Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Banana and White Chocolate Muffins



In the last couple of months I've been quietly reminding myself get into the swing of blogging things. This undoubtedly has proven to be a bigger task that I thought it would be. The space between posts is somewhat sad and it serves as a reminder of what weekends were like - early starts to churn out dish after dish, which were then whisked out onto the porch to be photographed to its glory. I've been trying to emulate that feeling on more than one occasion but failed miserably. I've lost my touch.

Not one to be defeated, I woke up this weekend, gung-ho - adamant that I am going to get over this plateau and make a proper comeback. Not some weepy, half-assed attempt I've made in the past. So with the determination of a warrior, I cooked lunch for the family -  chicken curry, chicken in soy sauce and cabbage with mustard seeds and egg.


Despite that sounding like a lot of food, I had one more recipe up my sleeve. You see, earlier in the morning, I woke up from a lovely weekend slumber, with a deep longing for a warm banana and white chocolate muffin. Not quite sure where the craving has come from seeing that I am on a strict diet and exercise regiment but  who am I to resist a muffin urge. So off to the kitchen I go, and well, well, what do I find? Overly ripe bananas, to the point of mush, which required immediate use. 15 minutes later and 10 large muffin liners were filled and ready for the oven.

The result was pretty amazing. Light, fluffy, sweet and healthy(?) muffins ready to be devoured!


Banana and White Chocolate Muffins

Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking 

Makes 10 large muffins

Ingredients

225g all purpose flour
100g caster sugar
55g brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp salt
120g white chocolate, chopped up into chunks
450g ripe bananas, mashed
113g melted butter, cooled
2 large eggs, lighten beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method 
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Line pan with 10 muffin liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt and white chocolate chunks.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the mashed bananas, melted butter, eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. With a spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined and batter is thick and chunky. 
  5. It is very important not to overmix muffin batter as it will yeild dense, rubbery muffins. 
  6. Fill the 3/4 of the lined tins with batter and bake for 25 minutes or until skewer inserted into the muffin comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and transfer muffins onto a wire rack to cool.
  8. Best served warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Salted Fish and Pork Belly Claypot (Ham Yue Fah Lam Poh)


Malaysian Chinese food has always been one of the great loves of my life. I’m talking fresh ingredients, tossed in hot wok with ginger, onions and garlic (the good stuff), and seasoned to perfection with soy sauce/oyster sauce/sesame oil, all ready in less than ten minutes.  



Going out for Chinese food is a weekly affair however when we do eat out, we tend to gravitate to the same dishes; Stir-fry Kai Lan (Chinese broccoli), Kam Heong Lala (clams), Egg Fu Yong and Ham Yue Fah Lam Poh (Salted Fish and Pork Belly Claypot). 



I was introduced to the Salted Fish and Pork Belly Claypot dish a few months ago, and haven’t looked back since! It sounds like an odd combination, salted fish and pork belly, but it works. Cooked in a claypot, the pork belly remains tender, juicy and flavourful. The addition of fresh ginger, onions, dried chillies and spring onions adds freshness and colour. The rice wine is a key ingredient as it really amalgamates the flavours together creating a lovely dish, worthy of restaurant standards.
  


This dish takes about 15 minutes to put together and is best served with rice. Perfect weekday meal! 




Salted Fish and Pork Belly Claypot (Ham Yue Fah Lam Poh)

Recipe adapted from Amy Beh

Ingredients

150g pork belly, thinly sliced

70g boneless salted fish, fried till crispy
6 slices of fresh ginger
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
3 dried red chilles, cut into 3cm sections, de-seeded (I left the seeds in for the extra kick)
2 stalks spring onions, cut into 4cm lenghts

Seasoning A
1.5 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
0.5 tsp sugar
0.25 tsp pepper
0.5 tsp chicken stock granules

Seasoning B
1 tbsp Hua Tiau wine (chinese rice wine)
2-3 tbsp fresh chicken stock
1 tbsp thick soy sauce 

Method


  1. Marinate pork with seasoning A for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat claypot over a high heat. Add the marinated pork, ginger and onions. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the cover and add seasoning B, dried chillies and salted fish pieces. 
  4. Stir well to combine then cover the claypot once more. 
  5. The dish is done when you see smoke escaping through the hole in the lid, or if using a wok, after 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat. Add the spring onions and serve immediately.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Black Forest Cupcakes



After the previous diabetes inducing post, I figured I better take it down a notch on the sweetness Richter scale. And so here you have… Black Forest Cupcakes! Not exactly sin-free but these are incredibly delectable. You only live once so what the heck, right?


