Friday, December 25, 2009

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas one and all!
It's finally that time of year when it's all about Jesus Christ (:


I just came back from Christmas service at my church - Lighthouse Evangelism and decided to blog a bit about yesterday's Christmas eve dinner. So we invited a few friends and colleagues over for dinner and cooked up a storm with leftovers to boast. In addition to the curry chicken and the salad, together with the omission of the bee hoon, my mom toasted some ready made fishballs. One of her colleagues brought some Japanese sushi rice with shredded omelette, mushrooms and other funky things in. Delish btw. My dad's friend brought a big log cake from Prima Deli to add on to the dessert menu. Snacks consisted of boiled peanuts and mixed dried nuts and berries. But my main point is not the dinner, its the dessert. MY dessert.





I finally chose to bake the individual Chocolate Fondant cake aka lava cake aka warm chocolate cake aka molten chocolate babycakes etc etc and the list goes on. I haven't found a standardised name for this delight yet so I'll just make do with the name 'Molten Chocolate Cake'. Simple and straightforward. I was super nervous and scared that I would ruin the molten centers when I tip the pan over (I used muffin pans btw, my budget didn't allow for the ceramic ramekin moulds) and whether the molten centers would really be molten. I prayed. And my cakes turned out beautifully! The molten centers were really molten, all except for one. It was still moist and wet but not liquid. But it's a rather good attempt I think, for a first try.


I browsed through many many recipes and decided on the one from Take Home Chef Curtis Stone because I had seen him make it on tv before. I also cross-referenced several sources and found that his tallied with another source's perfectly. Hence the obvious choice.





I also decided to follow the advice of the many tv chefs when they recommend us to us chocolate with 70% cocoa solids! The only brand my mom could find was Lindt. Awesome no?? It's really one of the best brands available in my honest opinion.


Molten Chocolate Cake
adapted from TLC.com
makes 6 cakes


113g unsalted butter, and more for greasing
unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
105g chopped dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/6 cup (25g) all purpose flour
vanilla ice cream/whipped cream/chocolate sauce for serving


1. Preheat oven to 200°C if baking straightaway.


2. Coat 6 moulds with butter and dust with cocoa powder to cover the entire mould. Tap out the excess.


3. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat in a heavy medium saucepan until smooth (Good chocolate will make an awesomely smooth and velvety melted mixture)


4. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar until it is pale and doubled in volume. This would take about 3-5min.


5. Fold in the melted chocolate mixture.


6. Fold in the flour until the batter is smooth.


7. Pour the batter into the prepared moulds about 3/4 full. Make sure the batter is divided equally amond all the moulds.


8. Bake for 8-10 min (1-2min longer if batter is fridge-cold)/until cakes are slightly puffed and just set around the edges. Toothpick inserted should come out with batter still attached. DO NOT OVERBAKE otherwise centers would not be molten.


9. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate sauce (I used Hershey's hahah)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Too bad it doesn't snow in Singapore




It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Well it should, since tomorrow's Christmas eve! How time flies.


This year, my family's hosting a small gathering tomorrow just to liven up the household and to pump up the Christmas mood. Despite the setting up of a Christmas tree with a miserable number of presents underneath, the Christmas mood is still somewhat lacking. As I walked down Orchard Road yesterday with some of my friends after dinner, the Christmas mood in me started building up. Was it the prettier-than-past-years Christmas decorations? Or the Christmas carols playing in the background? I wasn't sure. One thing's for sure is that Singaporeans don't celebrate Christmas the way the Westerners do.



Gingerbread house at the St. Regis Hotel Singapore


I love having a spread at the table with many friends and relatives to enjoy it with. Better still if they all compliment the food. The centerpiece would be a huge oven-roasted turkey stuffed with gorgeous Christmas stuffing no doubt, flanked by many side dishes such as mashed potatoes, baked/broiled/tossed vegetables, cornbread, ham, minced pies, delicious cranberry sauce, a gravy boat, fruits etc. Oh and let's not forget dessert! Christmas puddings, apple pie, fruit cakes, log cakes, ice cream, Christmas cookies etc. And standing quietly in the corner would be a majestic gingerbread house, complete with gingerbread men and women (:


Okay maybe my head is filled with images from shows such as Nigella's Christmas Kitchen, Joan Cusack's Local Flavours, A Christmas Carol, Jamie cooks Christmas etc. But a girl can wish, can't she?


