Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin & Shrimp Pasta Gratin with Pumpkin White Sauce

Yes, finally! My kid's exam is over! It is such a relief and happy feeling. ;) I guess most of us parents just feel stressed out because the kids go through the grueling exam period. But now that it's over, no matter how she fare, I am contented that she had did her best. So from now on, we are all ready for our holiday plans, scheduling and packing, yoohoo! And since I was relatively busy with my kiddo's exam, I didn't manage to bake or cook all those things I had planned, namely for MFF and AB. I was even planning to bake a pumpkin cheesecake today for Halloween but had to let go since I ended up packing up my kids books and notes.*haiz*

Nevertheless, I did make something with pumpkin (in the Halloween theme. haha). Something delicious and homey for the family to enjoy. It's Pumpkin & Shrimp Pasta Gratin with Pumpkin White Sauce....seriously delicious and comforting. ;D
Okay, if you have not eaten baked pasta before, you have got to try it! You will not regret it especially if you love me. ;) I got this fabulous recipe from none other then MASA himself. Ever since HHB told me that MASA has a Taiwanese website, I've been visiting him ever since, lol! I think I will never get bored browsing through all those yummy dishes he cooks up. ;)) So maybe you can go check him out later....I mean go check his website out, haha!

Since our dear MASA didn't give specific amount in his recipe, I had to do a rough estimate on most of the ingredients. Okay, without further ado, here is my version of the recipe:

Ingredients for Pumpkin & Shrimp Pasta Gratin with Pumpkin White Sauce (Serves 4-5)
15-18 tiger prawns, shelled & devined
400g Japanese Pumpkin (preferred but okay to use others if don't have)
  •  Sliced thinly, 200g to be used for the Pumpkin White sauce while the other 200g in the gratin. Note that you can eat the skin too, just make sure you scrub it clean. ;)
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1 box of Penne Pasta
1 serving of White Sauce (see link for MASA recipe)
2 tbsp butter
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
250g grated mozzarella cheese
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese 
2 tbsp butter
Salt & Pepper

For the White Sauce: 
30g butter
35g cake flour
400ml fresh milk
100ml dairy heavy cream
  • In a sauce pan over medium low heat, add in butter. When the butter melted and started bubbling, add in the flour all at once.
  • Quickly whisk in the flour and butter together till it comes together. Continue stirring for at least 2 -3 minutes to cook the flour, making sure not to burn it.
  • Then slowly add in half of the milk and continue to whisk, making sure there is no lumps. 
  • When the mixture has come together to a thick smooth consistency, add in the rest of the milk and heavy cream. Stir well.
  • Continue to cook the sauce till it thickens slightly. One way to test it is to use a wooden spoon or spatula and run your finger through the back of the spoon. If the sauce stays clear from the path, it's good to go.
Pumpkin White Sauce: 
  • In a large pan, add in the 2 tbsp butter, then add in the chopped garlic. Saute for a minute and add in 200g of the thinly sliced pumpkin.
  • After 2-3 minutes, add in the prawns and stir fry till the prawns just turn pink.
  • Remove the prawns from the pan (you don't want to over cook them). Leaving the pumpkins still in the pan, add in about 150ml of water and let it slowly stew for 5-8 minutes till soft.
  • When the pumpkin is soft, off the fire and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, boil your pasta till al dente. Scoop out and set aside for use later. 
  • Scoop the pumpkin and all the stewed water in the blender and zap it till its a smooth consistency.
  • Add the pumpkin puree to the reserved white sauce earlier.
  • Mix it well till you get a smooth golden saucy consistency. Add a couple tablespoon of milk and heat up the mixture if it's too thick. At this point, give the sauce a taste test, you can add salt and pepper to make it the desired taste you like.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • At this point, add in the pasta and stir well till everything is coated. Add in the cooked prawns, peas and stir well.
  • Ladle the pasta mixture into a buttered gratin dish or bake dish. 
  •  Now add in the rest of the 200g thinly sliced pumpkin, and spread over the mixture. 
  • Lastly add in the cheeses, sprinkling all over the top. Pinch in bits if  the reserved 2 tbsp cold butter all over the top. 
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes till the top is bubbly and golden brown. Serve while it is still hot.
Bare in mind that the white sauce or the pumpkin white sauce can be made ahead. So on the day you need it, all you have to do is assemble and bake. Alternatively, assemble everything, freeze it and bake it as when you need. No harm done since everything is already cooked just needs to bake it up to melt those cheeses. ;)
Now, don't tell me you don't want a plate of this golden cheesy pasta? I had 2 by the way, haha! The sweetness from the prawns and pumpkin really gave this pasta a  full rich flavor. It's creamy, its sweet, it's cheesy, it's everything a comfort food should be. BIG YUM! Something to note, if possible, try to get Japanese pumpkin for this, as it's much sweeter, smoother and creamier. Worth every penny. ;)

