Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Needin' some Puddin'

I could re-tell the story for the...tenth time, about the horrible start of the day but it's allright. I think the previous nine times sufficed. 'Nuff with the whining, on with the pudding.

I'm a religious reader of Delicious. I read it every month without fail and will proudly announce that it is the best food magazine I've come across. *YAY!*. This month just made their status skyrocket when they rocked up to the newsagent's shelves with a gluten-free special (and the awesome Shaun wrote me a note just in case I missed it). So I flip through it every other morning over breakfast, dog-earring the pages holding recipes I just have to try. I usually don't end up trying them because when I have a craving I forget...forget to look through my stash of mags. Luckily this time I remembered! CHOCOLATE SELF-SAUCING PUDDING. Exactly what a girl needs when shes down with somesort of sickness, feeling slightly ghostly and neck high in assignments. oh and plus, she doesn't know what to dress up as for Halloween.

Pirate, anyone?

Chocolate Self-saucing Pudding by Sue Shepard from October 2007 Delicious Magazine
(This is the half the recipe) serves, 3-4

45g fine rice flour (from Asian Grocers)
1.5 tbsp soy flour
1.5 tbsp g.f.cornflour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp g.f. baking powder
1/2 tsp xantham gum (optional)
70g caster sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder

1) Triple sift the ingredients in a bowl

95ml soy milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp olive oil

1) Mix all together in a bowl and pour into the flour mixture
2) Pour mixture into a 3 cup capacity baking dish
3) If it is too shallow it might overflow

215 ml hot water
70g brown sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder

1) Mix altogether
2)Pour over the chocolate cake mixture, do not mix!
3)Bake at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a crisp spongy top develops (I baked mine until the fudge sauce started bubbling over the edge of the pan...think I overfilled)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Waiter There's Something In My...Lemon Curd Cake (Glutenfree & DairyFree)

I like lemons. My first lemon meringue pie experience was at Darling Harbor in Sydney. I was there on a trip with the mother, the father and the sisters. I don't remember quite how old I was, but I think I had fully developed my set of sweet teeth and greedy eyes. The greedy eyes saw the many beautiful cakes all lined up neatly in the glass window. Never seen cakes quite that tall before, I stood there, absolutely still, hoping the parents would get the message. Me Want Cake. I don't think I had even seen meringue before, I probably e made didn't even know how to pronounce it really. FUNNY.

So I asked for that one, I pointed and insisted. And I got it. You'd think I'd sink into glorious heaven and announce that I had found a replacement for chocolate. Nah. The crust was really thick and the meringue was just, too much of a good thing. Couldn't they have made the crust a little thinner, a little more delicate and the meringue just enough to allow the lemon curd to shine through just a little bit more? Overload-in a bad way. But hey, for what it's worth, it was a pretty cool first lemon meringue pie to have, it was THAT tall!

So back to me loving lemons, I went completely nuts at the market the other day and bought 10 lemons for 2bucks. So you know, I had to use them up, soon. So when 'Waiter, there's something in my ... layered cake' was announced, I thought I might do something lemony. I've been feeling all sorts of fruity lately. I was adament on using my new gluten-free cookbook 'Gluten-Free Baking' by Rebecca Reilly so I decided on a simple sponge cake and a lemon curd recipe I scrounged from Cooking Light. I'm fussy, I don't like recipes with fat or too many eggs or this or that. So this combination was light AND tasted rich and beautiful, like a lighter lemon cheesecake. But oh so good. I'm not being biased-REALLY!!! It's not a fancy schmancy cake, guess you could always dress it up with strawberries and kiwi. Maybe you could add some matcha powder into the sifted flour for a green tea sponge and layer it with a dark chocolate + ginger ganache. That was my second plan if I didn't have enough eggs. Luckily I had 5, so I halved the lemon curd recipe. It was just right.

Sponge Cake from Gluten-free Baking by Rebecca Reilly (pg 106)

4 eggs, seperated
1 cup sugar (I think 3/4 cup will suffice)
1.5 tsp g.f. vanilla
2 tbsp plus 1/4 tsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 cup rice flour

Preheat the oven to 325degrees (160 C). Lightly grease 2 8-inch cake pans or jelly roll pan

Ribbon the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow (it will look kinda grainy-ish, just ribbon until a thick uniform thread forms on the surface of the mixture, when whisk is lifted). Add the vanilla and 2 tbsp of lemon juice.

Whip the egg whites with the salt and 1/4 tsp lemon juice until soft peaks form. Gently fold in 1/4 of egg whites into the ribboned base. Slide the remaining egg whites on top and sift the flour over. Fold in until homogenous.

Gently spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the bottom of the pans once to remove any air pockets. Bake the cake layers for 20-25 minutes, 12-15 for the jelly roll.

If making the cake layers, invert onto a cooling rack. If making jelly roll, invert onto a tea towel dusted with icing sugar, trim edges and roll up lengthwise. When completely cooled, unroll, fill and decorate.

Lemon Curd recipe from here.
I made half the recipe, yummers! I could've just eaten it with a spoon. =)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sometimes you just need butter

Sorry for the previous terribly sad post. I promise I'm all sparkly again. Dedicating one day a week at least to baking sometimes I want to eat, I've decided that this week's should be the cashew recipe that I saw on CookieMadness a while back. It's been on my mind for awhile-I mean anything that combines sweet and salty is a winner by me. It's sad how there isn't sweet popcorn here in Melbourne. The people here are definitely missing out, there's nothing better than ordering a bucket of popcorn and having it half sweet and half salty. The best part is rummaging through the layer of sweet to get to a salty popcorn cluster which gets you started on that sweet sugar trip all over again. CAN YOU SAY YUMMY? Too bad, they know not of such pleasures in life. =)

It was from the Betty Crocker round up and while I don't have photos to show because mine are so unfortunately UGLY, you can head over here to take a look. I halved the recipe and made it gluten free and omitted a whole lot of things because I'm such a freak when it comes to 'fat'. I suck the fun out of cookie eating don't I? I wish Anna would send some over so I could try it in all it's glorious yumminess. I like my version, don't really miss the chocolate or the pretzels I left out to make it G.F. I'm not sure but I think I shouldn't have added the baking soda, or maybe halved the already-halved amount because it became too light for me. It is definitely also due to the gluten free flour used. Sometimes I miss normal baking. And I didn't use butter either in an attempt to cut out diary. OHWELLS. here's my version.

1.5 cups raw/dry roasted cashews
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp egg white
2 tsp salt
>The method is all on Anna's blog.

1 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 potato starch
2 tbsp almond meal
1 tsp baking soda (I might try 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

>Sift all together, set aside

4 tbsp expeller pressed virgin coconut oil, softened
4 tbsp natural peanut butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 eggs

75g dark chocolate, chopped

>Cream the coconut oil, peanut butter and sugar together, until veryvery well combined
>Add in the eggs and vanilla
>Mix in the dry ingredients with a very sturdy spoon, drop by rounded tbsp on a cookie sheet. This part is VERY tricky, because the batter is VERY STICKY. But it puffs up well, and doesn't spread much.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

it matters, only when
you think too much
too little about what you have
too much about what you don't
otherwise, it doesn't.

because it doesn't bother them
and you're all alone if
you do. So it doesn't
and then i'll never be alone.

besides. I have everyone else.

I might bake later on, because right now I suddenly lost all inspiration. Silly me.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Sugar High Friday: Drunken Apples

I hardly drink alcohol and what I've got lying around does not directly belong to me. Let's see...I've got Kahlua but it's my sisters (yet I use it) and I've got Vodka, the remnants from a girls night in some 4 months ago? And it's still sitting there, in all it's half-drunk glory, untouched since then. So when this SHF rolled around, I was practically spoilt for choice. Vodka or Kahlua? =P And I wasn't about o go out and buy more alcohol only to use 1/2 cup at most and leave the rest of it sitting on top of the fridge. There's a war going on there-and right now the cereal boxes are winning. 4:1.

So I typed in 'vodka + apples' and did a little google search for possible inspirations. All I got was apple flavoured vodka, not much luck there. Sat around and thought about buying some other form of alcohol, cointreau maybe, or maybe a little wine but decided against it when I chanced upon Smitten Kitchen's Boozy Baked French Toast. I could work with that!