So anyway, back to my family's Christmas eve dinner. Mom's cooking her famous chicken curry, bee hoon and tossing up some salad. And I'll be in charge of the baking! I baked some Christmas cookies (shortbread) as sort of party favours and decorated them with icing together with my sister this afternoon. They were great fun decorating but were sort of troublesome during the cut-out process. My dough was too sticky even though I added in more flour than the recipe called for in desperate attempts to dry it out. The end product was rather satisfactory if I do say so myself. The cookies had a crumbly-melt-in-your-mouth texture, just the texture I wanted.


Christmas Shortbread Cookies
adapted from joyofbaking.com
makes 51 odd-shaped cookies (see picture)


cookies
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the workplace
1/4 tsp salt
226g unsalted butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract


icing
75g (5/8 cup) icing or powdered sugar
1 tbsp hot water
pink food colouring (optional)


1. Whisk the flour with the salt and set aside.


2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Make sure the butter is at room temperature!


3. Add in the sugar and beat until smooth. Then add in the vanilla extract.


4. Gently stir in the flour into the butter mixture.


5. Flatten the dough into a flat round circle and wrap with cling film/plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least an hour.


6. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with baking/parchment paper.


7. On a lightly floured surface (mine was floured many times) roll out the dough until it is about 2" thick. Cut into shapes using cookie cutters dipped in flour.


8. Place cookies in the refrigerator for about 15min (okay I forgot this step and rushed right into baking them).


9. Bake for about 8-10min or until cookies are lightly browned.



Have a blessed Christmas everyone!

안녕하세요 Korea 2009!

Although I doubt anybody reads this, I must say that I still enjoy updating this blog. In case you didn't notice, I was mia for a while, say 3 weeks? Reason being that I was overseas in South Korea! The trip was awesome and I didn't really want to come back to Singapore. The food was good, the sightseeing was good, the food was good, the shopping was good, the food was good, the people were good, and most importantly, THE FOOD WAS GOOD! Hahah I really really loved it there as you can probably tell. The only drawback was the weather. Temperatures reached the sub-zero region but there was no snow! My dad was particularly upset over this. He lamented EVERYDAY. No joke.



Typical Korean restaurant table setting (ondol-style)

One of our meals

The best bibimbap we ate throughout the trip!


Korean food is loaded with carbs and you seem to have 3 lunches/dinners everyday. Breakfast with bread and butter is seldom seen at the table in the morning. Rice, or bap, is a must have at every meal. Although I do not really enjoy eating rice, I liked the bibimbap (rice topped with vegetables and egg mised with gochujang). Interesting thing to note though is that the taste varies from place to place. Not once did I eat a bibimbap that tasted the same as somewhere else. Awesomely unique if you ask me. The Korean style porridge/congee (juk) is starchy and thick. This is different from the watery thin kinds that my mom makes at home the way she likes it. My sister and I especially liked the abalone juk hahah, no surprise there.
Side dishes (banchan) are also ubiquitous. They include Kimchi (preserved cabbages/cucumbers/radish etc), cold boiled beansprouts doused in sesame oil, seaweed with a sweet red sauce, boiled spinach with some sauce, tasty ikan-bilis (anchovies) with some spicy sauce etc etc. There is simply too many to be named!