Hope I have motivated you to cook this nice comfort meal for your family, if not for yourself. ;) 
Lastly, wishing everyone a spooky Halloween Day today! Cheers everyone!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Best Vanilla & Chocolate Milk Pudding

There are so many versions and ways of making a pudding. Some people associate pudding as bread pudding, while others think of it as rice pudding. I have only tried the latter once while I was still in States...didn't really fancy it. But I had made bread puddings several times now (nice comfort food). These are usually the more hearty ones. For end of the meal, desert varieties, there is baked custard pudding, like creme brulee and non baked (no egg) chilled pudding as well. When it comes to my kids, they usually relate pudding as the non baked, chilled pudding that is made with just the simplest ingredients, like milk and cream. ;) My elder child love (the word "love" here is actually under-rated) pudding. She would bug me to buy whenever we do groceries together. Somehow I seldom make it at home...I don't know why? *bad mummy, lol!*

Since my kid is going through the "gruesome" exam week right now, I figured why not make her what she love most. Vanilla and Chocolate milk pudding....the best I've ever made so far. :))
Yeah, you might think this is such an easy recipe, why bothered to post it up? Oh no, this is really a surprise for me as well, but I have not made such a smooth, creamy and delicious pudding before! lol! Both my kids, even my hubs were going like " did you make it so so smooth and creamy?" And I was asking myself that question too, haha! 
Okay, why not just make all chocolate or all vanilla? Why mix? I guess I wanted to try both and make it the best of both worlds, hehehe. :D In fact after tasting it, I found that these two flavors actually compliments each other and not over powering over the other. Okay, in case you are wondering what is that tiny specs on the surface of the pudding in the above pic, it's just condensation going on...I'm slow with cameras. :P

I read quite a number of pudding recipes online and manage to come up with this one myself. But do try it, I guarantee you will love it as much as I do. ;)

Ingredients for Vanilla & Chocolate Pudding (serves 4, fills four 6 oz ramekins)
250ml fresh full cream milk
40g caster sugar
1/2 stick vanilla pod, slit open
10g gelatin powder
30g quality dark chocolate, chopped
10g quality cocoa powder
165ml + 50ml dairy heavy cream
  • Place the chopped chocolate and the 50ml heavy cream in a heat proof bowl, microwave it for a minute. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes and then mix well. Sift in the cocoa powder and whisk well till you get a smooth, thick consistency. Set aside for use later.
  • In a small pot, heat up the milk, sugar and vanilla pod over medium low heat. Once the sugar has melted and the milk is almost boiling (tiny bubbles on the side of the pot appears), remove from the heat and let cool for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add in the gelatin powder and whisk well, making sure it is melted thoroughly.
  • Add the 165ml heavy cream into the milk gelatine mixture. Stir well and sieve mixture.
  • Pour half of this milk cream mixture equally into 4 ramekins, half way through. Chill for at least 30 minutes or till the surface is slightly firm to the touch.
  • Add the chocolate mixture to the other reserved half milk cream mixture and whisk well till no visible lumps. Sieve again and pour into the 4 ramekins that already has the chilled vanilla milk pudding inside, dividing equally.
  • Chill again, this time up to 2 hrs or more. Serve when ready. Enjoy!!
How about topping it off with some Oreo cookie crumbs to dress it up a little and add that extra texture? Yums! My kids really love this very much....will for sure make this again. ;) Hope this little treat will motivate my kid a little from all those annoying exams going on. :P
Of course, the shot that actually show how smooth and creamy this pudding is. This pudding is so smooth! It melts slowly in your mouth and the vanilla chocolate flavors lingers a while. Thumbs up!! ;) Chilled desert is so good in such hot weathers. Do remember the part about sieving the mixture, it does help remove tiny lumps which is definitely not desirable in such deserts.

