Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ultimate Coffee Marble Butter Cake

Coffee is such an essential "ingredient" to start off most of our mornings. Although I am not one of those that needs a cup in order to kick start the day, I do still enjoy a good cup of coffee. In fact, I am rather particular on the coffee flavour, its acidity and aftertaste.

I was glad that ESSENSO™ MicroGround Coffee was introduced to me recently, especially since my busy schedule meant that I needed my coffee to be convenient and, at the same time, good. ESSENSO™ MicroGround Coffee is a blend of finely ground coffee and premium soluble instant coffee that is made from 100% Arabica coffee beans which deliver a deeper aroma and richer taste. It is now available in major hyper and supermarkets.

Currently ESSENSO™ MicroGround Coffee comes in 3in1 and 2in1 variants. Personally I enjoy each one of these coffees at different times. When I have cakes or pastries, I will opt for ESSENSO™ MicroGround Coffee 2in1. Do try!

To further enjoy this coffee, I created a recipe using ESSENSO™ MicroGround Coffee. I call it the Ultimate Coffee Marble Butter Cake. This delicious butter cake will not only attract the coffee lovers, it will even make the non-coffee drinkers crave for more.

I wanted a recipe that everyone can recreate at home. It is simple and yet special enough to wow your friends and family when you present this to them. So let's check out what we need.

Ingredients for Ultimate Coffee Marble Butter Cake (makes an 8" by 8")

Main Batter
250 g unsalted butter at room temperature
80 g caster sugar
1 packet of ESSENSO™ MicroGround Coffee 2in1
4 large egg yolks
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean from 1 vanilla pod)
1/2 tsp salt
230 g cake flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
100 ml buttermilk

4 large egg whites
80 g caster sugar

"Marble" batter
2 tbsp heated water
2 packets of ESSENSO™ MicroGround Coffee 2in1

1 tsp quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Valrohna)

  • In a large mixing bowl, add butter, caster sugar and a pack of ESSENSO™ MicroGround Coffee 2in1 in. Beat till light and fluffy, about 10-12 minutes at medium speed.
  • Next add in the egg yolks, one at a time. Making sure that each yolk is well beaten into the batter until well-combined. Repeat till all yolks are mixed in.
  • Add in the vanilla bean or vanilla extract and continue to beat till thick and fluffy.

  • Sift in the cake flour, salt and baking powder and beat at low speed till just combined.
  • Finally, add in the buttermilk and beat till just combined as well.
  • Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease and line a square 8" by 8" baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In another mixing bowl, add in egg whites and the other 80 g of caster sugar. Beat the mixture till stiff peaks.
  • In 3 separate portions, gently fold in the egg white batter to the main batter. Do not overmix.
  • Reserve about 1/4 cup of the batter. Then pour the rest of the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  • Next we prepare the "marble batter". Using a small bowl, heat up the 2 tbsp of water. Add in the cocoa powder and 2 packets of ESSENSO™ MicroGround Coffee 2in1.

  • Mix well. You should get a thick paste. Add the paste to the reserved 1/4 cup cake batter and fold in till well-combined.
  • Scoop dollops of the coffee cocoa batter over the main batter. Then using a toothpick, swirl the batter around to create marbling effect.
  • No worries if the marbling effect is not as perfect. As long as the cake tastes great, that’s the most important.
  • Bake in the preheated oven at 160C for 43-45 mins till the tester comes out clean.
The wonderful coffee aroma that fills the whole house was just amazing! Inhaling coffee! You guys should totally try it.
I actually enjoyed having this marble cake with a cup of ESSENSO™ MicroGround Coffee 2in1. It paired off perfectly!
Adding coffee in both the main batter and the "marble batter", making it truly the ultimate coffee cake.

A couple things to note while baking this cake:

1) Do not overmix the batter or it will yield a less fluffy and coarser texture.

2) Work with butter that is not too soft, meaning when you press it, it should yield slightly and not mushy.
In this way, when you beat with sugar, the batter will be lighter and fluffier.

3) Do not overbeat the egg white. Again if the egg white is overbeaten the overall texture of the cake will be coarser and might even "collapse".

So the next time you go shopping for that instant coffee, do give ESSENSO™ MicroGround Coffee a try. And do not forget to reserve that few packs to bake this cake too...just saying. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Egg stuffed Meatloaf

This recipe has been on my dinner menu for a couple times but somehow it didn't manage to make it here on the blog since I thought it is quite a straight forward recipe anyway. But after some thought, I decided to share it since busy mummies can definitely use more one dish ideas, especially those that are sure to appeal the kids. Tender juicy minced meat coated with tangy sweet tomato sauce, encasing soft entered egg, baked till it is caramelised outside and yet moist inside.

