Sunday, 30 November 2014

Carrot Butter Garlic Rice

I remember my mom used to make butter rice for us when we were little.  I love the fragrant and buttery taste of the fluffy rice and this carrot butter garlic rice with the added ingredients makes it even more delicious and appetising. 

So good you can even eat it on its own!





Carrot Butter Garlic Rice
(serves 4)

Ingredients
2 cups rice
4 cups water (or adjust accordingly as per your usual measurement)
4 cloves of garlic, grated
1 small carrot, coarsely grated
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter

Method
1) Wash the rice. Drain well.

2) Put everything in the rice cooker and cook as per usual.

3) Once cooked, give a good stir and mix everything together.

4) Serve!



Saturday, 29 November 2014

Lemon Madeleines

These dainty little madeleines are just the perfect teacakes to go with your afternoon tea. And what's more is that the batter can be prepared up to a couple of days in advance and then baked in no time at all - the perfect prepare-ahead recipe!

These madeleines are best served the day they are baked and taste absolutely delicious right out of the oven!







Lemon Madeleines
(makes 12)

Ingredients
2 large eggs
80g castor sugar
zest of a lemon
1 Tbsp honey
100g unsalted butter
100g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Method
1) Put the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl and using an electric mixer or a hand whisk, whisk until thick and pale.

2) Add in the lemon zest and honey and mix well together.

3) Put the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and whisk together to combine. Sift a third of the flour mixture over the egg mixture, carefully folding to combine with a spatula, then add the remaining mixture in two additions in the same way.

4) Slowly pour in the melted butter and gently fold together to combine with the mixture.

5) Cover the mixture bowl with a sheet of clingfilm and put it in the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours before baking.

6) Grease a 12-hole madeleine tray well and dust with a little flour, tapping out the excess.

7) Preheat the oven to 200C. 

8) When you are ready to bake, spoon the batter into the madeleine moulds. Don't overfill the mould, as this will result in a plain, domed madeleine without the classic hump. You don't have to spread it out, as this will happen as the madeleines bake.

9) Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges have started to brown.

10) Remove from the oven and immediately turn out onto a wire rack.

11) Dust them with some icing sugar and enjoy!







Sunday, 28 September 2014

Pandan Sago Pudding

Many years ago, my family used to run a korean barbecue restaurant and one of the desserts we served was sago pudding. I remember whenever I helped out during the weekends, my job was to cook the sago and I just loved doing it cause it's so easy to make! (Not to mention, I also loved helping myself to a bowl of the pudding after it's done!)

This pudding is so refreshing especially when served cold. The combination of pandan, coconut and gula melaka makes it a delicious dessert to enjoy!





Pandan Sago Pudding
(serves 5)

Ingredients

3L water
1 cup sago
1/2 tsp pandan paste
vegetable oil, for greasing
150g gula melaka (palm sugar), sliced
2-3 Tbsp water
400ml coconut milk
1/4 tsp salt

Method

1) Boil the water in a medium pot and pour in the sago. Keep stirring and cook until the pearls become translucent.

2) Drain the sago in a sieve, then rinse through with cold water to wash off excess starch.

3) Transfer to a mixing bowl and add in the pandan paste. Mix until combined.

4) Lightly grease moulds and fill with the sago. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

5) Melt the palm sugar with the water in a small saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool to room temperature and chill in the fridge.

6) Bring the coconut milk and salt to the boil in small saucepan and leave aside to cool and chill in the fridge.

7) Turn out the sago puddings from the moulds onto small bowls and serve with the palm sugar and coconut milk.







Friday, 19 September 2014

Lemon Sherbet

I have a small lemon tree in my backyard and the first year I moved into my house 2 years ago, I found one single forlorn lemon on the tree.  The following year, ever so hopeful, I was again disappointed as it didn't bear a single fruit. 

Then one day, I had a visit from my aunt and she noticed that the leaves on my lemon tree were a bit yellowish. On her next visit, she brought along some epsom salts and advised me to dilute them in some water to water the plant. Epsom salts (also known as magnesium sulfate) actually provide soil nutrients to citrus plants and support the health of lemon trees. I also learnt that the yellow leaves on my tree were actually a sign of magnesium deficiency.

And what do you know? This year, I was pleasantly surprised to find my little lemon tree absolutely blooming with fruits! There were at least twelve lemons on that little darling! I was thrilled and could hardly wait for them to ripen so that I could make something out of these homegrown citrus fruits.

