Churros

It was long time ago I made churros for snack. It is time for me to revive the same old recipes that has been used for many years. My absolute classic churros with coated of cinnamon sugar was really my childhood taste for snack. It is very easy to make it at your comfortable zone of your kitchen.

  • 500ml water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 350g plain flour
  • vegetable or sunflower oil, for deep frying
  • Caster sugar mixed with ground cinnamon, for dusting
  • Piping bag fitted with large star nozzle
  1. Place the water and salt in a pan and bring to boil.
  2. Place the flour in mixing bowl and make a well in the middle Pour the boiling water into the well and whisk to combine with the flour, making sure you get rid of any lumps. The batter should be smooth and fir. Let it stand to cool for an hour.
  3. To cook the churros, heat the oil in a wide-based pan and test whether it is hot enough by dropping a piece of bread in. It should sizzle when it touches the oil.
  4. Put the batter into the piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe 10cm strips of batter on to the surface of hot oil and use scissors to snip them off. Fry the churros until golden brown, then drain on kitchen towel and sprinkle with caster sugar or cinnamon sugar.

I promised you, if you have a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, or even better melt the nutella a bit in microwave for the dipping then you will realized you are in the world of happiness is just there in your kitchen.

Vanilla Meringue

Vanilla meringueFrench meringue, one of the easiest meringue you could make in no time, this is my version of mini meringue that melts in your mouth. Only three ingredient, you could have a jar of this to keep in cupboard for a week. In my case, it won’t even last for a week, should be gone in third day. Meringue and macaroon is a very similar however macaroon involved many steps and preparation. Macaroon, always gave an impression that it was one of the recipe I called “failure of success” and the pâtissier recover the bake goods with filling the bottom with cream and sandwich another piece of macaroon. Somehow many French recipe had that kind of repertoire.

  • 4 egg whites
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  1.  Preheat the oven to 100ºC/ 212ºF. In a large clean bowl, whisk the egg white until peak firm was formed.
  2. Shift the caster over the egg white, make sure there is no lumps of sugar, then add in the vanilla extract.
  3. Use a large metal spoon, careful fold over the sugar and vanilla into whisked egg white. Do not over work with it otherwise you may knock out the air you had created into the egg whites.
  4. Use your finger or a spoon and dip into the mixture and smear it onto the four corner of the baking sheet, then line the baking sheet with baking parchment or baking paper.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a large plain nozzle piping bag and pipe it on the baking paper.
  6. Pop them in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Once it is done remove it from the oven and let it cool completely before you store them in the clean jar.

There texture is smooth and melts in your mouth, however it has a bit of chewiness at the end, that is because of the sugar. I think in the batch I going to reduce the sugar, as I think is a bit too sweet to my tooth, however in some explanation saying sugar in the meringue is crucial because sugar is the structure of the meringue, since I’m architectural amateur that word “structure” is sounds seriously in construction industry; which is true because that is the only ingredient comes in a tinny little form or crystal, supporting the “cotton” above it. How wonderful is that?

Berry Barque

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Reminding me about the pâtisserie shops in Paris, the Parisian are so proud of their patisserie because of their passionate and love with their culinary. I must say if you have the easy access to good patisserie, I don’t see any reason you won’t fall in love with. The recipe was picked up on the TV show that Michel Roux and Marry Berry was preparing these little beautiful pastry.

This really make me feels like a French pâtissier, patisserie is the work of art for the pâtissier that created with a flawless not only the taste is good, and is really great to look at too. Eventually walking in streets of Paris whenever I saw a patisserie shop even at the opposite road I could traverse and just to have a look at it, because it is like my favorite masterpiece of Mona Lisa was stolen and hung in the shop for sell!

I have a recipe just for the occasion that you need for dinner party of tea time treat. I used my classic sweet pastry. (refer to my previous post of humble mince pie)

For the filling, I used crème pâtissière (pastry cream, the reason, it taste nicer and the fruit can sitting in creamlike soft sponge and it holds the fruits)

  • 120g egg yolks (approximately 6 medium egg yolks)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 40g corn flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla exact
  • 500ml whole milk
  1. For the crème pâtissière, whisk the egg yolks with sugar until pale and thick, then whisk in the corn flour.
  2. Add the vanilla into the milk and bring to boil then switch off the heat.
  3. Pour the milk in a slow stream onto the egg mixture, whisking vigorously all the time. (Pour slowly to avoid scrambling the egg)
  4. Return the mixture to a clean pot over a medium heat and whisk continuously. Make sure to scrape the sides and the bottom, otherwise it will burn.
  5. The cream will start to thicken. Once it release a bubble or two, take it off the heat.
  6. Pour into a shallow bowl. Cover with cling film (pat the cling film so it sticks directly on to the cream) letting it cool before put in the fridge. Refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

To give the fruit a better shine, warm a jar of apricot jam in saucepan in low heat, do keep your eye on it, no one like the burnt sugar taste, once the jam had warm through then use a pastry brush to brush the arranged fruit.

