Thursday, April 24, 2014

Crunchy granola and yogurt pots


My lil' fella has a play date cum birthday party to attend later today. They are gonna be swimming. But the problem is the party starts at 5:30pm, which means I gotta finish work, go fetch him from the nanny's and send him to the party. I won't have time to bake some luscious cakes or muffins for the kiddos, so I decided to do this light and refreshing granola and yogurt pots for the little people as snacks after their dip.

They are healthy, very yummy and easy to prepare. They make great and filling breakfast too. 
First, I prepare the granola a day ahead and they can keep for at least 7-10 days in an air-tight container. I don't think they will keep that long anyway, cos both hubby and the lil' fella love munching on them as snacks. Me too, actually :p

To prepare the granola, I have:
  • 2tbsp raw almond
  • 2tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 4tbsp rolled oat
  • pinch of cinnamon (optional)
  • 2-3tbsp virgin coconut oil, adjustable, making sure all nuts, seeds and oats are wet  
  • 2tbsp honey  

  1. Combine all the above ingredients and making sure all nuts, seeds and oats are moist. If still looking dry, add virgin coconut oil to adjust.
  2. Preheat oven to 160deg C.
  3. Spread a thin layer of the wet mixed nuts and seeds on a lined baking tray.
  4. Bake for 10-15min. Remove the tray and flip the wet mixed nuts to the other side, stir with wooden spatula.
  5. Bake for another 10-15min until seeds has puffed up.
  6. For mine, I also add in another 3tbsp spell puff to the mixture and bake for another 5min.
  7. Remove tray from oven. Let cool and store granola in air-tight container.
To prepare the granola and yogurt pots, I need:
  • Honey or orange marmalade or fruit puree/ jam
  • Plain natural yogurt
  • Granola
In a nice transparent container or glass, place a tablespoon of honey/ marmalade/ fruit puree or cut fruits at the bottom. Top with plain yogurt. Layer with granola. Top with another layer of plain yogurt. Finish up with a generous topping of granola.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Breakfast pancake lasagna

Our kitchen has run out of bread or cereals, so we have no breakfast and I have to whip up something. Wanted to make pancakes, but I don't have a good spread or filling to go with my pancakes. Then I come across this Chinese pancake, which I thought I can serve it savory with my freshly made tomato pesto and cheese.
This Chinese blogger Apple 爱自己 is really good, her blog has all the photos and illustrated steps on making this Chinese pancake, so even if you don't read Chinese, do visit it to browse through the photos, you'll get the idea, roughly. Her skills are also good. I halved the recipe to make two thin pancakes. First pancake got stucked but still got saved. But I had to use a second frying pan to make my second pancake >.< .. second pancake didn't get stucked, but almost got burnt by the side. Again, this concludes that, I'm terrible with pancakes, be it the English or the Chinese pancakes.
Since the pancake didn't turn out really good looking, I decided to mask it by turning it into a pancake lasagna. Heheheee.. still look good afterall, don't you think so?

This is how I made them
To make the pancake, you'll need:
 *This recipe makes two thin pancake
  • 75g all purpose flour
  • 125g water, at room temperature
  • Some chopped up scallions/ spring onions
  • 1egg, beaten
  1. Combine the flour and water with a pair of chopsticks. Whisk until there is no flour blobs. Set for about 10min.
  2. Brush oil on a flat pan. Do not need to heat up the pan. Spread thin layer of batter on pan. Turn on the heat. When the batter slowly gets cooked, you'll see it turning from opaque to a little translucent. At this stage, sprinkle in the spring onion and half of the beaten egg.
  3. If your skill is good, and the pancake doesn't get sticked to the pan, turn it over and heat through. I didn't get to do this. It starts to tear apart when I tried to flip it over. So I just roll them up and lay on a ceramic dish to be baked into a lasagna.
  4. To make the lasagna, spread a layer of tomato pesto, top with lots of grated Cheddar. Bake at 180deg C for about 5-10min until the cheese melts.

