Not Grimm! (gingerbread "house")
Very happy that this interpretation of the classic gingerbread "house" is amongst the Top 10 sweet design of Architizer's Gingerbread Competition 2013."Radical visuals of precisely engineered simple components & adventurous flavors: fresh wasabi and ginger. The design is anything but Grimm."
The fresh wasabi and ginger give this version of gingerbread a rather distinctive taste. The tiny bit of the heat at the back of your throat seems to lighten the heavy "butter-ness" and sweetness of the gingerbread.
The competition rule was to use 140 characters to describe the project..which is not really enough to tell the judges the underlining "design" concept. (Other top 10 entries obviously breaking the rule of using more than 140 characters!! They should be disqualified! hahaha..)
Basically, the idea was to use the 5cm ratio as the guiding principle. A mixture of the 2.5cm, 5cm and 10cm volumes made up the inter-relationship number for each of the component. This gives "structure" to the design, but also allows the overall shape to be rather sculptural.
Rather difficult to precisely engineered each panels to be straight and right angle..And the dough harden rather quickly which make it even harder to produce the smooth panels for the components. It took me 7 hours just to make all the components and another 2 hours to put all those components to a shape that pleases my eyes!
Why we (Architizer) love it: The elegant simplicity really speaks to us after seeing so many gobs of frosting and kitschy candy canes. Also, this sounds like it would be the most delicious to eat afterwards.
This is an experiment. I have made salty/sweet bacon biscotti before, which wasn't bad the flavour. This new experiment is a refinement of my previous attempt.
The crispy bacon first mixed with sesame seeds and then covered with thick caramel sauce and let cool down completely. Then cut the caramel bacon to small chunks and mixed it with biscotti dough.
It looked a mess in the oven with all the caramel oozing out from the dough, but it turned out rather nice, a bit of marbling effect when the dough is cut into slices. Happy!
Coconut Cupcake with Mango Buttercream
This is an improved version of my "award winning" mango and coconut cake for Brighton "Bite Off". The order of the ingredients were totally re-shuffled to give these cupcakes a more elegant and contemporary look. These cupcakes also my first "official" order for a party! Still a lot of room for further improvement!
Really love the refreshing colours, rather attractive with those bits of freeze dried raspberry and mango. The drizzle of mango puree add not only colours, but also adding further intense flavour of the mango and a hint of fragrance passion fruit.
To make the coconut cupcake base, you will need the following ingredients: (to make at least 12! if you didn't over-fill the cups!)
- 225g Self rising flour (sifted)
- 275g Caster sugar
- 110g desiccated coconut
- 125g melted butter
- 3 Eggs (lightly beaten in a cup)
- 125ml full fat milk
- 1/2 tsp coconut essence
Pre-heat the over to 180'C. Line the cupcake tin with your favourite cupcake lining. (I really like the overall colour coordination of these cupcakes! Pretty and refreshing!)
Combine flour, sugar and the coconut in a large mixing bowl, then stir in the cool melted butter, milk, eggs and the coconut essence until combined.
Fill the cupcake lining with the batter (just slightly 2/3 of the cupcake lining). Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until cooked. (usual testing method - insert a skewer to the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean, it is cooked!)
Once cooked, remove the cupcake from the tin and set aside to cool down completely before any attempt to decorate them.
For the mango buttercream, you will need the followings:
- 180g Butter (soften at room temperature)
- 3 Cups icing sugar (sifted)
- 4 tbsp Mango puree
- 1/2 Mango essence
Cream the soften butter in a large mixing bowl for 3 minutes, add the icing sugar and gently mix them to combine. Add mango puree and the essence. And beat the mixture further until light and fluffy. You may add some yellow food colouring to give the buttercream a more vibrant colour. Once done, put them in a piping bag and set aside in a cool place (or in the fridge, but make sure the buttercream is not too hard when decorating your cupcake)
To make the mango puree, just blend the mango flesh with some (a tablespoon or so) spring water in a blender until smooth. Then sift the mixture through to get rid of any lumps. Combine the puree with few drops of mango and passion fruit essences (to taste).
To assemble the cupcakes, pipe the buttercream on the cupcakes, any design as your like! Then drizzle the mango puree and sprinkle some freeze dried mango and raspberry pieces on top of the butter cream. Done!
There! Fragrance with elegance for a sophisticate party...I hope there will be more orders soon!! :-)
If you are in Brighton or London areas and thinking to have a party with some beautiful and elegant cupcakes, please give me a shout, I might be able to help you there!
Brighton "Bite Off" 2013
Redeemed myself from last year's embarrassment! My timing for baking my bread was all wrong last year. The bread looked great externally, but it was under baked! I was gutted!
