Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pandan Chiffon Cake Wannabe

I bought myself a 21cm chiffon cake tube tin last week when I visited Phoon Huat at Sims Avenue. I already have 2 mini cake tins from Daiso. The bases of  all the tins are all removeable for easier removal of the cakes after cooling.  The reason for using a tube tin when baking the chiffon cake is for the soft & fluffy cake to 'have something to hold on to' as they rise and hold their heights. So do not grease the tins before pouring in the batter.

Chiffon Cake Tins
(Small tube tin costs $2 from Daiso & over $3 at other places)

My last attempt at baking a chiffon cake using the mini tins was for the chiffon cheesecake. It was not a success as the sides of the cake sunk in. It was also not soft and fluffy enough. So after getting my new cake tin, I decided to try baking a basic Pandan Chiffon Cake. A cotton soft and fluffy fragrant cake! One of my favourite cakes as a child , I remember that I would roll pieces of my pandan cake into balls before eating them. Wierd!

I decided to use Rei's recipe and her step-by-step pictures served as a really useful guide. However I did not follw her baking instructions of adjusting the oven temperature during the baking process. Think that accounts for the cake not turning out as expected...

Yes! Fresh out of the oven, looking promising...

After getting the cake out of the oven, I inverted the cake together with the cake tin on the cooling rack. Once the cake is totally cool, I remove the tin to find that the bottom of the cake was sunken in! Why? What went wrong?

Pandan Chiffon Cake with a sunken top (originally the bottom)

A slice of not so fluffy and soft Pandan Chiffon Cake...
Shaped like a sledge, Aladdin's magic lamp, shoes?
Well... at least I don't have to roll it into a ball before eating it now.

As you can see, this slice of Pandan Chiffon cake lacks the typical big airy holes found in a chiffon cake. The cake is still edible, but just not soft and fluffy as a chiffon cake should be. Colour wise, it's a very pale green from the fresh pandan juice that I have used. I will have to add more next time to get a richer green.

The only consolation- Jerome said it's nice pandan cake (minus the 'chiffon')...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jin Dou Spare Ribs

Tried cooking Jin Dou Spare Ribs for the first time. I'm not a great fan of spare ribs (not much meat, just bone) but Jerome is. So Jerome liked this sweet & sour side dish. I served this with a simple steam toufu on beansprouts and white rice. I had to resort to using fingers to eat the spare ribs & ended up licking my fingers clean of the Jin Dou Sauce. Finger lickin' good? Hmm...

Jin Dou Spare Ribs - Deep Fried Prime Ribs with a Sweet & Sour Sauce

Recipe for Jin Dou Spare Ribs
(adapted from "Hawkers' Fair... Sauces")
Serves 2 as a side dish

500g spare ribs, cut into pieces
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
1 egg
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp corn flour
1 tbsp custard powder
3 tbsp water

Jin Dou Sauce:
50ml black vinegar
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 tbsp tomato sauce
2 1/2 tbsp plum sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp five spice powder
50ml water

some corn flour water, for thickening (1tbsp cornflour mix with 100ml water)

1) Marinade sapre ribs for at least 3 hours, best overnight. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown. Dish up and set aside.
2) Combine all the ingredients for Jin Dou Sauce and bring to a boil for 3 mins. Add in spare ribs and mix well. Thicken with cornflour water and dish up. Serve hot.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tang Yuan & Sweet Potato Soup

After the Chang Cheng Porridge at 4pm, we knew we were going to be hungry soon. I have only 1 sweet potatoe left in the fridge & that is definitely not enough for the 2 of us. So I decided to make some tang yuan (glutinous rice balls) to add to the sweet potato soup. This is the first time I'm making this combination and we love it :)

Glutinous Rice balls (Tang Yuan) with Sweet Potato Soup

1) Put sweet potaoes (peeled & cut into big pieces) & a few slices of ginger into a pot of water & bring to boil. Add a few pieces of pandan leaves. Cook till the sweet potatoes are soft (skewer will pierce through easily). Add sugar to taste (I've used rock honey, hence the soup looks yellowish). Remove from heat.
2) While the sweet potato soup is cooking, prepare the glutinous rice balls.
Dissolve about 1tbsp of sugar in 200ml of water. Pour & mix the water (slowly, part by part) with 100g of glutinous rice flour. Add just enough water & mix to form a dough. Add colourings if desired.
3) Boil another small pot of water to cook the glutinous rice balls. Pinch the dough with your thumb & index finger & roll into it a small ball and drop it directly into the boiling water. (Keep the balls as small as possible. They taste better.) When they're cooked (they will float to the surface), dish them out & add to the cooked sweet potatoe soup.

