Egg Tarts

Having the crusts baked last weekend, I didn't want to keep it too long, and ended up throwing them out. So I decided to turn it into egg tarts today.

Since the crusts were already baked, I used the "grill" function of the oven instead of the usual bake. After about 20mins, when it was baked, I took them out even without the "caramelised" colour. So I decided to use my blow-torch to "caramelise" them. The results are rather satisfactory, but for the taste, I don't know! :p


Nutella Butter Cake

I was flipping through my stack of filed printed recipes for something simple and using yogurt to bake. I was thinking of baking some simple cake for our workshop today. Having quite a number of yogurt-related recipes, I wasn't ready to get too complicated as I didn't have much time to prepare those small details (like grating the oranges or lemons for the zest etc). So I decided on this recipe from HHB - Nutella Butter Cake.

The ingredients were readily available and easy to prepare. However, I think I must've got "stucked" with the creaming part, that my cake was a bit dry (over-baked too?). Another cause could be that I used 2 tbsps of my remaining Nutella and it was a bit dry, unlike the 1 tbsp of the newly opened Nutella. There wasn't much Nutella taste and I ended up having to frost it with Nutella instead! :p The cake wasn't very fragrant after baking too. However, there is something special about this cake that makes me want to try to bake again. I shall try it again one day.

The cake was "smiling" when I took it out. So "friendly" leh!


I frost the top with Nutella to make it more Nutella taste!


Finally, I sprinkled some snow powder to make it pretty.

Variety

We were invited to my aunty's place for dinner on Saturday (together with my parents). I knew I cannot go empty-handed, so I decided to bake Blueberry Chiffon cake for her. Besides bringing just a normal cake, I thought we should have desserts too. So I baked my tart dough, only to realise that it was too thick and a bit salty(??). So I quickly did a non-baked cream cheese tart. I also baked my puff pastry for vol-au-vents.

1. Egg Mayo Sandwich. I did a simple egg mayo for breakfast. Added a pinch of mixed herbs to give it a "herby" taste. This is Aloysius' all time favourite!


2. Blueberry Chiffon. Same recipe, same cake, but for different people.



3. Puff Pastry. Cut these out to make vol-au-vents as appetiser for dinner later. I mixed my salmon as the filling for the vol-au-vent.




4. Strawberry Cream Cheese Tarts. I scurried through my stack of recipe, looking for a suitable recipe for tarts after my baked tarts didn't turn out ideal! Fortunately, I found a blueberry cream cheese tart from HHB. Since I've already made blueberry chiffon, I decided to use my strawberry jam instead. After I pressed the crumbs into the paper cups, I realised that my yogurt has already turned bad!! Oh dear! Contingency contingency! Anyway, I proceed with the recipe without the yogurt and added about 7 tbsp of full cream milk (bit by bit to see the texture) into it, then add the gelatin. After that, I dropped a little strawberry jam into each cup and swirl them to give marble effect. I managed to make 14 reg cupcake size and 12 mini cupcake cream cheese tarts.


A bit ambitious?

My dear hubby has been bugging me about making beef stew, beef pie after my chicken pie last Saturday. So I had to surf the web to find recipes that will suit our cooking. There are just hundreds of recipes in the world wide web free for all! Finally, we settle on a recipe amongst so many of them-Beef, Mushroom & Red Wine Pie. We discussed on the ingredients to be used. Since he was on leave today, he went to buy all the necessary ingredients, and came up with a almost-there beef "stew", good enough to eat and put in a pie dough. Overall, we concluded that the effort was worth it, the smell was good, but the taste a little bland. Could be due to the beef stock and the red wine used. For the next round, we will probably get better red wine and boil our own beef stock! Overall, he was a bit ambitious, but I think for the effort and the courage, he deserved a 85% from me! ;)

B for Chiffons


Did I get my letters right? No question about it. For two consecutive evenings, I baked B Chiffons- Banana Chocolate Chiffon Cake and Blueberries Chiffon Cakes. They turned out great!

For Banana Chocolate Chiffon, I reduced the egg yolks to two only and used all the egg whites. I'm quite daring to do that now.