I like the size of this shape it is much easy as a bite size, usually fruit tattler is in round shape. It is not elegance as this one.

Tips: The jam will thicken as it cool down, you can add little bit of water and warm it through again, to mix the water and jam then continue to brush the fruit again.

 

 

Angel food cake with lemon curd

IMG_1130ALook at this cake, not having a smooth side, imperfection decoration, simply because I don’t have the patient to decorate the cake or making it smooth. It is just beyond me! I think the way this cake looks will tells you it is home made.

Most people will have an answer said this is chiffon cake base, eventually it is not chiffon but angel food cake base. There are three basic cake commonly use as base. Sponge cake, chiffon, angel food cake. Three of them content light airy interior.

Sponge cake, made with butter, sugar, flour, eggs. It contain whole eggs Their leavening comes only from beaten egg whites (no baking powder or soda), and they have little or no butter. Is very common with eggy,  yellowish, crumble texture, light as well. It is a versatile cake that you could add any flavour.

Chiffon cake, made with eggs, sugar, flour, water and vegetable oil but no butter. It is very light, slightly dry if you just eating the cake itself. Chiffon cakes are light like sponge cakes, but the egg whites are not beaten separately. Chiffon cakes also generally contain oil so they are more tender and moist than sponge cake.

Is an obsession throughout South-east Asia, in Japan there are whole bakeries devoted to it. Chinese schoolchildren eat it as a snack. In the Philippines the ability to turn out airy chiffon is the test of a good home cook. Yet few in Britain know about it, despite our collective love of cake. I remembered when I was a kids, I had green pandan (pandanus amaryllifolius or screwpine leave) chiffon cake, it is very soft, spongy, dry. Often it made me choke when I eating it too quickly, simply because it is tasty. Most housewife in Asia would perfecting this chiffon cake recipe and by making them as light as possible, adding flavouring in it.

Angel food cake, made with egg whites, sugar and flour. It is even lighter than chiffon cake, Angel food cakes have no fat or leavening (such as baking powder). They are leavened with beaten egg whites and they have a high proportion of egg white to flour.

The following recipe was adopted from Mary Berry that made it at Master class of the Great British Baked-Off. I think this cake make a good center piece on your dinner party. You will need a special mould for this cake 25cm angel food cake pan or chiffon pan

Cake ingredients

  • 125g plain flour
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 10 large free-range egg whites
  • 2 large lemon, grated zest only
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp salt

Lemon curd ingredients (this makes more lemon curd than you need for this cake)

  • 10 large free-range egg yolks
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 4 large lemons, juice only (±200ml)
  • 2 large lemons, grated zest only
  • 175g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 passion fruit

Topping

  • 300ml whipping cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 (fan 160C) and arrange an oven shelf in the bottom third of the oven. Sift the flour and 100g/3½oz of the caster sugar together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric hand whisk or mixer on a high speed for one minute until frothy. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes, or until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Increase the speed and add the remaining 200g/7oz of caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time to form firm, but not stiff peaks.
  3. Sprinkle over one-third of the flour mixture and fold gently to combine. Repeat with the remaining two-thirds of the flour mixture folding gently to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
  4. Transfer the batter to a 25cm/10in angel food cake pan. Gently run a knife through the centre of the batter to remove any pockets of air. Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and immediately turn upside down onto the tin’s cooling legs, or place over the neck of a wine bottle. Leave to cool for at least one hour.
  6. Run a knife around the inner and outer edges of cake to remove it from the pan. Invert onto a plate. Carefully use a palette knife to separate the cake from the base of the pan. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  7. For the lemon curd, mix the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest together in a large pan. Cook over a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir the sides and base of the pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Pass through a sieve into a large jug. Fill two 350g/12oz glass jars with the lemon curd and seal with lids. Cover the remaining curd with cling film and leave to cool.
  8. For the topping, whisk the cream and vanilla extract in a bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Spoon the topping over the angel food cake and, using a palette knife, coat the top and sides of the cake, smoothing as you go.
  9. Cut the passion fruit in half and scoop out the seeds. Stir the passion fruit into the reserved, cooled lemon curd and drizzle over the angel food cake before serving. You may want to use just one of the jars of lemon curd to serve with the cake and save the other to eat separately.