I chanced upon this following lemon sherbet recipe the other day and knew straightaway it was just the right thing to make out of my precious lemons.  There's a good balance of sweet, sour and saltiness in it. A great dessert to follow after a full and especially, fatty meal. I just love the tangy and lemony taste it brings and I could actually feel the zesty sherbet dancing on my tongue! Ivan Orkin sure wasn't kidding when he said this sherbet kicks ass! 

Enjoy!




Lemon Sherbet
(Makes 1 Liter)

Adapted from Ivan Orkin's cookbook, Ivan Ramen

Ingredients
100g sugar
zest of 2 lemons
300ml whole milk
300ml heavy cream
150ml lemon juice
7g (2 tsp) salt   (I use 1/2 tsp)

Method

1) In a food processor, process the sugar and lemon zest together until the sugar takes on a yellow hue.

2) In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk and cream, then stir in the lemon sugar until it dissolves, Stir in the lemon juice, then the salt. Mix until the salt is fully dissolved, about  a minute.

3) Churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

4) Let the sherbet fully set in the freezer for at least an hour or two before you eat it.


My little lemon tree



Monday, 8 September 2014

Potato Crusted Pizza

This pizza is definitely made for potato lovers. Instead of bread dough, layers of sliced potatoes is used as the base of the pizza. It makes a wonderful light and healthy meal and of course, you can top it with all your favourite ingredients!







Potato Crusted Pizza

Ingredients

4 medium potatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
dash of white pepper
1/2 cup pizza sauce
3-4 white button mushrooms, sliced
2 sausages, sliced
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

1) Preheat oven to 200C. Lightly grease a pizza pan.

2) Remove the skin of potatoes with a peeler. Using a mandolin, slice potatoes thinly, wipe them dry and place them in a large mixing bowl. 

3) Add in the olive oil and toss the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again.

4) Lay the slices of potatoes on the pizza pan, overlapping the slices in concentric circles. Cover the pan completely. Lightly brush with some olive oil.




5) Bake the potato crust for 10-15 minutes or until edges are brown and potatoes are tender.

6) Remove the potato crust from the oven and spread with pizza sauce using the back of a spoon.




7) Top the pizza with sliced button mushrooms, sausages and Parmesan cheese.




8) Return the pizza to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a spatula to loosen the potato crust from the pan.




 



Friday, 5 September 2014

Cream Cheese and Cherry Strudel

I was drawn to this strudel recipe when I first saw it in a pastry cookbook I bought and quickly bookmarked it so that I can try it when cherry season is in and I can get hold of some cherries. As it turned out, I didn't have to wait till summer as I came across some imported cherries in the supermarket. Not wanting to wait any longer, I grabbed some and could hardly wait to try out this lovely strudel.

Incidentally, this was also the first time I handled filo pastry and I felt quite excited trying something new. I find them quite flimsy and had to be careful when laying them out and it tends to break easily. (I was glad to have some help from my daughter in this task - two hands are better than one!)

The result of this strudel is just ... yum! With the multiple layers of filo pastry, it was amazingly crispy on the outside while the cream cheese on the inside provide a rich and creamy texture. Mmm ... nothing I like better to go with my cup of tea in the afternoon!






Cream Cheese and Cherry Strudel

Ingredients

10-12 cherries, pitted
250g cream cheese
110g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp plain flour
125g butter, melted
8 sheets filo pastry, at room temperature
70g almond meal
35g flaked almonds
icing sugar, to serve

Method

1) Preheat oven to 160C. 

2) Put the cream cheese, castor sugar, vanilla extract, egg and egg yolk in a food processor bowl and process until just combined, scraping down the side of the bowl occasionally.

3) Add the flour and process until just combined. Take care not to overprocess the mixture.

4) Lightly brush a large baking tray with some of the melted butter. Lay the filo on a work surface and cover with a slightly damp tea towel. 

5) Place one sheet of filo on the greased tray, brush well with butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of almond meal. Cover with another sheet of filo, brush with a little more butter and sprinkle with another tablespoon of almond meal.

6) Continue layering with the remaining filo pastry, almond meal and butter - you should still have a little butter left at the end.

7) Use a spatula to spread the cream cheese mixture down a long side of the pastry, about 5 cm (2 inches) in from the edge, to form a log shape. Press the cherries gently into the mixture.

8) Carefully roll up the pastry to enclose the filling. Trim the edges of the strudel to neaten. Brush well with the remaining butter and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. 

9) Bake for 1 hour or until the pastry is crisp and deep golden and the filling is set. Cool on the tray.

