Friday, June 29, 2012

Almond Crusted Butter Cake

This is our fifth cake at The Home Bakers, an event organised by Joyce where we are all currently baking from the book Coffee Cakes by Lou Seibert Pappas.  Just as the name implies, this is a butter cake with an almond crust. The picture in the book shows a very nice piece and looks kind of weird with all the almonds sticking out. Firstly, we grease the pan and then we coat the sides of our baking pan with the almonds and later pour the batter into the pan..this is what we did in order to get an almond crust. So with each bite of the cake, you get some bites of the almond flakes, not in the cake but on the crust. Overall, I find this cake okay, smooth and it comes with tight crumbs, it isnt dry but it gives kind of sticky texture that i need to gobble up a glass of water after know what i mean.

the picture from the book

I made half a recipe in a muffin pan and it yields 9 mini cakes. For the recipe,  you can refer to Emily's blog and to see the rest of the members who had posted their almond crusted cakes, visit here

On something else, do you know what are those shown in the picture below? They are so called 'necklaces' and made from a very old t-shirt of mine. I will be attending a function next week and there will be a fashion show on 'recycling' theme. The costume is provided by someone and what me and the rest will be wearing are outfits made from and decorated with recycling materials like plastic bags, shower sponge and those black tapes from vhs tapes, even black garbage bags. I laughed at the one wearing black garbage bags, she looks like a garbage girl! I wished that i could show my dress to you but it's not with me now. I'm really bad at doing all these kind of things, i cant even sew these necklaces are what i made to add-on onto my costume..actually i'm not sure if i will wear that, but just make them first and see how..but definately not going to put some coke cans or bottles on me :D

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thai Fish Cakes in Pita Pockets - Picnic Game

Goat Cheese 

I'm going on a picnic and i'm bringing a dish that has to start with the alphabet "T". Not a real picnic but a virtual picnic game where you choose an alphabet from A-Z and make a dish starting with the alphabet that you choose. The Picnic Game, a yearly event is hosted by  Louise from Month of Edible Celebrations and i understand from Louise that it's going to be an International Picnic with variations of dishes coming from regional and all over, wow..our picnic basket is going to be huge!! Louise, pls get ready a big picnic blanket..or maybe two for all of the food!

There were probably 7-8 alphabets left when i was thinking what alphabets to pick, i ended up picking the letter "T" and then i was considering making something tuna maybe, tuna fish cakes or tuna rolls or anything with tofu. On the same night i think while i was visiting some of your blogs, i came upon this Thai Fried Fish Cake ( Tod Mun Pla) in Maureen's blog ( Oh, Thai! that starts with the letter "T" and sounds like something i like to eat, quickly bookmarked the page and the next day without wasting any more time thinking what to make, settled on this thai fish cakes.  As i also have pita breads in my fridge, i decided to stuff these fish cakes into the pita, calling them 'thai fish cakes in pita pocket'.

as at this time, i havent got the whole list of what others are making yet the letter before "T" but Louise will be doing a roundup for the picnic game on July 1st and oh, i have to recite's the rule of the game.
I'm going on a picnic and i'm bringing
A-Artichokes Steamed and Dressed with Mayonnaise from Mae's Food Blog
B-Baked Beans by Movable Feasts
C-California Tabbouleh by Bookcase Foodie
D-Dunkin Donuts by Kristy, My Little Space
E-Eggplant Casserole by Yummy Chunklet
F-Frosty Summer Salad with Cranberry, Pineapple and Beets from Olla-Podrida
G-Goat Cheese Mixed Green Salad with Cocoa Nibs from Dying for Chocolate
H-Halibut and Salsa Verde from Squirrel Head Manor
I-Iced Coffee Two Ways from Art of Natural Living
J-Jubilee Sandwich by Petra, Kulinarische Zeitreishe
K-Keylime and Ambarella Juice by Riceball
L-Limoncello Pine Nut Biscotti from Bakeaway With Me
M-Mini Meringue Kisses by Baking Addict
N-Nougat Brownies by Kit, I-Lost in Austen
O-Ozark Pudding by Cathy, Retro Recipe Attempts
P-Palates De Chabacano y Manzanilla (Apricot Chamomile Popsicles ) by Girlichef
Q-Quinoa Salad by Chaya, My Sweet and Savoury
S-Strawberry and Kiwi Chocolate Tart( Gluten Free) from Cooking with Dia
T-Thai Fish Cakes in Pita Pockets

