Monday, 30 July 2012

Lemon Génoise with White Chocolate Fraisier

lemon génoise with white chocolate fraisier

It was my mum’s birthday last week and it as dutiful daughter I wanted to make her a birthday cake which looked stunning but wasn’t too sweet or heavy as we’re all supposed to be on a diet for my cousin’s upcoming wedding. I immediately knew I was going to make a Fraisier, because we all know if fruits are added to cake, it automatically becomes healthier and possibly even good for you!

top view - strawberries galore!

Having made my first Fraisier last year as part of the Daring Bakers’ challenge, I was excited to get started, knowing that there were many things I would do differently to create a more professional looking cake. (I think I may be a closet perfectionist!)

nothing quite like fresh, colourful  ingredients

I found this recipe online and thought the lemon-strawberry combination sounded delicious. Having never made a Génoise (sponge) I wasn’t sure how difficult or complex the process would be. To be honest this Lemon Génoise with White Chocolate Fraisier wasn’t the easiest cake I’ve made as it requires attention and a lot of patience as beating the eggs to a ‘ribbon’ stage took almost 15 minutes. It may have been down to the fact that the speed of my mixer wasn’t high enough.  As with any Génoise, the method of mixing the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients is important as over mixing may deflate the aerated eggs, creating a flat dense cake.

strawberries, lemons + genoise

The crème Mousseline was a breeze to make.  It’s basically a pastry cream with a million more calories as butter is added in two stages. Extremely delicious though! I’ve lost count of the number of tablespoons of this stuff I devoured while assembling this cake!

creme mouselline - the process

Assembling this Fraisier was easier than I remember. I didn’t use the cling film technique previously used. Instead, I placed the spring-form tin (bottom removed), the same one which was used to bake the Génoise, on a cake stand, and began the assembly. A layer of Génoise is placed at the bottom of the tin and heavily imbibed with lemon simple syrup. Strawberries halves are then placed all around the sides. I would suggest slicing the tops of the strawberries to create a flat top which sits nicely on the cake, plus it makes for a more beautiful and tidy cake. Place the strawberries as close as possible to one another. Once done, generously fill the center of the cake with crème Mousseline. Pipe strips of cream between each strawberry half. Fill the center with more chopped strawberries and top with more cream. Place the other layer heavily imbibed Lemon Génoise on top and press down slightly so all components are in place.

assembling the  Fraisier - half the process

Spread a thin layer of remaining Crème Mousseline on top of the cake. Spread a generous layer of white chocolate on top of the cake and chill. I wanted to create something spectacular so I went a bit mad with the strawberries. It definitely got the attention it deserved and everyone devoured this without any hesitation. Most importantly mum loved it! :)  

lemon génoise with white chocolate fraisier

Lemon Génoise with White Chocolate Fraisier

Makes a 9-inch cake

Recipe adapted from Food Lover's Odyssey


Lemon Génoise

125g cake flour, sieved
25g unsalted butter, melted
4 eggs, room temperature
130g granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon zest (I used 3 lemons)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C and line and lightly grease the bottom of a 9-inch spring form cake tin.
  2. Heat eggs and sugar over a double boiler. Make sure water is simmering and not boiling. Whisk constantly until mixture reaches 50°C, about 7 minutes. Mixture should feel warm when touched.
  3. Once mixture is heated, beat until it reaches the ribbon effect. I would suggest using a stand mixer as it took about 15 minutes for my mixture to reach this stage.                                              **The term ‘ribbon stage’ is used to describe the texture when eggs and sugar are beaten to a point where the batter becomes thick and pale in colour. When beater is lifted, the batter falls back into the bowl, gently, forming a ribbon-like pattern.
  4. Fold ¼ of the batter into the melted butter. Add the lemon zest to this mixture.
  5. Fold the lemon butter mixture back into the rest of the egg mixture. Fold in the flour in thirds, gently but quickly. Repeat until all flour is incorporated.
  6. It is important to fold in the flour effectively as too much would deflate the aerated eggs, creating a flat dense sponge.
  7. Bake for 15-17 minutes. The cake is ready when the skewer inserted into the cake bears  a few moist crumbs.
  8. Remove from oven and let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove from tin and leave to cool completely.
Lemon Simple Syrup

70g granulated sugar
70ml water
4-5 tablespoons lemon juice, depending on how lemony you like your syrup to be
  1. Bring sugar and water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
  2. Add the lemon juice and mix well.

