Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Floral Vanilla Cupcakes

I've not been to any Magnolia Bakeries, have not tasted any of their famous cupcakes but i see a lot of  these magnolia cupcakes recipes in the internet. Are they the real recipe of their famous cupcakes, i wonder? These vanilla  cupcakes are soft and moist , comes with a nice light vanilla flavour and they are not sticky as they will stick to your teeth when you take a bite. There's nothing really spectacular about these cupcakes after all it's just a simple plain vanilla cupcakes but it's a good recipe. But i do hope that i would be able to taste the real Magnolia cupcakes together with their buttercream one day.

just out from the did not reach to the brim of the liners. If you look carefully at the rest of the photos, it even shrunk a little more after completely cooled down, more batter next time or undermixing?   

If it's not for the cupcakes aspiring bakers event, i don't think i will make good use of my piping tools. I hardly use them, this is my 3rd time this month using these piping tips to decorate the cupcakes. My previous ones were the Carrot Cupcakes and the recent Key Lime Cupcakes. Not that easy for me to pipe designs..with rare practise and also here with buttercream, it's quite a messy thing for me besides washing up. Even though it only takes around 8 cupcakes to complete the frosting, i had to move the buttercream in and out of the fridge 2 or 3 times. Blame it on my slow piping, my not so perfect buttercream consistency, my warm kitchen and also maybe the plastic piping bags. As much as i wanted to pipe something that looks like flowers, some of them turned out really funny, i was piping and piping and the more i piped, the more funnier it looks. The  ones that you're looking at the photos here are the better looking ones.

Recipe ( from the internet, made 1/3 of the recipe, makes around 8 cupcakes )
62gm self raising flour
52gm cake flour
75 gm unsalted butter, softened
60gm sugar
1 large egg
80ml milk
1/2 tsp vanilla ( i used wilton vanilla extract and poured in one whole capful from the bottle)

Method for cupcakes
1.Preheat oven to 350F/177C. Line your muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2.In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
3.In another larger bowl, cream the butter until smooth at medium speed. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy. Add the egg and beat well.
4.Add the dry ingredients in 2 parts, alternating with milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until all ingredients are well incorporated but do not overbeat.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl
to make sure they are all well blended.
5.Spoon the batter into cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes, remove and let cool completely before frosting them.

Buttercream icing  ( or any of your preferable frosting)
113gm unsalted butter
250gm icing sugar, sifted

Beat them till smooth and creamy to the right consistency.
Submitting this to the Aspiring Bakers Event #13- Enjoy Cupcakes ( Nov 2011 ) hosted by Min

** updates** at 9.36pm on Nov30, 2011- some of you asked abt the 2 tone colour on the flowers. I divide the buttercream icinginto 2 parts, one with plain white and the other tinted with colour. Then scoop the white buttercream into one corner of the piping bag and the coloured buttercream on another corner of the bag. Squeeze out the icing till you get the 2 colours out from the tip and you can start piping. I'm using a Petal Tip which is very similar to the wilton tip 125.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Spaghetti with Prawns and Breadcrumbs

I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a wonderful time with your family and friends. I do not know the history of thanksgiving day, how did it actually come about and i do not celebrate thanksgiving but i do like the idea and concept of thanksgiving...very all things, we give thanks. When we recognise and truly express gratitude, it makes us all feel good and immediate joy fills our heart. Here at this moment, i want to say thank you to all of you and i really appreciate all of you friends who constantly drop by to support and encourage me. I hope all of us will always be in gratitude, not only just to anyone but to ourselves too. Each day is a gift.. and i just want to, learn to appreciate the every moment of every day and remember all the love that created me and keeping me aliveeeee.