So I promised myself, I must plan my bake time well for this year's Brighton "Bite Off". The event happened 2 weeks ago at Hove Lawn, along the seafront. Many different types of food stalls there during the 2-days event. Some food looked appetising, but not as tasty!
I submitted a sourdough bread and a cake for the "competition". I won first for the bread category for my red Leicester cheese with coriander and chilli and second for the cake category for my mango and coconut buttercream cake. IT was such a great fun to win 2 rosettes and not embarrassed myself!
It seems like brownies always get the first prize..2012 and 2013! I know what I have to do next year!! HAHAHA....
I have a couple of failed attempts of making croissants. It was quite some messy trials. Hence, I have never want to try to make puff pastry, they are kind of similar in the making process. Further more, those shop-bought puff pastry are much cheaper and easy to handle. But not as exciting as home-made ones.
I always refer to Delia's "Complete Cookery Course", when I want to learn some cooking techniques the proper way. This book was a Christmas present from someone whom I used to be quite close with. It is such a shame that we are now on different paths in our lives, and no longer in contact. He will always have a place in my heart.
If you can get on hold of the book, the John Tovey's Rough Puff Pastry recipe is on the page 520. Quite easy to follow.
For half of the ingredients stated in the recipe (Instead of using half margarine and half lard, I replaced them with just butter). I made 3 different types of pastries (for fun!). Few mini puff pastry croissants, few peach tarts, and some egg custard tarts. They are all quite tasty. The pastry is flaky, crisp, and light.
Very good result for the first attempt I think!
***UPDATE! This recipe now featured at "Love Food Hate Waste" website. My first "award winning recipe"..hahaha..I got 2 tickets to attend the Cake and Bake (maybe it should be called "Cake Decoration") Show in London. It was a fun trip to the show, saw some familiar TV chefs and some contestants from previous year The Great British Bake Off...I think the cake show has too many cake decoration and cupcake stalls, not enough patisserie-type bakery stalls...********
The other day, I learned to make this delicious savoury cake. Originally a type of Malaysian Nyonya savoury snack, usually with turnip as one of the main ingredients. You can order this as one of the dimsum dishes in a Chinese Restaurant. This is quite a versatile "cake", you can eat it as it is once cooked or fry it in oil until the skin is crispy, or use the leftover to make a stir fry!
To make the cake, you will need the followings to make the batter:
- 350g rice flour
- 70g Tapioca flour
- 700ml water
- 1tbsp wheat flour (You can get this from a Chinese grocer, not the typical wheat flour you can get from supermarket)
- 1tsp salt
- 1tsp sugar
- 2tsp five spices powder
- 2tsp pepper
- I piece of pork stock cube
Mixed all the ingredients together until a smooth batter and set aside.
Prepare the following ingredients to be mixed into the batter:
- 500g Shredded butternut squash
- 4 Slices (or about 150g) smoked bacon (cut into small pieces)
- 60g Dried shrimps (soaked and finely chopped)
- 150ml oil
First, heat the oil in a deep pot. Gently fry the the chopped dried shrimps and bacon pieces until fragrant and lightly brown. Add the butternut squash. Cook until the butternut squash soften (but not mashy). Remove the mixture from the pot and set aside to cool down.
Once the butternut squash and bacon mixture is cooled. Add it to the batter and mix well.
Return the batter mixture to the pot and slowly cook it until the batter is thicken. Stir the mixture continuously, it will be quite sticky!
Prepare the steamer over boiling water in a wok or a deep pot. Oil a deep glass steaming tray (that fit into your steamer) and put the thicken batter in. Smoothen and level the mixture. Steam the batter for about 30 minutes until it is stiffen. Remove it from the steamer and set aside to cool down.
For the toppings:
- Caramelised few onions and few slices of chopped bacon pieces
- Some finely chopped spring onion (good feeling use my own home grown spring onion!)
- Some finely chopped red chillies
Once the cake is cooled, cut it into serving pieces, and garnish it with the caramelised onion and bacon, sprinkle spring onion and chillies to add colours to the toppings. Ready to be served (warm or cold)!
If there is some leftover cake, you can cut it into smaller chunks, and make a quick stir fry with some cabbage, eggs etc...Equally delicious!
Steamed Chicken Marinated with Ginseng Powder
Effortless cooking...Chicken marinated with ginseng powder. The slight bitterness from the ginseng powder awakening your appetite, make your saliva flows in your mouth to taste the simple and pure sweetness (with a hint of saltiness) of steamed chicken.