I went to the market after uni and got me some apples and craisins. Got home, took my gluten free bread out of the freezer and warmed it up on the jaffle maker. Ever notice how bread never turns crispy in there, only the edges, while keeping the middles moist and squidgy? Might be because of the steam created by the icy bits on the frozen bread, which is a good thing for this sorta 'lazy-i-just-cant-be-bothered-leaving-my-bread-to-thaw-slowly' things. So I decided to halve the recipe, used 2 eggs instead of said 1.5 and hid apple slices & craisins between the bread layers. Left it in the fridge overnight and this morning I had a no-effort-sweet-as brekkie. YUMS! I don't know if I'm drunk yet, but I think you could definitely add more Kahlua (3 tbsps maybe?)

The french toast bordered on the line of bread-and-butter pudding but a lot alot ALOT less fat and alot less sweet, which is why I suggest maple syrup or maybe a kahlua syrup? I tried but failed, luckily I didn't need it too sweet. I reckon gluten free bread soaks up alot more liquid so if you were using normal bread I suggest you stick to Smitten Kitchen's quantity of ingredients. Otherwise, It's really yummy. =)

Baked Drunken Apple French Toast (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

6 slices gluten free bread
2 eggs
2 small apples, sliced thinly (I used Sundowner, just because.)
handful of Craisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1.5 cups fat-free soy milk (that's all I had on hand)
2 tbsp raw sugar + 3 tbsp extra
3 tbsp Kahlua

Pyrex Loaf pan

1) Whisk the eggs, sugar, milk, kahlua and cinnamon together
2) Line 2 slices of bread in the pan, and slice another up to fill in the gaps
3) Place the sliced apples onto the bread and sprinkle with craisins, top with one tbsp of sugar
4) Top with remaining bread and pour egg/milk mixture over
5) Let sit for 3 hours or overnight in the fridge. Sprinkle remaining sugar over the top before baking
6) Bake at 190 degrees for 25 minutes and drizzle with maple syrup if desired. YUMMERS!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fresh Strawberry Tart

I did it, after whining all week about how I missed baking non-fat-reduced treats and delicious traybakes and whatnots, I decided-I love baking too much to care. Seriously, all this no fat this and less fat that and I will get fat things are sucking the fun out of EVERYTHING! And nothing makes me happier really, except a good shopping spree oh and going home.

On another happyhappy note, I got my birthday present (albeit 2 months late) from the girls! 'Breakfast, Lunch, Tea- Rose Bakery' by Rose Carrarini. The book is a striking green with the title in bold right down the middle. No extra fancy schmancy photo or 'melted chocolate dripping down the side of the jar' shot. Just green and black. =) I love the book so much I hugged it to sleep in lecture (SHHH...the video was boring). I was ever so inclined towards this book because it was all about my three favourite meals-breakfast, lunch and tea! No dinner for me, dinner is my least favourite meal-I have issues with it, don't get me started. =) It just goes along the lines of the fact that I really dislike going to bed with a full stomach, makes me feel...heavy.

Back to the tart, I was inspired by the many blogs I have been drooling over and decided that I should bake one myself. I used to have problems with pastry and what's more, this was gluten-free, which made it alot more daunting. Ariana Bundy's book made it simple though and I felt composed and confident which probably helped. Most things go wrong when you're running around the kitchen for ingredients like a headless chicken.

I adapted the recipe a little and instead of using 1/3 cup of margarine, I used 2 tablespoons of Melrose spread, left in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden a little, and 3 tablespoons of expeller pressed coconut oil (from the fridge so it was hard) and blended all the ingredients in a food processor. The flour mix I used was 1 cup white rice flour, 1/8 cup tapioca starch and 1/8 cup potato starch.

The strawberries I got were from Driscolis and being the end of the strawberry season, the strawberries weren't very strawberry-y or sweet but they were big and so I just added a little more glaze to sweeten it up. The crust was pretty good, obviously lacking that rich buttery taste but I'm sure it can be fixed with a butter flavouring (?). It was flaky which could possibly be due to how I rolled it. I rolled it out then folded it in and re-rolled. It was pretty sturdy and didn't crumble too much. OVERALL I say, I'm glad I changed my mind about baking. Else I would be a sad little person. =) Also, I'll be submitting this to Sweetnick's ARF/ 5-a-day roundup so head there to check it out on Tuesday!

Sunday, September 30, 2007


My sister got me my icecream maker for my birthday 2 months ago, and I made one batch of coconut icecream and left it packed on top of the refrigerator since. I feel terribly guilty. Problem is, I find using 5 egg yolks in my icecream slightly excessive and to be honest, a little scary. Needless to say I had been rummaging through countless vegan blogs hoping to find something dairy free and egg free. Might have been me being fussy but I didn't want a sorbet and other recipes I found asked for soy cream and fancy soy milk powders but I didn't know where to get them. Frustrated I declared- I GIVE UP!

But you know there is a cookbook about practically everything out there now. A book all about fish, a book all about chocolate (no, make that MANY books all about chocolate) and whatnot and Vice Cream is probably the IT book I needed. =) Decided to just close my eyes and pick out a recipe, I ended up making a 'raw' strawberry ice cream and mmmmmmm, it's pretty darn good. Different from what I expected since there was no sugar that was used instead, pureed dates stood in as a sweetener. Needless to say the icecream tasted like dates and strawberries which somehow made the flavour deeper. The texture was somewhere in between an icecream and a sorbet. Next on my list is peanut butter with chocolate. Gotta be good huh.

Here's the recipe (modified) from Jeff Rogers' Vice Cream, short sweet and simple.

1 vanilla bean
1.5 cups almond milk (I used fat-free soy milk)
1 cup organic pitted dates
1.5 cup packed hulled organic strawberries

1) Place the dates in boiling water to cover and let sit overnight (I chucked mine in the microwave for 4 minutes since I'm not fussed about being 'raw')
2) Remove the skins off the dates if you mind the specks in the final product, else leave it.
3) Blend the dates with the milk and the strawberries and vanilla seeds until silky smooth
4) Chill well before preparing according to ice-cream machine manufacturer's instructions.
5) Serve immediately or freeze and thaw 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

stickydate weird pudding

Today's the sort of day that you want to stay indoors- no going out for lunch, no going to get some groceries and definitely no going to the Melbourne Show. Luckily I've already done that on Monday so there, no dreadful 'i-wasted-a-good-day' feeling. =)

I spent the better part of yesterday tossing ideas in my head. I had a baking itch and since I haven't baked for a week or more (I was in Sydney on a girls trip!), I felt slightly guilty I had been neglecting the oven. So was it going to be coconut macaroons or stickydate pudding (more like a cake if you ask me) and I went with the stickydate, just because I had been wanting to bake it for a while now and if you ask me, I much like baking things that take a wee bit more effort. Makes you feel all sorts of happy and contented, none of that 'whip it up in 10 minutes' for me. Besides, my theory is that if you wanna bake, do it properly. So i used this gluten free recipe from Women's Day and was hoping for the best. I was attracted to it because it used such a wide variety of flours and I really wanted to try out the soy flour I had gotten awhile back.

So after I got back from dinner (INDIAN!), I decided to do the first bit which was to cook the dates and water for 5 minutes then add the bicarb soda and let sit for 20. After i did that, I went to get DVDs (Tuesday night special at videoezy) and came home to do the rest. It looked good in the mixing bowl, looked good rising in the oven but taste wise, it was really off.

I might blame it on the fact that I used Melrose instead of butter (I'm trying to be dairy free) or that I added cinnamon instead of nutmeg. Whatever it was, the texture was good, soft and sticky and today it remained moist even though I just left it sitting on the counter top. I don't know about this one...I suppose a large part of the problem MIGHT be that I didn't make the butterscotch toffee sauce to drench it in but hey, shouldn't a cake taste good on it's on without the added fancy schmancies? =( BUGGER. Now I feel like my baking itch hasn't been well satisfied. Oh well, I've got a few more days til school starts so til then, I'll think of something new to bake. =)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Holy! It's been a full month since I've blogged. I have good reason for missing out on the world-uni! Oh wells, I haven't stopped baking, if that's what you're wondering. I have just been everywhere at once, just not here =)

Siew and I have embarked on our multimedia project for uni and we had huge plans for it. Started with using Director to make me a cake catalogue, then decided that we should do an aesthetic piece about food and friendship and we ended up with a interactive photo collage thingy. Don't ask. I'm confused myself. Good thing though, I got some nice photos out of it! =) Here's some...

and more...