Spaghetti with tomato & almond pesto

It's been a long time since I made pesto, cos I haven't bought Parmesan or pine nuts for a long time, and the Thai basil outside in my garden are not thriving well. But who says pesto has to be made with Parmesan or pine nuts, it can be done nicely with any cheese and any nice nuts or even seeds. This time, I actually made them with tomato, so it isn't a green pesto but a red pesto. Tastes equally nice, if not nicer!
Again, this pesto sauce is very versatile. I served it with pasta and season with lots and lots of grated Cheddar. My son and I are huge fans of cheese. I've also served it with breakfast pancakes I made this morning and made it into a breakfast pancake lasagna.

Here's my son, who had gone nuts over the roasted almonds I'd prepared for this pesto sauce. I wasn't very willing to let him snack on them cos there are still  risk of choking even though I did chop them into little pieces. But we've run out of snacks or bread or cakes at home!! Nothing!! Not even fruit! Darn. And he seems hungry. So I let him, in the end. He loved them!

Here's the recipe for the very versatile and delicious tomato pesto, you can make double or triple portions of this, and it'll keep for 10 days in refrigerator.

  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2tbsp roasted almond or raw almond
  • few basil leaves/ Thai basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of basil oil (see photo below)
  • 1-2tbsp Parmesan (I don't have this, so I omitted them, but I serve this sauce with lots of grated Cheddar) 
  1. Steam everything, except for the oil and cheese until the tomato turns soft.
  2. Blitz in a food processor, slowly drizzle in oil and Parmesan, until it achieves a creamy consistency. May adjust with more or less oil to get the consistency wanted.

Organic basil oil, also known as pistou in Provence, its full bodied aroma makes it great with salad, or homemade vinaigrettes and sauces like this.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Growing my own natural yeast starter

Okay, I'm finally doing this. I have been reading about cultivating my own starter dough for a long time and just don't have the time to finally commit to doing it, cos it's something that takes patience and time, two things that I am not gifted with. I'm neither a patient person nor a person that has a lot of time. But when I saw Nadia stating this in her blog, 'Sure, you can make bread using instant yeast – I did, for many years, but once you taste a loaf crafted by your own hands that was made by a  home-grown leavener – or raising agent – you won’t want to go back. Instant yeast makes for decent enough bread  but because it has little “character,” and the bread rises so quickly and doesn’t have the time to develop its own personality, the flavors are one-dimensional and bland compared to the wonderfully nuanced, tangy notes produced by a genuine sourdough starter.' .. I'm compelled to make it. So here are the two blogs, ie this and this,  I'm referencing to cultivate my first ever starter dough. Firstly I'm growing my yeast from apples. Wish me lots of 'yeasty' luck! :D

To grow my natural yeast, I'll need

  • 150g freshly cut apple
  • 30g honey
  • 300g clean filtered water
*I also add in 1tbsp oligo.

To grow:
  1. Sterilize the glass container with boiling water and air-dry.
  2. Cut apple in little cubes. *There is no need to remove the skin, cos there are lots of nutrients from the skin that aids fermentation. (I didn't even remove the stem or core)
  3. Place the apple, honey and water into the pre-sterilized glass container. Stir to combine with a clean chopstick. Cover with wid. Store container under 26-28degC. Remove the lid everyday to remove the gas and cover up. Gently twirl the container.

Small amount of bubbles noted on the surface. Yay :D
Open up the lid, release the gas generated. Noted a nice fragrance of apple and little alcohol.  Cover up with its lid. Gently twirl.

Small amount of bubbles noted, a little more than day before. Smell of alcohol is stronger.
Open up the lid, release the gas generated. Cover up with its lid. Gently twirl.

This practice requires lots of patience and determination. Every morning, I look forward to the moment I open up the lid to soak in the beautiful fragrance of this natural yeast-in the making.

As you can see from the photo, there are more bubbles. Activity is getting busier in this container. The inside of the container has fogged up a little, possibly due to the temperature difference between the inside of the container (mild heat from fermentation) and the outside ambience temperature. When shaken, more bubbles get generated.

