Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Perhaps it was the lingering effect from all those Easter chocolate, my sweet tooth for chocolate has not subsided and looking back, I haven't done much with chocolate for fear of messiness and over indulgence. So instead of a chocolate cake, I thought of chocolate pudding but knowing my eagerness, I won't contain the pudding in a cup. And so, I thought a tart case will look nice and with the extra berries sitting in the fridge, what better way to use them up on a simple chocolate tart.
I have used rice flour in my Asian desserts but never in my baking. I gave it a try this time with these tarts to see on what is the difference by adding the rice flour to all purpose flour. The tart case was firm and less brittle than the usual all purpose flour made tart. When cut into, the tart case doesn't disintegrate but rather separate in a firm chunk and I think this crust is very suitable for a soft filling like chocolate pudding. I always apply egg wash after the baking beans are removed from the half baked tart shells before finishing the baking for another 15 mins. This will seal the crust bottom and sides and avoid the usual sogginess that we usually get from store bought fruit tarts. The poppy seeds added color and texture and maybe I rolled the dough a bit thin which fitted the 4 inches tart pans nicely but shrunk a bit after the baking and looked roundish and a bit flattened. There was still some strawberry mousse left from the pink macarons last week and I piped some to get the color contrast with the chocolate and berries.
Poppy Seed Tart:
4 oz butter, slightly cold and almost room temperature; 1 cup all purpose flour; 1/2 cup rice flour; 1 tbsp sugar 1/8 tsp salt; 4 tbsp cold water; 1/2 tsp poppy seeds; 1 egg, beaten
Chocolate Pudding :
1 egg; 4 oz semi sweet chocolate bar; 1/2 cup heavy cream; 1/2 cup milk; 1/2 tsp gelatin powder mixed in 2 tbsp water.
Poppy Seed Tart :
Chocolate Pudding :
To assemble :
Makes : 6 of 4 (four) inches tarts
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I am a die hard fan of all things small and individually sized and these macarons sure fit into my baking interests. Making Macarons is something that needs practice on a constant basis and at this time, I have failed 3 times and succeeded 3 times too! I think I have passed the first hurdle and most definitely the one that determines whether the Macarons succeed or not which is the beating of the egg whites. My 1st attempt, the egg whites were still a bit runny, hence the cookies spread but didn't rise. And then the 2nd failure was when I added too much green tea powder to underbeaten eggs resulting soft cookies that didn't rise and finally the last failure was because I overbeaten the egg whites to stiff peaks and the cookies rise, and was firm like meringue cookies and had no feet!
All I can say is that I like the challenge of making these cookies. Tartelette is the best website for Macaron recipes and her picture illustrations published in Macaron 101 in the Dessert Magazine gave me full insight into making a Macaron successfully. Hopefully mine gets better everytime and gives me more prospect into concocting new flavors for the fillings.
For the green Tea Macaron, I whipped up fresh cream and added red bean paste to get red bean cream filling. As with all my other baking and cooking, I love Asian ingredients and this Macaron is very Japanese in nature! For the Pink Macaron, I pureed strawberries and cooked it with sugar and added gelatin and whipped cream to make a mousse like filling. These type of cream filling will perhaps be more appropriate during the cool months and a firmer buttercream type will be better for spring and summer weather.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Rice with Peas; Chicken Patties with Mustard Dip; Stir fry cabbage; Ham; Tomato & Broccoli
I ground up chicken thigh meat and marinate it with soy sauce, sugar, mirin, pepper, egg and cornstarch. Carrot pieces and Bread crumb were added last to hold the meat together and refrigerated overnight till firm. The patties were pan fried and a little water was added to the pan to sizzle and steam for the last 5 minutes. This gives a better color to the patties.
Monday, May 18, 2009
After a whole week of sulking and pondering, I am ready to try again on those little temperamental cookies again very soon. With 2 dozens of eggs in the fridge, all it takes is another gut feeling to whip up those ever so difficult to master egg whites and make the macaron again.
120g cake flour; 100g softened butter; 120g sugar; 1 tsp baking powder; 2 eggs; 2 tbsp milk; 50g pistachio, processed to fine meal; 50g of mixed fresh raspberry & blackberry.
Lemon glaze: Juice of 1/2 of a lemon; 1 tbsp sugar.
1)Heat oven to 375F. Grease small/medium muffin tin or use paper cup liners.
2)Sift flour & baking powder.
3)Beat the butter and sugar till creamy. Beat the eggs and milk together with a fork before adding to the butter and sugar mixture. Continue to mix.
4)Fold in the pistachio. Squish the berries with a spoon till slightly mushy. Fold into the batter.
