Saturday, May 29, 2010

Anzac Cookies ... Revisited

I know I've done a post on Anzac cookies way, way back but I could not resist trying out another different recipe when I finally received by copy of Mix & Bake by Belinda Jeffrey from Amazaon. In her book, she mentions that there are many versions of Anzac cookies and they all tend to use somewhat similar ingredients such as oats and coconut. However there are some versions which have fairly exotic additions like wattle seeds and lemon myrtle, as well as the addition of chocolate chips.

These are extremely delicious cookies and I think great as a quick snack too. Should I bake these, I will leave a jar on my office desk and whenever I feel like a snack between lunch, I'll munch on one. They keep pretty well too ... that's provided you manage to keep some left. It's usually not the case where I'm concerned.

Anzac 1b

Anzac Cookies
Recipe Adapted from Mix & Bake by Belinda Jeffrey
Makes 24-30 biscuits


1 cup (90g) regular rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)
2/3 cup (65g) dessicated coconut
1 cup (150g) plain flour
3/4 cup (180g) castor sugar (I reduced my sugar to 140g)
125g unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1) Set your oven to 160C. Line a couple of large oven trays with baking paper and set them aside. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the oats, coconut, flour and caster sugar.

2) Put the butter and golden syrup into a small saucepan over low heat and warm them, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the boiling water and bicarb soda and stir them in briefly, just be a bit careful as the mixture froths up. Now pour this buttery liquid into the oat mixture along with the vanilla. Quickly stir the two together until they're thoroughly combined.

3) Roll the resulting sticky dough into walnut sized balls, flatten them slightly and sit them at least 5cm apart (as they spread quite a bit) on the prepared oven trays. (Instead of using my hands, I found it useful using a small ice-cream scoop to shape the dough) Depending on the size of your oven, you may find you need to bake these in batches.

4) Sit the trays in the oven and bake the biscuits for 16-20 minutes, or until they're a deep golden brown but still soft, then remove them from the oven. (It's a good idea to rotate the trays from shelf to shelf halfway through the cooking time to ensure the biscuits cook evenly.) Leave them to cool on the trays for a few minutes, then carefully transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. They keep well in an airtight container for up to a week.

Anzac 1a

Anzac 1c

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sicilian Orange Cupcakes

I'm been putting off this particular post for ever so long. Don't ask me how long, it's just been very long. In fact I have made this particular recipe at least three times since I first came across it's first posting in August. I saw this recipe last year in Ellie's blog . Then a couple of months later it appeared in Ju's blog . I guess this cake must be good if it's appearing so frequently. Furthermore how wrong could you go with an orange cake. In fact this cake is quite an intense orange cake as a fair bit of juice and zest is called for. The amount of butter and sugar, being equal parts suggested an orange pound cake, thus a somewhat denser cake. But boy was I wrong! The cake is so soft and it reeked of orange flavour and smell. It was absolutely delicious. One thing I did do was reduce the amount of sugar used as I usually would do with all the recipes I have so far tried.

I prefer to turn this recipe into cupcakes as it;s much easier to serve out. The texture of the cake is not compromised at all. I made these one time for my pet groomer's son who is about 3 years old and the little boy loved it so much. I'll probably bake her another batch next month when it's time for my two fur-boys grooming.

Sicilian 1

Sicilian Orange Cupcakes
Adapted from Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escape
Makes about 12 cupcakes or a 22 cm cake


250 g lightly salted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
250 g caster sugar (I reduced this to 210g)
4 medium eggs
1 1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest (I used 2 tsp)
250 g self raising flour
85 ml freshly squeezed orange juice

For the icing:

125 g icing sugar
5 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice


1) Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line a 22-cm clip-sided round cake with non-stick baking paper.

2) Using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together for 4-5 minutes until very pale. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating very well between each one, if necessary adding a spoonful of flour with the last egg to prevent the mixture from curdling. Beat in the orange zest. Add the flour all at once and mix in well, then slowly mix in the orange juice.

3) Spoon the mixture into cupcake liners and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 18 - 20 minutes or or until a skewer, inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean. If it starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with a sheet of lightly buttered foil.

4) Cool cupckaes completely before icing.

5) For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the orange juice until you have a spreadable consistency. Spread it over the top of the cupcake.

