Vanilla biscuit

Vanilla BiscuitThis is one my childhood’s memory, I used to brought it from the shop in the market and I had became addictive to it. I leave them in coffee, the biscuit swim in coffee and I eat it with a spoon, sometime it drop into the coffee. The vanilla infused in the coffee and it tasted vanilla. I had brought these little treat to office, my colleague loves every piece, she dipping into coffee too. I like the soft texture of the biscuit, at least, I don’t need use all the strength to bite the biscuits.

  • 115g Butter, softened
  • 95g Caster sugar
  • 50g Brown sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 167g Plain flour
  • ½ tsp Table salt
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 3cm diameter circles onto the parchment paper to pipe the mixture onto the circle.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
  4. Sift the mixed flour into the egg, sugar and butter and then stir to combine.
  5. Scrap dough into a piping bag fitted with plain piping nozzle.
  6. Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Pipe the dough onto drawn circles. The biscuit will spread, but only little space is needed between each biscuit
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until biscuit are light golden brown. After removing it from the oven let it cool on the baking sheet before transfer onto the cooling rack. Store them in airtight container or jar.

Crumpets

IMG_5339AIs had been many year I had crumpet, I think probably about six years ago was last time to had crumpets.  Few days ago I was tidying my books and I found a recipe of crumpet dated back to 1900. Obviously I didn’t follow this recipe to cook the crumpet because it doesn’t specified the amount of flour, as I remembered it is ratio of 2:1 of milk to flour; salt is usually a pinch will do it. Basically is my instinct for this recipe, and it is for a large amount of crumpets  with 1 quart of milk that converted to nearly 1 litre of milk. Somehow I got it right, now I’m really starting historical cooking. It is very amazing when you using the recipe like this, is not only makes you think how our ancestor doing in the kitchen; that obviously make me appreciated more of their cooking, with jotting down every detail that will definitely helps the future generation to understand how their grandparent’s food look like.

I had make a little extra by using our convenience of supermarket, so I came up with this a bit modern version of crumpet away from 1900.

  1.  Sift the flour, salt, sugar into a large bowl. Place the milk in a saucepan, add 125 ml water and warm gently. The mixture should be just hand-hot.
  2. Pour the mixture into a small bowl, sprinkle the dried yeast on top and leave for 10-15 minutes or until frothy.
  3. Add the yeast liquid to the flour and beat to smooth batter. Cover the bowl with a large lightly oiled polythene bag and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until the batter had doubled in bulk.
  4. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in 1 tablespoon warm water, beat into the batter. Cover and leave to rise again for 20 minutes.IMG_5337A
  5. Heat a griddle or heavy-bottomed frying pan or non-stick frying pan over medium heat, then grease it when hot. Grease metal crumpet rings, poaching rings or large plain biscuit cutter about 7.5cm in diameter. Place the rings on the hot griddle, pour a spoonful of batter into each to cover the base thinly and cook until the top is set and the bubbles have burst.IMG_5338A
  6. Remove the rings and turn the crumpets over. Cook the other side for 2 to 3 minutes only, until firm but barely coloured. Cool the crumpet on wire rack. Serve toasted, with butter.IMG_5342AI loved the sponginess of the crumpets and the melted butter, ooze in the holes, oh my god, it is so enjoyable. Yes! Butter makes everything better, this is so true. This recipe original recipe has been pass on for many generation, therefore I’m here to do the same pass the goodness to my family and friends. Start to collate your family recipes and pass-it-on.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Mini coffee & walnut layer cake

-19I love this little baby cake which I made for a special occasion of my friend’s new born baby to seduce my friend’s sweet tooth. The sparkling shine glazed walnut looks like fossil been wrap in a amber colour of lava. I posted on Nigella’s cookalong to share the new twist of her recipe here is the link http://www.nigella.com/cookalong/2013/09/entries/156