Note: Do not be tempted to grease the tin – it will prevent the cake from rising properly. If you want to cut back on fat or have a dairy intolerance, this is a great cake to make. The cake itself doesn’t contain any butter and you can easily swap the toppings for a fruit syrup or jam if you want to make it completely dairy-free. The egg yolks are used up in a job lot of lemon curd, but you could always buy in a good jar lemon curd and save your yolks for another use.

 

 

 

 

Feast of 2013

P1310870During Christmas 2013, I hosted the dinner at my friend’s apartment, a wonderful couple that runs a private dining in Malaysia. I’m writing to acknowledged Tracy and Alberto for accommodate me for the feast of Christmas. Is a bit late to showing the feast at this time. Here are some explanation of the table setting, I don’t really set a format table for occasional like this because I want to feel comfortable and simple, so tangerine and gold coin should be on the table, as there are some story behind of tangerine and gold coin, but I won’t go deeply about the history. My Chinese guest though it is like a Chinese New Year setting. Indeed it is a bit cliché when over done. Somehow they were similar. Red and golden colour is the rich decoration element, so do the food as well.

P1160714AMy typical feast started with snacks as spice nuts, parmesan biscuit and mulled wine. Most of the dishes you can prepare in advance so you won’t have a panic on your party day. I can’t help myself to thinking about mulled wine all the time during Christmas, the thing that makes Christmassy is mulled wine; the wine and spice that been warmed in saucepan that making this happening. It reminds me the Christmas market in Lincolnshire, the glittery Christmas ornament, street light; it is a feast for my eye, music, church bell and carol singing was everywhere this calming voices are really good for the soul and ears; the smell of mulled wine was a good treat for my nose. Indeed it is a feast for my senses and make my heart lift for Christmas.

Spice nuts is a good idea for starter with mixed of cinnamon and other spice, it is seems like the medieval feasting that using spices to preserved their food during winter. Apart from spices, I do need savory nibble for starter- parmesan biscuit is handy and easy to serve and eat. You even can make it in advance and keep in the air tight jar up to two days.

P1160717AFirst large dish I put on the table is this red salad that simple to make, toss the kidney bean, tomatoes, onion together with dressing then pop on the table. Another classic dish during Christmas – Brussels sprout, you can’t have Christmas without Brussels sprout, this classic dish had the most delicious ingredient – chestnut! The bacon gives a bit of crunchy bites and extra push of savory

P1160732AHere comes the beauty – gammon, the feature of the feast that sat on the bed of roasted potatoes. I called this Christmas ham, the glory redcurrant jelly that gives the beautiful colour on the surface, the gammon had been cooked in simmering for more than two hours for the succulent, tender texture on the meat. This looks absolutely appealing on the buffet table too.  This should be the dish you should show-off.

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In every Christmas story mentioned about lights in the dark, it has a very comforting agenda and it delights me. Christmas pudding with flame is representing that part of Christmas. This has become the ritual of my Christmas dinner, and it is my love affair moment to flame the pudding at this time of the year, simply because they are beautiful. The secret of keeping the flame duration is to using vodka, I know it sounds not very appealing but it doesn’t really matter because the alcohol will evaporate.

By the time had the pudding, everyone will need some rest for their stomach. Honestly, this dessert is extremely light and the citrus of the strawberries and lemon will helping the digestion the dense of the pudding, the pistachio that finishing touch of dessert otherwise it will be too light to consume.

I hope my way of British Christmas is not too embarrassing to the classic version. The message I would like say, try cooking at home, it will definitely bringing to another level of life about home making. There is no one can’t cook; just being lazy. Hope you enjoying cooking. Let’s food celebrate your life! Bon appétit!

Pudding of Anniversary

P1160903A I am celebrating the Anniversary of Andrews’ blog that I been running it over a year now, obviously is celebration piece on the table as well for a treat after the New Year’s day of 2014. I am thanking to readers of my blog, hoping to share more recipe and household tips in here, I do love to hear your story of your cookery.

Pudding always wasn’t is my first choice of dessert. I remembered there was day, Doris treated me one pudding that she made, and insisted it and she wasn’t tell me what is that until I gave her my feedback of the dessert – it was wonderful dessert! It changed my mind ever since.

