Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival: 紫薯菊花酥 (Purple Sweet Potato flower Pastry)

I want to take this opportunity to wish one and all a
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival
I believe by now, most of us whom want to make mooncakes, would have already made them. Nicely boxed up and given away or enjoyed together with your family members. ;) To most of the food bloggers, this month is particularly a busy one since there are quite a number of food events going on. So making time to bake mooncakes and churning out dishes to join the events can be quite challenging, well at least to me! But I am glad I still manage to bake some yummy mooncakes for my family members to enjoy. :)

Today I would like to share with everyone something new, perhaps not your usual mooncake recipe, at least not in this part of our world. A pastry made in the shape of a flower, particularly Chrysanthemum, and thus the name 紫薯菊花酥.

When I saw this recipe from Carol 自在生活,'s book "麵點新手必備的第一本書". I immediately fell in love with it! It's so pretty, what's not to love? I know, I know, it is not your usual traditional mooncake...but there is no rule as to what you can eat on this festival right? Although the recipe calls for red bean paste filling, I used purple sweet potato instead. ;) Next time I'll use orange sweet potato or pumpkin filling. :)
I made this twice, first version following the original recipe to the dot. While the second time I change the vegetable oil used in the pastry to ghee, hoping for a more flaking and golden finish to the pastry. Well, I can't say I achieved that because I still needed the egg wash to give it it's shine. Both version yield almost similar results, except that the one with ghee gave a more buttery scent. :) I will post the version using ghee, feel free to just replace it with vegetable oil which is what Carol used in her recipe.

Ingredients for Purple Sweet Potato flower Pastry (紫薯菊花酥) (makes 10)
200g purple sweet potato filling  (refer here for recipe)
  •  Divide into 10 portions, each portion 20g. Roll round and chill for easier wrapping later.
Finishing Touches:
Some strawberry jam
egg wash
Water Dough: 
80g plain flour
10g powder sugar
20g ghee (can use vegetable oil)
40ml water
  • Mix everything together till it comes together to form a soft dough. Divide into 10 equal portions, cover and let rest till needed.
Oil Dough: 
75g cake flour
25g ghee (can use vegetable oil)
  • Mix everything together till it comes together to form a soft dough. Divide into 8 or 10 equal portions, cover and let rest till needed.

    Assembly: (pls refer to here for detail steps, its from 君之, but he uses red date filling)
  • Wrap each oil dough portion inside a water dough portion and seal nicely. Repeat till all has been wrapped in.
  • Then roll each round into a long flat oval. Roll it up like a swiss roll and again repeat for the rest of the doughs.
  • Then roll each swiss roll into a long flat oval and again roll it up like a swiss roll. Repeat for all and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 175C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Then taking a swiss rolled dough and roll it out into a round and wrap with a sweet potato filling in it, making sure it seals up nicely. Repeat till all is wrapped up. Then gently press each sealed round to form a flat disc, careful not to break the seal.
  • Using kitchen scissors, snip 12 equal portion slits on the sides of the disc leaving about 1" from the center.
  • Then gently place it on the baking tray. Gently turn the slit sides face up, there should be 12 "petals" for each flower. Repeat for the rest of the 9 portions.
  • Brush all the mooncakes with egg wash. The place a small dollop of strawberry jam right at the center of each pastry. 

  • Bake in the oven for 16-18 minutes till the mooncakes are golden brown. Once out of the oven, you can again give it another egg wash coat to make it more shiny.
  • Let cool completely then store in air tight containers or freeze them up to a month. Just thaw to room temperature when want to consume.
 I hope this pretty treat will motivate you to try it out and make it for your dear ones. My family members whom tried it all gave thumbs up on this because comparing to the traditional mooncake, this is definitely less sweet and healthier. Personally I would choose this over the normal mooncake too, heehee. :D

Okay, before I go, just want to show you all what the other cutie that I made this festival. It's the handmade piggy mooncakes! Recipe compliments from Anncco, thanks so much Ann!!

 Okay folks! Have a great celebration on Mid-Autumn festival! Cheers!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chocolate Vanilla Kek Lapis

Finally, finally, finally,....I have been wanting to do something for this month's Malaysia Food Festival which features Sarawak. So busy, what to do? But! I finally did it! Yay! Frankly speaking, I have little to no knowledge of Sarawak food heritage except that they make fantastic lapis cake. ;)) Actually I am not sure if this recipe I made pass the criteria or not, ...try first die later, lol! Introducing my post today....Chocolate Vanilla Kek Lapis!
I have been eying on several lapis recipes online, particularly Rima's from Bisous À Toi. Her lapis are ALWAYS perfect...seriously. So I trust that her recipe will turn out great. So I decided to take a recipe of hers and make some changes to it. :) Thanks Rima for sharing your recipes!
 I have no problem baking this, its the time involved doing it....3 long hours standing next to the hot oven....*faint*. It is truly a bake with love and patience. Note that my version has reduced the sugar level so feel free to increase it if you like yours sweeter. 

