Category: Recipes

Pineapple Tarts for 2011!

By , January 26, 2011 5:08 pm

Just read from the papers that many people are attending classes this year to learn how to make their own new year goodies. I also read that the hot favourite is the pineapple tart. Feeling a wee bit smug that I got a 4year head start hehe

I’m still using the same recipe as the first year  (you can replace the cornflour with plainflour because I learnt that doesn’t make much of a difference), and I forgot this, but I even have my own pineapple tart video which showcases my awkward kitchen moves. (Please don’t judge the pineapple tart by my moves – they really do turn out yummy!!)

With a baby at home this year, it’s slightly difficult to spend an entire day in the kitchen. So, we spread it out into many days and did stuff during her nap times. 

Day 1 : My helper grates 2 fresh honey pineapples and mixes it with two packets of readymade pineapple paste. She stirs it all over a fire til it dries out – about 2hours (I know!!!) The finished product is a paste that has a very authentice homemade flavour and isn’t as sweet as the commercial ones.

Day 2: We roll them into balls like the below and keep it in the fridge. 

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Day 3 (one day before actual baking): Prepare the dough because they have to be refrigerated before use. This year, we made two batches of dough. One is the original pineapple tart dough and the other the jam cookie dough.

Baking Day : 

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I press the dough into a flat sheet about 1/2cm thick and then use a small cookie cutter, which is slightly bigger than a 50ct coin to cut the dough. (I like my tarts bite sized – feel free to use a gingerbread cutter if you are so inclined =p) Then I glaze them with egg yolk before plopping a ball of pineapple paste on top of each one. Before baking, both trays look identical.

After baking, the tarts with the original recipe turned out like this :

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Pretty aren’t they? =D I like how they retained their shapes and look so perfectly baked. I even take the trouble to “dress” them individually :

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The batch with the jam cookie dough turned out like this :

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Not so pretty =( They have expanded in size and are roughly 1.5 times bigger than what I had originally cut out. It made the ball of pineapple look very miserly and they don’t fit into the red wrappers because they are plus sized.

Wasted? Let’s just say they disappeared alot faster than the pretty ones. Everyone loves this cookie dough! They are less crumbly than the original recipe and isn’t the melt in your mouth sort. The original recipe is more the ‘traditional’ melt in your mouth tart. It’s all down to personal preference I guess. I was intending to make more original recipe pineapple tarts but looks like I’ll have to defer to consumers’ preference and make more jam cookie dough tarts.

Tips for the pineapple tarts with the jam cookie dough : Use 20g lesser sugar than required so that you can put more pineapple paste on top and still it wouldn’t taste too sweet. Finding the balance is key here! The pineapple paste should cover 3/4 of the cut out dough (because the dough expands after baking).

Good luck with your tarts!

Jam Cookies

By , January 25, 2011 2:21 pm

Jam is not on my list of favourite foods. It may be because I had to finish up my jam and butter sandwiches every morning when I was young and I was bored with eating the same thing everyday. I wondered how come I couldn’t have more interesting sandwiches like ham and cheese / tuna / egg sandwiches and my grandma would remind me to be grateful I even have breakfast on the table. Some of you would know this all too familiar line : “finish up all the food on your plate because some children have no food to eat” 

On retrospect, I think youth and ungratefulness goes hand in hand =p

Anyway, I only discovered in the last few years just how good jam can taste. With peanut butter on a toast. With a roll. On scones with butter. There are quite a number of ways to have jam and I chanced upon this recipe from an old baking book I bought in Taiwan, for a jam cookie. It is so good I have been asked if I would sell it (to which the answer is no because I have no time). Here’s sharing!

JAM COOKIE

80g confectioners’ sugar (Sift)
30g milk powder (Sift)
60g shortening
80g butter
a pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
200g cake flour / self raising flour(Sift)
1/4 tsp baking powder (Sift)
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp jam (I find NTUC’s raspberry jam ideal for this)

1. Combine confectioners sugar, milk powder, shortening, butter and salt. Beat til soft.
2. Add egg yolks into the batter over 2 times and mix well.
3. Gently fold cake flour and baking powder into the mixture using a rubber spatula.
4. Refrigerate dough for 2hrs.
5. Flour tabletop and roll dough into a long strip. Cut into small pieces and roll into balls then slightly flatten. Press a hole in the middle.
6. Brush with egg yolks and place a little jam in the hole.
7. Bake at 175deg(preheat the oven!) for 18-20mins.

