Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Free and Easy Bake Along # 19- Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake

Time passes so quickly.. Joyce , Zoe and myself  were just talking about the blog hop thing on our bake along weeks ago and now it's happening. Yeah, if anyone of you who are interested to join in our bake along blog hop for this round, you can still do so as the linky will be opened for 7 days. A lemon poppy seed cake..our chosen or your chosen recipe. If poppyseeds are not available at your place, you can omit the poppyseeds.  
We have picked the lemon poppy seed -sour cream cake from Rose's Heavenly Cakes . I did a half recipe and sometimes i'm not sure is it becos of that, i find that the cake is not as tender as what I had expected. The moisture level in the cake was good , also tasted quite lemony with the lemon syrup that was poured in , just that it would be better if mine could be a little more tender. I'm also eager to look at Zoe's cake and how did hers turn out and i understand from Joyce who replaces the sour cream with her homemade yogurt has very good result. Actually they were not too bad, were finished within the same day..also because i made them few and  made them small.

Recipe ( from Rose's  Heavenly Cakes )
makes around 10 small bundt cakes
1 large egg, at room temperature, 53gm
1/2 half egg yolk ( i omitted, original recipe calls for additional 1 egg yolk )
sour cream 100gm
vanilla extract slightly less than 2 tsp
cake flour 125gm
castor sugar 80gm
baking powder 1/2tsp+ 1/4 tsp
baking soda 1/4 tsp
salt 1/4 tsp
lemon zest, finely grated 3 tsp
poppy seeds 25gm
unsalted butter 100gms

1.Preheat the oven at 350F/175C twenty minutes before baking and set the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the whole eggs, yolk, 1/4 cup of the sour cream , vanilla, just until lightly combined.
3.In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and poppy seeds on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the remaining sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for another 1 1/2 minutes.
4. Starting on low speed, gradually add the gee mixture in 2 parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure Using a spatula, scrape the batterinto the prepared tin and smooth the surface.
5.Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in comes out clean.The cake should start to shrink from the pan after removal from the oven.

While the cake is baking, make the lemon syrup.
Lemon syrup
sugar 56gm
lemon juice 45 gms

In a small saucepan or microwave, heat the sugar and lemon juice, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved. Do not allow it to boil, cover it tightly to prevent evaporation.

As soon as the cake comes out from oven, place the pan on a wire rack, poke the cake all over with a thin skewer and brush it with one third of the syrup. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 mins, invert them on to a plate and brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining syrup. Cool completely and wrap airtight.

get the InLinkz code

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Wholegrain Loaf

Made quite a couple of breads during the last chinese new year holidays and infact bread is actually something i bake every week. Thought that i havent posted sort of a multigrain loaf before so this is it. Not long ago, a friend asked me about baking bread using a breadmaker machine because she was considering of getting one. Well i did not use the breadmaker machine to make this loaf, but just suddenly thought of that conversation. I do think breadmaker machine is a very very helpful appliance if we want to have homemade bread and especially if you are not a keen baker, busy and do not want to go through the hassle of kneading and shaping the dough, i find it's worth the investment. I do have one at home, i use it once in a while during my lazy days.. i need not watch the time to check my dough and  also i think there are a lot of breadmaker machines that come with a timer that you can set the time when you want the bread to be ready..very convenient.

Okay, this is a simple loaf using straight dough method , putting in what i want to put in. It is a small loaf, i did not want to put in too much seeds or grains in the dough as i'm  a little afraid that it might weigh down my dough, a good sandwich bread.

made this simple sandwich the next day, spread with butter and top with ham, lettuce, cheese and tomato.