10) To serve, use a serrated knife to slice the strudel. Serve dusted with icing sugar.


Note

* If you cannot get hold of fresh cherries, you may also use canned pitted cherries. Do not waste the cherry syrup in the can. Bring it to the boil and reduce heat and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes or until reduced by half. Leave to cool and drizzle the syrup on served strudel.

* You may also use puff pastry instead of filo pastry for this strudel. Just lay out your ready-rolled puff pastry and spread the cream cheese mixture along the longer side of the pastry and fold it around the mixture. Seal edges of pastry by using a bit of water on your fingers, and rubbing the edges together. Brush with egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp of milk/water, beaten together). Bake in preheated oven at 200C  for about 35 to 40 mins or until golden brown.


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Moo Moo Milk Cookies

Once in a while, I like to make interesting snacks to surprise my daughter when she comes home from school in the afternoon. It always makes me smile to see her face light up when she sees those surprise snacks.

These adorable cow cookies are one of those treats that I made to surprise her. They are fun to make and taste absolutely yummy too!








Moo Moo Milk Cookies

Ingredients

100g butter
80g icing sugar
1 egg
220g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
30g custard powder
1 Tbsp milk powder

black food colouring

Method

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

2) Beat butter and icing sugar till creamy.  Add in the egg and continue to beat until light and fluffy.

3) Sift in the flour, baking powder, custard powder and milk powder.

4) Mix together and knead into a dough. 

5) Roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper until about 8mm thickness.

6) Use a cow-shaped cookie cutter to cut out shapes and place onto the baking tray.

7) Using a toothpick, dip it into black food colouring (you may also use cocoa powder diluted in hot water, but I find the effect using black colouring is better) and dot patches of black colour onto the cookie dough.

8) Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes.

Have fun and enjoy!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Green Tea Snowskin Mooncake with Red Bean Paste Filling

Mid-Autumn Festival is just two weeks away and having a new set of mooncake moulds sent over to me by my sister in Malaysia earlier this year, I just can't wait to try them out. I was really thrilled with the result of the pretty prints!

I had initially intended to use lotus paste for my snowskin mooncake filling but after searching a number of asian supermarkets here near my home in Auckland to no avail (except one place where they only have it in a huge pack of 5kg!), I have decided to use red bean paste filling instead. And it tastes just as good too! And since my daughter is a big fan of green tea, I decided to incorporate that into the snowskin as well. Green tea and red bean are known to go well together.

If you haven't tried making snowskin mooncakes before, do give it a try. It's really easy as there are no cooking or baking required.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival and enjoy your mooncakes!





Green Tea Snowskin Mooncake
(makes 12 mooncakes)

Ingredients
200g cooked glutinous rice flour (gao fen)
160g icing sugar
60g shortening
300ml ice cold water
2 tsp green tea powder

Filling
600g red bean paste, divided and rolled into 12 balls of 50g each

Method

1) Sift the cooked glutinous rice flour and icing sugar together into a bowl.

2) Add in the shortening and rub into the dry ingredients.

3) Dissolve the green tea powder with 1 tsp of boiling water. Mix it into the cold water.

4) Pour the green tea mixture into the flour and combine together.

5) Mix until a soft dough forms and continue to knead for another 5 minutes.

6) Divide the dough into twelve parts and rolled into 45g ball.

7) Place one dough ball in your palm and flatten it. Put a paste filling ball onto it and wrap the  dough skin around it, pulling the edges all the way round and pinching it to close the gap.

8) Dust the surface with some gao fen before placing it into the mould. This will prevent it from sticking onto the mould.

9) Press out the mooncake and place on floured surface.

10) Store them in an airtight container and leave to chill in the refrigerator.  They can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.

Note : The ratio of dough skin to filling is really up to individual preference.  Weight of skin and filling also depends on the size of the mould used.




* For the pink snowskin, I added 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 2-3 drops of red food colouring to the cold water.


The mould set that I used for these pretty mooncakes



Sunday, 24 August 2014

Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao)

Whenever I think about xiao long bao, it inevitably reminds me of Din Tai Fung, the chinese restaurant famous for its signature xiao long bao, where devouring the dumpling is an explosion of rich, steaming, hot soup oozing onto your tongue.

Today, I have roped in my good friend to help me with my 1st attempt at making these delicate dumplings. She has had some experience with pleating dumplings in the past so I see this as a good opportunity for me to learn the skill from her.