Allrighty, now it's back to working on my presentation! I promise I'll have more brownie photos up soon! =)

Monday, August 6, 2007

A cookie that tastes like a cookie

I know I haven't been updating much, much less talk about the liver detox which, by the way, I'm still trying to follow (whenever possible). Well I threw the detox to the wind last week seeing that it was my LAST *teen which calls for much mourning and therefore, the overload of sweets and salties and ahem, more sweets. The previous post has already addressed the first of my birthday collection of sweets: brownies! And with regards to the birthday cake, it's been made and devoured, and I couldn't find the time to take a photo. Too busy scarfing the lovely moist orange almond cake.

Orange almond cake seems to be th favourite choice for flourless or gluten-free cakes. Everytime I see a gluten-free cake at a cafe or restaurant chances are it's an orange almond cake. Don't get me wrong, i LOVE orange and almond, put them together and you've got me hooked and so when I baked this orange almond cake from Sweet Alternative by Ariana Bundy, I half expected it to be the same dense, dense cake, similiar to the one I had at Cafe Trevi on Lygon street. Somehow it was a whole heap lighter and I'm guessing the Cafe Trevi one, as with the other flourless orange almond cakes around town, are made by creaming butter and sugar, while mine had no butter or oil but tasted more like heaven than anything else really. Reminds me of the orange cake made at The Raffles Hotel which was sensational (coz i got to pick at some while working there) and the method was the same. Immerse an orange in boiling water and simmer for 2 hours, puree and use. =) MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. But let's move onto cookies now.

Baked my birthday cookies yesterday, added a whole ton of chocolate chunks and chips and walnuts and I'm all smiles. Recipe was adapted from here because I needed a cookie that didn't use butter (because I have none and butter makes me feel guilty). I thought to myself that if I didn't use butter, I could add more chocolate and feel less bad. =) The cookies were good, but somehow they puffed up too much, despite me flattening them before baking so I had to flatten them once more while they were in the oven and it created a cool marbled effect from the melted chocolate chunks I added in, but somehow they were still a little too light for my liking. I think I'll add in 1/4 cup almond meal next time and remove the baking powder from the mixture. The recipe isn't vegan anymore because I had to add an egg to bind the ingredients as gluten-free mixtures are usually stickier than wheat flour ones. But I loved the taste and they're a whole heap better than many gluten free cookies I've had so here's the recipe that I used, with my adaptations.

chocolate chunka heaven cookies

1 very generous cup rice flour
3 tbsp tapioca starch flour
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 egg
3 tbsp water (or so)
1 tsp vanilla extract
75 g walnuts, chopped
150g dairy-free dark chocolate (or any you prefer), chopped

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
2) Sift flours, xantham gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar together
3) Whisk egg, oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract together in a seperate bowl
4) Add liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine, adding 1-2 tbsp of water
if mixture is too sticky
5) Stir in nuts and chocolate until well mixed, again, adding 1 tbsp water is needed
6) Drop by huge tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and flatten
7) Bake for 8 minutes or until puffy, then using the back of a spoon, flatten the cookies a little
8) Bake until brown (5 more minutes)
9) Cool completely or eat it while it's warm
10) Makes 20 kinda giant chocolate chunka heaven cookies

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

it's my party!

There's this weird thing about birthdays, makes you feel that its right that you have brownies for breakfast (lunch and dinner). Makes you feel it's okay to down a fishbowl margarita with 7 of your close mates. Makes you feel pretty darn justified that you should have awesome dinners everyday of the week. Scratch that, make that a fortnight. And really, it makes you feel that desserts should be ordered by the 'menu-ful' meaning: order 3/4 of the desserts available at the restaurant you happen to be at. YEAP, birthdays do that. I don't know about you but they certainly do that to me.

Because I still care about gluten and dairy and all that, I decided to bake myself my own birthday cake, birthday brownies, birthday tart and birthday cookies. So far I've only accomplished birthday brownies but that being said, because I have officially declared that birthdays oughta last for a MONTH, I still have a month to bake the rest. heh heh heh. The recipe for the brownies are from my Sweet Alternative book, which I am absolutely smitten with and needless to say, the brownies turned out fantastic, seriously un-gluten-free tasting and honestly, they tasted better than 'normal' brownies. When I took them out of the oven, I immediately plunged them into a cold water bath just to stop the cooking so it'd remain moist and fudgey. Gluten free baking can be tricky especially with KEEPING the product in it's 'original' condition (moist, fudgey etc.). Surprisingly, when I so easily and guiltlessly helped myself to the brownies this morning (duh! birthday breakfast!!!), they were still insanely moist and fudgey.

The brownies aren't dense, and certainly slightly more cake-like in texture compared to my favourite brownie recipe however, it was actually a nice change. It's got a lighter crumb but because of the ounces and ounces of chocolate and walnuts that I stirred in, it ups the chunky, dense and chocolate factor which if you don't know by now, absolutely fine with me. So right now, I'm relishing every bit of what's left. I might bake myself another batch veryVERY soon but then again, I've got that cake, tart and cookie to keep my birthdayself happy. Until then, I'm going to think of a way to FUDGE and DENSE this brownie up and hopefully come up with an exact replica of said favourite brownie.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Finally I got round to bake Amaretti and I had no problem deciding on using Cream Puff's treasured recipe because it looked so promising and seriously, no one can say no to a family secret recipe. Her recipe is designed to yield 50-70 cookies and rightly so since they are absolutely delicious morsels of delight but seeing that I'm about the only one who's gonna be eating them, I cut the recipe in 4 and ended up with 25! =) I suppose I made them a little smaller than intended.

Here's the recipe in 1/4
170g ground almonds
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used raw sugar)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
raw whole almonds
extra 1/2 cup raw sugar

1) Mix ground almonds, cocoa and sugar together
2) Add in egg and almond extract, mix well
3) My mixture looked a little crumbly but held together when I rolled them into little balls
4) Roll the balls in the 1/2 cup of extra sugar
4) Line them up on parchment paper and press an almond into each cookie
5) Bake at the bottom rack of the oven at 180 degrees celcius for 10 minutes, then move to middle rack and bake for further 5 minutes. Let cool and serve! =)

Monday, July 23, 2007

One birthday cake down, one to go...

I think a common trait that all people who cook share is that they are opportunists. Whenever anyone has a birthday or a gathering or a night in, they offer to take care of the food (HAH! I know you're guilty). And being as gluten-free and dairy-free as I can tolerate lately, I quite missed the feeling of baking with butter and wheat flour, what can I say, they do make cakes pretty darn good. So on Fred's birthday I appointed myself official birthday cake maker and decided I wanted to go all out, with the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, cream, chocolate, layers, frostings... and here's what I ended up with.

Burnt sugar cake with layers of milk and dark chocolate ganache and kahlua spiked cream topped with a rich buttery caramel frosting.

Notes for the cake:
I had to make the burnt sugar syrup 3 times because the first time I overlooked the part where I had to add in HOT water, and added in tepid water which make the caramel harden. Second time I cooked it for a tad too long and it became bitter. Third time lucky. =). I notices my syrup wasn't VERY dark brown but more like a rich hazel color.

Notes for the ganache:
I used this simple recipe of 1/4 cup cream: 125g chocolate. The top layer is a milk chocolate ganache while the bottom is a dark chocolate ganache. I did that because I ran out of dark choc. =P no other reason.

Notes for soaking syrup for cake:
Mix 1/2 cup water with 2 tbsp of instant coffee powder and 1/3 cup kahlua. Brush cooled cake layers with syrup after assembling. i.e. place the cake layer in place on top of the cake board and brush first layer, and then top with ganache and place second layer on top before brushing with syrup. Repeat.

Notes for kahlua spiked cream:
Simply whip 200ml of thickened cream until soft peaks form, add in 1/2 of icing sugar and 3 tbsp of kahlua, whip a little more until stiff, chill before spreading on 2nd layer.

