Saturday, 26 March 2016

Bread Case Salmon Pies

Here's a quick and easy way to prepare some delicious little savoury tarts for your breakfast or afternoon tea. The crispy toasts provides a crunchy outer crust for a creamy rich and tasty filling. You may also substitute the salmon with tuna flakes if you like.

Enjoy and have a nice day!








Bread Case Salmon Pies
(makes 6)

Ingredients
6 slices white bread
25g butter
2 Tbsp plain flour
3/4 cup milk
200g canned pink salmon, drained and flaked
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp chopped chives
1/4 cup grated cheese


Method

1) Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease a 6-hole muffin tray.

2) Trim the crusts from the bread and press gently into the tray holes. Bake for 15 mins or until the edges are crisp and golden.



3) Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add in the flour and using a whisk, stir quickly to make a paste.

4) Slowly add milk, whisking until combined and free of lumps. Bring to the boil and continue to whisk for a further 2 mins or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.

5) Stir in flaked salmon and chives. Season with salt and pepper.

6) Spoon into bread cases and top with grated cheese.

7) Place in the oven and bake for another 15 mins.











Sunday, 20 March 2016

Chicken Nuggets

This is a healthier homemade version of chicken nuggets with minimal oil used. Choosing to bake them instead of frying is also a wise option but what's great about it is that it taste just as good and crispy too! Definitely better than the commercially processed ones you get from the supermarket!







Chicken Nuggets
(serves 3-4)

Ingredients

1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1/3 cup plain flour
2 chicken breast fillets, cut into nugget-sized pieces
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp chopped parsley

Method

1) Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

2) Combine the panko and oil in a frying pan and toast over medium heat until golden brown. Transfer to a shallow dish and allow to cool. Once cooled, add in the Parmesan and mix together.

3) Beat egg in a small bowl.  Place flour on a shallow dish.

4) Dip chicken pieces in flour, coat well, and then in egg and finally in the breadcrumb mix.

5) Place the nuggets on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 15-20 mins or until cooked through.

6) Serve with mayonnaise mixed with chopped parsley.




Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Rose Petal Ice Cream

I have never tried rose flavoured ice-cream before and this seems like a refreshing change from the usual flavours of ice-cream that I normally go for.

I was initially worried about the rose flavour being too strong or overpowering but surprisingly it has a lovely and delicate flavour.  It goes wonderfully well with some chopped pistachio nuts and tastes absolutely divine on a hot day. Definitely something I would go for a second helping!

I love that this recipe doesn't require the use of an ice-cream machine and the method is simple and easy. Just make sure the sugar syrup is completely cool before adding to the beaten egg yolks.

Enjoy! 





Rose Petal Ice-Cream
(makes 1 litre)

Ingredients

For the sugar syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 1/4 tsp rose water

For the ice-cream
4 egg yolks
300ml cream, whipped
1/4 cup dried rose petals
1-2 drops of pink coloring (optional)
some finely chopped pistachio nuts


Method

1) To make the sugar syrup, place the water, sugar and rose water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Continue to boil for about 8 mins until there are even small bubbles all around the syrup. Cool completely. (It's important to let it cool completely to prevent the cream from separating)

2) To make the ice-cream, beat the egg yolks in a big bowl with an electric mixer until pale and thick.

3) Add the cooled sugar syrup slowly to the eggs as you beat to mix it in. You can add in the pink coloring at this stage if using.

4) Whip the cream in a separate bowl. Gently fold in the whipped cream into the egg mixture.

5) Add in the dried rose petals.



6) Pour into  a plastic container and chill in the freezer for at least 5 hrs or overnight.

7) To serve, top with some chopped pistachio nuts and dried rose petals.



I use these cardboard takeaway boxes to fill in with
the ice-cream. Makes a great party food idea!



Monday, 7 March 2016

Egg Tarts

I remember when my daughter went off to a school camp a few years back, I welcomed her home with a surprise homemade egg tart. This time round, before leaving for her school camp, she hinted at me and asked if I was going to welcome her with this yummy treat again. Keeping mum, I teased her with a smile and twinkle in my eye.

After four days of quietness at home without her, I can't believe how much I missed her. She came home excitedly chatting about her camp but stop short when she saw these tarts and her eyes lit up. As she was enjoying her tart, I asked her if it was good. She replied, "Of course, it is! These were made with "LOVE"!"  Haha ... well said, my dear, I guess that's what every mum likes to hear when they slave all day preparing food for the family!






Egg Tarts

(makes 12 small round tarts)

Ingredients

Pastry
280g plain flour
2 Tbsp icing sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg white
150g butter

Filling
135g castor sugar
150g hot water
4 eggs
250ml milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Method

To make pastry :-

1) With a mixer, beat the butter and icing sugar till creamy. Add in the egg yolk and egg white and mix till well blended.