I used a 23cmx11cmx11cm baking tin
200gm wholemeal flour
50gm hi protein flour
2 tbsps sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tbsp rolled oats
1 tbsp flaxseed
1/2 tbsp spelt flakes
1/2 tbsp toasted wheatgerm
water 170gm
cold butter 15gm
some sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, instant oats for sprinkling on top

1. Put all of the above ingredients except water and butter into your mixing bowl , use a fork to give them a good mix. Using dough hook on electric mixer, pour in water little by little till a dough is formed. Keep on beating for another 5 minutes, add in butter and continue beating for another 15 minutes till dough is smooth.
2. Transfer to a lightly floured surface, shape into a ball and let proof till double its size.
3. Divide dough into 3 equal portions, shape them into round again and let rest for another 10 minutes.
4. Shape each roll into a rectangle and roll it back like a swiss roll, do the same for the rest of the 2 rolls and let them proof in a greased baking tin for another 45 minutes .
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for about 30 minutes

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chinese Style Stir Fry Pumpkin with Dried Shrimps

Over here, we can find abundance of local pumpkins selling at the market. Though i have used pumpkin in my bakes and kuih, i've never tried cooking it as a dish . I remember i used to ask the lady seller how do they normally cook them and she told me just a simple stir fry with dried prawns, very tasty. I was not really convinced until i happened to see this dish at a local rice stall here selling this. The way they cook it is really nice and whenever i need to pack rice from that stall, i will sure pick this dish. You know lah, sometimes when we like one dish so much we also want to try replicating that at home. That was like last year. I'm quite happy the way it turned out, the taste is quite close to theirs and have cooked this several times.

The first time i made this i actually roasted the pumpkin for about 30-40 minutes to get it tender but now, i normally just shallow fry it in the wok to save time. You can choose to roast it in the oven if you want it healthier or fry it as long as after doing it, the flesh is soft and tender. Not necesssary to peel off the skin, just eat them.

Ingredients :
300gms pumpkin, cut into bite size with skin on
3 cloves garlic
3 shallots
20gm dried shrimps, minced
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp- 1tsp brown sugar, to taste

1. Pour some cooking oil into your wok and fry them till soft on medium high heat.. This will take around 10-15 minutes, you can use your spatula or fork , prick it into the pumpkin to test if the flesh is tender. Remove from wok and run under water to get rid of the excess oil.
2. Leaving 1 tbsp of oil in the wok, put in the dried shrimps, saute them till fragrant and add in the garlic and shallots . Fry them for about 20 seconds, return the pumpkins into your wok and stir fry them. Add in the oyster sauce and brown sugar. Add in a little water if you find them a little dry, cover them with wok cover for about a minute. If you still prefer it a little softer, you can add in more water and taste again.

Will be sharing this dish with the Muhibbah Malaysian Monday event hosted by Suresh of 3 hungry tummies

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Meet up and a Potluck

The potluck will be starting around 1pm. I anticipated the journey from my place to Sonia's house (Nasi Lemak Lover)  is going to take slightly more than 2 hours. I woke up around 6.30am, cooked my kuihs , which i already had the ingredients prepared the day earlier, packed some clothes just in case if i need to stay a night in KL and rushed off to the market to get some crabs. I started my journey around 9.45am, it was a nice drive that morning, not that sunny and also not many cars travelling south on the highway. Reached Sonia's house slightly after 12pm, rang the bell and was greeted by a gentleman. "is sonia around?" i asked him, then he asked my name. "i'm lena'" I said and he asked me "you're here for..?" i said " Potluck" . He then told me that sonia is having her shower and asked me to wait for a while. Phew! thought he's going to check my identity card next. Within minutes, the sweet sonia came out and looked at me , " sharon?" I said "no, i'm lena" and she greeted and happily we walked into her beautiful house.

photo credit : Sonia
photo credit: Sonia
from left to right: Sharon,  Wendy and Swee San. Photo credit: Quay Po
Reese's chicken wings. Photo Credit : Quay Po

I then get ready the crabs for cooking while sonia frying her lemongrass chicken. Not too long after that, Sharon from Feats of Feasts arrived, followed shortly by Veronica from Quay Po Cooks. It's my first time meeting both of them too. Though i havent met veronica before but of course i can recognise from her big smiles and her punky hairstyle that i always see at her blog. While i was at the kitchen doing some preparation, i knew that Wendy from Table for 2 ..or more had also arrived cos i could hear her voice. I've met wendy a few times so can recognise her voice. When i went out, i also saw Swee San from The Sweet Spot, also my first time meeting her. Then we started all the last minute cooking, roasting, reheating  and plating..thanks to Reese from ReeseKitchen who was unable to join us but got her chicken wings passed to us  through Sharon. After everything's ready on the table and photos taken, what's next? Let's wallop the food!
Thank you ladies, not only for all of your delicious food, also that nice few hours you all had given me, the laughter and the jokes that we shared. The gathering ended around 4.30pm, drove back, more cars this time going back on the highway and reached home around 7pm. And of course, before we left, a group photo.

