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.