2) Add in the flour and mix well. Using your hands, gently bring the mixture together to form a smooth dough. (Take care not to overwork it)

3) For easier handling, you can divide the dough into 2 portions. Flatten them into discs and wrap with clingfilm. Place them in the fridge for about 15 mins.

4) Grease your tart cases well (to enable easier removal of tarts when they are done).

5) Remove the dough from fridge. Depending on the size and shapes of your tart cases, divide the dough into portions.

6) Roll them into balls. Place a pastry ball onto a tart case and flatten it with your palm. Using your thumb, gently spread out the pastry to line the case completely. Try to line the pastry slightly above the edge of your cases.

7) Place the tart cases back into the fridge and refrigerate for at least 30 mins. (this is to prevent shrinkage during baking)

To make filling:-

1) Add sugar to the hot water and mix well till completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.

2) Beat the eggs with milk, vanilla extract and salt.

3) Add in the sugar water and mix well.

4) Sift the above mixture twice to clear any lumps and achieve a smooth consistency.

5) Remove the cold tart cases from the fridge and fill them fully with the egg mixture.

6) Bake the tarts at 180C for about 25 mins. (take care not to overbake or the fillings will become too dry)

Enjoy!


To make these egg tarts extra special, you can top them with your favourite
berries and dust with some icing sugar. For this occasion, I've added
blueberries since they are my daughter's favourite!


Friday, 20 November 2015

Shepherd's Pie

I love shepherd's pie and used to have it when we eat out at the cafe. Being such a fan of it, I've decided to try my hands at making one for the family.  Surprisingly, it's not that difficult at all. It certainly made my day when my girl had her first mouthful and exclaimed, "That is sooo good!". Now which mom wouldn't like to hear that?!







Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients

500g lamb mince
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, chopped into small cubes
2 Tbsp plain flour
1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 dried bay leaf
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup frozen peas
pinch of salt
ground black pepper
4 potatoes, peeled
40g butter
1/2 cup milk

Method

1) To prepare the filling, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in the onion and fry till brown and fragrant.

2) Add the carrots and cook until soft.

3) Add the lamb mince. Stir and break up any lumps of meat and cook until the lamb changes colour.

4) Stir in the flour and mix till combined. Add in the stock, bay leaf, Worchestershire sauce and tomato paste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Continue to simmer until the sauce thickens, about 25 mins, stirring occasionally.

5) Add in the peas and stir to mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.

6) To make the potato mash, cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water until tender, about 15 mins. Drain well and return to the pan. Add in the butter and mash until smooth with a potato masher. Add milk and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7) Preheat oven to 200C. Scoop the lamb mince mixture into an ovenproof dish. Top with the mashed potato and use a fork to rough up the surface.

8) Bake for about 20-25 mins until the mashed potato is golden brown. Serve immediately.







Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Almond Puff Pastries

These almond puff pastries are great as an afternoon snack or for kids' school morning tea break. I can't believe how easy it is to make them especially with the store bought ready rolled pastry. I just love the sweet flaky crunch of the pastry and let me warn you ... they can be pretty addictive!







Almond Puff Pastries

Ingredients

2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
2 Tbsp egg white
2 Tbsp castor sugar
100g almond flakes
3 Tbsp castor sugar 

Method

1) Lay out the 2 sheets of puff pastries.

2) Add the 2 Tbsp of castor sugar to the egg white and mix well.

3) Brush the egg white mixture onto the puff pastries evenly.

4) Sprinkle almond flakes on top of the pastries.

5) Lay a sheet of baking paper over the pastries and lightly press to secure the almond flakes onto it.

6) Remove the paper and sprinkle the remaining castor sugar generously over the almond flakes.



7) Cover with the baking paper again and place in the freezer for at least half an hour.

8) Preheat oven to 200C.

9) Remove pastries from the freezer and cut into small rectangle sizes.



10) Place on a baking sheet and bake for 12 mins until the pastries have puffed up, then reduced temperature to 160C and bake for another 5-10mins or until the top is golden brown 

Note : Keep a watchful eye as they tend to brown quickly due to the sugar. I got an earlier batch burnt as I didn't keep a close watch. All oven temperatures differ so please adjust accordingly.


Enjoy!






Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Lemon Tart

A friend of mine had a good harvest from the trees in her backyard and was so kind to give me a bagful of lemons recently. My own pitiful little lemon tree unfortunately wasn't fruitful at all this year after giving me a good supply last year.

Well, what do you do with so much lemons? Lemon tart, of course! This is my first attempt at making lemon tart, though I've made egg tarts many times before. I love the extra hit of zesty and tangy lemon flavour and it gives you that extra lift to your taste bud.

To make the tart look even more inviting, I've decorated it with whipped cream rosettes and lemon slices.