Chang Cheng porridge(长城粥) @ Chinatown

After watching "2012" at GV Marina Square last Saturday, Jerome drove to Chinatown just so we could have Chang Cheng Porridge at 4pm :) It's a very popular stall located at the intersection at Keong Saik Road & New Bridge Road. We ordered a bowl of porridge each & a claypot of frogs' legs. Hmm... Does frog legs sound digusting to some people? Just like I find it impossible to imagine eating fried scorpions & starfish when I was at Wang Fu Jing in Bei Jing.

I also know that porridge doesn't appeal to all. But in this part of the world, we grow up from these. One of the first food that a baby will learn to eat is the porridge.

From what I know, there are a few types of popular porridge here. The Cantonese style of porridge which is like the one below, where the porridge is cooked till it's very soft & turned into a 'puree'. The ingredients & seasonings are cooked together with the porridge & you can enjoy the bowl of porridge on its own.

Century Egg Porridge

Claypot of Frog Legs

The other type of porridge is the Teochew porridge where the porridge is basically just rice cooked with more water. Sometimes, sweet potatoes are also added. A few savory dishes are usually served with the white porridge. Common dishes include salted egg, preserved beancurd, egg with preserved radish, steamed egg, canned food, etc. As a child growing up in a Teochew family, lunch was always a porridge meal. And whenever we are sick and do not have much of an appetite, the humble porridge is also served. I remembered that at a certain point, I was actually getting sick of porridge :P Imagine, everyday...

I find it amazing that a hotel was actually packed with people enjoying a porridge buffet. A few years back, Jerome & I even tried a porridge steamboat at Katong. This porridge steamboat concept was introduced from Malaysia where this seems to be very popular. Instead of soup in your steamboat, you cook your food in the porridge. We tried it once & that was it. I am definitely not paying $20+/pax for porridge! The last time we looked, the restuarant was no longer there.

Actually Jerome & I have a porridge meal for dinner at least once every week, usually on Mondays. It kinds of make us feel better after over-eating on Sunday nights when we have dinner at my mum's place :P Jerome's not a fussy eater & offered me an amazingly easy solution, "Whenever you don't know what to cook, just cook porridge & serve preserved beancurd. I'll be happy." That's great, but I won't be happy just having the preserved beancurd... Guess I'm the fussy eater here...

Sugar Roll

I am planning to make a log cake for Christmas! But before that, I must first be able to make a proper Swiss Roll. I've tried making it thrice but I always ended up with an "Earthquake Roll" in the end with cracks all over. I remembered that back in Secondary School, during Home Economics, Swiss Roll was one of the cakes we learned to bake. But I don't remember I had a problem rolling up the cake then. So I don't understand why it is so difficult now.

Anyway, I've tried using Aunty Yochana's Sugar Roll recipe yesterday. And while the cake was baking in the oven. I quickly made some butter cream using Aunty Yocahana's Butter Cream Recipe. And I'm glad that it finally worked! I managed to roll up the cake without any major cracks :P Well, I guess I should have been more generous with the butter cream, think that will look better :)

Sugar Roll

Taste wise, the cake was nice but not as soft as the sugar rolls from Polar Cakes. As the recipe used corn oil, the cake lack the buttery taste. Next time, I'll try using melted butter instead :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cake Index

The cakes I've baked so far...
(updated on 6th August 2010)
Baked Cheesecake (A rich & spongey cheesecake that reminded me of Coffee Bean's Chicago Cheesecake)

Baked Cheesecake II (Melt-In-Your-Mouth, still my all-time favourite cheesecake)                                                                                      

Baked Cheesecake with Freshcream & Strawberries ( Baked cheesecake with a digestive biscuit base decorated with fresh whipped cream & strawberries for my sister SY's birthday)

Chiffon Cheesecake (A light & fluffy chiffon cheesecake.)


