Friday, May 29, 2009

Name that Utensil

I found this quiz on one of my favourite cooking shows- Take Home Chef by Curtis Stone. He's really fun to watch, he makes cooking seemed so easy :) Tall, hunky, good looking, can cook well, what more can you ask for?

This is one fun quiz to test your knowledge on your way around the kitchen!

Have fun!


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Happy Find

Was hanging out at my friend's cafe in Kota Damansara earlier and passed by a baking supplies store! I was so excited and told hubby that I had to go there... Above is my baking supply loot hehe :) I almost went crazy in there... so much to see, so much to buy, had to control myself! Hubby complained that I took so long, almost an hour in that shop :p

Azuki Beans

Azuki beans also known as red beans to most people is very common in Malaysia, we have it in desserts and even day to day cooking in meals at times.

I never thought I would make my own read bean paste. The recipe was pretty straightforward but it was pretty tedious standing over the stove to keep stirring, the end product was yummy and pleasing though :) If you are wondering where do I find the time to make this? haha... I actually sat Jayden in a highchair together with me in the kitchen and watched over the pot and entertained him in between! I think it took me almost 2 hours...

To make red bean paste, there are 2 types, either the smooth or the chunky ones. I chose to make the chunky ones as I like some bite into it. You can get the smooth red bean paste recipe from here too.




Look at the brilliant colours!

End product, I did the chunky red bean paste

Recipe adapted from here.

For the Chunky Azuki Bean Pasteつぶしあん (Tsubushi-An)

Ingredients:

1 cup azuki beans
1 cup granulated sugar, adjust according to your taste
pinch of salt

1. Wash the azuki beans and place in a large pot filled with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, drain, and discard the water.

2. Add about 3 cups of water to a pot containing the par-boiled azuki beans. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and simmer the azuki beans until soft, approximately 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours. The water should be almost completely absorbed by the time the beans are done. Add water as needed while simmering to prevent the beans from scorching. (I had to add more water constantly cos it took for a while before the beans got soft, don't cook till dry, leave a bit of moisture as the red beans will continue to soak up the liquid)

3. Add the sugar, stirring gently until the azuki bean paste is heated through and glossy. Season with a pinch of salt and mix well. The paste should be thick with some whole and half-crushed azuki beans. (After adding sugar, paste should be moist with a bit of liquid, I had to add more water and keep stirring. I continued to mash the mixture as I wanted a combination of smooth and chunky paste)

The end product should be moist because after cooking, the mixture will continue to absorb any liquid. It should still be 'mashy' and easy to work with. Will blog soon about what I've made with this!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Raisins & Walnut Banana Cake

Love the golden brown top




Can you see the bits of bananas and walnuts inside?

I am such a banana cake person, so when the cake was out of the oven, I couldn't resist the smell and sliced a piece to devour right away! One slice sent me to heaven... up, up and away! But I came right back down again to devour more pieces hhehehe... My hubby and sis loves this too.

This is my favourite all-time recipe for Banana Cake, you can add in raisins, walnuts, almonds as optional ingredients, I always try to include them as I love raisins and the crunchy bits of walnuts inside the cake. You can also add cinnamon powder, mixed spice for more aroma! The possibilities are endless! And I am sharing it with you :)

The last time I baked it was a few years back, in 2006! Over the years, been busy with work and the arrival of Jayden so no time to really get inspiration to bake!

You must be happy to bake, a happy baker results in a happy bake :)

Since recently the baking bug has returned, I decided to dive into all my recipe books and surf for some as well to bake and make and share with you guys.

Ultimate Banana Cake Recipe

Ingredients:
150g butter
125g sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3 ripe bananas, mashed
75g toasted chopped walnuts
Handful of raisins

Sift:
250g wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp mixed spice

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
2. Line and grease bottom of 9-inch tin
3. Cream butter and sugar till creamy
4. Add eggs gradually
5. Stir in mashed bananas, blend well
6. Fold in sifted ingredients and combine
7. Stir in walnuts
8. Pour into prepared tin and sprinkle raisins on top of mixture
9. Bake for 35-45 minutes or till skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Basic Cake Making Tips

I find the following tips very helpful for a novice baker like me, do read on :)

Ingredients

Measure ingredients carefully.
Use the specified flour.
Always use room-temperature, large eggs, unless recipes calls for other. (If in a hurry, the chill can be removed from eggs by dipping in a bowl of warm water.)
Use the shortening called for in a recipe.
Butter should be at room temperature.

