Thursday, September 29, 2016

Salted Dark Chocolate Layer Cake

Are you able to recall what is the first cake you have baked? My virgin attempt on baking was this simple chocolate cake (without frosting) which I tried decades ago! That was the time when I got a new oven for my new home. ^0^ I can still remember I was so enthusiastic when I just got my new oven and a simple handheld mixer hahaha....and guess what? I'm am still using the same old equipment till now!! As I'm an amateur in baking during that time, glad that I've chosen a simple and straight forward cake recipe to fall on and it did not turn out too badly. From there on I explored and read a lot of recipes and improved on my baking skills. Guess I fare not too bad with all these years of trial and errors. Today I just want to bake this simple chocolate cake again with simple chocolate  frosting so that I could document it down in my blog. ^0^ 

Back to this cake. As I've mentioned this is a simple chocolate cake. No egg separation method or whole egg beating till ribbon stage. This is a one bowl mixing method, i.e. mixing the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients briefly for about 2 minutes and the batter is ready! Really easy and straight forward method right? Just a reminded that this is not a light and fluffy texture sponge chocolate cake due to its mixing method. The cake is moist and slightly dense. I've reduced down the sugar in the recipe and with touch of sea salt flakes (do not use table salt), it helps to balance out the sweetness in this chocolate layer cake. Oh the chocolate frosting....I love it too! Unlike ganache made with double cream and butter, this simple ganache is made with dark chocolate and sour cream. Stir and mix and you will get a luscious and creamy ganache for frosting. There's no need to let it sit in room temperature or chill to thicken. The ganache is not too runny or thick and is perfect to use for piping like what I've did. *0*

Ingredient (one 8" two layer cake)

  • 225gm fine sugar
  • 220gm plain flour
  • 85gm cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • 125ml rice bran oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes 

Quick Chocolate Ganache
  • 320gm dark chocolate, melted
  • 200ml sour cream

  1. Grease and line two 8" cake pan.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add in sugar and salt and mix well with a hand whisk.
  4. Add in eggs, milk, oil and vanilla into the flour mixture. Using a electric whisk, beat the mixture on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in boiling water. Batter will be thin.
  6. Pour the batter equally into the cake pan. Bake in preheated oven at 180 deg cel for 35mins, or until a wooden stick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pan for 10mins. Unmould the cake and cool on wire rack completely before frosting.
  8. Combine melted chocolate with sour cream and stir to mix well.
  9. Place a cake on a serving plate. Spread half of the ganache over. Top with the other cake and spread/pipe with remaining ganache. Sprinkle sea salt flakes over the ganache. Serve. 

Recipe ref :

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Copycat Jenny's Bakery Butter Cookies

Nobody could resist this buttery and melty butter cookies! I've baked two batches, one original and one chocolate flavour. It was all gone after two days, some for gifting but mostly finished by my two cookie monsters at home. ^0^ I've not tasted the original Jenny's Bakery butter cookies. But this homemade version is good enough for me. 

  • 200gm Golden Churn Tin Butter
  • 50g icing sugar, sifted*
  • 50gm plain flour*
  • 100gm cake flour
  • 50gm corn flour

  1. Combine all flour and sift twice. Set aside.
  2. Using a spatula, cream butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add in flour mixture, in batches, fold until well incorporated. Do not over mix.
  4. Transfer the dough into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle tip.
  5. Pipe the dough onto lined baking sheet, leaving about 1 cm gap in between each cookies. This cookie will spread slightly. 
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 180 deg cel for 20-25 mins until lightly golden brown.
  7. Leave to cool on wire rack before storing in air-tight container.
* For chocolate variations : increase icing sugar to 60gm, reduce plain flour to 30gm and added 20gm cocoa powder.

Recipe ref :

Friday, September 23, 2016

Chicken in a Biscuit Cracker

Cluck, cluck, cluck! Freshly hatched cute chickies from the hot oven! ^0^ How many of you still remember or tasted the original Nabisco chicken in a biscuit crackers? It seems that it is hard to see this chicken flavoured cracker available over the supermarket shelves these recent years. Without the need to search all over the supermarket, now I can just bake a small batch at home anytime when I'm craving for it! 