Haemul casserole


Soups and stews such as jjigae (Kimchi, miso, seafood etc) and other seafood (haemul) casseroles in the form or steamboats are common as well. Simply pair soup with rice and you get a one way ticket to food paradise. But if you ask me, I would prefer it if the rice was replaced by bread xD
Oh yes, you cannot forget the Korean barbeque. If you're a vegetarian or simply detest meat, Korea might not be the place for you. Barbequed bulgogi (marinated cooked beef), galbi (marinated pork/beef short ribs) and others are heavenly. The protein might be too much for you to handle thus moderation is key. Chicken dishes such as samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup stuffed with rice) is a popular dish during summer although we had it during the winter hahah. My parents liked it but I personally didn't enjoy it much.
Then there's the noodle dishes. Ramyeon (something like the La Mien of the Chinese except in spicy Kimchi soup), Naengmyeon (Cold noodles in a sweet broth) and jajangmyeon (noodles with bean paste sauce) are just some of the noodles that we tried in Korea, but there are many many others available too.
Finally we have the street food. Gimbap (something like the Japanese sushi), tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes, sometimes with fishcake slices), fishcakes on sticks, pajeon (Korean style pancakes filled with seafood, spring onions, kimchi etc), japchae (Korean starch vermicelli fried with vegetables), chestnuts etc. Okay chestnuts are not really Korean but we saw many stalls selling them and they are bigger than the ones in Singapore. The pajeon is also about 4 times the size of that sold in Singapore. There was also many stalls selling cooked silkworms and some small shellfish. I tried to have an open-mind towards the preference of people from other countries but I got repulsed. I'm sorry.


Well, that's about all for my Korean food experience. Although we were there for close to 10 full days, my family and I didn't get sick of Korean food! But there was one little deviation from Korean food - Paris Baguette. It's this bakery/cafe which is literally everywhere in Korea, advertised by 2PM! I especially liked their sweet red bean paste bun :D Reminds me of the Japanese Dorayaki hahah. We got like 8 posters of 2PM from Paris Baguette! Really goes to show how mad we were over Paris Baguette hahah



Our very first purchase from Paris Baguette I think (my red bean bun is the one with black sesame seeds!!)


We bought back some Kimchi (cucumber and cabbage), the tasty ikan-bilis, gochujang and the red chilli powder for making jjigae! All in all, this was a satisfying trip for both the materialistic and non-materialistic aspect. Thoroughly enjoyed myself :D

Thursday, December 3, 2009

You can't rain on my parade


It's been raining raining raining these few weeks. Gloomy skies, rumbling thunders and the smell of wet grass seems to be an every day fixture. I even had to run in the pouring rain to get to school on the day of my Physics paper 3 exam (Nov 19 '09)! Buses were stalled as the roads were flooded. So I was drenched as I sat for the exam in the cold hall. As the exam was delayed to allow more stranded students to reach, my friend and I (she was more drenched than I was) were shivering even more! It really is the ultimate exam condition to be in I must say.



So before the daily rain started today, I decided to bake. Again. Mainly because there would be close to zero natural light you can use to take a decent photo. Besides, you can never bake too many times a week (: This time I baked Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. Okay so they didn't turn out that thick but they sure are chewy and moist! It has to be my best attempt at baking cookies EVER. And I didn't burn them at all!! May there be more to come :D



Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Cooks Illustrated
makes 20 2.5-3" cookies

1 and 1/16 cups self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
85g melted and cooled unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 caster sugar (granulated is fine too)
1 egg yolk
1/2 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips/chunks (semi or bittersweet)*

1. Preheat oven to 165°C and line 2 baking trays with baking/parchment papers.

2. Mix flour and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

3. Beat butter and sugars together until thoroughly incorporated. Mix in the egg yolk, white and vanilla extract.

4. Gently mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined.

5. Stir in the chocolate chips/chunks. Add in any other nuts or berries you want (optional) at this stage.

6. Drop the cookie dough onto the baking trays with about 3" spacing (the cookies will expand a little). Bake the cookies for 13-15 min or until the cookies are light golden brown and the edges start to harden. The cookie centers should be still soft and puffy to ensure the cookies are chewy. Do not overbake!! If dough is frozen, the cookies would require another extra 1-2 min baking time.

7. Cool the cookies on the tray. Serve as is or store in an airtight container. Cookies are best eaten after cooling or when they are still semi-warm.

These make an excellent afternoon snack :D 
 

If only chocolate chip cookies could grow on flowers.. 

*Yup, you guessed it. I used Ghiradelli's 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate buttons and Hershey's mini semisweet chocolate chips.

On a side note, Christmas is coming and my family has no clue what to do -whether to invite guests or keep it an immediate family affair. But one thing's for sure: I will definitely attempt to make individual Chocolate Fondants (the kinds with the gooey liquid centers) for the family! :D I can hardly wait!

