Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Recipe - Strawberry Mascarpone Cheesecake

Spent a fantastic weekend in London and just back yesterday. We drove to London and stayed in Danubius Hotel in Regents Park. It was a long drive about 4.5 hours, stopping 1/2 hour to feed Princess and then getting lost for a bit.

I was apprehensive about bringing Princess to London but Big King kept egging on. Ok, ok, seeing he has a function to attend and good chance to visit Royal China (I've never been before) and Harrods and Haagen Daz cafe.

Princess was good, only bising when she wanted her nap. No problem sleeping in the hotel cot and the car. Ate all sorts of food with us, first time travelling on underground, saw hordes of people. I think she's happy :D

Strawberry mascarpone cheesecake

Get ready:
Strawberries, enough to decorate the sides plus cutting into small cubes
Whipping cream (I used about 250 ml)
Dark chocolate, about 40g
Vanilla chiffon cake, 8 in (refer my previous post on chiffon)
1 tub mascarpone 250g
Icing sugar 6 tbsp (add or reduce according to your taste)
1 gelatine leaf (about 3 g if you use powder)
7 in loose bottom cake tin

What to do:
1. First prepare the cheese filling: Whipped the cream and set aside for use later.
2. Melt the gelatine in some water above a double-boiler.
3. In a bowl, whisk the mascarpone and icing sugar till sugar dissolved. Take 3/4 of the whipped cream and fold into the cheese mixture. Then fold in gelatine and strawberries cubes. Chill in fridge.
4. Line the cake tin with parchment paper. Slice the cake into half and using the bottom of the tin as a guide, trim the cake so that it fits into the 7 in tin. Take 1 trimmed cake and line the bottom.
5. To decorate the side, take whole strawberries and cut into half, making sure all about the same height. Stick the strawberries to the side of the tin, broader end facing down.
6. Pour in the cheese filling and then top with the other piece of chiffon cake, pressing down slightly to remove air pockets.
7. Spread the remainder of the whipped cream on top. Smooth with a palette knife.
8. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and using a spoon drizzle over the cake to decorate. Chill in the fridge till set.

1. You can increase the amount of gelatine for a firmer texture.
Welcome to ask questions if my instructions are vague. I am no cookbook writer so bear with me!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Recipe - Coffee Chiffon Cake

Coffee chiffon

Ingredients (8 in round cake tin):
A: Milk (I use freshly brewed coffee) 50g, caster sugar 40g, vegetable oil 40g
B: Cake flour 80g, baking powder 1/2 tsp (optional)
C: Egg yolks 4, vanilla extract 1 tsp
D: Egg whites 4, caster sugar 40g, cream of tartar 1/4 tsp (optional)

1. Combine coffee and sugar from A, whisk until sugar dissolved. Add in oil, using electric whisk, whisk until emulsified (about 2 to 3 min). While still whisking, add in egg yolks, whisk till completely combined.
2. Sift B and fold into 1. Add vanilla extract to the yolk batter. Stir to combine lightly.
3. In an oil free and water free bowl, using low speed whisk the egg whites till foamy. Add in cream of tartar. Switch to high speed and add in sugar from D in 3 batches. Whisk till stiff peak (check when inverting the bowl the whites will not fall out).
4. Take 1/3 of the beaten egg whites, fold into egg yolk batter to loosen it. Then pour into the beaten whites bowl and gently fold in using cut and fold method, working quickly.
5. Pour into cake tin and bake in preheated oven at 170 degree celcius for 25 to 30 minutes. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean.
6. Invert the cake until cooled.

Like I said before, there were loads of different recipes for chiffon cake, but I like this one the best. The final product is soft and moist even kept refrigerated for a few days but it won't last that long!

You can substitute the freshly brewed coffee with instant coffee dissolved in water. This recipe is my basic recipe and I play around with adding different flavours like adding green tea powder, chocolate powder, using tea instead of milk and so on.

Recipe courtesy of 喵呜子 from wenxuecity. Hearty thanks to her.

Original recipe link in chinese, here.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Cheesecake Galore!

My favourite cake in the world, cheesecake!!

Perfect for breakfast, afternoon snack and after-meal dessert!

Strawberry mascarpone cheesecake
Strawberry mascarpone cheesecake

Green tea n chocolate cheesecake
Green tea, vanilla and chocolate cheesecake

Boston cheesecake
Boston cheesecake

Chiffon cheesecake

Coffee cheesecake on choco sponge
Coffee cheesecake on chocolate sponge

Marbled cheesecake
Marbled cheesecake

Recipes coming soon!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Chiffon Madness!

