Thursday, December 22, 2011

Free and Easy Bake Along #15 : Apricot and Walnut Bars

Somehow my apricot bars look quite different from the original recipe here. I have a bad habit of not drafting my post after i bake something..this was written 2 weeks after i baked and also never realised that i've done a mistake here until now..i suspected i could have measured out my ingredients wrongly cos i've marked my flour as 94gms. It should hv only been 42gms instead. But these bars still can be eaten..infact i wouldnt say it's not delicious but it should have been much much better. Instead of  a bar, they look something like a type of crisp, firmer crisp. Yeah, at times i'm just that clumsy and disorganised. So let me just put down the original recipe here instead of what i actually put in in order not to mislead you. Now i'm eager to see how my other fellow bake buddies' apricot bars turned out.

This will be our last bake along for the year . Our next bake along on the 9th Jan, 2012 will be making brownies, you are welcomed to make any brownies you like. Lastly, i would like to wish all of my friends,  everyone Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ! Catch up with all of you when i come back next year. Enjoy the holidays! Bye!

Recipe ( original from Bon Appetit Book or here)
Shortbread Layer
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Apricot Layer
2/3 cup dried apricot halves, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup golden brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Powdered sugar for dusting

Shortbread Layer: Preheat oven to 350F/177C. Spray 8x8x2 inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray or butter your baking dish. Blend flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter, using on/off turns ( pulse mode) process until coarse meal forms. Press crumbs firmly onto bottom of prepared dish. Bake until center is golden, about 25 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Apricot Layer :Meanwhile, place apricots in a small saucepan, add enough water to cover. Boil until soft, about 4 minutes, drain.Set aside and let cool.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into small bowl. Using electric mixer, beat eggs in large bowl. Add brown sugar and vanilla, beat until blended. Stir in flour mixture, then nuts and apricots. Spread over shortbread.

Bake until puffed and dark brown and tester inserted into topping comes out with small moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Cool in dish. Cut into bars, transfer to waxed papers. Sift powdered sugar over bars.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Tree on Potato

While i was looking for ideas on what to make for the White Christmas Challenge, i came upon this Christmas Sushi. I thought it was pretty cute. I could have made a sushi since i have all the ingredients in my kitchen but i was just a little lazy to cook the sushi rice, well it's not difficult to cook sushi rice , it's just that i  didnt feel like doing that at that moment. So this idea is very much inspired by that Christmas Sushi. Actually i think making this is more like playing with food. I was just looking around in the kitchen and see what else can i used instead of making a sushi christmas tree. Ok , i see potatoes. Going to use that as a base for that christmas tree then. OK friends, my christmas tree may not look as pretty as the sushi christmas tree, or maybe you think it doesnt look like a christmas tree at all..hohoho! I roasted  some potatoes but now i think probably i need not roast the potatotes , maybe just boil it till just a little tender, i also think we need not flavour the potatoes because the tuna and avocado spread is quite a lot here, i dont think we would be able to taste the flavour of that little piece of potato here. The base of the christmas tree is potatoes, the tree itself is tuna with avocado spread, the fish eggs is for decoration and the mayonnaise is for ..errr..artificial snow.

2 potatoes, peeled and each cut into halved
2 avocados
1 1/2 tsp of lemon juice
1 can of tuna ( i used ayam brand tuna chunks in water, drained )
some fish eggs and mayonnaise for decoration.

Here's what i did:
1. Boil the potatoes till their edge is a little soft ( takes around 10 minutes ), remove the water from the pan, place the lid back, shake the potatoes in the pot so that they turn floury. Remove and season them with salt and drizzle some olive oil onto your roasting pan and bake in a preheated oven at 190C for 30 minutes.  ( after eating this, i would think you can just boil the potatoes till cook is good enough , not necessary to roast them )
2. Meanwhile, you can make your spread. Mash the avocado , put in the lemon juice. In another bowl, mash the tuna till they become flakes, then add in the mashed avocado by spoonfuls till you get a spreadable or workable consistency. Mix them all together. Cut off a little top of the potatoes so that your spread can sit nicely on the potatoes. Using a gloves, take a small piece of that spread and shape into a cone shape and place that on top of that potato. Using a butter knife, slowly cover the base with more avocado spread and a little on the tree.
3.Sprinkle with fish eggs and pipe some mayonnaise around the tree.