PS: I used up all the self-raising flour today. Should I get all-purpose/cake/wholewheat flour and baking powder or stick to self-raising? Advise please!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday morning madness



Can you believe I got up at 8am just to BAKE?
Yes of course you can, because you probably would do the same if you were an avid baker! :D

I actually had an appointment at 10.15am at the nearby bt panjang so I had to get up early anyway. What amazes me is that I managed to clear the oven and the junk on top (to prevent any plastics from melting), prepare the ingredients, wash the equipment, bake and get ready to leave house by 9.50am! Although I was a little late, even though I cabbed there, I managed to make it there by 10.20am tops. It was amazing. So this recipe is probably one of the speediest ones I found so far (:

These Mini Brownie Bites were found from one of the blogs I hopped to this morning before I got down to baking. They looked appetising and seemed easy enough for a morning bake. Since my sister wanted to eat brownies for a long time, I decided it would be a good choice. Although it's not really a brownie since it has a muffin-like texture which is moist and intense, it still does have the smell of a brownie :D Awesome for a first attempt hahah.


Mini Brownie Bites
adapted from Baking from My Home to Yours - Brownie Buttons (a TWD-chosen recipe from quite long ago)
makes 12 mini cupcakes (about 1.5-2")

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp self-raising flour
1/8 tsp salt
57g unsalted butter cut into small cubes
71g bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped*
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg


1. Preheat oven to 180°C and butter a mini muffin pan with 12 slots (I used a non-stick pan so I skipped the butter).


2. Whisk the flour and salt together in a bowl.


3. Melt the butter, chocolate and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and cool when all has melted and mix until thoroughly combined.


4. Stir the vanilla extract and egg into the cooled chocolate mixture.


5. Add the flour and mix well. Add any dried fruits, chocolate chips etc in at this stage. I didn't add any because I forgot to :/



6. Pour the mixture into the prepared muffin pan and bake on the middle rack for 10-14min or until stick inserted comes out clean. Do not overbake! Otherwise they will be hard and burnt around the edges.

*Again I used Ghiradelli's 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate buttons (: They come in handy very often!

It's a recommended recipe by me because I like the texture of the bites! Do try it and let me know how it comes out (:

Oh and I also want to know any other recommended brownie recipes since I haven't been able to find one yet. So please leave a comment to help me out! Thanks!! :D


PS: My blog has finally been verified for the foodieblogroll! Super happy hahah

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some call it chocolate therapy




Finally I get to bake again! During the A'level period, I have been browsing through many food blogs just to suppress the longing to bake. Pathetic right? I know. I even bought Hershey's Unsweetened  Cocoa Powder and Ghiradelli's chocolate chips over the weekend during grocery shopping just to satisfy the baking craving. Asked my mom and sister for their comments and preferences to select the first thing I'll bake to break the baking hiatus. So there you go, the recipe for the awesome looking and tasting cookie above.

Chocolate Therapy Brownie Cookie
adapted from cookiebakerlynn.blogspot.com
makes about 2 dozen 2" cookies


29g unsalted butter
29g unsweetened chopped chocolate*
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
3/8 cup self-raising flour**
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
3/8 cup white sugar*** 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 180°C

2. Melt butter, chopped chocolate and 3/8 cup chocolate chips in a large, heavy saucepan on low heat. Stir continuously to ensure everything has melted. Set aside and cool.

3. Combine flour and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

4. Beat the egg, sugar and vanilla extract at medium speed with an electric mixer.

5. Gradually add in the flour mixture and beat well.

6. Add in the chocolate mixture and mix well.

7. Stir in the remaining 3/8 cup chocolate chips (You can add in other ingredients like nuts or berries if you want at this stage)

8. Drop blobs of cookie dough onto a baking tray lined with baking/parchment paper, about 2" apart (they will expand!) - I used 2 tablespoons to help carry out this step.

9. Bake for 8-10min, no longer. Otherwise they'll burn and when they cool, the cookies will be as hard as rocks! Cool them in the tray for a few minutes before transferring them onto a wire rack for complete cooling.