6) If you are not keen on icing the cupcakes, just leave them plain - they are equally as delicious. Or else dust with a bit of icing sugar for a more special effect.

Sicilian 2

Sicilian 3

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Simple Fried Beehoon (Rice Vermicelli)

My hubby commented recently that I had not made fried beehoon for a while now. So to humour him I decided to dish up some on Sunday. I usually keep my beehoon dish really simple. In fact I hardly use meat at all and you can say that's it's almost vegetarian as it has lots and lots of veggies. Just how he likes it. So like Chef Michael Smith would say it's "cooking without a recipe".

I'm quite fussy about the type of beehoon I would use and the brand that I like most is Sun Brand, it has two red chillies on it's clear packaging. I will use up the entire pack of beehoon and the extras will be packed for lunch the next day. That way I don't have to worry as to what to eat for lunch in the office. My hubby would have some of the extras for his morning breakfast as well.

Fried beehoon brings back lots of memories as my mum would cook a huge batch of this and every so often we would have it for dinner after coming back from school. My mum was a working professional so simple and quick meals such as this was most ideal. It goes the same for me too! If you are in this part of the world, having rice vermicelli is not so strange a breakfast meal. In fact it is very popular and you can have this with sliced fish cake, fried spring rolls, sunny side eggs and even fried crispy chicken wings. Sounds like a huge meal right! But oh so yummy!

Beehoon 2

Fried Beehoon (Rice Vermicelli)
(Serves 4)


4 cloves garlic, minced
400g dried beehoon (rice vermicelli (beehoon)
250g bean sprouts
1 bunch of chye sim
8 pieces of beancurd puffs, sliced
1 medium size Beijing cabbage, sliced thinly
1 1/2 Knorr's chicken stock cube (or vegetable stock cube)
1/3 cup water
Soy sauce and white pepper to taste
1 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp vegetable oil


1) Soak the beehoon in cold water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2) Heat oil in wok and fry the garlic until fragrant.

3) Add the cabbage and beancurd puffs. Add the chicken cube, sesame and water and continue stir-frying for about 3 minutes.

4) Add the beansprouts and beehoon. Cook until water is absorbed. Season with soy sauce and white pepper. Stir continuously or vermicelli will stick to wok. Use a large pair of chopsticks or tongs to toss the vermicelli.

5) Once cooked, serve immediate with garnishings such as fried shallots, chopped coriander and sliced fresh red chilli.

Beehoon 1

Beehoon 3

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Cake

I had the fondant itch again and this time round I wanted to create some mini cakes. I find mini cakes to be particular cute as I could make each one a different design. I decided that I would make a fresh strawberry cake as Korean strawberries are aplenty at the moment. To make sure that the cake would really stand out once cut, I added some Wilton deep pink colour to enhance it's colour. (Unfortunately I do not have any photos to show off the cool pink colour.) The batter was baked it in a 10" by 10" cake pan. Once the cake was completed cooled, I used 3" cake rings to cut out the shapes. I ended up with three mini cakes made up of 3 layers sandwiched with white chocolate buttercream. The decorations which consisted of flowers and butterfly were made a few days earlier, all done in front of the telly whilst watching my favourite programs. I definitely believe in multi-tasking.

Mini cake 1

Fresh Strawberry Cake
Recipe Adapted from RecipeZaar
Makes 16 servings

Ingredients for the Cake:

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 strawberry essence
3/4 cup fresh crushed strawberry, unsweetened

Ingredients for the Strawberry Glaze:

1/2 to 3/4 cup crushed strawberry
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the Cake:

1) Preheat oven to 180C.

2) Sift together: flour, salt, and baking powder.

3) In a separate bowl, combine butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for a total of 3 minutes, scrapping the sides of the bowl.

4) Then add flour mixture to creamed mixture, alternating with the strawberry puree. Beat for two minutes.

4) Pour batter into two 8-inch round greased and floured cake pans. Bake in pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until cake tests done. Turn out on to wire cooling racks to cool.

5) When cool, top with Strawberry Glaze.

For the Strawberry Glaze:

Mix together all ingredients. Use enough strawberries to thin mixture.

Mini cake 2

Mini cake 3

Mini cake 4

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ole' with Enchiladas

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna & Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on Fine Cooking and written by Robb Walsh.