There are no exact measurements in this recipe, it's a simple one, you can throw in whatever you like, just that i added some breadcrumbs here for some crunchy texture. These are dry bread crumbs and it took almost immediately to fry them. Just pour some oil into your wok or pan, throw in the breadcrumbs and they sizzle immediately. Set aside. Cook the pasta , leave them aside. Pan fried some prawns with oil and garlic, put in some halved cherry tomatoes , coriander leaves, pour in around 1/8 cup or more of dry white wine and let them simmer for a while. Taste and you can add in some salt if you want. Return  the cooked pasta to the pan and toss them to combine. Lastly sprinkle the breadcrumbs and black pepper over the spaghetti.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bake Along #13 - Key Lime Cupcakes

Mention key lime , the first thing related to baking, i would think of a key lime pie and a key lime cheesecake. Scrolling thru the pages of the Bon Appetit book, i came across a key lime cupcakes recipe. Yes, i wanted to try that, key lime seems like a welcomed flavour for me , i have never put them in my bakes and am glad that Joyce and Zoe both had also agreed to bake these.  As i was preparing the ingredients for some grated lime peel, i actually confused myself with a key lime and a calamansi lime. I took some calamasi lime from my garden and it's like taking me forever to grate the peel. Either it's too soft, too hard,too small, brownish,  i just couldnt get a proper zest. i think i've wasted quite a number of limes there. I then thought of the bigger type of lime ( we call that limau nipis in malay) which i believe is the right type of lime should be used here and quickly get that from the market. One reason why i got confused is because most of the time i just call them lime in regardless of calamansi ( limau kasturi) or key lime ( limau nipis) . Also dont confuse yourself with kaffir lime, kaffir lime is more rough and bumpy on the peel.

These cupcakes are moist and soft and  I also put in more lime peel than required in the frosting, i feel like i'm falling in love with  these cupcakes. You can also choose to use colouring or not, i pyscho some of you a bit for that lime effect..!

effect from the sun..the cream cheese appears quite yellow here

Recipe ( from Bon Appetit Desserts or here )
this is 1/2 of the original recipe, makes around 6

62gm cake flour
47gm self raising flour
56gm unsalted butter, room temperature ( i used salted butter)
140gm sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tbsp finely grated lime peel
3/8 cup buttermilk ( i add 1 tbsp of lemon juice plus enough milk to make one cup and then pour out 3/8 cup)

92gm powdered sugar
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
56gm butter, room temperature
1 tbsp finely grated lime peel
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Method for frosting:  Using an electric mixer, beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth.

Method for cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350F/177C. Line a 12 or 6 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk both flour in medium bowl to blend.
2. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar, beat to blend. Beat in eggs, then lime juice, lime peel and food colouring. ( batter may be curdled). Beat in flour mixture in 2 additions alternately  with buttermilk. Spoon batter into each liner.
3. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove cupcakes from pan, cool completely.

I am submitting this to the Aspiring Bakers #13 - Enjoy Cupcakes ( Nov 2011 ) hosted by Min

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Olive and Rosemary Focaccia

My first focaccia. I got this recipe from a chinese baking book, 手工面包the same book that i got  to make my Chocolate Cherry Bread. All breads in this book are actually handmade, no machine used but as usual knowing myself, i prefer to delegate all these hand work to the word..lazy. I havent eaten a focaccia before..they are sold here but just that i havent tasted them before. My focaccia looks alright to me..afterall it's still a bread..ha! the crumbs ok, maybe the surface a little pale but overall still good to me. Perhaps the next time i should put a little more rosemary onto the holes instead. Actually there are a few versions of focaccia i would like to make but as at now..just this first.

hi protein flour 300gm
salt 5 gm
instant yeast 4 gm
caster sugar 1/2 tbsp
warm water 200ml
olive oil 1 tbsp
some pitted olives and fresh rosemary

Here's how i did using my machine:
1. Combine flour  and salt in a mixing bowl.
2. In another small bowl, combine yeast, sugar and water, stir them together and pour into the flour and salt mixture. On the machine and put in that 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Let it knead for about 10-15 minutes on medium speed until you get a fairly smooth dough. Remove from machine, shape them into a big  ball and let it proof in lightly greased bowl until double its size.
3.After proofing, remove from bowl, lightly pat the dough into a square shape and shape them into round again ( by folding the square into 3 parts vertically , turn 90C and fold into 3 parts again and shape them into round) . Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
4. Flatten each dough with a rolling pin, with a thickness of 1 cm and transfer the dough into a lined baking tin for 2nd proof until almost 1.5 or double its size.
5. Using your finger, poke holes all over the dough and top them with pitted black olives . Brush the dough all over with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh rosemary. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15 minutes .