I made this some months back and didn’t take a picture but here’s the picture from the book :

jamcookie

Tips : 1) Don’t put them too close together to bake because they “grow” quite abit. 2) Don’t be lazy about glazing it – it tastes drier when you skip this step and doesn’t look as pretty (yes, I’m speaking from first hand experience)

This entry is the prelude to my annual pineapple tarts endeavour so look out for the next entry (very soon)!!

Home Grub!!

By , January 7, 2011 1:39 pm

I wanted the first food post for 2011 to be special, and I’d say home grub is special because it is yummy, it’s available anytime and because The Man prepares it =)

THE PRE PARTY PLATTER!!

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This explosion of colours is bound to impress any guest =) The biggest plus is that this platter is easily assembled – you just need the ingredients on hand and of course some flair with decorating. It is also a very healthy platter : Tomatoes; strips of carrot, celery and cucumber; cocktail nuts; raisins; cranberries; sliced mushrooms; vegs sprinkled all over; salami and cheese.

On the side, Dan also prepares crackers to go with the cheese and salami (it’s such a wicked combo!). For a bigger group, he usually gets dips (from Cold storage) and nacho chips too.

It’s really nice to sit around this platter and slowly pick everything off it while catching up with friends/family. Dan’s choice of beverage for the platter is red wine/champagne. Yes, he does enjoy his food and wine 🙂

THE BEST TENDERLOIN!!

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I honestly think Dan makes very good steak (Don’t tell him I said so, but I was 3/4 won over during our dating days the first time he prepared me a good steak!) I’m not alone too – everybody who’s tried the beef he prepares thinks so whether it’s panfried/barbequed/roasted. It must be his affinity with steak… or just that he’s had sooooo much of it.

A Fairprice Finest recently opened near our hood so he buys the tenderloin from there and requests for the meat to be cut about an inch thick ($6.70/100gm – way more affordable than eating out!). He prepares a salad on the side Jamie Oliver style (ie: without washing) and drizzles the salad dressing over some leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers and raisins.

Back to the ‘star’ of the dish: As the pan is heating up, Dan seasons one side of the beef with a little salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, he cooks it with a teaspoon of olive oil and waits for the side of the steak to show a 3/4 ‘cooked’ line. He then flips it over and expertly gauges the doneness of the steak to perfection. After he removes the steak from the pan, we wait for 2mins for the meat to ‘settle’ and then drizzle this over :

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$44.90 for 250ml felt very expensive until we saw a 100ml bottle going for $55.90. But it is a very good investment because it makes every dish taste like restaurant takeaway. *slurp*

You might wanna try firing up the stove and impressing your friends/(potential) partner/ family cos Dan will testify that it works!

Perfect Chocolate Macaroons!

By , August 11, 2010 10:33 am

IMG_2353There they are. I think they look lurverly – maybe not as leggy as my previous macaroons but they look store-bought. More importantly, they not only look good, they were yummilicious. Thin crispy shells that cover a soft, and slightly chewy centre with a rich chocolate taste. Using only bitter chocolate worked in combatting the sweetness of the shells. LOVE.

I tried to not be too hopeful after piping out this second batch on a tray. The shiny tops looked promising.choc_mac1Looking at them made my heart sing- smooth, uncracked domes with petite legs peeking out! (I sound a little crazy but attempting anything twice in a day requires a little crazy.)

My first attempt had equal glossy tops but some website said I should bake it at 93deg for 5mins and then 190degs for 8mins. That resulted in a trayful of this :

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Not only that, but I couldn’t remove them from the baking paper at all =( I was about to fold it up and throw the entire thing away, but decided to pop it back into the oven and see if I could create a meringue type cookie. It worked! I got a boxful of these :

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I call them my Ugly Macaroons. These things are cookie-like on the outside and chewy on the inside. Almost like a french macaroon but uglier hardier. Miss J said to keep them for her cos she likes these (and she’d know because I’ve made ugly macaroons before).

Am glad I didn’t give up. Macaroons are about persistence!!!