Hope you like it too. Bon Appetit!






Lemon Tart
(makes a 20cm round tart)
recipe adapted from Rita Ho's cookbook


Ingredients

Shortcrust pastry/Pate Brisee
300g cake flour
20g icing sugar
225g unsalted butter, chilled
3g salt
1 egg yolk
30ml ice water
butter, to grease the tart pan

Lemon custard
5 eggs
1 egg yolk
120g castor sugar
200ml heavy whipping cream
3 lemons

Decoration
icing sugar to dust
heavy whipping cream, whipped
lemon, cut into thin slices


Method

Lemon custard

1) Rinse and wipe water off lemon. With a grater, grate zest off lemons. Do not grate too hard to avoid getting into the bitter pith. Cut lemons in halves and squeeze out juice. Mix juice with grated lemon zest. Set aside.

2) Beat eggs and egg yolk. Blend with lemon zest, lemon juice and castor sugar. Stir until sugar melted. Seal with cling film. Chill in a fridge overnight.

Pate Brisee

1) Cut chilled unsalted butter in cubes. Chill and set aside.

2) Sieve cake flour, icing sugar and salt twice. In a blender, blend the flour mixture with butter cubes at low speed until fine.

3) Continue to blend at low speed, adding egg yolk and ice water. Blend until incorporated. 

4) On a clean working table, with your wrist, divide dough into portions and gently knead to a whole piece of dough again. Seal with cling film. Freeze in a fridge for at least 1 hour.

5) Grease the tart pan with a little butter.

6) Dust the work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out thawed dough to 2-3mm thick. Place onto the tart pan. Cut excess dough off the edges. With a fork, poke some holes on the dough. Chill for 1/2 hour.

7) Preheat oven at 180C. Take out tart pastry from fridge. Cover pastry with baking paper and place baking beans (can be replaced by beans and rice) on top. Bake for 15 mins and remove from oven.

8) Remove baking paper and baking beans. Bake for another 5 mins. Take out and leave to cool.

Baking

1) Remove lemon filling from the fridge. Mix well with heavy whipping cream. Strain the mixture through a sieve.

2) Pour filling onto the pastry tart until 90% full. Bake at 180C for about 30 mins or until filling is just firm. (If you're using smaller tart pans, reduce the baking time. Just ensure the filling just gets set, not overdone.)

3) Let the lemon tarts cool. Remove from the pan. 

4) Dust with icing sugar. Pipe whipping cream rosettes on the tart and decorate with thin lemon slices on top.




A well-deserved slice for tea ...



"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!"

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Blueberry Roll-Up Cake

I enjoy making pretty looking cakes and today I decided to take a step further by trying out this roll-up cake that will give my guests a pleasant surprise when I cut into the cake. 

Instead of seeing horizontal layers inside, they will be surprised by vertical layers of sponge and cream. A sure way to put a smile on anybody's face! 

Hope you will enjoy making this cake as much I did!






Surprise inside cake!



Blueberry Roll-up Cake

Ingredients

Cake
5 egg yolks (medium)
50g corn oil
50g milk
20g castor sugar
85g cake flour

5 egg whites (medium)
1/4 tsp lemon juice, optional
50g castor sugar

Blueberry sauce
100g blueberries
30g sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour
pinch of salt
30ml water
1/2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste

For decoration
450ml dairy whipping cream/heavy cream
4-5 Tbsp icing sugar, or according to taste
almond flakes, lightly toasted

Method

1) To make the blueberry sauce, place the sugar, cornflour, salt and water in a small saucepan and stir until smooth.

2) Gently stir in the blueberries and place the saucepan over medium heat.

3) Cook (simmer) the sauce until the liquid thickens and becomes clear, stirring gently occasionally (about 10 mins). Some of the blueberries will break down but others will remain whole. The longer you cook the sauce the thicker it will become (if sauce is still too thin, add a little cornflour diluted in a bit of water to help thicken the liquid).

4) Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and add more if needed. Set aside to cool completely.

5) Line a 10" x 13" swiss roll pan with baking paper. 

6) To make the cake, lightly whisk egg yolk with sugar (20g). 

7) Add in corn oil and stir to combine. Next, add in the milk and combine well.

8) Fold in the cake flour, mix well and set aside.

9) Add lemon juice to the egg white and beat until foamy. Gradually add in sugar (50g), and beat until stiff peak and glossy.

10) Take 1/3 portion of the egg white mixture and using a handwhisk, mix with the egg yolk mixture until light. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the rest of the egg white mixture until well incorporated.

11) Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top to level evenly. 

12) Bake in the preheated oven at 160C for 25 mins or until it springs back when lightly touched. 

13) Cool the cake on a wire rack until it reaches room temperature.

14) Meanwhile, prepare the cream filling by beating the whipping cream until thick. Add in sugar and whisk until firm. 

