Lao Pao Bing 2

Baked my 1st batch of lao pao bing about a month plus ago and today, sudden craving dawned upon me. With Mom's concurrence, within the next minute, I grabbed my hand written receipe book (rather than printing on A4 size paper, i have already got 4 ring notebooks jotting my favourite receipes for easy browse and carry around. =p). And as always, the kitchen, my domain until the bake is complete. Pretty domineering some may say, but I cant 'accomodate' having to shift or move here and there during the process of the preparation, its rather 'disturbing' lah. Anyway, I am THE one to clean up all the utensils and stuff without any help anyway, so that also explains why I can 'command' the space occupancy for that time zone.

I flipped to my favourite page of intent = Florence's revised receipe on Lao Pao Bing. And viola, I must say that technically my skills have improved (picture as evidence. =D). Just look at this latest batch of one dozen, all equally shaped and adorned with egg glaze to give it the shine. Of course, if I had sprinkled some white sesame seeds on the surface, that would have even been prettier in sight.
The fillings are melting smooth compared to the last batch and even Mom was generous to give me thumbs up too! Lovely bitez.

Credit goes to Florence for the revised receipe.


Cinnamon Loaf

Theres another blogsite which I have been visiting these days and that is Happy Home Baking. And recently, as mentioned in her blog, (quote in summary), with feedback from her regular visitors who like me, were lamenting about how 'challenging' bread making is without a breadmaker. Spontaneously, she baked her recent green tea with red bean bread with her hands. Inspired somewhat by her, I had a go at bread making with my small hands earlier on. (p.s. I am a fleshy gal but with comparatively smaller wrist and bony hands. no, no, i am no alien though. haha.)

Following a receipe from Baking Mum, LeeLee, http://bakingmum.blogspot.com/2006/10/bread-paradise.html, and instead of ingredients filled buns, i tweaked the receipe to become Cinnamon Loaf bread instead. This is my 2nd attempt at this receipe and this round turned out far better than my 1st try, which was about 2 months back.

However, I must profess that kneading bread dough with just my pair of hands was no easy task especially when I had kinda 'hurt' my left wrist over the weekend due to accidental careless carrying of my shopping bags. Thus, I was gentler in certain kneading movements, whilst on further minutes, more pressure with focus on my right hand. At the end of the initial 15 mins of manual kneading, boy, you can imagine how relieved I was that the dough was nicely formed and I could relax my arms while the dough was left to 'proof' for the 1st one hour.

Then came the 2nd round of 'punching' of the air from the dough that had rested for an hour. WIth every punch, i could heard the 'suppressed' air bubble burst, 'pop' pop'. Followed with the roll dough, and instead of using melted butter or fresh milk, I used a tsp condensed milk mixed with a tsp of water to 'moisturise' the dough before sprinkling on the cinnamon powder and brown sugar and roll up. Set it aside in greased pan for another hour of proofing.

Baking time was about half an hour and after 1 hour of cooling the loaf on the wire rack, as I was preparing to use the knife to detach the loaf, I was thrilled instead that the loaf slipped off from the pan and landed neatly on the wire rack.

Oh yes, finally a successful hand made freshly baked Cinnamon Loaf which I can safely declare is 'edible', 'soft', 'cottony' with crispy crust (fresh & warm fm oven) .... hmmm... i love the fragrance of cinnamon.

Credit goes to LeeLee for the receipe and Happy Home Baking for showing the way to hands- on bread making.


Lychee Muffins

Last month Jestina (Hut of Cranberry) 'tickled' my tastebuds with her beautiful bakes of Lychee Muffins and recently, LeeLee (Baking Mum), followed the same receipe and loaded her blogsite with the lovely pictures posting. Alas, again, there I began to drool. As one of the fellow blogger said, 'dont drool, follow the receipe and bake your own.'