Crème Mousseline

600ml milk
6 egg yolks
200g granulated sugar, divided to two portions
50g corn starch
300g butter, room temperature, cubed, divided to two portions

  1. Warm milk and half the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, remaining sugar and corn starch until the mixture becomes pale in colour.
  3. When the mixture starts bubbling around the sides of the pan, slowly pour ¼ of it into the egg mixture, whisking continuously until combined. Continue to add the milk until all has been whisked together.
  4. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and continue to stir vigorously until the mixture starts boiling.
  5. Continue to leave on heat for a further 30 seconds, while whisking continuously and vigorously.
  6. Remove from heat and stir until steam dissipates.
  7. Press mixture through sieve for a smooth crème. Dot the crème with half the butter and leave to melt before stirring in. Cover with cling film immediately, making sure the film touches and creme. This prevents the creme from forming a layer of film. Refrigerate until ready to cold before using.
  8. Once cold, remove from fridge and transfer to stand mixer. Beat for 15-30 seconds until it becomes soft.
  9. Add the remaining butter (softened) and mix until incorporated. 
  10. Transfer the creme into a pastry bag and pipe.

White Chocolate Ganache

100g white chocolate, melted 
60ml fresh cream
1.5 punnets of fresh strawberries
  1. Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl. 
  2. Heat cream on medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and pour immediately over the chocolate. Stir until completely mixed and glossy.
  3. Leave to cool slightly before glazing the top of the fraisier.
  4. Decorate with strawberries.

Assembling the Fraisier  

  1. Start by slicing the cake to create two layers.
  2. Place one of the layers at the bottom of a spring-form tin, or place it on the cake-stand, while using the spring-form tin (without the base) as a mold. 
  3. Brush the cake with a generous amount of lemon simple syrup. You know you've got the right amount when the cake becomes 'squishy' when poked.
  4. Arrange the strawberries along the sides of the cake, pressing it down slightly so they stay in place.[** Remember to slice the tops off so you get a nice flat surface which lies nicely on the cake]
  5. Pipe the creme mouselline in the center of the cake, and along the sides of the strawberries to seal it in place. Fill the center of the cake with chopped strawberries and cover with more creme mouselline.
  6. Transfer the other layer of heavily imbibed Génoise and place it on top of the creme. [* Be careful when handling as the second layer as it becomes quite soft!]
  7. Press down slightly so all components are cemented in place.
  8. Top the cake with the white chocolate ganache and decorate.
  9. Let the cake chill for a few hours. I always prefer to chill it overnight.
  10. Slowly remove the spring-form tin and serve immediately.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Green Tea Ice Cream (Cheat's Version)

vibrant green tea ice cream

If there is one thing I've learnt from living in the UK is that one should never take the sun for granted. Before moving away from home, I never understood the fascination and genuine love most people have for the sun. However after experiencing months of dreary weather and continuous rain, I began appreciating how wonderful this huge ball of light in the sky really is. When the sun shines, BBQs are aplenty, gorgeous daisies pop up everywhere, Frisbee throwing become a national sport, and sun-bathing becomes a must! 

It's quite a contrast to what it's like here in Malaysia. Summer is something we experience through out the year. You'll never find Malaysians basking in the sun instead it is the norm to hide under the shade and continuously moan and groan about how hot it is. It's definitely a case of 'the grass is greener on the other side'.

 ice cream is happiness condensed - Jessi Lane Adams

It seems that the summer has finally arrived in the UK, just in time for the Olympics as well! I'm hoping this lush weather will last for a while as I've got my holidays booked for a trip back to the UK in just 3 weeks. Plus I'll be seeing Gavin after 6 long months! Yayyyy!
So to celebrate the summer here is the simplest ice-cream recipe you'll find anywhere. One that doesn't require the purchase of an ice cream maker! To make this version of Green Tea Ice Cream all that you need to do is to buy a tub of vanilla ice cream, leave it out to soften, mix in green tea paste, freeze and voila! Green tea ice-cream to wow your guests. (or for you to secretly binge on!)

melted ice cream + green tea paste ; mix and freezer, and you're all set!

