Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ginger Tiramisù

For your benefit, I must tell you that I'm getting hooked to this blog. I'm constantly thinking of baking, cooking, ingredients, new china.... It's like, every morning I wake up and I need my daily dose of food-blog-fix!

I told Mr. G that I get all pumped up just thinking about what to do next; how to make it look pretty; figuring out the best way of photographing it and then putting it on display. (I get so so so so excited when another food blogger drops by and leaves a comment - it's like there's some sort of kinship going on).

This is a really easy recipe to follow. But don't soak the biscuits too long or else you'll end up like mine... in the bin.

I also have to warn you, you don't want to share this with too many people. Why not? Well, let's just say I didn't have trouble finishing this on my own.

Ginger Tiramisù
600ml thickened cream
3/4 cup coffee liqueur like Kahlua
250g Ginger Nut biscuits
grated chocolate or cocoa powder, to garnish

The Method
1. Whip cream until soft peaks form.
2. Pour coffee liqueur into a flat dish.
3. Place biscuits into the dish, soak it for 5 seconds on each sides. (Be careful not to soak it too long)
4. Take one biscuit, spread a tablespoon of cream, then sandwich another biscuit on top.
5. Turn biscuits on the side and continue to layer until you have a log.
6. Smooth the remaining cream over the top and sides.
7. Refrigerate for a few hours for a crunchy texture or longer for a softer dessert.
8. Garnish with cocoa powder and chocolate shavings.
9. Sit back with a love letter and spoon in. Purr, baby, purr!

(Note to Mr. G: Happy Anniversary honey!)

Monday, April 28, 2008

French Chocolate Cake

What I like do on some nights is to snuggle up in bed, warm and toasty, in my cosy PJs, with a recipe book or two. It is quite comforting especially when Mr. G isn't there to provide me the same service. In bed with my cooking books is almost therapeutic. Gorgeous pictures; fascinating words; fresh, everyday ingredients; I'm as happy as a cat with a saucer of cream.

This recipe is from a French recipe book I stole from Mr. M. I'm sure he won't miss it much. He's hardly got any time to cook anyway. Besides, I'm putting it to respectable use. Poor thing. Never quite understand why people don't use their cooking books.

It's also perfect because I received a 'thank-you-but-no-thank-you' email from a 'prospective' employer (which I was quite keen on) so my spirit fell into self-pity mode. I needed a challenge and comfort. A rich, generous, soothing and delicious suitor to seduce me to a place where rainbows, pink bunnies and fairies lives. This recipe was definitely a worthy experiment. It's more than I usually bother.

It takes a bit more work but all work of effort is a work of art. And I have the proof looking at me on my kitchen bench, smelling like heaven. Sweet mother of sugar, this is one cake you want to bottle up and spray on whenever you need a lift. (And bless those French, they really do know a thing or two about food).

French Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup caster sugar
280g dark chocolate, chopped
125g unsalted butter, softened and chopped
2 tsp vanilla essence
5 eggs, separated
1/4 cup of flour, sifted
3 tsp of instant coffee* (optional)
pinch of salt
3 tbsp of caster sugar, set aside
cocoa powder to dust

The Work
1. Preheat oven to 160c.
2. Butter round baking tin and coat with caster sugar. Knock excess off.

3. Put the chocolate, butter, instant coffee and sugar in a bowl over a pot of hot water. Keep the heat low to medium-low. Stir until smooth.
4. Remove from heat and add vanilla essence.
5. Beat egg yolks into chocolate mix; one by one. Make sure it's thoroughly blend in before you add the next sunshiny yolk.
6. Stir in flour. At this point, the runny mixture will turn quite solid but don't panic! The following steps will guarantee a crusty, chewy exterior but soft and moist insides:

7. In a clean (no grease, totally dry and dustless) bowl, beat egg whites until fluffy.
8. Increase speed, add salt and beat until peak forms.
9. Add 3 tbsp of caster sugar into the mixture. Continue beating until egg whites are stiff and glossy.
10. Fold in the chocolate mix.
11. Pour mixture into baking tin and tap gently to release any air bubbles.

I won't say how long it'll take to bake the cake. Once the room starts to smell like Charlie's Chocolate Factory, check it with the good-ol' skewer test. It'll take time for this darling to cook so keep watch of it from time to time.

Let it cool and let it sink. It's meant to be. Then, dust liberally with cocoa powder.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Plum Cake

Hello, so I see you've met our other twenty-somethings. They take good photos and most importantly of all, they love food.