The smell of alcohol is pretty strong at this stage. Smells like a nice apple wine.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Cous cous with duck egg and black eyed bean


I have only eaten salted duck egg 咸蛋, but I have not tried fresh duck egg before and I have no clue on how to prep or cook them. But the friend who generously gifted me with a few fresh organic duck egg told me that I just need to cook it like how I cook chicken egg. After reading more about it, I realized duck egg are not much different from chicken egg in terms of their nutrition, but with the exception that duck eggs are larger in size, they also have larger proportion of yolk, and thus duck eggs have more protein and are richer than chicken eggs, with higher fat content and more cholesterol. When boiled, the white turns bluish and the yolk turns red-orange. Duck egg has thicker shell and thus keeps longer than chicken egg, about 6-8 weeks if refrigerated. With no exception, I would use it to prepare some healthy and nutritious meals for my little boy, cos he would need all these good proteins and good fats. According to my aunt, some of the sellers use duck egg to make kaya. Ah.. I guess I know why! Because duck egg has more yolk and is richer in terms of its flavor, so the kaya would definitely turns out tasting great and creamy!
I have paired up this dish with some black eyed beans which I've previously cooked in big batch and kept some frozen for use at occasions like this, where I need a quick dinner for the little fella. Read here if you want to find out more about black eyed beans. I don't add any flavoring like salt or pepper to this, cos eventually, it'll be nicely seasoned with finely grated Cheddar cheese.
Cous cous is something that's very simple and quick to prepare. I personally am a huge fan of cous cous. I eat it paired with raw lettuce, fresh tomatoes, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, dressed with a delicious Caesar dressing. The great thing about it, it's very high in fiber, the reason why I ate loads of it when I was pregnant. Check out the following instruction, it's super fast to prepare, it only needs no more than 10min.
To prepare a basic cous cous, you'll need:
  • 1cup cous cous
  • 1 1/4 cup water or stock
  • 1tbsp olive oil
In a shallow pan, boil up the water or stock. Spread the cous cous thinly in another heat-proof container or dish. Pour in the boiling water or stock. Cover with a lid. Let stand for about 5-10min. After 10min, fluff with a folk and season with olive oil.
In my case, I actually had additional ingredients in my cous cous:
  • 1clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 2tbsp cooked black eyed beans
  • 1 hard-boiled duck egg, shelled and chopped
  • 1-2tbsp finely grated Cheddar
  • 1cup raw cous cous
  • 1 1/4 cup water or stock
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  1. In a frying pan, heat up a tablespoon of cooking oil. Fry the garlic and onion till fragrant.
  2. Stir in the cooked black eyed beans and heat them through. Pour in water or stock. Simmer for about 5min.
  3. Pour the water or stock mixture to a oven-proof casserole where the cous cous is.
  4. Cover with a lid.
  5. Let stand for about 5-10min. Fluff with a folk and season with olive oil.
  6. Mix in the chopped duck egg.
  7. Top with grated Cheddar.
  8. Place the casserole dish under a hot grill / oven to melt the cheese.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spinach loaf with black eyed bean

I dunno why, but everytime I make spinach loaf, it always turn out very very soft and fluffy. Of course, I know a lot of it is because of the scalded dough method, but somehow I felt that the spinach version is sooo much fluffier. This spinach loaf is quite similar to the one I previously made, with the exception that this recipe makes a bigger loaf (to fit in my newly bought loaf tin, measuring 20cm x 10.5cm x 11cm) and it makes use of spinach and black eyed bean sauce and the loaf has cooked black eyed beans in it for extra bites.
Here's the recipe, adapted from Alex Goh's scalded dough method
Scalded dough
  • 100g bread flour
  • 70g boiling water

 Pour hot boiling water over bread flour. Mix to combine. Leave cool for 30min in fridge.

Main dough
*The ingredients were added into the breadmaker pan in the following order
  • 100g spinach and black eyed beans sauce, refer here for the recipe
  • 150g water (normal room temperature)
  • 45g grapeseed oil
  • 2tbsp molasses sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g bread flour
  • 150g wholemeal bread flour
  • 100g all purpose flour
  • make a well in middle of flour, and place in 1tsp. active dry yeast


  1. I kneaded the dough using my Donlim breadmaker.
  2. Select the “dough” mode. When all ingredients come together (about 3-5min in my case), add the scalded dough prepared ahead in little pieces.
  3. Let the dough complete the 1st round of proofing, until doubled in size, about 45min to an hour.
  4. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide into 3 equal portions (about 270g each). Knead into ball shapes. Cover with plastic wrap, let rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.
  5. Roll out each dough ball with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Sprinkle cooked black eyed beans. Roll up the dough and seal tightly. Roll out each portion with a rolling pin. Seal faces upward and roll into a cylinder shape (or swiss roll look-alike). Arrange the rolled-up dough in a greased or non-stick loaf tin. Repeat this step for the other two portions. Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 45 minutes, or until the dough rises up to 4/5 of the height of the tin inside.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated 170C oven* (in my case, I baked at 160deg C in my khind toaster oven) for 35 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven and tin. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