So on this wet, gloomy Tuesday, (notwithstanding), I finally got down to baking these lovely muffins of my own too. I am not exaggerating in mention that even during the preparation stage of just stirring and blending the ingredients, you can already smell the lovely fruitty fragrance from the lychees, and plus 30 mins of setting aside time for the mixture to 'thicken', goodness, my kitchen smells simply heavenly.

And when the muffins were in the oven, baking, with the dampness from the rain, the heaviness of the air with the cool wind blowing, the aroma of the bakes immensely filtered into the whole house (well, mine is a small HDB flat, small space, so the smell was like full coverage), and maybe, the fresh baking aroma 'found' its way into my neighbours' domain as well, perhaps. Gosh, I wonder if any of them had drooled.

The muffins were soft and fluffy sweetened by the crunch of the juicy pieces of bite size lychees. yumz.

Thanks to Jestina for sharing the receipe.

Cookies Combi

One blogsite venture leads to another, from Ching's Little Corner of Mine with making reference to Chawanmushi, with receipe originating from Gina, this chain of links gave 'birth' to my own version of cookies combi from the receipe.

Unconventionally, and greedily, I added combi of roasted white sesame seeds, raisins, nestum cereal, dessicated coconut for my cookie. With the additional of just 10g of melted butter, I 'resorted' to adding more nestum cereal and chilling it in the freezer a little while for the dough to be more 'manageable'.

Then again, you would realise that my cookies do not have the pretty rounded shaped. But taste wise, these are original crunchy cookies ladden with combi of wholesome goodness which as I quote my Mom : " you wont be able to buy from any shop outside."

Credit goes to the lovely ladies who have generously shared their receipes as they have indirectly assisted in the making of these cookies.


Chocolate Crunchies

Coincidentally, many blogsites which I have visited recently are 'booming' with temptalicious chocolate bakes. The variety are far ranging from simple brownie to oozing hot chocolate in cuppa etc.... with rum, or brandy, or kirsch or even my favourite baileys too etc etc. The craving starts and the temptation was overwhelming. I must make something homemade with 'chocolatety' element. Then again, I was not in the 'mess up and clean up the kitchen on your own' mood, so I resorted to something simple.

I recall my sister bringing back mini Hari Raya homemade chocolate cookies from her Malay colleague, and coming across a simple receipe from a receipe book, I decided its worth a try. The receipe was tweaked according to my preference. Instead of unsalted butter, corn oil was used, and instead of crisp rice cereal, Kellogs corn flakes was used. Gathering all the basic ingredients, in less than an hour, my first batch of homemade chocolate crunchies.

The process was simply a breeze. Unbelievable though it may seem, this is the 1st time I am melting chocolate bars using the double boil method. My brother liked the crunchiness while sister says its abit too sweet. Perhaps I'll use the plain unsweetened or even better, bitter black chocolate crunchies next time.

Simple delight. Crunch.


Steamed Pumpkin

One of Mom's favourite vegetable is pumpkin. And she would usually whip it up as a dish on the table frying the pumpkin in their chopped chunky pieces with oil and dashes of light soya sauce and salt for taste. Whenever i have a chance to 'woo' her palate, it shall be steamed pumpkin kueh instead.

This is a receipe I had from one of those Asian chefs' home cooked favourites dishes and this one in particular is by a HK chef . So you can imagine the authentic taste. The ingredients which I have prepared are 500g of pumpkin, 6 small dried mushrooms, 1 lap cheong, 2 shallots, 2 tbsp oil, 100g rice flour, 40g plain flour and 3 tbsp dried shrimps. (the original receipe called for green prawns, which I have totally no idea. however, if you tell me tiger prawns or lobster, you would see the sparks and nods of acknowledgement from my expressive greed.)

The preparation was easy as it took me less than half an hour and right after one hour of steaming, this is what I got. A golden looking steamed pumpkin kueh. (some would have assumed it was custard made kueh at a glance). You can spot the lap cheong slices and the mushrooms.

The original name of this receipe is 'steamed savoury pumpkin cake', but for me, its more 'kueh like' in texture and taste. Mom likes this kueh and had already taken 3 slices once it was fully cooked and ready for devour.

