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.



























Tuesday, 18 November 2014

We All Stumble In Many Ways




American celebrity grill master chef  Bobby Flay 's tips on how to make the prefect burger. 
  •  He recommends handling the meat as little as possible when forming patties. Make a well in the center by pressing your thumb to push a depression into the center. This prevents it from bulging and reduces the need to press down on the burger while it grills.
  • You can use any cut of beef but the fat content must be 20 percent. Anything less than that and it'll be too dry.
  • You only need to add salt and pepper on both sides of the patty. You don't need any 'secret ingredients' inside the burger itself.
  • Brush a little oil on the patty and don't ever push down the burger. Let a crust form, and then flip it.
That's it! That's all you need for a classic Bobby Flay's basic burger. We all know Bobby Flay is big on flavour, his recipes are usually with a long list of ingredients. I'm not totally sold. To be honest, I bought my mince from a gourmet butcher, making sure they're of top quality and with at least 20% fats. I want my burger to be moist, juicy and beefy.




My beef patty with a thumb depression. Seasoned with salt and crushed black pepper.




Lightly brush with olive oil, cook on hot grill. I do not need to press the patty down. They're evenly browned with a crust.




Prepare the chipotle ketchup ahead. I got this salsa chipotle instead of chipotle in adobo sauce.



Cook white button mushrooms with thyme and parsley for topping. This can be done ahead.






Wild Mushroom Cheddar Burger
Adapted from Foodnetwork
serve 4( serve one in red)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
12 ounces assorted mushrooms 250g white button mushrooms
1 small shallot, finely diced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80% lean)or ground turkey (90% lean) 150g beef
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil to brush
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese one slice
4 hamburger buns, split, toasted one hamburger bun

Chipotle Ketchup(optional)
1 cup ketchup 2 tablespoons
2 to 3 pureed canned chipotle in adobo 2 tsp Chipotle salsa
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 freshly ground black pepper


  • Whisk together the ketchup, chipotle, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavour to meld. The sauce will keep for 1 week in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.


Method


  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saute pan over high heat until almost smoking. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the shallot, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme and parsley and transfer to a bowl.
  • Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each). Form each portion loosely into a 3/4 inch thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the burgers, using the canola oil and topping each one with a slice of cheese and a basting cover during the last minute of cooking.
  • Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and top each burger with chipotle ketchup(top only), if using, and a large spoonful of the mushrooms. Cover wit the bun tops and serve immediately.



I made this burger for my younger son who has just booked out from camp. I pinched some of the beef and mushrooms while he was eating. Wow! moist, juicy and tender beef, and don't leave out the chipotle sauce. It's good!






This post is linked to 'Cook Like Bobby Flay' event hosted by Yen from Eat Your Heart Out, 
Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Grace of Life Can be Simple.












How well do your actions mirror the faith that you proclaim? This is a question that we all struggle to answer well.

We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. James 3:2

Friday, 14 November 2014

Therefore Welcome One Another







(Sound of knocking on door) (Spoken) Come in, well, well, well, look who's here. I haven't seen you in many years.
If I knew you were coming, I'd 've baked a cake, baked a cake, baked a cake. A 50s song by Eileen Barton.






What cake would I be baking? It would be these Apricot Almond Squares. They're just perfect for you.  Delicious looking cakes with apricot and almond flakes. Don't they look like the sun peeking through the clouds? Buttery and crumbly moist and soft, I would served them warm with a cup of tea.

Now, if you have guests coming and want to bake a cake,  won't you bake these apricot almond squares too? Here's the recipe








Apricot Tray Bakes
adapted from happyhomebaking
makes nine 6cm squares, 6 inch square pan


Ingredients

100g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
30g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 egg whites
60g caster sugar

80g cake flour
40g+30g ground almond
9 apricot halves, canned apricots
almond flakes


Method


  • Wash the canned apricots to remove the syrup,drain,pat dry with paper towel and set aside.
  • Place butter in a mixing bowl,beat with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk till smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture turns pale, light and fluffy.
  • Gradually add in the egg yolks( a teaspoon at a time), whisking after each addition.
  • Add in the vanilla extract, whisk to continue. Set aside.
  • In a clean, dry mixing bowl, beat egg whites with a handheld electric mixer on low speed until mixture becomes frothy and foamy.Add half of the sugar and turn to high speed and beat until egg whites reaches the soft peak stage. The soft peak stage is reached the peaks of the whites curl over and droop slightly. The egg whites should appear smooth and glossy.
  • Add the beaten egg whites into the butter and egg yolk batter in 2 separate additions, each time folding gently with a spatula until just blended.
  • Sieve over the flour and 40g of ground almond. Fold with the spatula until just combined. Spoon half of the batter into a 18cm square pan (lined with parchment paper). Spread and smooth out the batter evenly. Arrange the apricots, cut side down.
  • Add 30g of ground almond into the remaining batter. Fold with a spatula until combined. Place batter into a piping bag. Snip off the tip of the piping bag and pipe the batter horizontally and vertically along the edges of the pan and in between the apricots. Sprinkle almond flakes on the surface of the piped batter.
  • Bake in preheated oven at 180C for about 30-35 mins or until the surface turns golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • Remove from oven, leave to cool for about 5 minutes. Unmould and transfer to wire rack, leave to cool completely.


