Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Orange Sponge Cake

Finally the class ended last Sunday so I bought a few items from RG which I wanted to try - Orange Paste, Strawberry Paste and Mocha Paste. And the Orange Paste is very well-received by all those who tried so I decided to use that first. And also for prayers tml. 

Using back the same RG's recipe, I added 1tsp of the orange paste. The end results, it is soft and yummy. But I didn't do justice once again. Sponge ah Sponge, when will I conquer u!!! It is a little bit dry, maybe cos I use oil and I didn't unmould properly. So end up I decided not to bring for prayers cos too ugly. We eat it. It tasted very well with the dried cranberries and blueberries. Try it.

I am using the same RG's recipe and added 1tsp of orange paste.

Long Awaited Try - RG's Banana Sponge

Been wanting to bake this for the longest time but I don't know which banana to buy and my family seldom eat banana. So, my neighbor bought me a bunch of banana, real big bunch so I tot to myself, Why not? Ha~

This recipe is also RG's and it raves a lot of good comments from people who tried it. Today I adapt the recipe from Wen's Delight which I have bookmarked ages ago. I baked a full recipe, yes not scare hor, cos sponge cake is not my forte. But who cares, try first then say lo. Hahahha. I managed to get a 11"x5" Rectangle tin and a 6" Round tin out of the recipe. 

As my oven is small, I have to let my 6" 'wait' and keep my fingers crossed that it won't deflate. As I wait, the aroma of the banana, it fills up my whole house. Mmmmm.. Smell lovely.. (But too bad, I don't know how to appreciate banana cakes) As for banana, tis is the 1 I used, don't ask me what type cos I don't know. So the pic is for a reference. 

My end results, the cake is soft n moist, only fault was the banana should have mashed up properly cos I did a rush job. Oh, and also pardon the uneven browning of my top of cake. (Oven is in the process of upgrading, do give me comments which is good) As for texture, I think still can be improve. And I heard that overnight will taste more fragrant. Gonna ask my food critic at home to do the test tonight and tml.

Banana Sponge Cake (adapted from Wen's Delight)
5 Large Eggs *I use 6 small eggs, Seng Choon 1st Born Eggs
350-400g Mashed Banana, or cut into small cubes
250g Sugar *I use 200g
300g Cake Flour *I use Plain Flour
200g Veg Oil, or melted butter *I use Veg Oil
1tsp Baking Powder
1/2tsp Baking Soda

1) Beat eggs, sugar and banana til ribbon stage.
2) Fold in flour slowly and gently, bit by bit, not to deflate the batter.
3) Add in oil, fold carefully til batter is shiny and smooth
4) Bake at 160deg for 40-45mins or until skewer comes out clean.

Home Made Vanilla Extract

Been puttin this on my to-do list. Wanted to buy a new btl Vanilla Extract and my baking friends reminded me about my vanilla pods, still lying in my fridge. Most of them did their own so I tot, I should also since I got a btl of vodka at home. 

I got a 750ml Russian Vodka that is left, sitting in the store so I make use of that and search for a recipe online. I chanced upon this blog that uses 700ml of  Vodka and I tot, just nice for my leftover vodka. And I can use up more of my pods as it uses 9 pods. 

Very simple recipe and method to make your own. I slit open all the pods, scrap the seeds into the vodka, cut the pods into 3 parts so it will remain soaked in the vodka even as I used it. Can't wait for 2 months. Gonna share some with my baking friends once it is ready. 

Home Made Vanilla Extract (adapted from Triumpofthelentil)
9 Vanilla Pods
700ml Vodka

1) Slit all the pods, scrap the seeds into vodka.
2) Cut all the pods into 3s, and put into vodka
3) Leave in a cool, dark place, shaking them occasionally. Ready in 2 months.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Class 8: 再一次的失败 - Sponge Cake (Tier Cake)


原本想要烘个巧克力蛋糕,但是不知道为什么蛋糕的中间不熟,还粘粘的。上面也不理想,有点湿湿。总之非常伤心。但是已经吃了7个星期的蛋糕所以不打算重心烘过。就用老公的生日蛋糕,把所有的 whipping cream刮掉然后重新再涂过和装饰。

今天的课是如何把两个蛋糕叠在一起。同学们都把她们的蛋糕装饰成结婚蛋糕,只有我把它做成公主主题的蛋糕。带回家时,两个小宝贝好开心。弟弟总是好开心,不论是他的车子或姐姐的公主,从不会自私只要自己喜欢的。真的非常爱姐姐!虽然蛋糕底只能吃上面那个,大家还是开心的吃了。下面的就喂给 Mr Bin 因为总觉得不是非常熟所以还是扔掉。


Recipe is using RG's, replaced 20g plain flour to coco powder for chocolate sponge.