Notice that I added an asian twist to the flavouring using the asian seasoning instead of the usual salt and pepper. 

I see this recipe is best presented in video form, so if you want a more pictorial explanation, head on over to my FB HoneyBeeSweets Kitchen to see the complete video on how I make this meatloaf.

As for this, I shall keep it a short post. So let's just take a look at what we need:

Ingredients for Egg stuffed MeatLoaf: (serves 4 pax)
500 g minced pork
3-4 cm thick ginger, peeled, and minced using microplane
1 slice of day old bread, blend till fine bread crumbs
100 ml fresh milk
1 large egg
I large onion, chopped small

3-4 eggs (to be "hidden" in the meatloaf)

1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

Tomato basting sauce :
1/4 cup tomato ketchup 
1 tsp chicken seasoning
1/2 tsp white pepper

Vegetable for roasting: (You don't need many, you can change to any veg you like)
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed (I used a melon scoop to scoop out the potatoes)
5-6 asparagus, cut off tough ends, and cut into smaller segments
6-8 large cherry tomatoes
1 red onion, peeled and cut into large chunks

  • In a preheated pan, add in 1 tbsp of olive oil and the chopped large onion. Sauté it over low fire till it caramelised. Set aside for use later.
  • In a large mixing bowl, place the minced meat, minced ginger, bread crumbs, milk, caramelised onion and egg in. You then add in all of the seasoning and mix in everything. When it is well incorporated, set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
  • In a small pot, bring some water to a boil. Carefully place the eggs in and let it boil for a good 6 minutes. Once time's up, remove the eggs and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. (note that this is the usual method to get soft-center boiled eggs)
  • Peel the eggs' shell once it has cooled and set aside for use later.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Oil the baking dish, place about 3 tbsp of the meat loaf mixture in a long rectangular manner on the baking pan. (See video to better understand)
  • Place the boiled eggs in a straight line on the meatloaf mix.
  • Then use the remaining meatloaf mixture and cover the 3 eggs, shaping it into a log with the eggs hidden inside.
  • Prepare the tomato basting sauce but mixing everything together in a small bowl. Brush the meatloaf with the basting sauce using half the amount. 
  • Toss the cut vegetables in 1 tbsp of olive oil and distribute them around the meatloaf.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes. Brush the meatloaf with the remaining tomato basting sauce in between baking time. 
  • Once it is baked, bring out the baking pan and let the meatloaf cool down a little before slicing into it. 
  • Serve with the roast vegetables on the sides. Enjoy!

The center of the eggs are still soft and curdy, just perfect with the tender and flavourful  meatloaf. Adding the eggs gives this traditional old European dish a delicious twist. Plus it is so easy to make! My kids loved it. 
Hope this post has inspired you to try out cooking meatloaf. Some may think this is "Ang mo" dish, but you can change it to whichever way you like. Perhaps you can also cooked some rice to go with it too haha!

Happy cooking all!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Roasted Curry Whole Chicken (Coconut oil version)

Ahh, yes...roast chicken. Almost too classic a dish that any cook ever missed cooking it. Truth enough, I have been roasting chicken all these while, almost once a month if I am not wrong. But been blogging for close to 8 years now, I have yet posted up a single roast chicken What have I been doing. :P I guess it is never too late yes? After all, classic dishes can never get old. :) And instead of the usual roast chicken we are all familiar with, fresh herbs, lemons etc...I decided to go with a twist this time. A fusion twist perhaps. May I present you my "Roasted Curry Whole Chicken".
Using the right tool and ingredients makes a whole lot of difference in cooking. Especially in dishes like roasting. To name a few of the important ones; 
(1) Use fresh chicken, never frozen chicken. This ensures the roast meat to be tender and even juicy.
(2) Using the right roasting dish. This time I used my trusty Le Creuset buffet casserole. The special enamel cast iron pot ensures even temperature distribution, kept the meat moist and even having the vegetables perfectly roasted as well.
(3) Use the right spices and marinating formula. Some spices just cannot make it, spend a little more and use the quality ingredients to create a dish totally worth your calories and bucks.