These cupcakes are a combination of soft chocolate cake which is drizzled with cherry syrup (or cherry liquor if you prefer), topped with cherry buttercream and decorated with a single cherry. These cupcakes really do taste like a bite size version of a Black Forest Cake. However if you’re a purist and insist that the frosting should involve some form of cream, then by all means go ahead. The only reason why I chose to use buttercream was due to its durability. I needed these cupcakes to remain in perfect condition for at least 24 hours as they were made for order. Having done some research, it became clear that whipping cream based icing without the addition of a stabilizer wouldn’t last for more than a few hours. *I have included a recipe for both versions of frosting, so it really is your choice!

 
Black Forest Cupcakes

Adapted from BBC Food

Cupcake Ingredients

125g butter, softened
160g caster sugar
2 eggs
200g self raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa power
125ml milk
100g dark chocolate, melted

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 170C. Prepare and line a muffin tray.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, one at a time, until combined.
  3. Sift in flour and cocoa powder and mix until incorporated.
  4. Fold in milk and melted chocolate.
  5. Spoon mixture into liners and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until well risen.
  6. Remove and cool before icing.

Cherry Buttercream Icing Ingredients (Option I)

Tinned cherries, pitted

150g unsalted butter, softened
200g-250g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp corn flour + a little water to make a smooth paste
Chocolate sprinkles

Method
  1. Drain cherries in a sieve, collecting the syrup in a bowl below. 
  2. Pierce each cake numerous times with a skewer and carefully pour about a teaspoon of cherry syrup over each cake.
  3. To make the cherry drizzle, heat remaining syrup with the cornflour paste in a small saucepan until just boiling. Remove from heat and beat to thicken. Set aside.
  4. To make buttercream, beat butter until really soft. Gradually add the icing sugar and cherry syrup.
  5. * The cherry syrup will give the buttercream a light pink/purple tinge. If you prefer a more vibrant colour, add a couple of drops of a food colouring of your choice.
  6. Pipe buttercream onto cupcakes.
  7. Top each cupcake with a cherry and decorate each cupcake with some cherry drizzle and chocolate sprinkles.
Whipping Cream Frosting (Option II)

Lightly whip 300ml double cream and pipe onto cakes. Decorate as desired.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies



It's officially been two years since I started documenting my journey through the culinary world (albeit with months of hiatus in between :p). Either way, I figured that some changes needed to be made and so, with great pleasure I present to you www.nishbakes.com

Taa-daah!  

In conjunction with all things celebratory it was only fitting that I make something delightful yet sinful. And so here I present this truly epic combination of peanut butter and chocolate in the form of Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies.

These brownies are incredibly rich and decadent so portion control is something of a must!


The brownies start off with a layer of Browned Butter Brownies which is then topped with a gorgeous layer of smooth peanut butter frosting and finally finished off with a small spread of melted chocolate.

*A note of caution: the brownies are very very rich so refrain from being too generous when slicing. A small piece goes a long way!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies


Brownies (Base Layer)


* I used my go to Browned Butter Brownies recipe which can be found here.


Peanut Butter Filling (Second Layer)



Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients

170g smooth peanut butter

113g unsalted butter

Pinch of salt

100g icing sugar

2 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract


Method
  1. Beat together the peanut butter, butter and salt on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Gradually add the icing sugar and milk, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Finally, add in the vanilla extract and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. If mixture is too dry, add a splash of milk.
  4. Using a spatula, spread the peanut butter filling over the cooled brownies. 

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Glaze

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients

200g chocolate chips
40g smooth peanut butter

Method 
  1. Melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a double boiler or microwave, if you prefer until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture over the peanut butter layer and spread to ensure evenness.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until set.
  4. Cut into squares and serve.