** updated the above list on July01**

Recipe ( from )
with some change of ingredients
200gm white fish fillet, i used halibut, clean, pat dry and cut into chunks
1/2 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp water
2 sprigs coriander, finely chopped
2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
3 french beans, cut into small pieces
2tbsp cooking oil

1/4 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp castor sugar
1heaped tbsp red curry paste ( recipe below)

1. In a food processor, add fish fillets, cornstarch, salt, water and process till smooth. Stop the processor one or 2 times to scrape down the meat to process thoroughly. Transfer to a big bowl. Using a chopsticks, stir the meat in one direction for about 10 minutes till they become bouncy
2. Add in seasonings, chopped coriander, lime leaves, the cut french beans and mix well. Using 2 teaspoons or clean hands, shape them into round and flatten them to form disks.
3.Heat pan on medium flame and put in the fish paste one by one, you may need to lower the heat now. Do not move the patties until they turned golden brown on each side, about 3 minutes, then flip over and cook the other side. You can do few at a time and repeat the process till all is cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.
ingredients for red curry paste

Red Curry Paste ( from
1tsp coriander powder
1tsp ground cumin
2tsp chilli flakes /coarse red chilli/chilli powder
1tsp shrimp paste
2 pieces chopped shallot
8 cloves chopped garlic
50gms galangal, sliced
2 lemongrass stalks
40gm roasted cashew nuts
5 stems of coriander with some stems(2-3cm) attached
1tbsp vegetable oil

Dry fry ground coriander and cumin powder till aromatic and leave to cool. Then add them together with the rest of the ingredients into a food processor and process till they become a paste. Again, you may need to stop the processor a few times to scrape and mix them thoroughly or you can use pulse mode and check the consistency of the paste. Remove and keep in a clean container in a fridge, they can be kept for a month.

red curry paste

Fish cakes ( i used 4 fish cakes for my pita sandwiches )
4 pita breads
1 egg, fry into omelette and cut into strips
1 small part of cucumber, about 1/4 piece of a normal size cucumber
( cut into cubes and mixed with 1/2 cup of mayonnasie mixed with 2 tsp of dijon mustard and some black pepper )
1 ripe tomato, sliced
some coriander leaves

For each pita bread, slit into half to form a pocket. Put in some cucumber, a little bit of dressing, some shredded omelette, tomato slices, coriander leaves and  a piece of fish cake or you may like to cut them into pieces and stuff them into the pita pockets.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Moonlight Rendezvous Scones

Scones is the theme that we have chosen for the bake along this time When i first started making scones long time ago, i remember i read up a lot about how to make nice decent looking scones..i was reading from blog to blog how to shape them if we want them to look a little straight at the sides if we make them round,  the height, the texture.. and i didnt know why at that time i got the perceptions that scones are very difficult to make. They are really not.. once you got your hands on, just gather the ingredients together and do not overmix them. However, the recipe below is a little different, there's creaming need to be done and the batter is mixed till  smooth. Its texture is kind of different compared to my previous scones, they are of a little cakey type and light. Very nice, i  enjoyed eating this a lot, recipe courtesy from Uncle Lee. Lee said that these are the Singapore Raffles Hotel scones and had been eaten by a lot of celebrities worldwide. Wow!! I would like to name them Moonlight Rendezvous Scones.

i made half of the recipe and yield 9 scones, recipe can be easily doubled
32gm butter
32gm sugar ( you can add a little more if you prefer a sweet scone )
1/2 egg
225gm flour
15gm baking powder
125ml milk
35 gm raisins ( i omitted )
pinch of salt
egg wash for glazing ( optional)

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Combine the butter and sugar and mix till creamy and fluffy. Add the egg.
2.Add in the flour and baking powder and mix till a crumble forms. Pour in the milk and mix to a smooth texture.Do not overwork as this will toughen the texture. Add the raisins if using and roll out the dough to a 3cm thickness on a lightly floured surface.
4.Use a cookie cutter to cut out individual pieces, i used a 5cm round cookie cutter and arrange them side by side on a baking tray. Glaze with egg mixture and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or till they are golden brown.

as these are not sweet, you can spread them with kaya, lemon curd, whipping cream..or any of your fav spread

or maybe some smoked salmon with cream cheese or sour cream...i like these

Also check out my baking partners, Joyce and Zoe and their scones and also our baking friends who are joining to bake scones with us at the linky below. Thanks!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Quickie BBQ Meat Puffs ( 叉烧酥 )