I'm sharing this with the Have the Cake  with their bread challenge for this month.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Homemade Kimchi

I never thought of making my own kimchi..even when i saw Elin making her own kimchi at her blog , i was telling myself.."hmm..not sure if i really know how to make it and not sure if mine would turn out tasting otherwise" , not until i got the chance to really taste Elin's Kimchi that she made again. I told her that i like it very much and i must make it my own some day. Thanks Elin, not only for the kimchi but also your helpfulness in telling me how to go about making it.

If we can get those ingredients ready, making kimchi is not really so difficult as i had imagined. One of those is the gochujang paste and the other one is the fermented shrimp paste ( cincalok). The rest of the ingredients are fairly common like cabbage of course, cooked rice, green onions, fish sauce and garlic. However, we will need to give some time for the kimchi to ferment, the best is 5-6 days in the fridge and your kimchi will then be ready for consumption. I would say my batch of kimchi turned out to be fairly good, maybe mine a little salty , the next time i know i probably will add more sugar or a little less shrimp paste. Thanks to elin again for sharing this homemade kimchi recipe!

turn in the leaves so that you see the uncovered parts of the leaves, apply and cover them with the mixture

after applying the mixture, leave them in an airtight container to ferment.

Recipe ( from Elinluv's Tidbits Corner )
Napa Cabbages ( i used around 700gm, quartered with stem attached, soak in brine)
6 heaped tbsp gochujang paste
1/2 bowl cooked rice
the kimchi mixture
i onion, chopped
1 radish ( omitted )
50gm spring onions, cut into lengths
50gm chilli flakes/chilli powder
10gm sugar
50gm minced garlic
4 tbsps fermented shrimp paste ( cincalok)
50ml fish sauce

1.Soak the cabbages in soak water about 4 hours, weighing the cabbages with with a heavy plate during the soaking process.Remove cabbages from salt water and drain well.
2.Pound the garlic and rice till fine. Transfer them to a medium size bowl and add in fermented shrimp paste, fish sauce,gichujang paste and chilli powder and mix well. Add in the cut green onions and the rest of the ingredients , mix well and leave to rest for about 1/2 hour.
3. Stuff the cabbage with the mixture, apply them starting from the innermost leaves and making sure every part of leave is covered.. Repeat until the entire cabbage is covered well with the mixture as well as possible.
4. Put the kimchi in an airtight container and let it ferment at room temperature for half a day. After than, transfer the container to the fridge( temperature below 20C) and allow to ferment for about 3-6 days. ( on the 2nd or 3rd day, you will probably find some water or juices drawing out from the cabbages in the container, just remove them or pour them away and wipe the cover of your container with a dry clean cloth and continue to ferment. Only cut the cabbages upon serving )

***Update*** from the comment i received from Lisa L : 
Lisa advises not to throw away the juices that were drawing out from the cabbages, the juices can be kept and reserved for making kimchi stew, fried rice or kimchi pajeon. Thanks lisa for the valuable feedback. Lisa also suggested we can add in pears or apples to the kimchi for more sweetness.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Me and My Friends

No recipe today but wanted to note down one of those memorable moments i had couple of weeks back. First, thanks to all my blogger friends who are dropping by to read this post. Me and my buddies..all of us were primary school mates but the time we got really close with one another was when we reached our secondary one.. have been close since then. That's more than 30 years of friendship! We had a reunion cum my birthday celebration back in our hometown, Ipoh few weeks ago.  We booked an apartment and all of us sleptover for the night.

this part of Ipoh town..taken from our apartment..

