Friday, 23 January 2015

This Is Good




The method for making a hot milk sponge cake has been around for a long time. It is an old fashioned method which involves adding melted butter and hot milk into the cake batter. This results in light and airy, and higher rise and finer sponge.






Bake Along #74 - Hot Milk Cakes with Strawberry and Cream.  I'm baking along with hosts Zoe of Bake For Happy Kids, Lena of Frozen Wings, Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, and other baking enthusiasts in this blog hop.





Hot Milk Cakes with Strawberry and Cream

Ingredients
serves 4
Adapted from Bon Appetit with modifications in red

2 small eggs
1/3 cup sugar + 1/4 cup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon self raising flour
1/3 cup whole milk
40g unsalted butter
200g strawberries, hulled, thinly sliced lengthwise
100g whipping cream
1/2 tablespoon of home made vanilla sugar


Method


  • Preheat oven to 425F (180C). Line brownie pan with greaseproof paper(12" x 8")
  • Using electric mixer,beat eggs in medium bowl at high speed until thick, about 3 minutes.
  • Gradually beat in 1/3 cup sugar,beat until thick and pale yellow, about 1 minute longer. Beat in 1/4 tsp vanilla.
  • Add flour and beat 30 seconds.
  • Bring milk and butter just to boil in small saucepan, stirring until butter melts.
  • Add hot milk mixture to batter; beat until blended and smooth, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  • Bake till pale golden, about 18 minutes.

  • Toss strawberries and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in medium bowl to coat; let stand 20 minutes for juices to form.
  • Using electric mixer,beat cream and vanilla sugar in another bowl until peaks form.




  • Trim and slice cake into 8 pieces. Assemble cakes just before serving




Cake is soft and moist, sweetness just right. Delicious with whipped cream.












This is good, and pleases God our Saviour  who wants all men to  be saved and to come to a knowledge of truth.   1 Timothy 2:3-4

Monday, 12 January 2015

Every Good and Perfect Gift






My first experience of Mille Feuille was from a plane meal tray more than 30 years ago. Mille Feuille is a traditional French pastry made from puff pastry and custard cream. Mille Feuille is not an easy dessert name to remember partly because it is hard to pronounce if you are not a native speaker. I have heard the dessert being pronounced differently by people who are proficient in French.






Forget the French name if you have trouble with the letter L there. This pastry is also known as Napoleon. But I think Mille Feuille sounds more elegant for this stunning dessert.





At first look, the dessert looks complicated but in reality it is quite easy to do. For simplicity, I use store bought ready roll puff pastry. I just need to cook custard cream which I did the night before, a box of strawberries and I'm ready to assemble.


Strawberry Mille Feuille
Adapted from Home Cooking Advenure
serves 3

Ingredients

1 frozen puff pastry 10" x 10"
1 tbsp powdered sugar

Vanilla Pastry Cream

1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter, 20gms
fresh raspberries
Powdered sugar, for dusting the top

Method

Vanilla Custard Cream

  • Prepare the pastry cream. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until slightly pale. Incorporate the cornstarch and salt.
  • Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour about a third of the hot milk over the egg yolks mixture. Pour the whole mixture into the saucepan over the milk. Bring to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
  • Pour the cream into a clean bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes then incorporate the butter while stirring. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent forming a skin on the surface. Refrigerate until chilled.
Puff Pastry

  • Preheat the oven to 165C(180C). Butter a baking sheet and line with parchment paper. On a floured surface roll out the puff pastry dough to a rectangle of 1/10 inch thickness.

  • Using the rolling pin transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Prick the dough with the fork and cover with another sheet of parchment paper.

  •  Place another baking sheet on top to prevent the dough from puffing to much. Bake for about 25 minutes until lightly golden.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  • Preheat the oven to 240C.

  • To caramelize the pastry, sprinkle about 1 tbsp powdered sugar, in a thin layer over the baked pastry. Bake (grill) for few minutes using the broil function until the sugar is melted.
  • Caramelize the other side of the puff pastry. When chilled trim the edged and cut the pastry in 3 rectangles.
Assemble



  • Assemble the mille feuille. Place one layer of caramelized puff pastry on the serving plate. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain round tip with pastry cream. Spread pastry cream over the top and add strawberries. Place another layer of puff pastry on top of the filling. Add pastry cream strawberries and the last layer of pastry. 

