Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Peanut butter jelly rice cereal bars

This September 1-week school holiday has been the most fruitful and fun! We were visiting various places of interests in town, like a tourist, from Science Centre, taking a river cruise at Clarke Quay, Gardens by the Bay, Universal Studios, Kranji farms, to a special invite Skippy Yippee family day, and also baking at home with kids!

When I first received the invite for the launch of Skippy new product range, natural & healthier version, I was kinda surprised but nevertheless accepted it to "fill" one of the school holiday activities. My lil boy was all prep to see Dr jiajia and a radio DJ (Jamie Yeo). And because we went to the Kranji farms in the morning, we actually overslept for the afternoon event (ohno...) ... Luckily we had the car on that day so it was pretty fast speeding reaching Tott where it was held.

I didn't know what to expect in a product launch, but this is pretty cool and fun especially for my lil boy, making peanut butter jelly rice cereal bars like a chef!

Also there were array of food and desserts using peanut butter, and they all look too pretty to eat...haha

Peanut butter jelly rice cereal bars

Ingredients/ Method
60g Skippy natural creamy peanut butter
140g marshmallows
3 cups rice puff cereals
20g grape jelly (or any jam/ spread)

  1. Microwave peanut butter in a large bowl for 1 min. 
  2. Add in marshmallows and stir, coating them evenly. 
  3. Microwave coated marshmallows for another 1 min, or till melted. Using spatula, stir till mixture are evenly mixed and looks gluey. (Have to be quick otherwise the marshmallows will start to turn hard quite fast.) 
  4. Pour in rice puff cereals and stir. 
  5. Pour half of the mixture in a 7x9" tray and press down.
  6. Spread grape jelly on the pressed rice puff cereals. 
  7. Pour the remaining mixture over the grape jelly, and press down.
  8. Cool completely before cutting into bars. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gone fishing! cake

This Gone fishing! cake was prepared especially for my uncle Simon, after knowing that he likes playing with the fishing game on mobile! Although I was very happy with the design of the birthday cake, the texture of the cake was slightly on the dry side. I'm using my earlier successful vanilla sponge cake base. Mistake 1: the cake was not thoroughly baked at 33 mins, and I gave it a couple more minutes (a minute too many) and turn it to fan-oven; Mistake 2 - wanted to slice the 8' round cake into 3 even slices, but end up slicing up to 2 uneven thickness.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Almond orange chiffon cake

I'm sort of addicted to baking chiffon cake these days, especially after seeing each of them rise and brown so nicely. They are also easy to bake and because they feel so light, I feel less guilty eating more of them. I also have a big family to share my fats bakes!

The crunch from the almond flakes give a nice twist to an ordinary orange chiffon cake.

Almond orange chiffon cake
(yields 23cm chiffon tin)

Ingredients/ Method
5 egg yolk
100ml fresh orange juice (from 2 1/2 oranges) 
orange zest from 2 oranges
50g unsalted butter, melted  
1/8 tsp salt
60g cake flour, sifted, 
30g rice flour, sifted
Almond flakes 

Egg whites:
5 egg white 
75g caster sugar
1 tsp corn flour 
  1. Mix orange juice, melted butter and salt in a bowl and stir. 
  2. Using hand-mixer or whisk, add in orange juice mixture to egg yolk and mix well.
  3. Add in flour and whisk till smooth batter. Add in orange zest and mix well. Set aside. 
  4. Mix sugar and corn flour, set aside. 
  5. Use a cake mixer, whisk egg white till foamy and add in sugar/corn flour gradually. 
  6. Whisk egg white till stiff peak. 
  7. Turn cake mixer to low (KA 2) and slowly pour in egg yolk mixture to egg white. Continue whisking till well combined. 
  8. Pour batter into a 23cm tube pan, smooth the surface. Add almond flakes on top of the batter. 
  9. Bang the tube pan on the table top for a few times. 
  10. Place pan into a preheated 150 deg C fan-oven and bake for 45 mins (23cm chiffon tin). 
  11. Remove from oven, invert cake onto table top.
  12. Leave it cool completely before removing from tin.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Easy vegetarian cream sauce linguine

Another quick and easy lunch.