I use bread for this pudding, being Christmas just few days ago I have some left over pandoro, I use that as the layers of the cake, and sandwich it with cream then leave it in the fridge until it set.

  1. Cut the pandoro about 1cm thick, tightly lay the bottom of the 18cm springform tin. Tear off pieces to fit so that there are no gaps. It is like doing golden patching work that made out of cake.
  2. Now whisk the eggs and sugar until very frothy and increased in volume and lightness, by either electric whisk or freestanding mixer.
  3. More slowly, whisk in the mascarpone and double cream until the mixture is thick and spreadable. Remove about 150ml (a cupful for the topping later, cover it and keep in fridge until you serving it)
  4. Tip in about 50g of chopped pistachio into big bowl of mascarpone cream mixture, follow by chocolate chips. Use half of this creamy filling to top the pandoro layer that is lining the cake tin.
  5. Use another third of the pandoro slices to cover the cream filling, again leaving no holes for the cream to escape through. Dampen with another 2 tablespoons of orange juice.
  6. Spoon on the other half mixture and spread it evenly. Then top with a third and final layer of pandoro, covering the cream as before and drizzle over it the last 2 tablespoons of orange juice.
  7. Cover tightly with clingfilm, pressing down on the top a little, and put in the fridge overnight or for up to 2 days.
  8. When you ready to serve it, take it out from the fridge, unmould  and sit it on a flat plate or cake stand, then spread with the reserved mascarpone mixture. Don’t try to lift the cake off the base, as the pandoro slices at the bottom are too delectably damp.
  9. Scatter the top with chopped pistachio, chocolate chip (if you wish too, I do like the green of the pistachio on top because not much cake got the natural green on the topping)

This is one of the versatile pudding you can make from any anything you like. I going to have another slices now. Bon Appétit!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Tart

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I’m not sure is this seductive enough for you to dig into the ice cream tart. I particularly love this way of making ice cream, as you don’t need an ice cream maker and can make ice cream in 5 minutes. This kind of tip came in handy when you need pleasure and indulgence. This 24cm tart can be easily make dessert center piece.

Tart Base

Home made Ice Cream

Whipped cream topping

  • 200ml Double cream
  1. Process the biscuit and butter to sandy rubble and press into the sides and bottom of a deep-sided fluted tart tin. (save some the mixture up for sprinkle later) Place in the freezer (or fridge if that is not possible) for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. To make ice cream, simply pour cream, sugar, cooled peanut butter into small freezer bag, give it a good shake in the bag. In another larger freezer bag half filled it with crushed ice, coarse salt. Quickly put the cream freezer bag into the larger bag. Then give a shake for about 5 to minutes. Make sure the crushed ice is coated the small freezer bag.
  3. Once is done, you can scoop the ice cream onto the tart and leave it in the freezer for a while; while that’s happen, whipping the cream until thick enough to spread over the top of the tart.
  4. Spread the whipped cream onto tart and place the tart in the fridge, preferably overnight, though for at least 4 hours. If you like serving it cold return the tart into a freezer for 10-20 minutes, then sprinkle the remaining biscuit mix on top of the tart.

This is one of the easy tart I had ever made, very comforting. I particular love the vanilla ice cream, is one of the classic ice cream that goes well with mostly everything. This is one of the very versatile tart it can be lemon, vanilla, strawberry… Wonderful!

Strawberry Tartlet

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This little tartlet inspired from a tiny patisserie shop in Paris, I remembered I walked pass it everyday during my trip in Paris. I thought, “when I get back home I will give this a go!” I tried many times to figure the recipe out by trial and error, and assemble these together, and eventually got a great result, after a few disasters!! I did notice this little dessert is not suitable to be carried around like cake, it is very fragile, so be gentle with it. My first batch fell apart while I was taking them to a friends house for afternoon tea! Aghh, disaster!

It is an easy dessert to make, I promise, and fabulous to eat, if you have a dinner party this will impress you guests too.

Strawberry Mousse

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Diving into this strawberry mousse,  it looks like a Christmas colourful dessert.

It’s effortless, speedy, easy and fabulous to eat, making all my guest satisfied with a great smile on their face. Is the best way to ooze down your heavy dinner.

I like the crushed meringue on the top, when your spoon digs into it, it sounds like crunching into snow, the mild yoghurt taste blends well with the cream cheese and Crème fraîche and make it wonderful to eat.