Notes for the caramel frosting:
I followed recipe exactly except I reduced the icing sugar and used 2 tbsp of cream at the end to thin it out. It set pretty quickly.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

HEEEEEEEEY everyone. I promise I'm not dead. I've just been swamped with learning how to drive, cooking un-photogenic food and working. Oh yes and who can forget-SHOPPING. My ultimate guilty pleasure. hehe! Uni starts soon which means I will probably get back into the frequent updating since I feel like there's more of a routine that way. Holidays are just bad for me, I go all sorts of topsy turvy with posts and all that. What can I say, I love losing track of life. =)

Right now I'm working my way through a few birthday cake options for myself. Seeing that it's gotta be gluten free and dairy free, I'm kinda in a rut. Suggestions anyone? =) I want something a little fancier which means bountiful swirls of icing and all that jazz but DAIRY FREE is killing me! Bugger.

Friday, July 6, 2007

me, myself and saturday

I realized that when you start working more often, you really and I mean REALLY treasure the free time you get off work. I don't remember a Saturday afternoon where I haven't had to go to work or at the very least, haven't had to think about work. And honestly, I like it very much. Lucky me it was sunny this morning so I woke up all bright and cheery, ready to go to the market. The market is good when it's sunny, actually the market is good whenever. As long as I don't have to rush around. It was good today, Fred came along and carried half the groceries I bought which means I could buy more. simple maths.

The past few days has seen me struggle with being good, avoiding the Haighs chocolate coated scorched almonds. I failed, gave in and ate 3. Just THREE. And I knew for sure that the next time the bout of chocolate want hits me, it'd be worse. So i decided to bake me something better, a chocolate tart of sorts. I don't know how it turned out because I didn't have much expectations. I just needed something that tasted like chocolate. I couldn't find a pie crust recipe to follow, so I made up my own. It turned out odd. Not in a bad terrible inedible way, just, maybe I should've blind baked it first. It's edible nonetheless, definitely would be good to improve upon, we've all got to start somewhere anyway.

It's not the most appetizing photo but it was the best I could get since I just really wanted to sink my teeth in. The crust is odd (like I said) so I won't be posting the recipe I used. Just use your favourite pie crust. The filling was taken from here, and maybe I should've baked it for a longer time (I left it baking for 45 minutes in a water bath) but it set up quite nicely, mousse-like and all. stable yet not hard. =) I'd say it's definitely good for a chocolate fix and most importantly, the guilt factor hardly creeped in at all!

And for my first entry for Presto Pasta Night, I decided that this little baby oughta do the trick!

Gluten-free Pasta with Avocado and Mushrooms

2 serves gluten-free pasta, cooked as per instructions on the box
5 big white button mushrooms (or however much you like, really)
3 big shiitake mushrooms (just 'coz they were on sale)
1/2 brown onion, sliced thinly
1 large clove garlic, bashed and diced
1.5 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt, pepper
1 avocado, diced and slightly bashed

1) heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add in garlic and onion and saute
2) when onion softens and browns, add in mushrooms and a splash of water and salt, cook until tender
3) Add in balsamic vinegar and pepper and continue cooking until desired softness
4) Place pasta in a bowl, top with avocado and pour the hot mushrooms on top, serve!=)

Monday, July 2, 2007

I solemnly swear I am up to no good

I love the apartment that I live in. It's one of those new ones, all swanky and chic with a cool lobby. You know it's gonna be good when you walk into a lobby filled with mirrors and yellow lights with gold decorations and one of them swanky little moon shaped couches for your guests to wait. I've only ever had one real complaint: there was no supermarket nearby. I mean, what am I supposed to do when I need an apple? or butter? or worse, chocolate. Thankgod the people around the area decided that a Coles (supermarket chain) was needed to TA-DAH! I am now the happiest girl. =)

So yesterday while doing my usual daily walk around in Coles, I decided to buy the 'reduced to clear' organic apples for $0.99 to try making natural applesauce, the 'reduced to clear' organic bananas for $1.99 and the reduced to clear kent pumpkin for $0.45 to make PUMPKIN MUFFINS! I've been meaning to try a recipe from my 'Sweet Alternative' cookbook filled with glorious gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free recipes and a pumpkin spice muffin might do the trick. This whole gluten-free thing has gotten me finding interest in using vegetable purees and mashed fruits in my baking.

The pumpkin muffins were gorgeous, they rose sky high like normal muffins and were very fluffy with a very tender crumb. Fred had them for breakfast this morning without warming them up and he said they were yummy. Da-jie had them too and she liked them, which means alot coming from someone who finds the idea of pumpkin muffins quite revolting. I personally adored them, but then again I'm partial to my own cooking. HAHA!

Pumpkin Spice Muffin from Sweet Alternative by Ariana Bundy

1 ½ cup GF all-purpose flour ( 1 cup white rice flour + scant ¼ cup buckwheat flour + packed ¼ cup potato starch)

1 ½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp xantham gum

2 tsp cinnamon powder

½ tsp ginger powder (optional)

3 ½ tsp pumpkin spice/ all spice

2 free range eggs

½ cup maple syrup + 2 tbsp raw sugar

¾ unsweetened mashed pumpkin (boil until very soft and mash to make ¾ cup)

¼ cup sunflower oil

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside

  1. whisk the eggs with the maple syrup and add the vinegar, mix to combine
  2. blend it into the flour mixture and add in pumpkin puree
  3. stir in walnuts and spoon in 10 cupcake liners and bake at 175 degrees celcius for 18-20 minutes.
and because I DID solemnly swore that I was up to no good, here's some awesome peanut butter cookies, gluten-free of course.

Natural Peanut Butter Cookies (yields 2 1/2 - 3 dozen)

3/4 cup natural chunky peanut butter (the 100% peanut kind)
2 tbsp butter, unsalted or salted
2 tbsp natural almond butter (the 100% almond kind, I made my own)
3/4 cup light brown sugar (I would reduce this)

3/4 cup white rice flour, finest grind you can find
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 potato starch
1 tsp xantham gum
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2-4 tbsp water

1) Cream first 4 ingredients together
2) Sift the dry ingredients
3) Add the eggs and vanilla and beat to combine
4) Add in the flour mixture and mix using a wooden spoon, adding water if mixture is too dry
5) *this is optional* Stir in come chopped up dark chocolate or if using milk choc, reduce sugar in creaming step.
6) Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls and bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes if a chewy cookie is desired or flatten the cookie before baking and bake for 18 minutes for a crunchy crisp cookie.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Little rewards

Everyone knows I'm an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie kinda girl. No, let's not jump to specifics. I'm an oatmeal cookie kinda girl-forget the chocolate chip, peanut butter's just as good. But the whole Liver Detox and Low Allergy thing has some downsides, especially when it comes to cookies. Baking cakes with substitutes or muffins even, is not too big a deal, I might even find it better to eat. I feel better eating it and I have heaps of fun baking it. But the few attempts of low-fat cookie baking hasn't reeaaalllyyy worked out for me. Maybe til this's not low fat or anything but definitely better for you, because the fat in it might have some benefits. I was inspired by Cooking Well's tahini chocolate chip cookies and Baking Bite's entry on baking chewy cookies and decided that I deserved some oatmeal chewychocochuck cookies but I really didn't want to feel bad so I came up with this!...

wheat-free chewychocochuck with tahini (makes 24-27)
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup rice flour
1 heaping tablespoon potato flour (starch)
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp tahini
5 tbsp almond butter (storebought or home-made)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp raw sugar*
1 egg
75g dark chocolate
1/3 cup chopped up dried dates
1 1/2 cup wholegrain rolled oats

1) combine first 5 ingredients together in a bowl, set aside
2) In another bowl, whisk butter, oil, tahini and almond butter together until smooth.
3) Add in egg and vanilla extract and whisk to comebine
4) Mix in the flours (mixture will be veryvery sticky)
5) Add in the oats and stir to combine, add 1-2 tbsp of water if too sticky
6) Add in chocolate and dates and mix well, adding 1-2 tbsp water to assist in mixing.
7) Bake at 175 degrees celcius for 12 minutes or longer if a crispier cookie is desired.
>The longer you bake it (16-17 min), the more chewy the dates will be, a little like raisins.