Friday, April 26, 2013

我的致命伤 - Sponge Cake

Many times, I tried using sponge cake recipe, many recipes that I tried and cld nt succeed in baking a good one. It comes out either like a kueh, crumbly, breaks apart, too hard, undercooked, over baked and many many reasons that contribute to my failure. Sad rite?
Recently I joined RG's class, it is for deco and piping techniques and many times we were asked to bring a sponge cake. But I always cheated, as how I wld usually do for my cakes, I used a chiffon cake. I will beat to soft peaks, fold 1/3 whites them pour batter to remaining whites and bake. Ta-daa~ A soft and spongy chiffon. And it has nvr 'prick' me that it is not a MUST to learn sponge cake until that day.

I tasted a classmate's sponge. Oh my god, it is spongy, soft and moist. I feel so guilty that after baking so long, I still cld nt do it. And I also didn't bother too. Not to mention that all the other classmates can bring a nice and spongy sponge cake which I couldn't and always cheated with a chiffon. So I bring myself to it. And with my long-winded, never-ending questions to my grp of baking friends, I Whatsapp, and bake almost everyday for this week, except for wed, for a sponge. It started with crumbly and collapsed, then under-baked and today, finally, no more lumps of flour visible, it comes out spongy and soft and nvr crumble. 

I was so worried when I took out to cut into half, I was worried it will break into 2 but it didn't. And I managed to have 2x6" sponge cake that is tall, and 2" or taller. I am so happy... (Cos I am using for hubby bday cake) I intend to use 1 to deco with my kids and 1 more to do a Man U devil and bring to club for our celebration with friends.

I use the Pour 'n' whip cream from Cold Storage. And put RG's blueberry filling for the cake and did up my 'choco' devil. Bad measurement and it can't sit properly on the cake with my wordings. (I shld also have placed the devil b4 writing.) But nonetheless, still my effort am.. Right? As for the kids, I did 4 colors of whipped cream for them, some chocolate candies, heart-shaped chocolates etc. I believe my gal had the most fun. And the happiest is my husband. I love you my dear baby, for always loving me and placing our family TOP in your list of priorities. 

Sponge Cake (using Richard Goh recipe)
4 eggs
100g sugar *i use 80g
100g plain flour
100g butter, melted
*i added 1 tsp of vanilla & 2tsp of lemon juice

1) Beat eggs til fluffy and add in sugar graudually. Continue to beat til ribbon stage.

2) Fold in fold bit by bit, taking your time not to deflate the batter, in a upwards direction. 
Add in melted butter and fold gently til shiny and creamy

3) Bake at 160deg for 40mins or until skewer comes out clean.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ham & Cheese Bread - Alex Goh direct bread recipe

For the past 2 days, I have been practicing my sponge cake recipe til I am so tired aldy. Today decided to bake some bread that I have bookmarked earlier. I simply have to make this bread after I caught the pic on someone's blog. The bread looks so yummy that I have to try. Most I pt it is a straight bread method which is suitable for me in my busy schedule. 

The way it is roll up and then stacked and cut and place together to bake, it just makes eating it so easy. Jus tear a portion and you can jus sink ur teeth into it. And the recipe is a mixture of bread flour and plain flour. Good!!

Overall, bread is soft but not very soft as white bread cos I modify to Wholemeal version. But it's not so dry as those commercialized Wholemeal bread. It's considered good for a straight dough recipe. Try it. 

Ham & Cheese Bread Loaf (modified from Vivian Pang Kitchen)
**i halve the recipe for a ham & cheese loaf, 5x mini sausage buns and 1 ham&cheese braid155g Bread Flour
5g Wholemeal Flour
40g Plain Flour
15g sugar
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp yeast
1 egg
110ml milk
12g Canola Oil

1) Mix all dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add in milk & egg.
Knead til dough-like
2) Add in canola oil and continue to mix til it can form a membrane. Proof for 1hour or til doubled
3) Divide a portion of 100gx2, 15-17gx5, remaining for a braid
4) Refer to recipe source on how to stack the bread, then leave to proof for 45mins or til doubled. Bake at 180deg for 30mins.

