Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

I was in Melbourne recently to visit my sister and her family. This would be my third trip there but it has been more than 20 years since my last visit. Surprisingly I don't think much has changed around the city unlike here in Singapore where construction is constantly going on.

I didn't do the "touristy" stuff as I had done that many years ago. I stuck mainly to the suburbs but did go into the city on a weekday. Unfortunately that day happened to rain and the skies were really gloomy. So you could have called it a "wet experience". The rest of the week was good and sunny, by Melbourne standards, temperatures ranging from a high of 21C to a low of 14C. It is nearing the end of autumn, with winter coming round the corner. So it gets dark by 6:00pm.

I popped into the local supermarket, Coles, on several occassions as it was just a 10min walk away. Coles has an amazing range of produces with fresh cuts of meats of all varieties, vegetables, fruits, cheeses and a whole lot more of stuff which would probably take 4 pages to list out. Take a simple produce, for example eggs which we take for granted. At Coles the eggs are labelled "caged eggs" and "free range eggs" and comes in different grammes per egg. The difference in price differs a fair bit as well. Free range eggs cost about 3.5 times more than caged eggs. By labelling the eggs as such it gives the end consumers a right to make concientious choice when buying their produces. Whilst at Coles I managed to buy a bunch of fresh rhubard (in fact I was actually on the look out for it) and hope to experiment with it this coming weekend. I have never had a rhubard before so this would be really interesting. I will post the end results for sure!

I thought it was somewhat befitting to post this particular Lemon Meringue Cupcake recipe as it was first featured in Australia Junior Masterchef. If you have not watched this show as yet, what are you waiting for. You will surely be amazed by the amount of talent shown by these young cooks, some as young as eight years old.

LM cupcakes 4

LM cupcakes 3

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Recipe Adapted from Australian Junior Masterchef series

Ingredients for the Cupcakes:

1 cup pure cream
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

Lemon Curd Filling:

3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of cornflour/cornstarch
1 1/2 cups of cold water 3 to 4 lemons, the juice and finely grated zest
3 egg yolks, beaten
50g unsalted butter

To make the Lemon Curd Filling:

1) Place the sugar, cornflour, cold water and finely grated zest in a medium-sized saucepan.

2) Over a gentle flame heat the curd, stirring continuously until it begins to thicken.

3) Add the beaten eggs and butter and continue to heat and stir through until very thick.

4) Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, adding more to taste as desired.


3 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar

To make the Meringue:

1) In a very clean and large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer place the egg whites. Whisk until soft peaks form and then gradually add in the sugar a little at a time until the meringue is thick, smooth and glossy and all of the sugar has dissolved.

Method for the Cupcakes:

1) Preheat oven to 180'C. Place 12 patty cake liners in a 12 hole 1/2-cup capacity muffin pan.

2) Place cream, sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually add flour and zest and continue whisking until mixture is thick and smooth.

3) Divide mixture between prepared liners and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cakes spring back to touch. Cool in muffin pan.

4) To serve, preheat grill to medium-high. Cut a small hole in the top of each cupcake and fill with 1-2 teaspoons of lemon curd. Pipe a swirl of meringue mixture on the top of each cupcake and place under heated grill for 60-90 seconds or until golden.

LM cupcakes 1

LM cupcakes 2

LM cupcakes 5

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Roast Chicken with Squashed Potatoes

My parents were in town recently and I decided that a simple dinner was in order. Definitely a "no hassle" dinner that night and to me it would have to be a simple roast chicken. Everything gets dumped into the oven and I don't have to watch it at all. I have done quite a few roast chicken variations before and decided to try something different this time round.

I used rosemary as the main herb which I think is pretty unusual. I have always associated rosemary with a lamb dish. Surprisingly it does taste good with chicken and throughout the roasting process the smell of the herb filled my entire kitchen. The lemon zest added that extra citrus flavour to the meat. I made squashed roast potatoes (I thought the word "squash" was kinda cute) to accompany the roast chicken. I must say that the potatoes were really, really good! As they had been roasted whole, the skin was crunchy when eaten warm.

I would call the entire meal a delicious one and great for entertaining if you have guests.


rosemary chic 1

Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon


1 whole chicken, medium sized 1 whole lemon (zest the lemon and leave the fruit whole)
5 springs of rosemary
2 1/2 Tbsp rock salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into very small cubes
2 Tbsp olive oil

1) Grind the rock salt, lemon zest and 2 sprigs of rosemary using a mortar or a food processor. Sieve the mixture. (The finer salt would be used to rub the outside of the chicken and the rest will be used to stuff the cavity of the chicken.)

2) Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. This will help get a crispy skin. Season the cavity with the coarser salt mixture. Then add in the remaining 3 sprigs of rosemary. Cut the lemon in half and stuff it into the cavity. Finally truss the legs of the chicken with some string.

3) Next push the small cubes of butter under the skin of the whole chicken. Try to get the butter underneath as much skin surface of the chicken as much as possible. As the butter melts in the oven, it penetrates the skin and flesh and makes it more flavourful.

4) Then use the finer salt mixture to rub over the entire chicken. Finally using a brush, coat the outside of the chicken skin with the olive oil. Don't use all the oil as you will be basting the chicken several times during the cooking process.

5) Heat the oven to 200C and roast the chicken for about 45 - 55 minutes. Cook breast side up first. Every 15 minutes of cooking time, remove the chicken and brush the whole chicken with olive oil. Turn the bird half way into cooking time, so that the underside gets brown as well.