Joking aside, it really is a simple but effective method of making green tea ice-cream and indulging in it especially if this is something not available to your local area! Green tea ice cream is usually served with sweetened red beans, or azuki beans as it more commonly known as.

Happy Summer to all!

serve with or without red beans, delicious either way!

Green Tea Ice Cream (Cheat's version)

Adapted from Best-Ever Recipes Japanese & Sushi

Ingredients

1.5 liters good quality vanilla ice cream
2-4 tbsp matcha powder (green tea powder), depending on how strong you like the taste to be
2-3 tbsp lukewarm warm (enough to make a soft paste)

Method

  1. Soften the ice cream in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Mix the matcha powder with water to create a smooth paste.
  3. Separate half the ice cream into a mixing bowl. Add the matcha mixture and mix with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add the rest of the ice cream and combine to create a marbled effect, or you prefer mix until a uniformed colour is achieved.
  5. Transfer into original ice cream container and freeze. 
  6. After 30 minutes, give the ice cream a quick mix to prevent ice crystals from forming, resulting in a more creamy texture.
  7. Freeze until ready to serve. 
 * Optional: Can be served with a heaped teaspoon of red bean paste or a sprinkle of black or white sesame seeds.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Toblerone Cheesecake


It was my brother’s birthday last week.  He’s finally home for the summer and it’s been great having him home. This is the first time that we’ve been home at the same time in two years, which was mainly due to conflicting university schedules. 


I knew months ago that this was the cake I would be making for his birthday. My brother is a huge fan of cheesecakes and thinks himself as a cheesecake connoisseur, so cheesecake was the only option. The addition of Toblerone simply made this cake irresistible. This no-bake recipe was a breeze to put together and even easier to devour! Honestly, it was creamy, chocolately, somewhat light and simply luscious! 


The cheesecake connoisseur gave this cake his seal of approval. So please, the next time you think of making a cheesecake, use this recipe! You won’t regret it.

Toblerone Cheesecake

Serves 8

Makes a 20 cm cake.

Adapted from Kraft.com

Ingredients

Base
350 g plain chocolate biscuits, crushed
120g butter, melted [Increase or decrease amount as necessary. Butter is used to bring the crushed biscuits together]

Filling
500 g cream cheese.
70 g caster sugar
350 g Toblerone chocolate (milk or white), melted
120 g thickened/ double cream

Method
  1. Melt butter and mix with crushed biscuits. Press into the base of a 20 cm spring-form tin. Chill for 2-3 hours. Or you can freezer it for 1 hour.
  2. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the melted Toblerone and cream and beat until well combined.
  3. Pour into prepared tin. Chill for 3-4 hours or overnight to set.
  4. Remove from tin and decorate with Toblerone triangles, or shavings.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Basic Waffles

 Waffles <3

In the last couple of months there has been a significant rise in the number of waffle related blog posts; simple recipes paired with drool worthy photos of freshly made waffles drizzled heavily with syrup, topped with fresh fruit or generous scoop of ice-cream.

 Nothing more delicious than freshly made waffles with a large knob of butter..

Although tempted to jump on the bandwagon, I had no waffle maker. To acquire one proved to be quite the task. It seemed that every store I popped into had run out of waffle makers!  Very strange.  Anyway my lovely mother ended up purchasing one for me from a pretty inconspicuous store, and so I am now a proud owner of a lovely waffle maker. 

 Waffles served with Passion fruit curd
For my first waffle post, I decided to stick to a no-fuss, no-frills, basic recipe. After all everyone needs a basic waffle recipe in his/her life! The batter can be made the day before and refrigerated but it’s also perfectly fine to be made for immediate consumption. 

I served these waffles with a large knob of butter and passion fruit curd. Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, light and delicious! If I say so myself. 

Basic Waffles

Makes 6-8 waffles

Recipe from ShopCookMake

Ingredients


½ cup butter, melted
1½ cup milk
2 eggs, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour

Method
  1. Mix butter and milk well and set aside.
  2. Beat eggs, salt, sugar, vanilla extract and baking powder. 
  3. Add the milk mixture and beat until incorportated.
  4. Add the flour in 3 batches.
  5. Use immediately or store in fridge for up to 24 hours.
  6. Cook waffles according to instructions that come with waffle maker.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Kimchi Jjigae

Kimchi Jjigae

Kimchi Jjigae also widely known as Kimchi Stew or Kimchi Soup is a famous Korean dish. Despite the various names, it all refers to the same fiery soup made with kimchi, tofu and more often than not, pork belly.