 My buddies, fussy friends they really are..deciding what type of food they want to have for dinner..Japanesefood? said, singapore's japanese food is much much more better. Western? no..someone said KL has got so many nice restaurants serving western cuisine, ipoh cannot beat..true true.. How about Korean BBQ? Big no no, someone said she wants to smell nice ..all the sizzling smoke and the steam from the BBQ will stink her, stink her hair, stink her clothes. Steamboat? same much smoke, will make her face oily! They asked me, what is nice in ipoh? i told them, 'hawker food ' how? do we want to have hawker food and then celebrate my birthday in the food court? argh! save those for breakfast , please! Chinese food? seems like everyone like it. Yeah, Ipoh has got nice Chinese food..unfortunately the restaurant that we wanted to go to has been fully booked, even it's a month before. After checking a few, finally we managed to get a room in one of the chinese restaurants here..quite nice. clean and comes with private restroom and karaoke too!

the little bosses...singing songs from abba, lady gaga., justin least now i know who justin bieber is!

friend, steady pls...can you drink or not?

me..second from left here

One of my friend got expensive taste, she wanted to have " buddha jumps over the wall" dish. It is a chinese soup.. take long hours to prepare, cooked in superior stock and consists of abalone, fish maw, sea cucumber, shark fins, mushrooms, scallops, chicken, ham and is a very expensive dish, about RM2000 ( usd 670)  just for that dish alone. Sorry, too expensive, i'm afraid we have got not enough money to pay the bill, all of us must really jump over the wall then ! So instead of " buddha jumps over the wall" , we ordered  a mini version of buddha jumps over the wall, some restaurants named it as " tiger jumps over the wall" abalones, no shark fins, no fish maw but still nice..acceptable and affordable.
the cheat and cheap version of ' buddha jumps over the wall'

lemon foot scrub, given by a friend to all of us..for how to do it,  click  here
FAT FREE Peach Cake from Secret Recipe. Good that they didnt ask me to bake my birthday cake..shut down the oven and shake my legs!!

Still not enough of singing in the restaurant, we proceed to a karaoke nearby for our second round of singing. By the time we reached back at the hotel, i think it was almost 2am. I thought all of us were not going to sleep but i guess, we were all very tired too and went to sleep around 5am. Managed to grab 2 hours of sleep though! Few of them got to go back the next day, quickly packed and went for breakfast. A friend of mine wanted to get chicken and duck here..haha.. Ipoh's famous salt baked chicken, then smoked duck, kaya puffs for her mum. Such long queue at the kaya puffs shop, hey friend..i timed you..i waited for an hour, almost went to slumberland in my car! zzz..zzz.

sending my friend off at the train station

eating rojak at the train stylo!

I know it's not easy for all of us to come together, thank you for giving me such loving time, i really appreciate all of you taking your time to come back and all the travelling..and am so thankful that all of you are 'around' me always.  I love you all.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sweet Potatoes Pau

For those of you who may have difficulty getting pau flour at your place, can try using this recipe to make this sweet potato paus. You can use regular cake flour. I used plain flour ( rose flour ) to make these. The results are very good and only requires one time proofing. From what i understand from the video, it says that here it doesnt require long proofing otherwise they will create a lot of air bubbles which eventually when we put to steam, their skin will wrinkle. To be honest, i'm not too sure about this.There are times  that i made paus..2 times of proofing but they didnt really wrinkle..but i know that we shouldnt open the lid of the steamer while steaming the paus , otherwise the pau will really turn wrinkled. I followed the recipe throughout..however i find that the taste of the filling is a little buttery..i would suggest to skip the butter or if you want, you can probably reduce to 15gm.

Recipe ( taken from here )
Ingredients for pau skin
water 120gm
instant yeast 3gm or 1.5 tsp
cake flour 250gm
vegetable oil 5gm or 1/2 tbsp
mashed orange sweet potatoes 70gm
sugar 20gm

Sweet Potato Fillings
mashed orange sweet potatoes 200gm
icing sugar 20gm
butter 30gm ( preferably to skip or reduce )

to make fillings: Mix all the mashed sweet potatoes and icing sugar together in a small bowl until well blended.