Will be submitting this to the White Christmas Challenge organised by Very Good Recipes via Quay Po Cooks

Also am submitting this to the Aspiring Bakers Event #14 - Creative Christmas Bakes (Dec 2011 ) organised by Hankerie

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Yeasted Apple Strudel ( Strucla Jablkami )

This is a kind of strudel but a yeasted type instead of pastry . I read from the internet that  in Poland, these yeasted strudels are very popular and eaten all year round but are more commonly served around christmas and holidays and the most popular ones are the poppy seeds strudel ( Strucla Makiem ) because the Poles believe that poppyseeds bring good luck. But instead of a poppy seeds strudel, i made an apple strudel (strucla jablkami ) also in a yeasted form. The fillings are delicious with sliced apples and  i replaced the raisins with dried  cranberries and comes with a mixture of ground cinnamon, butter and icing sugar. There's also some  breadcrumbs in the fillings but i dont know what happened to them, i cant get to feel them. The strudel is rich, soft and flavourful and i'm sure many of you will enjoy eating this.

Recipe ( adapted from la petite patisserie diza with some modifications )
To make strudel dough
200gm bread flour ( you may need to add in more, i added 4 more tbsp during the kneading )
50gm cake flour
1 tsp instant yeast
55gm caster sugar
1/8 tsp of salt
1 egg
120ml milk
40gm butter

1 apple ( i shld have used 2 apples )
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
30gm butter, diced
20gm cranberries

1 beaten egg for brushing and icing sugar for dusting

1.Put in flour, yeast, sugar, salt in a mixing bowl and using your dough hook, mix them around. Slowly add in the egg and milk and with your machine still running , continue beating till a round dough is formed. Add in the butter and continue beating until the dough is smooth to touch. It takes about 10 minutes. The dough is slightly wet, i added 4 tbsps of bread flour to it during the beating process. Remove to a floured surface, shape into a ball and let proof for about 1.5-2 hrs in a slightly floured big bowl.
2. After almost the dough completes it proofing, you can start making the fillings. Slice the apples thinly. Set aside. Mix the icing sugar, bread crumbs, ground cinnamon together in a bowl and leave aside.
3.Remove the dough from the bowl to a floured surface and with a rolling pin, roll them to a large and thin sheet. Spread the cinnamon, sugar and bread crumbs mixture followed by cranberries and sliced apples and diced butter. Roll them up like a swiss roll and seal the edges.  Let proof in a baking tin for another 45mins to 1 hour.
4. Brush with egg wash ( optional ) and bake in a preheated oven at 190C for 40minutes.

Will be submitting this post to participate in the White Christmas Challenge organised by Very Good Recipes via Quay Po Cooks

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

French Baguette and Avocado Crostini

Really nice to get to know some of you thru the last bake along. It is always fun to have friends joining along to bake together through the blogsphere here. Please feel free to display our bake along badge on the sidebar of  your blog if you join in the bake along. For more information, you can refer to the 'bake along' column on the header above.

I really enjoy baking regardless the asian preferably soft and fluffy type of bread or european breads. I consume bread a lot, even when there's no homemade bread in the house, i will still get a loaf from the bakery nearby. Now this baguette that i made though i think it looks quite good in the picture, it lacks the really crisp crust that i'm looking for could be my oven problem..i suspect probably my oven wasnt hot enough. Anyway, i made some simple mashed avocado and crabsticks to go with these baguettes, simply good.. that the not so crispy crust was not a concern anymore!