After countless failed attempts at the ludicrously easy chiffon cake, I've finally been able to churn out good output now. Why easy but failed many times, I can hear you ask? Ha, 1 input factor wrong, the whole thing will kaput! Like oven temperature too high, batter not fully incorporated, egg whites beaten wrongly so on and so on, all result in collapsed cake.

Green tea n red bean chiffon
Green tea and red bean chiffon cake

Green tea n red bean swiss roll
Green tea and red bean swiss roll (filling is red bean mousse)

Coffee chiffon
Coffee chiffon

I have also made other flavours like pandan, vanilla and chocolate.

Recipes are dime a dozen, however, I do have a favourite one. Coming soon!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Caramelised Nuts Medley

Caramelised mixed nuts
Caramelised walnut and almonds

Big King has been nagging at me to make this 'snack' for ages. Ok Ok nah give, one big bottle 食死你.

Get ready:
Walnuts, shelled and de-skinned
Almonds, de-skinned
Brown sugar

How to:
1. Lightly toast the nuts in the oven at 180 degree celcius for 10 minutes.
2. In a non-stick saucepan, melt butter, chuck in sugar and honey. Stir for a bit.
3. When sugar starts to melt, chuck in all the toasted nuts. Stir until well-coated and sugar has all melted.
4. Remove from pan and leave to cool on a sheet of aluminium foil for easy removal when cooled.
5. Store in an airtight jar.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Pretty in Pink

I have wanted a jewellery box for the longest time. There really aren't plenty around to choose from here in UK, they are either in boring dark wood or plain to death leather colour. I knew I have found the perfect one when I set my eyes on this beauty.

Paris jewellery box
Aspinal of London's Paris Jewellery box

Stylishly small enough to travel around with and in the most pretty pink leather lined with suede. I even have it personalise.

While browsing also bought this pretty pink leather long wallet lined with suede and silk, all handmade. It doesn't come more luxurious than this, unless, of course you stud your's with diamond.........

ladies long wallet
Aspinal of London Ladies Long wallet

Big King said it's my mother's day and birthday present. My birthday is in September for god's sake!

Visit Aspinal's website to get your own. They deliver worldwide.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Curry puffs - a taste of home

Curry puffs

I started my seconday school years in a government school. Before that I attended the only Chinese school in the capital. I always look forward to breaktime in the morning and would rush off to the tea hall as soon as the bell has rung.

Local snacks and tea/horlicks/milo and fruits awaited us in the hall (supplied by the school for free). A moment too late it will be all gone, limited supply versus whole school of about 300 girls (girls and boys has separate tea hall). We get one kind of snack each day and different for the rest of the week. Fruits were normally oranges and apples.

I always look forward to the day they serve curry puffs. I remembered the filling as fairly sweet and they only use potatoes (no meat) and the skin crunchy eventhough they had already gone cold. After eating, I would linger in the hall. When the queue has ended for the food and there is still some leftovers, I would ask makcik (malay for auntie) if I could have more. Normally I get to take home 4 or 5, haha.

This is my first ever attempt on making curry puffs. I used curry powder, chicken, potato and boiled egg as filling. Skin is just water and flour and a little butter. No recipe as everything was agak-agak (guesstimate). The moment I sink my teeth into one, those yesteryears memories came fooding back...........
Chocolate souffle1

Chocolate souffles from GU, a premium chocolate dessert manufacturer. Didn't rise like how souffle is supposed to rise. It tasted ok. Personnaly I don't really like souffle but souffle lover will like it. It's kind of a self-saucing souffle if you like. Make no mistake even if it did not rise much the batter came out nice and airy and springy and extremely light.

Chocolate souffle 2
Yes, it looks like those melt-in-the-centre chocolate pud but the texture is really souffle-ish.

My favourite Italian pasta dish - Cannelloni

Cannelloni 1

Tubes of pasta filled with ricotta cheese and spinach topped with bechemel sauce and tomato sauce.

What you need:
Cannelloni tubes (buy the no need to pre-cook type)
A bag of spinach (I like young leaf)
A tub of ricotta cheese (I use 250g enough to feed 2)
Bechemel sauce (make your own or buy ready-made in a jar)
Tomato sauce (make your own or buy those bottled pasta sauce)
Cheddar cheese

What you do:
1. Wilt spinach and squeeze out excess water, chopped finely. Add to ricotta cheese.
2. Put 1 in a piping bag and pipe into cannelloni tubes.
3. Take a oven proof dish and spread some tomato sauce just enough to coat the bottom (this is to prevent sticking).
4. Arrange piped tubes in the dish in a single layer then top with bechemael sauce followed by tomato sauce.
5. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake at 200 degree celcius for 35 minutes.

Cannelloni 2