Saturday, November 26, 2011

Blueberry Macaroon Slice

Would you think I'm mad if I told you that I send my pet shitzu, Milo (He is the dog on the right with his signature tongue sticking out. This photo was taken after a whole day out playing.) to doggie day care/park once a week! I actually pay someone to do this. He is such a lucky doggie. He gets to play and socialize with other dogs whilst I am at work. I guess if you are a dog-lover you would probably think this is not unusual. Especially so in these times when pet owners really indulge their furry companions.


A couple of weeks ago, Milo received an invitation to one of his furry friends birthday celebration. The party was held at a Dog Park Run and about 12 other dogs with their "mums and dads" were also invited. There was even a birthday cake - a frosted carrot cake suitable for both furry friends and humans consumption. My girlfriend made some cupcakes to bring along for the party and I happily volunteered to bring something as well. I remembered I had some left-over homemade blueberry jam and immediately thought of making either jam tarts or slice. I ended up baking jam slices and I was very glad that I tried out this recipe. It was simply delicious!

BB coconut slice 1

BB coconut slice 4

Blueberry Macaroon Slice
Recipe Adapted from "BBC Goodfood"
Print Recipe


90g unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup plain flour, sifted
1/4 cup self-raising flour, sifted
1 Tbsp custard powder
1/2 cup blueberry jam (homemade or store-bought)

Coconut Topping:

2 egg whites, beaten slightly
2 1/2 cups shredded fresh coconut
1/4 cup caster sugar

Blueberry Jam:

2 cups frozen blueberries
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon Zest

Thaw the frozen blueberries. Then place in food processor and puree the fruit. Remove and sieve the juice into asaucepan. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until themixture resembles jam-like. Remove and leave to cool. You can make this ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.

Method for the Slice:

1) Preheat oven to 180C. Grese a 20cm x 30 cm rectangular pan, line base and long sides with parchment paper, extending paper 5cm over the sides.

2) Beat butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat for a minute. Stir in sifted flour and custard powder. Mix untul just combined.

3) Spread dough into pan. Then spread the jam ontop.

4) For the coconut topping, place all the ingredients in a bowl. Stir to combine.

5) Sprinkle the coconut topping on top of the dough. Spread out evenly.

6) Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.

BB coconut slice 5

BB coconut slice 2

BB coconut slice 3

Monday, November 21, 2011

Clam, Chorizo & Mixed Bean Stew

I had some left over chorizo sausage in my fridge from a breakfast recipe. This therefore gave me inspiration to use the remaining for a new dish and when I chanced upon this stew, I knew it was the right recipe. This recipe comes from the monthly BBC Goodfood magazine.

chorizo bean 2

I really like this magazine and have been diligently purchasing a copy over the last six months from my local newstand vendor whenever a new issue comes out. This magazine is very visual with beautifully plated dishes and the photography is amazing - practically jumps out at you! Simple, easy to prepare dishes is probably their motto, although there are some slightly more complicated recipes as well. They are also not afraid to publish recipes that sometimes takes short cuts and this is exactly what some of us want. Epecially if we already have a full-time day job.

chorizo bean 3

Clam, Chorizo & Mixed Bean Stew
Recipe Adapted from BBC Goodfood
Serves 2


50g chorizo sausage, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
Small bunch of mixed herbs, basil, parsley,roughly chopped
200ml hot stock, fish or vegetable
400g canned stewed tomatoes, roughly diced
400g canned mixed beans, rinsed and drained
600g white clams (or mussels)
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Black pepper and salt to taste
Extra chopped parsley for dressing


1) Fry the chorizo in a large frying pan with a lid, over medium heat until it starts to crisp and release its oil. Add the onion and cook for 5 mins until it starts to soften. Then add the garlic and chopped herbs and fry for another 1 minute.

2) Pour in the stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and add in the beans and red wine vinegar. Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until the liquid has slightly reduced.

3) Scatter the clams into the pan, cover with lid and let it steam for 2 - 4 minutes. Shake the pan occassional to let the clams open. Remove lid, discard any clams that have not opened as they are likely bad.

4) Season to taste with black pepper and salt. Remove from heat and serve in bowls. Scatter some parsley on top and serve with crusty bread.

chorizo bean 1

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chorizo bean 4

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mini Panettone

I can't believe that it is just under six weeks to Christmas. I already see some shops in Singapore displaying their Christmas decorations. Time surely flies and before you know it, Christmas baking will be around the corner. I have not exactly planned what to do yet this year as gifts. I have decided that giving baked goodies are so much easier and very much a personal touch. I find it extremely difficult to shop for friends and family members as I have to keep track of not repeating a gift. Way too hard and furthermore my memory gets foggier each year. Guess it's due to age!

panettone 1

I made these Mini Panettone way back in August and this is an extremely late posting. But then again maybe not! I have never made Panettone before and when I chanced upon mini ones, I could not resist. Think of them as mini fruit loaves and so easy to serve as well.

panettone 3

Mini Panettone
Makes 10 large muffin size


2 eggs + 1 yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
500g all purpose flour
14g dried yeast
80g castor sugar
200g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
200ml warm milk (whole or low fat)
140g mixed raisins, sultana and cranberries
100g mixed candied orange and lemon peel
Extra milk for brushing
2 Tbsp flaked almonds


1) Beat the eggs and yolk with the vanilla.

2) In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add the warm milk and egg mixture. Using a wooden spoon beat the mixture to a soft, sticky dough. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 45 mins in warm climate).