This little chicky cookie is as addictive as the original Nabisco version one! Though the texture is not anywhere near with the original one, but it still tasted good! Just imagine you are eating a butter cookie with chicken flavour in it. hahahah......

all the ingredients needed (except baking powder and pepper not in pic) for making this cracker

before baking...the cookie dough is easy to handle, soft and not sticky to touch.

Ingredient (24 cookies)
  • 60gm unsalted butter
  • 130gm cake flour
  • 20gm potato starch
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • dash of white pepper
  • 40ml hot water
  • 10gm sugar
  • 1 cube non-msg chicken stock cube, mashed
  • sugar hearts for decoration (optional)

  1. Combine flour, potato starch, garlic powder, baking powder and pepper together. Set aside.
  2. Dissolve stock cube and sugar in hot water. If it is difficult to dissolve well, microwave for 20s. Set aside.
  3. Using a electric whisk, cream butter until light and creamy.
  4. Sift the flour mixture into the butter and beat until crumbly.
  5. Pour in stock mixture and beat until just combine. Do not overmix.
  6. Place dough between 2 plastic sheet and roll out into a rectangle shape. Chill in fridge for 30mins to firm up.
  7. Remove dough from fridge and roll out thinly. Cut out dough using your preferred cookie cutter. 
  8. Place cut cookie on a lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 180 deg cel for 20-25 mins until lightly brown.
  9. Cool completely before storing.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Hainanese Curry Pork Chop Rice

I've been making this Hainanese fried pork chops weekly as my kids love them so much especially with the sweet and tangy gravy drenching over the it. This is too my favourite childhood dish! I remembered it was always my duty to help with the pounding of the cream crackers and coating the pork slices with egg followed by the cracker crumbs. I'm not complaining about it as I love helping out and I think is a great parent bonding process. My boy too volunteered to help with the pounding of the cream crackers. hahaha think the next round I will delicate coating process to him too! ^0^

Hainanese Deep Fried Pork Chops
  • 500gm pork loin, sliced
  • 15-20 soda cream crackers
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 tbsp corn flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp five spice powder
  • 2 tbsp fermented soy bean 
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 2 tbsp water (mix with corn flour)
Drizzling Sauce (mix well)
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp A1 steak sauce
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup stock/water

  1. Pound the pork slices with the reverse side of a chopper. Combine all the marinade ingredients with the pork slices and rub them thoroughly so that every slices is well coated.
  2. Cover bowl and chill in the fridge at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.
  3. Meanwhile process cream crackers by placing it into a food processor and blitze into crumbs. I placed them in a disposable plastic bag and break up the crumbs with a rolling pin.
  4. Transfer the cracker crumbs onto a shallow plate. Lightly whip the eggs.
  5. Coat marinated pork slices with egg wash follow by cracker crumbs.
  6. Heat wok till hot and add in adequate oil to submerge the pork slices.
  7. Gently slide the coated pork slices, 3-4 slices at a time, into the hot oil. Remove when they turn golden brown, drain well on kitchen towel. 
  8. Transfer frying oil into a container and rinse the wok well to remove any crumb debris.
  9. Heat wok and add in some oil. Add in onion slices and garlic. Stir fry till fragrant and onion softened.
  10. Add mixed vegetables and fry briefly.
  11. Pour in sauce and stock and bring to boil. Turn down heat and drizzle in starch mixture while stirring continuously until the sauce thickens.
  12. Chop the fried pork chop into thick strips and place on a serving plate. Drizzle sauce mixture over pork chop and serve immediately.

Cooking Hainanese Curry Gravy...I always fancy Hainanese curry gravy which taste rather complex, not over spicy or too milky and accompany with little sweetness. I've improvised  my homemade basic rempah with added store bought Japanese curry roux to create this Hainanese curry gravy. 