 Some of the ingredients (L-R, clockwise); tofu, onions, spring onions, garlic, ginger, miso, kimchi and shoyu + sake.

Kimchi is a staple Korean ingredient made from fermented vegetables and a variety of seasoning. Cabbage, radish and scallions are the most commonly used vegetables. Seasoning used includes garlic, ginger, fish sauce and chillies. As a result, Kimchi takes on a sharp, spicy and sour flavour.

Making Kimchi Jjigae is easy!

Although Kimchi Jjigae often calls for the use of pork belly, I substitute the protein for tofu and vermicelli/rice noodles.

Kimchi Jjigae is best served with a bowl of steaming rice.

Making this dish is simple enough as it is a matter of cooking the ingredients in a pot and leaving it to simmer. The longer the soup is left to simmer, the more flavourful the soup becomes. Kimchi Jjigae is best served with a side of steaming rice!

Kimchi Jjigae

Serves 2-3

Adapted from [No Recipes]

Ingredients

1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 inch fresh ginger, sliced
1 tsp oil
1/2 cup kimchi juice
1.5 cup kimchi
2 cups water
1 tbsp rice wine/mirin/sake
2.5 tsp gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
2 tsp miso paste
2 tsp light soy sauce/shoyu
Soft tofu, cubed
0.5 cup vermicilli

Method
  1. Heat oil in a claypot (or an ordinary pot) and saute onions until soft. Add garlic and ginger. Saute until fragrant. If using pork belly, add now.
  2. Add kimchi and saute for 1 minute.
  3. Add water, kimchi juice, cooking wine, gochujang (chilli paste), miso and shoyu. Stir gently until miso has dissolved.
  4. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and leave to simmer for 20-40 minutes, keeping in mind that the longer the soup is left to simmer, the more flavourful it becomes.
  5. In the meanwhile, soak vermicilli in warm water to soften. Once soft, drain and set aside.
  6. Once satisfied with the flavour of the soup, add vermicilli and tofu. Simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Take off heat, garnish with spring onions and serve immediately.
  8. Best served with a bowl of rice.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Daring Bakers June 2012 - Battenburg

Nish Whips Up A Dish was featured on Bon Appetite sometime last week! My whimsical post on Lemon and Mint Ice Cubes was featured in a post solely dedicated to unique and creative ice-cubes. This probably counts as one of the prouder moments of my food blogging career.

And so this seems like the perfect opportunity to thank all my readers for supporting this humble blog for the past 18 months. Thank you to each and every one of you for your emails and comments left which both wonderful and touching. I know I don't respond to every comment but trust me, each one brightens my day and genuinely brings a smile to my face. Nish Whips Up A Dish would be nothing without your support, encouragement and love. So a big thank you and here's a hugeee hug for every one of you <3

______________________________________________________________________________________________


Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

Battenburg is a traditional British treat, where two layers of different coloured  almond flavoured sponges  are ‘glued’ together with apricot jam which is then covered in a layer of marzipan. Once sliced, a checkerboard pattern is evident. 


My attempt was a semi-successful one. It’s become a recurring theme with these challenges that something is bound to go wrong. I decided to make a traditional Batternburg as it was always my favourite treat when in university. I followed the very helpful step-by-step instructions given by Mandy however when it came down to slicing the cakes evenly, I failed massively. I accidentally sliced off a big chuck of the pink layer, leaving it rather lopsided. In an attempt to salvage the mess, I tried sticking it back using apricot jam as the ‘glue’. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have used jam. The marzipan layer really pulls the cake into shape and I am very sure, it would have held the extra bit of the pink layer without the need of an adhesive. 


The marzipan layer was a nightmare to work with. Firstly I didn’t have enough to go around and secondly the weather was far too humid to work with marzipan. Thirdly I ran out of icing sugar which probably explained the difficulty I had rolling out the marzipan. Anyway, I tried and semi-succeeded. I tried to make the cake look as pretty as I could, and that is worth something right? 