10. Serve and enjoy! (Best eaten on the day itself)

*I used Ghiradelli's 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips instead. Saved the trouble of chopping the chocolate up :D


**I used self-raising flour because I didn't have all-purpose flour and baking powder :/

***I reduced the sugar added and substituted in a little brown sugar for better taste.

Because I left them in slightly more than 10min (but still under 11min), my cookies were burnt a little. After they cooled completely, the cookies were only a little chewy, but they weren't moist. Hmm, I should leave them for only 8-9min next time I bake. Or maybe my oven was too hot? Anyhow, they still tasted delish a few minutes after cooling (: Yeah I couldn't resist!


 
(Inspiration for this photo came from cookiebakerlynn.blogspot.com!)

The best way to start the day



"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day"
That is what I strongly believe in. The day can only proceed right if you start it right! Right? (:



Today I have the luxury of slacking the day away, because Alevels are OVER! (sort of) Well I have a remaining Physics mcq on Monday next week but there's still time for me to laze around and BAKE. My sister requested for Chocolate Chip Pancakes! Awesome way to start the day if you ask me. But I would have preferred to use Wholemeal Flour, just to make it seem healthier hahah. But there are 2 problems: 1, I'm the only one in my family who eats wholemeal (grain) stuff. 2, I have to use up the self-rising flour left in the cupboards. They turned out gorgeous according to my sister, and I trust her taste! (: So here's the recipe.


Yummy Chocolate Chip Pancakes
adapted from joyofbaking.com
makes about 7 3"pancake



1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp granulated white sugar
1/2 egg
1/2 cup low-fat (HL) milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted


1. Whisk flour, salt and sugar together in a big bowl.


2. Whisk egg, milk and melted butter in another bowl.


3. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Add the chocolate chips at this point (or blueberries, bananas etc - optional)


4. Heat a frying pan/griddle over medium high heat.


5. Brush the pan with a little butter so the pancakes don't stick.*


6. Using a small ladle, pour a ladle-full of the pancake batter.


7. Flip the pancakes when bottom of the pancakes are brown and bubbles start to appear on the surface.


8. Cook until lightly brown on both sides.


9. Serve with butter, maple syrup, chocolate syrup, fruits or whatever you feel like having (:


*I used a non-stick pan to fry the pancakes so I didn't use any butter. Healthy living ftw! :D





While I love cooking up a storm for breakfast, I personally prefer eating something else - nutella and peanut butter on wholemeal toast!! It's sort of my everyday staple. Although I'm Asian, I prefer bread to rice. Call me crazy but I love bread! Of course with dollops of nutella and peanut butter. Mmmm yum!


EDIT:


I just found out that there's such a thing as World Nutella Day on 5th Feb! Okay, I shall attempt to bake something that contains nutella next year on that day :D


I love Nutella!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Signed sealed delivered



This must be a sign. It has to be!
Broken digestives must be a God-sent sign for me to start baking again! Hahah (:
Two more days. Woohoo!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Oat to Joy

I have underestimated oats. They may look simple and unattractive, but they pack a punch when incorporated into the dough of an ordinary cookie. This post is dedicated to an all-time favourite: the Oatmeal Raisin Wonder Cookie!



Although my family is not a fan of the wonder cookie, I choose to be unique. I'm a self-proclaimed foodie and am super proud of it! Despite my attempts to diet nowadays, I still manage to indulge once in a while (: God didn't provide air for Man to eat, He provided food. Bread was broken at the Last Supper mind you. So anyway, back to the wonder cookie.. This chewy sensation delights most tastebuds around the world, hence it can be called an "all-time favourite" right? In my honest opinion, yes. Let's celebrate this wonder cookie by baking it over and over again till we rejoin the Lord in Heaven (:

Oatmeal Raisin Wonder Cookie
adapted from joyofbaking.com
makes 20-24 large cookies

170g unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cup rolled oats
1 cup raisins/cranberries/chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with parchment or baking paper.

2. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl.

3. Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon

5. Add in the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Mix well.

6. Stir in the oats and raisins/cranberries/chocolate chips at this point.

7. With wet hands, shape the cookie batter and place on the parchment paper. Alternatively, you can use an icecream scoop to get the perfect round shape (but what's a homemade cookie without the ragged edges??)