Stewed Pork (卤肉)

The other day, I was having Pig Organ's Soup at Serangoon Garden Market. Hubby was saying that the stews pork leg is so delish, and I realized I haven cooked this dish for very long. So, referring back to my previous recipe, I made some modifications.

I bought the whole pork knuckle as it is on offer at $8.90 from Cold Storage and a slab of Twee Bak from NTUC. And reason why the pork knuckle was on offer was that it is sold as a whole and they can't chop for u. So no choice, I had to cut off the meat off the bones, and leave the whole bones to slowly simmer with all the meat. I added Chinese mushrooms, some tau kwa and hard boiled eggs too.

This improvised version is more fragrant and so so nice. Great to go with a bowl of rice and i cooked my fav sambal brinjal and spicy black beqns shark fish. Yummy!

Stew Pork (modified from here)
1 Pork Knuckle
1 Slab Twee Bak
6-7 Chinese Mushroom, soaked and cut half
5-6 Hard Boiled Eggs
2 Big Tau Kwa, cut into 4s
Marinate (preferably night before or at least 3-4hours)
5Tbsp Oyster Sauce
5Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
3Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
Dash of Pepper
Some cornflour
1 clove Garlic, washed and separate
1/2 Ginger, cut
Gravy (when you boil, you need to add some more liquid & adjust accordingly to the taste)
3 Cups Water
2Tbsp Oyster Sauce
7Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 Star Anise
2Tbsp Hua Tiao

1) After marinate for 3-4hours or overnight, add in the above for 'gravy' and bring to boil.
2) Leave it to simmer til meat is 70% soft. Stir occasionally to prevent meat get burnt at bottom.
3) Add in Tau Kwa and eggs. Cooked til meat is soft.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Class 7 - Longevity Peach

This week is the 2nd last class, so sad and emo. Anyway this class is also 1 of the more difficult class as we will be touching on fondant, on how to wrap the cake with it and also on how to make it looks like those Longevity Peach cake that you see in bakeries.

Usually, for Chinese, we use a Longevity Peach as a cake when we celebrate 60th, 70th & onwards for the elderly's birthday. It is to wish them good health and long life. It symbolize good things. And I am so excited as I have always wanted to try this but have no courage to. And moreover, this coming June, my grandma will be celebrating her 70th birthday and I will have a chance to showcase it. Yeah!! (I have aldy told her I am making it for her birthday after I learn it in today's class.

It is quite difficult, not so easy as you need to knead the fondant (we are using ready-made fondant), and also do the 'colourings', adding on the leaves or stalk as you prefer. RG definitely have good patience to guide us thru this tedious learning process. And I have a great time learning and really 'absorb' the essence of it. 

As for the cake, I am using this recipe from 君子 cos after seeing Angela's cake, I am so intrigued to try this after failing my sponge earlier using RG's recipe. (I think I under-fold and I went to search for video on how to fold in the flour and oil and try again so I don't think it's the recipe prb). Anyway, taste is good but cake kinda dry n hard cos I over-fold the cake. (First attempt with the recipe, I under-baked & my 2nd attempt, I over-fold). But will definetely try both recipe again. 

Chocolate Sponge Cake (adapted from 君子)
6 eggs
150g sugar *i use 120g
200g Cake Flour *i used 180g cake flour + 20g cocoa powder
50g melted butter *i use 50g canola oil

1) Melt butter in microwave or double-boil. Leave aside.  
2) Beat eggs and sugar til ribbon stage. It will leaves a trail when u drizzle the batter on top.
3) Fold in sifted flour and butter gently. Be careful not to deflate the batter.
4) Bake at 180deg for 25-30mins

How to do the cut out (Pic from left-right then 2nd row, third row)
1) Use a tracing paper same size as your cake, draw out shape of Longevity Peach
2) Put it on top of cake and cut out the shape. Smooth out the edges, trim and make the sides 'rounded'. And using the loose pieces from cutting out the shapes, to put on top of the cake to form the 'humps' and also cut a 'cleavage' in the center.
3) Crumb coat thinly with whipped cream (or u can use buttercream) for the ready cut cake. Roll fondant thinly and then put on top of cake. Smooth it out and tuck in under the cake. (You can trim the cake bottom slightly to better tuck the fondant in
4) Using the toothbrush, brush on the spatula and then 'spray' it nearer the bottom of cake to form the 'dots'. Alternatively you can use a spray bottle. Red colourings shld be slightly thick so t it will not smudge.
5) Knead green colourings into a small piece of white fondant. Then roll it out and cut out shape of leave. Use spatula or back of leaves, draw out the lines for the leaves.
6) Using tip of fingers, lift up the leaves, dab some on back of leave then stick to the top of fondant. And knead some brown fondant and form the stalk.