I would have made a second one, and possibly a third as I have an amazing flavour combination I want to try out, but my job is taking a lot of my time at the moment! I’m hoping things start slowing down because I am fed up with all the imperfect challenge results :(

*Don't let this post put you off from trying the recipe. The cake was delicious and incredibly moreish!


Traditional Battenburg 

Serves 8

Ingredients

175g unsalted butter, softened
175g caster sugar
175g self raising flour
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp milk
65g ground almonds
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Red colouring
Apricot jam (or any other jam of your preference)
250g marzipan

Method
  1. Prepare baking tin according to instructions illustrated here, or if you own a batternburg tin, line and greaseit and set aside.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients and set aside. Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated and batter is smooth.
  3. Spoon half the mixture into one side of the prepared baking tin.
  4. Add droplets of red colouring to the remaining mixture until desired colour is achieved.
  5. Spoon the pink batter into the other half of the prepared tin.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and leave to cool in tin for a few minutes. Remove from tin and leave to cool thoroughly.
  8. Trim the edges of the cakes with a serrated knife.
  9. Cut each coloured cake in half lengthways so you are now left with four strips of cake.
  10. Neaten the strips and trim as necessary. Don't go overboard!
  11. Gently heat the apricot jam with a tablespoon of water.
  12. Brush the warmed jam on all sides of the strips and join together forming a checkerboard pattern.
  13. Dust a dry surface with a generous amount of icing sugar. Roll out marzipan, large enough to cover the entire cake.
  14. Brush one side of the cake with jam and set it down on the marzipan. Brush jam on the remaining three sides and start rolling the cake and marzipan until cake it covered.
  15. Carefully flip the cake over so that the seam of the marzipan is at the bottom.
  16. Using the blunt side of a knife, score patterns on the top of the cake and decorate as desired.
  17. Slice a thin layer of the cake to showcase the gorgeous pattern of the Batternburg cake.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Wan Ton Soup


For the first time in weeks (months?) I woke up on a Saturday morning feeling fresh as a daisy! No hangover, no fatigue in sight. Bright eyed and bushy tailed no thanks to an uneventful Friday night, with me happily tucked into bed by 10pm, I set about planning for my day of cooking and baking. No plans were made as I was adamant that my day would be spent pottering about in the kitchen. I made a quick trip to my favourite baking supplies shop; bought another stash of pretty cupcake liners, some novelty chocolate chips, doilies (!) amongst other basic baking ingredients.


First dish of the day was this delicious bowl of Wan Ton Soup, or Wan Tan as it’s spelt in the East. Wan Tons are basically dumplings which contain chopped prawn or pork or a mixture of both, served in a soup or fried. In Malaysia, Wan Ton Soup is a staple dish which can be found in most Chinese hawker stalls; usually this dish is served with thin strands of noodles forming a more substantial meal. However if like me, you’re on a diet, or simply prefer having a light meal, then this is the perfect alternative.


The filling for these wan tons/dumplings contained prawn, chives, spring onions, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, fish sauce and pepper. Simple ingredients which packs a punch! When de-shelling the prawns, always set the shells and head aside to be used to make a stock. This stock usually makes the soup, with a depth of flavour unobtainable otherwise.



These dumplings take about 30 seconds to cook in boiling water. A tell tale sign that the dumpling is cooked is when it floats to the surface. If using noodles and/or leafy green vegetables, blanch it in the same pot and remove when done. Assemble all components in individual bowls and pour the soup over.


Homemade Wan Ton Soup done.


Wan Ton Soup

Serves 3

Ingredients

Wan tons/Dumplings
10-12 fresh prawns, de-shelled and de-veined
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 inch ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp chives, chopped
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 chicken/pork/fish stock cube
1/4 tsp fish sauce
Pinch of salt
Generous dash of white pepper
1/2 tsp corn flour
Wantan/Dumpling wrappers

Soup
4 cups water
1 tsp sesame oil
A handful of prawn heads and shell
Salt and white pepper
Spring onions, chopped


Additionals
2 tbsp spring onion, chopped
Pak choi/ Spring greens
Red chilli, sliced
1 tbsp soy sauce