15) For the blueberry cream, scoop about 1/3 of the whipped cream into a bowl and add in some of the blueberry sauce and mix well until you get an even blue coloured cream. (If not using immediately, place the whipped cream in the fridge until needed).

16) To assemble the cake, place it on a clean piece of baking paper (same size as the cake). 

17) Cut the cake with a serrated knife into four equal pieces.




18) Cut through the underlying baking paper with a pair of scissors in the same places that you cut the cake.




19) Spread a layer of blueberry cream on one of the strips. 



20) Using the baking paper as support, tuck the cake into a roll and continue tucking and rolling until you get a small neat roll. Place the rolled cake upright on a serving plate, so that the spiral of cake and filling is visible at the top.


You might want to apply a thinner layer of cream at the
 center of the roll as I think I applied a bit too much!
21) Apply cream filling to the next strip and lift it up using the support of the baking paper and wrap it around the roll on the serving plate, continuing from the edge where the first roll ended.



22) Continue with the next two strips, to make one big rolled up cake.



You can neatly trim off the end of the last strip to make the cake look rounder
23) Finish by frosting the sides and top of the cake with the whipped cream. Spoon the blueberries and sauce (not too much liquid) on to the middle of the cake. Pipe out dots of cream around the circle of blueberries. Stick the almond flakes onto the sides of the cake.

24) Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.









Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Vanilla Custard Slice

I'm a fan of Donna Hay and I just love her simple and delicious recipes. When I first saw her vanilla custard slices, I knew I just had to give it a try myself. Crisp on the top and bottom layers, while rich and creamy in between, it's simply a delightful dessert to enjoy!




Vanilla Custard Slice 
(adapted from Donna Hay's recipe with slightly changes)

Ingredients
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 cup (250ml) single cream
40g unsalted butter, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
80g castor sugar
35g cornflour
85ml water
4 egg yolks
icing sugar, for dusting

Method

1) Preheat oven to 180C. 

2) Place the pastry sheets on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Top each pastry sheet with non-stick baking paper and place an additional baking tray on each pastry sheet as a weight (to prevent pastry from puffing up). Bake for 20-25 mins or until golden.

3) Cool completely on wire racks. Using a serrated knife, trim the pastry sheets to 18cm square. Set aside.

4) Place the milk, cream, butter, vanilla and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until just boiling. Remove from the heat.

5) Combine the cornflour and water and whisk into the hot milk mixture with the egg yolks. Return to the heat, whisking, and bring to the boil. Cook, whisking, for 30 seconds- 1 min or until thickened.

6) Place 1 pastry sheet in the base of a lightly greased 18cm square cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper.

7) Top with the custard and the remaining pastry sheet and press down gently. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until set.

8) Dust with icing sugar and slice to serve.

Tip : Ensure you have enough baking paper hanging over the sides of the tin so you can lift the slice from the tin after it has chilled.











Saturday, 22 August 2015

Homemade Baileys Chocolates

I've always love the liquor filled chocolates sold especially during the Christmas seasons. Decadent and pleasantly intoxicating, they're a real treat and delight to enjoy.

I was surprised to find out that they are actually quite easy to make at home. And as long as you use a good quality chocolate, they are just as good as the ones sold. 

Now, these would make excellent gifts for special occasions like Christmas, Valentine's Day, birthdays, etc., don't you think?






Homemade Baileys Chocolates
(makes about 18)

Ingredients
130g dark chocolate (try to use good quality chocolates, it makes all the difference!)
40 ml fresh cream
3 Tbsp Baileys Irish cream






Method

1) Melt 50g of the chocolates in a bain marie (by placing the chocolates in a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water) or using a microwave.

2) Using a silicone brush (or the back of a small teaspoon), spread a thin layer of chocolate on to your silicone mould.




3) Leave the mould in the fridge for about 5 mins until the chocolates have solidified.

4) Remove from fridge and apply another layer of chocolate onto the mould. Make sure the mould is well covered with chocolate. Return to the fridge for another 5 mins.

5) Meanwhile, prepare the ganache by melting 40g chocolate over a Bain-Marie. Remove from heat and add in the cream and stir to mix well. Next, add in the Bailey's and mix until smooth and well blended.

6) Remove the mould from fridge and fill with the ganache until about 3/4 full. Return to the fridge for about 30 mins.




7) Melt another 40g chocolate over bain-marie and leave to cool down slightly. 

8) Remove mould from fridge and fill with melted chocolates (make sure it's cool down enough) to cover the ganache completely. Return to fridge for chocolates to harden, about 10 minutes.




9) Remove chocolates from the mould. Enjoy!  (I know you can hardly wait to try one now!)



Oozing with chocolate liqueur!



Going to try making Kahlua chocolates next!