Christmas Yule Log Cake Classic Chocolate Sponge Cake rolled up with chocolate cream filling and covered in Chocolate-Mocha butter cream.
Durian Cake for Durian Lovers ( Durian Sponge Cake decorated with buttercream and durian flesh for Jerome's birthday.)

Fruit Flan Cake (Traditional Sponge cake decorated with fresh whipped cream and a layer of fresh fruits with a jelly topping for my mum's birthday.)

Mango Fruit Flan Cake (Traditional Sponge cake decorated with fresh whipped cream and a layer of fresh mango cubes and  strawberries with a jelly topping for my father-in-law's birthday.)

Spiderman's Cake (Traditonal Sponge Cake covered in fresh whipped cream & chocolate ganache)

Strawberry Shortcake Vanilla Sponge Cake with Freshcream & Strawberries

Strawberry Ice-Cream Cake Covered in Chocolate Ganache
(Simple Homemade strawberry ice-cream cake with chocolate ganache & gum paste flowers for my sister SQ's birthday)

Sugar Roll
(My first successful roll!)

Traditional Sponge Cake
( A simple all-in recipe that does not require separation of eggs that yields a soft & spongey cake.)

Cupcakes decorated with buttercream...

Durian Durian Cake

Strawberry & Longan Fruit Cake

KuishinBo Japanese Buffet

Visited KuishinBo, The Authentic Japanese Buffet Restaurant, located at the Japanese Food Street at Jurong Point last Saturday for their Hi-Tea buffet. We had been there for the lunch buffet once & it was great! The spread for Hi-Tea is more limited, but we still enjoyed our meal. Heard from my my sister that the dinner buffet spread is the best though. Going to try it soon! Should have taken more pictures of the food but I was too busy eating :P

Nice Ambience...

Looking out at the Food Street...

The Sashimi & Sushi Spread

Just take 1 each...

Just for starter...

Tasty Chawamushi
So yummy that we had 2 each...
& Jerome never liked Chawamushi before!

Sorry, should have taken more pictures of the food but was too busy eating...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Yogurt Frost Cake (Four Leaves)

Just had this Yogurt Frost Cake for dessert :) Okay, I didn't bake it. Jerome bought it from Four Leaves  to celebrate my birthday. It's a light cake with chunks of peaches sandwiched in the fresh cream & topped with dried appricot. Nice! But I still prefer their Choco Exotic Cake, so chocolatety with the rich chocolate mousse & with a layer of crunchy hazelnut flakes...

Yogurt Frost Cake from Four Leaves

Chunks of peaches sandwiched in between...

Roti Prata

Just pan fried some prata for breakfast this morning & served them with just some sugar. Well, I didn't make the prata from scratch. I just used a ready-made prata & I just need to pan fry or bake it. I always panfry them in a pan over a gentle heat & flip the prata occasionally so that the prata will be crispy & fluffy, just the way we like them.

I just grease the pan first & I don't add anymore oil. So this is definitely a healtier choice. To keep the pratas warm & crispy, I would keep them spread out in the oven with a low heat. When they're all done, just serve with your favourite curry or just some sugar :) They're better than many pratas served  in the average prata stall in the neighbourhood.

Roti Prata, Crispy Pancake... Can't wait to eat it...

Crispy & Fluffy Roti Prata... Can't get enough of them...

A Family Pack of Frozen Roti Prata
 I always have a pack in the fridge...

A piece of frozen Roti Prata Dough

Mango Ice-Blend

To complete my Thai meal of Pineapple Fried Rice & Green Curry, I also made this mango ice blend.
Now, the meal is perfect :)

Mango Ice-Blend

Pineapple Fried Rice & Thai Green Curry

Recipe for Mango Ice-Blend
(makes 2 cups)

200g of fresh & ripe mango flesh
1/3 cup water
1 cup ice
1 tbsp icing sugar (or additional subjected to personal preference)

Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Taste & add additional sugar for desired sweetness.
Pour into glasses & serve immediately.

