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Saturday, 23 May 2015

Someone's trash is someone else's treasure


Hi everyone!

I couldn't believe it ..... May is about to come to an end and this is my first post of 2015!  I know I have been missing in action and have not been updating my blog.  Well, I'm on long holiday right now.  If you do wonder whether have I been cooking while I'm on holiday, I do. Most of the posting is posted at my sister's blog, My Happy Apron.  Please feel free to hop over there.

Whenever I'm back here in Auckland, there are few places I love to go.  And 2nd hand stores are one of my favourites place to go.

The 2nd stores here are those people donated out their unwanted items stuff like old clothing, bedsheets, books, kitchen & cooking wares, electrical items and etc etc.  And they will sort out these things to sell it out with very affordable and economical price.   The collections will to go the charity needs.

The other day I help out my sister to clear up her unwanted items (loadful of toys, books and clothings) to donate out to this Eastgate 2nd Hand shop.






Rattan basket and wood bowls and trays available here.



Pots & pans 


Every time I come here, I usually will look at this rack whether I can still find more of this rustic type brass fork & spoon.   Other than crazily looking for enamelwares, brass forks & spoons are my kind of thing now!


Am I crazy to buy these brass forks & spoons?  Well anyway, it is just $1 each and I think it is cheap as you won't be able to get this brass type utensils nowadays.   After giving a good scrups, it looks so shiny; its a gem to me now.  


If you're lucky enough, you can get nice looking saucers and plates.



Cookbooks


That blue saucer plate cost $2.00 each. It was those Churchill England type of plates.  



Bedsheets, linen, table cloths.........


Women & Men Clothings


Furnitures too ..... and they do delivery with a minimum cost of NZ$25.00 per trip.





My sister couldn't resist these items today. That beautiful bowl only cost $0.70 whereas the plate is just $0.20! 




Monday, 15 December 2014

Espresso Almond Butter Cake

When you see someone posting their recipe post and indicated "Highly Recommended", would it motivate you to try it out?  Well, I do.   

 Victoria Bakes has somewhat been so diligently baking her cakes away and it seem that most of her posting she has this "Highly Recommended" recipe post ~ oh dear ... I can't seem to catch up trying out her "HR" recipes if she keeps going with her "HR" post! And if you have been following her post.... all her cakes seems to be so captivating with the print on the cakes...so lovely and cute.

Back to my post today, I have bookmarked this Espresso Almond Butter Cake when Gert of Kitchen Snippets posted hers, I thought I could bake it at my soonest, so went seaching for sour cream but can't seem to find any at the supermarket shelves.  Wanted to substitute for yogurt instead but.....aigh....  And so, until Victoria Bakes posted hers last month that really get me going to make mine yesterday.



ESPRESSO ALMOND BUTTER CAKE
Recipe adapted from My Kitchen Snippets


Ingredients
227 gram butter (at room temperature)
3 tbsp sour cream
250g caster sugar
240g plain  flour
1/4 tsp salt
120g ground almond
1 tsp baking powder
4 medium eggs
120ml warm milk
2 tbsp instant espresso coffee powder 


Method 
Line and greased an 8” x 8” square baking pan or round baking pan.
Dissolve the espresso powder to the warm milk.  Set  aside to cool down.

Preheat the oven to 180C.  Sift the plain flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. 
Add in the ground almond and give it a good mix together. Set aside.

In your mixer with medium speed,  cream the butter, caster sugar and sour cream till  light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Scrapping the side of the bowl occasionally.   Add in the eggs, one at a time until well combined.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk espresso mixture in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until well combined.

Pour batter into the baking pan, smooth out the top and bake until the top of the cake springs back when gently pressed with your fingers and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. It will take about 50-60 minutes.

Cool the cake on the wire rack for 10 minutes, invert and unmold the cake and let it cool completely before cutting into it.


If you love butter cake, and if you love coffee, and....if you love having ground almonds in your bakes..... this is the cake for you.  And yes, I highly recommend you to try this out too.







I'm linking this post to :
     Cook & Celebrate Christmas 2014 hosted by Bake For Happy KidsEat Your Heart Out  






Friday, 12 December 2014

Mini Christmas Pudding

In less than two weeks from now we will be celebrating Christmas.  Have you done your shopping and plan your Christmas menu or baking any goodies to be given as gifts?