  • Allow to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight before cutting it for serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.






This post is linked to Bake Along hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, Lena from Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.














Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.James 1:17







Wednesday, 7 January 2015

I Have Fought The Good Fight






My family loves to eat squids and my usual lazy way of cooking squids is to stir fry them with store bought sambal belachan.  Today, I'm cooking all dishes from scratch, no cheat eats. Sotong Masak Hitam (Squids cook in black ink)is a Malay dish, a lovely dish best eaten with sambal belachan and rice.

Squid ink is usually associated with Italian food like pasta and risotto. Many people are quite turn off by the color but trust me, it really tastes better than it looks. To cook this dish, you do not need to buy squid ink from specialty store. You just need to wash and carefully remove the ink sacs from the detached heads. This dish has a simple rempah which doesn't need to fry long, and we all know that squids cook easily, so don't overcook it.


Sotong Masak Hitam(Stir fry Squids in Squid Ink)
Travelling-foodie

Ingredients

6-8 medium sized squid, processed
1 generous tbsp asam jawa (tamarind pulp),rubbed thoroughly in a small mixing bowl containing 2 cups of water
1 portion of squid ink, extracted from the squids
1 stalk of lemongrass, lower white portion
1 red chili, sliced diagonally
1green chili, sliced diagonally
1 large onion, peeled an sliced into strips
1/2 tsp salt, adjust to taste
2 tbsp sugar, adjust to taste
2 tbsp cooking oil

Rempah
2large red chillies, sliced
80g shallots, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp toasted belacan (fermented shrimp paste)

Pound,blend or grind all the rempah ingredients into a coarse paste and set aside for later use.



Method


  • To a heated wok, add cooking oil and stir-fry rempah paste, bruised lemongrass halves, sliced onions over medium-high heat until fragrant and the rempah begins to glisten as the oil separates. Strain the tamarind water into the wok and together, add squid ink,half of the sliced red and green chillies.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil before lowering flame to medium-low to simmer.Heat and stir periodically  until the sauce thickens when some of the water evaporates.
  • Season with salt and sugar.
  • When the sauce reaches the desired consistency,bring up the flame to medium-high again and add processed squid pieces.
  • Stir fry and  toss the squid for 30 seconds or so and turn off the flame.
  • Let the squid steep in the residual heat for another 2 min or so before plating.
  • Garnishing with remaining sliced red and green chillies.
  • Serve with steamed rice or nasik lemak.
Note: If it is served with nasik lemak,it is preferred for the sauce tobe thicker and more concentrated so that it adheres to the sotong slices better. With plain steamed rice,the sauce is kept slightly more fluid for it to be drizzled over and enjoyed with the rice.



This dish complements the Kari Ayam which I also cook from scratch. A plain stir fry French beans with  prawns is also served as part of the meal. All photos taken from Iphone.






























This book presents a study of 13 biblical characters, how they started, how they finished and lessons on how we can close each chapter of life, finishing well.

The important part of our lives as Christians is not on how well we start but on how we finish it and finish it well.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7


Tuesday, 30 December 2014

There Is Surely A Future Hope For You





During my growing up years, I was always tasked by my late mum to pound dried chillies, shallots,garlic and candlenut whenever she cooks curry. I detested this task so much so that after my job is done, I would not be bothered to stay in the kitchen to watch her cook her delicious curry. It was also not very often the family had chicken curry which was considered as occasion food in my younger days. So I have never learnt to cook nice chicken curry, and there is no family recipe to follow. It is also out of sheer laziness and convenience that I have always cooked chicken curry with store bought rempah.







Today, I'm a little hardworking(I think peeling shallots is hard work ). I cook a pot of Kari Ayam from scratch. I am a happy cook, the Kari Ayam from scratch is so sedap! I don't think I will buy another store bought rempah again, even on my lazy cook days.






