Thursday, August 26, 2010

Chocolate Twist Bread

I haven't been making anything exciting lately. It's the usual bread and cakes. Have so many things on the to-try list, but it seems like it's just keeps on growing longer, never shorter. But I guess everyone needs the usual simple recipes so that we can cope better in the kitchen, not having the turn it upside down just to make a simple meal for the family. :P Well, perhaps once in a while we make something special, if we have the time of the day. :) Today, I am just going to show another simple bread recipe that my kids love. Been making it a few times already, but only managed to post it up now. It's call Chocolate Twist Bread Bun.
Okay, I admit these buns are not that nicely twisted, but still acceptable right? Well, if you have handled bread dough before, you will understand why it's so hard to get it where you want it to be sometimes. :P
Although this buns doesn't look fantastic, they are still tender soft, chocolaty and delicious. My elder child is not a fan of buns, but she loves this, she chow one right down every time she had one. Want to make some to satisfy your bread / chocolate craving? Here is the recipe:

Ingredients for Chocolate Twist Bread Buns:
250g bread flour
40g cake flour

5g instant dry yeast
50g caster sugar
1 large egg
8g milk powder (about 2 tsp)
50ml water
80ml fresh milk
1 tsp baking powder
30g unsalted butter, room tmp

40g cocoa powder
100g caster sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
40g butter, cut into small cubes

  • In a large mixing bowl, except butter, mix all ingredients together to form a soft dough.
  • Knead the dough till it is not sticky and add the butter. Continue to knead. To test if dough is ready, stretch a small piece using the finger tips of both your hands. If you can pull the dough to almost see through texture without breaking it, it's probably done.
  • Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let proof for at least 90 minutes or until it is doubled in size.
  • In the meantime, prepare the filling. Mix the cocoa powder and sugar together and set aside.
  • Once the dough has been proofed, punched out the air and roll it out into a flat rectangle, about 1cm thick.
  • Sprinkle the cocoa and sugar mixture over the surface of the dough, leaving about 1 cm at the border. Then add chocolate chips and the small chunks of butter, evenly distribute them on the surface.
  • From the longer end, roll up the dough like a swiss roll.
  • Now using the rolling pin, roll the the dough flat.
  • At this point, if dough tear a little on the surface or the chocolate chips tear through, it's alright, don't worry about it. Then using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into strips of about 5cm width.
  • Then using both hands to hold one end of each strip and give it a few good twist. Then place the twisted bun on greased paper or bread paper cups if desired. And let the buns proof for another 10 minutes.
  • Bake in the preheated oven of 180C for 13 to 15 minutes till golden brown. Remove and let cool on rack.
Being a mom with young kids, particularly with a picky eater, I have to be constantly thinking of ways / recipes to get my child to eat more. And I could not be more happy when I see my child happily eating and most of all finishing the goodies I made for them .:) Thank goodness she loves this....but ain't gonna make it too often though, might loose its effectiveness!
Check out the tender soft bread as I tear open the bun. Even an old kid like me enjoyed it very much, lol! I have also made these for my neighbors bake order and they too enjoyed it a lot. This recipe is pretty versatile, you can change the filling to any kind of your liking, either kaya and butter, or red bean or sesame paste, I am sure it will turn out good. :) Hope you all will try this one out. Cheers and have a great weekend ahead!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Crab Meat Omelet and Mixed Berry Crumble Cake

Last week when I went visiting my parents, my mum gave a little surprise. ;) She actually bought me 3 fresh blue crabs! ;) At first I felt a little helpless because I have not handled fresh crabs before and it's been awhile since I last cooked them too. :P Luckily my parents helped me washed and steamed the crabs, then packed them nicely for me to bring home. Lucky me! They told me these fresh crabs have really sweet and tender meat, best eaten that day. My mum gave me a few suggestions and I decided to go with the simplest yet delicious recipe; Crab Meat Omelet.
One of the main reason why I chose to go with this recipe is because my 2 young girls. I can't expect them to get the crab meat out of the spiky shell themselves....they probably be complaining more then eating!
It was not too difficult to get the meat out, because it was really fresh and the meat was plum and juicy. However it was a little time consuming to do all 3. :P These 3 crabs actually yielded quite a bit of meat, which could make 2 BIG plates of crab meat omelet. So I freeze half of it for good use the following week. :)
If you are interested to make this dish, here is how I did it:

Ingredients for Crab Meat Omelet:

150g fresh crab meat

1 tbsp minced garlic and shallot
3 large eggs

1 tsp light soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 ripe tomato, sliced into thin wedges