We were quite pleased with the results of the dumplings especially after tweaking with the flour mixture for the skin upon finding the initial batch of skin mixture slightly on the dryer side. They say that the perfect soup dumpling would take at least 18 pleats to complete and I'm proud to say that we finally managed to reach that after some practice!

The dumplings are best eaten straight off the steamer while it's steaming hot and dipped into the vinegar sauce. With the hot soup oozing over in your mouth .... it's just heavenly!








Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao)
(Makes 30 pieces)

10g spring onion, chopped
1 Tbsp cooking oil

Gelatin mixture
400ml chicken stock
15g gelatin powder

Meat filling
300g minced pork
1 tsp oyster sauce
5g potato starch
a pinch of salt
3g chicken powder
10g sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
a dash of ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ginger juice

Dough
100g pastry flour
150g potato starch
50g plain flour
a dash of salt
a dash of cooking oil
120ml water

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup black vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
finely shredded ginger

Method

1) Prepare gelatin mixture. Mix stock with water in a saucepan. Add gelatin powder and bring to a boil. Set aside to cool.

2) In a mixing bowl, mix all ingredients for meat filling. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate for about 1 hour in the refrigerator.

3) Add gelatin mixture to meat filling and give it a good stir. (I added it in while the gelatin mixture was still a bit lukewarm).

4) Mix in spring onion and oil. Set aside. (I pop it back into the fridge to let the mixture thicken up faster. The meat and gelatin mixture should be gel-like once the gelatin sets)

5) Combine dough ingredients. Mix well until a smooth dough is formed.

6) On a floured surface, roll dough into a long cylinder. Cut dough into 30 equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece into thin dough rounds.

7) Spoon combined meat and gelatin filling onto each dough round. Pleat to seal up filling. Repeat until all ingredients are used up.

8) Line a steamer with greased baking paper. Place dumplings on top and steam for about 5 minutes over high heat. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.


Dumplings ready for steaming

Eat it while it's hot!




Thursday, 21 August 2014

Strawberry Swiss Roll

When I first saw those swiss rolls with pretty and colourful decorative prints on them, I was both fascinated and curious as to how they made it. I have always love a nice, soft and light swiss roll and having this lovely prints on them makes them even more inviting to me!

Then one day, I came across a book I borrowed from the library that revealed the secret behind those swiss roll prints! Wow, and it wasn't that complicated either. I had so much fun making them, I can't help myself trying out different patterns on my cake! 

I just found out recently that they even have swiss roll pattern mats sold in the market nowadays.  Well, I guess with a little creativity, you don't really need them to make your own personalised and charming swiss roll! Have fun and enjoy!





Strawberry Swiss Roll

Swiss roll sponge
5 egg yolks (medium)
50g corn oil
50g milk
20g caster sugar
85g cake flour


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


red, green and black food colouring

Whipped Cream Filling
120g dairy whipping cream/thickened cream
20g icing sugar
(Whip fresh cream until thick.  Add in sugar and whisk until stiff. Chill before used)
2 big strawberries, cut into small pieces 


To prepare pattern on parchment paper
1. Line a rectangle swiss roll pan with parchment paper.
2. Remove the parchment paper and turn it around so that the bottom is facing upwards.
3. Using a pencil, draw the outline of strawberry shapes on the surface of the parchment paper.
4. Now return the paper back to the pan with the pencil drawing facing the pan. You should still be able to see the outline of your drawing.




To prepare the batter
1. Lightly whisk egg yolk with sugar.
2. Add in corn oil, stir to combine.
3. Add in milk, combine well.
4. Fold in cake flour, mix well, set aside.
5. Add lemon juice into egg white, beat till foamy.
6. Gradually add in sugar, beat till stiff peaks. 

7. Take 1/3 portion of egg white mixture and use hand whisk to mix with egg yolk mixture till

     light.
8. Fold the balance of egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture, combine well.

9. Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture into a small bowl and add a drop of red food colouring. Blend  to make a pinkish red mixture.
10. Using a small spoon with pointy tip, scoop bits of the batter onto the pattern on the parchment paper. Use the tip of the spoon to drag the batter to cover the outline of the strawberry pattern.




11. Bake in preheated oven at 160C for 1 minute.
12. Remove pan from oven and pour in the rest of the batter to cover the strawberry parts and carefully level the surface.
13. Continue to bake for 25 minutes.