I am happy to submit this to this month's  Aspiring Bakers #24 (October 2012)  Jellies & Puddings hosted by Charmaine of MiMi Bakery House

Enjoy your long weekend everyone! Cheers!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Princess Cake for My Little Princess

It will be about another 10 days before elder child be free from exams. Although I know she is pretty much prepared for it, but I guess just like any parent, it is still some what worrying matter for me. All I can do now is support and help her every step of the way, and hope for the best! >.< As for my younger child, no exams since she is still at her first year of primary. But it is sort of a bummer that her birthday falls near exam period. To make it a little happier for her, I took up the request she wanted for her birthday cake. What is it? A full fondant princess cake (no barbie doll) that must be made from chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream. *yes, she got that chocolate thing from me*. Although I knew I had little time (1.5 days), but I figured my daughter will still love whatever I made for her, even if it's not so fantastic.
Yeah, you see right. It was raining cats and dogs that day. In fondant "land", humidity is a will literally soften your moulding and give it it's "shine" on the surface which is No good for fondant. In places like Singapore, humidity is unavoidable...unless if you blast your air con, haha! Luckily my princess cake didn't "glisten" from the wetness from the rain. *phew*
Considering the amount of time I had, I'm pretty happy with the end result. *heehee* No no, I didn't stay up till 3am in the night...I went straight to bed at midnight, lol! Somehow everything just fall into place. *thank goodness* Got some pointers from my good friend S and straighten out some issues about the fondant moulding. From then on, it was all smooth "sailing". Even managed to complete the cake before 3pm that day. Comparing with the Smurfette cake I made last year and the Tinkle Bell cake made the year before last..this cake one was actually easier! I guess learning from experience does help!
I modified Mrs NgSK butter cake recipe from Wendy's blog to a chocolate flavored butter cake.  I actually baked and tasted it before using my modified chocolate version and felt it was good. So this time I decided to use it here for the fondant cake. I reduced the sugar and up the liquid level. The chocolate butter cake is soft and yet stable enough to hold up the fondant. The recipe below is portioned to the amount I needed to fill a 6 " bowl pan and a 6" round pan. Feel free to adjust on your own if you are interested to try this out.

Recipe for Chocolate Butter cake
Egg yolk batter
290g unsalted butter, room temperature
130g caster sugar 
5 egg yolks
50ml fresh milk
20g dark chocolate, melted
200g cake flour
45g cocoa powder (I used Valrohna)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Egg white batter
5 egg whites
80g caster sugar
  • Heat up the milk till it almost blubbing on the side. Add the chopped chocolate and let the heat of the milk melt it slowly. Stir well and let cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter till creamy, add sugar and continue to beat till the mixture is fluffy. 
  • Add the cooled chocolate milk mixture into the butter mixture and beat well till combined. Add vanilla extract, combine.
  • Then sift in the cake flour and cocoa powder in. Mix well and make sure no visible lumps.Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 170C and grease a 6 " bowl pan and a 6" round pan. I only lined the round cake pan. 
  • Beat the egg white in a large mixing bowl till foamy. Then add the caster sugar (80g) gradually into the egg white and continue to beat till stiff peaks. 
  • Gently fold in a third of the white to the egg yolk batter. Then in another 2 separate portions, fold in the rest of the whites. 
  • Once everything is well combined,pour the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or till the cake tester comes out clean.
  • Once baked, remove from oven and let cool completely before removing  from pan.
After the cake has cooled, slice the cake into 2 equal discs and spread the chocolate buttercream between the layers. Then spread a thin layer of buttercream so that the fondant can adhere to the cake properly. As for the rest of the fondant moulding, I will hopefully show you on other posts next time.*heehee* I forgotten to take photos while doing the moulding. :P
Showing the back view of the cake...I love the ribbon, heehee. :D As much as my girl love this cake, she still have a little complain over it...she asked why I didn't make a tiara, she said that crown looks a king's crown?! Oh now a days are really hard to please. :P
A look at the sliced up cake...yes, we sliced up the princess. :P My girl has no problem with that I assure you. Somehow the urge to eat the chocolate cake inside is greater, haha! The cake was delicious, not too sweet, moist and holds it's shape well throughout the whole assembling. Success!!