The only recipe that has worked consistently for me, is the David Lebovitz chocolate macaroon recipe. There is no need to age the egg whites or wait an hour or two after piping before popping them in the oven. Here’re some tips I learnt thru too many trials and errors:

1. Bake at 150deg insetad of 180deg. Small macaroons take about 8-10mins. Bigger macaroons 12-15. Pop it back in the oven if you Really cannot remove from the baking paper.

2. Prepare your ingredients in an airconditioned room. Not sure if that helped but I think working in the natural humidity of Singapore isn’t very good for meringues or macaroons.

3. Do Not overbeat the egg whites – it’s ready once it is glossy.

4. Do Not overfold the icing sugar/ground almond into the egg whites – it’s ready once its texture is like magma/lava.

I definitely prefer baking macaroons to eating them cos they are a tad too sweet for me. But there’s something about making something so pretty that makes me happy. The next two flavors I’m thinking of trying is pistachios and green tea.

Bear with me – my macaroon obsession will pass soon (enough).

More on Sago!

By , July 21, 2010 12:06 pm

After my last attempt at making sago gula melaka, I decided to google for a honeydew sago recipe as well. It astounded me just how easy it is to make!!

The tricky bit is the sago. Since I found the sago too soft the last attempt, I decided to not soak the sago this time.

I put the sago into boiling water, cooked it til it was almost transparent (still has a white centre) and then turned off the fire. I let it sit in the boiling water until the white centre has almost disappeared, THEN do the straining with cold water to get rid of the starch and keep it from cooking somemore.

When you get the timing right, it turns out fantastic. But sometimes, the unfortunate sight that greets me, is frogs’ egg looking sago. I know. Disgusting right? But even then, the texture is fantastic! You can feel every little ball rolling around in your mouth, and when you don’t look too hard, you can’t tell. See? 

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I really like this – it’s so easy to make. Recipe is adapted from this site.

  • 2 Cups Honeydew Melon / <or any fruit> Diced Finely
  • 1/2 Cup Tapioca Pearls
  • Sugar syrup (1/2cup sugar in 1/2cup water)
  • 1 Can (12 Fl Oz) Evaporated Milk
  • 1 (small) box of coconut milk
  • Mix all the above up according to your own taste. The original recipe only uses evaporated milk – it’s lower in calories that way. But I think coconut milk gives it a richer flavor and a nicer colour. It all boils down to individual liking =) That’s the best part about home made stuff – you can modify it anyhow you want! 

    My cup of instant honeydew sago consists of
    2tbsp evaporated milk,
    1tbsp coconut milk
    1/2 tsp sugar syrup
    2 ice cubes
    As much sago and fruit(or not) that will go into the above. I also fish the ice cubes out once it’s cold.

    Easy peasy =)

    Rice Pudding

    By , July 16, 2010 4:53 pm

    Did you go “huh?” cos I did.

    The conversation started with Dan saying that there’s this dessert he really likes but I’ve never made. I asked “What?” and he said  “Rice pudding.”

    Firstly, I have never heard of had rice pudding. Secondly, I have never heard him mention it before. So of course I went “huh?”

    Then I dutifully went to google a recipe and found this one from allrecipes.com. It boasts an astounding 24,996ppl who have saved it so it can’t be all that bad.

    Copying the recipe wordforword since it is THAT easy to make :

    Ingredients

    • 3/4 cup uncooked white rice
    • 2 cups milk, divided
    • 1/3 cup white sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 2/3 cup golden raisins
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Directions

    1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
    2. In another saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups cooked rice(fr. Step 1), 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk, beaten egg and raisins. Cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Serve warm.

    I followed the recipe to a tee(minus the raisins) because I have never tried a rice pudding before and didn’t know what the correct taste or texture or color was.

    When it was ready, I looked at my pot of yellow porridge and braved a teaspoon(it says “Serve warm”).

    I could feel the texture of every grain of rice, I could taste the taste of rice, but it was a little strange eating regular rice drowning in a runny, sweet, custard like sauce. It’s funny how it’s ok with glutinous rice tho and I’ve only in recent years learnt to enjoy mango with glutinous rice. 

    Let’s hear it from the man who wanted rice pudding(after it was chilled). “Oh wow, this tastes great! Except that I remember the rice being chewier. Next time we try with a chewier rice ok? “

    I’m thinking not on my time =P

    It’s a great recipe if you’re a fan of rice pudding I suppose (according to the 24,996ppl who saved it). 