As usual, though I don't really celebrate Christmas, to get into the Christmas mood, I be baking my favourite Christmas Cake or you can called it mixed dry fruit cake or Christmas pudding, or even steam fruit cake.  They are all the same to me.

This year, I have made few batches earlier and all were distributed out to families and friends.

I have also try making it some into small mini moulds which was supposed to be given away for my reunion friends get together but unfortunately I have been unwell so I have to cancel my trip back to my hometown.




                    I think this mini ones looks nicer and presentable in serving too.


If you intend to make this, you can follow the recipe here (Christmas Pudding) or here (Steamed Fruit Cake).  But, instead of going into the steamer for 4 hours, you can choose the bain marie method (steamed bake) to cut short the cooking time.

Oh, please note that I usually will macerate my mixed dry fruits in brandy (you can use Rum) overnight.

Once the cake is cooked, and, let the cake aged for at least a day or two before consumin as to let the flavour mature.  As I have read in the internet, it is more better to make this Christmas Pudding two months before the big day or at least one month ahead.....or the earlier the better! 

Well, for me....once my cake been done and matured for two days ....it will be gone in just a few days!  Don't think I am able to let it mature more than a week.....LOL.  It is just toooo delicious.  Unless someone help me to hide the cake where I don't know where of..... 



                             If only I have some custard to go with it.......and that would 
                             be so perfect!!








Thursday, 11 December 2014

Almond Biscotti (Delia Smith)

Have you tried baking Biscotti before?  I love biscotti especially with lots of almonds inside.  
Biscotti is used to describe as a long, dry, hard,  twice-baked cookie with a curved top and flat bottom meant for dunking into coffee or wine.  The traditional biscotti recipe uses no form of yeast or fat (butter, oil, milk) as I have read. 

I have baked biscotti years ago (here ~ Almond Biscotti), and in fact that recipe I have tried for a few times just because I wanted to achieve in cutting the biscotti in thin slices.  Believe me, it is no easy task cutting into that thinly slices. 

I wanted to bake that recipe again for giving it as a gifts but on second thought, I should try out other recipe too.  There are tons of recipes to choose from the internet .... some uses whole egg, some with butter, some with vegetable oil, and some with egg whites. 


And while searching for a simple recipe, this recipe from Delia Smith caught my attention as ground almond was part of the ingredient.  So I have no hesitation to try this out and what is great about this is, it makes for a small portion to try out first.  




ALMOND BISCOTTI

Ingredients 
110g plain flour
3/4 tsp level baking powder
pinch of salt
25g ground almond
50g whole almonds, skin on (I added 80g)
75g golden caster sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Few drops of almond extract

Method
Preheat your oven to 170°C.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, then add in the ground and whole almonds and sugar. Give it a good mix, then add the egg and the almond extract, and mix it together with a wooden spoon and then using your hands to bring the mixture together to form a smooth dough.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, using your hands, roll it into a log about 28cm long. Put it on the lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling tray and leave till completely cold.

Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C.
Using a serrated knife or a very sharp knife,  cut the biscotti into slightly diagonal slices about 1cm wide. Then place them back on the lined baking tray and bake for another 15 minutes on each side until pale gold and crisp. 

Transfer them to the cooling tray and when cold, store in an airtight container.

Yields about 15 pieces

Original recipe from Delia Online


                      








  I am linking this post to the Bake Along event # 72 created by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours,  Lena of Frozen Wings and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids
 


I'm linking this post to :
Cook & Celebrate Christmas 2014 hosted by Bake For Happy KidsEat Your Heart Out and Domestic Goddess Wannabe.





Thursday, 20 November 2014

Jam Doughnut Muffins

Yesterday I was up early in the morning and was gearing up to make a steamed nyonya kuih.  I spend in front of the stove for more than an hour steaming the kuih layer by layer....and in the end...the kuih was a disaster!!  Thought I could have a beautiful kuih lapis to share with you.  So tired in the end....

Anyway, I made something more easier today.  This muffin can be ready in just less than an hour.



Jam-Doughnut Muffins

Ingredients
125ml milk
85ml corn oil or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
200gm self-raising flour
60gm caster sugar
12 teaspoons strawberry jam (or any of your favourite jam)

Coating
scant 1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar


Method

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a 6-hole muffin pan.

With a fork or hand whisk, beat together the milk, oil, egg and vanilla extract. Stir this into the flour and 60gm sugar to just combine. (It doesn’t matter there are lumps as if you overbeat the batter, the muffins will be hard and tough.)