These are called quickie meat puffs or maybe cheat meat puffs because the real pastry is not supposed to be like this..not something made from puff pastry if we get them from dim sum restaurants. After making my baked bbq meat bun, my intention was to made the real meat puffs from the leftover filling, the one with buttery pastry but somehow the dough failed me or rather the recipe from the book failed me. I just couldnt manage to work on the dough, twice.. and had to throw way the dough. Without searching further for recipes, i ended up just using ready made puff pastry to wrap the fillings. You know, it was my first time working with puff pastry actually. I'm not sure was it because the temperature i set was a little bit too high for the pastry, i found that the pastry really puffed up so much much that i see some that has gotten out of shape. After i made these, i saw Tze also made the same meat puffs and she made the pastry from scratch which from the picture looks very nice. You can refer to her recipe if you are keen to make the pastry from scratch.

I used the brand "Kawan" puff pastry, each packet consists of 10 pieces. For each piece, i put in some filling at the center and fold over, brush the edges with egg wash and seal them with a fork. Poke some holes on top and glaze with beaten egg. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and bake in a preheated oven at 200C until they turn golden, around 20 minutes.  My fillings were from my leftover here, just right enough to make 10 pieces.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wholemeal Mantou

I like the fact that these mantous only require one time proofing and no baking powder. Not that i'm against using baking powder, not at all.. but just keen to make these because from the recipe, it sounds like pretty quick to make these.  I remember i did some sweet potatoes pau long time ago without using any baking powder, also one time proofing and they were good so i had no doubts that these mantous will just be as good. Yeah, they were soft but not to that extreme fluffy but i tell you that i'm already glad with its outcome. I've made these 3 times for the last 2 weeks, they were my breakfast. I could have added in some double action baking powder which i guess will bring more fluffiness to its texture but like i told you, i'm already happy with these so it's not necessary for me to do so, i did however made little changes to its recipe.These mantous were inspired by Cass.

Recipe ( adapted from Cass@搵到食, with reference from Jane's corner )
with some changes
250gm cake flour/plain flour
80gm wholemeal flour
3gm instant yeast
25gm castor sugar
200gm milk
vegetable oil 10gm
black sesame seeds ( optional) for garnishing

1. Combine the flour, sugar, instant yeast  and sugar together and using a fork, stir them till they are well mixed. On the machine on low speed with dough hook attached.  Add the oil into the milk together in a small jug or glass and slowly pour in to the mixer bowl with machine running. You will see that it will form into a rough dough. Continue kneading till it becomes a smooth dough, i let the machine knead for about 10 minutes.
2.Remove from machine and let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds on the working surface and roll out the dough to a square on the surface. Roll up the dough and pinch to seal the edges. Cut the dough into 8 pieces, put in on a greaseproof paper and let it proof in the steamer for 40 minutes.
3.  Pour some water into your steamer and steam for 20-25 minutes. When time is up, open the lid of steamer a little to let steam escape and remove them from steamer after 5 minutes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pear and Maple Crumble

After making my Pear and Hazelnut Cake, i know that this time i'm  not going to be stingy with my pears anymore.I have used Forelle pears , the same pears that i used for my cake previously which i didnt mention. Sorry i didnt take the photos of those pears cos by the time i drafted this post, they were no more left. There were pictures of  those pears taken in my pear and hazelnut cake post, but they were at the background so they were not clear, ..i managed to get one from the internet.

Forelle pears : photo credit

Arent they pretty? Maybe i've eaten them before..i'm not sure but the thing  i want to tell you is that these pears are very sweet and crunchy, their skin is not thick and if you do come across them, give it a try ..not necessary for baking because they make nice snacking pears. okay, all good pears are nice snacking pears :))

As for the dessert, I'm happy with it. A warm satisfying filling packed with pears and raisin, a hint of spiciness from the ginger with a nice crunchy topping.
The crystallized ginger makes a good addition here. I didnt put in many..but am able to eat the ginger  slices in some spoonfuls. It's a little hot but gives a nice spice in the crumble. 

I have adjusted the recipe from Bon Appetit quite a bit to make just enough for 2 servings.
83gm plain flour
1/3 cup pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
30gm castor sugar
38gm cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Combine flour, nuts and sugar together and rub the butter in till moist clumps form. Chill them for about an hour.