Note: I beat egg white first, then using the same whisk, beat the butter and sugar in another bowl.
          I divide the batter into 3/4 for spreading and 1/4 for piping. To make 20 slices, I bake in 9 inch
          square pan using one and half of the ingredients.






















Church Open House

A way to introduce the church to the community and establish bridges to people around the church.



Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:7

Monday, 3 November 2014

God called the light Day






Poaching eggs is so fuss free and neat. If you have mastered the know how, you would be like me, have poached eggs for every breakfast.









For this breakfast idea, blanched asparagus for a few seconds in boiling water, remove and soak in cold water to cool. Add sweet cherry tomatoes, sliced avocados and store bought smoked salmon slices. Place poached egg, and black pepper to serve. Healthy gourmet looking breakfast done in 10 minutes.

Jamie Oliver has put up a Perfect Poached Eggs video and I like his lively presentation, clear and easy instructions. In the video, he shows three ways of poaching eggs. My poached egg is done using the first method.







Healthy breakfast goes with a healthy shake. This has two avocados flesh, a spoonful of Milo powder, a spoonful of gula melaka crumbs and a cup of low fat milk.












And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. Genesis 1:5

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Be Patient


Everyday we learn new things. Nothing is frivolous. Today I learn something about maple syrup and the differences between pies and tarts. I learn maple syrup is graded according to the Canada, United States, or Vermont scales based on its density and translucency.

I have always buy pure maple syrup for pancakes but have never known its grading and colour. There are also not much choices to buy here. The most popular brand is Macdonald's maple syrup which is labelled as 100% Pure Grade A, dark amber. Pure maple syrup is not cheap and once you have tried pure maple syrup on waffles and pancakes, you will never go for the flavoured ones.

The maple syrup which I am using for this Maple Nut Pie was bought from Australia. I was looking for its grade but couldn't find any. It is simply labelled as original Canadian maple syrup. I suspect the syrup is adulterated with corn syrup though it is very dark with a rich maple flavour. This is a typical Grade B which is used primarily for cooking and baking.






Is there a difference between a pie and a tart? Yes, there is. They are like close cousins with distinct differences.
 A pie is a sweet or savory dish with a crust and a filling. According to thekitchn.com, the sides of a pie dish or pan are sloped. It can have just a bottom, a top or both a bottom and a top crust. Pies are served straight from the dish in which were baked.

A tart is a sweet or savory dish with shallow sides and only a bottom rust. Tart crusts are usually made from pastry dough traditionally flour, unsalted butter, cold water, and sometimes sugar. Tarts are baked in a pan with a removable bottom, or in pastry ring on top of a baking sheet so that it be unmolded before serving.

Well, my Maple Nut Pie obviously has the tart look. I used a removable base tart tin, and I hope it is acceptable in Bake Along. I do not have a pie dish but I followed the recipe closely. I adapted the recipe from Lena of Frozen Wing, I thought her Maple Nut Pie looks fantastic. I just love her rustic looking pie.


Maple Nut Pie
Williams Sonoma Baking Book
half of the original recipe, makes two 12cm pie

Pastry Dough

Ingredients

200gm plain flour
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
63 cold butter, cut into cubes
3 tbsp ice water

Method


  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse 5-6 times until the mixture of texture of coarse meal with butter pieces are larger than small peas.
  • Add 3 tbsps of water, pulsing once after each addition and adding just enough to make crumbly dough, it will not hold together on its own but when gathered into ball with your hands. Add more water if necessary, 1 tbsp at at time.( I mixed the dough by hand)
  • Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface, roll into a ball and flatten into a disk with a few gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn and roll out. Continue to turn and roll out to a wider circumference than your pan. 
  • Transfer the dough to the pie dish or tin, trim the edge of the dough round, leaving about 2 cm overhang. Fold the overhang under itself and pinch it together to create a high edge decoratively and freeze the pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes. 
  • Lay a foil paper and put in some pie weights or raw rice and partially bake the pie shell on a preheated oven at 190C for about 20 minutes. Remove the beans and further bake for another 10 minutes until the shell is pale gold.
  • Remove from oven. While the shell is baking, can proceed to make the filling.

Filling (for one 12cm tart tin)
1 cup maple syrup (half cup)
1 large egg, lightly beaten (1 small egg)
2 tbsp brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp unsalted butter,melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
90gm pecans, coarsely chopped ( top pie with nuts, 50gms)

Method

  • In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring the maple syrup to a boil and boil for about 4-5 minutes to reduce by about one fourth. Remove from heat and pour into a heatproof bowl or measuring pitcher. The syrup should reduced to about 3/4 cup(1/4) or a little less. If necessary, return to boil until the syrup is sufficiently reduced. Let cool down for a while before proceeding.
  • In a bowl, stir together the eggs, sugar, reduced maple syrup, salt, melted butter and vanilla until well mixed. Add the pecans and stir well. Pour into the partially baked pie shell, making sure the pecans are evenly distributed.(I top the shell with pecans instead). Bake the pie until the center is slightly puffed and firm to touch, about 30 to 40 minutes (25minutes). Remove and let cool on the wiring rack.


This pie should really be eaten with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It is  perfect accompaniment to pecans and maple syrup.




This post is linked to Bake Along 69 hosted by Joyce, Zoe and Lena.














Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.
James 5:7
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