On my last note, I just want to say this: If you choose to bake a cake for your child. Don't sweat it if the fondant is not mould to what it looks like in the picture. Or the cake was a little lop-sided. Or even if the taste of the cake was a little drier then expected. Don't worry! Just bare in mind that the most important thing is you made it with lots of love and care...just for that person. ;) That's all that matters! So enjoy the process and happy baking!!

Have a great Sunday everyone! Cheers!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kay Hong (Terengganu Braised Chicken)

It has been another hectic week for me, but I am glad most part of it has already past. Regardless of it all, I still manage to cook another dish  earlier this week to participate in this month's MFF! I believe most of the bloggers that are attending this month's MFF, had already tried or even plan to cook this delicious dish; Kay Hong (Braised chicken, Terengganu style). When I first saw this recipe at Phong Hong's, it has every reason for me to try it! It looks delicious, it uses simple ingredients plus my kids love anything hard boiled eggs, haha!

I rate this homey dish 9/10, if not 10/10! It is so good! Something about that preserved bean paste in the sauce that gives this dish a distinct grainy and fragrant taste, simply sedap! Even with just the gravy, I can chow down a bowl of rice. ;)) But again, why not enjoy the protein as well?! Lol! 

I have adapted Phong Hong's recipe and made little changes to it, will post it here for my easy reference in future. ;) Thanks so much for this fabulous dish Phong Hong! ;D 

Ingredients for Kay Hong -Terengganu Braised Chicken (& Pork Belly)
2 large chicken drumsticks (that's all I have at that moment *haiz*)
1 pork belly, ~500g (Cut into 2" pieces)
4 hard boil eggs, shell peeled
15 shallots, peeled
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp salted bean paste (taucheow)
2 tbsp sweet dark soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp gula Melaka to taste
800ml water (adjust to consistency of the gravy)
  • Blend the salted bean paste, shallots and garlic together till a smooth paste.
  • Heat up about a tablespoon of oil in the wok and add in the blended paste. Stir fry till fragrant.
  • Add in the pork belly and saute for 8-10 minutes until opaque in colour.
  • Add in the water, sweet soy, dark soy sauce, gula melaka and let boil. Once boil, lower the heat to simmer. Simmer the pork belly for 30-40 minutes.
  • After 40 minutes, add in the chicken and hard boil eggs. Continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes till the chicken meat is tender. Add more water if your sauce is drying up.
  • Dish up and serve with steamy hot rice, yums!