Easy vegetarian cream sauce linguine
(serve 2 person)

linguine or any pasta

Cream Sauce 
1/5 yellow onion
1 small clove garlic
7 shiitake mushrooms
6 strawberry tomatoes
dash of mixed herbs
black pepper
1/2 cup cream or heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 tsp corn flour + 2 tbsp water
1-2 tbsp pasta cheese or mozzarella cheese
  1. Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water with a tsp of salt. Drain and set aside. Drizzle with some olive oil and give it a few tosses.
  2. Heat up the pan and saute the yellow onion until translucent and golden. Add in garlic and fry until slightly brown. 
  3. Add in mushroom, and sprinkle with some salt, mixed herbs and black pepper to taste. Fry until mushroom turn soft. 
  4. Add in broccoli and fry until slightly soft, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Next add in tomatoes and give it a few stirs. 
  6. In the same pan and on medium-high heat, pour in heavy cream, milk and water. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  7. Let the sauce boil before slowly adding corn flour/ water mixture, and continue stirring at the same time. 
  8. When the mixture is boiled, add in cheese and give it a quick stir. Turn off the heat, add in the pasta and give it a good toss. 
  9. Ready to serve. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pandan rice flour chiffon cake (Recommended)

Within a week, I've baked two pandan chiffon cake. One was a 6' size and I was so happy that for the first time, I've got nice brown skin all over and the chiffon cake texture remains soft and moist!
In order to test out the recipe again on a bigger chiffon tin - 23 cm, and viola, I still get the same nice brown skin and very moist and spongy chiffon cake! I was over the moon as after trying out so many pandan chiffon cake recipes, this recipe has yield the best result for me!
Now it seems that getting the right oven settings (fan-oven) and temperature (150 deg C), and of course a good recipe, is key for me in getting the perfect pandan chiffon cake!

Pandan rice flour chiffon cake 

(A) 6' chiffon tin
Ingredients/ Method: 
2 egg yolk
15ml pandan juice (see below)
35ml coconut milk
25ml canola oil or coconut oil 
a pinch of salt
30g cake flour, sifted, 
15g rice flour, sifted

Egg whites:
2 egg white 
37g caster sugar
1/2 tsp corn flour 

Baking time/ oven temperature: 30mins/ 150 deg C fan-oven 

(B) 23cm chiffon tin 
5 egg yolk
30ml pandan juice (see below) 
70ml coconut milk
50ml canola oil or coconut oil 
1/8 tsp salt
60g cake flour, sifted, 
30g rice flour, sifted

Egg whites:
5 egg white 
75g caster sugar
1 tsp corn flour 

Baking time/ oven temperature: 45mins/ 150 deg C fan-oven 
  1. Boil pandan juice, coconut milk, oil and salt in a small pot over low fire, till few bubbles start to appear on the surface. Set aside to cool. 
  2. Using hand-mixer or whisk, slowly add in pandan coconut milk mixture to egg yolk and mix well.
  3. Add in flour and whisk till smooth batter and set aside. 
  4. Mix sugar and corn flour, set aside. 
  5. Use a cake mixer, whisk egg white till foamy and add in sugar/corn flour gradually. 
  6. Whisk egg white till stiff peak. 
  7. Turn cake mixer to low (KA 2) and slowly pour in egg yolk mixture to egg white. Continue whisking till well combined. 
  8. Pour batter into a 23cm tube pan, smooth the surface. Bang the tube pan on the table top for a few times. 
  9. Place pan into a preheated 150 deg C fan-oven and bake for 30 mins (6' chiffon tin) or 45 mins (23cm chiffon tin). 
  10. Remove from oven, invert cake onto table top.
  11. Leave it cool completely before removing from tin. 
Pandan juice
25 blades of pandan leaves (wash & cut into smaller pieces)
1/2 cup of water
  1. Blend pandan leaves with water. Squeeze out the liquid from the puree using muslin cloth. 
  2. Pour pandan juice into a bottle, cover and chill in fridge overnight for the reside to settle down. 
  3. Discard the clear liquid, use the residue left at the bottom of the liquid. 
The concentrated part of pandan juice give a very nice green colour and fragrant to the cake, and you will be happy to know that there's no unnecessary chemical/ additives to your home-made cake!

