Taro Rolls

IMG_4334ATaro wrap are one of my family recipe has been pass from generation to another, now I am inherited from my Mother, we spend Chinese New Year together, as usual she will made this for that reason of celebrate Chinese New Year.  She did insisted on her method of doing this dish.

I had a lot of fun jotting down the recipe from her, she didn’t measure the ingredients because she had used to do it frequently by eye, so she don’t need to weight it. Indeed is very rare to get a good texture taro roots, whenever she found good taro roots laying around in the market or her friend give her a home-grown taro roots, she will be delighted to make this dish for self-indulgence as snack or give to her friend for sharing.

I love the sandy texture of the taro roots when you cut it in half before you use it in the recipe. Is time to get your hands dirty with this.

Ingredients:

  • 510g Taro root, coarsely shredded
  • 400g White radish, coarsely shredded
  • 400g Yam bean, coarsely shredded
  • 140g Dried peanut
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp MSG (optional)
  • 150g Rice flour
  • 50g Tapioca starch
  • 4 sheet of bean curd (approx 30cm x 30cm)
  • Vegetable oil or flavorless oil for frying
  1. Soak the dried peanut in water for 10 minutes, then drain the water away. Use mortal & pestle to coarsely smash the peanut, set aside.
  2. Mix the shredded radish, bean, taro roots in a large bowl, then mix in the crushed peanut. Now, sprinkle the salt, pepper, MSG (if using) you could use hand or spatula to combine it. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the rice flour and tapioca starch then use a whisk to give them a good mix.
  4. Tip the flour mixture into the mixture of shredded vegetable, the best way to mix these two main ingredients is by using your hand, so you could feel the texture, if is too runnier you could add a bit of flour.
  5. Lay the bean curd sheet on flat surface, place the mixture at the end of the sheet; then roll it away from you firmly, use sharp knife to cut off the remaining sheet. Make sure you are not double layering the bean curd sheet.
  6. Place the wrapped rolls into a bamboo steamer and steam it for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove it from the steamer and place them on a tray to cool, before you could cut into smaller pieces. (You can keep this roll in fridge or fridge if you planned to make it ahead)
  7. In a frying pan heat up the oil, and slowly place the cut-roll into the hot oil; fry it until golden brown, remove it from the pan then place it on the kitchen paper to catch the dripping oil.

There you are the taro rolls, I love the idea it is vegetarian friendly too. I hope you going to enjoy it too.

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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.

 

 

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.

Chocolate chip cookies

IMG_1340AThis is the chocolate chips cookie, the eccentric chocolate chips cookie. I used several ingredient to enhance the chocolate flavour and will makes you want it more. How could anyone resist the lovely aroma of the chocolate and it is like felling in love again when you bite into it. Normally I called this biscuit but cookies is the much closer terms to use, because it reminds me most American Mother will have the secret recipe of their own of chocolate chips cookie and passing down to their children, I can imagine the children enjoyed it and fighting for the last piece of cookie in the jar.

I do believe chocolate has the mysterious power. It can make strong men and women weak of gratitude, also good to mopping up tears as well. This recipe combined two loves – chocolatey and chocolate madness. For all the chocoholic this would be your must try list.

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3/325ºF. Melt the 125g dark chocolate either in the microwave or in a heatproof dish over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Put the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.
  3. Cream the butter and sugars in another bowl. (I use my freestanding mixer, itself an odd source of comfort to me.) Add the melted chocolate and mix together.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract and cold egg, and then mix in the dry ingredients. Finally stir in the chocolate morsels or chips.
  5. Scoop out 12 equal-sized mounds – an ice cream scoop and a palette knife are the best tools for the job – and place on a lined baking sheet about 6cm apart. Do not flatten them.
  6. Cook for 18 minutes, testing with a cake tester to make sure it comes out semi-clean and not wet with cake batter. If you pierce a chocolate chip, try again.
  7. Leave to cool slightly on the baking sheet for 4-5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to harden as they cool.

You might noticed I used two different sugar, the reason I used light brown sugar is for the extra trickiness, and it will not easily burn in the oven because brown sugar is less sweet compared to white sugar. I remembered the first time I made it, I nearly forgot the cold egg, and I added it last before I bake it in oven. The result is a soft cookie, just like it been leave on a table for several hour. Although it will still become one mixture no matter which way I mix it but in the baking terms you got to follow every step, every ingredient will react to each other before the next ingredient adding into it. That is a science of baking, how wonderful things can be. I hope you will enjoy baking this cookies and share the good thing.

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.

