Archive for April, 2010

Creme brulee

This was an eventful bake day. I bought a bowl which works as a ramekin from Daiso @ $2 over the weekend and was very keen on putting them into use. Creme brulee was the first that came to my mind. One of my favourite dessert and the most heavenly one experienced @ Zucca Ristorante on Castro Street when I was in the States.

The lack of ingredients once again made me attempted a google search on “substitute heavy cream” and the result was butter + milk. And so I did. I too did not own a torch and websites had recommended using the BBQ function in the oven. Which I too, followed, after refrigerating the creme brulee. So here’s the result.

The surface was grainy because the sugar hasn’t totally melted. Yet I couldn’t risk the browned sugar turning into charcoal. The most unfortunate was went i dug into the creme brulee, a layer of oil floated up. The butter was melted by the heat from oven! Unpleasant is a very mild way of describing the taste. However, the second ramekin that held the creme and not brulee-ed did not have have butter floating up like the first. Nevertheless, the taste was wrong.

Never replace unnecessarily. Point reinforced. And whoever said once bitten twice shy! Well, third time is a “gong cheesepie”. =( I did get a little encouragement from the texture of the creme but that’s about it. I will try again.

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Pancakes

My first attempt at pancakes because of request from lil sister. Went pretty smoothly.  Followed recipe from http://southernfood.about.com/od/pancakesandwaffles/r/bl30320u.htm.

Was thinking if might be a little more fragrant if i used butter instead of oil in the recipe. Sister loves a thick pancake. I made one portion worth and  had it with some manuka honey. Yums. I must mention that it would require 1/4 of an egg for 1 person share. I used a whole egg yolk and one tablespoon of egg white instead and it was still great. Will try again with butter. At least this batter turned out much better than the crepe batter recipe I tested before.

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Moelleux au Chocolat aka Chocolate lava / molten cake

This is one of my favourite ways to eat the chocolate cake. With a hot oozing chocolate in the centre and a moist, dense cake surrounding it.

I followed the recipe from

http://www.famousfrenchdesserts.com/chocolate-lava-cake-recipe.html

and used 100g of big grain sugar reduced to powder with a processor. A tad too sweet for me. Think if my chocolate was bitter enough, it would be perfect. I did use 70% chocolate by the way.

I also substituted the ramekins with my Ikea coffee cup (thank goodness it didn’t crack) and a metal jelly mould I sometimes use for tarts too. The Ikea mug version did give me a softer cake texture that is more moist and dense than the metal jelly mould, which actually works like a cake tin. But both did come out with a good centre. Perhaps its my oven, but after 10mins, the top still weren’t cooked so i baked for about 15mins actually.

With the Ikea mug that is half-filled:

That couldn’t slide out properly…

And the cake from the metal mould:

With it’s oozing lava..

A friend asked me about the chocolate I used and realise it’s important to remember which chocolate does what miracle in baking.  Mine is 70% chocolate from cadbury which isn’t bitter enough for my tastebud when I eat it on it’s own but turned out fine when I made the brownie previously. My friend heard that semi-sweet chocolate from hershey’s is good for baking. I think I haven’t tasted any bars from hersheys that is bitter enough for my tastebud so still unsure about using hershey’s as an ingredient. She’ll be trying the lava cake with it and I’ll see how it turns out! One experiment less hehe.

Anyhows, this one is a little tad sweet. Think the intricate bitter-sweet balance has not been attained. The chocolate is not bitter enough for the sugar used in the recipe (noted that 70% cadbury didn’t taste as bitter as Ghiradelli’s) so I guess if I have to use this bar again because of the convenience of getting it just right below my place, I will use less sugar. 80g perhaps? Thought for food…

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Egg tarts

One of the favourite orders at dimsum sessions. I chanced upon yummy pictures of these while browsing through recipes and decide to take up the challenge! Recipe from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Egg-Tarts-II/Detail.aspx with the sugar amount halved. I’ve reduced the portions to 1/4 as 20+ tarts seem to be a little too much.

Haven’t had much practice shaping tarts but I bought new tart pans to hold the egg tarts (the above was made using jelly moulds) so hopefully they will have a nicer shape! The egg custard is nice and texture perfect. It’s not super egg-ish like some shops outside which is to the little sis’ liking. Crust-wise it was not good. It’s edible but not fantastic. I need to make this again – hopefully with a crumblier crust. The challenge – to make the second sister like my tarts. The only egg tart that has passed her mouth test was Hongkong’s (8 days recommendation). Mummy’s tip – white shell eggs were spotted at the restaurant’s kitchen. Change of ingredients? Hmmm..

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Salmon Hash

Finally something that befit’s the original intention of this blog – cooking! I tried this dish at the Conservation Hut and it has since left me a deep impression. Salmon and hash brown all mixed together. A good savoury dish for a main course.

This is the original dish I’ve tried.

And this is the one I replicated – less the eggs of course.

Here I used potatoes chopped into bits. This is a trial preparatory session for a pot luck at Mel’s house to celebrate Jen’s birthday. Chopping potatoes is a lot of work. Using off the shelves hash browns is so much easier – plus I like the crisp texture better. All is good except that it could be a little less oily since the fish has oils and the hash brown has already been prepared with oil. Will have this again!

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Brownie

The weather has been ridiculously hot. The idea of a chocolate brownie with ice cream then surfaced. I had some walnuts leftover from before which came into good use. Boy was the texture good. I followed the recipe from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Absolutely-Best-Brownies/Detail.aspx.

Even till now, the goodness of the brownie still pops up in my mind ever so frequently. I must make this again. SOON.

Aside from the replacing of sugar which led to big grains of sugar at the surface of the brownie (another replacement boo-boo), everything went A-ok. Deliciousssss.

Update: Apr 2010

I love this brownie. This time round, no coarse grain sugar used and everything melted into the brownie. Still, at 120g of sugar, it was not sweet at all, but enough for the brownie to not taste bitter. Love love.

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Tiramisu

Maiden attempt at tiramisu. I’ve seen Mel prepared it once and it looks doable so I’ve attempted to make it for a dinner at Karen’s and for Casper’s birthday (one day apart!).

I’ve picked the simplest recipe of them all (if I didn’t remember wrong – result of blogging long after the attempt). I replaced the alcohol with Godiva Mocha Liquer… exquisite! My tiny bottle bought when I was in the States came into good use!

http://www.streetdirectory.com/food_editorials/pastry/cakes/tiramisu.html

Followed everything except for taking out the cream from the recipe.

So I made a medium sized one for the dinner @ Karen’s. If you notice there are signs of liquid at the base of the cake. Poor dipping technique led to the ladyfingers being too soggy. I blame it on Binnie hehe.

And since it was Agnes’ birthday the day before dinner, I cut some paper and sieved some icing sugar over the template.

Alas, when the cake was served, the words disappeared and had already melt into the cocoa surface! =/ Luckily I took a shot first before I brought it out for dinner. Ha.

And the next attempt for Casper’s.

Lesson learnt from the first – never soak the ladyfingers for more than 3 seconds (for the kind I bought, Cold Storage btw). I did find it a tad dry – too little dip and perhaps the Tiramisu didn’t get to sit long enough. Well, the first Tiramisu for dinner did taste better the next day when all the flavours were all soaked up. But the second Tiramisu did serve as a better cake instead of a mushy version like the first. They are all yummy nonetheless. Just not a 10/10. Or so I think. =))

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