*I didn't add sugar when I baked mine and the bits without dates or chocolate were a little bland therefore I suggest adding a few tablespoons of raw sugar
**The cookies can even be gluten-free if GF rolled oats are used!
***I added peanut butter to half a batch but there wasn't much difference in the final texture your calories!=)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Just in time

I was lucky yesterday to get some blueberries for $2.95 a punnet at Coles and while the Driscolis strawberries next to it looked absolutely stunning, all big, red and juicy, I much preferred the cheaper alternative: blueberries. And, I really really NEEDED to bake some blueberry muffins, it was a craving and went hand in hand with this month's Sugar High Friday-sweetsweet cravings.

Blueberry muffins have always struck me as quite American. Don't know why, don't know how I got that notion but the American kids on TV always had blueberry muffins for breakfast or for tea and their moms always seemed to have a fresh bucket of blueberries on hand, ready to whip up those gorgeous little gems. So I asked my mom when I was a kid, to get the Betty Crocker blueberry muffin mix and I was hooked. Then I outgrew Betty Crocker, the kick wasn't there and moved onto making my own blueberry muffins from scratch and they were amongst my first baking successes, then I had Candida and then I grew up and decided that copious amounts of sour cream and oil in my muffin mix just didn't cut it. Then I fell back in love when I made them healthier for me meaning: gluten-free and dairy-free.

Now, I'm happy. =)

Vic's Gluten-free, dairy-free Blueberry Muffins (makes 12)
1 cup rice flour (use the finest grind you can find, I get mine from Asian supermarkets)
1/3 amaranth flour (If unavailable, use rice flour instead)
2/3 cup potato flour
2 tsp baking powder (gluten-free)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xantham gum
*Sift all together

1/3 cup safflower/canola/sunflower oil
1/2 cup raw sugar
2 eggs
1 cup vanilla flavoured soy yoghurt
250g blueberries
2 tbsp soy/rice milk
3 tbsp raspberry jam, warmed
*Whisk eggs in a bowl until fluffy, slowly add in sugar and oil and whisk madly until fluffy
*Add (A) into egg mixture alternately with soy yoghurt and milk
*Fold blueberries and raspberry jam through and spoon into prepared muffin tin
*Bake at 170 degrees celcius for 18-20 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gluten free and lovin' it!

Hey guys, just thought I'd give you guys a heads up and let you know that I am attempting to cook more 'proper' food. Like you know, the main meals and that kinda stuff and I'll be blogging about those adventures too. I still believe that dessert is the whole point of the meal (DUH!) so don't worry, the sweets will keep on coming. =)

Trying to be gluten-free has increased my curiosity in other food and other alternatives so here's what I had for lunch today.

Warm Quinoa (keen-wah) for lunch

1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup soy milk*
1/4 large packham pear, diced
1/2 tbsp linseed meal
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp raw sugar
2 tbsp granola/muesli (optional)
fruits of choice (I used strawberries)**

1) Mix all ingredients except for the last two in a small saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. To check that quinoa is cooked, the quinoa grain should be transparent with a tiny white center. Remove from heat

2) Add in 3 tbsp soy milk and stir in granolo/muesli if using and fruit.

*I use the sugar-free asian type of soy milk because it's made from water and milled soya beans whereas the kind that is sold by vitasoy and all has weird ingredients like safflower oil and malt extract.

**I want to try adding bananas, blueberries, mangoes and coconut. =) Should be yummy. Omit the muesli if you are gluten intolerant

DINNER! I was itching to get home from work to try these little babies out! Again, taken from my trusty Stoneage Fusion by Lisa Elks and adapted to what I had on hand...

Broccoli, Purple Sweet Potato and Carrot fritters (makes 4)

1 cup finely chopped broccoli, lightly steamed
1/3 cup grated carrot, heated in the microwave for 50 seconds on high
1/2 cup mashed purple sweet potato (ordinary is fine but not as sweet)
2 big tbsp rice flour
2 big tbsp buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup soy milk
2 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

1) Mix flours and baking powder together, add in egg and milk and whisk to combine
2) Add in mashed sweet potato and mix well, add in broccoli, carrot, parsley, salt and pepper
3) Heat a skillet sprayed with olive oil spray and place 2 1/2 heaping tablespoonfuls for eat fritter, fry until browned then turn over and cook further. Serve with vinaigrette*

*Mix 2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, dash of salt and juice of half a lime.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Walnut Chocolate Roughs

I'm awful when it comes to resisting chocolate, it almost makes me feel incomplete without it really. But I know I'll feel terribly awful if I did eat dairy much worse, chocolate, so I decided to make Walnut Chocolates but substitute the chocolate with this amazing dark gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate. Lo n' Behold, the chocolates didn't work out. Here's why...

I was supposed to roll teaspoonfuls of a walnut paste (made from processing 100g walnuts, 1/2 cup icing sugar and 2 tsp egg whites) into balls and then dip them into the dark chocolate but the walnut paste mixture seemed too dry and kept falling apart when I tried rolling it over and over again. But I had already melted the chocolate and I couldn't waste a perfectly fragrant walnut mixture so I dumped all of the walnut paste mixture, 3/4 cups of wholegrain rolled oats and 1/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut into the chocolate and mixed them all together, dropped them by rounded tablespoonfuls on a baking sheet and let it sit til it set. YUMMMYYY...

Walnut Chocolate Roughs

1 portion walnut paste (recipe below)*
3/4 cup wholegrain rolled oats
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut (I use McKenzies)
100g dark soy chocolate
chopped apricots, pawpaw, orange peel, crushed almonds**

1) Mix all together and drop by rounded 1/2 tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet and place in fridge to set.

*Walnut Paste:
100g walnuts
1/3 cup icing sugar
3 tsp egg whites

1) Process walnuts until finely ground
2) Add in icing sugar and egg whites and process until a moist paste like mixture forms, chill in the fridge for 15 minutes

**These ingredients are optional, they're just additions I thought I might add if I had them on hand...I'm especiall inclined towards the orange peel. =) JAFFAS!

Have fun guys!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Good food makes me happy...

So far my liver detox has been going good, well I claim it's a liver detox but I'm not really following any hard and fast rules. What I've been doing is avoiding all red meat (which is easy), avoiding things I'm allergic to (wheat, dairy, gluten) and trying to not eat when I'm really not hungry. So far I'm going...pretty well. Stocked up my fridge with fruits (CUSTARD APPLES and HONEYDEW!) and soy milk and soy icecream. I'm a happy girl!

My sister has this 'Stoneage Fusion' recipe book/file by Lisa Elks and it's been my diary for the past few weeks- I absolutely adoreADOREadore it. Everything in there sounds delicious and superdooper healthy, with tons of helpful substitutions and zillions of low-fat, low-allergy recipes that a girl like me needs! Which is very encouraging as well since i loveLOVE food and cooking. =) So, I've made her banana muffins a while back and this time I decided to try something NEW! the best thing about her collection of recipes is that all the ingredients are very easily available in ANY health food store.=) Here's an adaptation to her 'Beautiful Rice and Amaranth Muffins'

1 cup rice flour
1 cup amaranth flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xantham gum (or guar gum)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp bicarb soda
4 tbsp soy milk
1 large jar of baby food 'pear and banana' or 'pears' (Heinz has it)
1 cup stewed pears*
1 banana, mashed
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp raw sugar

1)Whisk eggs, honey, sugar and oil together until light and fluffy
2)Add in baby food, stewed pears and mashed banana
3)In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients (rice flour, amaranth flour, baking powder and xantham gum)
4)Combine bicarb soda and soy milk together, set aside
5)Add 1/2 or dry ingredients into oil mixture, followed by soy milk and finish with the remaining dry ingredients
6)Spoon into muffin tin and bake at 200 degrees celcius (fanforced: 190) for 10 minutes then lower to 180 (fanforced: 170) for an extra 15-18 minutes.

*Stewed pears:
-You can use pear halves in natural, unsweetened syrup instead
-to make your own: Dice one large peeled packham pear and place in a pot of simmering water with a little lemon juice and cinnamon. Cook until soft and tender. Drain and use as directed.