For the sponge cake

For the frosting

For the glazed caramel walnut

  • Approx. 6 to 8 walnut halves (to decorate)
  • 2 tbsps of water
  • 100 g of caster sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350°F.
  2. Put the halved walnut onto a baking tray bake lined with baking paper in 180°C for about 3 to 5 minutes or until turn lightly brown. Then remove it from the oven and let it cool complete.
  3. To make caramel sugar, in a saucepan put together sugar and water on a heat to completely dissolve the sugar, (neverever stir the sugar) until you have a light brown then remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Using a thong or chopstick dip the walnut onto the warm caramel (be careful is a hot sugar syrup, don’t get it on your hand) and place the dipped walnut onto baking tray with lined baking paper. Set aside.
  5. Butter six 7cm / 3inch mini square tins and line the base of each with baking parchment.
  6. Put the walnut pieces and sugar into a food processor and blitz to a fine nutty powder.
  7. Add the 225g/2 sticks butter, flour, 2 teaspoons espresso powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and eggs and process to a smooth batter.
  8. Add the milk, pouring it down the funnel with the motor still running, or just pulsing, to loosen the cake mixture: it should be a soft, dropping consistency, so add more milk if you need to. (If you are making this by hand, bash the nuts to a rubbly powder with a rolling pin and mix with the dry ingredients; then cream the butter and sugar together, and beat in some dry ingredients and eggs alternately and, finally, the milk.)
  9. Divide the mixture between the 6 lined tins and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the sponge has risen and feels springy to the touch or insert a skewer into the middle and it come out clean.
  10. Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, before turning them out onto the rack and peeling off the baking parchment.
  11. When the sponges are cool. Carefully half the mini cakes by using bread knife, you can make the buttercream.
  12. Pulse the icing sugar in the food processor until it is lump free, then add the butter and process to make a smooth icing.
  13. Dissolve the instant espresso powder in 1 tablespoon boiling water and add it while still hot to the processor, pulsing to blend into the buttercream.
  14. If you are doing this by hand, sieve the icing sugar and beat it into the butter with a wooden spoon. Then beat in the hot coffee liquid.
  15. Place all the halved sponges upside down on your cake stand or serving plate.
  16. Spread with about half the icing; then place on it the second halved sponges, right side up (i.e. so the 2 flat sides of the sponges meet in the middle) and cover the top with the remaining icing in a ramshackle swirly pattern. (I used piping bag with some decorated pattern to piped the buttercream on the top)
  17. This cake is all about old-fashioned, rustic charm, so don’t worry unduly: however the frosting goes on is fine. similarly, don’t fret about some buttercream oozing out around the middle: that’s what makes it look so inviting.
  18. Gently press the walnut halves into the top of the icing all around the edge of the circle about 1cm apart.
  19. For the final touch, place the glazed walnut on top of the frosting.

A very easy cakes yet so inviting to eat and this is not exactly like you see in Parisian patisserie window, I enjoyed it by just looking at them.

Chicken with morel & sherry wine sauce

1Dried morel mushroom is more flavoursome than the fresh one, I loved the chicken that enjoying the wine creamy bath, the flavour that go very with morel mushroom.

Ingredient

The Chicken

The Leek

  • 4 medium size leeks, outer leaves removed,washed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  1. Drain the morel, squeezing to extract as much of soaking water as possible, making sure you reserve the water.
  2. Pass the morel liquid through a fine sieve or muslin to remove any grit. Makesure out 50ml the liquid for making the sauce later.
  3. Wash the morels again in plenty of water to remove any sand. Drian and squeese any excess water from the morels. Chop them roughly and set aside.
  4. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper.In frying pa, melt the butter over medium heat until it is foaming.2
  5. Add chicken breast and colour lightly for 3 minutes on each side, remove from the pan and reserve.4
  6. In the butter remaining in the pan used to cook the chicken, soften the soaked, cleaned morels and button mushrooms for 1 to 2 minutes and season with pinch of salt. Add the boiled wine or sherry, morel juice and double cream.5
  7. Bring to the boil and place the chicken breasts back into the pan.  The cream sauce must cover the chicken breast. Lower the heat to barely a simmer and cook for 7 to 10 minutes depending the size of the chicken breasts.6
  8. Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and keep warm. Turn the heat up to boil the sauce and cook until the volume of liquid has reduced so that it coats the back of the spoon. Taste and salt if necessary.8
  9. For the leek, while the chicken breasts are cooking, bring 200ml water, the salt and butter to the boil. Add the chopped leeks, cover with lid and cook on full boil for 3 minutes.
  10. Drain the leeks. You can serve them as they are, or add them to the morel sauce at this stage.910
  11. Place the chicken breasts into the sauce to reheat for 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required.
  12. To serve, place the chicken breasts and leeks on a large serving dish and pour the morel sauce generously over.

Allow your guests to help themselves, they will very appreciated it. I some left over of the sauce that I going to make something out of the sauce. When you think about it, in those granny day leftover always the best ingredient to rustled up with, when you have no time but still fabulous to eat. That is what leftover all about.

Roast Chicken with Buttered French Bean

P1150750AAI love the colour of this dish, it’s a happy looking plate for my dinner. I don’t know if I can call this a British roast, as the beans have been cooked in a French method, so these two country haven’t been talking to each other for centuries.

For the bean

For the roast

  • 1 chicke Thigh
  • 5 Strips of bacon
  • 20 g salted butter, slightly soft
  • 1 tbsp of dried rosemary
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C
  2. Loosen the skin of the chicken, rub the chicken skin and underneath the skin with butter, put it into roasting tin, set aside.
  3. cut the bacon into short strips and scatter around the chicken. Sprinkle the dried thyme on top. Then place into the preheated oven for 25 minutes, until golden brown.
  4. Meanwhile the chicken is cooking in the oven. Bring 700ml of water to boil the add in the salt.
  5. Cook the bean uncovered for 2-3 minutes, according to size of the bean.
  6. Drain and pluge them into cold water for 5 minutes, to arrest the cooking process, then drain again. Reserve. if you want to dry it with salad spinner or with paper towel.
  7. Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of water together to emulsify. Mix in the beans, season with salt and blackpepper, and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Place the cooked bean on serving plate as a base, remove the chicken from the oven, place cooked chicken on top of the bean, then place the bacon around.

