Walnut and Choc Chip Cookies

IMG_4620E

I love freshly baked cookies and even more so love making cookies. For one, it’s so easy to make and secondly, just the smell of them baking in the oven makes you all feel like a kid again. I made these cookies when I really had nothing else to do and had walnuts and choc chips lying around in the pantry. I must point out that these cookies don’t use baking powder so you will find they will not expand in the oven nor will they have that chewy texture some might prefer (like Subway cookies). These are slightly denser but tasty nonetheless. Check out the recipe from Taste.com.au below

Walnut and Choc Chip Cookies (Taste.com.au)

Ingredients
125g butter, softened (You can use baking margarine but will not have the same taste)
50g (1/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
225g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
150g good-quality dark cooking chocolate, coarsely chopped (or buttons)
150g (1 1/2 cups) walnut halves, coarsely chopped

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

2. Use an electric beater to beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl until well combined. Add the egg and beat until combined.
IMG_0521

3. Sift the flour over the butter mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Add the chocolate and walnuts, and stir to combine.
IMG_0522IMG_0524
4. Use your hands to roll tablespoonsful of the cookie mixture into balls. Place the balls, 3cm apart, on prepared trays. Use a fork to flatten slightly.

IMG_0525IMG_0527

5. Bake in preheated oven, swapping the trays halfway through cooking, for 20 minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool on the trays for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

IMG_4624E

Impressions

I used margarine (that can be used for baking) but found it lacks the buttery taste that makes cookies so tasty and also slightly drier. It’s a somewhat strange taste at first but after a few bites it isn’t so bad and actually kinda addictive. The chopped walnuts have this beautiful aroma in the cookies and the dark chocolate chips give it just enough sweetness. I know most would prefer more sugar, so even doubling the sugar while using dark chocolate chips still would be not too sweet.

I found that the original recipe uses 200g of cooking chocolate but when mixing it all in, it looked like a ridiculously large quantity that would overwhelm the entire cookie and you wouldn’t be able to shape them properly. Just slowly add the walnuts and chocolate in until you come to your preferred balance. As mentioned above, the cookies will almost be the same size before and after baking so keep that in mind. I wouldn’t call these healthy cookies but they are a lighter option if using margarine and less chocolate (and sugar)

Greek Almond Crescents

IMG_4803E

There is this bakery in  Newmarket/Flemington that has wonderful biscuits. One of these is their crescents which are buttery, light and nutty. I came across a Greek Almond Crescents recipe in the book, Mastering the Art of Baking by Anneka Manning. These Almond Crescents are very similar to the ones I found in Flemington but the ones in the recipe book do call for chopped nuts which I don’t recall them being so prominent in their version. These crescents are very easy to make and I don’t think you can really go wrong with the mixing, just knowing when the crescents are done is probably the most difficult part. Check out the recipe below!

Greek Almond Crescents
Makes 38
Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins

Ingredients
200g butter (softened)
1/2 cup icing sugar (sifted) plus extra for dusting
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 egg (at room temperature)
1 egg yolk
1 tbs brandy
375g/2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
155g/1 cup blanched almonds, toasted and finely chopped

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160C (315F). Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking powder.

2. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar and orange zest in a small bowl until pale and creamy.

IMG_4732EIMG_4740E

3. Add the egg, egg yolk and brandy and continue to beat until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

IMG_4746E

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Then stir in the almonds. Add to the butter mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix until well combined.

IMG_4754EIMG_4748E
5. Shape level tablespoons of mixture into crescents and place on the trays, leaving about 3 cm (1 1/4 inches) between each to allow for spreading

IMG_4759EIMG_4765EIMG_4763E
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, swapping the trays around after 10 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through. Leave on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Dust heavily with icing sugar while still warm then cool to room temperature.

IMG_4772EIMG_4769E

 

Impressions

As mentioned above, the difficult parts is probably whisking the eggs and sugar until it’s light and fluffy, mixing the flour in well and letting the crescents bake in the oven for the specified amount of time. If your crescents are larger (they will take more time) so you may want to factor that into your baking time but also a good way to check is if the bottom of the crescent is firm and can easily be lifted up (also a tad brown)

I love these crescents, it has just the right amount of butter but also the cinnamon flavour subtly comes through. If you find cinnamon a bit strong, just half the amount in the recipe and I think you still will be able to taste it. You know the crescents are perfect when it melts just ever so slowly in your mouth. Truly a recipe you wouldn’t want to miss.