This was the first time my chiffon is browned through out after I unmould it. It is kind of an achievement for me!



Recipe for Blueberry Chiffon Cake, extracted from Kevin's Chiffon Cake is Done (with my modification).
Ingredients:
Egg yolk batter

1 egg yolk*
40ml corn oil
125g Fresh Blueberries smashed**
30g caster sugar^
80g self raising flour

Egg white foam
120g egg whites (approx. 4 nos.)
1/2tsp cream of tartar
70g caster sugar

Method:
1. To make egg yolk batter, combine egg yolk, oil, blueberries and sugar in a mixing bowl.
2. Fold in flour until forms batter.
3. To make egg white foam, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until mixture forms soft peaks.
4. Gradually add in sugar, beating at high speed until frothy and stiff peaks form.
5. Gently fold beaten egg white foams into egg yolk batter until thoroughly blended.
6. Pour batter into ungreased 7" tube pan. Bake in preheated oven at 170C (@) for 35mins or until cooked.
7. Remove from oven, invert cake onto wire rack until completely cooled.

Notes:
* Original recipe uses 4 egg yolks. I used 1 because I want the cake to be really soft & fluffy. Using 4 will be equally good.
** Original was 80g blueberry filling and 2 tbsp milk. I omitted the milk because after smashing the blueberries, there were some liquid. I used the whole punnet of blueberries. Actually, 80g might be enough too.
^ Original was 40g caster sugar. I didn't reduced too much as the blueberries were a little sour. You can taste the blueberries first before deciding on the amount of sugar to be used.
@ I used fan oven to bake, therefore, the temperature was set at 150C instead. If normal bake oven without fan, it should be 170C then.


This is a very healthy chiffon cake as there was no chemical added. Extracts were not used too.

Backlog...


I baked pineapple tarts again last evening because there were still some dough and pineapple paste from CNY bakings. I bought more pineapple paste from Fairprice yesterday as it was on sale. I also made more dough and put them in the fridge so that I can bake anytime when I feel like it. I'm glad the pineapple tarts turned out good, except for the sweetness of the paste. I still prefer homemade pineapple paste. :p

Valentine's Feast


It was "entertainment" at home on Valentine's Day again. It was yet another feast. I hope I didn't sound like boasting, but I did a 6-course dinner on Valentine's Day for our family friends. Actually, it's really achievable if you "renouned" the world, and roped in the help of whoever at home. A lot of food can be prepared way before the actual day. For example, desserts, crust doughs, puff pastries etc.

I think I was quite ambitious also, to bake lunch for my family members despite having to prepare a feast for dinner. Okay, I managed to make chicken burger for lunch for all. I baked the hamburger buns, which fortunately was finished up during lunch, otherwise, it would have been stone-hard the next day! Hahaha... I made the chicken patties, and the herb butter mayo to accompany the burger. I'm so glad it was a "SOLD OUT"! Another good decision made for lunch. :p


Here were my 6-course Valentine's Dinner for family & friends.

1. Appetiser 1: Garlic & Herbs Bread
Tasked my hubby & Aloysius to use heart-shaped & bear cookie cutters to cut out the bread pieces for garlic & herbs spread. I mix (salted) butter with chopped rosemary and minced garlic. Then toast them. I like these very much.

I also prepared some greens (salads). As I only had butterhead lettuce, I added some olives, raisins and pinenuts too! I made my own dressings by mixing olive oil with balsamic vinegar, and some sugar & a pinch of salt. Then topped the greens with some parmesan cheese.


2. Appetiser 2: Cauliflower & Potato Gratin
Discussed with my sister after last week's bake. I came to realise that it's called Gratin. Great. Same as last week, baked this for dinner as requested by my hubby & Aloysius.