 

 

 

 

Fresh Egg Pasta

 

IMG_0916I got a very good article to share with you, it is from the great Italian food writer – Anna Del Conte. Pasta is the generic word for any kind of dough, such as bread and pastry. ‘Pasta’ is also a paste, such as pasta di Acciughe (anchovies), Pasta Di Mandorle (almond). When used by itself the word usually means pasta in its best-known sense, which, to be correct, in Italian is called Pasta alimentare. And what is this food that in the last half a century has conquered the Western world? It i simply a mixture of flour or Semola and water and/ or eggs.

Pasta, as a mixture of some sort of ground cereal and liquid, was obviously made in ancient times. If the first pasta maker were the Greeks or the Etruscans it does not matter. Pasta was not brought back to Venice by Marco Polo in 1295, because there are references to it before that date. Personally I think that pasta was yet another Arab import into Sicily. In the past the Sicilian were recognized as the authority on pasta and Sicilian food was greatly influenced by the Arabs.

By the Renaissance, pasta – at that time called vermicelli – was enjoyed only by wealthy people. It became popular at the end of the 18th century, but only in southern Italy. Naples was the scene of the eruption of pasta as the food of the people; along with Vesuvius it became the symbol of Naples. In 1700 there were 280. On most street corners there was a maccheronaro selling Maccheroni from his stall – maccheroni being the general local name for pasta. The first pasta factories were established around the Gulf of Naples and it is from there that pasta, and spaghetti in particular, reached the United States when the Italians began to emigrate there at the beginning of the 20th century.

But there was an American who fell in love with pasta much earlier. It was Thomas Jefferson, third president of the US, who, having no doubt enjoyed eating pasta on one of his visit to Italy, ordered a pasta-making machine to be sent to Monticello, his house in Virginia.

Up until World War II it was only in southern Italy that pasta was eaten daily, usually as a first course at lunch. But in the second half of the 20th century pasta has become the most popular starter to a meal also in northern Italy, where it has ousted the local Risotto. A dish of pasta is now often served as a Piatto Unico (one-course meal) but never with salad. It is the typical meal of southern Italians, and it provides a healthy and well-balanced diet based on pasta plus a sauce consisting either of small amount of meat, or some vegetables, pulses, cheese or eggs.

In Italy, pasta usually means dried pasta. Fresh pasta is eaten far less frequently and is by no means considered superior, but rather a different kind of food which can be better or worse, depending on its quality.

Fresh pasta: In Emilia-Romagna fresh pasta is made using only eggs and 00 flour. The classic recipe is given here. In order regions one or two of the eggs may be replaced by water, which produces a softer and less tasty pasta. In the south the mixture is of durum wheat Semolino, flour and water, a type of dough that is hard to knead and shape. All these mixtures, once the dough is rolled out, are called sfoglia. Rolling pasta totally by hand is difficult job, but there are many machines for making fresh pasta at home. The Macchina per la pasta will roll and cut the pasta, too.

Dried pasta: This is commercially made pasta, the composition of which is tightly controlled by law. It is made only with durum wheat semola and water. For pasta integrale (wholemeal pasta) the durum wheat is less refined. Equally important is the drying process, which must be gradual and lengthy. The best pasta is dried over 48 hours, as opposed to 32 for the more mass-produced type. The dies through which the mixture is extruded also play an important part: for the best pasta bronze dies are used, giving a rough surface that is ideal for retaining the dressing. Dried pasta comes in many shapes and sizes, most of which are best suited to a particular type of sauce. Generally speaking, long pasta, such as spaghetti, is best with a sauce based on olive oil, as this keeps the strands slippery and separate. Thicker long shapes are dressed with sauces that may also be based on butter, cream and cheese, which also go well with medium-seized tubular pasta. These shapes are also perfect dressed with vegetables or pulses, while the large rigatoni and penne are used for baked dishes.

Cooking pasta: Pasta may be everyday food, but it should be cooked with great care. It must be cooked in a large saucepan in plenty of salted water: there should be 1 litre of water to every 100g of pasta, to which 10g of salt is added and immediately stirred. The cooking time varies according to the shape and quality of pasta, and whether it is fresh or dried.

When the pasta is al dente it is drained through a colander or, for long pasta, by lifting it out with a long wooden fork or a spaghetti server. Some of the cooking water is sometimes reserved to add at the end, should the finished dish seem too dry. This is always done when cooking fresh pasta, since it absorbs more liquid. Once drained, the pasta is transferred to the frying pan containing the sauce or to a warmed bowl and immediately dressed; it should never be left to sit in the colander or bowl without any dressing. Pasta shouldn’t be dressed with too much sauce, nor should the sauce be watery.