Ingredients for Chocolate Vanilla Kek Lapis (makes 8"x8"x3")
Egg yolk batter
250g unsalted butter, room temperature (I'll try salted next time)
130g caster sugar
14 egg yolks
4 tbsp condense milk

Egg White Batter
130g caster sugar
7 egg white
10g cornflour

Dry ingredients
150g Hong Kong flour (I used top flour)
40g Horlick
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp chocolate emulco + 2 tbsp cocoa powder (valrhona) + 3 tbsp hot water - mix together
  • For the egg yolk batter; Beat the butter and caster sugar till light and fluffy. Then add the egg yolks one at a time, beat well to combine after each add. Lastly, add in the vanilla extract, stir well.
  • Add in sifted dry ingredients. Stir gently to combine everything. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C at grill mode. Grease and line a 8"x8" square pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg white till foamy, then continue beating and add in the sugar gradually. Continue to beat till stiff peaks.
  • Add 1/3 of the white to the yolk and mix well. Then gently fold in the other 2 portions and be sure not to deflate the white.
  • Lastly, divide the batter into half. (I just eyeball, feel free to weigh it out. Or do what Rima did, bake all vanilla then chocolate or vise versa)
  • One portion of the batter, add in the chocolate flavoring mixture. Stir well.
  • Weigh out 100g (Rima did 70g) for each batter. Bake one layer at a time for 7 minutes and alternating the flavors. Give the cake a gently press all round when it comes out of the oven. Then add on the next layer. 
  • The last layer, bake at 170C normal oven mode (both top and bottom heat) for 10-12 minutes.
 If you look closely, I think the heat was a wee bit too strong and my most bottom layer got dried up. So after trimming the sides, I had to trim off the most bottom layer so as to remove that dry crumbly taste. My 12 layer becomes 11.*haiz*
My impression of lapis cake is it's greasy...perhaps those I ate from store bought are. But I was very please that mine turned out perfect, no greasy / oily feel on the hands or in the mouth. 250g butter for a 8"x8" square pan ain't that much if you ask me. The chocolate flavor is more prominent then vanilla, which is no problem for me because I love chocolate!

Actually I have to thank my BIL for sending over a tray of 30 eggs over a couple nights back. If its not for those big pretty eggs (which I have no room in my fridge), I wouldn't have bake this lapis cake, hahaha! 

My family love this cake, chocolaty, nice texture and not too dense, since it did use the egg separation method. Next time I would love to try out with Mocha flavor, should be yummy! 

I am proud to submit this to this month's  Malaysian Food Fest, Sarawak Month hosted by Sharon of Feats of Feasts. Thanks Wendy for the invitation! ;)

 Okay, got to so late! See you all soon!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Hubby; Chocolate Meringue Cake

It has already been 10 days since my last post here...don't get me started on the backlogs. :P. In fact this will be my first time using this new blogger interface...hope everything goes smoothly. :P Have been baking mooncakes non stop for the past week....kinda crazy but overall a fun project. Glad it's over now, and I finally get to do some blogging. ;) Besides the mooncakes, I still managed to bake my dear husband a birthday cake as well. (it almost sound like it's less important, haha!) ;P No no no, I actually had it planned months ahead what I wanted to bake for his birthday cake. I can only go with chocolate flavor since that is his favorite....nothing wrong since I love chocolate too. ;)) I remembered I ate this really yummy chocolate cake at a blogger gathering last year. It's call Chocolate Meringue Cake shared with us from Doris of Tested & Tasted. Thanks Doris!! It left a wonderful impression and I knew I had to replicate it in my own kitchen. 
I have one word for this cake....DELICIOUS. I almost forgotten how yummy it tasted until I made this again myself. ;) I was very glad I made a big one, hahaha! I remembered everyone at the blogger gathering was raving about it too. You can't go wrong with that right? ;)

I modified Doris's recipe to make 1.5X of the recipe, plus I wanted a taller cake too. ;) Plus I used my own chocolate swiss roll recipe as I really love that cake texture. So I will repost my recipe here for reference. My cake came to be 10" by 7" and approximately 4" tall. If you prefer a smaller version, please refer to Doris's blog.