Pasta with spinach cream sauce (baby food)


This is my baby's dinner. Don't you think it looks really 'gourmet'? It looks like an expensive dish served at a posh fine-dining restaurant. Hohooo.. no, it's not. It's a simple dinner I whipped up for my adorable little fella. It's actually a very protein-rich creamy sauce pureed from sautéed spinach, potato and black eyed beans (called 眉豆in Chinese), served with brown rice shell pasta and grated Cheddar cheese.
Again, it's a meat-free dish, my son doesn't eat a lot of meat, so I had to ensure that he gets sufficient amount of protein and iron from his meals, in this case, he gets plenty of them from the spinach (for the iron) and the black eyed beans (for the protein). Black eyed beans, unlike many other beans like adzuki (red) beans or mung beans, are easy to cook and has a lower tendency of causing gas. I have made black eyed bean puree for the lil' fella when he was under one. It actually tastes sweet and has a nice creamy consistency. Other than its high protein and fiber content, black eyed beans are also rich in folate, making it a great pregnancy food or snacks too.
Black eyed beans doesn't require soaking prior to cooking. But soaking it would make it easier to cook/ soften. It only took me about 15min (in a pressure cooker) to cook it till soft, without mushing it. The black eyed beans used in this recipe are pre-cooked. I usually cook a big batch of the beans and freeze them in individual portion and use them in sauces (like this), salads or soups.
To prepare this, you'll need:
  • 2-3 tbsp. cooked brown rice pasta
  • 1cup spinach
  • 2tbsp pre-cooked black eyed bean
  • Half a medium size potato, skinned and cubed
  • 2clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, minced 
  • 1-2tbsp rice bran oil (or other cooking oil / butter)  
  • 1cup water / stock
  • 2tbsp fresh milk / cream (optional)
  1. Heat up a pan / wok and heat up the cooking oil.
  2. Stir in minced garlic and onion and sautee until fragrant.
  3. Stir in potato, cooked black eyed bean and spinach. Sautee for about 2-3min.
  4. Pour in water or stock. Simmer for about 15-20min or until the potatoes turn soft.
  5. In a blender, puree the sauce till it achieves a creamy consistency. Add in milk or cream.
  6. Serve with pasta and season with grated Cheddar.
Aside from serving this sauce with pasta, I have also used it to bake a spinach loaf and make sandwich spread.
Spinach loaf with mung bean

Sandwich with spinach and cheese spread

To make the spinach and cream spread:
  • 2tbsp of the spinach and black eyed bean sauce
  • 3tbsp grated Cheddar cheese
Heat up the spinach sauce in a microwave (1min) or a heated pan. Stir in grated Cheddar. Use as sandwich spread.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Steamed malay cake 黑糖马来糕

When I was over in PJ few days ago, we ate a lot of good food. We went for our routine breakfast dim sum at 锦选。The dim sum were okay, but the dish that caught my attention the most was their malay cake, or ma lai kou 马来糕 which was light yellow in color. Before trying it out, I was curious as to why it was in that yellow shade, I thought it should be darker brown in color? The few times we had them in Hong Kong, they are always in darker shade. Anyways, I came back and did some surfing about it. All this while, my understanding is that it's not a dish that originates from Malaysia, it's called so because its color resembles the Malaysian skin color? Hahahaaa.. sound a little racism (or skin colorism) thinking about it, but no fret, this is just my personal thought. My hubby didn't actually agree with my thoughts. I tried it and it definitely tastes much better than my expectation. It was very very cottony soft and not too sweet. I told myself I'm gonna go home and try making something similar.
The ones I tried at 锦选 definitely didn't have muscovado sugar 黑糖 in it. Dark muscovado sugar would impart a very distinct taste and color to the cake. But I used it in mine. I tasted a little custard flavor in the ones I tried there. Initially, I wanted to add in custard powder, but when I was at the shop and browsing through the aisle, picked up a packet of custard powder, looked at the ingredient list, it says, 'corn flour, permitted flavoring and fragrance'... I was like, What!?  Finally, I decided I wasn't gonna use it. I'll try other means of making my ma lai kou tastes good, instead of loading it with permitted flavoring and fragrance.

