Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sausage and cheese buns and others

Am officially on maternity leave now... have many false alarms.. but baby's still not out yet. Its getting really tiring carry a 3 kg load around with me. But baby rewards me with kicks and punches throughout the day. Am really going to miss this wonderful feeling after delivery. It really is a miracle how it grows from a single fertilised cell to a baby with such intricate organs. If its not the creation of a divine being, what else can it be? Praise the Lord!

I have recently discovered a wonderful blog. I was browsing Happy Home Baker's blog (a wonderful and generous blogger) and followed her links to DailyDelicious. DailyDelicious provides detailed step by step pictures and wonderful recipes from her wide collection of cookbooks. What a precious find! Especially so that she provides recipes from Japanese cookbooks in English!

I was so tempted to try many of the recipes, but was not really in the right physical form to try adventurous ones. So I tried her Sausage and cheese buns and along with it, other different buns with different fillings.

Sausage and cheese bun
Please refer to DailyDelicious for instructions. Easy to make, looks great and tastes delicious.

Cheese Bun

Filling : Cheddar cheese mixed with some butter
Topping : a quarter slice of cheddar cheese placed on top after brushing with egg wash

Kaya Bun

Filling : Mix some of your favourite kaya with some butter
Topping : just some black sesame seeds (optional)

Still waiting for the arrival of my little princess....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chunky chewy chocolate chip cookies

This is one cookie my children and I enjoy. A big cookie with chunky dark chocolate chips. Yum.

I like the fact that its so simple and easy to make. I also like it in large sizes, large enough for me to decorate with royal icing on top. Unfortunately, did not manage to take pictures of those that i decorated.

Here's the recipe, adapted from a cook book. Ah..cannot recall name of book nor author, apologies.

220g brown sugar
110g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
75g plain flour
150g coarsely chopped macademias, toasted (I omitted this)
185g butter, melted, cooled
1 egg, beaten lightly
1 egg yolk, beaten lightly
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200 g dark eating chocolate, chopped coarsely

1) Preheat oven to 180degree
2) combine sugars, shifted flours and nuts in big bowl
3) Add combined butter, egg, egg yolk and extract, mix to a soft dough
4) Stir in chocolate
5) Place 2 level tablespoons of biscuit dough, about 6cm apart on lightly greased oven trays
6) Bake about 16 minutes or until browned lightly.

For my version, I cut down the sugar by about 30% as we do not like it too sweet. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Basket full of roses

Was raking my brains how to decorate a cake that we were to bring to dinner when my husband suggested roses. Its been quite a while since I last decorate cakes with fresh cream roses, so was a little shakey and took a little while to get the hang of it again.

I find piping roses very therapuetic. As you form the rose petal by petal and create the bouquet rose by rose... you just have no time for worries. You can also rest assured that the end product is pleasing to the recipient, especially ladies.

Cake is sponge cake layered with durian cream. My first attempt at durian filling. The secret to great durian cream is to have lots more durian vs cream. I made mine at 2:1 ratio, but I think it'll taste even better to up the durian ratio.

We had a wonderful time of fellowship with our friends. Food was great, company was excellent. They certainly have the gift of hospitality. Praise the Lord! Even our children enjoyed themselves tremendously too.

Lastly to share with you this wonderful Psalm that I wrote on a 'flower pick' and placed on the cake, a Psalm of thanksgiving :

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with Thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.


Cheese chiffon cake and banana too..

A certain japanese restaurant is famous for, among other delicacies, their super-light cheese chiffon cake. When I was there the last time, the cheese chiffon was sold out. But oh my! Almost $6 for a slice and $50 for a whole cake. That's VERY expensive for chiffon cake, considering the ingredients that goes in a basic chiffon.

While I did not get to try the famous cheese chiffon, I plough through the internet to look for a good recipe to make my own. I found different recipes, some use shredded cheddar, some use cream cheese. I chose to use the one that uses cream cheese and here's how mine turn out :

My chiffon did not turn out as tall as I wanted it to be, but that was because the pan I had was too big for the amount of batter. It certainly did not look as pretty as the restaurant version, but like all chiffons, the texture was very airy, very light and had a mild cheese flavour. I did not smother any fresh cream on it, so we could fully appreciate the taste of the chiffon.

Taste testers all liked the fact that its soft and light, but nobody raved about it. I guess we are all not cheese fans. The next time I visit the restaurant, will definitely try the cheese chiffon there, well, to compare and taste if its really worth its price.

The first chiffon did not quite satisfy, so baked another... a traditional banana chiffon. This time with raving reviews. Ha.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bread Mix

Two weeks ago, as I was loitering at King Albert Park's Cold Storage, I came across a hosts of bread mix on sale. They were near expiry. I had not tried using any breadmix before, so I decided to get one.

The instructions were simple enough.. or probably over-simplified.

I followed the instructions to the tee.. except that I hand kneaded the dough for more than 10 minutes (5 times more than stipulated on the packaging). Still I was not able to do a satisfactory stretch pane test. Then I thought, maybe bread mixes were different?

I left the bread to proof, but instead of doubling in size, it just spreaded a little on the baking tray. I popped it into the oven after more than an hour of proofing and this is what I got.

It certainly looked and smell impressive. The crust was so thick and crispy, like those artisan breads! But it did not quite 'rise' to the occasion, so the inside was rather too dense for my liking.

The fact that it didn't rise could be because the yeast was dead, since it was so near expiry.

I have since decided that baking from scratch is a lot more satisfying and rewarding.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

First Puff Pastry

A colleague of mine recently bought a pack of almond puff pastry and shared with me. It tasted really good. Light and crispy and fragrant. So when I came across the recipe in a book that I borrowed from the library, I just cannot resist trying it. And the best thing is, its SO easy! Especially if you buy ready made puff pastry, which I did.

These are the almond ones, with lots of granulated sugar, as hubby complained that the first batch was not sweet enough.

Also made a batch without almonds as my dear daughter does not like them.

All you have to do is brush show water on the frozen pastry sheet, sprinkle almonds on top then use a rolling pin to roll over so that the almonds stick to the pastry. Then sprinkle as much sugar as you desire and cut into shape. Bake in 170 degree C oven for about 20-25 minutes. Then enjoy!

Brought these to my cell group BS. The children loved it, so did the adults!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cupcakes for Pastoral Team

Its teachers' day. Thought I'd show the church pastors our appreciation with a gift of specially decorated cupcakes.

These are the cupcakes I came up with.

Shepherd with herd of lost sheep, plus a bible verse.

1 Timothy 5:17 'The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching'

Another pic, taken under natural light.

Picture taken using my new camera... now beginning to think that the fault is the photographer, not the camera. Photographer too lazy to compose the picture. Well, still lots to learn about how to use the DSLR.