Pasta can also be cooked using a totally different method, which is called ‘the Agnesi method’, since it is from the late Vincenzo Agnesi, the founder of the Pasta Agnesi company. And here it is: bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the usual amount of salt and then add the pasta and stir vigorously. When the water has come back to the boil, cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes and then turn the heat off, put a clean towel over the pot and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Leave for the length of time suggested on the packet instructions. When the time is up, drain the pasta and dress as usual. Pasta cooked in this way will retain more of the characteristic flavout of the semolina. The other advantage is that it does not overcook if left a minutes longer.

Pastasciutta is a term meaning pasta that, once cooked, has been drained and served with a sauce. Pasta in brodo (‘pasta in soup’) on the other hand, is pasta served in the liquid in which it has cooked, which is the brodo, or stock.

Pasta colorata or aromatizzata (coloured or flavoured pasta) – pasta that is yellow (saffron), brown (fungi), red (tomato) or black (cuttlefish ink) – has now become as widely available as the traditional green (spinach) pasta from Emilia. Pasta ripiena (stuffed pasta) includes the large range of different types of ravioli. The wrapping is made of egg pasta and the stuffing is different for each type of raviolo.

In Italy, pasta is made in different ways in many regions, but the most popular fresh pasta is the pasta all’uovo made in Emilia, for which this is the traditional recipe.

  • 300g Italian 00 flour, plus extra for dusting (Double “O” is finely milled, it is easy to built the elasticity of the dough, you could use normal plain flour)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs
  1. Put the flour on the work surface and make a well in the middle. Add the salt and the eggs. Using a fork or your fingers, mix the eggs and draw in the flour gradually. Work quickly until it forms a mass. Scrape the work surface clean and wash your hands. Alternatively, you can use a food processor. Put in the flour and salt, switch on the machine and drop in the eggs through the funnel. Process until a ball of dough is formed. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.
  2. Knead the dough for about 5 – 7 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes – or up to 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Unwrap the dough and knead on a lightly floured work surface for 2 – 3 minutes, then divide into 4 equal parts. Take one piece of dough and keep the remainder wrapped in clingfilm or cover with a damp tea towel. Roll out the dough using a rolling pin, or by machine following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. If you making lasagne, or any type of stuffed pasta, proceed immediately to cutting and stuffing. If you are making long pasta, before you cut it, leave the dough to dry until it is no longer sticky. Then feed each strip of dough through the broad cutter of the machine for tagliatelle or fettuccine, or through the narrow cutters for tagliolini. For tonnarelli, roll the dough out only to the fourth setting of the machine. Whe dry, feed the sheet through the narrow cutter to achieve a sort of square spaghetti.

At least you try this recipe by hand during the mixing process, I think it is very important for you to feel the ingredient when you working on it. The first attempt I made fresh pasta before I found this recipe, I didn’t use machine but by hand, it was very exciting when I mixed the flour with eggs, using heel of my hand to roll it as is using my body heat to gently working with the gluten of the flour rolling it and giving my attention and love toward the mixture. This is a good collaboration between me and the food; I called this the good relationship. Then when I rolling out into a sheet I cut them into several piece and floured each of them and piled them together and then rolled it like a swiss roll then used a sharp knife to sliced it. Unfortunately it doesn’t came out as I expected because it was stuck together badly. The second time I made it I didn’t dry them much it cooked too quickly and it fall apart. The third time I made it by machine and it is great!

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American muffin

IMG_0835American muffin, one of the easier thing you could do in the morning, forget about the ready made muffin carton from supermarket,  don’t even mention what kind of ingredient had gone into the box. When you think about it, why you have to pay the extra money for the carton box, plastic bag that holding the dry mixture? This took about 30 minutes to make from scratch to its glory finish. Unlike English muffin, American muffin are quick breads. They are light, savoury or sweet buns made with a slightly more puffed, richer dough than scone. They are very popular breakfast bread.

I remembered the first baked goods I made is while I lived in UK is this American muffin, I started to curious about food and that had inspired me to write about them. American muffin is a versatile snack for any occasion too. I remembered there is one time muffin used to be a “haute” food in Asia for years and then cupcake took over the market for a very long time until every housewife thinking to perfect a cupcake or even taking a cupcake lesson. It is like a food trend in Malaysia. For me decoration is one of the worse I ever done. I’m not like Martha Stewart can perfectly done each of them, I don’t have the patience.