Method
  1. Rinse the prawns in cold water to ensure prawns remain firm. Pat dry with paper towel and chop into 3-4 pieces. Chop garlic, ginger and chives and add to the prawns.
  2. Season with sesame oil, fish sauce, salt, pepper, stock cube and corn flour and set aside for 1 hour.
  3. Start preparing the soup by bringing the soup ingredients to a boil. Leave to simmer for 1 hour. Strain and set aside in a separate pan. Heat as necessary.
  4. To assemble, place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of a wanton wrapper.  Brush water on the sides of the wrapper and gather all edges into the middle encasing the filling, by forming a parcel. Set aside on a dry surface and continue filling the wrappers.
  5. Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil. Drop 4-5 wan tons into the water at a time and leave to boil for 30 seconds. A tell-tale sign that the won ton is ready is when it floats to the surface. Remove and add to the soup or place into bowls immediately.
  6. Blanch pak choi/spring greens in the same water and shock it with cold water to preserve the vegetable’s crunch and colour.
  7. To assemble, place cooked wan tons in a bowl together with the pak choi/spring greens and pour ladles of soup of it. Top it off with a sprinkling of spring onions.
  8. Best served with a side helping of sliced chillies soaked in soy sauce.
  9. Wan tons can be made and frozen for up to a month. Once filled, store in a container and freeze immediately.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Bourbon Biscuits


Bourbon biscuits are my favourite kind of biscuits. So when I came across this recipe the other week, I knew I had to try making these biscuits in my own kitchen!


Bourbons are basically two chocolate biscuits sandwiched together with a thick layer of bourbon infused chocolate icing. If that already sounds like heaven, wait till you dunk it in hot mug of tea! This is a relatively simple recipe to put together and tastes a lot more decadent than a shop-bought biscuit, maybe because actual bourbon is used in this recipe!




This recipe only yields 10-12 biscuits, so doubling the ingredients may be a necessity if you, like me are a big fan of these chocolaty treats!


Bourbon Biscuits

Recipe from thelittleloaf

Yields 10-12 biscuits

Ingredients

Biscuits

50g unsalted butter, softened
50g soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
110g plain white flour
20g cocoa powder
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Few drops - 2 tsp milk, enough to bring the dough together.
1 tbsp caster sugar, for sprinkling

Icing

50g unsalted butter, softened
75g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp bourbon

Method

Biscuits
  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Add butter and brown sugar to a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Butter  mixture should take on a pale light brown colour.
  3. Beat in golden syrup. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  4. Add milk, 2-3 drops at a time until dough comes together. Transfer dough to floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes. Roll into a rectangle with a 3-4mm thickness. Cut into even rectangles, approximately 6cm x 3cm.
  5. Place on baking tray and prick the surface of the biscuits with a fork.
  6. Chill in fridge for 20 minutes or in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle biscuits with caster sugar just before transferring the baking tray to the oven.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. 
Bourbon filling 
  1. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add sifted icing sugar and cocoa powder. Beat until combined. Add bourbon and give the icing a final mix.
  2. Dollop a heaped teaspoon of filling on a chocolate biscuit and spread out it out evenly. Sandwich the biscuit and filling with a second biscuit.
  3. Repeat until all biscuits are filled.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Elderflower and Ginger Beer Drink


Of late, the weather has been more humid than usual, with flashes of rain which barely cools the air. As mentioned here, I tend to shy away from consuming carbs and protein, preferring salads, frozen yoghurt and ice cold drinks.

Having bought elderflower cordial (yay Ikea!) recently I was itching to create an elderflower inspired drink. My excitement of having discovered elderflower drink in KL stems from the fact that elderflower is pretty much unheard of in Malaysia. When living in the UK, it was virtually the only drink I would order when having a meal in the pub!


Instead of diluting the cordial with water, I used ginger-beer to create this Elderflower and Ginger beer Drink.. Both flavours paired well with one another and the fizz from the ginger-beer added a refreshing touch.  I also added a few lychees into the pitcher as there were an abundance of it in the kitchen. The flesh of the fruit absorbed some of the flavours of the elderflower and ginger beer which made it a pleasure to chew through once the glass was empty.

A few lemon slices were also added to the mix but this is entirely optional. It may seem that this drink has too many components; however rest assured it doesn’t. The mild flavours of each ingredient complement one another to create a delicious and refreshing drink that will quench your parched throat.