Apologies for the lack of photos but they aren't the most photogenic muffins, they keep well and taste awesome when warmed. =)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Liver Detox

My previous post has emphasized on the point that I am now way past my orginal weight and health because I've been gorging myself on wheat (I am wheat-intolerent) and dairy (I am slightly lactose intolerent) and all other things that are going to clog up my arteries. So, while my mom is now reading up on heaps of material about Magnesium and its health benefits, I have started on my new 'phase'. Okay, phase makes it sounds bad, I was meaning to say 'interest'. THE LIVER! I've decided to do a detox to ease the stress I am feeling due to the recent binge and I really do want to feel 'cleaner' hahahahhaa, so yes! I'm trying to do a semi liver detox, a full blown on is too straining and I underestimate my determination to follow through. So I'll start on a smaller hill and see how it goes. =)

Mommy left for home today, so now I'm all alone. Never imagined I'd feel THIS homesick since I've been looking forward to all the stuff I can accomplish this holiday but nonetheless, spent the entire day crying and wishing my mom was still here. I'd drag her on a walk right about now then binge on soy icecream after. But walking along just didn't feel nice today so I did something else that makes me feel happy- being in the kitchen!

Whipped up a luscious thick smoothie for dinner and watched snippets of Ugly Betty, Grey's Anatomy and BB07. I feel slightly better now, and sleeepy. Here's a rough idea of how the smoothie went! Try it out when you need something luxurious feeling but not too evil on your health.

Tofu Smoothie (serves you, and you only: don't share!)
1/4 pack of silken tofu
6-8 strawberries
1 1/2 bananas*
1/2 apple juice*

1) Mix all in a blender and BLENDDD!
2) Sit in front of the teevee, accompany smoothie with a large handful of dry roasted, unsalted cashews. =)

* I used 1 fresh banana and 1/2 frozen so I didn't add ice, you might want to add crushed ice
* I only had this apple, lemon & lime juice in my fridge, so try it with whatever juice you want to, and you may add more juice if it's too thick coz I didn't really measure the juice.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

This is what happens when...

SORRY GUYS, I WILL BLOG 'FOOD STUFF' SOON! Just thought I'd drop a note to say I'm not dead.=)

This is what happens when...
my mom visits me
both of us have an insane love for food
we have sweet teeth (i obviously inherited mine from her)
it's getting coolllldddd
we love all sorts of cuisine
we live to eat


yeap, No recipes today, no photos today, just an update! I'm getting fat!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Sugar Sugar how you get so fly

You all know I've got an addiction problem. I normally don't talk about it much but observe me and you'll notice it straight away. Geez, I'm soooo transparent. I went for lunch at the Conservatory at Crown today and omg, I made a bee-line for the dessert spread. So there were a substantial number of cakes and desserts, a deconstructed lamington (sponge cake covered in chocolate topped with dessicated coconut layered with whipped cream and jam), blood orange mousse cake (the blood orange flavour wasn't strong, just tasted like orange to me), lime custard (I liked this one, a layer of lime jellylike thing atop a creamy rich custard), dome shaped tiramisu and some others. Oh yes, bread and butter pudding but veryvery disappointing. The pudding wasn't warm to begin with and the custard had no vanilla beans or brandy or anything whatsoever. But I had one thing I looked forward to the entire time...

Ohwell, what can I say. When I'm in control of the sprinkles and all, it's just toooo hard to resist. Sorry I haven't been posting any recipes and that but I've been busy shopping and eating my heart out. I promise I'll get back into action soon so keep reading!=)

And, Mom and I decided to get somethin decadent from Laurent (a swanky looking joint with heaps of layer-upon-layer of sublime little cakes) so I got me a chocolate thing and I know, it's so dumb to forget what it's called but I'll try describing it. It had a Gianduja chocolate layer centered with a light whipped chocolate mousse-like layer and a sponge and...I'm not doing a very good job. Maybe because I was slightly disappointed with the cake because it tasted really...normal. Good quality for sure but still normal. I don't remember much of it... Maybe we made a bad choice. It was gorgeous though! The best part I must say would be the Pistachio Macaroon I got on the side, now that I remember. Chewy and crunchy and sticky, just like how a good french macaroon should be, but better- I heart pistachio. =)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

2007 semester One party!

All day at work yesterday I kept checking the clock. Time seemed to pass slower that way, with every minute under my close scrutiny and I eventually gave up, started talking to Jess and Alex and spent the rest of my time chatting with the customers (some were really awesome), clipping the clothes up and running mental debates on what I should buy at the store to reward myself. You see, SEMESTER ONE IS OVER-OFFICIALLY. =)

And that spelt for CELEBRATION, well it was a good enough an excuse as any other so Vee, Fred, Sling and Liz rocked up at my house bearing all sorts of amazing yummies and alcohol and what was supposed to end by maybe...4am ended up lasting a whole lot longer. By a whole lot longer I mean 8.30am. That was when I exclaimed that I have not had had any sleep for 24 hours and counting. But hey, with the amount of fun we had, I'm not complaining. What say we do it AGAIN guys?!=)

Decided it was also a good a time as any other to cook dessert and by that I mean creme brulee, two-layered deep chocolate cake and almond jelly (like my SHF entry). Decided to cook some tumeric curry chicken and sweet potato mash. But I haven't any photos of all of them except the chocolate cake. My proudest moment was when I cut into the cake and for the first time ever, I didn't have to exert strength to make it through two hard layers of chocolate sponge. I knew it was gonna be good. =)

The cake recipe was closely followed, I didn't feel like making any changes and I didn't feel like going through the exhausting rollercoaster ride where I worry endlessly that it might turn out bad, I don't know about you but most of my layer cakes have turned out promising when first taken from the oven but just ends up being a hard to swallow, hard to chew, not really tasty kinda cake, and that bugs me. This time, I took the cake out of the fridge as soon as people started arriving, giving it aout 4 hours to settle to room temperature and THANKGOD the weather in Australia allows me to do so. It was a smart move!=)

I made a creamy vanilla frosting to go with the cake but I used slightly salted butter and that wasn't good plus, I was meant to use half shortening and half butter, which I'm assuming is because 1) color (shortening won't produce a yellow frosting) and 2) flavour (I think a mixture of shortening and butter produces frostings with less pronounced butter-like taste which can be icky) so therefore, faced with both color and flavour problems oh-and plus the issue of the salt, I decided to whisk in 2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa and 1 tablespoon of icing sugar and TADA! Creamy chocolate frosting instead-still a little salty but a hell lot better. Frosted the cake, topped the entire cake with a basic icing made of milk, icing sugar and cocoa, and I was goooood.

Here's a link for a good creamy vanilla frosting, I've never made it but the recipe I used is similar. Sorry guys, I'm so tired from only 3 hours of sleep (I slept for 3 hrs after my friends left) I won't be typing the exact recipe I used because that means I have to walk to the kitchen. TRES FAR. And as for the basic chocolate icing, here's how it really went down.




Icing sugar

1) start with 5 tablespoons of milk, 1 1/2 tbsp of cocoa and 6 tbsp icing sugar. Stir madly until smooth, add more milk, 1/2 tbsp cocoa and 2 or 3 tbsp icing sugar. Stir insanely again. Adding more milk if too sticky, icing sugar if too wet or cocoa if too sweet, keep stirring and stirring and adding and adding until you're happy or it's off a consistency that drips from your spoon in globs. Then pour of the top of your cake and using the back of a spooon, spread it out lightly. It should get stiffer with time and if you need more icing, repeat that whole stirring, adding process.

YEAP! That's how you REALLY do it-coz I can't remember exact measurements. *grin!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Brownie Babe of the Month #2

My fudgey Neopolitan

For as long as I can remember, I've always associated passionfruit with my elder sister. Funny thing, I don't even know if she still loves it. It happened when we were kids and on a trip to the Gold Coast for the first time. She'd been there before with school, but it was my first time. And the most poignant memory of that trip was the Churros she insisted we ate, which I instantaneously developed a taste for and passionfruit icecream. Every single day, we had churros and icecream. I'd stick to vanilla or the rainbow colored ones and she would without fail have passionfruit. So there, my little story about how my sister became a passionfruit.
So today I went to the market to get more stuff for the get together on Saturday. And despite only have 50 dollars left in my back account, i just HAD to buy some passionfruits. 8 for $2. I thought i had a bargain...but the store down the aisle had them going for 10 for $2. Oh well, So I came home, de-pulped all of them and decided to use them in my entry for Brownie Babe of the Month 2!

I couldn't decide on whether I'd overcome my bad experience with blondies and try one or bake brownies... So I guess I baked browndies...? That sounds bad, like brown undies. I don't know, you guys can help me think of a name. I decided to make a pink cream cheese frosting just because I wanted them to look like neopolitan icecream! GEEENIUS. hehe. My original intention to follow this recipe didn't out because I measured the butter all wrong so I just changed the entire recipe and dare I say, it wasn't bad at all, not half bad at all...