8. Bake for about 10-12min or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges.

9. Cool and serve!

My cookies turned out scrumptious even though they didn't look their very best. Next time, I will reduce the amount of batter for each cookie, otherwise they'll end up joined together like this attempt :/

Bite me!
Cheryl :D

My baking buddy


It's always nice to have someone to bake with, be it a friend or a family member. The baking gets done in half the time and the success always seems twice as sweet.

Felicia, my baking buddy, came around to my house last year during the holidays to get some baking done. The two of us are secondary school friends and have remained close ever since! We were in the same CCA (dance) and although we went to different JCs, we made it a point to study together. It was the end of last year that we discovered our similar passion for baking, hence the closer friendship (: It is amazing how baking breaks down walls and soothes the soul (which explains why I am having baking-withdrawal-syndromes during A's now). World leaders should just bake together and everything will be alright.


Peanut Butter Cookies (made with love)
adapted from joyofbaking.com

makes about 40 cookies


170g unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar & extra for glazing

1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy up to you)
2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped peanuts/chocolate chips (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with parchment or baking paper.

2. Cream butter and sugars in a bowl, about 2-3min using electric mixer. Beat in the peanut butter.

3. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat until incorporated.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

5. Add into the peanut butter mixture and fold in peanuts/chocolate chips at this stage.

6. Roll the batter into 1" balls and arrange on the parchment paper. Use a fork dipped in the white granulated sugar to make # patterns

7. Bake for 10-12 min or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges.

8. Cool and serve!



Enjoy baking with friends. It's one of life's simple pleasures (:

Bite me!
Cheryl :D

I like it raw



There are pros and cons when my mom travels on business trips.
Cons: I'll miss her. The house will feel weird and empty without her (although she's barely at home due to hectic work schedule even if she's in Singapore).
Pros: She'll bring back loads of goodies - food and souvenirs!

Recently she went to Japan and we requested for her to buy back Royce chocolates; both the nama chocolate and the nutty bar chocolate. They are 'boomz'!! ;D We ate a box of Au Lait nama chocolate yesterday night just for the fun of it. Okay I know my family doesn't have a very healthy eating lifestyle, but who am I to complain? I'm loving every second of it.



The first time we tried the nama chocolate was when my mom got it as a gift from her Japanese colleague (yes, the Japanese are very generous!). The way the powdered, smooth raw chocolate melts in your mouth is simply to die for! From then on, we would make it a monthly affair to go to the Royce shop at Suntec City Mall to buy these gorgeous chocolates. It was only when we were coming back from a family holiday at Japan when we saw these exact same chocolates at the Narita Airport going for much less! Okay so it was decided. Since my mom has to go to Japan often for business trips, we would get our supply of Royce directly from Japan :D The exact same quality for much less. Enough said.

As for the nutty bar chocolate, it's discovery was much less subtle. Mom bought it back from Japan just to let us try since we have always been eating the same nama chocolates. Voila! It became our new staple. The milk chocolate encased bar with it's crunchy nuts and crispy almond puff was simply too irresistable! Royce was also recently advertised in the Lifestyle section of the Sunday Times a few weeks back as it's new outlet opened at Ion Orchard Singapore. I haven't made a trip there to take a look yet, but I'm sure I wouldn't buy anything from there. After all, given the Asian culture of thriftiness (my econs paper was yesterday hahah), why would I buy something more expensive when I know there is a cheaper perfect substitute for it in Japan? You know, being the exact same product and all. Hmm, maybe I should visit the Royce chocolate factory in Japan one day...

My verdict: Awesome and highly recommended.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hey Doraemon, have a Dorayaki!



I've never been a fan of the Japanese blue and white cartoon character that Doraemon is. But I do have to credit him for having good taste!