I guess you can say that we are no strangers to Mexican food but then again we ain't experts either. We ventured as far as fajitas and tacos only. So making enchiladas would be new territories but then again that's the main reason I joined Daring Kitchen. This group is amazing and even had a mention in The Independent . Every month, a new host will challenge all of us with a completely different recipe and most times, from different countries. We were allowed to make variations of enchiladas but the main criteria was to make the sauce from scratch. I decided to keep the recipe simple and decided on using chicken meat. My hubby is not keen on red meat at all. But he was keen on trying out the enchiladas especially after being told it would be smothered with melting cheese. I had also wanted to try my hand at making some corn tortilla wraps from sractch but I could not find masa harina flour at all. So that idea got tossed out the window and I ended up taking the easy way out .... store bought flour tortillas. Anyway the enchiladas were delicious and I will certainly be making this again. Many thanks Barbara and Bunnee for another great challenge!

enchi 1

Chicken Enchiladas
(makes enough for 8 - 10 wraps)


3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium sized onion, diced
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 can chopped stewed tomatoes (or equivalent in fresh cherry tomatoes)
1/4 cup can tomato sauce (or substitute with 1 Tbsp of tomato paste)
1 tsp cumin
400g minced chicken (you can substitute with turkey, beef or lamb)
2 minced chipotle peppers (I used a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt and crushed black pepper to taste
8 pieces flour tortillas
Cheddar cheese (yellow and white) grated
Salsa, sour cream and guacamole as condiments

Method for the Filing:

1) Heat oil in pan. Saute onion and garlic on medium heat until they begin to turn translucent.

2) Add chicken, brown for a few minutes and add seasonings.

3) Add tomatoes (crushing as you go if you used whole cherry tomatoes) and tomato sauce. Let sauce simmer and reduce until barely any liquid remains. The sauce should resemble consistency of a thick chilli. Set aside and cool.

enchi 5

Enchilada Sauce


1 tbsp oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 small chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 can tomato sauce
Salt and crushed black pepper to taste

Method for the Sauce:

1) Heat oil in small sauce pan on medium heat, add onion and garlic. Stir until onions are translucent.

2) Add in chipotle chile and other seasonings, stir to combine.

3) Add in tomato sauce, stir and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

To Assemble the Enchiladas:

1) Heat the oven to 200C.

2) Warm the tortillas in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Remove and lay one piece on a flat surface. Spoon about 2 Tbsp of the chicken filing across the center of the wrap.

3) Sprinkle some cheese over the filing.

4) Roll one side towards the other and place into a glass baking dish. Continue to do this for the next enchiladas, until you fill up the baking dish.

5) Pop the dish into the oven for about 5 mins. Remove from oven and pour the enchilada sauce over the wraps.

6) Top with a liberal sprinkling of cheese and place it back into the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes, or until the cheese just starts to bubble.

7) Remove and serve with salsa, guacomole and sour cream.

enchi 3

enchi 2

enchi 4

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mango Mirror Cake

Thai mangoes are currently in season in this part of the world and I can think of heaps of stuff to bake using this delicious fruit. Of all the desserts to pick from I decided to try my hand at a Mango Mirror Cake. The name sounds exotic doesn't it and the end result taste even better.

I was at first intimidated by the length of this recipe. Don't be ... just read the recipe by sections and you will be fine. In fact you can split the entire recipe over two days. I do believe as I grow older, my brain can only digest so much words in one sitting before its CPU crashes. You may laugh, but I do think it applies to me personally. For this particular recipe, I settled for individual mini cakes instead. Instead of a 4 layer dessert, I ended up with 6 layers instead. All I can say it .. yum and it was delicious. I cut out parchment paper to line the sides of my mini mousse rings so that it'll be easier when unmolding the cakes.

I would like to dedicate this post to my mum ... Happy Mother's Day Mummy! And also to all mums reading this blog! You all deserve the best!

Mango 2

Mango Mirror Cake
Makes a 9" cake or about five 3" individual mini cakes

Ingredients for the Sponge Cake:

3 eggs, room temperature
60g caster sugar
65g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt


1) Preheat oven to 200C. Line the base of 2 9" round cake pan with non-stick baking paper. Grease the sides of the pan.