Spoon the mixture into each muffin mould so that its just under a third full. Then with a teaspoon add a dollop of strawberry jam - about the size of a fat lima bean- then top with more muffin mix so that the cases are just about full.

Put them in a preheated oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until the tops feel springy and resistant and the muffins have puffed up into little toadstools.

For the coating :  Melt the butter. Combine the extra sugar and the cinnamon in a large bowl. When the muffins are cool enough to handle, brush each muffin with the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon sugar. Serve while still a little warm.



                            I did not make the melted butter and coat with the sugar to my muffins 
                            instead I just lightly dust with icing sugar.  It is as good eating it as it is.

                            
 


                             This jam doughnut muffin is best eaten when it is still warm.
                             You can always warm up the muffin in your microwave if you have
                              left over.




  I am linking this post to the Bake Along event created by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours,  Lena of Frozen Wings and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids
  


                             

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Kuih Kodok (Mashed Banana Fritters)

Made this easy Banana Fritters for my tea break today as I have some left over banana.  Instead of making banana cake, this is super quick and super easy too.






KUIH KODOK (MASHED BANANA FRITTERS)


Ingredients
150g (net weight) ripe bananas (pisang emas)
½ tsp salt (or less)
1 tsp sugar
5 tbsp self-raising flour
1 tbsp rice flour
1 tbsp Quaker oats
A pinch of bicarbonate of soda



Method
Mash ripe bananas well with a fork and combine with salt, sugar, self-raising flour, rice flour and oats. Sift in bicarbonate of soda. Mix until well combined into a batter.

Heat wok with enough oil over medium heat. Spoon a tablespoon of batter and drop into the hot oil. Constantly turn the fritters around until they are golden brown. 

Remove with a slotted ladle and drain on several layers of absorbent kitchen paper. Serve immediately.

Recipe sourced from kuali.com






Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Chocolate Macaron With Salted Caramel

When was the last time I made macarons?  Oh....that was years ago in 2011.  It was my first time trying out to bake macarons.  I can't believe it too....first time trying out and everything was smooth sailing for my macarons.  But.... it wasn't so the next time I try out again.  Never been successful after that. 

Well, for me, I can say is baking macarons can be based on "luck".  Sometimes, the expertise can have their macarons cracked on top, right?

There are many ways to bake macarons; the French, Italian and Swiss.  Which type you are most comfortable with?

If you are keen to try out baking macaron, why not try making it in small amount ingredient.  Here I have used Kim of Macaron-Fetish as the ingredient yield only small amount and if it was not success, you won't have to worry of wastage and you can try out again too.

My sister has made macarons using Kim's recipe.  Do check out her gorgeous Kitty Macarons.




Chocolate Macaron Shells
(Yields 12 filled macarons)

Ingredients
1 room temperatured egg white(39-40g)
50g icing sugar
30g ground almond
30g castor sugar
1/2 tsp cocoa powder

Method:
Put ground almond, icing sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor or a small blender. Blend them finely. 


Sift the blended mixture and set aside. 

With an electric beater, beat the egg white, start from low speed and increase slowly to maximum speed. Beat until frothy (you will see lots of fine bubbles).

Now it's the time to add in the castor sugar, add half of the sugar, continue to beat in maximum speed for around 2 minutes, add in the other half, continue until you get very stiff peak. 

Mix the dry ingredients into the eggwhites. This process is called Macaronage. Start folding with a rubber spatula. When you get a smooth shiny mixture, stop folding, lift the mixture with spatula, if the mixture falls back slowly in the bowl means you're good to go. You could also check if the lines formed from the liften mixture, they should slowly disappear in within 30 seconds. At this stage you're good to go. Do not over fold, it will be too liquid and becoming very hard to pipe. 

Line the baking tray with the parchment paper. 

Fill your piping bag , pipe your macaron (about 2 cm diameter) it should spread a bit as it settles. The point should slowly disappear if the mixture is the right consistency.
If not you could hit the bottom of the tray to smooth the point out)
.

Let your macaron sits for about 30minutes. This will depand on the humity in your house and the day. Try touching the macaron softly, after 30mins. it should not stick to your hand.