Kari Ayam
Travelling-foodies

Ingredients A
1 chicken appro 1.2kg cut into large chunks
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 sprig curry leaves

Rempah ingredients

100g shallots or large onions, peeled and sliced
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
thumb-length knob of giner
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp chili powder


Condiments and others

1 stick of cassia bark (kayu manis)
2 star anise
1 stalk of lemongrass, cut into large chunks, sliced lengthwise and bruised slightly
1/4 cup of cooking oil
2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
500ml of thick coconut milk
200ml of water
1 tsp salt to taste
1 sprig of curry leaves
1 tbsp sugar, optional
1 chicken bouillon cube, optional
1 tsp ground pepper, to taste, optional


Method


  • Mix all the ingredients A thoroughly, rub each piece of chicken thoroughly with the powders and salt and marinate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight in the fridge.
  • Blend or pound the peeled shallots or onions, garlic and ginger to form a coarse paste. Set aside the additional curry and chili powder for later use.

  • To a heated wok, add oil followed by blended onion-garlic-ginger paste. Stir fry slowly under medium heat until aromatic, 3-5 minutes.
  • Add bruised lemongrass,cili powder,curry powder, cassia bark stick and star anise and continue to stir fry until all the aroma of the spices and ingredients are very apparent (3-5 mins)

  • Add marinated chicken chunks. Stir fry until the chicken are well coated with the fried ingredients. Continue to stir fry under medium heat for another 10 minutes.

  • Add water as well as half the amount of coconut milk and potatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil before simmering with lid on for 20 min. The chicken cube should be added now if using.
  • Taste and adjust the flavours with more salt. A bit of sugar may be added to balance the flavours while ground pepper can be added for an additional spicy edge.
  • Add remaining thick coconut milk and return to a boil before simmering to medium-low heat for the last 10-15 min or until the chicken and potatoes are soft and thoroughly cooked through. A sprig of curry leaves is added at this point to 'refresh' the aroma of the dish.
  • Serve warm with rice, roti peranchis or roti jala.
Note: I blended the rempah ingredients together with the curry and chili powder. I shallow fry the potatoes before adding into the chicken. All photos taken from my Iphone camera.













Wishing all my readers here a Blessed New Year!  Proverbs 23:18 tells us about God's promises and to face the new year with hope.

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18








I was away on holiday in the UK and want to share with you this beautiful light and sound show at Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford upon Avon.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Job Prayed For His Friends





These are muffins which I want to make again and again. The family is not
big on cakes and muffins, but I just love baking them to share with friends and siblings. It makes me happy to see the delightful expression on their faces when they take the first bite. This is then usually devoured in seconds.





I don't bake many kinds of muffins. This is probably my third post on muffins. These Banana Walnut Chocolate Chips Muffins really deserve a place in this blog and I do really hope whoever read this post will bake them.

Bananas are good source of dietary fibre, with plenty of Vitamin B6, potassium and manganese. However, the nutrient content of bananas changes as it becomes more ripen.  It is packed with antioxidants and becomes less starchy with the complex carbohydrates breaking to simple sugars. This change in the carbohydrates makes overripe bananas sweeter. For this reason, diabetics should avoid overripe bananas as it may result a quicker rise in blood sugar.




Bananas, walnut and Chocolate chips are best and popular combination. The taste and flavour are simply best of the classics.  Baking muffins is basic baking. Most beginners start by baking muffins which requires very few equipment and quick baking time. One must remember the golden rule of not over stirring or your muffins will be hard. For this bake, I did not mash the bananas but left it in chunks for better texture. These muffins can be kept without refrigeration for three days, or cling wrapped and keep in the fridge for a week.


Banana Walnut Chocolate Chips Muffins
makes 12

Ingredients

60g butter, melted, cooled
2 cups self raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup caster sugar, slightly less
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
3 large bananas, mashed or chunks
1/2 cup choc chips
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped


Method


  • Preheat oven to 200C. Stir flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients.
  • Lightly hand whisk egg, milk and butter in a bowl or jug. Add to dry ingredients, along with the bananas. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, gently mix ingredients until just combined. Do not beat the mixture or the muffins will be TOUGH.
  • Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cases. Top with chocolate chips and walnuts. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm on top when lightly touched.




















After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10

When was the last time someone asked you to pray for them? Have you ever wondered why people ask you to pray for them?
I believe this is God's way of recognising you as a great person of prayer.
The Lord trusts you enough to send people to you, we need to be faithful to pray for those whom God has sent.



























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