Serve one, I’m happily eating it. I hope you will enjoy it the same way I did too, is devine. I loved this way of method of cooking the French bean, because it kept the green. Even my cat can smell the tasty food in the kitchen and she been meowing her head off again. Obviously she can’t have it!

Visitandines

P1130434AAThis little French petit four named visitation, I loved the idea of this little cake. As its name Visitandines (Visitation) the visit of Mary with Elizabeth as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. I have no idea what is this petit fours to do with that; but for me I take it as visiting gift to a friend, is a good idea for a visit instead of empty hands.

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/ 325ºF/ Gas Mark 3.
  2. Grease 10 cm (4-inch) barquette moulds with butter.
  3. Mix together the flour, sugar, almonds, lemon zest and softened butter.
  4. In a separated bowl, whisk the egg white to soft peaks with an electric whisk, (I like to use hand whisk with cooper bowl it works like magic) then slowly fold into the mixture.
  5. Pour the mixture into prepared tins. Bake for 30 minutes.

I loved it simply because it is easy to make, is best as small bite during tea time. Hope you going to enjoy this little petit four. Bon appétit.

Walnut Bread

P1150484AThis bread is a must on any cheeseboard. Many people suggested serving it with a ripe Stilton or failing that, try it with any other strong flavour cheese and a glass of red wine. Often in UK restaurants serve this bread before entree. If you have any leftover of this bread you could pop it into microwave about 5 to 8 second, then spread with butter and you can enjoy it on its own. Here is how I do the bread, I think if you could do it by hand is even better as I feel the food and I get exciting for it when is baked.

  1. Put all the ingredients except the walnuts into a large bowl, (make sure yeast at one side of the bowl and salt at the another side) then mix well with your hands for about 4 minutes.
  2. When all the flour has been incorporated, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, using your fingers and the heel of your palm, knead for 5 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  3. Line a baking tray. Incorporate the walnuts into the dough, shape into a ball and dust with white flour. Place on the baking tray and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross into the top of the dough, then bake the bread for 30 minutes until golden. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

I promised this is the bread you should have to try to make at least once, since most of the restaurant is making this bread as a starter, maybe it can be great for your dinner party as well.

Chicken Pot Pie

P1150454AI’m not been cooking for nearly a week now, I feeling is bit not right when the kitchen is quiet. Beside there was a time after I cook a supper and had enjoyed it, I just realised the water supply had stopped. I can’t do my washing up, I nearly scream.

I think this is one of the comfort food that I can easily make it. As I always will keep some pastry in freezer, it come in very handy when you need something that.

For puff pastry (375 grams all-butter puff pastry sheet (23 x 40cm / 9½ x 9½ inch)

For the chicken filling

  • 3 rashers streaky bacon (cut or scissored into 2.5cm / 1 inch strips)
  • 1 tsp garlic infused olive oil
  • 125 g chestnut mushrooms (sliced into 5mm pieces)
  • 250 g chicken thigh fillets (cut into 2.5cm pieces)
  • 25 g plain flour
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 300 ml hot chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp Marsala

To make the puff pastry

  1. Pulse the flour and salt together in the processor, then add the butter and pulse 3-4 times, the butter should be cut up but still be in visible chunks.
  2. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and the iced water, and pulse till the pastry begins to form a ball, then tip out onto the bench and form a ball. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Dust the benchtop with flour, then roll the pastry into a long rectangle into a long rectangle three times longer than it is wide, then fold it in three like a business letter. Roll out again to the same length and repeat the fold and roll another 2 times (not rolling out after the last fold).
  4. Wrap in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for another 30 minutes before using it to allow the gluten to relax.

To make the chicken filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7/425ºF. In a heavy-based frying pan, fry the streaky bacon strips in the oil until beginning to crisp, then add the sliced mushrooms and soften them in the pan with the streaky bacon.
  2. Turn the chicken strips in the flour and thyme (you could toss them about in a freezer bag), and then melt the butter in the streaky bacon-and-mushroom pan before adding the floury chicken and all the flour left in the bag. Stir around with the streaky bacon and mushrooms until the chicken begins to colour.
  3. Pour in the hot stock and Marsala, stirring to form a sauce, and let this bubble away for about 5 minutes.
  4. Take two 300ml / 1¼ cup pie-pots (if yours are deeper, don’t worry, there will simply be more space between contents and puff pastry top) and make a pastry rim for each one – by this I mean an approx. 1cm / ½ inch strip curled around the top of each pot. Dampen the edges with a little water to make the pastry stick.
  5. Cut a circle bigger than the top of each pie-pot for the lid, and then divide the chicken filling between the two pots.
  6. Dampen the rim of the pastry again and then pop on the lid of each pie, sealing the edges with your fingers or the underneath of the prongs of a fork.
  7. Cook the pies for about 20 minutes turning them around halfway through cooking. Once cooked, they should have puffed up magnificently.
Don’t be fool by the photography, is actual taste so much better. You can skip the pastry making by getting a shop brought pastry is fine with this recipe. Everyone is busy, this is the express way to get satisfied in cooking. Don’t you think?

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Tart

Joint

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!