3) Line a large muffin tray with 10 muffin liners and set aside.

4) Once the dough has risen, blend the butter, fruit and peel into the risen dough, preferably with your hands. Cut into 10 equal sizes and drop a piece into each muffin liner. Cover with clingwrap and leave for the dough to rise to double its size.

5) Preheat oven to 190C. Brush the risen dough with the extra milk and scatter some almond flakes on the top. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes until golden. Best eaten within 3 days or freeze for up to 6 weeks.

panettone 4

panettone 2

panettone 6

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Super-Moist Apple Cake

When I came across this recipe the first words that jumped out from my computer screen was "super-moist". That really did it for me and I knew I had to try out this cake. I glanced at the recipe and it was really unusual! What makes this cake extremely moist was the use of thickened cream which is poured over the top just before the cake goes into the oven. I really could not imagine how it would look like but would it not result in a extremely soggy batter and an extended baking time?

Moist apple cake 1

True to its name, this Apple Cake was extremely moist. The topping resembled soft cream cheese with a sugar crumble. It was extremely delicious and kept really well in the fridge even after 3 days. For different textures you may want to try baking it with a combination of apples, such as Granny Smith (which is quite tart), Macintosh (which is firm), and Cortland (which gets very soft with cooking). This recipe is definitely a keeper especially for the holidays.

Moist apple cake 5

Super-Moist Apple Cake
by Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier with Max Alexander
Serves 10

Ingredients for the Cake Batter:

1 1/4 cups sugar
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cake flour (not self-rising)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk (whole or low-fat)
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 medium baking apples, peeled, cored, halved, and thinly sliced (I used Granny Smith)

Ingredients for the Topping:

3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 sugar + 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a 10-inch round, 2-inch-deep cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Do not use a springform or loose-bottom cake pan.

2) In a large bowl beat 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the butter for 3 to 5 minutes until light in color. Scrape the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula and continue to beat the mixture until it is very light in texture and color, several minutes more.

3) Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl between additions. Then add in the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate together.

4) Sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Alternately add the milk and dry ingredients into the butter mixture, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary.

5) Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with a rubber spatula. Arrange the apple slices overlapping in concentric circles on top of the cake batter to completely cover the top of the cake. Pour the cream evenly over the apples.

6) Stir together the 1/3 cup sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture over the top of the cake. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (I had to bake mine for close to 55 mins.) Remove the pan from the oven, transfer it to a rack, and let cool completely.

7) Invert the cake onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and invert it once more onto a serving platter. Serve warm or room temperature. Once cool, the cake can be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Moist apple cake 2

Moist apple cake 3

Moist apple cake 4

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Roti Jala (Net Coconut Pancakes)

Roti Jala is a very traditional Malaysian recipe usually made during the Malay festive holidays. Translated, "Roti Jala" means net bread or pancakes. The net-like effect of the pancakes come about with a special mold that is used during the cooking process. The pancake batter is very much like a traditional crepe batter but prepared with coconut milk instead of water. The textures of the Roti Jala vary to include a soft finish, or, if cooked a minute or two longer, a crispy consistency.

Roti jala 1

I very seldom eat this pancake when I was still staying in Malaysia because not many places make these. In my 20 years staying in Singapore I can say that I have never ever eaten it once.

Roti jala 2

Roti Jala by itself is very light and it is absolutely delicious as an accompaniment to any type of curries such as Malaysian Chicken Curry or Curry Kapitan, both of which are favourite Malaysian curries . As I have never made this before, I found it a bit difficult trying to produce the net-like effect. My first few Roti Jala looked like a huge mess, resembling a "Monster Blob". After an initial disaster I must say that the rest came out nicely.

Roti jala 3

Roti Jala (Net Coconut Pancakes)
Recipe Adapted from "Zarina's Easy Cooking"
Serves 3-4


225g sifted all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups coconut milk (either fresh or canned. If using cream, dilute it with water)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (if not you could use some yellow food colouring)
Vegetable oil to grease the pan


1) In a bowl, lightly whisk coconut milk, egg, salt and turmeric powder.

2) Stir in the coconut-egg mixture gradually into the sifted flour and mix, until a thin 'crepe-like batter' is achieved.

4) Strain the batter through a fine sieve and set aside for 15 minutes.

5) On medium-low heat, grease and heat a griddle or a medium sized non-stick pan with a brush. (I used a brush made out of pandan leaves to achieve a more aromatic flavour. Cut about 4 pieces of pandan leaves and trim them to about 6" in length. Tie the ends together.)

6) Put a ladleful of batter into a Roti Jala mould/cup and in a circular motion, form a thin lacy pattern in the pan (about 7 - 8 inchs in diameter depending on the size of your pan). You have to do this quickly.

7) Cook until set, turn over onto a plate. There is no need to cook the other side, much like a regular crepe.

8) Fold each crepe into quarters, staking them up as you go. (Alternatively it can be folded like an envelope shape.)

9) As you make the crepes, grease the pan ever so often. Add a little water to the batter if it becomes too thick so that you keep maintaining a crepe-like batter.

10) Serve Roti Jala with a curry dish.

To make your own Roti Jala mould/cup :

1) Use an empty tin can, [eg. a 12oz can of corn]

2) Using a hammer and a 0.2 inch nail, make 5 or 6 holes (evenly spaced on the bottom of the can). Hammer out any sharp edges

Roti jala 4

Roti jala 5
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