Thai Green Curry

I've cooked this Thai Green curry last week to acompany my pineapple fried rice. I used the Asian Home Gourmet Premix. I just added evaporated milk, fresh oyster mushrooms, chicken meat, baby corn & a handful of frozen mixed vegetables. You can actually add anything you like. Jerome love the green curry very much. A word of caution- it's a little spicy. Anyway, this means that I'll stock up on the premix :) It's about $1 for a pack (on special 1 for 1 offer now) & I don't have spend all the effort buying all the different ingredients & spices & processing them :P So it's just 20 mins for this bowl of spicy & delicious green curry :)

A spicy bowl of Thai Green Curry

Thai Green Curry Premix

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pineapple Fried Rice

Just prepared Thai style Pineapple Fried Rice for dinner using a recipe from "Thai Home Cooking", a cookbook I've borrowed from NLB. Had wanted to cook Tom Yam soup but the recipe was missing from the book. Someone had apparently torn out the page with the recipe. Some people are just being so inconsiderate. Actually, I would consider a theft- taking something that does not belong to u.

Anyway, back to the pinapple fried rice, Jerome was totally impressed with it. Maybe it was because I served the fried rice in the pineapple itself. It definitely looks very appetisiing & impressive :P Tastewise, I'm glad that it taste as good as it looks. Jerome said that it was better than the last pineapple fried rice that we've had from a Thai restuarant... Yummy! I couldn't agree more. I should have cooked more rice.

To complete the Thai meal, I served Thai Green Curry & made Mango Ice-Blend. Now, it's a perfect meal!

Jerome's Bigger Half of Pineapple Fried Rice
(Jerome said that this photo didn't do justice to the pineapple fried rice...)

My smaller half of Pineapple Fried Rice
Now, u get a better view of what's in there?

Recipe for Thai Style Pineapple Fried Rice
(adapted from "Thai Home Cooking")
(serves 2)

1 cup of white rice, cooked
1 pineapple
(cut half lengthwise, cut/scoop out the pineapple flesh, pineapple shells to be used to serve fried rice in,
keep about 50g for pineapple fried rice, the rest can be for other uses)
1 tbsp oil
1 chinese sausage, cut into small cubes
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/2 tomato, remove soft centre & cut into small cubes
1/2 red onion, chopped coarsely
2 tbsp rasins
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp light soya sauce

Heat oil in wok & add in the sausages. Stir fry for a minute & dish up. Set aside.
Add the butter & curry powder to the wok and fry till fragrant.
Add the cooked rice & mix well.
Add the rest of the ingredients & stir fry for a few minutes.
Add seasoning & mix well. Dish up & serve the pineapple rice in the hollow out pineapple.
Top the pineapple fried rice with some pork floss if desired. (I did!)
Enjoy your pineapple fried rice!

Kai Yang (Thai Aromatic Baked Chicken Leg)

I was at Cold Storage doing my marketing earlier this week & saw the Asian Home Gourmet series of premixes on sale (Buy 1, Free 1), so I decided to give the premixes a try. I don't foresee that I'll be squatting in the kitchen, pounding the ingredients & spices with a stone mortar & pestle, like the little nonya just to prepare a dish. So the premixes are a great idea for me to cook up some new dishes at home.

Thai Aromatic Baked Chicken Leg served with Hainanese Chicken Rice

Premix of Marinade for Chicken

Premix for Hainanese Chicken Rice

The baked chicken legs marinaded with the premix Thai spices are really aromatic, especially with the smell of tumeric (yellow ginger). I just had problems getting rid of the yellow tint on my Lock & Lock container where I marinaded the chicken. The marinade in the pack was for marinading up to 900g of chicken, that's about 4 chicken legs. I only used it to marinade 2 chicken legs which explains why it's a little too salty :P But it's still good to go with the rice.

As for the Hainanese chicken rice premix, I've only used 1/2 of the pack as the pack was meant for 4 servings. I still prefer the "Prima Taste" premix that I've used previously. It's more fragrant. But maybe if I use the entire pack, it'll be more fragrant? Let me try & we'll see...

Now, I still have a pack of Premix for Thai Green Curry to try out...
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