6) To check if the chicken is thoroughly cooked, pierce the thickest part of the chicken with a skewer. If the juices run clear, then the chicken should be done. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before carving.

Squashed Roast Potatoes


350g small sized potatoes, washed and with skin
4 sprigs of rosemary


Boil the potatoes until they are cooked. Remove from pot and place onto a baking tray. Using a large spoon, squash the potatoes slightly and then place a small sprig of rosemary in each. Using some of the drippings from the roast chicken, cover all the potatoes and then roast in a 200C oven for about 35 – 40 minutes.

rosemary chic 3

rosemary chic 5

rosemary chic 2

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Banana Butterscotch Cake

I absolutely love desserts which have bananas in them. Especially so if I use the local bananas called "pisang emas" (direct translation is golden bananas) found in this part of the world. They are small in size and when ripen develops black spots on its skin. Once you peel away the skin, you are immediately surrounded by a whiff of delicious sweet banana aroma. The fruit itself is a deep dark yellow tinged with a light brown colour. I personally feel that this particular banana accentuates the flavours of desserts and baked goodies.

I could not help myself in trying out this recipe especially so when it has a butterscotch sauce poured into the cake. It so reminds me of a sticky date cake, warm, comforting and so delicious. This particular cake did not disappoint me at all. In fact I still have a couple of slices in my freezer waiting for my banana cake cravings to creep up on me!

bscotch 1

bscotch 5

Banana Butterscotch Cake
Makes a 8" round cake
Recipe Adapted from "Fantastic Party Cakes" by Mich Turner


150g unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
300g self raising flour
80g caster sugar
50g brown sugar
50g chopped walnuts
50g raisins
450g ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Butterscotch:

50g soft brown sugar
35g unsalted butter
2 Tbsp double cream


1) Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 20cm round cake tin and line base with parchment paper.

2) Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, raisins and chopped walnuts.

3) Whisk the bananas and eggs together until very thick and creamy, then fold in the dry ingredients and vanilla extract.

4) Transfer to cake tin and bake in the oven for an hour to an hour 15 minutes.

5) About 10 minutes before the cake is ready to be taken out, make the butterscotch. Add all the ingredients into a pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves and is bubbling

6) As soon as cake is ready, remove from oven. Take a skewer and pierce all over the cake. Then pour the butterscotch over the cake. Leave to cool in the tin.

bscotch 4

bscotch 2

bscotch 3

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Muffins

I love eating cinnamon raisin bread so having a baked a version of this in a muffin seems oh so right! The recipe seemed simple enough except it needed two additional ingredients which I do not usually stock up in my larder. This being yogurt and applesauce. Yogurt was simple enough to find but for applesauce I had to buy this from a larger supermarket. The regular local neighbourhood grocery or supermarket would certainly not stock this as most shoppers don't buy it for their regular use.

Over three weekends ago, I tried out the recipe and oh was it so, so good! The smell of cinnamon whiffed through my kitchen and I could not wait for the muffins to be baked. Once they were out of the oven and laid to rest for 10 minutes, I was eagerly picking up, peeling off the cake wrapper and breaking it apart. Since then, I have made these muffins on two other occasssions. These are great pick-me up morning breakfast snacks on the go and even after refrigerating them for two days (ok I made more than my normal share) and then warming them up slightly, they tasted just as good. This is definitely another "keepers" recipe that's for sure!

cin muffin 2

cin muffin 3

Cinnamon Raisin Muffins
Makes 12 large or 16 medium sized muffins


3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (or all spice)
1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup granulated sugar
57g (half a stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
170g plain yogurt
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt


1) Preheat oven to 180C or 350F degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside. Mix together 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and raisins in a small bowl and set aside.

2) Place granulated sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, yogurt, applesauce, and vanilla to bowl. Mix until well combined, about 2 more minutes. Slowly add flour to bowl, mixing well as you go. Add baking soda, baking powder, and salt to batter and continue mixing until combined.

3) Set the batter aside. Pour brown sugar raisin mixture on top of batter and lightly fold into batter using a spatula or wooden spoon. You should only fold this 3 or 4 times - you don't want to incorporate it into the batter too much.

4) Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each one about 2/3 full. Sprinkle each muffin evenly with the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar.

5) Bake for 15-18 minutes, checking for doneness after 15 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

cin muffin 1

cin muffin 4

cin muffin 5

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cucur Udang (Prawn Fritters) - A Malaysian Tea Time Snack

A few weeks back I was approached by Sophia of Chew On That to do a guest post on her blog. The subject-matter was a tea time snack and I decided to do a Malaysian favourite.

Cucur Udang or Prawn Fritter is one of the all time Malaysian favourite tea-time snacks. These fritters are usually made one or two bite size and therefore makes great finger food. They are crunchy on the outside and the inside is soft and moist when you bite into it.

I have used prawn in this particular one but sometimes the ingredients can be varied to include anchovies, thus calling it Cucur Ikan Billis or Anchovy Fritter. You could also use corn kernels as another main ingredient. These fritters can be found commonly at road-side street carts in Malaysia, in the day time and even at night markets. The ones sold outside are usually round and if they are prawn fritters, a small prawn with it's head and shell intact, is placed on top of the batter before being fried.

Visit my post at Chew On That to get the full Recipe for this delicious snack.

cucur 1

cucur 2
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