Very simple to make but quite nutritious. According to Wikipedia..." Folk medicine attributes various benefits to oral use of American ginseng and Asian ginseng (P. ginseng) roots, including roles as an aphrodisiac,stimulant, type II diabetes treatment, or cure for sexual dysfunction in men"...Hahaha...Now you know what you have to eat to to make you a "STRONG" man!!Ingredients:
- 2 chicken legs
- Approximately 2 tbsp (I grind some ginseng root into powder for dish)
- 1 tbsp sea salt (you can use more salt for this dish so then you can use the sauce to flavour your rice)
- 5 tbsp sweet glutinous rice wine
Marinate the chicken pieces with ginseng powder, salt and the sweet glutinous rice wine. Set aside for at least 30mins or longer.
Once marinated, steamed the chicken over high heat boiling water until it is fully cooked.
This dish is best serves with plain white rice. Flavour the rice with the juices from the chicken...YUM!
For the dipping sauce, mixed together the following ingredients:
- 1 tbsp minced ginger,
- 2 stalks of finely chopped spring onion
- Few crushed fresh coriander seeds (or few coriander stalks) for more intense flavour than using the leaves.
- 1 generous tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil,
- 3 generous tbsp fried onion and the oil. (Slowly caramelised finely chopped onion in generous amount of oil)
Found a forgotten package of dried chrysanthemum flowers in my store cupboard. The cooling effect of the chrysanthemum tea is perfect for the summer. I wish I found it much earlier. The weather was rather hot (but nice) during the last couple of weeks.
The initial idea was to make some chrysanthemum tea jelly, but once the jelly was set, I thought it looked rather like "Ice Jelly" - "愛玉冰". a refreshing cool dessert with lime juice syrup that you can get in Asia. The slight bitterness of the chrysanthemum tea would make a perfect complement to the lime juice syrup. A very refreshing experiment of chrysanthemum tea jelly and lime juice syrup!
To make this dessert, you will need:
To make the tea, firstly wash the flowers and then boil them in a pan of water for at least 5 minutes until you get a beer yellow colour consistency. Drain the tea with a sift. Add the sugar. Measure about 400ml tea and add the gelatine. Stir well until the gelatine is fully dissolved in the liquid. Pour the liquid to a container and let it set for use later. Then cool it in the fridge for 1hr.
- A large generous handful of dried chrysanthemum flowers. (Washed)
- About 1 litre of water (to produce approximately 400ml tea)
- 1 Sachets of gelatine (depending on how hard you would like the jelly to set)
- Few large tablespoonful of sugar (to taste)
For the lime juice syrup, squeeze the juice of one lime. Measure the lime juice. Add one portion of the juice with two portion of the same amount of water to the juice in a pan and add 2 large tablespoonful of sugar. Boil the syrup mixture for at least 5 minutes. And then set it aside to cool down.When the jelly is set, cut or scope it out into a bowl and add few tablespoons of the lime juice syrup to the jelly. Done!
Excellent to serve this dessert cold during a hot summer day...
This a ch"easy"t way of making ice cream without ice cream maker. I actually can't see why do we need an ice cream maker. (*) The process of making ice cream is quite simple. Firstly, you have to prepare the custard whether you have an ice cream maker or not. Without an ice cream maker, you pour it to a freeze proof container and put the custard uncover in the freeze for an hour or so until the edge of the custard starting to harden. Take it out and put the semi-frozen custard in a large bowl, and whisk it thoroughly. Pour the mixture back to the container (**), cover, and freeze it until the ice cream is ready to be served.
For this easy to make raspberry ice cream, you need:
- 300ml double cream
- 150ml single cream
- Concentrated raspberry juice (Cook the frozen raspberry (±200g) with a squeeze of 1/2 lemon juice and 1/4 cup water. Cook until the raspberry totally broken up. Strain the juice with a strainer, and discard the seeds. Pour the juice back to the pan and cook until the juice thicken.) Set aside to cool.
- 1/2 cup of syrup (dissolve some sugar with some water and bring it to a boil), to taste. Set aside to cool.
First whisk the double, single and syrup in a large bowl until they form soft peak and hold it own shapes. Add 1/2 of the raspberry sauce to the mixture and mix well. Pour the mixture to a freezer proof container and put it to the freezer uncover. Follow as described above (*)....(**) After the second whisk, pour the remaining raspberry sauce to the cream mixture and use a knife gently swirl it into the cream mixture.
Ice cream making without the maker! Enjoy!
Since starting to write this food blog, I have cooked many different types of food. I always know I have a passion in cooking, but I am quite pleased with myself when I put all these food pictures together. Such a variety of colours. I must have fed myself well these few years!
I am lucky to have the chance to learn from many people/ books about cooking.