Ingredients for Chocolate Meringue Cake: (Makes 10"x14" rectangle)
Chocolate Sponge layer 
Egg yolk mixture
33g unsalted butter
102g egg yolk 
33g caster sugar
26g cocoa powder (I used valrohna)
26ml cold water
Egg white mixture
156g egg white (a little more or less is ok)
78gcaster sugar
59g cake flour
  • (refer to here for detail step by step instructions )
  •  Once baked, let cool and cut half.  Each rectangle should be 10"x7".

Chocolate Ganache
300ml fresh heavy cream
60g unsalted butter
360g quality dark chocolate (I used 66% cocoa Valrohna)
 *Note that I reserved about 1/2 cup of chocolate ganache to mix with 1cup of vanilla Swiss Meringue buttercream.  (used when assembling the cake later) But if you prefer not to cover the side of the cake, you can use up all the ganache when layering.
  • Chopped and place the chocolate in a large mixing bowl.
  • Heat up the heavy cream and butter until butter melted and the mixture almost boil. 
  • Gently pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let seat for 5 minutes untouched.
  • After 5 mins, gently stir mixture together until it comes to a nice shiny smooth ganache.
Nut Meringue:
7 egg whites
130g caster sugar
75g walnut, toasted and chopped'
75g almond meal
30g bread flour
  • Beat the egg whites until foamy, then continue to beat and gradually add in the sugar and beat till stiff peaks.
  • Then stir in the chopped walnuts, almond meal and sifted bread flour, stir gently till everything is combined without deflating the meringue.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 14" x 10" baking tray. Gently spread the nut meringue onto the prepared tray. 
  • Bake in the oven for 15-18mins till light golden brown in colour.
  •  Once cooled, slice the nutty meringue into 2 rectangles, each measures 10" by 7".
  • Place one layer of the chocolate sponge cake as the first base. Then spread a layer of chilled chocolate ganache over the sponge. Next top it with one half do the nut meringue. Again spread a layer of chocolate ganache over the top. Repeat this step until you used up all the layers.
  • Then trim of the sides of the cake to make it neater. Spread the chocolate buttercream around the four sides of the cake to cover up the layer. Note that you can opt not to do this step, but I wanted a neater look.
  • At this point, you can choose to dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder or decorate the cake as desired. Like I said before, I'm not a fan of eating powdery bitter cocoa powder, I left it out.
I really like how the soft sponge cake and the nutty meringue come together and gave a really nice texture. You might be wondering if the meringue tasted like a meringue cookie...oh no, it almost tasted like a soft sponge cake bursting with nutty flavor. 
A shot showing all the layers in the cake. If you prefer other nuts, by all means, choose the ones you like. I think I will try hazelnut next time, it will be even yummier. I think this cake will appearing in my kitchen again year end, it'll make a fabulous X'mas cake too. ;)

Okay folks, gonna end my post here. Will try to rush out another 2 more posts before the month ends. *fingers crossed* Have a great one all!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lazy Weekend Meal; Salmon Miso Cream Pasta

Weekend is here again and it will be quite an exciting one for me and my family since we have visitors from overseas coming today. It's actually a close friend of mine whom I had the pleasure to know when I was staying in KL. In fact, she is the first friend I know when I was there! Our friendship didn't dampen even when I had moved back to Singapore for more then 2 years now. Really hope we can cherish and enjoy this friendship as long as we can, because it is not easy to find one as we all know. Looking forward to seeing them later!

Lately, I've fallen in love with this new chef (MASA), eh..specifically his cookbooks, haha! I found the first copy, "Joy of cooking at MASA's place" at the library and from then on, I just couldn't stop looking at the book! It's simple Japanese cuisine, taught step by step with simple ingredients that you can find. So in today post, I'm showing you all an easy pasta dish from his book, Salmon Miso Cream Pasta. It's sort of an infused Jap-Italian dish, super nice. Whether you like it for lunch or dinner, I am sure it will satisfy your appetite. ;)