Recently, my mom's colleague gave her a box of Japanese red bean pancakes - Dorayaki. I've seen them around before but never tried them until that one fateful day. It was just last week after one of my papers when I reached home in the early afternoon. Being greedy, I decided to indulge in an after-school snack, just to reward myself for completing that paper. I happened to see the box of opened Dorayaki lying on the table (they were opened because my mom brought some to office for her colleague). Ooh they looked super inviting. The plastic wrapper wasn't any ordinary plastic, it was of the highest quality! That aside, I tore it open and the delectable aroma of the pancake wafted into the air. Amazing! It was that good I tell you. Maybe it's the brand, I don't know. So anyway, I took a bite of the soft goodness and to my surprise, the red bean wasn't overly sweet and cloying like normal Japanese red bean products. Think mochi and other Japanese sweets. I fell in love with it. Enough said.

Went online and found out that the scrumptious pancake was the favourite snack of Doraemon! Hmm so that explains the similarity in name I suppose. Well, that was the only link I could draw as sadly, I'm not Japanese (Japanese cuisine is awesome fyi!).

I will search and try out the recipe for Dorayaki after my A's. For now, these photos are taken of the brand I ate. Do check it out if you're ever in Japan! They receive a two thumbs up from me :D



Bite me!
Cheryl :D

Dinner for two, what say you?



Whenever my parents are out of town, the duty of making dinner falls heavily on my shoulders. Being a picky eater, my sister is hard to satisfy. I have to find recipes for food that the both of us like, which is actually quite hard. I remember making shepherd's pie once and the plates were clean. So this time, surprisingly, my sister requested for Aglio Olio. I immediately went online to search for recipes. Since it was my first attempt at cooking this dish, I can't say it turned out well. The spaghetti wasn't very successful as it ended up tasting a whole lot like peppery noodles :/

I can't remember the exact measurements of the ingredients used but I do remember what I added in!

Spaghetti Aglio Olio
makes 2 servings

white pepper
coarse black pepper

olive oil

dry chilli flakes

1 red chilli padi

2 cloves of garlic
spaghetti noodles


These are the basic ingredients for the Aglio Olio spaghetti but please do not trust it. The noodles look nice and are edible (yes they are!) but the taste could be improved a whole whole lot.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rolling in chocolate



In order to tide me over the baking-hiatus during the exam period, I've been baking these mini chocolate croissants (Pain au Chocolat) for my sister. They're really really easy to make! No seriously. All I have to do is to cut up the ready-made puff pastry dough (storebought), chop up some chocolate and roll it up! As simple as that. There really isn't any recipe to follow since you can roll them in any shape and size you want, depending on your sweet tooth or diet plans. I have to credit Nigella Lawson since I got the inspiration from her cooking show - Nigella Express. Do watch it if you have cable (:



Mini Chocolate Croissants (Pain au Chocolat)
adapted from Nigella.com

1 sheet ready-rolled butter puff pastry
6 squares of baking chocolate (or any other chocolate based on preference)
1 egg beaten (for glazing)
Serving Size : Makes 12 mini croissants



1. Preheat oven to 220°C/230°C.

2. Roughly chop the chocolate.

3. Take the pastry sheet out of the

4. Cut each sheet of pastry into half.

5. Cut the half into about 3 rectangles to get 6 rectangles.

6. Half each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles so that you'll yield 12 triangles per sheet.

7. Position the triangles such that the base is nearest to you.

8. Place the chopped chocolate onto the triangles and carefully roll them up.

9. Seal the ends of the rolled up pastry slightly with your fingertips to prevent chocolate from oozing out.

10. Place the croissants on a lined but not buttered baking tray and brush the beaten egg over to glaze.

11. Bake for 15-20min or until golden brown and puffed up. Serve as is.



Personally, I left the pastry in the fridge until I was ready to deal with them as they got overly soft for handling on my first attempt. Hope my directions are understandable! It's my first time writing such baking instructions so do comment if they stink! ><

So anyway, my sister gobbles these up for her breakfast, afternoon or late night snack and they seem to get better and better! Not sure why. Maybe it's because everytime I make it, I increase the amount of chocolate I put inside these croissants. Oh well, these are one of the few things I bake that she appreciates. Not that I'm complaining or anything (okay maybe I am, oops!), my family's not very supportive of my baking. Sure they are supportive when it comes to buying the baking supplies and stuff, but when it comes to the eating... That's why I'm kind of restricted to what I bake. My family likes chocolate but they don't like peanut butter, oats, baked apples etc! It's appalling. That's why I have to rely on my friends to be my guinea pigs :/ At least they're the real foodies and can appreciate what I bake better.