Adding pork belly was a sinfully good decision! Since I have no problem eating the fatty part, I really don't mind having more pork belly in the dish, lol!
I am really glad that I have participated along this MFF. I have learnt yet another wonderful dish from fellow Malaysian food bloggers and thus learning a little more about their food heritage. Truly appreciate the benefit of this event and hope I can continue to join in the fun. ;)

I am happy to submit this entry to  Malaysian Food Fest ( Terengganu Month) hosted by Lena of frozen wings

Have you submitted your entry yet? Hurry and join in the fun! Cheers all!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Roti Paun with red bean paste

It is only this week that I finally get to catch up on most of the stuff I needed to do at home. Strange that when my better half is away on business trip, I get more free time, lol! My husband actually helps around the house which I truly appreciate. But I guess I get to have more "me" time (nicer way of saying alone time, haha) which also derives more experiments in the kitchen, heehee. So I managed to bake a castella cake, a new curry with special ingredients (both to be posted next time) and of course today's post; Roti Paun! As promised in my previous post, here is my first recipe for this month's MFF. ;)
After some reading up online, I was kind of glad that there was actually no fixed recipe for the sweet bread. Most of the bakers seems to be using their own favorite sweet bread recipe. So I decided to try a honey bread recipe which I have been wanting to try for a while.
I believe most Singaporeans, like me, tasted these kind of buns before, bought from their local neighborhood bakery stores. Be it filled with sweetened coconut or red bean paste, we all grew up eating these. It's funny that I have been eating these kind of buns all my life, but really didn't know about it's's just a bun to me, lol! Nevertheless, it is a homey comfort food....anyone or anywhere can enjoy.

Today, I'm using this honey bun (don't you just love the name, lol!) recipe which I again used preferment starter dough to enhance the bouncy texture and retain moisture of the bread. I doubled the recipe to make a loaf as well. Feel free to half it.

Ingredients for Roti Paun (honey buns): (amount yields two 9x5x4 loafs)
100g preferment starter dough (refer here for recipe)
500g bread flour
6g instant active yeast
5g salt
14g milk
80g quality honey
80ml fresh milk
1 large egg
170ml ice water
30g unsalted butter, room temperature

some red bean paste for filling
  • Knead all ingredients of the main dough together, except the butter. Add pre-ferment dough piece by piece. Knead after each addition until soft and smooth. Add butter. Knead until stretchable and pass the window panel consistency.
  • Put the dough into a big bowl. Cover with cling wrap and let it prove for 30minutes till double.
  • Divide the dough into 12-14 equal portions. Roll each portion round, cover and let rest for 20 minutes before shaping.
  • Flatten the dough to drive the air out. Roll each out into a circular disc with a rolling pin. place a heaping tablespoon of red bean paste in the center. Close up and seal nicely. Roll round and place in a greased round pan. (I used an 8') . Repeat for the rest of the dough portions. Cover with cling wrap.
  • Let it prove for about 45 minutes or until the dough has risen to 80 to 90% of the depth of the baking pan. I omitted the egg wash this time, but feel free to gloss yours. Bake in 175C for 20 to 23 minutes.
I guess this picture speaks for itself. :) Soft and fluffy. I have used unsweetened red bean paste left over from the mooncake festival, perfect with these honey buns...I mean roti paun, heehee. :D
A little obsessed here, hahaha! Just to convince you folks that this is worth trying. ;) The next time I try this recipe, I'll make it into healthy wholewheat version. ;)
Just to show you the full amount the recipe yields. A loaf and these roti pauns. Yeah, my family chow down bread like nobody's business...but I'm happy! Just gives me more opportunities to try new recipes, haha!

I am very happy to submit today's post to Malaysian Food Fest ( Terengganu month ) hosted by Lena.
Thanks for hosting my friend!

Okay, got to go...for now. ;) Have a good weekend all!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dreamy Soft Chocolate Cake (巧克力相思蛋糕)

I have been pretty inconsistent with my blogging lately....not that anyone has noticed it or anything. I can sometimes post up 3 posts in a week or I can totally disappear for close to 10 days. I guess it's just a matter of my poor time management and busy schedule. ;P Nevertheless, my love for baking never dampens no matter how busy I am. Believe me, I am always thinking of what to bake up for my using up all those stocked up ingredients, hahaha! And since my better half is currently on oversea assignment...I can't bake too much....have to control.. :D
Today I am again posting up another favorite, well at least it has just become my family's favorite. (^.^) It's the same recipe as the Dreamy Soft Pandan Cake I made awhile back, but a change in flavoring. This time I made slight changes here and there, so I figure it's best I just post it up for future references. :)
If you are wondering how come the colour of the cake is kind of dark...well I have to blame it on the Chocolate Emulco! I didn't realise it until it was out of the oven. :P I am so gonna omit it the next time. ;P I also saw Jane's version which I believe it's very good, so I tried to adapt some of her steps.