You do want to eat the brownie at room temperature, as with most cakes actually, somehow it makes flavours stand out more. I like the fact that it feels dense and rich and you can really feel the tinge of bitterness of the cocoa on your tongue but the sweet and tangy cream cheese quickly cuts it before it can turn you off and I personally find the crunch of the passionfruit seeds veryvery interesting, adds a different dimension and texture to the otherwise chewy brownie. =) I might actually melt some of the dark chocolate into the batter next time to oomph up the chewy factor and use passionfruit pulp in the cream cheese instead of strawberry just coz I love passionfruit. And this brownie is probably the story of how I turned into a passionfruit too.
Recipe (Part One):
1 and scant 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
heaping 3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1) Mix the melted butter and brown sugar together until smooth, add in vanilla and eggs, whisk!
2) Add in flour and baking powder and mix, batter will be very thick
3) Split batter into 2 bowls

Part 2:
3 and half tbsp passionfruit pulp
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate chunks
1 tbsp milk

1) Mix 3 ingredients into one part of the batter

Part 3:
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate chunks
2 tbsp cocoa
3 tbsp milk

1) Mix all together


Take a square pan (8 x8 I think) and place blobs of the two mixtures togetherand then slowly marble, Might be a little difficult because the batter IS very sticky but they'll eventually even out in the oven. Bake at 175 degrees celcius for about..25 minutes? I'm not sure I was washing the dishes. Until a skewwer comes out clean.=)

3/4 block Light Philly Cream Cheese
2 drops of strawberry food flavouring
2 tsp strawberry jam
2 tsp lemon juice
about 1/3 cup icing sugar*
2 tiny drops of pink food coloring

1) Whisk all in a bowl until smooth
2) Spread on the cooled blondie/brownie
* Add more if it's too watery or a little more lemon juice if too sticky

Going to Huiwen's tonight for dinner, we're cooking again! I'll definitely show you our aweeeeeesome creations and how FAT i'm getting coz of all these pent up baking frustrations. HOLYCOW and my mom's coming in like, 3 DAYS!!! goodbye gym, helloooooo couch potato!=)

If at first you don't succeed...

So remember the whole hoo-haa about my bread baking disasters? Well, I told you i'd give it another shot and I did, turned out better, meaning: edible. Was a little tough, but like I said, edible and it provided a little more encouragement. I won't be posting the recipe up because I made it taste yucky but feel free to look for 'soft white dinner rolls' by Nigella Lawson in her cookbook or june 2005's Delicious.

On a brighter note, I've finished my essays! Well, it's not perfect but by finish I mean, the bulk of it is done, what's left is the editing and referencing and all the bits and pieces which I'm losing concentration with... So today I took a day off, baked to my heart's content and shopped til I dropped. =) And I'm all good, albeit sleeeeeeepy.

Here's what I baked today...

Bloomin' Banana Muffins, they're for Daphne's birthday. I'm gonna top them with a swirl of chocolate ganache.

Gluten-free, dairy-free banana muffins, not as bloomin' beautiful but OMG I cannot have enough of them. I've had two...I'm working on reducing the oil although it's reasonably little already and TERRIBLY DELICIOUS. TRUST ME. (i know, gluten-free, dairy-free has the worst connotations sometimes...) BEST THING! there are no funny ingredients!

1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup almond meal
3 mashed bananas (I used 3 medium ones)
3 tbsp rice/soy milk
1 tsp glutenfree baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 oil (I'd use a little less)
dash of cinnamon
2 eggs

1) Whisk eggs and oil together, add in mashed bananas, honey, sugar, cinnamon and almond meal
2) Place the baking soda and rice/soy milk together and let stand for 5 minutes
3) Mix the baking powder and rice flour together and add into banana mixture, alternating with milk (i started and ended with the flour)
4) Pour into prepared muffin cups
5) Bake at 175 degree celcius for 12-15 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean (careful not to overbake)
6) ENJOY! =) Betcha can't stop at oneeeee!

Gula Melaka Steamed Sponge, not as light as the really awesome ones I've had but heres the recipe, pretty good but I'll definitely work on it. I was a little crushed actually...maybe it's my fault for steaming at such high you think it'll make a difference in texture? Suggestions? It was too dense.

Sorry guys, I know the photos aren't drool worthy, but today I was more concerned with scoffing myself silly with food. You understand right? =) and HIPHIP HOORAY, SCHOOL'S OUT (almost)!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Low-er fat Chewychocochuck Oatmeal Cookies

Everyone's got a favourite cookie. Some like the melt-in-your-mouth type of shortbread or like a huge flat crispy chocolate speckled cookie while others may like a beautifully colored buttery sugar cookie. I'm more of a chewy cookie kinda girl. Chewy and oaty. Something about oatmeal cookies make me wanna just eat more. Might be the fact that some of the un-softened oats provide a great workout for your tongue and you try to fish them out from the back of your mouth or maybe it's just that it lasts a little longer because you've gotta chew. Don't know and honestly, don't care. hahaha! I just know that when I crave cookies, it's usually this cookie and it's bad, because it'll clog my arteries and one day I won't be able to move or bake them ever again. So, I made them low fat. hahahhaha and they're not half bad.

But seriously, because I know they're lower in fat, I just wanna eat more. But judging by the fact that the entire batch of 30 over cookies has less butter than 12 of their fattier counterparts, I feel a whole lot lighter, no I meant, better =)

3 tbsp butter (use margarine if you want)
5 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 cup applesauce, I used sweetened (if using unsweetened, add more sugar)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp caster sugar
3/4 a.p flour*
3/4 almond meal*
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
2 tbsp fat-free milk (I used fat-free soy milk)
1.5 tsp vanilla
3 cups wholegrain oats
1 cup addition of choice: chocolate chunks/ raisins/ white choc/ apricots/ nuts

1) Cream butter, p.b and sugars together
2) Add in applesauce, milk, egg and vanilla, mix well
3) Add in flour, almond meal and baking soda
4) Add in oats and your addition of choice (Mine's chopped up chocolate)
5) Drop by tbspfuls onto baking sheet and bake at 175 degrees celcius for 10 minutes or so
6) EAT alot of them and be happy. =)

*You can replace all of the almond meal with flour. I just prefer using almond meal

I obviously added in more peanut butter because I am a PB FREAK and next time, I'm adding in raisins and cinnamon and white choc chunks instead of dark&milk choc. So there, lower fat-not really. heh!

*UPDATE: I just ate these when they've cooled and they're alot tougher so it's not good but I suppose you could always toast them for a cookie thats crunchy and filled with melty chocolate bits. =)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A little sad...

Just thought i'd post an update on my second attempt at the chocolate loaf. Didn't work out. I think me and the recipe just aren't good. So, anyone who wants to try and has better luck please teach me how to do it. Right now though, I just had a maccas burger and I feel slightly better. I know, i should be avoiding wheat but I'm sad, and I've been wanting a burger for AGES. Anyway, I'm going to try Nigella Lawson's recipe for dinner rolls tomorrow, maybe i'll have more luck yes?

On the bright side, I got to eat up all the icing off the loaves. Now I feel a teensy bit bad, but icing is goooooooood. =)

After reading a million and one sites on bread making and all things related I realized a huge possibility as to why my bread SUCKED was because I didn't knead it enough. I was worried that I might 'overwork' the mixture. Too much cake baking, the paranoia of over working a mixer is there. Tomorrow I will be more vicious and work it baby! heh, I'm totally psyched out now. I know I should be using spelt flour but I think I'll start with oragnic white flour first. I know, bad for me, but it's not THAT bad. I wanna succeed more than anything. =) WISH ME LUCK!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Chocolate Bread

I was supposed to go to work today but being labelled as 'casual', it meant that I didn't really have a 'permanent' shift, so since it wasn't busy today, work called up and said I needn't go. Which was good in a way, I had this teensy tiny niggling feeling that I really didn't feel like working today, I had other plans.