Ingredients for Salmon Miso Cream Pasta (Serves 3-4)
400g spaghetti
2 fillets of salmon, approximately 400-500g
1 tbsp butter
5-6 garlic, sliced thinly
12-14 asparagus, washed and trimmed the tough part
4 medium Portabella, sliced thin (brown button mushrooms can be used as replacement)
2 tbsp miso paste (any brand you prefer)
400ml heavy cream for cooking
freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
shredded nori for deco (optional)
  • In a saute pan, add the butter and heat up at medium low heat. Add the salmon and pan fry till golden brown. Should not take long, probably 5 minutes, depending on your salmon piece size.
  • Once the salmon is cooked, remove from the pan and let cool for 5 minutes. Then flake the fish, remove bones and skin if there is.
  • In a big pot, boil some water for cooking the spaghetti. Cook the pasta till al-dente and drain out. Set aside for use later.
  • To make the miso cream sauce, heat the cream in the microwave oven for a minute and then stir in the miso paste. Whisk if needed till well combined.
  • In another pot, add in 1 tsp oilve oil, and saute the garlic slices till fragrant. Then add in the asparagus, cook for a minute then add in the portabella. Stir for a while till the mushrooms have wilted a little. Pour in the miso cream mixture and stir till well combined. Lastly, add in the flaked salmon and stir well.
  • Add in the pasta as before you are serving, stir till well combined and dish up and eat while it is still warm. Bon appetit!
A simple yet delicious meal to prepare for your love ones. The salty miso mellows out with the cream and it also brings out the sweetness of the asparagus. It all went well with the musky taste of the portabella mushrooms...simply divine! My girl whom is not too fond of asparagus, ate up the whole plate with no complains and said it's the best pasta ever, lol!

Hope this post will inspire you to try it out and cook for your dear ones this weekend. ;) Cheers!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Brasied Pork Ribs & Bread with red rice wine (紅麴醬燒排骨和紅麴蔓越莓面包)

I am actually quite excited about the coming mooncake festival. Reason being I can make some fancy mooncakes again! I love making them but don't really like eating them, haha! But I do eat those that I made since I only use filling with reduced sugar. :) I even took up orders from my neighbours just to satisfy my need to make them! Weird I know, but I guess if you are like me, enjoy playing around in the kitchen, you will know what I mean. :) I need to bake around 30 mooncakes just this week wish me luck!

Back to today's post, it's actually one that I had hold off posting for more then 2 months. Just didn't have the right timing plus participating in food fest or themes, so put it off till now. I had been saying I wanted to use red wine yeast to cook or bake something for awhile. So here it is! Braised Pork Ribs with red rice wine(紅麴醬).

Although red rice wine is not really a common household ingredient here in Singapore, but it is getting more popular lately because of its healthful benefits. It is known to help lower the cholestrol level and thus good for the heart. My first attempt using it was making baos. Later I added it into my chiffon and it was good too. ;)
I got this braised pork rib recipe from Carol 自在生活. It was easy to prepare and ingredients were not hard to gather.

Ingredients for Braised Pork Ribs using red rice wine: (serves 4-5 ppl)
Pork ribs 600g
80g red rice wine
2 sprigs green onion, cut into small sections
2-3 garlic cloves
2-3 slices of ginger
200ml chicken/vegetable stock (if unsalted, add salt to taste during cooking)
1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
1-2 tbsp sugar (adjust to taste)
  • Combine the soy sauce and pork ribs to marinate. Cover and chill in the fridge up to an hour before cooking.
  • In a small frying pot, add about 200ml of cooking oil and heat up at medium fire. Add the pork ribs and fry till slightly golden brown. Don't have to be throughly cooked through. Dish up and drain on paper towel.
  • Remove most of the cooking oil, leaving about 2 tsp left in the pot. Add in the garlic, ginder and green onion in. Cook till fragrant, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the pork ribs andstir fry for a couple minutes.
  • Add in the red rice wine, salt, sugar and stock. Stir to mix and cook till boil. Once boil, lower the fire to low, cover and simmer for about 30-35 minutes or till the meat is tender.
  • Dish up and serve while still hot.

