Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cakes (23/3 - 29/3)

Some of the cakes that we've done this week :

Terry , a 1 year old, loves Barney. Now, which kid don't like Barney the dinosaur ? He's going to have this for his 1st birthday party tonight. it's a 2kg yam cake, as most guests are old folks.

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache, for 11 year old Nicholas.

Another 4-in-1 minis, for a beer loving dad. The flavours this time are chocolate, mango, pandan kaya & cotton cheesecake.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Guitar Cakes

Many times I really wish there's more than 24 hours a day for me. Besides my 8 hour sleep, I spend 10-12 hours a day in the kitchen so I'm left with very little time.

I still have a whole week of unread newspapers stacking on my bedroom floor, a blog for me to update, emails to reply to, pedicure to be done......

I've been tied up with baking & more baking for the past week & this week as well. Meals had been simple, still a meat/fish dish with greens but much simple. I used to spend time whipping up new dishes but now my poor oven has been working harder than my hob !

We've done 2 guitar cakes last weekend, all for boys........

This is a half & half cake, one half is chocolate , the other half is vanilla with cream cheese frosting. It's for 2 boys who had their combined birthday party.

Another chocolate cake with a guitar drawing

This is from M to her dearest hubby, who had his birthday last Sunday. She had requested for extra strawberries for the top of the cake.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Double Boiled Loquats With Osmanthus

I have been rather down since last weekend. It's kind of unusual for my bubbly character, which make me talking (& nagging) all the time ! I thought a lot about things happening around me recently - being betrayed by a so called close friend few months back. I still can't get over it & hubby thinks I'm silly to be upset over it ! I also thought about nasty words/things being said/done to me over the past year (you know how I feel, Terri !)

Oh, I'm drifting away from my post today, I'm supposed to be talking about loquats.......

This bunch of loquats (批杷) was from a friend, all the way from Taiwan. These fruits survived well. My friend gave them to me more than a week ago & I wasn't in the mood to think what to do with them. As these loquats were harvested while still immature, they were not very sweet, in fact, they were rather bland.

After a search with Google, I found many ways with loquats. They can be made into jam, jelly, chutney, or even pies or tarts. I don't have enough loquats for these delicacies, so I decided on a sweet soup - double boiling.

250g peeled & halved loquats, 6 cups of boiling water, 1 teaspoon dried osmanthus flowers (桂花) & rock sugar to taste are all it takes for this sweet soup. I placed all the ingredients in a ceramic pot, in a larger pot, steamed for 3 hours. I think this sweet soup is best served chilled.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Baked Terriyaki Cod Fish

Terriyaki sauce is an essential sauce in my kitchen, I'll always have a container of it in my freezer. I don't buy commercial made one, it'll always be cooked from scratch. In fact, this is so easy to make & it keeps well in the freezer.
Terriyaki sauce goes well with meat, fish, seafood, even just over plain rice, it's so yummy !

As & when I need some terriyaki sauce, I just get the container out of the freezer, scoop out the portion I need & back to the freezer it goes. The sauce will just be thickened, not hard frozen, even when kept in the freezer.

I make my terriyaki sauce with :

3 Cups Kikoman soy sauce
1 Cup Mirin
1 Cup Sake
1 Cup water
Rock sugar to taste
1 Bulb garlic, left whole (optional) *

Place all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to boil, uncovered, turn down heat & let simmer till sauce thickens slightly.

* If using garlic, peel a layer of the outer skin of the garlic bulb & simmer together with the sauce ingredients, remove the garlic with a slotted spoon when the sauce is done.

This time I baked some cod fish fillets with terriyaki sauce. I'm not a big fan of frying fish as I smell like one after cooking & I hate it !!
What I did was to marinate some cod fish fillets in some terriyaki sauce (enough to coat the fish) & a dash of sesame oil, leave it in a container in the fridge for a few hours for the flavour to penetrate the fish. An hour before cooking, remove the fish from the fridge. When it's time for cooking, preheat oven to 230C, line a baking tray with aluminum foil for easier & less messy clean-up. Place the cod fish fillets on the tray, pour the marinate over them, bake for 15-20 mins, depending on the thicken of the fish.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cookie Monster Cake

There u go, Ah Tng........