Back row: Wendy, myself and Swee San
Front Row: Sonia and Quay Po with Wendy's 2 lil darlings. Photo credit : Quay Po

On another note, here are some of the awards that i received from the following bloggers. Thanks so much for    passing these awards to me, much appreciated! Do drop by to say hi to all of these blogs when you have the time.
The Liebster Award from Edith from Precious MomentsCathy from CaThy's JoyJennifer from What's Baking?Citra from My Home Diary In TurkeyAdeline from Lite Home BakeAlice from ILoveICookIBakeChris from Yummy Bakes

The Reader Appreciation Award from Jasline from Food Is My Life

The Inspirational Blog Award from Amelia from Amelia's Dessert

Circle of Friend's Award from Wan from Cooking Varieties

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Easy Pad Thai

I just realised couple of days ago that i have never done a noodle recipe here on my blog except for pasta. Infact i take noodles more than rice on a weekly basis .When i lunch out, i usually take noodles like prawn mee, curry noodles, they are really tasty and i dont think i can cook as close as compared to those in hawker stalls. But this pad thai is different, simpler to cook. Each time when i take pad thai, i tell myself that i wanted to try cooking this. Well, maybe this is not as authentic as the thai traditional one but cooking this at home with lesser ingredients, i think i can at least score a pass :-)

100gm thai rice stick noodles
8 medium sized prawns, tails intact
2-3 stalks chinese chives, cut into lengths
small bunch of bean sprouts, about 1 cup
1 egg, beaten
3 cloves of garlic
some coarsely chopped peanuts
some chilli flakes

1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
11/2 tsp of tamarind paste
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp of soy sauce

Mix all the seasonings together in a small bowl.

1.Cook the noodles as per packet intstructiontion. I cook mine under boiling water for about 6 minutes, remove them and rinse under drinking water water to prevent them from sticking.
2.Pour some oil into the wok and fry the prawns till they are fully cooked. You can push them aside or transfer them to a small plate. Add the garlics and saute. On high heat, put the noodles in , pour in the  seasonings and toss them around until combined.
3.Cook them for about a minute, add in chives and bean sprouts, give them a good stir. Make a hole in the center of the wok and add the egg. When the egg is almost done on one side, cover them with noodles and toss again until heated through. Remove to a plate , top with chopped peanuts and sprinkle some chilli flakes.
Serve immediately.

The tamarind paste that i use comes in a jar , seedless one. 
You can serve this with additional lime wedges and fish sauce if you want a more tangy taste.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Free and Easy Bake Along #18 - Red Velvet Cupcakes and an announcement

Not as healthy as the previous banana cake but just as delicious , more delicious to be honest but dont we all need to indulge ourselves in these sweet desserts sometimes..or perhaps most of the times :) JoyceZoe and myself have agreed to make these red velvet cupcakes, a choice made by Zoe for our bake along. I know these cupcakes don't look red to you. Reason is because I used a red yeast powder for its colouring. I just happened to come across this red yeast powder at a bakery supplier shop here when i was about to start making my red velvet cupcakes then. I asked the lady, " what's this for?" and she told me that it can be used for making red velvet cupcakes and fatt koh as a substitution for red colouring. Actually i have no problem using red colouring for my red velvet cupcakes but since she said that, i thought i might just try that. This powder is obtained through red yeast rice , which served as a dietary staple for some people. It can also be an ingredient in making certain food sauces, food colouring and rice wine. In Chinese traditional medicine, it is also believed that it aids in improving poor blood circulation and indigestion.

red yeast powder
I did these cupcakes using 2 tbsp of red yeast powder. I added another extra 1 tbsp for some remaining batter, about 2 cupcakes to see the difference. Left :  with 3 tbsp red yeast powder , Right: with 2 tbsp red yeast powder  

The addition of red yeast powder does not affect the taste of the cake but it's difficult to bring out the red colour as the batter is dark after adding in the cocoa powder. After several days, i went back to the shop and the lady told me that she tried without putting in the cocoa powder and it came out pink, so it's more like a vanilla taste pink cupcake.