Hainanese Curry Sauce
  • 200gm homemade spice paste
  • 1 tsp toasted shrimp paste
  • 3 squares Japanese curry roux, break up lightly
  • 2 cups stock/water
  • 200ml thick coconut milk
  • sugar to taste
  • salt to taste

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok, add in spice paste and shrimp paste and fry till fragrant for 3 mins.
  2. Add in mashed Japanese curry roux. Stir fry for another minute.
  3. Add in stock or water and bring to boil. Cook for about 5 mins till mixture is slightly thickens.
  4. Add in sugar and salt to taste.
  5. Lower heat and drizzle in coconut milk, stirring continuously to mix. Simmer for another 1 min and turn off heat. Drizzle curry gravy over rice and serve with fried pork chops.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sharks Fin Melon Soup

I've used my homemade collagen stock as the soup base to prepare a pot of sharks fin melon soup, it tasted simply delicious! What's inside this bowl of hearty and warm soup? Sharks fin melon of course with marinated chicken thighs, dried scallops, carrots, honey dates and wolfberries. Together with the collagen stock base, it is simmered over the stove for only one hour. If you find it cumbersome to prepare the stock base in advance, you can try the usual soup cooking method*. 

This is the first time I handle this sharks fin melon. There are lots of seeds embedded inside the melon!! How to remove them without removing most of the melon flesh? I try out the steaming method as it softens the flesh, making it easier to scrap out most of the seeds.

To make the chicken thighs more tasty, I marinate it with Chinese wine and a little salt 

 soaking the dried scallops with some Chinese wine prior to use

honey dates and wolfberries to sweeten the soup

I skipped rice for lunch today, as this bowl of rich and flavourful soup is enough to fill me up! 

Ingredient (4 servings)
  • 1kg sharks fin melon
  • 200gm carrots, cut into chunks
  • 4 whole chicken thigh
  • 30gm dried scallops (*soaked in Chinese wine overnight)
  • 2 honey dates
  • 1 heap tbsp wolfberries, soaked till soften
  • 1.25L homemade collagen stock*
  • salt to taste

  1. Peel off the skin of the melon. Place it on a plate and steam over high heat for 20mins. Gently scrape off the seeds embedded in the melon. Cut the melons into quarters.
  2. Meanwhile trim away excess fats from chicken thigh. Marinate with 1 tbsp Chinese wine and 1/4 tsp salt. Set aside for at least 30mins.
  3. Bring stock to boil. Add in sharks fin melon, carrots, marinated chicken thighs, scallops (together with the soaked wine) and honey dates. Cover pot and simmer on low heat for 1 hour.
  4. At the last 5 mins, add in softened wolfberries and boil briefly. Add salt to taste if desired.
  5. Turn off heat and serve!

*Alternative : Replace stock with 2L water, add in 400gm blanched pork ribs and 1 whole chicken bone, bring to boil and simmer on low heat for 1 hour. Remove chicken bones and add in sharks fin melon, carrots, fresh chicken thigh, dried scallops and honey dates. Simmer for another 1 hour. Add wolfberries at the last 5 mins and add salt to taste.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Homemade Collagen Stock

Ingredients for making a pot of homemade collagen stock 胶原蛋白汤底
No salt or any seasoning added as I'm intending to use this basic collagen stock base for further usage in soup and noodle dishes. Bunch of spring onion and ginger slices are added to remove/reduce any gamy smell of the bones. Pearl barley is optional.  As it has whitening skin and lowering cholesterol effects, I've added a small amount to the stock base to increase its nutritious level. Wanna have firm and smooth complexion, try making this simple natural collagen stock and add it into your daily cooking! ^0^

  • 2 large pork bones, cracked
  • 2 sets whole chicken bones
  • 10 chicken feets
  • 50gm pork skin
  • 50gm spring onion
  • 2 large slices ginger
  • 1/4 pearl barley