Here's my recipe, adapted from Sally's kitchen
This recipe makes 8 malay cupcakes
*If you're using this exact recipe of mine, do not need to cut down the amount of sugar, cos the sugar and cheese counter-balance each other, they are not that sweet. Unless you want to omit the cheese, then you may cut it down.  
75g dark muscovado sugar/ molasses powder
2 eggs
60g rice bran oil
65g fresh milk
140g superfine flour, sifted
1.5tsp baking powder *original recipe called for baking powder and baking soda, I omitted the baking soda
3tbsp grated Cheddar
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with sugar until sugar is dissolved. Combine ingredients B with the beaten egg mixture.
  2. Add into ingredients C and combine evenly. Let the batter rest for 20min at room temperature (to allow time for baking powder to activate).
  3. Divide the batter among the cupcake liner. In a wok with boiling water, steam for 12min.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Black sesame loaf (Overnight sponge dough method)

I have always been baking with my favorite soft and fluffy bread recipe, which is the scalded dough recipe. But I recently bought a huge loaf tin, measuring 30cm x 10.5cm x 11cm, and my usual scalded dough recipe would not fill this huge loaf tin, and I can't be bothered to do the conversion of the ingredients, so I just simply google for a good one, and I found this, and it IS a good one.
A friend once shared with me, out of all these different starter dough method, ie tangzhong, overnight sponge dough, or scalded dough method, her favorite is the overnight sponge dough 中种method. I have tried the 17hr method before, but I wanted to try them more to verify if it's the best. Verdict: I'm not entirely sure if it's the best among the rest, cos I'm quite sure I have achieved the same fluffiness using scalded dough method before. But it's another easy and quite a convenient one. You can prepare the overnight sponge dough the night before and finish up the loaf the next morning.
I made extra for sale. So maybe I can check with my client if they can observe any difference with the bread texture. All this while, my client has been buying the bread I baked with scalded dough method.

Here's the recipe:

Overnight sponge dough
  • 470g high protein flour (bread flour)
  • 66g egg
  • 269g water (I used milk)
  • 4g / 1tsp instant active yeast
  • 2tbsp toasted black sesame (I added this)
Main dough
  • 40g high protein flour (bread flour)
  • 2tbsp brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 35g butter (I replaced this with 2tbsp rice bran oil)
  • 1g instant active yeast
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the overnight sponge dough, knead into a dough, keep in a closed-container in refrigerator and let proof for 24hrs (or until the dough has tripled its original size). (I have only proved it for about 12hrs).
  2. In my Donlim breadmaker, I knead all the ingredients in the main dough with the overnight sponge dough (torn into small pieces) for about 10min, until the dough can be stretched into a nice thin membrane without tearing (see photo below).
  3. Membrane test:
  4. Divide the dough into 3 equal portion, set aside (let relax) for about 30min.
  5. Punch out the gas into the divided portion. With a rolling pin, roll into a long disk. Roll up and place in the loaf tin. Repeat the same with the other two portions.
  6. Proof until the dough fills to about 90% of the tin.
  7. With my Khind oven, I've baked this at 155deg C for about 35min.
I have also baked other bread loaves and buns with this recipe:
  • Carrot and goji loaf (replaced 269g water with 120g steamed carrot and goji puree and 170g water, also omit the egg, and replaced with 65g water)
  • Apricot and raisin bun (added 1tbsp raisin and 1tbsp chopped apricot into the dough, omitted the egg and replaced with 65g water)

Golden butter loaf 老式面包

This is a very famous soft and fluffy bread recipe that's popular among the Chinese bloggers. I don't know how to translate its name into English, 老式面包  is literally translated as 'the olden style bread'.  It takes a long time but the results are worth it. If you read Chinese and would like to hear stories about this recipe, see here.
I have not changed or adapted this recipe, so I'm not gonna repeat or copy the recipe here. Refer to the link above for the recipe. If you're looking for something nice, soft and buttery, try it. It takes about 5hrs, inclusive of the sponge dough stage, but it's worth a try. Bernice whom I follow has also done the same bread, which you may also refer for easier reference.
The entire loaf was kneaded and baked in my Donlim breadmaker.
Can you see how soft it is?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Purple loaf 紫米土司