Being inspired and motivated of all sorts, I decided I could handle the task of baking bread. My first ever experience with YEAST. That word sounds so dirty, I honestly don't have much feeling for it but nonetheless, I decided to thread on icy grounds. I had mixed feelings about the recipe I was about to use, firstly because I think I'm a recipe snob of some sorts and I usually tend to steer towards recipes from 'known' sources. Might be the fact that I'm a uni student and wikipedia doesn't count as a proper reference, I usually go to the usual (meaning: allrecipe or epicurious or verybestbaking) but due to the fact that I don't have a bread machine and heaps of recipes from those sites require one, I decided to use this one . I don't know. I might have done something wrong, or maybe it was just the fact that I used half spelt flour and half all purpose flour, but the bread turned out, like a bread but a little crumbly like a cake. Moist but tough, but it was cooked I think, coz I just scoffed 3 slices just coz I was sad and thinking about the bread...

Maybe I will try another recipe since I've got a couple sachets of yeast sitting in my fridge. I'm a little sad, and a little bruised. =( But still, it's not too bad, pretty yummy when you eat it slathered with chocolate icing and peanut butter. You know what they say...EVERYTHING tastes better with peanut butter.

*UPDATE: I JUST REALIZED WHY, I missed the step that called for the second rising. I ought to be shot. I'll try this recipe again tomorrow. =) Or maybe tonight. Wish me luck!


2 tbsp water

1/2 tbsp cocoa

4-5 tbsp icing sugar*

1) Mix all together and if mixture is too stiff, add water by the drop

2) Pour all over the loaf and indulge

How to eat it:

1) Cut a thick slice (I might wanna toast it...), slather with peanut butter and drizzle with more icing.

I'm thinking of making it into a chocolate bread and butter pudding, what do you think? I'm in need of some cheering up. I might bake more chewychocochuck cookies just because...

SugarHighFriday! on a Saturday

Finally, I am on time with participating in SHF #31. I always seem to miss it or find out right after the due date for submissions. So this month's theme is Neutral Territory. So, naturally, I think of white chocolate, panna cotta, white angel food cake, bombe alaska? OKAY, so I was thinking they were things that were kinda 'been there, kinda done that'. I needed something that I have been been to try out, something that I was craving. I was really tempted to bake a lemon cupcake topped with a rich thick white chocolate frosting but I changed my mind.

So here's where I am with this whole 'white' thing. Almond Jelly. It's a Chinese thing (oooh it's one of those 'i wanna go home' days) and my mom likes serving it in thick cubes, swirling through some canned lychees and ice cubes, easy! Oh and it doesn't stop people from coming back for more. Normally ours comes from a packet-just add water. Most people's come from packets, it just seems alot easier.

Oh and I just remembered something funny. My sister loves all things under 'Chinese dessert' and so she bought heaps of the instant almond jelly and one day she decided that letting them sit in the fridge to set was wayyy too much torture to bear. she wanted to eat it NOW so she put it in the freezer. Not smart, we ended up with a block of almond ice sitting in the sink, slowly thawing.

OHWELL, Here's my sugar high! =)

2 cups cold water
1/3 cups caster sugar*
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tsp almond essence*
2 tsp agar-agar powder*

1) Place cold water and caster sugar in small saucepan
2) Sprinkle the agar agar powder over it and bring to a boil then simmer for 1 minute
3) Take off heat and add in the evaporated milk and almond essence
4) Pour into prepared container* and chill for at least 1 hour

*I used normal white sugar and because I only had 2 tbspoons under 1/4 of sugar in my ENTIRE HOUSE, I had to half the recipe
*I found that the almond essence wasn't enough so I added double the amount, well, I added enough to make sure that I could smell the almond more than the evaporated milk
*Agar-agar powder is from seaweed (i think) and it can be found in most asian groceries. I had no trouble finding mine!=)
*I poured it into those plastic take away containers just coz my mom always does that. It depends on how thick you want the jelly to be, I just mine substantially thick so I can sink my teeth in. YUMMMY!

I'm finally going for Vietnamese tonight. YAY! Damn these food cravings. I think I might bake me some Ciabatta tomorrow. Im a little skeptical about my baking skills...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Chewy Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

Say 'chewy chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies' reallly quickly and it ends up sounds like chewychocochuck oatmeal cookies. Yeah, sounds pretty darn good still! Well, I was being all excited yesterday and decided to bake a batch of apple pie muffins for MuffinMonday03 so I used my new cookbook, the one I got for $2.95 on my way to uni. It's one of those small little books that doesn't have the face of a superchef celebrity or overly glossy photos that you could eat out of the page but it still held promise for me. Like it might contain some little secret this lady never told anyone and I got to find it out. Okay so maybe it's unfair to blame it on the author but the muffins tasted like CARDBOARD. I know it probably is alot due to my own fault, i DID substitute half the butter for applesauce, and i forgot to put the eggs in and did it right at the end. Okay, fine, I admit, it's my fault. The apple slices I placed on top and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar tasted really good though. So, thanking god i only baked a batch of 6 muffins (half the recipe), I picked all the apple slices off and threw the rest out. I'm not in an apple-y mood anymore. I might try Orange Poppy Seed muffins or Chocolate Cinnamon muffins instead. OOOH! I'm getting all inspired now. =)

So, faced with the disappointment and a stomach hungry for something buttery and bad for me, I decided I have had enough of wanting to eat chewy oatmeal cookies and decided to BAKE them. Oh and Cookie Madness doesn't really help and since I read the blog 10 times a day over and over again (god, I'm like a freaking stalker), I just needed and i mean, NEEDED to bake my favourite chewychocochuck oatmeal cookies. Funny, I tried baking them for Chinese New Year this year as gifts for people but they turned out less than perfect. Might be Australia or the fact that my modified recipe was here, but the cookies are just more Aussie inclined. I have had 12 of these cookies in the last 12 hours. thats 200 calories times 12. oh, I think I've exceeded my daily calorie intake. Might as well have one more...

My Favourite ChewyChocoChuck Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats*
couverture dark chocolate (chopped into chunks, i heart chunks)*
milk chocolate (chopped into chunks)*
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter*

1)Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
2)Add in eggs one at a time, mix well, then add in extracts, mix well again
3)Add in baking soda, spelt flour and almond meal, mix well
4)Add in the chunks of chocolate and the quick cooking oats and mix until your arm falls off (kidding)
5)Finally, add in the peanut butter and swirl it around!
6)Bake at 180 for 12 minutes? I can't remember, until the edges brown and it cooks more on cooling. Don't wait until it's completely brown then you'll have a really hard cookie.
7) STORE IN AN AIRTIGHT CONTAINER. I love tupperware. I'm turning into my mom.=)

*You can use normal rolled oats, just not instant. Apparently, the difference between rolled oats and quick cooking is just the thickness of the oats. I can't find quick-cooking oats in Singapore, maybe thats why they weren't as yummy when I baked them there.
*You decide how much chocolate you wanna dump in, you can use white chocolate and almonds or add in some cocoa powder or raisins or get the picture.
*Peanut butter is optional but everyone loves peanut butter...=)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I am Chunky

There's always that question, are you chunky or smooth? Well, I thought I was smooth that's why I opened the smooth jar first. I've been pinching off that jar, dipping spoon after spoon in it, opening and closing the refridgerator door, then popping my head back in there again. And there it sits, in all it's smooth glory, right at the front of the second top shelf. Then today I decided I wasn't a smooth. After 3 months of peek-a-boo with smooth, I realize I am chunky. And that was what I had for dinner, on a warm thick fresh slice of wholemeal kamut bread. yeap, guys! I'M CHUNKY!=) and if I continue peek-a-boo-ing with chunky, I will be definitely chunky-in the other my-pants-are-becoming-too-snug sense.

and here's a very unflattering photo of my Plum Clafoutis. Trust me, it tastes alot better than it looks. Now I'm sad the photo doesn't do it justice and while I'm at it, Let me whine. I've been meaning to say this in a self-pity, slightly angry sort of way. I don't even know why I'm angry but here goes. WHATS THE POINT OF BAKING AND SELF-PROCLAIMING THE STUFF I BAKE TASTES GOOD WHEN, NO ONE EATS IT. mostly anyway. Okay, there I said it. Now I shall wallow in self-pity and eat more clafoutis. I'm not gonna ask anyone to eat it anymore, it's not a chore eating it anyway-is it?

*grumble grumble*
I will blog more about my clafoutis when I feel better. Today's not a good food day. I need more chunky.