IMG_4798E

Homemade Hot Cross Buns

IMG_0321

This probably isn’t the best time to post this seeing as it’s July. I always end up making things too late or even after the particular festive time comes around so this is just typical me. I love the smell of warm hot cross buns, it’s that cinnamon and spice mix that just keeps me calm. I also love kneading bread so making hot cross buns is jut plain relaxing. I found a recipe on Taste.com.au and it’s quite a good recipe irrespective of my little mistakes whilst trying to make it. Check it out below!

Hot Cross Buns (Taste.com.au)
Makes 12 large buns
Ingredients
4 cups plain flour
2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar (a bit less)
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice (I didn’t have this so I used 1tbsp cinnamon, 1/2tsp ground ginger, 1/4tsp ground cloves)
pinch of salt
1/2 cups currants
1/2 dark chocolate bits
40g butter
300ml milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Flour paste
1/2 cup plain flour
4 to 5 tablespoons water

Glaze
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons caster sugar

Method
1. Combine flour, yeast, sugar, mixed spice, salt and currants in a large bowl. (I split my recipe in half half, with one adding currants and the other with dark chocolate buttons)

2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add milk. Heat for 1 minute, or until lukewarm.

3. Add warm milk mixture and eggs to currant mixture. Use a flat-bladed knife to mix until dough almost comes together. Use clean hands to finish mixing to form a soft dough.

IMG_0310IMG_0311

4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dough doubles in size.

IMG_0312IMG_0313

5. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Punch dough down to its original size. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 12 even portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Place balls onto lined tray, about 1cm apart. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes, or until buns double in size. Preheat oven to 150/160°C.

IMG_0314IMG_0315IMG_0316IMG_0317

6. Make flour paste: Mix flour and water together in a small bowl until smooth, adding a little more water if paste is too thick. Spoon into a small snap-lock bag. Snip off 1 corner of bag. Pipe flour paste over tops of buns to form crosses. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until buns are cooked through.

IMG_0318

7. Make glaze: Place water and sugar into a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Brush warm glaze over warm hot cross buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.

IMG_0319

Impressions

The original recipe asked to preheat at 190. I disagree as it turns out, it’s way too hot for my particular oven. It should be more at 150/160 especially if it’s fan forced. Otherwise the bun browns too fast and the inside is undercooked.

My other mistake was I poured the warm mixture of butter and milk onto my dry ingredients for my choc buns I let it sit there whilst I kneaded my currant dough. Big mistake, as it became all stiff and hard once I got back to it. So if you want to split the mixes, either knead/mix the wet and dry ingredients really quickly or do it one at a time. I was just worried the warm milk and butter mixture would cool too quickly (it didn’t).

My currant hot cross buns were soft and had a beautiful fragrance to it. These are best eaten fresh as they get hard pretty quickly unless you warm them up in the microwave. So it’s a good recipe but I’ll probably try another recipe when Easter comes around again.

IMG_0322

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almond and Berry Cupcakes (Crabapple Recipe)

IMG_0527

 

I’ve slightly changed this wonderful recipe taken from The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook by Jennifer Graham. I didn’t add any decorations or icing to this cupcake and simply let the almonds and berries shine through. It’s basically a muffin disguised as a cupcake with all the icing added to it. I really liked this recipe, because it isn’t too heavy and feels less rich even though it still uses butter. I’ve added the decorations and frosting recipes for those that want to try it, but sometimes simplicity is best.

Brittany’s Fuss Free Muffin Cupcakes
– The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook (Jennifer Graham)

Raspberry, Almond and Yoghurt Cakes
Makes 24

Ingredients
250g unsalted butter
2 cups natural yoghurt
4 eggs
2 2/3 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2 cups almond meal
1 2/3 cups castor sugar (used 1 cup)
500 g frozen berries (used mixed berries)
1/2 cup flaked almonds

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line two 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake papers

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Leave to cool a little, then pur into a bowl with the yoghurt and eggs and whisk until thoroughly combined.

3. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and almond meal. Add castor sugar and combine.

4. Make a well in a centre and pour in the yoghurt mixture. Fold in gently using a rubber spatula,; do not over-stir, the mixture should be quite lumpy. Add the raspberries and fold in to just incorporate.

5. Spoon mixture into pans, filling each about three-quarters full. Sprinkle the flaked almonds evenly over the top of the cupcakes. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when pressed. Should be slightly browned.

IMG_0523

6. Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.

Decoration
Ingredients
1 cup icing sugar
Food Colouring: Brown and Yellow
24 White Sugar medallions
Piping Bag
Star Tip #9
1 Cup Vanilla Buttercream (Page 142)
Gold Glitter

Method

1. Sift icing sugar over the cooked cupcakes.

2. Add one drop of brown food colouring to ten drops of yellow food colouring to make a gold colour. Place an unused absorbent kitchen cloth onto a piece of greaseproof paper, and pout the gold colouring onto it, letting it absorb evenly. You can now use the cloth as a stamp pad. Stamp a gold letter B onto each of the sugar medallions (You may need two quantities of the gold food colouring)

3. Pipe a small swirl of buttercream in the centre of each cupcake. Place a medallion on top of each swirl and sprinkle with gold glitter.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Ingredients
200g softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 cups icing sugar

Makes: 4 cups of frosting (24 cupcakes)

Method
1. Cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add milk, vanilla extract and half of the sifted icing sugar, and beat for at least 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy and of a spreadable consistency. Add extra milk if the mixture is too dry or extra icing sugar if the mixture is too wet.

2. If you wish to colour and/or flavour the buttercream then this is the time to do it.

IMG_0531

Impressions

What I liked about this recipe is the crunchiness from the slivered almonds on top, and the moist almond meal inside but also the sourness of the berries shines through. I used a mix of raspberries and blueberries that gave it that sweetness and sourness, as not to make it too sweet when you’re adding sugar to it anyway. The yoghurt gives it a denser texture but it makes it more moist. I think if it just used butter, the recipe would come out dry and unappetising. Another fantastic recipe from this recipe book.

 

 

Beef Wellington with Red Wine & Shallot Sauce (Gordon Ramsay)

IMG_7676-1

My first sighting of Beef Wellington was on Masterchef Australia. It looked so golden and delicious but not too scarily difficult to actually make yourself. I love anything with pastry so meat plus puff pastry is my ideal meal. One thing to note is if you love a more generous serving of the mushroom mixture to go around the beef, I’d say double the mushroom mixture ingredients and you may also need a few more slices of the prosciutto to cover it as well. The shallot and red wine sauce from the BBC Good Food with the Beef Wellington is an amazing combination. I highly recommend it. Check out Gordon Ramsay’s BBC Good Food recipe below!

Beef Wellington with Red wine & Shallot sauce (Gordon Ramsay)

Cooking and Prep Time 1 hr – 2 hrs / 20 minutes (Sauce)
Serves 6 / 4 (Sauce)

Ingredients (Beef Wellington)
1kg/2lb 4 oz a good beef fillet
3 tbsp olive oil
250g/9oz chestnut mushroom, include some wild ones if you like (I used Portobello mushrooms)
50g/2oz butter
1 large sprig fresh thyme
100ml/3.5 fl oz dry white wine
12 slices prosciutto
500g/1lb 2oz pack puff pastry, thawed if frozen
a little flour, for dusting
2 egg yolks beaten with 1 tsp water

IMG_7533-1IMG_7535-1

Ingredients (Shallot & Red Wine Sauce)
250g shallots, sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
sprig rosemary
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
400ml red wine
400ml beef stock or brown chicken stock, preferably homemade
knob of butter

IMG_7512-1

Method (Beef Wellington)
1. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Sit the 1kg beef fillet on a roasting tray, brush with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with pepper.

IMG_7553-1

2. Roast for 15 mins for medium-rare or 20 mins for medium. When the beef is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven to cool, then chill in the fridge for about 20 mins.

IMG_7565-1

3. While the beef is cooling, chop 250g mushrooms as finely as possible so they have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor to do this, but make sure you pulse-chop the mushrooms so they don’t become a slurry.