Creamy carbonara

A quick and get-rid-of-fridge-leftovers lunch! It was oh-so-good (and sinful!)

Creamy carbonara
(recipe adapted from The recipe critic with modification, serves 2 person)

70g farfalle (or any pasta)

Cream sauce
2 eggs
1/4 cup cream or heavy cream
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
fresh diced parsley or dried flakes (I omit)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I omit)
bacon (I omit)
shiitake mushroom
2 slices of picnic ham
thin asparagus

  1. Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water. Drain and set aside. 
  2. Beat the eggs, cream, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and the red pepper together in a bowl using fork.
  3. Fry the bacon until crisp (if using), then crumble and set aside.  
  4. Saute the onion and the mushrooms until the onions are translucent and golden. Add asparagus and ham and continue frying for 1-2 minutes. 
  5. Add pasta to the onions and mushrooms.  Pour cream mixture into the pasta, and stir over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Add some pasta water if the sauce gets too thick. (Do not cook on high heat or you will make scrambled eggs.) 
  6. Serve with additional parmesan cheese and some cracked black pepper. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Traditional mooncakes

Ever since I started my baking journey six years ago, I did my first snowskin mooncakes then as it was the easiest mooncakes to come up with. Though I always wanted to try out the traditional mooncakes, it somehow looks quite daunting for me. I've been procrastinating for a good six years. I just didn't have the courage to do it. This year would have been the same or no mooncakes at all.

Until last month, my aunt was inviting us to participate in the mid-autumn celebration at the old folks home that we have doing some volunteer work. Unfortunately I had pre-arrangement on the day of event and were not able to attend. Somehow the conversation led to doing my bits by contributing homemade mooncakes.

With my limited experience, I could only offer to make snowskin mooncakes and we even did trials for that. However, we were then told that the old folks would prefer the traditional type and also for logistical reasons, the snowskin mooncakes may not keep well in room temperature especially if the old folks did not consume them within the day. And so I told my aunt I was not able to contribute any homemade traditional mooncakes as I had never did them before, and we may have to buy the traditional mooncakes from the store for the event.

Feeling unsettled, I started to look out for easy traditional mooncakes recipes and read up a few. I thought maybe I should give it a try this time, and went ahead to do a trial bake. It was a long 3-days wait for the mooncakes to 回油, tasted it and ohmy, it's a success!

It took me a total of 2 days rolling the lotus paste, another 1 over day to mould and bake with my aunt, and another day for packing them. Hehe... I almost forgotten that my lil boy helped me with measuring the dough for wrapping as well! 180 pieces of presentable mini mooncakes, couple of QA-failed mooncakes, another 10+ ok pieces to be given away to family, and some piggies purely for me to play with the dough!

I'm glad that I could do my little bit for the old folks, and without them, I would not have the push factor to have my hands on traditional mooncakes. To those who are still procrastinating, please give it a try, it's not that daunting afterall!

Traditional mooncakes
(Recipe adapted from Happy Home Baking)

Ingredients/ Method
(makes 10 mini mooncakes)

100g plain flour
70g golden syrup
2ml alkaline water
25ml peanut oil or canola oil

300g low sugar white lotus paste
30g melon seeds, toasted

Egg wash
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water

  1. Mix lotus paste with toasted melon seeds. Divide the fillings into 30g portions and shape into balls. Set aside. 
  2. Place golden syrup in a bowl. Add in alkaline water, stir to combine. Add in oil, mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, put in plain flour and create a well in the centre. Add in golden syrup mixture and mix with a spatula to form a soft dough. 
  4. Gently knead the dough till smooth (takes about 1 - 2 mins). Shape it into a smooth round dough.
  5. Wrap dough with cling wrap and leave in fridge to rest for at least 2 hours or overnight. 
  6. Dust work surface with some flour and give the dough a few light kneading to smooth it. 
  7. Divide dough into 20g and shape each dough into a ball. 
  8. Dust hand and rolling pin with flour and flatten each dough into a small disc. Wrap it around the filling and shape it into a ball. 
  9. Lightly dust the mooncake mould with some flour and place the wrapped dough into it. Using the mooncake plunger/ mould, press and gently remove the mooncake. Place the mooncakes on lined baking tray. 
  10. Spray some water on the mooncakes to prevent them from cracking during baking. 
  11. Bake at pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 10 mins. Remove from oven and leave to cool for 15 mins. 
  12. Egg wash the mooncake top. Return to oven and continue to bake for another 12 - 15 mins or until golden brown. 
  13. Leave mooncakes to cool completely and store in air-tight container. Wait for 3 - 4 days for mooncake to 回油 (for skin to soften) before serving. 