This is made for her precious sister's birthday today, I think.

This is a strawberry shortcake, covered with blue tinted butter cream, piped to look like the monster's fur.

Korean Potato Noodle

On Tuesday morning while I was doing my morning run, food was the only thing on my mind. In fact, not just food, but my girls' lunch boxes ! I've not prepared or cooked anything the day before, so there was nothing I could heat up. Many things came to my mind - pasta, dumplings, thin bread..... they've had these already, suddenly Korean potato noodle came to my mind. I did a quick memory search, I have carrot, spring onion, some minced chicken, so ok I can do a quickie one.

This is the original ingredients list :

(Serves 4)

300g Potato noodles
4 Tbsp Dried cloud-ear fungus
1/4 Cup sesame oil
2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
3 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cm Ginger, grated
2 Carrots, cut into 4cm matchsticks
2 Spring onions, cut into 4cm pcs
500g Bok Choy
1/4 Cup Japanese soy sauce (kikoman)
2 Tbsp Mirin
1 Tsp sugar
2 Tbsp Sesame seeds

Cook the potato noodles in a large pot of boiling water for about 5mins, or until the noodles are translucent. Drain & rinse thoroughly under cold water until the noodles are cold. Use a pair of scissors to roughly cut the noodles into lengths of about 6" (or to your liking). Pour hot water over the cloud-ear fungus & soak them for about 10 mins. When it's soft, cut into thin slices & set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp of the sesame oil with the vegetable oil in a large heavy-based pan. Cook the garlic, ginger for 3 mins over medium heat, stirring regularly. Add the carrots, stir -fry for a min. Add the cooled drained noodles, spring onion, bok choy, remaining sesame oil, soy sauce , mirin & sugar. Toss well to coat the noodles with the sauce. Cover & cook over low heat for 2 mins, add the fungus, cook for another 2 mins. Remove from heat, sprinkle with sesame seeds & serve immediately.

* Since I have all the sauce ingredients in my pantry, garlic & ginger in my fridge, I did a simplified version with just carrots, spring onion & minced chicken. The girls loved it, this noodle will be a regular lunch box item from now onwards.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


We had dinner last week at TATU & hubby commented that he loved the bread there & I should make my blommers into little buns & freeze them.

The bread he had looked like ciabatta (pronounced cha-BAHT-ta) to me. This is one bread that I've always wanted to make but have been putting it off because I know this bread dough is not easy to handle, sticky & soft !
So I'm always in a 'to-do or not-to-do' situation. Yesterday, since I was wondering what bread to make, I decided to give ciabatta a try !

The recipe was adpated from Don Yong's Bread Winners :

Ingredients :

500g Bread flour
10g Malt flour *
8g Bread improver *
10g Salt
360g Cold water
10g Olive oil

With an electric mixer & dough hook on low speed, blend the dry ingredients for 1 min. Add water & continue mixing on low speed for 2 mins. Add olive oil & mix on medium speed for 12-15 mins until the dough is fully developed.

Transfer the dough onto alour-dusted work syrface & round up dough with both hands. Place the dough into an oiled plastic container. leave it to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours until dough is double in bulk.

Remove & place the dough on a flour-dusted work surface. Divide into 3 pcs at 300g each. Dust the dough pcs with flour & gently stretch them lengthwise before placing on a paper-lined tray. prove in a warm, humid place for 20 mins.

Preheat the oven to 230C. Bake with a try of water to generate steam for the first 10 mins of baking time. Open the door of the oven & remove any water remaining. reduce the temperature to 210C & bake for another 15 mins.

* As usual I've omitted the bread improver & malt flour (I don't have it ). This bread dough is indeed very sticky. I even had to oil my hands to make handling easier as I do not want to keep on adding flour to the dough. It's tough for me to shape & stretch the dough gently as the dough keeps getting stuck to my fingers. I still ended up with 3 lengthy pcs of dough but the shape were ugly ! The pc that you see in this post is the most presentable of all (haha !!)
I find my ciabatta on a denser side & not really the porous texture. It was chewy & I liked the flavour of yeast & flour. Wonder when my ciabatta will turn out to be with nice big open crumb ??


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