    PS: Sorry for not posting a picture (it doesn’t look that great. seriously.) There’s a pic on the link above and you can see for yourself that it really isn’t a looker

    Sago Gula Melaka

    By , July 9, 2010 1:37 pm

    Following the disappointing sago gula melaka eat in my last post, I figured it can’t be that difficult to make it at home and so decided to try.

    To begin, I scoured the internet for recipes. After going through a heap, I decided that the recipe with the nicest picture must be the best. Hey – it’s not all just eye candy ok? This post also has alot of information about sago and gula melaka.

    I also recommend that you follow the above recipe cos I did mine the lazy way and it didn’t turn out as pretty as hers(because I dont have pretty coloured spoons). You might wanna learn from my mistakes(or buy pretty coloured spoons) if you do try it.

    Recipe:
    Packet of Sago (200g)
    Gula Melaka (200g)
    4tbsp of water
    Pinch of salt
    Packet of coconut milk

    1. Wash and then soak sago for 10mins (optional)
    2. Boil water(the way you cook porridge – 3/4 water to 1/4 sago) and add in sago. Keep stirring to prevent the sago from forming clumps.
    3. Sago is ready once it turns transparent and that happens very quickly. Do not overboil or the sago becomes too soft (like mine did).
    4. Strain sago with cold water til the excess starch is washed off and you get nice pearls.
    5. Divide the sago in individual cups and chill in the fridge. Put the packet of coconut milk in too!
    6. Melt Gula Melaka with the pinch of salt in 4 tbsps of water. The result is a rather watery syrup but it is also really sweet.
    7. Once everything is chilled, add coconut(yep, straight from the packet) and gula melaka syrup into your cup of sago to your taste.

    sago

    This is how mine turned out. The sago clumped together and the top pic is when i inverted it. I like that it took the shape of the glass and became a squarish sago block. (Amost like ketuput!). Some restaurants serve sago gula melaka this way. In any event, I’ll be careful to not overboil my sago in future cos I prefer individual pearls…

    Also, DO NOT dip your finger into the melted gula melaka syrup – its temperature is ridiculously high. I scalded my tongue trying to remove it from my scalded finger. I know – really clever huh.

    The final result was better tasting than the $15 gula melaka I had. *yay*

    Cupcake Pops

    By , April 20, 2010 5:04 pm

    Have you heard of these? A friend sent me this link (this bakerella site has many great ideas!) and said that she was considering making them after her success with the easy banana cake. I was saving this so that I could blog about it when I actually do it. But since that’s not likely to be anytime soon because a new baby and a new mommy=no time, you try it and let me know how it turns out!

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    These mini cakes are Awfully Adorable!! I fell in love with them and was thinking they’d make great gift cakes for when Renee turns one-month. Of course I know better now that Renee is here – lack of time and energy does not Cupcake Pops make. I guess I’ll go the traditional way and order my cakes over the phone/internet.

    Oh, there’s even a step by step guide on how to make Cupcake Pops as featured in the Martha Stewart show :

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     All the online resources you need to make Cupcake Pops! Have fun!!!

    Easy Crepes!!

    By , March 22, 2010 1:54 pm

    I am a big fan of Easy. So anything that says Easy and comes with many good reviews is a must try. In fact, this is so good that I had it for 4 days in a row. Now that I’m REALLY sure it is easy (cos I wouldn’t want to be accused of lying would I?), let me unleash this recipe on you so you may have it for many days in a row too. It is that easy to make and really, they are dangerously easy to eat. They can look pretty like this :

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    The original recipe with (109) rave reviews can be found here

    Ingredients :

    Basic Crepe
    2 large eggs
    3/4 cup milk
    1/2 cup water
    1 cup flour
    3 tbsp (40gm) melted butter
    Butter, for coating the pan

    *Sweet Variation Add 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur to the egg mixture. (I usually just add the sugar and vanilla extract)
    *Savory Variation Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, spinach or sun-dried tomatoes to the egg mixture.

    1. In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. I put all the ingredients in a bowl and use a mixer to mix them all up. It works too!
    2. Refrigerate the crepe batter for an hour to allow bubbles to subside. Can keep batter for up to 48hrs.
    3. Heat a small non-stick pan and coat with butter. Pour 1/4cup room temperature batter into the centre of the pan and swirl evenly.
    4. It is ready when the sides are brown and you can peel them from the pan (abt a min). Flip and cook for another 10secs.
    5. Repeat with rest of batter.