2 small pears, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into cubes
2 tbsp raisins
1/2 tbsp plain flour
1/4 cup of maple syrup
3 finely chopped crystallized ginger

1.Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350F/170C. Place pears, maple syrup. flour and ginger in large bowl, toss to coat. Let stand 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
2.Divide the  pear mixture to 2 separate oven proof bowls, sprinkle topping over. Bake crumble until topping is crisp , about 30 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.

Let's see my baking buddies, Joyce and Zoe with their pear and maple crumble and also fellow friends who are joining us to bake this at the linky below..

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Pasta Kerabu - A Guest Post at Quay Po Cooks

Hi friends, today i am guest posting at Quay Po Cooks. If you do not know Veronica aka Quay Po @ Lucy, the lady with big smiles ,do hop over and say hi to her and if you already know who she is, also cross over and say hi :D see you all there!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pear and Hazelnut Cake

The original name of the cake from the book, Coffee Cake by Lou Seibert Pappas is Pear Pinwheel and Hazelnut cake . I excluded the word  "pinwheel" from mine because  I didnt form a pinwheel on the cake..simply because mine was rather a small cake, just a 4 inch one and i thought it's rather a little messy for me to arrange and probably trim the pears to shape a pinwheel. Another thing is that i didnt want to spend much time forming the pinwheel on the batter sitting there. Haiiz, i sounded like i'm giving excuses here..okay, i'm just lazy ...but please take a look at all my fellow friends who did their pinwheel cake HERE, they are look great! i made 1/2 of the recipe in a 4inch baking tin and adjusted the sugar amount to 20gm brown and 10gm white sugar, you can get the full recipe from Zoe's post here

texture of the cake is quite nice..moist and tasted nutty..after shooting these photos, i realised how miserable just  those few slices of pear looked, looked as if  i'm so stingy on my pears..LOL! 

This is the 4th cake we are baking at The Home Bakers. Huuh, 56 more bakes to go!! Estimated another slightly more than 2 years to complete all the recipes from the book. Whose crazy idea? Joyce's. All are welcomed to join the club, not late at all!

at least this slice comes with more pears! just in case you're wondering what's that stuff on top of the pears..they are  a mixture of some icing sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg powder, not pasta or roasted pepper sauce! To be frank, i cant remember i used icing or castor sugar here..

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chicken and Egg One Bowl rice dish ( Oyako-Don )

This is a really a quick and easy one bowl rice dish that i'm quite sure many of you will enjoy. Okay, i'm not somebody who can read and understand japanese but after checking from the internet, it says oyako means parent and child , so that's the chicken and egg here but dont ask me the question what came first, the chicken or the egg :)

I already have mirin, dashi-nomoto (bonito flavoured seasoning ) in my house earlier because i thought i wanted to learn to cook some easy japanese dish, but not quite sure of the sake. Then i saw Fern mentioned something about cooking sake in one of her posts, i'm glad i read that cos i almost bought the drinking sake instead of cooking sake which i guess both are entirely different thing. I tasted the cooking sake ..taste like white wine with very slight saltiness at the end. And if you're someone who is new to these ingredients like me, believe me ..there's nothing about these flavours in the dish here that are overpowering or strong..just comforting . Love this dish, i've done this twice just last week. Thanks to Fern for sharing this recipe.

Recipe ( from To Food with Love, adapted from Japanese Cooking at Home by Hideo Dekura)
serves 2
200gm chicken thigh fillet / boneless chicken thigh
1 tbsp mirin

Dashi mixture ( with some slight modifications)
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1/2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cooking sake
1/3 cup dashi stock ( 1/8 tsp of dashinomoto mixed with 1/3 cup water )

1 onion, thinly sliced
1 stem spring onion, sliced diagonally , plus extra for garnishing
2 eggs, beaten
2 bowls cooked rice/ short grained sushi rice

1. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and marinate with mirin. I marinated for 40 minutes
2. Combine ingredients for dashi mixture
3.Pour a little oil in a small pan and fry chicken pieces until browned and cooked.
4. Add onions and fry till softened and add the spring onions and stir briefly.
5. Add dashi mixture and bring to boil, reduce heat, pour in the beaten eggs in circular motion over simming mixture, set over low heat till egg is just cooked.
6. Place a portion of hot rice into each bowl and slide half a portion of chicken and egg toppings over the rice in a bowl and garnish with spring onions.