Monday, January 25, 2010

I love you, Nigella Lawson!

I'm a HUGE fan of Nigella Lawson. I bookmarked her website, studiously copied down her recipes while she recited them on her shows, searched Youtube to find videos of episodes of some of her previous shows, googled her etc... And now, I've finally recreated one of her recipes. Hurray!

I like the way Nigella presents her shows, sort of daring and humorous. She doesn't mind piling on the extra pounds just to enjoy her favourite meal or dessert, whichever she feels like having that night. Her candid and yet relaxed approach towards food never fail to intrigue me. The fun she has in her kitchen seems neverending and I hope to have that in my family kitchen! The joy and laughter will brighten anyone's day the moment they step in. Actually, the moment they enter the house and smell the delicious aroma of whatever's baking will put a spring in their step instantaneously! Hahah :D

Nigella's Chocohotopots
adapted from an episode of Nigella Feasts
makes 4- 4" springform tins

125g semisweet chocolate chips
125g unsalted butter, softened + extra for greasing on butter wrappers
2 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 tbsp all purpose flour

1. Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a bowl above simmering/boiling water. Make sure the bowl of chocolate mixture doesn't touch the boiling water!

2. Preheat the oven to 200C. Butter the 4 springform tins (Nigella used ramekins but I don't have them at home) with butter wrappers.

3. Leave the melted chocolate on one side to cool.

4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together.

5. Add in the flour into the egg mixture.

6. Fold in the melted chocolate mixture into the flour-egg mixture gently.

7. Bake for about 8-12min or until the top looks a bit cracked. The toothpick test fails here because the centers should still be gooey, just like molten chocolate cakes.

8. Leave to cool for about 2min then serve immediately. Pair with vanilla icecream, sorbets, fruit, warm chocolate ganache etc. Up to your imagination and cravings (:

Yes I know these are jaw-droppingly similar to the molten chocolate cakes I made last year during Christmas, but I promise you they are very different! The taste may be a bit similar but the textures of the two cakes are different. The molten chocolate cakes have a really molten, liquidy (is there such a word??) center whereas Nigella's chocohotopots have a gooey center. They are quite firm but still have that element of wetness and liquidity in them. Hmm. I don't think you quite understand. The best way to understand this idea is to make them yourself! That way you can truly understand what I mean (:

Try them! You won't regret (:

Friday, January 15, 2010

there's always room for two!

Yesterday was my first day at work and my brains were fried due to info overload. My colleagues were very friendly and patient with me, so I blamed myself constantly for forgetting what they taught me. No doubt I had to put into immediate practice what was taught but that's the best way to learn right? On the job training. Well, people learn through mistakes. And I guess I learnt a lot yesterday, considering the huge number of mistakes I made. Thank God nobody scolded me. It was a pretty rough and stressful day for me but I prayed and everything got better after lunch. Weird as it may seem, I actually can't wait for next Monday to start work again! I want to test my memory and put whatever I digested into practice! That's a good sign, isn't it? That I'm enjoying work. It's my first ever job and I'm determined to make good impressions and excel in it.

So after what seemed like the 2nd longest baking hiatus (compared to the Alevel period), I went berserk. No seriously. I put my oven to work and churned out TWO items. Not one, but TWO. Though granted they were pretty small. I baked Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins. It was my first attempt at making muffins (although cupcakes and muffins are quite similar) and I'm glad to say they were a success! I substituted the buttermilk for some mixed berry yoghurt I had lying around in the fridge simply because I didn't have any milk, let alone buttermilk in the house. It was a pretty close substitution I suppose as the muffins turned out very well. The cupcakes were not my first attempt. They were the first things I learnt to bake when I started out and now it's miraculously back on my list of items to bake! Having been caught up in experimenting with different kinds of flavours and recipes, I decided to go back to basics. To go back to where it all started - the humble chocolate chip cupcake. Thank God I did because both tasted equally amazing!

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
adapted from
makes 6

1/4 cup castor sugar
55g unsalted butter
1 egg
3/4 tbsp milk (I omitted it)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 drop vanilla extract
1/8 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or more if you like)

1. Preheat the oven at 180°C and prepare 6 cupcake liners in a muffin tray

2. Cream the sugar and the butter in a bowl.

3. Add in the egg to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until incorporated. (add in the milk at this stage if using)

4. Sift in the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture.

5. Gently fold in the vanilla extract and chocolate chips into the batter.

6. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake liners until about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 min or until cupcakes have risen and are golden brown.

Serve as is or cool them if you want to spread icing on.

Blueberry Yoghurt Muffins
adapted from
makes 6

1-1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/8 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 small egg (those kinds you get from NTUC Fairprice in SG)
3/8 cup of mixed berry yoghurt (instead of equal volume of buttermilk)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
75g melted unsalted butter
1 cup fresh blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and prepare 6 muffin liners (I used cupcake liners instead) in a muffin tray.

2. In 1 bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt (dry ingredients) together until well mixed.

3. In another bowl, mix the egg, yoghurt, melted butter and vanilla extract (wet ingredients) together until well mixed.

4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just incorporated.

5. Fold in the blueberries gently.

6. Fill the muffin liners until almost full and bake for about 20 min or until the muffins have risen and are golden brown.

Serve as is. Best eaten immediately when warm or can be reheated in the oven the next morning for breakfast (:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's been a while

Happy 2010!

Fine I know I'm like 6 days late but this is my first post of the new year! WMB has survived the new year with a rather decent number of recipes uploaded. Because of this blog, I ventured into baking new goodies I would never have dreamed of baking before! Would I call this blog my motivation to bake? Maybe. But I haven't been baking as much as I had imagined I would these past few weeks after the yuletide celebrations.

Reason? Probably due to the desperate meetups with long-time-no-see friends and dancers, job hunting, potential job interviews etc etc. I'm going for an interview later on in the afternoon and I really do hope I get this job! It's a rather demanding job but I think I need something challenging to spur me on during this 6 months. Otherwise, I might just lag the whole period away and that would be rather disastrous! I've also signed up for driving lessons (yes I'm 18 already!) and am taking my Basic Theory Test (BTT) on 4 feb! Wish me luck hahah (: Although friends who have taken the test already say its beyond easy, I fail to see why. Maybe this driving business just doesn't come naturally to me? Idk. I really do hope I'll pass it on the first try because it would be humiliating to fail even the most basic test :/

Ah well, I'll be sure to start baking as soon as possible whenever I have free time on my hands! As for this post, it shall be filled with descriptions of mom's extravagant New Year's Eve feast (no pictures because I couldn't find the cable!). We went grocery shopping at ntuc's Fairprice Finest and saw many frozen seafood items on sale. Being kiasu Singaporeans, we grabbed most of them. In the end, the freezer was overstocked. But it was obviously better than having an understocked freezer right? Hahah so in the end, mom prepared Escargots, Pepper-seared Tuna, Cucumber and Tomato Salad, Garlic Bread, Scallops in their shells topped with Fried Garlic and Smoked Salmon. It was a sumptuous meal to welcome the New Year don't you think? Although it wasn't the healthiest way to start the year, it was the most delicious (:

My sister has been asking me to bake her Chocolate Souffles from this new book I got for Christmas (will upload photos of it later on)! It will be a challenge but I'm sure I'll be able to handle it. Anticipate! :D
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