(Recipe adapted from SiewWei & Jane)
Ingredients for Dreamy Soft Chocolate cake (巧克力相思蛋糕) -fills a 8x8 square pan
Egg yolk batter
65g vegetable oil
50ml chocolate milk
40g dark chocolate, chopped small (I used 70% cocoa)
1/4 tsp salt
100g egg yolks (~6 egg yolks)
1 whole egg
55g superfine cake flour
10g Valrohna cocoa powder
1/2 tsp chocolate emulco (optional)

Egg white Batter
~200g egg white (I used however much of the egg white extracted from the above 6 eggs)
70g caster sugar
1 tbsp corn flour
  • Heat up the milk just before it starts to bubble and add the chopped chocolate. Stir well and mix. Set it aside for use later.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, whole egg, salt, vegetable oil, chocolate milk mixture together till well combined.
  • Sift in the flour and mix well till no visible lumps. (set aside and cover)
  • Preheat the oven to 160C. Prepare water bath in the oven. Grease and line parchment paper a 8x8 square cake pan.
  • In the mixer bowl, add in egg white and beat till foamy. Then gradually add in the sugar and continue to beat till soft peaks. Then add in the corn flour and continue to beat till stiff peaks.
  • Gently flour in the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture in 3 separate portions and do not deflate the batter.
  • Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 50 mins in water bath. (Fill a 9x9-inch square pan with water until the halfway mark and place it in the oven to create the water bath.)
  • Remove from oven when the tester comes out clean and let cool on rack before slicing.
Bare in mind that it's normal that the cake will deflate a little once it starts cooling down. If you compare the above pictures, you will notice that mine did shrink a little. So don't panic okay...let the cake relax. ;)
I have again spread a layer of Vanilla Swiss Meringue buttercream in between. My kids love it to bits! Besides that one slice I ate in the beginning, the rest is all polished off by them! After they finished the last slice, they are already asking when will I be baking it again. :P 

I then baked another batch and filled it with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream, also a winner! For easier reference, I shall share the Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe here:

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream (makes ~4 to 5 cups)
5 oz egg whites (~140g)
5 oz caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
bean scrapings from 1/2 of a vanilla bean
1 tsp quality vanilla extract
500g unsalted butter, cut into 2” chunks, room temperature
100g 80% cocoa chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
Chocolate shavings for extra texture and decorations
  • Prepare a double boiler with a gentle simmer. In a heat proof bowl, combine egg whites, sugar and salt into it. Mix well but no beating is required. Place the bowl over the double boiler and placing a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.
  • Stir once in awhile to prevent the egg white from curdling at sides. Aim to to have the temperature reached at least 146F / 63C for food safety reasons.
  • Once the temperature is reached, remove from heat and beat it till it is silky white. Add vanilla extract and mix well. If the mixture is still hot, place it over a bath of ice water to cool it down.
  • Add the butter chunks one piece at a time and continue to beat while doing so. Continue to beat till all the butter has been added and the buttercream is smooth and silken.
  • Mix the melted chocolate into the buttercream till it is well combined. Chill in the fridge till it is needed.
But I have to admit this recipe is one of the softest cake I made...definitely a keeper. ;) You have to try it for yourself, you won't regret it. :P
Hopefully my next post will be my submission to this month's MFF... hosted by Lena of Frozen Wings. Do show your support! :D Until then, have a good week ahead my friends!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wolfberry Wholewheat Bread with dried lychee (枸杞荔枝干全麥面包)