I have a basic recipe and variation

  • butter for greasing
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 200ml milk
  1. Butter the twelve 6cm muffin tins or deep bun tins. Set the oven to 200°C . Sift the dry ingredient into a large bowl.
  2. Melt the butter. Mix with the egg and milk in a separate bowl. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir only enough to dampen the flour, the mixture should be lumpy. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin, as lightly as possible, filling them only two-thirds full.
  3. Bake for about 15 minutes, until well risen and browned. The cooked muffins should be cracked across the middle.
  4. Cool in the tin for 2 – 3 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Variations

  • Walnut Muffins. Increase the sugar to 100g. Add 75g chopped walnuts before adding the liquids. After filling the muffin tins, sprinkle with a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and extra finely chopped walnuts
  • Blueberry Muffins. Reserve 50g of the flour. Sprinkle lightly over 225g firm blueberries. Stir into the mixture last.
  • Jam Muffins. Before baking, top each muffin with 1 teaspoon sharp-flavoured jam.
  • Raisin Muffins. Add about 50g seedless raisins before adding the liquids.
  • Orange Apricot Muffins. Add 50g chopped ready-to-eat dried apricots and 1 tablespoon grated orange rind before adding the liquids.
  • Wholemeal Muffins. Substitute 100g wholemeal flour for 100g of the plain flour. Do not sift the wholemeal flour, but add it after sifting the plain flour.

There still many variation of recipe you could find it online, I adored Mrs. Beeton‘s recipe simply because I like the Old English writing as you read it, as it is back in the time. I don’t really ready about the history about American muffin, I’m not sure how it appear.

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Sambuca baci

P1170077I tried it from Nigella’s recipe, as she said almost as light as butterfly kissed on flower. These almost like doughnuts but made of scented, sweet air. Italian called it kisses (baci)

Believed me your first bite of these will definitely wanting more. Beside it is easy to make too. I don’t think you can resist to eat them once is come out from the frying pan.

Here is how I started, you will need one egg, 100g of ricotta mix both in a large bowl, beat it together until smooth. Then you adding in 40g plain flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 2 teaspoons sambuca liqueur if you don’t have sambuca, you could used lemon or orange juice, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon grated orange zest. Beat the mixture again to make a smooth batter.

Pour about 2cm vegetable oil or any flavourless oil into a frying pan, and heat until a small piece of bread sizzles when you drop it into the pan and browns in about 40 seconds (the temperature should be at about 180ºC). And keep your eye on the pan at all times.

Oil a teaspoon measure and gently drop rounded teaspoons of the ricotta batter into the pan; about 4 at a time is much manageable.

The little baci will puff up slightly and turn golden underneath, if you lucky enough you will see the baci will turn itself around to get the sun tan. Otherwise you could flip them over carefully with an implement of your choice, to colour the other side as well. Watch out that the oil doesn’t get too hot: turn the heat down if they are browning too quickly.

Once they are golden all over, lift them out with a slotted spoon and place them over plate lined with 2 sheets of kitchen paper, to get rid of any exceed oil. Carry on cooking until all the mixture is used up, then turn off the heat under the oil. Once the  baci have cooled a bit, push the icing sugar through a small sieve to dust them thickly.

If you are not eating them straightaway, pop the pre-sugared, cooked baci on the wire rack over a tin in 150ºC oven and keep them warm for up to 1 hour.

If so inclined, serve with a shot of sambuca or an espresso. I might make another batch for teatime. Yum!

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Let it snow! Easy Holiday Cake

P1140326A This is one of the cake that impressed on the Christmas table of course not the look like this. I got this bundt tin purposely for this holiday cakes. You can get it online.

You could make it as spiced holiday cake too by half the vanilla and add 2 teaspoons each of ground cinnamon and ginger and half teaspoon of ground cloves.

Ingredient

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and put a baking sheet in at the same time.
  2. Butter or oil your large, regular or fir-tree shaped bundt tin. (I use oil-sodden kitchen paper to do this)
  3. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time into the sugar mixture, whisking each one in with a tablespoon of flour.
  5. Fold in the rest of the flour, and add the yogurt and vanilla extract.
  6. Pour and spoon the mixture into your greased tin and spread  evenly.
  7. Place the tin on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and cook for 45 to 60 minutes until well risen and golden. After 45 minutes, push a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Let it sit out of the oven for 15 minutes.
  8. Gently pull away the edge of the cake from the tin with your fingers, then turn out the cake, hoping for the best!
  9. Once cool, dust with icing sugar pushed through a small sieve.

Thinking of fresh snowfall on the alps, then you will sing along Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

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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.