Heat your oven to 150 C on the (heating on the top only). When the oven is ready, put your macaron at the very bottom shelf. Bake for 12 minutes, check them in the mid time of 6 minutes, the feets should already start forming. Turn the baking tray to the opposite direction to allow even baking. When the 6 mins is up, change the heating setting of your oven to Bottom only. This will help cooking the macaron and rise the feet more. Bake for another 6 minutes. You can test if the macaron is cook, touch softly on the shell and when the macaron doesn't slide on the feet, it's cooked. if it's not add another 1 mins each time and check. 
* (I baked my macarons using upper and lower heat.  You need to know your oven temperatures and adjust accordingly).

Let the macaron cool down before removing them. You could wet your working area and slide the baking sheet on it to speed up the cooling process, but do not let it sit there too long, if not the macarons will become soggy. Other wise you can leave them cool at room temperature and remove them.


For the filling for my macarons, I have filled it up with Salted Caramel Sauce.

Check out the Salted Caramel recipe here.






       Here, I used the egg carton box and painted it with food colouring.  How's that?
       I like to keep all those unwanted stuff....but I got complain of keeping 
       of those "rubbish" around...... grrrr......



                        In a glance, the macarons look like eggs sitting in the egg carton, right?




                               







I am linking this post to the Bake Along event created by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, lena of Frozen Wings and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids




Salted Caramel Sauce

Lately I have seen few bloggers have been raving about this Salted Caramel Sauce.  Was it good?  I got to try out since I have some left over whipping cream and it is just nice to use it all up.



Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
6 tbsps (90g) salted butter, cut up into 6 pieces
1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream (I used dairy whipping cream.)
1 tsp salt

Method:
Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-coloured liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.

Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added.

Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.
Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to cool down before using or pour it into a container to store it.  Don't worry if the sauce seems a bit too thin at first, it will thicken as it cools. 

Cover the caramel tightly and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Warm the caramel up for a few seconds before using in a recipe.

Recipe sourced from Faeez of Bitter Sweet Spicy




                                                                           Yum !!


Friday, 31 October 2014

Leopard Print Orange Cupcakes

I came across someone posting this Leopard Print Cuppies the other day in the Facebook Group members page.  Looking at these pretty leopard print top of the cupcakes captivated me immediately and I just got to try it out too.

I'm sure these Leopard Print Cuppies makes a good choice for children's parties too and to impress your guests.  These cuppies are spongy and light and with some orange zest added, it just taste absolutely yummy!






LEOPARD PRINT ORANGE CUPCAKES

Ingredients 
Meringue 
5 egg whites (medium size)
80g caster sugar
10g corn flour


Yolk batter 
5 yolks
20g caster sugar
60g vegetable oil (canola or sunflower)
50g milk (warm) (You can substitute with orange juice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
90g cake flour

1 orange zest 

Spot batter
1 tsp Chocolate powder
1 tsp Black powder or Charcoal powder

Method

Place cupcake liners into your muffin pan.  Set aside. 

Combine the caster sugar and corn flour together.  Place the egg whites in a bowl and using your electric hand mixer, whisk the egg whites in medium speed till frothy, add in the corn flour sugar mixture gradually continue to beat until stiff peak.  Set aside.

In another bowl, using your hand whisk, lightly beat the egg yolks, then add in the sugar and whisk till combine and thick.  Add in the oil, followed by the warm milk and vanilla extract.  Mix till all well blended.  Sift in the cake flour and mix till all combined.

Gently fold 13 of beaten egg white into egg yolk batter, use cut and fold method until well blended. Then pour the batter back to the rest of the egg white and fold until mixture is well blended. 

Scoop out 2 tablespoons batter each for the chocolate and black spots into a small bowl.

(Add in 1 tsp of cocoa powder and 1 tsp black powder to the bowls and mix till combined).  Pour batter into piping bag to draw spots on the cupcakes.

In the main batter, add in the orange zest and mix to combined.  Pour the batter into the cupcake liners just below the liners.

For chocolate colour spot and drop round and long spots onto the cupcakes.  After that, for the black colour spot, just draw on the edges on the chocolate spots.  
(Tips : Please make sure that these two colours batter are slightly thicker than the main white batter). 

Bake the cupcakes using water bath method in 110 celcius for 25 minutes, 140c for 10 minutes and last 5-10 minutes raise the temperature to 160c.  

Remove from oven and let cool.


Recipe sourced from this link (SingaporeHomeCooks)

Please check out this Original Chinese link (BrendaWang) to view her tutorial pictures