5)Lastly, mix in the flour. Fill the muffin tin/paper cup liners till half (1/2) full. Bake for 25 to 30 mins till the cakes are slightly brown. Remove from oven.
6) For the glaze, stir the sugar in the lemon juice till dissolved. Use a teaspoon to drizzle onto the warm cakes.
Makes: 8 medium size cupcakes
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Contents of Missy E's Bento Box :
Contents of Curry's Bento Box :
Sunday, May 10, 2009
For today, I made a very nice fruit tart with a sweet cream cheese filling and stuffed with the beautiful colors of kiwi and strawberry. Curry and I have differences in almost everything but we always agree on one thing.... fruit tarts. We both love it and one big fruit tart can never last in the fridge for 2 days. Instead of the usual custard cream filling, I went with cream cheese and sugar flavored with lemon juice and zest.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
One thing that puts me off is any baked goods that requires alot of sugar. I didn't grow up eating alot of candies nor chocolates but rather rich and creamy stuffs like cheese and butter. However said, I haven't tasted Macarons before and I have some extra sweet cream cheese left in the fridge and the best reason was we were having a playdate and I can spread the sugar and fat around! Wicked me but I am sure the playdate moms are happy to try it out!
1/2 cup almond flour (grounded almond/Trader Joe's Almond Meal)
1/2 cup confectioner sugar
1 tbsp sugar
3 egg whites (room temperature)
3 tbsp black sesame seed powder (grounded black sesame seeds)
1)Line baking pans with parchment paper.
2)Sift the almond flour together with the confectioner sugar and black sesame seed powder. Make sure there is no lumps.
3)In a mixer, whip the egg whites to foamy stage and add the 1 tbsp sugar and continue to beat till soft peaks. The color needs to be glossy white and the beaten egg white can hold its shape.
4)Fold in the almond flour mixture in 3 batches and work fast but with less strokes. The batter will become slightly heavier.
5)Spoon the batter into a piping bag attached to a round piping tip and hold the piping bag 90' vertical, the piping tip barely touching the parchment paper on the baking tin. Squeeze gently and count to 3 and stop. Separate each one at least 1 inch and continue piping in the same motion to get uniformed sizes. This recipe should yield around 35 to 38 shells.
6)Let the shells rest at room temperature for 45 mins and sprinkle black sesame seeds on all of them. Preheat oven to 280F.
7)Bake the shells for 25 mins, rotating the pan once. Look out for the 'skirts' on the bottom part of each shell, this is a sign that the cookies is rising well. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 to 15 mins. Slowly remove each shell and let them cool completely before filling.
Cream Cheese mousse Filling:
6 oz of cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp gelatin powder dissolved in 1/4 cup water
300 ml whipped heavy cream
1) Beat the cream cheese with the sugar till creamy. Add in the lemon juice and beat for extra 10 seconds.
2)Stir in the gelatin. Fold in the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Let the filling rest in refrigerator for 2 hours before filling.
Makes : 15 to 18 macarons
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
For today's Bento Boxes, I didn't give it much thought for Curry's box while I emphasized more on Missy E's one. Still, despite all the thinking, the ladybug and ant Bento didn't turn out perfectly right as I had a hard time putting the crab meat on the rice to form the ladybug's body. I just used the red part of the imitation crab and to peel slices out from the white part was not easy as they tend to tear easily. Hence, my ladybug looks like a 'cracked' bug! The ant was wholly punched out nori and I just love their head part of which I punched a hand shaped nori and cut off all the 3 middle fingers to form the 2 remaining antenaes. Sometimes, Target store has very interesting things at its pantry part and I found this 2 toned colored cheese of which I cut into flower shapes. Now I think of it, it will make a very good giraffe spots!
Soba stir fried with shallot; ginger chicken drumstick with mirin, rice vinegar & soy sauce; romaine lettuce & tomato; beef franks.
I am a chicken wing person and there will definitely be no fight for the drumsticks when I make a chicken dish! I was hoping to find the small drummets instead but there were none for sale and Curry just have to get his hand sticky & messy with this big drumstick!
Bon Appetite! While Prince D & I will just feed on hot soup noodles for lunch while listening to the rain drops.
Monday, May 4, 2009
If I had my way, I would have made a mango cheesecake! But that will definitely make me penny wise but fool on the pounds isn't it? And so I opted for something lighter that is equally creamy with a touch of cream and tropically sweet and scented with the mangoes and added texture of chewiness with sago. It is an Asian version of the fruit smoothie we get here and I got the idea from the mango and sago in coconut juice and cream dessert that is widely available in Hong Kong. As the weather gets warmer, this is a very good dessert that kind of refreshes the palate and cooling to the body.
2 very ripe mangoes
2 oz white sago
2 cups water
3 slices of kiwi fruit for garnish