IMG_7554-1

4. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil and 50g butter in a large pan and fry the mushrooms on a medium heat, with 1 large sprig fresh thyme, for about 10 mins stirring often, until you have a softened mixture.

IMG_7561-1IMG_7569-1

5. Season the mushroom mixture, pour over 100ml dry white wine and cook for about 10 mins until all the wine has been absorbed. The mixture should hold its shape when stirred. Remove the mushroom duxelle from the pan to cool and discard the thyme.

IMG_7571-1IMG_7575-1

7. Overlap two pieces of cling film over a large chopping board. Lay 12 slices prosciutto on the cling film, slightly overlapping, in a double row. Spread half the duxelles over the prosciutto, then sit the fillet on it and spread the remaining duxelles over. Use the cling film’s edges to draw the prosciutto around the fillet, then roll it into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of cling film to tighten it as you go. Chill the fillet while you roll out the pastry.

IMG_7610-1IMG_7618-1

8. Dust your work surface with a little flour. Roll out a third of the 500g pack of puff pastry to a 18 x 30cm strip and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Roll out the remainder of the 500g pack of puff pastry to about 28 x 36cm. Unravel the fillet from the cling film and sit it in the centre of the smaller strip of pastry. Beat the 2 egg yolks with 1 tsp water and brush the pastry’s edges, and the top and sides of the wrapped fillet.

9. Using a rolling pin, carefully lift and drape the larger piece of pastry over the fillet, pressing well into the sides. Trim the joins to about a 4cm rim. Seal the rim with the edge of a fork or spoon handle. Glaze all over with more egg yolk and, using the back of a knife, mark the beef Wellington with long diagonal lines taking care not to cut into the pastry. Chill for at least 30 mins and up to 24 hrs.

IMG_7620-1

10. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Brush the Wellington with a little more egg yolk and cook until golden and crisp – 20-25 mins for medium-rare beef, 30 mins for medium. Allow to stand for 10 mins before serving in thick slices.

IMG_7656-1IMG_7665-1

Method (Sauce)

1. Sauté the shallots in a medium saucepan with the oil over a high heat for about 3 mins until lightly browned, stirring often. Season with ground black pepper and add the garlic and rosemary. Continue cooking for a further 3 mins, stirring often to prevent the shallots burning.

IMG_7521-1

2. Pour in the vinegar and cook until evaporated away to a syrup, then pour in the wine and cook until reduced by two thirds or until it thickens.

IMG_7548-1

3. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until reduced by two-thirds again, to around 250ml. Remove the garlic and rosemary. Add a little salt to taste and finally ‘monte’ (whisk) in a knob of butter. Add any juices from the steaks just before serving.

IMG_7551-1IMG_7591-1

Notes

  • Please allot enough time for chilling. It helps with the rolling of the beef and so you don’t have a very wet base when you bake the pastry in the oven
  • The mushroom mixture can be doubled as it’s a very thin layer around the beef
  • I recommend finding less salty prosciutto as it can be quite overpowering with the seasoning of the beef and mushroom mix.

Parsnip and Swede Mash (BBC GoodFood)

IMG_0215

I was searching for a replacement recipe to mash potato, just to try something different. Even though I am a potato head, I heard about parsnip mash in Masterchef and they always make some weird vegetable into a mash so why can’t I be weird too! I found this recipe from the BBC GoodFood website titled Winter root mash with buttery crumbs and looked quite delicious and didn’t seem to difficult to make either. Although they said it’s for winter I didn’t care, mash is all year round.

Winter root mash with buttery crumbs aka Parsnip and Swede Mash (BBC GoodFood)

Serves 10

Ingredients
650g parsnips , cut into even chunks
650g swedes , cut into same size chunks as the parsnips
142ml tub soured cream
1 rounded tbsp hot horseradish (English Provender is good) (I used Spiced Mustard)
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
butter , for greasing

Butter topping
50g butter
1 small onion , finely chopped
50g fresh white breadcrumbs (from about 4 slices)
a small handful thyme leaves, plus extra for scattering
25g parmesan , coarsely grated (I used a mix of parmesan and mozzarella)

Method
1. In a large pan of boiling salted water, cook the parsnips and swede, covered, for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain well, then mash them together using a masher or food processor until reasonably smooth but still with a bit of texture. Stir in the soured cream, horseradish and thyme and season with salt and pepper.