I should mention a few things about my baking mannerism. I don't follow recipes. Or at least, I don't follow it to a T. If I feel that the batter (ooo yes, I taste them before I bake 'em) isn't sweet enough I add a necessary amount of sugar. If I feel it's too runny, I add more flour. So you get the idea. Like Nadhirah says, if you want sure fire solid recipes, she's your gal.

But me? I'm your 'screw-those-recipes' type. Go with your instincts. If you mess up, you know what not to do next time. Easy.
As long as it taste good (and if you're cooking to impress, looks good) that's all it takes.

So time for the recipe:
Plum Cake
100g butter
1/4 caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of self-raising flour, sifted
1/4 milk
4 small plums sliced thickly
1 tsp of cinnamon sugar
1 tsp of nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven at to 190c.
2. Place fruit face down into a plate of brown sugar.
3. Line round tin with baking paper.
4. Arrange fruit in tin.
5. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on it.
6. Cut 10g butter into cubes and place on top of the fruit.
7. Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream till light and fluffy.
8. Add egg, flour, nutmeg and milk into the mix.
9. Spoon unto the fruit.
10. Bake for 45 - 50 mins or until skewer comes out clean when tested.
11. Let it cool. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Note: If you're serving it after dinner, and it's been in the fridge, cut out a slice, microwave it (I hate those things but they do zap fast) for 50 seconds and serve with a generous (LIKE A WHOLE DOLLOP) of vanilla ice cream. Feast on it!

Note 2: Be creative and experiment with other fruits like apples, pineapples, strawberries, blueberries, pear, peaches yada yada yada....

Nasi Lemak

For my first food post, it shall be on my first attempt at cooking nasi lemak!

Nasi lemak has always been one of my favourite dishes. Back at home, dad would always buy nasi lemak for breakfast on weekends. It is a routine on weekends, where dad would wake up very early in the morning to go for a jog in the park. Sometimes, I would join him (when I'm not too lazy to wake up early). On his way home, he would stop by a little stall by the roadside to get our weekly fix of nasi lemak. Since he is a regular customer, the makcik who operated the stall would give us extra portion of goodies e.g. ikan bilis, sambal, etc. My nasi lemak was always drenched in lots of sambal! Yumsss! Oh, how I miss the nasi lemak back home! (I miss the morning jogs with dad too)

Just a few weeks back, I had a craving for nasi lemak. With much determination, I have conducted an experiment in my kitchen. I don't have a proper recipe for it, but this is what I did:

Nasi Lemak
Ingredients (for 2 persons)
- 1 cup of Rice
- 1 can of Santan(Coconut milk)
- 1 can of Sambal ikan bilis(dried anchovies in hot spicy sauce)(bought from the asian grocery) - I know it's cheating, but.. :P
- 4-6 Chicken drumlets
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 Cucumber
- Peanuts/groundnuts
- Kentucky fried chicken powder

1. Cook rice with coconut milk in a rice cooker
2. Boil eggs and cut into halves when done
3. Coat chicken drumlets with Kentucky fried chicken powder and fry them till golden brown
4. Roast peanuts/groundnuts till brown in pan
5. Cut cucumber into thin slices
6. Heat the sambal ikan bilis in a pan
7. When all is done, serve the santan rice in a plate with all the side dishes

This is a simple way to cook it. It was more of an experiment for me. There are many other side dishes that can be served with nasi lemak. I'm a simple person. A lazy one. So, at the moment this is enough to feed my craving! The result of my experiment:

What do you think? Well, canned food can't go wrong. *lol* Personally, I think it was a success. Even my guinea pig liked it. Mom, I did it! Now, I don't have to go out to eat nasi lemak anymore! And cooking is kinda fun! :D

Psst: Note that I didn't provide any proper measurements for the recipe. I usually use the ingredients and adjust the taste according to feeling because I have this bad habit of not tasting my food when I'm cooking :P

Quote of the day ~ Love the life you live and live the life you love~

The Third Twenty-Something


I'm the third twenty-something. I've never been one to cook or bake much. Till 2 years ago when I decided on a whim that I would bake for a living. Fast forward 2 years later, here I am. I still don't cook much but I haven't stopped baking since. I bake mostly everything. From cakes, to cookies to pies. I can't say I am innovative as I'm quite worried about screwing things up. So I normally follow recipes to the T.