Friday, April 19, 2013

IHCC - Creamy Chix w/Apples, Carrots & Potatoes (Yotam Ottolenghi)

This week, I am using this recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi cos the pic of the dish really makes me drool. I love the way the marinates, potatoes, carrots and Chix looks after roasting theme over stove. Simply delish. 

The chef uses Bay Leaves & Tarragon & Chervil to marinate the dish, but I couldn't find fresh Bay Leaves & Chervil so I substitute with Fresh Tarragon & Italian Herbs instead. I added a little lemon juice as usual to my Chix to make it less oily and appetizing. I omit mustard as the kids don't really like the taste of it. 

The end result yields a very yummy & fragrant Chix, and goes well with the butter croissant (tomato & hard-boiled egg with mayo dressing n cheese) that I got from Cold Storage. Try it, very easy to prepare and hassle-free meal when you want to be lazy yet serve a sumptuous dinner. I believe it can replaced the turkey tt we have for Thanksgiving. 

Creamy Chix w/Apples, Carrots & Potatoes (recipe from guardian.co.uk)
***i halve recipe for 1/2 chix***
20g unsalted butter
2½ tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and very finely chopped 
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 6cm x 3cm batons 
2 medium turnips, peeled, halved and cut into 2cm-wide wedges *omit & replaced with baby potatoes*
2 eating apples, peeled, halved, cored and cut into 3cm-wide wedges
2 medium pears, peeled, halved, cored and cut into 3cm-wide wedges *omit*
400ml good-quality chicken stock
2 tsp Dijon mustard *omit*
10g fresh tarragon tied in a bundle, plus 1 tsp extra chopped
10g chervil, tied in a bundle, plus 1 tbsp picked chervil leaves to garnish
2 bay leaves
Salt and black pepper
8-10 skin-on boneless chicken thighs
3 tbsp double cream *i replaced with lo-fat milk*
**i replace the herbs in blue to Italian herbs**

1) Put butter & olive oil in pan, sauté onions, then add carrots & potatoes. Stirring occasionally. Add apples when carrots start to soften.
2) Add in stock, mix herbs, salt & black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 4min. Then leave aside.
3) Heat up another pan, rub Chix with salt & black pepper with a little olive oil. Then roast the Chix in pan til it changes colour, about 4-6mins per side.
4) Take Chix and put into the same pan with the veg, pushing it down to cover with the stock and simmer for 4mins. Dish out Chix and veg. Add cream and bring sauce to simmer. Pour the sauce over chix, serve warm.

I am submitting this post to I Heart Cooking Club on this week theme - Root Vegetables.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Strawberry Jam Cookies

I came across this recipe when I was browsing thru some cooking blogs. I always loved jam cookies, esp pineapple jam. So why strawberry? Oh, cos I recently bought a tub of strawberry filling from RG's class. And I didn't really like it in between my cakes so I tot I put it to good use rather than wasting it, leaving it to expire in the fridge.

I found the recipe quite straight-forward and simple. But 1 thing I don't really like was, it is very sticky. I added about 3-4 tbsp of cornflour to the dough as I was rolling them out. After adding the cornflour, it is easier to roll and cut. I cut them into hearts, then some with a small little hole to 'expose' the filling.

The smell of the cookies baking is very fragrant. I tasted the cookies on its own, it is very fragrant, a bit sweet for me. It will be good on its own to go with a cup of coffee or tea. It compliments the strawberry filling very well. But I think I roll the cookies slightly too thin and I would do it again, rolling it slightly thicker. 

Strawberry Jam Cookies (adapted from ReeseKitchen)
*i halve the recipe and yields 15 jam cookies
95g Plain Flour
87g Butter
50g Sugar
50g Grounded Hazelnut *i use almond
1tsp vanilla essence
175g Strawberry Filling
1tsp lemon juice

1) Cream butter and sugar til fluffy
2) Add vanilla essence, then plain flour. Mix into a dough
3) Chill for 1 hour *i chill in freezer for 30mins
4) Roll put dough and cut out shapes of preference
5) Bake at 170deg for 10-15mins. Cooled
6) Cook strawberry filling with lemon juice til simmer, cooled
7) Spoon filling onto cookies, after both are cooled. Store in airtight.Keep in fridge to stay crisp