The slight tang from the red rice wine makes the dish very appetitzing. A plate of steamy rice with this and it's all it needs. :)) You can also substitute it with chicken if you prefer the other white meat. Pork ribs tends to be a little more oily. :P
The other recipe I'm posting is using the same red rice wine to bake some bread. I used a recipe from 孟老师的100道面包 and it was very nice and soft! Original recipe is call 紅麴蔓越莓 (red rice wine cranberry bread)
The dough was pretty easy to handle. And instead of leaving it plain like what the original recipe calls, I used sweetened cream cheese as the fillinf, somehow a good match with the tangy dried cranberries.
Note that I made 1.5 portion of the recipe.
Ingredients for 紅麴蔓越莓 (red rice wine cranberry bread)
Set A
250g bread flour
20g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4g instant active dry yeast
140ml water
15g red rice wine
Set B
15g unsalted butter
30g dried cranberries
200g sweetened cream cheese (180g cream cheese with 20g powder sugar)
  • In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients in Set A and mix well till it comes together to form a soft dough.
  • Knead the dough till it is not sticky and add the butter in Set B and continue to knead. Knead till it reaches the window panel, about 20-25 minutes on my KA.
  • Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let proof for at least 80 minutes.
  • Punch out the air in the proofed dough. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and let rest for 10 mins before shaping.
  • I used half of the dough to make buns, so I divided the 1/2 portion of the dough into 4 equal balls. While the othe half I rolled it like a swiss roll and bake it in a small loaf tin.
  • Fill the 4 equal balls with the sweetened cream cheese (about 50g) and seal it nicely. Place into a muffin cup or any container you prefer. Repeat till all the dough portions are filled.
  • Let the dough proof for another hour and preheat the oven to 175C.
  • Bake the buns for 15 mins and the small loaf for 20-25 minutes. Once done, remove from oven and let cool completely on the rack.
Similar to the bao and chiffon, I could not taste the red rice wine in the bread. I did thought about adding more, but I was worried the whole recipe might be ruined. :P Nevertheless still the pink shade from the wine, heehee. :P
Okay folks, hope I have introduced enough red rice wine dishes/bakes for you to try out at home. I know there are still a number of good recipes out there that uses it....well that will be in another post. :)
Okay, signing off now, have a good week all!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

All natural Blueberry chiffon

Another school term has ended. Although I welcome this short school break now, I too have mix feelings about the coming year end events. Year end exams, a family wedding, birthdays, oversea visitors and a trip away. It just spells busy busy busy. :P Nevertheless, some of these events are really much awaited for, so I'm really looking forward. Although we didn't plan for anything big this one week break, I really don't mind these "unplanned" days. Seating around sipping tea or just lazing on the sofa watching Food Network, haha!
Nevertheless, I am still baking away in the kitchen, and today's post is just one of them bakes which I did last month. ;) An all natural blueberry chiffon cake. Why all natural? Well I didn't use baking powder or cream of tartar, so it's "chemical" free!
I think many people out there believe that it is a must to add in baking powder or some levening agent in order to achieve a nice tall chiffon cake. Oh no, it's not necessarily true....I'm here to prove otherwise. ;) In fact I have not used any levening agent for my chiffons for quite awhile now. I am sure many bakers that bakes chiffons regularily will agree with me on this; it is really a matter of beating your whites to the right consistency and baking at the correct temperature. Of course many other details like using a trusty recipe, the folding of the batter and cooling the cake itself can also incur the quality of the end product. But I believe through practice and knowing your techniques well will naturally make baking a chiffon a real breeze.
Ingredients for Fresh Blueberry Chiffon Cake (21 to 23 cm diameter):
Egg Yolk Mixture:
5 egg yolks
100g of fresh blueberry compote (*see note)
60ml fresh milk
80 ml corn oil
70g sugar
130g Cake flour

3 g salt

*Note: Place 100g of fresh blueberry, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice and 2-3 tbsp caster suagr in a saucepan and cook mixture at low heat. Stir constantly and cook till the blueberries have burst and ozzed out it's juices. Once it thickens about 8 minutes, remove from fire and let cool for use later.

Egg White Mixture:
5 egg white
10g cornflour
70g sugar

  • In a large mixing bowl, add in all of the egg yolk ingredients and mix well till everything is well incorporated and smooth.
  • Preheat the oven to 175C.
  • In another mixing bowl, add in all the egg white and beat using a mixer at medium speed till foamy. Without stopping the mixer, gradually add in the sugar and beat till stiff peaks. Turn the mixer to lowest speed, add in corn flour and beat till combined.
  • Gently fold a quarter portion of the white mixture into the yolk mixture till well combined. Then add the yolk mixture to the white mixture and gently fold everything together till all is incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into a tube pan (no grease or non stick please) and place in the preheated oven to bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Tester comes out clean and it's ready.
  • Remove from oven and immediately invert it to cool. Do not invert/ remove cake from pan until completely cooled.
I am so glad my blueberry chiffon turned out purplish blue! I was kinda worried it'll be greyish and dull. I believe the lemon juice in the compote might have helped kept the colour. ;) And as you can see the texture of the chiffon, it is soft and fluff...yummy. ;) I believe you can use this same recipe with most of the summer berries, be it strawberries or rasphberries.
Perhaps it's time you bake an all nautral chiffon cake for your love ones too. And lately I've seen blueberries on sale in the supermarket too. So what are you waiting for? Try it and let me know how you like it. ;)
Have a great day you all! Cheers!