Hi protein flour 250gm
low protein flour 50gm
salt 1 tsp
instant yeast 1 tsp
sugar 1/2 tbsp
water 190ml

1. Put all of the above in a big mixing bowl except water. On your machine to knead, pour in the water little by little till a dough is formed. Continue beating till dough is smooth. This will take around 10-15 minutes by machine.
2. Remove the dough from machine and transfer to a lightly floured bowl and let proof for 30 minutes. Deflate it a little and shape into round again to proof till double its volume.
3. Divide into 2 portions. Let it rest for 20 minutes.
4. Line your baking tin. Dust your hands with some flour and pat your dough into a oval shape and fold in half lengthwise and seal in the edges. ( you can roll over the whole dough then to get the shape more even ). Let it proof in the lined baking tin till double its size again.
5.Sprinkle some flour on top and with a very sharp knife, make some slashes on the dough. Spray some water with a sprinkler and bake in a preheated oven at 220C for 4 minutes. Spray water again and bake for further 3 minutes. Reduce temperature to 180C and bake for another 18minutes.

Avocado crostini
Mash one or 2 pieces of avocado, squeeze a little lemon juice,  put in some chopped filament crabsticks and add salt and black pepper to taste. Spread on plain or toasted baguettes.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bake Along #14 - Korean Sweet Pancakes

I love these pancakes. They are slightly crispy on the crust and it's fluffy. A little resembles of a pau. You can just mix all the ingredients in a bowl and no kneading required. These sweet pancakes are filled with a mixture of cinnamon powder, brown sugar and also some chopped walnuts. Really nice, would love to make these again.

Me, Joyce and Zoe have decided to make some Apricot Walnut Bars in our next bake along on 22dec. If you're interested to make, you can click on the link above to get the recipe and bake along with us.

Recipe ( can refer to video here )
Ingredients ( makes 8 pieces)
1 cup slightly warm water
2 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups all purpose flour

Fillings  ( you can double this filling,  originally this filling is for 4 pancakes or cheese filling as shown in the video)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp chopped walnuts

1.Pour 1 cup of slightly warm water into a big mixing bowl. Add in the instant yeast, sugar, salt and vegetable oil and mix all together with a hand whisk.
2. Next add in the flour and continue mixing till all is well incorporated. Leave to proof in the bowl for 1 hour till double its volume.
3.After an hour, stir the mixture ( it will deflate ) and let it rest for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, you can prepare your fillings. Just mix all the filling ingredients in a bowl and leave aside.
5. Flour your working table and remove the dough from the bowl ( from step 3) and divide into 8 portions.
6. Lightly pat each dough with your palm to flatten it , wrap in fillings , seal tightly and pan fry them in a pan with little oil. Leave them fry on one side for about 30 seconds and flip over to the side. Once flipped over, use your spatula to flatten the dough and fry till both sides are golden brown, you can then cover and cook for another minute. Remove from pan. Done.  You can cook these pancakes 2 or 3 at a time .

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Butter Prawns ( 奶油 虾 )

I guess most malaysians especially chinese know what this dish is. I can say that we are able to find this butter prawns being served in all chinese restaurants. What makes this dish special i think is the egg floss. It was first started with butter prawns and now they have butter fish and butter chicken , all with egg floss. I wouldnt say that we need skills to make the egg floss. We just need to keep stirring the egg yolks in the wok with a big soup ladle until you see them turning into floss and crispy. In previous times, i've tried making egg floss recipes using evaporated milk as seen in many cookbooks but i just couldnt get it, the floss didnt turn out as the way it should be. I really dont know why. Now without milk, i find it easier to create those egg floss. It  is very similar to the ones we had in the restaurant, only sometimes i find that my egg floss is not dry and crispy enough but still good.