    TA DA!

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    You don’t need me to tell you that nutella and chocolate and strawberries make a lethal combo.

    To be honest, the crepes here are dressed up for your viewing pleasure. I otherwise just smear fresh whipped cream and maple syrup inside, fold them in quarters and pop them into my mouth. Takes less than a min to make and eat one. It has been a hit with the young and old alike, with many saying that it tastes better than it looks.

    Really, I wasn’t kidding about the dangerously easy to eat bit.

    Japanese Cotton Soft Cheesecake!

    By , March 13, 2010 1:13 pm

    I was all smiles yesterday because my oven produced an almost perfect Japanese Cotton Soft Cheesecake! 🙂

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    I was torn between wanting to finish the entire cake by myself and wanting to show it off  share it with other people. There was more upside to sharing because honestly, I think I Could finish the entire cake by myself and that’s not a good thing. It tastes so light and moist and airy and tasty, that it’d be easy to forget that inside of it sits 6 eggs, a whole block of cream cheese and I’ve not yet included the calories from the butter and sugar.

    So I dutifully brought some to my in laws and kept half to impress share with my friends who are coming over later. For you baking buffs who’s never tried a cheesecake, this is the Must Try recipe!

    Quite a number of people online have worked with this recipe (cos I keep seeing it), originally by Irene Oon. Here is the link with the many rave reviews – the one that gave me the courage to try it because there’s safety in numbers. Here is the link with the best photographs – the one that made me decide this is THE cheesecake I must make, such a sucker for beautiful food pics I am. And here is the link which made me laugh – I know it’s mean, but Ive never seen such a photoshopped picture of a cheesecake before.

    Ingredients:
    140g/5 oz. fine granulated sugar
    6 egg whites
    6 egg yolks
    1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
    50g/2 oz. butter
    250g/9 oz. cream cheese
    100 ml/3 fluid oz. fresh milk
    1 tbsp. lemon juice
    60g/2 oz. cake flour /superfine flour
    20g/1 oz. cornflour (cornstarch)
    1/4 tsp. salt 
     
    Instructions:
    (Preheat oven to 160deg)

    1. Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler. (Softening the cream cheese WITHOUT its foil, in a microwave helps speed up this step. Should take 15-20s depending on your microwave)

    2.Cool the mixture. Mix in lemon juice, egg yolks and then fold in the flour and cornflour.

    3. Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.

    4. Fold egg white mixture 1/3 at a time, to the cheese mixture until the batter is even.

    5. Pour into a 8-inch round cake pan (Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of the pan with greaseproof baking paper or parchment paper).

    4. Bake cheesecake in a water bath for 1 hours 10 minutes or until set and golden brown. (I left mine to cool for half an hour in the oven with the doors ajar as advised from other bloggers cos I was afraid that it would collapse suddenly if there was too big a change in temp)

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    The moment the cheesecake cooled and shrunk some, I inverted it and it dropped nicely onto my palm. I thought even the bottom looked perfect 🙂

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    I like that the top is very brown – makes it look like it’s properly baked!

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    See its nice height? It really has the taste and texture of storebought Japanese cheesecake!

    Other notes :
    – Baking your cheesecake in a water bath simply means putting the cake pan (the one with the batter), into a bigger pan which contains hot water up that comes up to the middle of your cake pan. If you’re using a springform pan (the sort with a clasp and isn’t waterproof), you’ll need to put your cakepan in an aluminium foil so water doesn’t seep into your cake.

    – I used a 7″ round pan cos I didn’t have an 8″, and had enough leftover batter to fill 5 mini cupcakes (of which I ate 3 effortlessly). If you ever want to make many mini cupcakes, I reckon halving the ingredients above will yield 20 mini cupcakes 😀

    Here is a link of more nice pictures  of this cheesecake. Comes with tips on how to be lazy what steps to omit if you’re feeling adventurous. I’m going to try to not line my cake pan my next attempt cos I’m so bad at cutting paper and making them sit nicely in the pan. She says greasing generously and flouring a regular cake pan works just fine.

    I’m going to sit tight now and NOT think about half the cheesecake in my fridge which is for sharing later.

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