When you think of curry, you think of coconut milk. Yes that fragrant lemak taste. But I decided to make this a more healthy version. Instead of the usual creamy coconut milk, I opted for organic coconut oil and 3 tbsp of evaporated milk. If you have to know, yes you can use the usual coconut milk, but I cannot guarantee similar result.

Perhaps now we can go through the whole recipe and you shall have a much clearer picture of how I put all this together in creating this lovely fuss free dish.

Ingredients for Roasted Curry Whole Chicken (Serves 3-4 pax)
1 whole chicken (~1.5kg)
1 whole garlic bulb
1 big red onion
3 medium potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into bite size
1/2 carrot, peeled and cut into bite size
1 small egg plant, cut into bite size
Pumpkin, peeled and cut into bite size (Surface area of pumpkin smaller then my palm)

4-5 tbsp curry powder (I used Shermay's Nonya Curry Powder )
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
4 tbsp organic coconut oil (2 tbsp for vegetables, 2 tbsp for chicken)
1 heaping tbsp finely grated ginger that has been peeled
  • Slice the garlic horizontally across, revealing all the hearts of the garlic cloves. The "top" of the garlic cloves, removed skin and chop them up. While leaving the "bottom" of the whole garlic bulb intact.
  • Chop off the head and neck of the chicken. You can remove the backside if you don't fancy it. Then cut open the back, so the chicken can be open up from the back and lay flat.
  • Rinse the chicken with clean water and drain. Dap dry and put 2-3 tbsp curry powder, grated ginger, pepper and salt all over the body. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C. An aluminium sheet to cover the chicken later.
  • Next prep your Le Creuset baking dish or pot. I am using my beautiful 26 cm Caribbean Blue Buffet Casserole pot to do the job.  Place all your cut vegetables in it. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, then drizzle 2 tbsp of organic coconut oil over them. Give it a good toss to combine. Spread them out evenly but slightly shallower in the middle where you will be placing the chicken.
  • Place the half sliced garlic bulb right in the middle over the vegetables. Then you lay the marinated chicken over the garlic, making sure the whole surface is spread upwards. Innards facing down on the garlic and vegetables. 
  • Drizzle 2 tbsp of coconut oil over the chicken and gently rub all over. When done, sprinkle another 1-2 tbsp of curry powder all over the surface of the chicken, spread evenly.
  • Lastly, drizzle the 3 tbsp of evaporated milk all over the chicken and vegetables. This will create a creamy flavour to the chicken...but don't worry, the skin will still be nice and crisp. But of course you can opt not to add the evaporated milk, but the gravy will be clear not creamy like a curry gravy.

  • The end of the preparation should look something like this:
  • Place the whole casserole into the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Then rotate the casserole 180 degrees and then bake another 25 minutes. Cover the  casserole loosely with the aluminium sheet if you find the roast chicken is getting too charred. (Note that I did not cover with the Le Creuset pot's cover is because I still want the chicken to have a crisp skin. Covering it with the casserole cover, the liquid will not be able to escape that easily.)
  • When baked, remove the whole casserole pot out of the oven. Let it cool slightly before you cut the chicken, so as to preserve the juices.

Skeptical? I don't blame you. But let me assure you, the end product is nothing short of the flavours of what a curry chicken should be. Mildly spicy and yet bursting with spices and flavours. The juices from the roast chicken combined with coconut oil and evaporated milk is probably one of the most amazing gravies I have tasted and still don't feel any guilt sipping it.

I have to say that the flavours from the Nonya curry powder was just perfect, even when paired with coconut oil and evaporated milk. You might think without the presence of coconut milk this dish will probably not as awesome...but it was quite the opposite. The taste is almost exactly like a Nonya curry chicken but with crispy skin, best of both worlds!
When you slice into the crispy roasted skin and revealing the tender, juicy meat, just hearing the crisp-crackling sound can be so rewarding! This is truly happiness not just in the tummy but knowing a classic dish like roast chicken can after all be zest up all new and renewed. Tom-yam flavour next time yes?
Just look at that moist meat and golden crisp skin! The juices from the chicken, the coconut oil, the sweetness from the root vegetables, the evaporated milk and of course the curry powder ...creating an amazing curry vegetables at the bottom.
So the next time you want to roast a chicken, maybe you might want to kick it up a notch? Try something out of the norm? Try using curry seasoning and wow your family and friends with this creativity.

Now tell me that's not tempting looking... slurp! Enough tempting, get cooking!

I will be sharing the video on how I cook this dish on my FB HoneyBeeSweets Kitchen soon, so stay tune.

Happy New Year Everyone!