Delightful warm slice for tea or a pan fried version for breakfast. Eat it the way you like it.....satisfying.


Black Sesame Daifuku Mochi

extract of history from http://www.answers.com/ =
Daifuku were originally called Harabuto mochi (腹太餅, Harabuto mochi?) (belly thick rice cake) because of its filling nature. It is considered the ugliest of all the Wagashi, and is therefore called a "Polar Bear Poop." Later the name was changed to Daifuku mochi (大腹餅, Daifuku mochi?) (big belly rice cake). Since the pronunciation of Fuku (腹, Fuku?) (belly) and Fuku (福, Fuku?) (luck) is the same in Japanese, the name was further changed to Daifuku mochi (大福餅, Daifuku mochi?) (great luck rice cake), a bringer of good luck.

Interesting information indeed. And looking at my end product made earlier after reading the above history got me pondering if the title of this blog should be amended.

Having quite a fair amount of 'koh fen' in the kitchen cabinet nudged me to get my hands to do something about it before it expires next year. Then again, the thought of it laying and taking space somehow 'bothers' the mind.

Jotted a receipe from a cooking book some time back but cant remember exactly the original source. And with only black sesame paste available in the fridge, then lets make it Black Sesame Daifuku Mochi, well, the modified version.

The receipe actually states to knead the koh fen and margarine and lotus seed paste (i changed it to black sesame seed paste) and icing sugar and water into smooth dough and shape into desired shapes. So that differs from the wrapping thats was supposedly the more traditional and correct method. I highly recommend those interested in making mochis to check out LeeLee's blogsite. Hers looks great.

My end products resembles brownie topped with icing sugar, or jelly with icing sugar from a distance. Then again, when comparing this receipe with the snowskin mooncakes receipe, its practically the same.

Well, at least, I have used up some koh fen for this making. 500grams of koh fen more to go.


Chicken Pie

Recovering from the disappointment of yesterday's failed attempt at chiffon cake baking (drama added indeed), since everyone's home today because of Deepavali {Happy Deepavali to all Indians !!!!}, i planned baking chicken pie for lunch since last night. So, last evening, I went NTUC to get the basic ingredients and arranged for Mom to get the US potatoes for me from the wet market.

I have viewed, reviewed, and seen how successful a handful of the talented ladies bake this lovely pastry and decided to give it a go myself as well. The receipe is from the wonderful Baking Mum, LeeLee http://bakingmum.blogspot.com/2006/12/recent-bakes.html. Her nimble hands woks up and bakes up and even crafts up all the wonderful looking dishes and bakes and icing patternz and sugar paste designs which never fails to amaze me.

So from 11am this morning, I started to get busy. First part was tricky as I do not have any prior basic knowledge on pastry dough making. However, fortunately, I managed through with abit of help from my sister who had to lend a hand to sift in more plain flour as the dough was simply too sticky and soft. Otherwise, all else went on well.

The only part about the receipe which I tweaked was adding mixed herbs and salt to marinate the chicken breast meat first for the flavouring to sink into the chicken meat for the extra 'umph' from the fragrance of mixed herbs.

As this is my first time chicken pie make and bake, I took abit more time during the preparation stage and at 1pm ++, we were all too hungry to wait an extra minute for the pastry to be more crispy. To add to it all, you can imagine the fabulous aroma from the bake which was making all of us drooling at the smell and getting more 'famished' with the rumble and tumble from the tummy.

The feedback I received were that the onions needed to be chopped more finely (not all are onion lover like me), and that the sugar added should be reduced and more pepper to whip up the taste.

About three quarters of the pie has been 'wiped' out as I am typing here. And this is a delightful nice homemade chicken pie made from scratch. Feels good.

All thanks to LeeLee for sharing the wonderful receipe.