2) Use an electric beater to beat the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl until thick and pale, and a ribbon trail forms when beaters are lifted. Use a large metal spoon to gently fold in the flour mixture. Do not overfold as you don't want to deflate the batter.

3) Spoon mixture into the lined pan and smooth the surface flat. Bake for 13-15 minutes or a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

4) Immediately turn the cake onto the paper-lined rack and remove the baking paper. Leave cake to cool completely. You can make the cake a day ahead.

Ingredients for Mango Mousse:

2 1/2 Tbsp unflavored gelatin
360g mango puree (from 2-3 mangoes)
5 egg yolks
120 gr sugar (the sugar content has been reduced slightly but you may want to reduce it a bit more depending on the sweetness of your mango puree)
360 ml milk
4-5 Tbsp lime juice (you can use lemon as well)
several drops of yellow food coloring
400 ml thickened cream


1) Sprinkle gelatin on mango puree and set aside until spongy.

2) In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale (about 2 - 3 minutes) and set aside. Put milk into a pot and bring to a simmer.

3) Remove milk and slowly pour into the egg mixture, stirring at the same time so as not to scramble the eggs. Sieve the mixture and pour it back into the pot.

4) Return the mixture to pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. Do not bring to boil or mixture will curdle.

5) Immediately remove from heat and add the mango gelatin mixture. Stir to mix completely.

6) Place mousse over a bowl of ice water. Add in lime juice and yellow food coloring. Let cool, stirring occasionally until the mousse thickens to resemble softly whipped cream.

7) Pour thickened cream into a bowl and whip until soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the mousse mixture. Place mixture in the refrigerator.

Ingredients for Mango Mirror:

2 medium ripe mango, coarsely chopped
70g sugar
100 ml water
2 Tbsp lime juice (you can use lemon juice)
2 Tbsp water, extra
1 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
several drops of yellow food coloring


1) Place mango flesh, sugar, and 50 ml water in saucepan. Cook over low heat, crushing the flesh with back of a spoon to start juices flowing.

2) Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour through a colander and drain into a bowl. Do not press down the pulp too much or your mango mirror won't be shiny because of the pulp.

3) Place lime juice and extra water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over this mixture; set aside until spongy.

4) Put the mango juice into a pan and bring to a simmer. Pour over the gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve. Tint to desired color with yellow food coloring. Place bowl over bowl of ice water and stir occasionally until the mixture is syrupy and just beings to thicken(do not let jell).

To Assemble the Cake:

1) Lightly grease a 9" springform pan and line the bottom with parchment.

2) Cut out a cardboard circle that is exactly the same size as the bottom inside of the pan. Cover cardboard with aluminum foil and fit into bottom of pan.

3) Center one layer of the cake bottom of pan.

4) Pour about half of the mousse over the first layer of cake in the pan. Refrigerate for 2-3 minutes to firm the mousse a bit.

5) Set the next layer of cake on top of the cream. Pour the remaining mousse over the cake and smooth the top with a patula. Refrigerate for about 2 hours (or overnight) until the mousse sets.

6) Prepare the mango mirro. Pour over the top of cake. Refrigerate until set.

To Serve:

1) Wrap a hot towel around the outside of springform pan for a 2-3 minutes.

2) Run a small sharp knife tip around the edge of the cake to separate it form the sides of pan. Mirror will tear when sides are unlatched if it is stuck at any point. Slowly unlatch the pan. Slice cake into wedges.

Mango 1

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cheese Triple Onion Bacon Bun

I came across this bread recipe whilst browsing for a suitable recipe for cinnamon rolls. I knew immediately that this particular bread would taste delicious especially if crispy bacon is used. Suddenly cinnamon rolls seemed to pale in comparison! Although it had a few more steps in the preparation process, it didn't seem too hard to me. The dough was rolled up in a similar style to that of a cinnamon or jelly roll.