3. Main Course 1: Rosemary Salmon Olive Oil Baked Rice
As I bought a lot of whole salmon over these two weeks, I was rather "generous" with my salmon. ;p I poached salmon in red wine, and shredded them to get flakes. I cooked my rice with garlic, onions, french beans, button mushrooms, rosemary, olive oil and finally added salmon. This was quite bland and most of them didn't like it and found it to be tasteless. I thought olive oil would have been quite nice. Lesson learnt: must add add salt or light soy sauce for better tasting baked rice! ;)


4. Main Course 2: Chicken & Mushrooms Puff Pastry Pies
This was most people's favourites! So was mine! ;) The base crust is normal, while the top is covered and baked with puff pastry. Romantic me had to cut and add heart-shaped to the top to give it some ambience of Valentine's Day! Hahaha... At least they were noticable!




5. Dessert 1: Egg White Brownies
Previously, Aloysius said he didn't get to eat this brownie. So I baked it again (the night before) since I still have egg whites left. This time, I used walnuts instead of almonds. It's as nice. I like it too!


6. Dessert 2: Blueberries Panna Cotta
I was complatemping between panna cottas and creme brulees. Finally, I decided on panna cottas as it was slightly easier compared to creme brulees because I don't have to caramelise the sugars! I followed Yochana's recipe and used Blueberries instead of Raspberries as they were abundance now. This was the first time I tried making this, and I really like it! My friends love it too! One of them said it was "exotic" and tasted something like tiramisu. (huh??)


As usual, with this group of friends, they enjoyed drinking red wines. Over five hours, they finished 5 bottles of wines among mainly three males (including my hubby). I had to borrow X-box from my father-in-law so as to keep the children entertained, otherwise, I don't know how else to entertain them! As they enjoyed their wine, my "bak kwa" also finished! That was the finger food for them. It was fun baking for me, while they had fun eating & drinking, and for the kids, it was playing! ;)

Seriously, before preparing any food, careful planning has to take place, and preparation actually start way before the actual day. So, really, if I can achieve this, I'm sure everyone else can! :))

Leftover Egg Whites - Financiers

As indicated in my previous post on "What to do with left over egg whites??" I still have not used up my egg whites. Instead of getting lesser after CNY, it seemed to have increased...wondered if water has been accumulated in the egg whites...hmmm.

Anyway, I've decided to try out Financiers. I adopted the recipe from Tartelette. Instead of dark chocolates, I used white chocolates. Since she said can replace the almond meal with ground graham crackers, I replaced it with ground oat crackers. The result? You just can't get enough of them!! The recipe is really good! As I wasn't really a fan of white chocolates, I didn't want to let ground almonds go to waste. So I paired the white chocolates with ground crackers instead. Heehee...


Here is the recipe, modified slightly from Tartelette.
White Chocolate "Financiers"

Ingredients:

150g semisweet white chocolate, chopped
150g heavy cream
50g icing sugar
60g unsalted butter (melted)
40g plain flour
40g ground graham crackers
1/2tsp baking powder
105g egg whites (from 3 small eggs)

Method:
1. In a heavy bottom saucepan, heat the cream to boiling point, pour over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Gently stir to melt the chocolate and cream together until smooth.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the powdered sugar, flour, crackers, baking powder.
3. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites for a minute, just to break them up. Add them to the flour mixture carefully, before they are completely incorporated, add the melted butter.
4. Finally, fold in the chocolate/cream mixture and fold until smooth.
5. Divide the batter into the greased moulds (any moulds you like. I used madeleine moulds & small silicone cupcake moulds)
6. Bake at 180C for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned.
7. Cool for 5 minutes before you unmould them.


Sunday Bakes

We invited my in-laws' to my place on Sunday. Parents-in-law, Brother-in-law & Sister-in-law. I was busy baking and preparing for the dinner on Sunday. Whenever we had guests over, whether it's my family members or friends, I felt obliged to bake and make something nice and good for them. And it's not just one item, it has to be at least two or three items. I also felt pressurised to make special foods. Okay, maybe what I made is normal, but all these really took some planning to accomplish.

These were the foods I did, in chronological order of when it was accomplished (morning or afternoon).