I am sure most of you have visited a bakery store before, particularly those in the mall. I bet you have come across some of those more "exotic" breads they sell there. Like healthy wholewheat, or Oats cranberry etc. Usually these "exotic" breads are expensive! it can cost up to S$3-4 just for 4 slices?! Gosh, you would think they use the very best ingredients....or not? I would always tell myself..."bake it yourself!".  For sure you know you will be using the best / fresh ingredients with no additives. :)

With that, I am quite excited to share with you all today's recipe! You must be wondering what's so exciting about this little old bread. Well, for one I know many bread lovers out there (like me) would love to give this healthy bread a try and save some $$ by baking it yourself. The name of the recipe is quite a mouthful, it's Wolfberry Wholewheat bread with Dried Lychee (枸杞荔枝干全麥面包). :)) "Exotic" enough for you? Lol!
Okay, for the benefit of those that does not know what wolfberry is; Wolfberry is also call goji berry (Chinese "枸杞") which for many years the Chinese has been using it for it's beneficial effects on the body, especially on the eyes. It is sold in the dried form and requires cooking / soaking before consumption. It is packed full of antioxidant and has always been a popular Chinese herbal supplement. Lately it has gain popularity in the United States and some has been incorporating it into their bakes. You can read more about wolfberries here
Another interesting part about this recipe is the dried lychee I used in it. You hear (see) me right, it's dried lychee, not longan. Where in the world do I get dried lychee you ask? Well, all thanks to my dear mum, she has been getting quite a load of these dried lychee from a neighbour friend of hers. When she passed me some, I knew for sure that I had to put them in my bread (in place of raisins). 
These dried lychee are still quite "fresh" as in it is not rock hard, but the meat are still slightly moist and tender, which helps, as I do not need to soak them before using, cool! But of course, if you can't find dried lychee, raisins will be equally good.

Ingredients for Wolfberry Wholewheat Bread with dried lychee (makes 2 loves of 9x5x4)
30g wolfberries
70ml warm water
8g instant active dry yeast
400g bread flour
160g wholewheat flour
60g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
40g milk powder
50g whole beaten egg
225ml water
35g unsalted butter
  • Soak the wolfberries in the warm water and let sit for 20 minutes. When they are soften, blend the wolfberries together with the water to a smooth mixture and set aside for use later.

  • Knead all ingredients of the main dough together (including the wolfberry mixture), except the butter. Knead until soft and smooth and the dough pulls clean from the bottom of the mixing bowl. Add butter. Knead until stretchable and pass the window panel consistency.
  • Put the dough into a big bowl. Cover with cling wrap and let it prove for 30minutes till double.
  • This recipe is enough to makes two 9X5 loaves. So into 6 equal portions. Flatten each portion with your hands to drive the air out. Roll it into square shape, cover and let rest for 5 minutes before shaping.
  • For Loaf: Flatten the dough to drive the air out. Roll each out into a rectangular sheet with a rolling pin. Fold about 2cm from both sides towards the center and roll it out again. Roll the dough up like swiss roll (the width should be the same as the tin) and out them into the mould. Repeat for the rest of the 3 portions to make the other loaf.
  • Let it prove for about 30-45 minutes or until the dough has risen to 80 to 90% of the depth of the loaf tin. You can either cover the lid or bake it open top. Bake in 175C for 30 to 35minutes. Cover with aluminum foil if the top is browning too fast.
Love the bright and natural golden colour of the bread. If I didn't say, you might think this is another pumpkin bread. ;) Although the texture wise is not as super soft as the prefermented dough method, I still enjoy doing a straight dough method once in awhile to save some trouble and waiting.  (^.^)
With the addition of wholewheat flour, this whole recipe becomes even more healthy! You can opt not to add wholewheat flour and replace equal amount of bread flour with it. But you might need to reduce the amount of water by 20-25ml. 

Hope you like this healthy bread recipe I introduce to you today. Isn't about time we treat ourselves better by eating more healthily, right? Not to mention the $$ you save by baking it yourself. ;)

Okay folks, duty calls! Have a good evening!