Apple Grape Chiffon Cake

Again, from the http://www.answers.com/ webpage,
Chiffon may refer to:
Chiffon, a type of fabric
Chiffon cake, a light, fluffy cake
Chiffonade, a French term for the cutting of herbs or leafy green vegetables into long, thin strips

This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same title. If an internal link led you here, you may wish to change the link to point directly to the intended article.

Baking chiffon cake is still is a 'love hate' process. I love to sink my teeth into a light, fluffy chiffon cake, and to be surrounded by so many talented ladies who bakes chiffon cakes like a breeze maketh me 'green' in the eyes. Despite having read so many Q & As on how to achieve the perfected, well risen cake. Again, and oh, chiffon chiffon, why art thou so tough for me?

This is not my 1st and well, hopefully, not the last trial at baking chiffon cake. Rather than baking the orange chiffon cake ( the original receipe ), I decided to tweak the flavour by using the Marigold Apple Grape 100% Fruit Juice instead. During the mixing, my mind was pondering how it will turn out as the color seemed odd with the mix with the egg yolks. The color was purplish brown.

Other than that change of the juice, I followed every single step diligently, even to the extent of whipping the egg white stiff peak with my two hands rather than using the mixing machine. And oh yes, my hands were reaching point of stiffness too after 15 mins of my 'manual' mode of medium speed.

When the cake was in the initial 15 mins of bake time, it was rising beautifully. So i stepped away from the kitchen and within the next 10 mins or so, my sense of smell sent me 'flying' to the kitchen to check the bake. What I saw displeased me. The exterior of the bake was turning 'chao ta'. Speedily, I took out the cake and inverted it on the wire rack to cool. But to no avail. The cake still shrunk, the texture within was dense.

Wonder what went wrong during the process :
1. the oven temperature ? (my oven is preset at 200 degrees)
2. the mixing process of egg yolk mixture with the egg white ?
3. the liquid weight / content ?
4. me ?

arh well.....chiffon chiffon chiffony..........


Orange Yoghurt Muffins

Defination of Muffins from www.answers.com :
= A small, cup-shaped quick bread, often sweetened.
= An English muffin.

Interesting, eh, how food history and defination dates back to the ancient days.

As usual, my 'pattern' when it comes to what to bake depends largely on whats available or coming close to expiry. I believe alot of people share this common behaviour. (just a wild guess, do not quote me.)

From the last bake of lemon yoghurt muffins, I changed it to orange flavoured since thats the only citrus alternative available in my fridge. I added the grated zest of the sunkist orange as well to give the muffins the extra 'umph' of orange taste.

I must say that this is an easier way to get everyone in the house to have yoghurt rather than hoping that they help themselves to finish a small cuppa of 150ml of yoghurt. In any case, I have not acquired the taste of taking plain yoghurt either. It has to be the fruity, mixed yoghurt.

Like the last round, the moist, soft texture of the muffins pleases my palate. i like.


Cream Corn Jelly

I was in the 'craving' mood this morning to make dessert. So, while browsing the cabinet, I noticed the recently purchased can of cream sweet corn, two packets of Konnyaku Jelly powder and a small packet of coconut milk, I recalled that there was a receipe that 'inspired' the purchases. Bingo, its from Aunty Yochana's blogsite and reading through the steps, it does seem easy to follow, even for an amateur like me.

However, I had reduced the amount of coconut milk and cut down the sugar as my siblings and myself are 'sometimes' ( and i mean sometimes) calculating the intakes of the calories, sugar etc.

So there I was this late morning, for a change, with boiling pot of water and using the spoon, stirring, mixing and viola, after 20 mins of prep work, after one hour and half hours of set and chill, this was my end product of Cream Sweet Corn Jelly from a long curvy based tin.

One commented :"hmmm... as good as bengawan solo.", another commented :" texture not smooth.". My take, it can be better and it should be better next round. However, we did concur with the level of sweetness which was just right, and we love eating corn, the natural sweetness and the crunch with every bite. yumz.

Credit goes to Aunty Yochana for the receipe.