So If you're looking for daring one-of-a-kind recipes, please refer to the other two twenty-somethings down there. If you want sure fire solid recipes, I'm your gal.

Oh, I also have a almost 2 year old. (This is me giving excuse for not posting much in the future, upfront)

Another Twenty-Something Meets The World

Hi everyone! I'm another tweenty-something. Today marks my first entry in the blogging world! *bow*

This is my first attempt at blogging. Hmm.. we shall see how long I can keep up with it, for I have been known to many for being lazy.

There's a first time for everything. And for the first time in my life, I have began cooking!

I've been running some experiments in my little kitchen, trying out simple recipes (appreciating simple things in life) and creating some of my own (disasters - don't worry, no deaths reported so far!)

After discovering the wonderful world of food blogs, I've been inspired to share my experiments here :)

So, watch out world! One more twenty-something's gonna cook up a storm! (or not) :P

Quote of the day ~ Sharing is caring ~

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Apricot Cupcakes

Another twenty-something and I were in the mood for some cupcakes. In fact, she's been in the mood for cupcakes for ten years. While we were sweet-young-things (SWT) i.e. in college, I made her a batch of apricot cupcakes and for years after that she has been pestering me to re-bake them. I ran out of excuses and decided it was time to pay my dues.

The recipe isn't quite the same, but it does the effect (i.e. eyes roll back, lips pursed, followed by, waves and waves of satisfaction).

Apricot Cupcakes
5 cups self-raising flour, sifted
2 cups caster sugar
375g butter, melted, cooled
2 cups milk
5 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 dried apricot, finely diced

Icings (if you, like me, require a daily sugar fix)
500g packets pure icing sugar
2 passionfruit, pulp removed
1 lime, rind finely grated, juiced

1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
2. Line the muffin pans with paper cases.
3. Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.
4. Mix butter, milk, egg and vanilla. Pour into the well.
5. Stir gently with a wooden spoon to combine.
6. Fill paper cases with mixture. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Passion fruit icing
1. Sift 1 1/2 cups icing sugar into a bowl.
2. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons passion fruit pulp. Mix well.
3. Resist temptation to lick icing and spread on cup cakes.
4. Allow icing to set (yes, leave the icing alone!).

Lime icing
1. Sift 1 1/2 cups icing sugar into a bowl.
2. Add lime rind and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Mix well.
3. Resist temptation to lick icing and spread on cup cakes.
4. Allow icing to set.

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie

I made this for my flat mate's dinner date. Well, anyhoo, it was an excuse to bake something (I'm looking for work so while I wait I'll bake). I have to say that it turned out interestingly, OK. I hadn't expected that because I had bought the wrong sort of cheese and it was watery and I had to think fast on how to save the sinking ship.

I must have done something right because it was YUMS! and no one has died yet.

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie
brownie base
185g butter, melted
1/4 cup cocoa butter, sifted
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour. sifted

285g cream cheese, softened and chopped
4 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven at to 160c (325f).
2. Place the butter, cocoa, eggs, sugar and flour in a bowl and mix until smooth.
3. Spoon into 20cm (8 in) square slice tin (buttered).
4. Mix cream cheese, sugar and eggs until smooth.
5. Place over brownie mix and swirl with a butter knife.
6. Bake for 45 - 50 mins or until skewer comes out clean when tested.
7. Let it cool.
8. Breathe in the rich, chocolaty aroma that floats in the room.
9. Dust with icing sugar and savor with pride.

Twenty Something & Cooking

I'm twenty-something. I'm out of the house. Which means I'm armed with a wok, a pot, and a baking tray. Watch out world! This could be a disaster.

I speak for all the 'struggling' twenty-somethings out there, who are out of the nest and into a frying pan. Learning the ropes of stir-fry, pan-fry, pot-fry and hand-fry.

I'm constantly looking for new and, let's-never-forget, easy recipes to try. Anything that takes too much of preparation is out the window.

I'm twenty-something. It means I'm impatient, I'm economical (not cheap) and I want it to taste damn good.

About me:
I did some food styling for a magazine years ago because the editor thought it was a good idea to:
(a) cut cost
(b) exploit my creativity

Of which, I must say despite the whines and complains, enjoyed tremendously.

So now, having read and inspired by all you food bloggers, I'm going to do something radical - put my two-cents worth of kitchen adventures for the world to see.

Get ready to salivate!