Luckily my hubby had to work over the weekend, so it meant that I had the whole apartment to myself and definitely time on my hands. I've long learnt that making homemade bread although quite simple can have you being homebound for half a day as you would have to wait for the dough to rise. The end result was really, really good. My hubby thoroughly enjoyed the buns and said that they were the best bread I've made todate.

cheese bacon 1

cheese bacon 3

Cheese Triple Onion Bacon Bun
Makes 16 - 18 buns
Recipe Adapted from ""

Ingredients for the Dough:

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
57g unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg, beaten
4 cups bread flour
4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Ingredients for Filling:

90g unsalted butter
1/3 cup spring onions (chopped)
2/3 cup shallots (chopped)
1 1/2 tablespoon garlic (minced)
2/3 cup crispy chopped bacon
2 1/3 cups mixed cheeses (yellow and white cheddar and mozarella. You can also use your choice of cheese)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese


1) Heat water, milk and butter in sauce pan till butter is melted. Do not bring to a boil. Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and allow to cool to lukewarm.

2) Add honey and 1 1/2 cups of flour, mix till smooth.

3) Add in lightly beaten egg and yeast, mix till smooth. Allow to sit uncovered for 15 min for the yeast to rise.

4) Mix salt and add in 1 cup of flour. Pour the mixture into your mixer. Turn on low spead and using your dough hook, mix the dough. Slowly add in the remaining flour and knead for 5 - 6 mins. The dough should leave the sides of your bowl easily. If still wet, add a bit more flour.

5) If kneading by hand, pour out onto a floured surface and slowly add remaining flour just till the dough no longer sticks to counter. Knead for 8-10 minutes.

6) Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl. Spray top with an oil spray. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or till double in bulk.

7) For filling, melt butter in a medium fry pan. Add in garlic, saute for a minute. Add in shallots and cook for about 1 minute. Add the spring onion and cook for another 2 minutes. Finally add in the cooked bacon bits and stir till combined. Set aside to cool.

8) After dough has risen pour out onto a floured surface. Punch down into a small rectangle. Roll out dough into a 12" x 20" rectangle. Pour filling onto dough. Spread with a rubber spatula, leaving about 1/2 inch around edges. Sprinkle the cheese on top of filling. .

9) Roll dough like a jelly roll. Pinch seam closed with your fingers. Cut the jelly roll into 14 - 16 pieces. Place each piece into a very lightly greased muffin tins. Cover with plastic wrap let rise till double in size, about 1 hour. Top risen buns with the grated parmesan cheese.

10) Place buns into a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes before removing from tins. Cool on a wire rack.

cheese bacon 2

bacon cheese 4

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rough Puff Pastry and a Banana Blueberry Tart

Tell me who doesn't love a good airy puff pastry dessert that is freshly baked from the oven. To try making your own classic puff pastry is really not that difficult. However it is not easy when you are living near the equator with average day temperature and humidy levels hovering in the 90s. I have tried making classic puff before but had to constantly put the dough back into the fridge simply because the butter starts oozing out.

So I decided to take the easy way out and compromise with a rough puff pastry dough instead. It is just as good as a classic puff. Although it rises less than a classic puff, the advantage is that it takes less effort and much easier to put together. You can make the dough beforehand, wrap it tightly in clingwrap and keep it in the freezer for about 2 months.

Puff 1

Puff 2

Puff 3

Puff 4

Puff 5

Rough Puff Pastry
Makes 1.2kg of pastry
Recipe Adapted from "Pastry" by Michel Roux


500g all purpose flour
500g very cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups ice-cold water


1) Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl.

2) Scatter the butter cubes on top of the flour. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. It does not matter if there larger pieces of butter in the flour mixture as this will help the pastry to be more flaky.

3) Slowly add the water into the flour mixture until it is just combine. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it in clingwrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

4) Dust your counter top with flour and roll the dough into a 16" by 8" rectangle. Take one side of the rectangle (long end) and fold it in by 1/3. Then take the right side and fold it in by 1/3. Give the dough a quarter turn and roll it into a rectangle again. Fold it into three again. This would be the first two turns. Wrap the dough in clingwrap and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

5) Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and give it another two more turns as in (4) above. This makes it a total of 4 turns. The dough is now ready. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.

Banana puff 2

Banana Blueberry Tart
Serves 4


4 rectangle piece of puff pastry (about 4" by 4" each)
4 tsp orange marmalade jam
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
15g butter, melted
3 tsp brown sugar


1) Preheat oven to 220°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the puff pastry on the tray. Use a sharp knife to cut a thin border about 5mm in from the edge of the pastry (not cutting all the way through).

2) Brush pastry with jam. Top with banana and blueberries. Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes until golden. Delicious served with ice cream.

Banana puff 3
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