Medium size prawns ( i got 12 prawns here), shells intact, trimmed and cut off the top part of the head
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp of chicken powder
3 egg yolks, stir mix with a fork
1/2 block of butter ( around 110gm)
oil for frying the prawns

1. Shallow fry or deep fry the prawns till they turn pink and cooked. Remove and set aside.
2. Make the egg floss. On medium fire, melt the butter in the wok and pour in the egg yolks. Switch to high heat , quickly use a ladle to swirl the egg yolks in one direction. After a few seconds, you will see the mixture becomes foamy , keep stirring until you can see the egg floss ( it's not easy to see though ) turns crispy lookalike, stir for another 10 seconds.
3. Remove from heat and strain through a siever. Press the egg floss against the siever to get rid of the oil. Set aside.
4. Wash your wok and pour some oil back into the wok and fry the curry leaves . Return the prawns to the wok and add in sugar and chicken powder, sir to mix and add in half of the egg floss and give them a toss.
5. Remove to a serving plate . Garnish with the remaining egg floss.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pulut Pandan With Thai Red Curry Seafood

There's nothing wrong with your eyes. The rice is green. These are glutinous rice ( nasi pulut ) which has been soaked with pandan water. I soaked them for 4 hours and also i cooked them in my rice cooker with pandan water before i put them to steam. I did not steam them right away after soaking because i actually wanted them to look noticeably a little more green. You see, just soaking them alone, my rice did not turn out ' green' as it should already had if it was soaked in blue pea flower juice and it got blue. It was just very very light in green only if you look near. That's why i took another step to cook them in pandan water. I am quite happy the way they turned out. Now you may ask me why do i want them to look green? Ha! Simply because i'm making these for the Christmas Giveaway organised by Swee San from The Sweet Spot. Cook or bake anything in red and/or green. The closing date for this giveaway is on the Dec11, 2011. Come and join, for more details, just click on the link above.

Along with these pandan pulut rice, i cooked some Thai Red Curry Seafood. If you have a blender at home, making the paste itself isnt too difficult. You can always adjust the spiciness to your liking. It's not very spicy and fragranced with lemongrass and kaffir leaves. I really enjoyed my meal. Have a great weekend!

Recipe ( enough to feed 2 persons)
To cook Pandan Glutinous Rice ( Nasi Pulut Pandan)
250gm glutinous rice, washed and soaked in pandan water for 4 hours, drained
70ml coconut milk
1/2 tsp of salt
pandan water for cooking rice

To obtain pandan water:
i used around 20 pandan leaves here, wash and cut them into pieces and blend them in batches in  a food processor with water. Sieve twice. You will need around 800ml of pandan water here or maybe less if you dont mind use the same soaking water to cook the rice. I did not.

1. Place the glutinous rice in rice cooker and pour in coconut milk and salt. Add the pandan water to be just about 1/4 inch above the rice and cook till the on/off switch flips up.
2.  Transfer them to a tray lined with banana leaves and steam them on high heat for further 15-20 minutes till they are completely cooked.

Thai Red Curry Seafood
Ingredients for red curry paste
5 pcs shallots
2 pips garlic
15pieces of dried chillies, soaked in hot water till soft, drained
1 small piece of turmeric ( about 1/2 thumbsize)
3 slices of galangal ( lengkuas)
2 stalks lemongrass
6 pieces of kaffir lime leaves
1/2 inch of cinnamon stick

Blend all the above except for the cinnamon stick

Main ingredients:
8 medium large size prawns
2 squids
3 filament crab sticks
some baby corns
some french beans or long beans
2 chillies, cut into lengths
6 pieces of kaffir lime leaves
2 tsp of fish sauce
1/4 tsp of salt
pinch of sugar
60ml coconut milk
200ml water

1. Pour some oil into wok, fry the cinnamon stick and put in the pounded ingredients and saute them in low heat till aromatic, takes around 15 minutes. Remove and clean your wok cos there may be burnt substance at middle part of the wok after frying the pounded ingredients.
2. Put your curry paste ( no 1) back into the wok, pour in the water , add in the kaffir leaves and let them boil. Put in baby corns, french beans , chillies, coconut milk and boil till the beans turn a little soft. Just a few minutes. Add in the prawns, squids, filament crab sticks, fish sauce, salt and sugar for final seasoning and cook for further 5 minutes.

I am submitting this to the Christmas Giveaway in The Sweet Spot