Gently fold in the whites in to the chocolate batter in 3 or 4 separate portions till all in folded in and no visible whites.
  • Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes till the tester comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and immediately cool the tube pan upside down with the correct support. Cool completely before removing from pan and slicing.
Doesn't this shot looks a little dreamy? Lol! I guess it comes to no surprise to some of you that I am using Valrohna again, lol! But please feel free to use any dark baking chocolate of your choice. ;))
This cake is very soft and tender, and it simply melts away once you bite into it. It's texture is not as 'bouncy' as normal chiffon cake, perhaps it's the amount of oil I added in. Else I think its the plain flour used here. Either way, I love it! My family loves it too. My daughter had this for a whole week straight and yet not tired of it. ;)

Hope you will give this a go. Gonna end this post by wishing all our Muslim friends a wonderful Haji this Wednesday. ;) Enjoy your holiday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brown Butter Waffles & Belgium Waffles

Hot golden waffles, crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, are a spectacular way to kick off a weekend morning. Don't you agree? Whether you're at home in your pajamas or away on holiday in a nice hotel, I am sure waffles is one of shear pleasures to start your day with. And the shape of a waffle is genius! It's indentation are perfect for catching melted butter, maple syrup, or juices from fresh fruits! Yum yum! I used to make waffles every other weekend when I was in States. But when I was in Asia, due to the voltage difference, I had to archive my waffle maker in the store room. Lucky me, I found a decent waffle maker a month back and everything else is history. :D

Doesn't these just look inviting? I was restraining myself from chowing down a piece while taking these pictures, lol! As expected, these were crisp on the outside and tender inside, a generous spread of butter and some maple syrup or honey, and I'm golden! I believe you have also read the recent post from Grace of Kitchen Corner with her new toy. :)) Oh yes, a scoop of ice cream over these hot waffles is really a match made in yummy heaven.
I got this recipe from William Sonoma's "Comfort Food":

Ingredients for Brown Butter Waffles (makes about 16):
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups whole milk

2 whole eggs, separated
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour

3 tbsp sugar

4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
butter or cooking oil if needed for greasing


  • Preheat the oven to 135C. Have ready a rimmed baking sheet. Preheat the waffle maker.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat and bring to a boil. Cook and stirring constantly for 3 minutes until the milk solids in the bottom of the pan turn a toasty brown. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Add milk, egg yolks, and vanilla, and whisk until combines
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add in the milk mixture and whisk till combined (a few small lumps are ok). In another bowl, using a clean whisk or a handheld mixer, whip the egg whites until soft peak form. Scoop the whites into the batter and gently whisk in till even.
  • If you waffle iron is not nonstick, lightly and evenly oil the grid. Scoop the batter over the grip and close. Cook until the waffle is golden brown, usually 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the waffles on to the baking sheet and keep warm in the preheated oven. Repeat until all batter are used.
  • Serve the waffles while they are still hot and crisp with butter and sweetened syrup. Enjoy!
The other waffle that I made was Belgium waffles! I have always wondered how these were made whenever I saw them selling at Sun Moulin bakery. My kids loved them so much, so that makes it all the more I need to learn it!
You've seen these right?! It's much more doughy then the usual waffles but still really delicious! There is actually yeast in the dough, so it is more or less like a bread to me. :) However I find it still taste not as good as those selling in Sun Moulin, so there;s still room for improvement. But it is amazingly easy to make them, so if you have a waffle maker, don't think twice! The recipe I have is adapted from Carol 自在生活, but I made some slight changes to it. So here is my version:

Recipe for Belgium Waffle (Bread):
120g bread flour
100g cake flour
1/2 tsp yeast
60g caster sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
60 ml warm milk (~35C)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
50g unsalted butter, cut small


  • In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together except for the butter. Knead to for a soft dough.
  • Continue to knead the dough for about 5 to 6 minutes till smooth. Then add in the butter and continue to knead till all the butter is mixed in well. Dough might be a little sticky, but it's ok. Cover and let rest to proof for 1-1.5hr till it doubles.
  • After proving, punch out the air and divide the dough into 8 portions. Roll round and let rest for 10 minutes. Heat up the waffle maker at the meantime.
  • After 10 minutes, place one dough piece in the middle of each waffle grid and press down the waffle iron cover. Let cook for 3 to 4 minutes till golden brown. Remember DO NOT over cook these, it will become hard and not too tasty.
  • You can either let it cool or place in a preheated oven at 135C before serving. You can also freeze them up to a month and bring them back to room temperature, toast it and good to enjoy again.
I kicked mine up a notch by glazing them with dark chocolate....who doesn't like chocolate?! Just melt about 100g of milk or dark chocolate of your choice and dunk those waffles fact down into it. Let cool or chill in fridge to harden the glaze....so when you bite down, you can still hear the crackle of the chocolate but yet the next moment the nice waffle inside! :P
I like the glazed ones so much better that I decided to coat all of them with chocolate, lol! My younger child loved these....even after we have long finished them, she would still be asking for it. :P Overall a "mission" accomplished, an over due mission. :P Hope you all will give this a try too and let me know how it turns out. :))

Signing off now and wishing all a super duper relaxing yet fun weekend! Cheerio!