1. Cranberry Cheesecake: I adopted the recipe from All That Matters' Blueberry Cheesecake. I replaced Blueberry with Cranberry. It was the first time I tried making no-bake cheesecake and found it more tedious to make than those baked ones. I'm not sure if I will attempt this again, though it's quite nice. :)


2. Bak Kwa & Cream Cheese Buns: As usual, I had to bake some buns, for our breakfast on Monday. Since I still have quite a big block of cream cheese in the fridge, I've decided to bake some cream cheese buns. They taste really nice and good. Unfortunately, the following day, the buns were quite tough. I blamed it on the "expired" yeasts. :p


3. Rosemary & Olive Oil Baked Rice: I marinated chicken breasts meat with chopped fresh rosemary & olive oil. Then I fried my rice in olive oil, added the chicken pieces, french beans, fresh button mushrooms, raisins and more chopped fresh rosemary. Topped them with mozzarella cheese and baked them in the oven. The rice was really healthy & tasty!


4. Mashed Potatoes: Recipe from my sister. She baked this before and my family loved it. And because my hubby kept asking me to make this, we had bought a baking dish specially for me to bake this. Although I have used the baking dish many times, I've not baked this mashed potatoes dish. The potatoes were boiled, then mashed. Cauliflower were blanched and added to the potatoes. I also cut some smoked ham into it, added some black pepper and cream. Topped them with mozzarella cheese and baked it. This dish was a sellout!


5. Garlic Breads with Rosemary: Chopped garlic finely, mixed with chopped fresh rosemary and add butter. Mixed them up and spread on hotdog buns. Grilled them till crispy. Another sellout!


6. Chicken & Ham Quiches: Quiches are pretty easy to prepare. My quiches consisted of shredded chicken pieces, smoked ham, fresh button mushrooms and cauliflowers. I cooked them before distributing them into the blind baked crusts. I mix cream, milk and eggs and pour them over the mixture to "hold" them together. Topped with sliced tomatoes to give them a more colourful look.


You see, actually planning for a meal is not too difficult. Many ingredients can be "shared"-cauliflower, rosemary, smoked ham, button mushrooms etc. However, time factor is important as each dishes have to be prepared in sequence, not concurrent as my oven can only bake so much. As busy as I can get, I'm really enjoying them. Otherwise, I would not have suggested dinner at my place right? ;)

New Gadget

Thanks to my wonderful hubby who bought me a new gadget lately. Before CNY, I told him I needed a food processor. All thanks to me making the Spicy Dried Shrimps Cookies which needed a food processor. I realised the current one I had was too small.

Then I hunted around after CNY to see if there were any sales which I can get my hand on. Unfortunately, there was no promotion for food processors or choppers. I had already scouted around to compare prices and models. Finally, I bought my 3-in-1 Philips Hand Blender at Mustafa for S$83/-! Being stingy and prudent, this is the best deal for me. Thanks to my wonderful hubby, that was my valentine's day present. ;)

Birthday Cupcakes

It seemed that I've been quite busy with work lately that I just didn't have much time to do baking or to post them up. I tried macarons again, but didn't make it again. The reason for me try again was because I still have one tub of egg whites in the fridge. So I took up the courage to try again, as I was thinking, if I failed again, I still can try since I can "afford" the whites. Wrong start! Thus, my macarons cracked, and no feet! *haiz*


My sister requested me to bake chocolate cupcakes for her birthday. Since she has always been a great fan of my cupcakes, I obliged. I had to combine her birthday with my brother in law's birthday since they wouldn't be available next week. Interestingly, I "embedded" two heart-shaped chocolates into two of the cupcakes and made them find one each. Fortunately, they managed to find it on the first try, otherwise, I want them to finish up all the buttercreams on the cupcakes. I was kind enough to make only 10 buttercream toppings and the other 8 with chocolate ganache.



After more than one month without baking breads, I just had to bake breads today. I also desperately wanted to use up my bak kwa (which I can only bake like once a year after CNY?). So bak kwa buns were my first batch of bread for the year 2009!

Yam Cream Swiss Rolls

With some leftover yam cream after frosting the Yam Layered Cream Cake, I've decided to make swiss rolls so as to use up the yam cream quickly! Otherwise, I know it'll stay in the fridge till I throw them away! Using the usual emulsified cake sponge recipe, I made my Yam Cream Swiss Rolls. Fortunately, the yam cream was just enough to cover the whole swiss rolls! :)

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