Sunday, December 28, 2008

Flourless Hazelnut Chocolate Cake (to die for ......)

Actually thinking back, one of the earliest post on my blog was about a flourless chocolate cake Esther baked for me for my b'day. This time I am baking the same cake for her for her birthday haha! This is a very rich chocolate cake, with hazelnut meal, and I experimented baking with a slower method instead of what the recipe says to make the cake more moist and thus easier to handle. Using the original recipe the cake will crack a little and make it challenging especially when transferring from bake pan to serving plate. Not that there is any problem with the cracking, it's perfectly fine. But since this is for birthday, I wanted to ensure it is presentable.

The recipe baking time is 1 hour but it took mine about 1.5 hours. The method i used is simply baking it in a roasting pan filled with hot water.

This is another timeless recipe, and is taken from Women's Weekly Cookbook.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mini Cheesecakes (decorated)

Baked some mini cheesecake for a Christmas dinner. I find this mini cheesecake quite time consuming to make especially if you don't want it to be too plain and want to make it a bit special (i.e to decorate). What i did was to make it 3 layers to make it look more pretty.

The first layer is the crushed biscuits to form the base, then the cream cheese and ricotta cheese mixture and for the last layer I used gelatin and also decorated some with chocolate (thanks to the help of Esther). I divided the batter into 3 types - green tea (added matcha powder), passionafruit (added canned passionfruit syrup) and plain. With the passionfruit ones I then added the passionfruit gelatin. As for the rest I decided to put my piping tools to good use and between Esther & I, we came up with all crazy/creative ideas (like the piggy face, the taichi style, the pac man ghost, the $ sign etc - can you spot them in the photo? maybe not all due to my photo angle). It was a lot of fun *_^ Thanks for your help Esther, I wouldn't have had the motivation to decorate it if you were not there helping.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mango 'Loh Mai Zhi' 糯米糍

Mango is a really nice summer fruit, and one of the best ways to enjoy this fruit is to make Mango'Loh Mai Zhi'. You can subsitute the mango with crushed peanuts and black sesame paste, red bean paste, lotus paste etc or can even be creative and come up with something new. It also refrigerates well, up to 4-5 days.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Simple Short Bread

One of my favourite biscuits is shortbread. You know, just the simple heavenly buttery flavour that melt in your mouth ... hmm. And the recipe is so simple - just 3 ingredients:

One pound of Butter (at room temperature
1 cup of Icing Sugar
3.5 cup of plain flour
(optional: you can add 1 tsp of vanilla extract is so desired)

Combine all ingredients in a big bowl and then have fun getting your hands dirty by rubbing the butter into the flour until it is well combined and come to a consistent texture.
Then either scoop spoonful of dough on to baking sheets or roll dough out on a slightly floured surface and cut out the shape of your liking using your favourite cookie cutter and bake in moderate pre-heater oven (abour 320 degrees F, depending on your oven) for about 10-15 min or until just turn slightly brown on the edges. It's really that simple. Use good quality butter, it does make a difference!

You can also get creative and decorate with chocolate on top =>
This is a different shortbread than one I made last month. The previous one is piped and literally crumble and melt in your mouth. This one is firmer and hence can be cut out in different shapes. Anyway both are my favourites!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Napoleon Cake from a friend

Got a nice surprise today after coming home from work. Hubby brought something back from work and told me "oh Adrian passed something to you from Sarah" I was so excited as I try to figure out what it could be? Dumpling? cake? biscuits? It was actually Napoleon cake (I think this is what it is called?). It was home made and consists of layers of pastry and cream and fruits. It was yummy and I took a couple of picture before it is all devoured ^_^

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hazelnut Squares

Have not been able to do much cooking last week due to recovering from a gastro virus. both hubby and I fell sick at the same time, still could not figure out whether it was something we ate, or one caught some virus and passed to another. Whatever the cause was, it has prevented me from any cooking, as not only did I feel weak and tired, I did not have much appetite and also didn't want to pass my virus to anyone else from my cooking.

Thank God we have recovered, and with no end to this cold rainy weather in sight (can't believe this is summer, it feels like winter!), I decided to try out the Hazelnut Squares recipe. Esther gave me this huge tin of hazelnut meal which I thought I can put to good use. Hazelnit is one of my favourite nuts, so are everything else made from hazelnut like Nutella, yum!

This is a very simple, easy to make biscuit, the challenging bit was to spread it evenly. Mine was thicker on the centre, plus I used a bigger tray that what the recipe called for as this is the only thing I have close to the requirement. The important thing is - it taste very good, rich with Hazelnut flavour.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chinese Radish Cake 蘿蔔絲餅

After 2 weeks of baking overdose (baked 3 batches of cookies and 4 cakes in the last 3 weeks), I have had enough of baking and decided to switch gear and go back to chinese cooking =)

Not that I haven't been cooking chinese food, I mean I make chinese dishes for dinner most of the time. Steamed fish, stir fry vegies, wonton noodle soup and all that but I want to make something new, something I love to eat and a special treat. I stumbled across a cooking demo video clip on youtube last week, teaching people how to make Chinese Radish Cake 蘿蔔絲餅 which makes me mouth watering. I cannot even recall how I got to the link, I was simply surfing the net visiting many inspiring food blogs and then just like a poor man discovering treasures, I was captivated by this demo. For some talented cooks, making a new dish straight from a recipe book is so easy and they achieve the ideal result on first attempt. As for me I learn better from watching how people cook so this video demo is perfect for me.

The timing can’t be better too, hubby was away on a photoshoot helping a friend to capture precious moments of ballet dancers in Frankston all day. And as if it was fated to be, we reached the internet bandwidth and the speed dropped to a snaily pace in the evening. Reluctantly I have to press the "pause" button on watching my current "must-see" Taiwanese series (fated to love you). But this gave me the incentive to get up from my chair and leave my laptop and I quickly sprung into action in the kitchen.

The challenge of this dish for me lies in making the "skin". The filling is very yummy, can be be served as a dish on its own too. As it was getting a bit late I only used up half of the filling and freeze the other half for next time. not sure if it will freeze well, will tell ya next time.
Hubby finally came home at about 11:30pm. To reward his hard work taking photos today I fed him the freshly fried radish cake, hot from the pan ^_^

Monday, December 1, 2008

Baked Chocolate Cheese Cake and Passionfruit Rasberry Cake

One of the end of year thanksgiving dinner organised by church group, I was requested to bring cakes. As the dinner is on weeknight, I decided to go conservative and bake something I have experimented before to save time. Work has been very busy lately (surprisingly given we are in the middle of restructuring and awaiting the outcome of my job).

Someone once told me when you do not know what food to bring to a group dinner because you do not know the preference of people well, always bring something you love to eat. Chances are if you like it, someone else would like it too. And if luck is against you and no one likes it, at least you like it and can enjoy it. I reckon this is good advice, and I'm sticking to it LOL.

So here are my two favourite cakes - Baked Chocolate Cheese Cake and Passionfruit Rasberry Cake.