  1. Rinse pork/chicken bones, chicken feets and pork skin thoroughly.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add in all the bones and pork skin and boil for 5 mins. 
  3. Drain away water and rinse cleanly.
  4. In another clean large pot (I use a slow cooker), add in spring onion, ginger and barley. Add in the bones and pork skin. Fill the pot with 5 litres water (I used hot water to speed up the boiling process). For over the stove cooking, cover the pot and bring to boil and cook over medium heat for 1 hour. Reduce heat to the lowest, and simmer it for another 5-6 hours.
  5. Turn on slow cooker on high and cook for 3 hours. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 5 hours. Turn off heat.
  6. When the stock has cool down sufficiently, strain the mixture thorougly and discard the remnants.
  7. Divide the stock into individual containers and cool down before chilling overnight. (At this point the stock is ready to be used, but I prefer to chill it overnight, see steps below :))
  8. The next day when the stock has gelatinised, use a spoon and scrap off the layer of fats that have solidified on the surface.
  9. The gelatinised stock can now be used or freeze for later usage.

After 8 hours of simmering in slow cooker, 5 litres of water have reduced to about 2.6 liters! The clear stock (after straining) is packed into individual containers then chilled overnight in fridge.

After one night in fridge, the stock has gelatinised and fats layers solidified on the surface.

Scrap off the fats layer and discard it! This will give you a healthier and clean stock base for use now!

I will update this blog post on the usage of this natural homemade collagen stock. Stay tune! 

Sharks Fin Melon Soup using the collagen stock as base! yummilicous!

Seafood White Mee Hoon

Monday, September 12, 2016

Mascarpone Cheese Scones

With balanced mascarpone cheese after baking the Hokkaido bake cheese tart, woke up early in the morning to bake this lovely mini cheese scones for breakfast! A cool beautiful holiday morning to enjoy this warm scones which slab thickly with butter and figs preserve. ^0^

Ingredient (15 small scones)
  • 250gm plain flour
  • 80gm fine sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 75gm cold butter, cubed
  • 4 tbsp fresh milk
  • 125gm mascarpone cheese

  • Sift flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, salt and zest evenly.
  • Add in cold butter and rub it into the flour mixture until breadcrumbs liked.
  • Mix lemon juice, milk and mascarpone cheese evenly.
  • Add the milk mixture into the flour mixture and mix together gently until if forms a dough. Do not over knead or handle the dough.
  • Lightly flour a working surface. Pat the dough into a rectangle, about 1" tall. Use a round cutter to stamp out dough to get 15 small round dough.
  • Place the round cut dough onto a lined baking sheet. 
  • Bake at preheated oven at 220 deg cel for 15 mins until lightly brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool down slightly before serving.

Recipe ref :

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hokkaido Bake Cheese Tart

My first attempt of this bake cheese tart turned out exceptionally well, cheesy and gooey....kudos to Meg Tan of Dreamersloft  for her detailed write-up of her creation of this Hokkaido Bake Cheese Tart! As reference to Meg's recipe, I've made a total of 14 tart base (10 small and 4 medium ones). I must say that the tart base recipe is really easy to handle, tasted very buttery and crisp too. But I did not bake all at once! I actually assemble 6 small tarts to test out the temperature require to achieve the desired texture of the cheese filling. Hahaha the small tart is really easy to savour as two small mouthful and its gone! ^0^ 

Oooh I sliced this little tart while its still warm...cheesy and gooey! Though I yet to taste the real "BAKE" cheese tart selling at the ION outlet, I'm happy with my homemade bake cheese tart. ^0^

Tart base before and after baking
I'm using 180 deg cel 10mins for the small base and 12 mins for the medium base

Fill tart base with cheese custard, before and after baking
As the tart base required twice baking procedure, it may burnt easily over high temperature. I read somewhere to brush the edge of the tart base with a little water to prevent over browning. So I tried this method by brushing it with water before piping in the cheese custard. It turn out beautifully without burning edge! Second tips I'm sharing is using cold egg yolks to brush over the custard. Just before popping the tray into the oven, I've brush a coat of cold yolks over it , repeat another coating and the glaze mange to adhere to the custard giving it a golden hue after baking. :)