2. Spoon into a buttered shallow ovenproof dish and put to one side.

IMG_0201

3. Make the topping. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the onion for 5-6 minutes, until gorgeously golden. Mix in the breadcrumbs and stir to brown and crisp a little. Season with salt and pepper and add the thyme. Take the pan off the heat.

4. Spoon the mixture casually over the top of the mash. Scatter over the parmesan. (Can be made ahead to this point and kept covered in the fridge for up to a day. Or can be frozen for up to a month.)

IMG_0212

5. Bake at 190C/gas 5/ fan 170C for 35-40 minutes if doing from cold, 25-30 minutes if not, or 1 1?2 – 1 3?4 hours from frozen (put foil on top, and remove it for the last 10 minutes) – until golden and crisp on top. Serve scattered with a few more thyme sprigs and leaves.

Impressions

I absolutely loved this recipe, especially fresh from the oven. Although I made a slight alteration with the recipe using spiced mustard instead of horseradish I don’t think it made much of a difference.

I did steps 1 and 2 the day before since I was baking a few other things the next day too but it didn’t appear to affect the mash when I took it out of the fridge the next day. 

I think the use of fresh thyme leaves (from my garden!) made it smell so good. I really couldn’t get enough thyme in this recipe, it was used profusely into the mash and sprinkled on top and in the topping.

I also used a mix of parmesan and mozzarella as the cheese topping which I think worked in its favour. Very tasty cheese on top, indeed. The topping was cheesy but crispy and the breadcrumbs added a nice crunch too. The swede and parsnip mash was just cooked to perfection. It also didn’t seem too fattening either, the sour cream adds to this idea but since it doesn’t use all that much, it tastes very much fresh and light (well as light as a buttery cheesy mash can be). I’m definitely making this again, such a pleasant surprise.

Sweet Potato Fries

IMG_0224

Around my holiday break I wanted to try making something with potatoes. Something crunchy, and yet not too fattening (as least fattening as potatoes can be), so I thought about sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes are regarded as the healthier option but the difference is actually not too large as you might have heard. I read about the difficulties people have with making sweet potato fries crispy since they have a higher water content, so they tend to sag a bit unless you try deep frying it. Me, trying to avoid any heavy oils, and particularly deep frying anything, I wanted to grill/oven bake them. They certainly are very difficult to crisp up but other than that, they turned out decent enough for a side dish.

I found this recipe from the Food Network by Paula Deen. The original recipe as noted by the comments appears to be way over salted, luckily having read the comments I stuck by that and divided it by 4.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries (Food Network)

Ingredients
Olive Oil, for tossing
5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch long slices, then 1/4-wide inch strips, using a crinkle cut knife
1 tablespoon House Seasoning (recipe follows)
1/2 teaspoon paprika

House Seasoning:
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Method
1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees C. Line a sheet tray with parchment. In a large bowl toss sweet potatoes with just enough oil to coat.

2. Mix house seasoning ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

IMG_0207

3. Sprinkle potatoes with House Seasoning and paprika.

IMG_0208
4. Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd.

IMG_0213

5. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

IMG_0223

 

Impressions

Baking sweet potato fries requires a lot more time than I imagined, simply because you need to keep flipping these around so that the entire chip crisps up. Otherwise you’d find that only one side is “crispy” (aka just slightly firmer in my case) and the bottom side is like a baked potato. Then, you have to consider the air temperature when turning the fries around as you would lose a lot of heat. So bear that in mind.

As you may see, the fries were a bit on the floppy side but nonetheless the flavour of the fries was decent. I think I may have added too much black pepper to my seasoning. Probably I would have added let’s say 1/5 cup or about there instead, and maybe sprinkled a bit more paprika and used a tad of chicken salt to replace the regular salt I used.

Keep in mind too, that only a very small amount of oil is needed for the seasoning to stick as then you may end up with wet potatoes that won’t evaporate in time. I enjoyed the process though don’t get me wrong, but I’m still searching for that perfect recipe.