The cake is fluffy.The toppings are some cake crumbs from one cupcake mixed with some cookies crumbs
For those residing in Ipoh, you can get this red yeast powder from Yummy Kitchen, Ipoh Garden South.

Recipe ( from ILove.ICook.IBake, adapted from Sweet Peas Kitchen , with little changes )
makes around 10 cupcakes
156gm cake flour, sifted
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
110gm sugar
1/2 + 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1-2 tbsp regular red food colouring ( i used 2 tbsp of red yeast powder)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 + 1/4 tsp baking soda
1tsp distilled wine vinegar ( i used apple cider vinegar)

Cream Cheese Frosting
56gm butter, room temperature
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Method for cream cheese frosting :  beat butter and cream cheese with electric mixture until fluffy, add in vanilla , gradually add in icing sugar and beat till creamy.

Method for cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350F/177C. Line muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa powder and salt.
2.Using electric mixer, whisk sugar and oil until combined. Add in the egg , beat till well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix in red colouring and vanilla.
3.Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl ( it will foam), add mixture to the batter and mix on medium speed for 10 seconds.
4.Divide batter evenly among lined cups and bake for 20 minutes or until cake tester inserted in comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool down before frosting.

Now here is something exciting that i would like to share with you regarding our bake along. We are starting a blog hop event for our  bake along, starting with the coming next bake along which is lemon poppy seed cake.  I believe that many of you have seen blog hops events in some of the blogs you visit. We will be sharing the same linky list when you join in the event for participation.  You do your normal post, linking it back to one of the hostess blog, grab the linky code and place it on your blog. You will see the same list or entries appearing on your blog, at the same time getting to know each other and see each other bakes. For rules and regulations, kindly please refer here

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Healthy Banana Bread

i made this banana cake or quick bread using my homemade granola. okay, this is not the very soft or fluffy type of banana cake that we're always thinking of. It's moist and a little dense and packed with wholesome goodness.  One thing good about this recipe is that there's no oil and butter in it! Yes, no butter or oil . Do not have the impression that when there's no butter or oil in cakes, it's not going to be nice. No. I read about some of the good reviews that those who tried the cake, substituted the oil with yogurt and me too wanted to try that. Good old banana cake and nice flavour! I believe the whipping of the egg whites do contribute to the tenderness of the cake. I used 4 bananas instead as i find  my wet ingredients were a little insufficient to fold into the dry ingredients. Now dont tell me you feel guilty eating this :-D

Recipe ( from Joy the baker, with slight changes )
baked in a 9"x4"x3" loaf tin
156 gm all purpose flour ( i used cake flour)
1/2 cup brown sugar ( used 70gm brown sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp canola or walnut oil ( substituted with 4 tsp yogurt)
1 large egg, beaten
2 egg whites
3 large ripe bananas ( i used 4 )
1 cup oats ( substituted with 1 cup homemade granola )

1. Preheat oven to 350F/177C. Grease and flour the loaf pan. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients including the granola/oats and cinnamon.
2. In another bowl, mash the bananas, add oil and whole egg and mix thoroughly.
3.Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Batter will be fairly thick.
4.In a medium sized bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites till medium stiff peak. Fold the egg whites into the batter in 3 additions.
5. Pour batter into pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until the cake is cooked thoroughly. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Flip out and cool on a wire rack for another 10 minutes.

* i find it even better when eaten cold.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Homemade Granola with Wolfberries

I never knew that making my own granola can be so easy. I will usually get a box of dorset cereals from the supermarket here if i want to take granola. As i was looking at the box when i was preparing my yogurt, i saw the list of ingredients listed on it..oats, raisins, pumpkin seeds, almond flakes, sunflower seeds, honey, vanilla, etc..hey, i have all these ingredients with me..maybe i can try making my own granola. I searched the internet and found there are quite a number of granola recipes across.... very simple steps so i decided to make it my own. To me, i think the best thing of making my own granola is not that the one i made is healthier as i do believe that the dorset cereals are quite good and healthy too...it's actually we have the choice over what we want to put in. Maybe you do not like raisins or coconut flakes in there or maybe you prefer some other nuts, so it gives us the the flexibility of putting our favourite ingredients in the granola. No actual source, just putting what i like. Besides some of the usual ingredients, I also added some chinese red dates and wolfberries after the granola completed its baking.