To assemble swiss roll
1. Once out of the oven, carefully turn the baked sponge cake onto a piece of parchment paper.
2. Slowly peel off the attached parchment paper from the cake to reveal the strawberry pattern.
3. Using a toothpick, dip into black food colouring (or you can dilute some cocoa powder with a drop of hot water) and dot on the strawberries to resemble the seeds. Paint the stalks with green food colouring (or green tea powder mixed with a drop of hot water).


4. Place a new piece of parchment paper over the sponge. Flip the cake over gently so the pattern faces down.
5. Peel the parchment paper off and use a sharp serrated knife to trim the two opposite ends of the cake at a 45-degree angle so that the ends will fold in neatly at the end of rolling.
6. Make a few long slits across the surface of the whole cake about 2cm apart to prevent the cake from breaking when rolling up. 
7. Spread evenly with a layer of whipped cream. Leave a 3cm gap at the end to keep filling within the roll.
8. Place cut strawberries on cream filling.
9. With the shorter side of the cake facing you, roll the cake up tightly to form a swiss roll. 


Have fun with creating your own prints on your swiss rolls.  Here are some of my other pattern attempts.







Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

My daughter was really excited when I first told her that I was going to start a blog. In fact, she was the one who first encouraged me to do so.

Today, she made her own smoothie and insisted that I post it on my blog. Oh well, why not? As long as she gets herself involved in the kitchen and make something up, I'm happy and proud! Awesome girl, keep it up!






Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Ingredients

1 large banana, sliced
1 1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
3 scoops vanilla ice-cream
Chocolate shavings

Preparation

1) Place banana, milk, cocoa powder and ice-cream into a blender and blend until smooth.  

2) Pour into 2 glasses. 

3) Shave some chocolate on top.

4) Drink!


Monday, 18 August 2014

Okonomiyaki

My family loves Japanese food and okonomiyaki is one of those food that we prepare again and again especially on a lazy weekend for a quick and easy lunch.




Okonomiyaki sauce and toppings


Okonomiyaki
(serves 4)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup dashi or water
pinch of salt
4 eggs
4 cups packed cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup carrot, grated
1 spring onion, chopped
1/2 cup prawns or squids, chopped
1/2 cup bacon or ham, diced
Oil for frying
Okonomiyaki sauce
Japanese mayonnaise
Bonito flakes
Dried seaweed

Method

1) In a large bowl, mix the flour, water, salt and eggs with a whisk to form a batter.

2) Add in prawns or squids and chopped bacon or ham and mix together.  Lastly, add in cabbage, carrot and spring onion and mix evenly.

3) Heat some oil in a pan. Scoop 1/4 of the mixture into the pan. Cook on medium heat until golden brown on both sides.

4) Once cooked, removed from pan and onto plate. Top with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes and dried seaweed.

Enjoy!


Green Tea Cheesecake

My daughter is a fan of anything made of green tea. Cheese is also another one of her favourite ingredients so when I saw this green tea cheesecake recipe, I knew she was definitely going to love it!



Green Tea Cheesecake

Ingredients
150g Digestive Biscuits, crushed
35g Butter, melted
Sesame Seeds
250g Cream Cheese
60g Sugar
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
100g Plain Yoghurt
1 cup Cream, whipped
15g Gelatine Powder, dissolved in 50ml Warm Water
1 tsp Matcha Powder, plus 1/4 tsp extra


Method
1) Mix biscuits and butter and press into base of a 20 cm round cake tin. Spread evenly and press with the palm of your hand. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and refrigerate to firm up.

2) Mix together cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and yoghurt until smooth. Mix in whipped cream. Add dissolved gelatine and mix together gently.

3) Pour half mixture into cake tin over biscuit base. Spread with a rubber spatula and return to fridge.

4) Mix matcha powder with 1 tablespoon water until smooth. Pour into remaining half of cheesecake filling and mix well. Pour into the tin, keeping 1 tablespoon of filling mixture to use for decoration. Use rubber spatula to spread and smoothen the surface.

5) Add 1/4 teaspoon extra matcha powder to the 1 tablespoon filling to darken it for decoration.

6) Use a teaspoon to draw lines on the cheesecake with the darker matcha mix. You can make any patterns on the surface as you wish. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Open Pie

My family is a lover of pies and this is certainly one of our favourite comfort food.  I just love the rustic look of an open pie and the visibility of the creamy and delicious fillings makes it ever so inviting ....  yum!





Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Open Pie
(Makes 4 pies)

Ingredients

For Creamy White Sauce
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp plain flour
pinch of salt
2 cups milk

4 tsp olive oil
1/2 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
6 button mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
ground black pepper to taste
2 chicken breast, cooked and sliced
2 sheet ready-rolled shortcrust pastry, thawed
1 small egg, beaten

Method

1) To make creamy white sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and a pinch of salt to make a roux or paste. Slowly add milk, lower heat and stir constantly until sauce simmers and thickens. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes until sauce is creamy and thick.

2) Preheat oven to 200C.

3) Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook leak and mushrooms for 5 minutes to soften. Stir cooked vegetables into the white sauce along with the Parmesan, parsley, pepper and sliced chicken. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

4) Using a 20cm bread and butter plate as a guide, cut a round from the pastry sheet and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

5) Mark a 4cm border around the edge. Spoon filling into centre of pastry, then turn border up over the filling, pleating pastry as you go.

6) Brush pastry generously with beaten egg and bake for 40 minutes until pastry is cooked and golden. Serve hot.



Saturday, 16 August 2014

Kitty Macarons

A while back, my daughter came home from school asking for my help with her homework.  Her assignment was to prepare a food item, package it and advertise it to its best advantage. Hmm .... now what shall we prepare then? Cookies? Cupcakes? Brownies? ......  Ahhh .... Yes! Macarons!! That should be exciting! And to make our product more attractive we decided to make kitty macarons. Aren't they just adorable?


Colourful and cute kitty macarons

Meow meow meow ....

All packaged up with advertisement and ready to sell!


We had a busy but fun-filled weekend preparing the macarons and drawing cute kitty faces. Now why can't homework be this fun all the time?


Kitty Macarons
(Basic Macaron Recipe adapted from Macaron Fetish)

Yield about 24 macaron shells (12 filled macarons)

Macaron Shells
1 room temperatured egg white(39-40g)
50g icing sugar
30g ground almond
30g castor sugar
Drops of food colouring

Method:
1. Put ground almond and icing sugar in a food processor or a small blender. Blend them finely.

2. Sift the blended mixture and set aside.


3. With an electric beater, Beat the egg white, start from low speed and increase slowly to maximum speed. Beat until frothy (you will see lots of fine bubbles)

4. Now it's the time to add in the castor sugar, add half of the sugar, continue to beat in maximum speed for around 2 minutes, add in the other half, continue until you get very stiff peak.

5. Mix the dry ingredients into the eggwhites. This process is called Macaronage. Start folding with a rubber spatula. Add in drops of food colouring but not too much as it will cause the mixture to become too runny. When you get a smooth shiny mixture, stop folding, lift the mixture with spatula, if the mixture falls back slowly in the bowl means you're good to go. You could also check if the lines formed from the liften mixture, they should slowly disappear in within 30 seconds. At this stage you're good to go. Do not over fold, it will be too liquid and becoming very hard to pipe.

6. Line the baking tray with the parchment paper.

7. Fill your piping bag , pipe your macaron (about 2 cm diameter) it should spread a bit as it settles. The point should slowly disappear if the mixture is the right consistency.
If not you could hit the bottom of the tray to smooth the point out)


8. To make kitty macaron, I just use a toothpick to pull the batter slightly upwards to form two pointy ears.

9. Let your macaron sits for about 30minutes. This will depand on the humity in your house and the day. Try touching the macaron softly, after 30mins. it should not stick to your hand.

10. Heat your oven to 150 C on the (heating on the top only). When the oven is ready, put your macaron at the very bottom shelf. Bake for 12 minutes, check them in the mid time of 6 minutes, the feets should already start forming. Turn the baking tray to the opposite direction to allow even baking. When the 6 mins is up, change the heating setting of your oven to Bottom only. This will help cooking the macaron and rise the feet more. Bake for another 6 minutes. You can test if the macaron is cook, touch softly on the shell and when the macaron doesn't slide on the feet, it's cooked. if it's not add another 1 mins each time and check.

11. Let the macaron cool down before removing them. You could wet your working area and slide the baking sheet on it to speed up the cooling process, but do not let it sit there too long, if not the macarons will become soggy. Other wise you can leave them cool at room temperature and remove them.

12. To make kitty faces, use a toothpick to dip into black food colouring and draw on the macarons.


White Chocolate Ganache Filling
50g white chocolate
25ml fresh cream

1. Warm the cream over the stove, until it boil very slightly.

2. Remove the cream from heat, Add white chocolate, mix until the chocolate is melted completely and a smooth texture is obtain.


3. Refrigerate until firm and spread between the macaron shells.


Have fun and enjoy!