Elderflower and Ginger Beer Drink

Ingredients

One can of ginger beer
6-8 tbsp elderflower cordial
Ice cubes
Lychees
Juice from half a lemon
Lemon slices
Basil/Mint leaves for decoration

Method

Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher. Serve immediately.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Profiteroles with Drizzled Chocolate


I do realise that I’ve been posting an avalanche of dessert recipes lately. It’s hardly been helping the diet and new healthy lifestyle I’ve supposedly adopted but there is no way I’d survive the week where salads and soups and lots of runs thrown become the norm, without a reward of something sweet.

So here is another dessert post – specifically Profiteroles with Drizzled Chocolate!


This was my first attempt at making choux pastry and I was surprised at how simple the dough came together. Everything is done in a pot and doesn’t take much longer than 20 minutes from start till it goes in the oven. Choux pastry can be used to create a variety of treats; profiteroles, éclairs or even a savoury pastry dish called. Once baked, it’s usually filled with cream or ice cream and is best consumed immediately. 


I initially envisioned a stack of fresh profiteroles filled with cream and passion fruit curd, generously drizzled with melted chocolate; but because this was the first time making choux pastry, I wasn’t sure if the pastry would hold up or would it even be tasty. So I went for the safe option of basic whipped cream and melted chocolate. The profiteroles turned out really well and scrumptious. I’ll definitely be making the passion fruit filled ones soon!

Profiteroles with Drizzled Chocolate 

Adapted from Pastry Cook

Makes 20 small puffs, 14 large puffs or 12 eclairs.

Choux Pastry

Ingredients

65 g plain flour
Pinch of salt
50 g butter, diced
150 ml water
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C. Sift flour and salt on to a small sheet of parchment paper.
  2. Put butter and water in a pan simultaneously and heat gently until the butter has melted.
  3. Increase the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and immediately tip in the sifted flour and beat vigorously until the flour is fully mixed into the liquid.
  4. Return pan to a low heat and beat the mixture until it begins to form a ball.
  5. Remove from heat and all to cool for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well between each addition, until dough becomes a very shiny and smooth thick paste. It may not be necessary to add all the egg. The mixture will initially be lumpy but with vigorous beating it will become smooth and glossy.
  7. Spoon or pipe dough on to baking sheet, which has be dampened with water. Space well apart.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove and cool.
To fill:
  1. Pipe freshly whipped cream and arrange on a platter to form a dome. 
  2. Drizzle melted chocolate and serve.

Choux Pastry tips:
  • It may not be necessary to add all the beaten eggs. Use enough to ensure the paste holds its shape.
  • Choux pastry should be piped or spooned into required shapes while still warm. For best results, it should be baked immediately.

    Sunday, 27 May 2012

    Daring Bakers' May 2012 - Challah


    May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

    Ruth provided us with three recipes to choose from; I decided that the Honey White Challah sounded very inviting and decided to stick with this recipe, topping with a generous sprinkling of poppy seeds. 

    I have to admit, this challenge was a rushed one as I only completed it a couple of hours ago. Having never eaten nor seen a challah in real-life I tried familiarising myself with the braiding techniques by watching videos on YouTube numerous times. This wasn’t good enough because as you can see, my loaf is rather lopsided and the braiding pattern got kinda lost towards the end bit :( .  In hindsight, I should have probably stuck to the basic three-strand braid. Instead I decided to be adventurous and attempt a four-strand braid without any practice.


    With regards to the taste and texture, this was probably the best loaf of bread I’ve ever made. It’s light and fluffy with a lovely crumb and the smell of honey is divine!

    **A brief historical introduction:
    Challah is a bread of celebration in Jewish tradition. At a time when white flour was considered a luxury, its use was reserved for either the wealthy or for festive events. In Judaism, the Sabbath is a weekly holiday, and therefore is a festive occasion. It was around the 15th century when Jews in parts of Austria and Germany adopted an oval braided loaf from their neighbors to make the Sabbath special. These fancy shaped loaves made with white flour were seen as a fitting way to honor the Shabbat (Sabbath), symbolized in Jewish culture as a queen, therefore deserving of the finest one can achieve. In honoring the Sabbath as a day of rest, two loaves are traditionally put on the table. This is generally seen as a representation of the double portion of manna provided to the Children of Israel on Fridays during their wandering in the desert after fleeing from Egypt. This double portion allowed them to maintain the commandment to not do “work” on the Sabbath.