Baking

Most recipes require that the oven be preheated.
Always use the size pans called for in a recipe....To calculate the width of the pan, measure across the top from inside edge to inside edge.
Shiny metal pans produce the best cakes.
Dark non stick or glass pans readily absorb heat. Cakes baked in these pans might do better in an oven set for 25 degrees lower than recipe specifies.
Unless otherwise specified, grease and flour pans.

  • Generously grease the inside of pans, bottom and sides.

  • Sprinkle with flour.

  • Shake pan to evenly coat.

  • Tap out any access flour.
Bake on center rack. Don't allow pans to touch each other or wall of oven.
Test for doneness 8 minutes prior to recipe directions for doneness.
Use a toothpick to prick the center of the cake.
If the toothpick comes out with just a few dry crumbs, the cake is done.
If the toothpick is wet, continue to bake, checking at 2 minute intervals.

Cooling

Cooling Layered Cakes: ...Cool for 10 minutes in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan and completely cool on wire rack.
Cool tube pan and snack cakes completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Let cakes completely cool before frosting, unless specified differently in recipe.
Use serrated knife to trim cake layers, so cakes will sit evenly.
Use a 1-inch wide, dry paint brush to brush-off any loose crumbs.

Freezing

Unfrosted cakes can last up to 6 months if tightly wrapped.
Frosted cakes should be placed, unwrapped on a foil lined cookie sheet. Freeze until hard and then tightly wrap cake.
Unwrap and then defrost in the refrigerator.

Got the tips from here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Raisins Bread Pudding

Since no one was going to finish it and it was going to expire, I made this simple bread pudding with half a loaf of wholemeal bread :)


Apple Cinnamon Sauce

Bread pudding with apple cinnamon sauce


Bread pudding served with chocolate chip ice cream

Recipe

Bread pudding
Ingredients:
Half a loaf of wholemeal bread
Enough milk to soak up the bread pieces
Brown sugar
Cinnamon powder
Handful of raisins
1. Tear up bread to bite size pieces and place in baking dish/pan etc
2. Add milk, sugar, cinnamon powder to the bread and let it soak for 15 minutes
3. Sprinkle with raisins and sugar
4. Bake in oven for 30 minutes at 200 degrees celcius or until bread pudding has puffed up and turned brown all over.

Apple Cinnamon Sauce

Ingredients:

3 fuji apples, cut into cubes
2 tsp butter
Few tblsp of sugar, adjust sweetness to your liking
Dash of cinnamon (i used a lot as I like the taste)
Water to adjust sauce consistency

1. Melt butter and sugar in a pot till it boils, keep stirring
2. Toss in apples
3. Cooked till apples are soft
4. Add in cinnamon powder
5. Adjust thickness of sauce with water, boil till sauce thickens
6. Add more cinnamon/sugar to your liking
7. Once apples are soft, the sauce is ready!

You can serve the bread pudding with apple cinnamon sauce or ice cream! I love apple cinnamon sauce, it tastes heavenly!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

New babies!

Went to Jusco to get more stuffs for baking. Can't resist turning into that aisle whenever I go shopping heheh... :) My rediscovered passion to bake and cook again!

My new babies to my baking collection

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chilli Tuna Puffs

Made these Chilli Tuna Puffs after coming back from shopping late one night. It was really easy peasy! I got a packet of puff pastry from the supermarket and I asked my hubby to select a flavour for the pastries, he selected Chilli Tuna (he prefers savoury over sweet)!

So came home, I prepared the filling, added frozen vege, some tabasco sauce, a slice of cheese and wrapped up the puff pastries with it. Just before sending them to the oven, I glazed them with egg wash and stuck raisins on the top.

We both thoroughly enjoyed the pastries, a pack of puff pastry comes with 10pcs, but I had a bonus of 1 pc, so total we had 11 pastries! :) It was totally yummylicious...


Recipe

Ingredients:

-A pack of puff pastry

-1 can of chilli tuna (you can opt for whatever flavours you like)

-Handful of frozen vegetables

-Dash of tabasco sauce

-Few slices of cheese, cut into squares

-1 egg for glaze

1. Leave puff pastry at room temperature so that the dough gets soft

2. Mix tuna, frozen vege, and tabasco sauce together, season with salt/pepper

3. Spoon filling onto a piece of puff pastry, don't overfill, it will be hard to wrap up

4. Place a piece of cut cheese on top of the filling

5. Fold pastry to seal up

6. Brush with egg wash and send to oven to bake for 180 degrees celcius for about 30 minutes or till pastries turn golden brown!