Happy baking everyone!

Bite me!
Cheryl :D

Nearly there



Ahh I'm exactly 2/3 done with A'levels!! :D

After that, it's time to bake. Seriously I haven't baked in the longest time! Close to 2 months I think. It's actually a miracle that I managed to survive hahah.

Right I know I'm supposed to be studying right now but I couldn't resist blogging about this amusing article I came across recently in The Sunday Times Nov 15 09. If you have the original copy, look it up! Because seeing is believing (: Anyhow, I'm going to type it all out here just for your viewing pleasure.
"New scientific research has proven that low-carb diets make a person crabby, what the
world needs is a carb-on-carb side dish. Think buttery mashed potatoes topped with crispy
crinkle cut fries.

....... (I didn't bother typing the part here because it wasn't very read-worthy)

Okay, so this is not the way to get svelte. But who likes thin, cranky people anyway?"

- Cheap and good: Spoonfuls of goodness; Lifestyle, taste page 25
Tan Hsueh Yun
You see, this particular article caught my eye mainly because it made me rethink my diet. I'm currently on a mission to lose weight before my prom in Dec. It's kind of tough but necessary if I want to look nice in whichever dress I want to wear then. The baking-hiatus now kind of helps keep my diet in check as I won't gorge on whatever. Although recently, I kind of like the feeling of giving what I bake away. Take for example my jelly hearts cheesecake. I gave like 7/8 of the whole cake to my friends at school and only took 1 small bite from the entire thing! No regrets though. I like it when people enjoy what I bake. It's that little satisfaction that makes my day (:

Oh no it's time to go back to my books. Just have to endure for another week or so!
Wish me luck! :D

Bite me!
Cheryl :]

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Jelly Hearts strawberry cheesecake



Hey all! This is my first time trying out the Jelly Hearts cheesecake recipe! Adapted the recipe from many sources (auntyyochana & happyhomebaking). Tweaked it here and there to fit my 7"x7" tin. This is not the finished product yet though! I'm still waiting for the cheese and first layer of jelly to set before adding the rest of the jelly (: Am using raspberry jelly from Tortally because it's the brand I always use and the Cold Storage at Holland V ran out of strawberry jelly :/
Anyway, I'm so excited to taste it! Was a bit critical about the gelatine powder at first. But decided to just add it in. After all, it's my first attempt! Can't criticise me if I fail right? After all, as the Chinese say, 失败乃成功之母! (Which means failure is the mother of success) :D

Will post photos of the end product once it comes out of my fridge! Hahah

Bite me!
Cheryl :D

EDIT:

Here are the photos and the recipe! (:

Strawberry Jelly Hearts Cheesecake (non-bake)
adapted from auntyyochana.com & happyhomebaking



base:
310g digestive biscuits*
140g melted butter

cheesecake filling:
250g cream cheese 10g (1tbsp) gelatine powder 50g sugar 1/2 cup hot water 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

about 20 Strawberries
heart-shaped cookie cutter

jelly topping:
1 box of raspberry jelly 1 cup of boiling hot water 1 cup of cold water



1. Put the digestives in a ziplock bag and roll with a rolling pin till crushed. Melt the butter in a saucepan (do not burn!). Mix the biscuit crumbs & melted butter together and press firmly onto the base of a 7x7 cake tin. Chill for 30 minutes or until hard.

2. Dissolve the gelatin powder in the boiling water in a bowl. Keep warm.

3. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla essence until smooth & creamy. Blend in the gelatin solution and mix well.

4. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the cake tin on top of the biscuit base. Layer the strawberries on the cream cheese mixture and chill for at least 3 to 4 hours.

5. Dissolve the jelly crystals in boiling water. Add in the cold water after jelly dissolves. Pour the jelly onto the cream cheese mixture. Chill in the fridge until jelly is set before removing from the cake tin. Slice and enjoy! Makes about 20 squares.



*if you like your base more crumbly, increase the amount of digestives used.

Bite me!
Cheryl :D

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