    You can find more information on this historical bread here, as well as the recipes for other versions of challah. 


    Honey White Challah

    Makes two loaves 

    Ingredients
    360 ml warm water
    15 g sugar
    18 g dry active yeast
    120 ml honey
    15 ml vegetable oil
    4 large eggs
    A large pinch of salt
    700 g plain flour, possibly more
    1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water

    Method
    1. In a large bowl, combine yeast, sugar and 125 ml warm water. Allow to proof for 5-7 minutes until foamy.
    2. Add the remaining water, 4 eggs, honey salt and 700 grams of flour to the yeast mixture. Knead by hand or by machine, using the dough hook, until the dough comes together and is smooth, adding flour as needed. Continue kneading for a further 10 minutes.
    3. Transfer the dough to a well oiled clean bowl and cover with a tea-towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size, which takes about 1.5 hours.
    4. Punch down dough and divide into two portions.
    5. Use each half to make a loaf.
    6. Braided according to desired preference. * YouTube has many videos showing the various braiding techniques.
    7. Place loaf on a greased parchment lined tray and cover with tea-towel. Leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.
    8. Pre-heat oven to 200C. Brush top of loaf with egg wash and generously top with poppy seeds.
    9. Bake loaf for 25-30 minutes, or until done.
    10. Cool well before slicing.

    Thursday, 17 May 2012

    Apple Crumble Squares

    Apple Crumble Squares

    Those close to me would know that I have been craving all things apples of late – apple crumbles, apple pies, apple tarts..you name it! I finally got around to satiating my craving after putting it off for weeks. It was a toss up between Jamie Oliver’s Apple Pie and this recipe that I bookmarked quite some time ago. The crumble recipe won this round, largely due to my sheer laziness in making pastry from scratch!

    (shredded apples, dry ingredients, wet ingredients, crumble and crust)

    (Top: shredded apple and crust; Below: crumble and apple layer )

    Leaving that aside, I must say that whoever came up with the idea for Apple Crumble Squares is a friggin’ genius! Warm apple and cinnamon crumble in a convenient form which to me is the perfect on-the-go dessert. (It’s been what’s keeping me sane during my painfully long commute to work this week! And yes, I am guilty of having dessert as breakfast and believe me, having sugar whilst stuck in traffic can turn a grumpy driver into a cheerful, positive-I’ll –sing-along-to-Beiber- because-his-new-song-is-awesome type of individual. You have been warned!

     (Evenly spread the apple mixture to cover the entire surface of the crust;  sprinkle crumble generously all over the apples) 
                                                                       
    The only difference I made to the original recipe was to reduce the amount of sugar used as some of my family members found the squares to be a tad bit too sweet. If you think that the adapted amount may still be too much, you can perhaps use green apples which will help cut through the sweetness.  Oh I also added an additional teaspoon of cinnamon to the apple mixture, well because..I love cinnamon! 

     
    Apple Crumble Squares

    Adapted from VeryCulinary.com

    Makes 9-12 squares depending on how you cut it

    Ingredients

    380 g plain flour
    160 g brown sugar
    25 g granulated sugar + 50 g granulated sugar
    2 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 egg
    225 g cold butter, cubed
    4 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and grated
    2 tsp cornflour
    Juice of half a lemon

    Method
    1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 9" by 13" pan and set aside.
    2. Peel, core and grate the apples. Pour lemon juice over the apples to prevent browning.
    3. Mix plain flour, 25 g granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
    4. Work in the butter and egg with your hands until the dough resembles pea-sized clumps. Make sure no plain flour remains at the bottom of the bowl.
    5. Press half the dough into the bottom of the pan ensuring that it is evenly spread out.
    6. In a separate bowl, squeeze all the excess juice from the apples and  mix in the 50 g of sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and cornflour.
    7. Spread the apple mixture all over the crust layer evenly.
    8. Sprinkle the remaining dough all over the apple layer.
    9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top layer turns golden brown.
    10. Cool completely before cutting into squares.