Pandan Snow Skin Mini Mooncakes with Peppermint Lotus Paste and Pumpkin Seeds

IMG_0585

 

Mooncake Festival is one of those Chinese traditions, where you eat a considerable amount of mooncake to celebrate well, a full moon. There are a number of Chinese festivals and it’s hard to keep track of them all but the Mooncake festival is one of those bigger occasions other than Chinese New Year. Lately I’ve become fond of the “snow skin” mooncakes and staying away from those traditional mooncakes which are golden brown in colour and have a wonderful fragrance to it. It’s probably due to my affection for mochi. We decided to give this a try using Christine’s Recipe. Check it out below

Pandan Snow Skin Mooncakes with Coconut Mung Bean Filling (Christine’s Recipes)
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 60 mins
Yield: 16 mini mooncakes (50 grams each)

Ingredients
55 gm glutinous rice flour
45 gm rice flour
25 gm wheat flour / wheat starch
60 gm caster sugar
190 ml milk
30 ml condensed milk
25 ml vegetable oil (such as sunflower oil or canola oil)
40 ml pandan juice
2 to 3 drops of pandan paste / pandan essence, optional
320 gm peppermint lotus paste (or any other filling you like!)
2 Tbsp cooked glutinous rice flour, for coating

Method
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine glutinous rice flour, rice flour, wheat flour and sugar well.

IMG_9228

2. Mix milk, condensed milk, pandan juice and oil together. Pour into the flour mixture and stir to combine. Drain through a fine sieve into a large and shallow pan.

IMG_9229
3. Steam the batter in a wok over medium-high heat, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Try a bit of the dough. If it doesn’t have any raw flour taste, it’s cooked through. Remove from wok and let it cool down.

IMG_9230
4. Scrape the dough out onto a plastic board or a kitchen benchtop lined with plastic film. Lightly knead by hand until smooth. Cut dough into 16 portions, 30 grams of each.

5. Divide mung bean filling into 16 portions, 20 grams of each. Roll each into a round shape.

6. Wrap each filling ball with a dough portion. Roll with your palms and lightly coat with cooked glutinous rice flour. Shake off any excess flour. Place into a mooncake mould. Press to print the pattern. Repeat this step until finish all the dough and fillings. Store the mooncakes into an air-tight container. Put kitchen paper on top to prevent any condensed water dropped on the mooncake surface. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy.

IMG_0586

Notes (Christine’s)
– How to prepare cooked glutinous rice flour: Simply cook the flour in a frypan without any oil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When smoke releases and the flour turns light yellow, it’s cooked. Remove from the heat and let it cool down completely. Then you can use it to coat your mooncakes.

– When the dough is still hot, it seems to be quite oily. Don’t worry. It won’t be greasy at all, when it cools down completely.

– The snow skin mooncakes can be stored in freezer up to a few weeks. Before serving, just transfer the mooncakes to fridge for about 3 hours, until they become soften a bit.

IMG_0587

Impressions

I used a peppermint lotus paste for this recipe which I kindly received from a family friend in Malaysia. It had quite an interesting flavour to it but I’m not quite sure if it would be too many peoples’ liking.

For this recipe I used a bit more pandan essence as when I tasted the mixture, it was almost non existant but YMMV. I found I could only make 10 mooncakes with this recipe, I’m uncertain if it’s because the mixture evaporated or Christine used smaller moulds. I thought these were quite small anyway.

Eaten fresh, these mooncakes are soft with a bit of bite to them but once left out in the open for sometime they seem to harden up. I’m unsure if that’s just normal with these snow skin mooncakes because I’ve tried a Hong Kong variation which is stored in the fridge that was very soft to the touch and absolutely delicious (Mango flavoured).  I’ll probably try a different recipe next time but these turned out relatively so it’s not a bad recipe by any means.

Homemade Sausage Rolls (Everyday Gourmet)

IMG_0173

I saw this recipe on TV on Everyday Gourmet, with former Masterchef contestant Justine Schofield. What attracted me to the recipe was the ingredients she used, adding sambal oelek made me quite curious to taste how it would turned out. It also looked delicious when the sausage rolls were taken out of the oven. I thought why not give it a try, it’d be way better than those frozen/Four and Twenty/tucker shop varieties.