Ingredient (approx. 15 tarts, using 7cm fluted cutter & 4cm base tart case)

Tart Dough
  • 170gm plain flour
  • 35gm icing sugar
  • 85gm cold salted butter, cubed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp fresh milk

Cheese custard
  • 125gm cream cheese
  • 130gm mascarpone cheese
  • 20gm cheddar slice
  • 10gm grated parmesan cheese
  • 25gm salted butter
  • 130gm fresh milk
  • 40gm icing sugar, sifted
  • 15gm corn starch, sifted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 cold egg yolk, for brushing on top of custard

  1. Making tart base : Sift plain flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add in cold butter cubes.
  2. Using finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Add in egg yolk and mix into flour mixture and form into a dough.
  4. Add fresh milk and lightly knead into a soft dough. Wrap the dough with cling wrap, lightly flatten into a small rectangle shape. Place the dough in fridge and rest it for about 1 hour.
  5. Prepare cheese custard : Combine all cheeses, milk and butter into a small pot. Place the pot over a large pot with barely simmering water. Keep stirring till all mixture is melted.
  6. Once the mixture has melted, add in sifted corn starch and icing sugar. Mix till well combined. Mixture will thicken slowly.
  7. Add egg, vanilla and lemon juice. Stir constantly till mixture thickens into custard. Taste the custard and add in sea salt if desired.
  8. Sift the custard into another clean bowl for a more velvety smooth texture. Cool down the custard completely and transfer into a piping bag. Store the custard in the fridge till ready to use.
  9. Assemble : Remove the dough from fridge. Dust working surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll the dough thinly, about 3-4mm thickness. Use a 7cm fluted cutter and stamp the dough.
  10. Use a floured dough scrapper to lift out the cut dough. Place the cut dough carefully over tart tin and gently press into the tart tin. Use a fork to poke holes at the base of the tart cases.
  11. Bake the tarts at 180 deg cel for 10mins. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. After the tart cases are cooled slightly, remove them from the tins and cool completely before use.
  12. Preheat oven to 220 deg cel. Pipe the custard into the cooled tart cases, shape slightly domed. Brush egg yolk evenly over the custard.
  13. Bake the tart for about 10 mins. (Temperature and duration may varies due to the heat of varies oven)  Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Best serve warm!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Steamed Glutinous Rice with Ribs in Bamboo Leaf

With plenty of dried bamboo leaf  (干竹叶) left from my the previous attempt of glutinous rice dumplings, I was vexing on what to do with the remaining bamboo leaf. Until which I discovered this interesting recipe which made use of this by coating the pork ribs with glutinous rice and rolled up into  the bamboo leaf. Simplified version of the traditional glutinous rice dumplings?? ^0^ Really love this little ribs parcel which infused with the lovely fragrant of the bamboo leaf! 

This dish is not complicated to prepare, just the need to soak the glutinous rice overnight and softened the dried bamboo leaf before usage. Both these steps could be done on the day before cooking, same as the pork ribs which is best to marinate it overnight. The next day when ready for steaming, just season the glutinous rice and roll onto the pork ribs, follow by rolling into the layers of  softened bamboo leaf. 

  • 700gm pork ribs, cut into 8 sections
  • 150gm glutinous rice
  • 16 pieces dried bamboo leaves
Seasoning for rice
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
Seasoning for meat
  • 2 tbsp ginger juice
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp chinese wine
  • 1 tbsp corn flour

  1. Combine ribs with seasoning and mix well. Best marinate overnight in fridge.
  2. Rinse glutinous rice thoroughly and soak overnight. Drain away water and mix in seasoning. Set aside.
  3. Soak bamboo leaves till soften.  Rinse and wash the leaves thoroughly. Pat dry and set aside.
  4. Heat up a steamer. Coat the ribs evenly with glutinous rice and roll up with 2 layers of bamboo leaves. Secure parcels with string.
  5. Place wrapped ribs in steamer and steam over medium heat for 50-60 mins (depending on thickness of ribs) until tender. 
Recipe ref : Famous Cuisine Jun 2016

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