This post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up (August 2014 Event: Flour) - organised by Bake for Happy Kids and My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe.

Wishing Everyone ... Happy Mid-Autumn, and Happy Reunion! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Baked farfalle with tuna

"What's for lunch tomorrow?"

The last we had a baked pasta was when we were holidaying in States, and it was a home-cooked baked meat spaghetti by my dear sis. It was really good, especially the meatballs with lots of herbs, and even until now, I'm still thinking of it at times.

Somehow, I'm not ready to make the seems-so-tedious meatballs. So when I saw mui mui's Tuna Pasta Bake, I was all ready to prepare it. However, I did not follow her recipe to a T, except for the delicious cheesy/mushroom sauce.

This was actually baked last week but it took me a while to complete jotting down the recipe and method. With the cheesy/ mushroom sauce, this baked farfalle is very delicious!

Baked Farfalle
(serve 6-8 persons)

 (A) about 200g farfalle (or any pasta) (I didn't measure it, just grab 6 handfuls of pasta)
1 tsp salt

(B) yellow onions
olive oil
1 can of tuna in chunks
baby carrots
fresh tomatoes, diced
shiitake mushrooms
some dried mixed herbs
2 cups ready pasta sauce (I used Prego's fresh mushroom italian sauce)

(C) grated parmesan cheese, to sprinkle  (optional)
grated cheddar cheese, to sprinkle (optional)

  1. Boil farfalle in a pot of boiling water and salt as per instructions. Drained and set aside.
  2. Boil carrots and broccoli in a separate pot for about 3- 5 mins. Drained and set aside.
  3. In a pan, fry yellow onions in olive oil till slightly brown. Add in mushrooms, followed by prawns and fry for about 3 mins.
  4. Add in carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, tuna and dried mixed herbs and continue frying for about 1-2 mins.
  5. Add in pasta sauce and cook till mixture boils. Remove from heat.
  6. Stir in farfalle.
  7. In a oven-proof dish, pour in farfalle with sauce. Set aside.
  8. Top farfalle with cheesy/ mushroom sauce.
  9. Sprinkle with some grated parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese.
  10. Bake in pre-heated oven 180 deg C for about 10 mins, or when the top is slightly golden brown.

Cheesy (mushroom) sauce
(recipe adapted from My little favourite DIY)
yellow onion
40g butter
100g brown cap mushroom (I omit)
2 tbsp plain flour
300ml milk
60g grated cheddar cheese

  1. To make cheesy/ mushroom sauce, fry the onion in the butter till soft.
  2. Then add in flour and continue stirring for a minutes.
  3. When it's well mixed, gradually add in milk, continue stirring to prevents lumps.
  4. When the mixture is slightly thickened and smooth, remove from heat.
  5. Stir in cheese.
  6. Season to taste. I added slightly less than 1 tsp of salt.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Purple plum torte

I had 5 purple plums and some other fruits sitting in the kitchen last week, and I knew that I'm going to bake something with the more perishable plums first. By the time I'm into my baking mode, there were only 3 purple plums left. And I'd to bake it into a much smaller cake for our small family of 3, instead of our usual extended family of 10ish folks.

We had it for our breakfast, and once again my little supporter gave a thumbs up!
Bb: How did you make the cake?
Me: It's very easy to make this...
Bb: Why is it that it's so easy to make but it taste so delicious!
Me: Maybe 'cos it's a good recipe...