My primary difference was using Beef Mince, along with Beef/Pork Sausages (With no skin) as noted below.

Sausage Rolls (Everyday Gourmet – Justine Schofield)

Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 16

Ingredients
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
300g lamb mince (Or Beef)
3 Italian sausages, skin removed (6 small Beef/Pork Sausages – no skin)
1 ½ tsp. fennel seeds
1 tbs sambal oelek (2 1/2 tbs sambal oelek)
1 tbs tomato paste
1 onion, finely chopped and fried
2 tbs parsley, finely chopped
2 eggs, 1 lightly beaten
1 carrot, finely grated
Salt and pepper
Toasted Sesame Seeds (Optional)

Method

1. Pre heat the oven to 200C. Lightly grease and line a large baking tray with baking paper.

2. In a large bowl mix lamb (beef) mince, sausages, fennel seeds, tomato paste, sambal oelek, onion, grated carrot, parsley and 1 egg. Season well with salt and pepper. With your hands thoroughly combine the meat mixture. If you want to taste whether or not the seasoning is to your liking, try  taking a small spoonful of the meat mixture and cooking it (pan/oven/microwave) but if using a microwave make sure it’s cooked all the way through.

IMG_0166

3. Cut pastry sheet in half. Place one quarter of the mixture along the length of the pastry pressing together tightly. Roll the sausage roll log until the meat is completely covered with ½ of pastry. Cut excess pastry. Cut into 4 pieces and place on the baking tray.Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients.

IMG_0167

4. Brush some lightly beaten egg over the mini sausage rolls and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top, cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with your favourite tomato chutney or sauce.

IMG_0168

IMG_0171

Impressions

I loved this recipe! Having the sambal oelek in the recipe makes the difference, It simply cannot be ignored. I saw in Justine’s pictures that she sprinkled what looked like black sesame seeds on top but I wasn’t sure. We didn’t have any so I used the white variety instead, made it look better (I think).

You may notice that the fat from the sausages/ mince etc liquifies and spills on to the baking paper. This is what happened with mine, I just scraped it off from the bottom and cut it off from the sausage rolls and re-plated it.

Using beef does give it a strong beef taste but I think some will enjoy it, as not everybody seems to like the taste/smell of lamb.

 

Chocolate Orange Mini Cupcakes

IMG_0546

Orange and Chocolate go so well together, so I decided to try to bake some mini cupcakes. The recipe I used also had a orange and white chocolate buttercream icing on top but I thought I’d try it without it. Sometimes cupcakes just don’t need icing. I found this recipe off BBC Food which has many interesting recipes to try, luckily they also have both the metric and imperial measurements.

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Ingredients
For the cupcakes
120g/4oz plain flour
140g/5oz caster sugar (Halved to 70g)
1 tsp baking power
40g/1½oz unsalted butter
50g/2oz dark chocolate, melted
1 free-range egg
125ml/4fl oz milk
1 orange, juice only
3 tbsp granulated sugar

For the white chocolate and orange buttercream
125g/4½oz unsalted butter, softened
250g/9oz icing sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
50g/1¾oz white chocolate, melted
1 orange, zest only
100g/3½oz orange chocolate

 

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.

2. Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until combined.

3. Whisk the melted chocolate, egg and milk together in a jug.

4. Stir the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.

IMG_0541

5. Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, mix the orange juice and granulated sugar together in a bowl. Carefully pour the orange juice mixture over the warm cakes and set aside to cool completely.

7. For the white chocolate and orange buttercream, beat the butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Carefully stir in the icing sugar and continue to beat for five minutes. Beat in the milk, melted chocolate and orange zest.

8. Decorate the cupcakes with the buttercream

Impressions

I found the recipe did require the buttercream icing on top because the orange juice mixture didn’t really soak through the cupcakes. They basically just slid off the tops. It also gave the cakes a slightly damp feel to them as a result. The chocolate flavour was quite good though, perhaps its because the recipe requires chocolate and not just cocoa powder as some recipes do. With the orange juice mix you can taste it slightly but just not enough. I think I’ll try making it with an orange buttercream but without white chocolate as white chocolate tends to be extra sweet.