Method to make pau skin:
1. Using a large bowl, pour in water and put in yeast and stir.  Add in the mashed sweet potatoes. Stir till they are well mixed.
2. Add in the flour , follow by the sugar and oil and knead till dough is soft. (I did this using a food processor. After step 1, i transferred the combined sweet potatoes and yeast mixture into the food processor and put in the flour, sugar and oil and on the machine to mix till a soft dough.)
3. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
4. After 5 minutes, divide the dough into 6 portions and wrap in the fillings and shape into a sweet potato lookalike roll.
5. Transfer the wrapped dough into the steamer and let it proof for 30-40 minutes. Do not turn on the steamer yet and you dont need to preheat the steamer.
6. After proofing, turn on the fire on high heat and let it steam for 30minutes. ( when the water starts to boil, can reduce to medium high fire ). Turn off the fire, open the lid a little allowing the steam to escape a little, then after a minute, can remove totally.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Carrot Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

To continue my support to the  Aspiring Bakers Challenge, i decided to make some cupcakes. I have kept this recipe when i saw Sonia baking this last month and when i read it again in Quay Po Cooks blog a couple of days ago and how she mentioned that some of the bloggers have tried the cake and how they loved it, without hesitation, i went ahead and made that into cupcakes and also made some fondant carrots for decoration. Thanks very much, Veron for sharing such a lovely recipe, i enjoyed eating this a lot!

Recipe ( from Sonia's blog, originally from Quay Po Cooks with minor changes )
makes around 10 cupcakes
150gm finely shredded carrots
130gm cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
120gm brown sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
100gm vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
40gm walnuts

Cream cheese frosting
125gm cream cheese, room temperature
50gm butter, room temperature
40gm icing sugar, sifted
few drops of lemon juice

for frosting method:  mix all the ingredients and beat till well blended.

Method for carrot cake
1.Sift flour, cinnamon powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add in sugar and stir till well blended. Put in the shredded carrots, oil, eggs and using an electric mixer,beat for few minutes.
3. Put in the walnuts, stir to combine and scoop he batter into cupcakes liner.
4. Bake at 175C for 35 minutes.
5. After the cupcakes have cooled down, pipe some frosting onto the cupcakes.

I'm submitting this to the Aspiring Bakers Challenge #13 - Enjoy Cupcakes ( Nov 2011 ) hosted by Min

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Golden Fried Rice with Pumpkin and Wolfberries

i still have a small piece of pumpkin left after making my Pumpkin Kuih, so i decided to just add that for my fried rice here. I also put in some wolfberries . I guess most chinese know that wolfberries are believed to improve one's vision and also has its anti aging and antioxidant properties. Now dont think by just putting some wolfberries here, you can throw away your glasses or your expensive facial cream here.ha! It's not a magic berry! I 've tried wolfberries in fried rice before and i quite like it, therefore would like to share with you here.  They actually taste like raisins to me. It isnt strange at all putting something that taste like raisins into your rice, try's least to me.

I didnt break the eggs and stir it into my rice, instead this time i break the eggs and coated the cooked rice with the eggs to give it a little golden look.

2 bowls of cooked rice ( or overnight fridge kept rice ) mine was rice has been cooked for several hours, it's a bit lumpy..
100gm pumpkin, peeled and cubed
40gm wolfberries, soaked in water about 10 minutes and drained
1 egg
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1tsp salt
some cooking oil for frying the pumpkin lightly
some chopped spring onions(optional)

1. Break an egg and coat the rice with the egg mixture. Put aside.
2. Pour some oil into the wok and put in the pumpkins. Pan fry them till they are tender, this will take about 5 minutes. Remove from wok , set aside.
3. You may scoop out some oil , leaving about 1/2 tbsp of oil in the wok. Saute the garlic, put in the egg coated rice and keep frying the rice. Throw in the wolfberries , salt and keep tossing and frying the rice till it is dry and golden. Return the pumpkins to the wok, add some chopped spring onions, lightly toss them around,  remove from heat and serve hot.