2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup wheatgerm
3 tbsp flaxseeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup chopped almond
3 tbsp maple syrup
21/2  tbsp honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

after baking, add these:
a handful of wolfberries
1/4 cup seedless chinese red dates
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
3 pieces of dried apricots, chopped into small pieces

1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line  a baking sheet or baking tray.
2.Mix maple syrup, honey, vegetable oil, ground cinnamon in a bowl.
3.Combine rolled oats, flaxseeds, wheatgerm, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and chopped almond in a large bowl. Pour in the honey mixture  ( no 2) into these dry ingredients and mix till everything is well coated
with the honey mixture. Spread these into a baking sheet or baking tin and bake for 25 minutes till they are golden brown, stirring them every 10 minutes.
4. After baking, add in the dried apricots, raisins, dried cranberries, chinese red dates and wolfberries.
5. Let cool down and store in airtight container.

Granola with Yogurt
queenie, as per yr request, this is the maple
syrup that i used.
Put some granola into the bottom of your bowl or glass, spoon some yogurt on top, followed by another layer of granola and  some fruits. Enjoy.

if you use wolfberries from the fridge, you may find them a little hard. You can thaw them first , they will turn soft.

* on another note, my baking buddy, Zoe from Bake for happy kids will be starting a blog hop "Cook like a Star" on the 1st March 2012 and the first food celebrity that Zoe has chosen is Donna Hay. Everyone is invited to join , so quickly go and look up for donna hay's recipes and join in the fun and support! Please visit Zoe's blog for more details!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Homemade Flour Tortillas and Some Wraps

Remember i said that i'm going to share a few breakfast recipes with all of you, this is one of them. Well, of course you can have tortilla wraps for lunch or anytime of the day. I've made tortilla a few times, the first one being posted here last year. I made them several times later again but didnt put it up cos the tortillas were a bit out of shape, you see, i'm not good at shaping the tortilla round. Actually i'm thinking of getting a tortilla press as i'm typing this now. Few weeks ago, i made tortillas again and okay, they look round, not perfect round but thinner than the previous times. i think tortillas are so versatile that you can stuff in whatever fillings you like to make rolls, quesadillas, sandwiches or you can just dip them in some savoury or curry dish just like the way you eat chappati.

Recipe for homemade tortillas ( taken from here )
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup warm water

1.In a medium sized bowl, sift together flour and salt. Add oil and warm water, stirring to combine.  Transfer dough into a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 minutes until dough is smooth. Divide dough into 10 equal pieces and roll each piece into ball. Allow to rest, covered with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.
2.Once dough has rested, preheat cast iron skillet over medium high heat ( i used a flat pan ) . Roll out each ball into a circle, about 6 inches in diameter.Cook one at a time in the hot skillet, flipping half way through, when it starts to puff and a few brown spots have appeared on the first side. Remove from skillet.

p/s the author advised not to use non stick pan as the non stick pan may not get as hot as the cast iron skillet. I used a flat griddle and am quite happy with this. I used some other recipes previously using a non stick pan and they were okay.

If you are not keen or find it a hassle to make your own tortillas., you can always get the ready made ones from stores. I'm showing here 2 different types of fillings which i made; one is breaded chicken with egg mayonnaise with some leaves and another one is lighter, just ham with some veggies and sprouts. No exact amount of some of the ingredients used, just an idea.

Breaded chicken with egg mayonnaise wraps
4 pieces of chicken fillets, striped. Season them with salt for 10 minutes, Coat them with cake flour, dredge them over beaten egg and finally coat them with dry breadcrumbs . Pan fry them in a non stick pan, letthem cook till fully brown on one side before turning over to cook the other side.
Mashed an hard boiled egg with couple of spoonfuls of mayonnaise and one spoon of dijon mustard and spread them on tortillas. Put the breaded chicken, some lettuce, chopped celery, capsicum  in the center of tortilla and roll up

Ham with veggies and sprout wraps
Spread the tortilla with some mayonnaise or mashed avocado, top with slices of ham, capsicum, purple cabbage and sprouts, sprinkle with some black pepper. Roll and cut them into smaller rolls if you want.