I am addicted to creating marble effects lately, been doing it in chiffons and my bread loaves. This time I have done it with purple rice 紫米。 This purple rice loaf is quite commonly seen among the Chinese blogosphere. I love the color it renders, thus I made double portion of the dough (half white and half purple), halved it to be baked into a loaf, and the other half was made into two bread rolls. 
I have this really nice organic purple rice which I've always been adding into my red bean dessert. It helps to create creamy red bean soup dessert. According to its packaging, purple rice is very rare and thus have always been highly prized. When cooked, it has a wonderful fragrant. It is rich in calcium, iron, protein, vitamin B1, B2, B17 and 17 types of amino acids and other nutrients. These nutrients help to boost up blood circulation and replenish iron needs, especially for pregnant ladies and kids  (紫米因产量稀少,历代帝王,都把它视为贡品。 煮熟的紫米,香味极佳,含丰富的钙、铁、蛋白质、维他命B1, B2 及17 种氨基酸等人体所需的多种微量元素,有助促进血液循环,有助于改善孕妇、儿童缺铁性状况。) 。。。 Reading this, I think this will be my favorite loaf from now on :D
I have used my favorite soft and fluffy loaf recipe, but replaced the red bean with cooked purple rice. Purple rice cooks quite easily, it only took about 20-30min in a normal pan of boiling water. I have also added about 2tbsp of cooked purple rice into my breakfast oatmeal.

Cooked purple rice has this pretty glossy-look.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Marble bread loaf with purple sweet potato

Made this pretty marble bread loaf with half milk and half purple sweet potato puree. The basic recipe is the same as this. I replaced the 1-cup of black sesame milk drink with half cup of fresh milk (added to half of the dough) and half cup of purple sweet potato (added to the other half the dough).
After first knead in the breadmaker (the breadmaker kneaded one half, I manually kneaded the other half), both the dough went through a separate proof (one in breadmaker, the other in an enclosed oven, no heat on). Once the dough has doubled their original size, separately, I punched out the trapped air and roll into an oblong flat dish, layer both dough and roll, and let to go through the second proof and let bake in my breadmaker. This recipe yields very soft dough, so rolling was quite tacky, thus the marbling effects are not that that uniform, but still a beauty.


Creamy mushroom soup in a bun

He loves to play with containers. He would remove the lid of the containers, put some of his favorite toys in (ie balls, toys etc) and put the lid on, and then reverse the whole process and repeat again. It goes on until he gets bored and move on to another activity. So let's see if he'll does the same thing with this mushroom soup in a bun, which comes with a lid too.
This was his creamy mushroom sauce which I prepared for his pasta lunch. In the evening, I was supposed to let him have the same thing for dinner, but I was so busy baking chiffon cakes, yes I'm addicted to baking tang-mian chiffon off late, I didn't even have time to boil his pasta. Instead, I just cut off the top of the black sesame bun I made this morning, scooped out the flesh (bread), pour in heated soup into the bun and that was his dinner!
  • 1clove garlic
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 4-6 fresh brown button mushroom
  • 1/2 small potato
  • 1-2 cups fresh milk (the amount varies, depend on whether you're making a sauce or soup)
  • cracked black pepper
1. Steam or pan fry all ingredients till soft. Simmer with milk.
2. Blend till achieve creamy consistency.
3. Season with grated cheese (optional).

This was the cocoa-banana chiffon cake I was busy making that evening. For recipe, please refer here. Instead of orange juice, I replaced with half milk half banana puree. The brown color was achieved by dividing the batter into half, and added half with cocoa mix (1tbsp cocoa powde+1tbsp water).