1 spring of green onion, diced small

  • In a large bowl, crack the eggs in. Add 2 tbsp of water into the eggs and lightly beat it till frothy.
  • Add soy sauce into the egg mixture and some salt and pepper to taste.
  • In the meantime, heat up the wok with about 2 tbsp of cooking oil at medium high fire.
  • Add in the garlic and shallot and stir fry till fragrant. Add in the eggs and swirl the wok a bit to cover more surface area.
  • Moments later, add in the crab meat, tomato wedges in. Leave it for a good 3 minutes to get that golden brown color before starting to flip the omelet to fry the other side.
  • After frying the other side for another 3 minutes, dish up and sprinkle some chopped green onions over. Serve while still warm.
This is really a simple and wonderfully delicious dish, even my elder daughter who is not too fond of seafood, enjoyed it a lot too! ;) The fresh sweetness of the crab meat was tasty with the tender soft omelet, double thumbs up! Some might feel that it's too much 'luxury" to add the crab meat in such a simple dish...come on, who cares if it still ends up in my tummy?! Lol! Hope you all will be able to try it out. ;)

Another lovely recipe that I want to show everyone today is yet another simple recipe that you can whip up in no time. It's Mix Berry Crumble Cake. This cake was actually an order for my neighbors here and since they do trust my taste, I decided to introduce a new cake to them. In fact, after taste testing it, I was really glad I did that. ;)

Since strawberries and blueberries were quite abundant in the past weeks, making this mixed berry cake was not too difficult. And I love using fresh berries to bake, it really makes the cake extra moist and gives it a vibrant color too! ;)
This recipe is actually adapted from my previous Strawberry muffin recipe but made some modifications to it. I replaced 1/3 of the caster sugar with brown sugar, added sweet crumbs on top and also added blueberries on top. Note that I did not mix the berries into the batter this time, merely just sprinkle them on the top.
The contrast in the sweet crumbs on top and moist tender cake below was really good. And every mouth is like almost melt in the mouth...yummy!
With a cup of tea and a slice of this sweet cake and you are golden. ;) If you try this out, you can also use fresh cherries which might also be a good combo with the cake. ;) The next time I make this I will make it in a big round cake pan...enough to last me a few good days. ;) Okay, got to run now, take care all! Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Dear Mum & Ladyfingers Genoise

It has been a busy week again and it seems like there is little to no time left for my blogging. :( And nowadays I don't turn on my laptop as often as I used to, sometimes it can be a good 3 days. :P With that new gadget phone, I am totally satisfied with just that 3x2 inch screen to visit other blogger's posts and leaving comments, on the go! ;) That is why I am posting less lately. :P Hope this doesn't keep up though....not too "healthy" for my blog, lol! ;D But don't get me wrong, I am baking and cooking every single day, and there is plenty of post and photos to show. It's just my poor time management is just not making things efficient enough. :P Okay, that aside, last Sunday, I got busy baking my dear mum's birthday cake which fell on last Sunday. Nothing very special, just a simple Strawberry Shortcake with homemade Ladyfingers wrapped around it. ;)

Simplicity is all this cake is about. I didn't have that much time anyways, lol! And since my mum loves fruit cakes, going with this will be a safe bet. :) And I was really lucky to find these big and sweet strawberries especially since it is not really in season now. :P The recipe I adapted is pretty much the same as the Strawberry Swiss Roll cake I made. Instead of baking the sponge cake in a 10x8 inch tray, I used 2 round 8" round cake pan. :)
I was in a rush and did not get nice shots for the cake. :P Furthermore I totally forgotten to take a shot of the inside of the cake after it was cut...haiz. :P Notice those homemade ladyfingers are not even in shape! Anyway, at least it made the cake slightly more "sophisticated", lol!
But the good thing was my mum loved the cake. ;) My family were pretty impress that I was able to come up with this in a day, lol! How did this little daughter/sister of theirs that used to have no clue in cooking/baking did this, lol! Yeah ladies and gentleman, I've grown up!
Here is the shot of the cake (secretly taken while they were singing "Happy Birthday" to my mum, heehee) Yaks! The candle wax is dripping on the cake! :P Check out my mum's age, she's 70 but she still look as young as late 50s. No white hair and no color-dye either. ;) (Fingers crossed, praying I'll be the same when I hit 70, lol!) Well, I won't be showing photos, so you'll have to take my word for it, hee. :D Glad that everyone enjoyed eating the cake. Mission accomplished!Anyways, I wanted to show how I made the Ladyfingers I used in the cake. No, not that vegetables we eat in curry fish head OK. It's a genoise studier then your usual sponge cake, more flour in it that is. So it actually retains it's shape with baking. If you have tasted the traditional Tiramisu cake, these genoise can be found in it. It's usually soaked up in the Kalua mix and gives that extra texture that Tiramisu needs. :) Anyway, that will be another post. :) Taste wise of the genoise itself is like a drier cake and a bit crisp on the outside when it first come out from the oven. Something like a dry Kueh Bulu. :)
Frankly speaking I need to brush up on my piping skill here....these ladyfingers look pretty rouged and uneven in shapes. :P Anyway, my first try on the recipe, so I won't be too hard on myself. :) Enough, here is the recipe:

Recipe for Ladyfinger Genoise (makes about 30 of 5 X 1cm):
Set A:
130g cake flour
some confectioner's sugar for dusting
Set B:

65g egg yolk 35g caster sugar
Set C:
100g egg white
1g cream of tartar
65g caster sugar

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat all ingredients of Set B until ribbon stage. Set aside to be used later.
  • In another mixing bowl, beat the egg white from Set C until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue to beat. Then gradually add the caster sugar in and beat the mixture till stiff peaks.
  • Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture till both is well combined but do not overmix.
  • Sift in the cake flour and gently fold in till no visible flour lumps.
  • Transfer the batter into a piping bag with a wide tip. Preheat the oven to 18oC and prepare a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Pipe the genoise out into 5cm by 1 cm sticks on the prepared tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes till golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely before storing or use. Freeze unused ones for up to 1 week.
Unfortunately, these genoise taste best on the day it's baked. It will become too tough or chewy the following. However I have to admit these ladyfingers did help beautify my mom's cake, else it would look too plain. :P I hope you all will give this recipe a try and perhaps use it to decorate your cake next time. I am sure with steady hands, your ladyfingers will look great and make your cake look fabulous. ;) Happy baking all!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Matcha Madness: Matcha Buns with Mochi & Red Bean paste

Hope I am not too late forWell it all started when I was browsing dear Quinn's blog a couple weeks back on her post on Matcha and White Chocolate Panna Cotta, which looks really classy and delicious desert. She was enthusiastic enough to join in the fun on making something Matcha, simply because she loves everything Matcha! Ann from pigpigscorner too made a lovely Matcha Cheesecake that was really good too. ;) Since I have yet baked anything Matcha before, I felt that this would be an excellent opportunity for me to try it out and get in the fun! So I went with making Matcha bread buns with mochi and sweet bean paste filling. If you have ever bought buns from some retail bakeries here, they do sell this bun that has mochi cum red bean filling which I find really unique and yummy! So instead of just plain red bean paste, I added fresh mochi (self made) and 2 different pastes, read bean and black sesame paste. ;)
Making the buns were really fun! My kids saw me kneading this green dough and thought I was making spinach bread! Lol! This dough recipe is pretty similar to the Cream Filled Mini Buns which I made awhile back.The main difference would be adding matcha powder into it. The dough is very easy to handle, not too sticky. :)
Since I wanted to add mochi in the buns I decided to make fresh mochi myself. I did not buy any mochi powder to make it, so I used the most traditional method which I knew my mum used to make. ;) It's actually quite easy, here is the recipe if anyone is interested:

Ingredients for homemade mochi:
125g glutinous rice flour
188ml water
3 tbsp of confectioner's sugar

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. The flour the mixture into a greased round 6" pan. Steam the mixture for 25 minutes till cooked.
  • Once cooked, removed from steamer and let cool completely before removing from the pan. Reserve to use later.
Ingredients for Matcha Bread: (Makes about 16):
Set A:
348g bread flour
86g cake flour
26g milk powder

8g matcha powder
11g instant active yeast

Set B:
80g caster sugar
4g salt

44g beaten whole egg

200ml water

Set C:

44g butter, room temperature

  • In a large mixing bowl, add in all of Set A ingredients in and mix well with a whisk.
  • Add all of Set A flour mixture with Set B ingredients and mix well until it becomes a soft dough.
  • Continue to beat / knead the dough till it reaches elastic and not sticky stage, which can be verified by using the "window stage".
  • Add in the butter in Set C and knead well till mix in.
  • Let the dough proof in a greased bowl and cove it. Allow it to proof for at least 90 minutes until the dough doubles.
  • After proofing, punch out the air and divide the dough to about 40g each. Roll round and let rest for 10 minutes before shaping.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out a portion of the dough flat (thinner on the side) and place 1 tbsp of red bean / black sesame paste in the center. Then cut about 1/2 tbsp of mochi and place it on top of the sweet paste. Seal the dough up nicely and place it on a greased baking tray. Repeat till all the dough are filled and sealed nicely. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds on top of those buns filled with black sesame paste to distinguish between the buns. Cover and let proof for another 15 to 20 minutes before baking.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C .
  • Brush the mini buns with egg wash and bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes till golden brown on the surface.
I personally thought that after the buns came out from the oven, the green from the matcha was no longer that obvious. :P Even the taste itself wasn't that evident. Looks like I will have to double the dosage the next time. And one thing I kind of regretted too was not making the mochi in matcha flavor!! O well...better plan way ahead before plunging into making something next time....somehow I always do that. :P Anyway, I hope these buns still "pass" for matcha madness event, lol!
But overall I am really happy with the taste of these buns. :) The soft chewy mochi and the sweet paste filling went really well with the soft buns. :) Even on the 3rd day, it was still soft! I was glad I made enough to share with my mother, MIL and my sister. My sister was delighted because she was a real mochi lover and it was her that recommended me the mochi buns selling in the retail bakeries. If you like matcha and mochi, do give these sweet delights a try! Let me know how yours turned out and how you like them. ;)