Purple plum torte
(recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen, below is half the original recipe with minor adjustments)

Ingredients/ Method:
63g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
75g caster sugar (reduced from 100g)
60g unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
3 purple plums, halved and pitted

Streusel topping 
1 tsp fresh lemon juice (I omitted this)
1 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. With a electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and light in colour.
  3. Add egg and continue mixing, scraping down the bowl. 
  4. Add dry ingredients and mix till combined. Do not overmix. 
  5. Pour batter into lined 6" round cake tin and smooth the top. (SK used ungreased 9" springfoam pan.) Arrange the plums, skin side up, all over the batter. 
  6. Mix caster sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the plums and batter. (SK sprinkled the top with lemon juice, then cinnamon and then remaining sugar.) 
  7. Bake in pre-heated oven 180 deg C for 35 mins, or until the skewer inserted comes out clean. 
  8. Cool on rack and remove from pan when completely cool. 
  9. Chill the cake in fridge overnight, or leave it covered at room temperature overnight as the cake is even better on second day when the plum juice further releases into the cake. 

This post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up (August 2014 Event: Flour) - organised by Bake for Happy Kids and My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bak Chor Mee/ Minced pork noodles (soup)

Everyday I like to ask my lil boy "what do you want for lunch tomorrow?", this makes my life easier as I don't have to think of what's for lunch the next day. However, the food he asks for sometimes can be a challenge for me, especially that I've not been cooking for years when I was working, and/or I've not cooked before! Just this week, he requested for bak chor mee! and I was scratching my head with no answer (never cooked before) and mr. google only showed up dry bak chor mee, and not the soupy type - the popular one at 85 bedok north.

Regardless, I was all up to come out with my own version trying to recall the taste and what should go into the broth. Ordinarily, it seems crazy to spend so much time and effort just to cook for 2 persons - my lil boy and myself, but I would like to believe they are definitely healthier and of course, lots of luv! But again, not every lunch is so elaborated, our usual ones are easy one pot porridge or noodles *wink*.

Thankfully, my only audience is usually very supportive and appreciative, this time he gave me a 90 marks! Taste-wise, it not exactly like the 85 bedok north version, but it's on the right track and a good one. Our tummies are happy for now!

Bak Chor Mee/ Minced pork noodles (Soup)
(Served 3 portions)

Ingredients/ Method:

1 big pork bone
3-4 big bowls of water
3 big anchovies/ dried bream/ 蝙鱼, toasted and pound into powder form
1 tbsp preserved vegetables/ tung choy/ 冬菜, chopped

Minced meat
50g minced meat
1 1/2 tbsp corn flour
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce/ fish sauce
dash of pepper
1/4 tsp sesame oil

4 cloves garlic, diced and fried
pork lard, diced and fried (optional)

1 pkt meat balls
2 balls of mee kia/ thin egg noodles/ 幼面
  1. Toast the big anchovies in a toaster until fragrant and slightly charred. Alternatively, you can 'toast' it using the cooking pan. Using mortar, pound till powder form. Set aside.
  2. Blanch the pork bone in boiling water for about 10 mins. Discard the water.
  3. Fried pork lard, drained and reserved the oil. Set aside.
  4. Fried garlic till golden brown using the pork lard oil, drained and set aside.
  5. Marinate minced meat and set aside. I like to give the minced meat 'massages' and a few throws to make it more elastic and tender.
  6. Boil 3-4 big bowls of water in a pot together with the pork bone. When boiling, add in anchovies powder and preserved vegetables, and continue boiling on low heat for at least an hour. Add in salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Add in meat balls in boiling soup.
  8. To cook the minced meat, take a few scoops of boiling soup into the bowl of minced meat. Using the spatula or spoon, stir to 'separate' the minced meat so that they do not form into big chunks of meat. The minced meat should be semi-cooked by now. Add in few more scoops of boiling soup to fully cook them.
  9. When done, add in the bowl of minced meat into the boiling soup. Let it boil for 1 minute.
  10. At the same time, cook the noodles in a separate pot of boiling water. When done, drained and let it run under the tap water so that it does not stick together.
  11. Prepare noodles for 1 person serving in a bowl, and add boiling soup to it.
  12. Garnish with fried garlic and fried pork lard.
  13. Ready to enjoy!

So... what's for lunch tomorrow?