Thursday, April 3, 2014

My 1st chiffon: orange chiffon cake (tang mian)

I haven't done blogging and proper food photograph with my DSLR for very long. So I consider myself a noob still. And I have only started to watermark my photos a few months back. It takes time, but seeing all the others doing it, I'm sure it's needed. If you're reading this and have your view on this, do share with me :)
Now this is what happened. I did a 咸鱼宝 (salted fish bun) as inspired by the drama 食为奴 by TVB, some time back, and as usual, I shared about it on my blog, here. I was quite pleased with it, cos that was one of the very few times my hubby complimented that he liked it. He usually tells me that my food are bland :p  
This is my signature shot, I call it my signature shot, cos all of my closed up cross-section photos are held by my left hand as I capture it with my right hand. I can't handle my DSLR with my left hand.
The photo was featured in a local Malaysian magazine by the name of 号xx报,but they have PSed to remove my watermark and no credits was given back to my blog or the photographer. I am not too bothered about it, cos I'm not selling any of my photos, but I'm writing about it, cos I have been educating people that whenever we follow or copy someone's recipe, we should always always always give credit back to the originator, because the originator did take the extra efforts in making the food and capturing those good photos. Ok, that's lesson of today, shared.
Now, back to my first chiffon cake. I have not taken up the courage of baking a chiffon cake, even though I bake chiffon cupcakes all the time, cos I failed it big big time when I first tried it some time back. But the chiffon trend is always in-the-air, it never seem to subside, and a few of them have done this version and have great reviews over it, naming a few, Sonia, Bernice and Victoria. They are among the few bloggerchefs whom I admire and follow quite closely. I have done my first chiffon using the famous tang mian method which is supposed to yield even softer chiffon. I'm a big chiffon fan, I love chiffon cos it is soft and fluffy, like cotton candy, and it's not so sweet, and I always wonder, what's softer than something which is already so soft. So now I know. Tang mian method does produce a softer and moister chiffon, you wont need to dip it in your coffee or milo when eating it cos it's not that dry or throat-choking (which can be, for some store-bought chiffons).

The skin is a little on the thick side. I'll try a lower baking temp. next.

Despite of that, this is still a very soft one. See how it flops!
Here's the recipe for this orange chiffon cake using the tang mian method (adapted from here)
  • 6 egg white* original recipe uses 5, but I have used 6, cos my eggs were small 
  • 60g superfine flour
  • 55g freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 50g corn oil (I used rice bran oil)
  • 60g brown sugar
  • 1tsp. grated orange zest (for extra fragrance)
  • 6 egg yolk
  • 15g brown sugar (I reduced this from 20g to 15g)
Baked using a 21cm chiffon tube pan
  1. Bring orange juice, oil and 15g sugar to a boil, while continuously stirring, in a shallow pan.
  2. Remove pan from the heat once the liquid starts to boil. Hold the pan handle and swirl the boiled liquid mix for 100 rounds (to chill the liquid).
  3. Pour sifted flour into the liquid mix and immediately mix to ensure the flour gets in contact with the heated liquid, this is the 'tang mian dough'.
  4. Separate egg white and yolk in two separate bowls. Once the tang mian dough has cooled down to a temperature that doesn't scald, pour it into the beaten egg yolk.
  5. Mix with a plastic spatula and this becomes the egg yolk batter. Sit aside for use later (may keep in fridge for better results).
  6. In another bowl, beat egg white till foamy, add in sugar in 3 separate batches until stiff peak forms.
  7. Scoop out 1/3 of the egg white peak and add into the egg yolk batter. When combined evenly, add it back to the remaining egg white peak. Mix in the grated orange zest.
  8. Pour the batter into the chiffon tube pan and bake in a preheated oven at 160deg C for 50min.
  9. Invert cake to cool once out of the oven.
*I baked mine at 170deg C for 45min, at about 20min into baking, the top has already browned and I had to tent an aluminium foil over the top to avoid over-burning, by doing this, I think I may have created a vast temperature drop (while having the oven door opened) which had caused the shrinkage.
**I did add a tbsp. cocoa powder into 2tbsp of final batter and created some marble-prints, but the amount was too little to be notable. Will try more next.  
Personal note: I should try it out at 160degC next.

UPDATED 4/4/2014

I did this chiffon again the very same day in the evening. It worked out by
*baking it at 155deg C for 40min
*egg white was beaten to the very stiff peak (beaten for about 4min)

I added about 2tbsp chopped cranberries to this recipe.

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Bake For Happy Kids, and My Little Favourite DIY, hosted by Ann of Anncoo Journal at this post. 
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