Have a "early" good weekend all!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy 45th Birthday Singapore and My 3rd Blogger Meet up

Happy 45th Birthday Singapore!

Yes, 45 years, that's how many years of independence Singapore has gone through. Amazing as it is, this little country went through a lot and achieved more then many expected. The people, the nation and everything that made it what it is. I would not say it is all perfect, but it is a great place to stay in which I can call home. Being away from my homeland for more then a decade and finally this year we have made our way back here again. As the saying goes, "No matter where you go, home is where your heart is".

In lieu of the celebration, The Istana (Singapore's President's adobe) was open to public yesterday. How can I miss that! So my family and I went there early yesterday morning full of enthusiasm. :) Little did we know that there are thousand of other eager Singaporeans and visitors that had already made their way to Istana much earlier then us! The queue to go in was way way long.
As you can see the place is packed with people, young and old. There seems to be a kids drawing competition going on and there was even live band performance at the open field. The weather was spectacular (same as today, yippee for NDP!) and we had a brisk walk to the main building.
Got to see all the "treasures" inside and the place where the ministers and all VIPs' meeting hall etc. Overall a nice experience and I am glad I made this trip with my family. :)

I know, very ambitious of me, I actually have a Food Blogger gathering right after my trip to Istana. I left my hubby and kids shopping in the nearby mall and drove off frantically to a long awaited gathering with a group of foodies just like me. ;) I was really happy to be able to make it to this gathering, in fact honored to be invited once again, heehee. Come to think of it, I got to meet up these lovely blogger all together 3 times. ;) Although different places, different people (some still the same) was all absolutely worth it all. Check out the "goodie bags" I snagged over at the party yesterday. ;D
I was late but not the last to arrive and was warmly greeted by our sweet Pei-Lin and of course the rest of the other blogger. ;) I was a little reserved at first since I only knew 3 of them, but everything went so easy after we started chatting away. All of them were nice and pleasant people with the same passion as great is that?! We will never run out of topics to talk for sure, lol! Who are they? They are :

These great bloggers made a whole lot of delicious food at the party. Sure beats any buffet you can find outside! All homemade, wholesome and super delicious! I was really stuffed at the end but happy of course...should have wore something more loose, lol! Since everyone did not got a photo of the Ban Guan Kueh I made for the party (it was still in the steamer when everyone was snapping away!!), I shall post a photo for all to see, heehee. ;D
Ban Guan kueh has always been my all time favorite and I was SUPER glad I finally got the right recipe for it! I was really happy that there were no complains while the other blogger tasted it, heehee. I felt bad for not making something more for those nice people....whom actually took their precious time out to gather together and brought wonderful food to share. I do hope that we will be able to meet up again soon (think it will happen since everyone is so eager) and hopefully I won't have to rush off like this time and not being able to chat more with everyone.

But within that short period of time, I truly enjoyed myself in the whole duration! Chatting and snacking on the good food and talking about more food, lol! I have to give special thanks to dear Pei-lin to put this together for us and coming down all the way from Malaysia to spend her holiday here. Also thanks to Edith for opening her lovely house to us and allowing us to have this gathering in such and lovely and comfortable environment! ;D

Being surrounded by foodies like me made me so at ease and I am sure everyone there feels the same too. I regretted not being able to meet up with You Fei as I found out that she arrived just after I left! Oh well, we catch up on FB okay my friend? Lastly, thank you all that came for the party yesterday, thank you for your time, your friendship and of course your yummy food. ;)

I will not be posting the food that the other bloggers brought to the party as I realized they took much nice photos than me! So go browse theirs. ;) As for the National Day cupcakes I made, it's chocolate buttermilk cupcakes with white chocolate whipped cream topping. Made them just for the fun of it all. ;)

Okay, got to go make my wholewheat pizza for dinner tonight and catch the NDP live on TV....thanks for dropping by! You have a great day now! Cheers!