Monday, April 30, 2007

A taste of yellow (and honey and yoghurt...)

LIVESTRONG Day 2007 is coming, a day dedicated to unify and help people with cancer. To celeberate LIVESTRONG Day 2007, I have decided to participate in A Taste of Yellow, whereby I baked a cake that had something yellow in it! =) I wanted to go all out and use yellow butter, yellow polenta/semolina, yellow honey...but I reeeaaalllyyy had an insane craving for YOGHURT and so, I baked the following cake...Lemon Banana Yoghurt Cake with Honey Lemon syrup.

The cake itself was yummy, the lemon, banana and honey flavours could definitely be felt and I particularly loved the fact that it had rivers of moist-ness throughout the cake due to the syrup I poured on the cake. The cake baked up nice and high, crusty and golden. You can taste the range of flavours throughout the cake, with the base having a strong banana flavour because of the bananas that I lined the base of the baking tin with and the middle of the cake slightly sour as the syrup had not reached it, and the top sweet and sticky from the honey. It's a good base recipe for a yoghurt cake, you could substitute lemon for orange or maybe add some blueberries or raisins in.

One big fat problem I faced was getting the banana to not stick to the bottom of the pan, so maybe Next time I will either have it lined with greaseproof paper or make sugary syrup for the base so that it will be self-saucing type of cake..maybe.

Lemon banana cake:

1 large banana, sliced not-too-thinly
2 1/2 cups spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon (I would add more)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 melted butter
zest of two lemons
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
200ml plain low-fat yoghurt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius, butter a 9inch round cake tin
Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon)
Beat eggs and sugar together until thick and foamy
Add in the butter, juice, zest and extracts
Add in half the flour, mix well, followed by half the yoghurt
Add in 1/4 of flour and remaining yoghurt,mix well and finally add in remaining flour
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden (I can't rememeber how long mine took)
Let cool in tin

Honey Lemon syrup:

Mix the juice of 1 lemon, 4 tbsp of honey, 1 tbsp of water together

To finish:
Prick holes in the warm cake and pour in half the syrup, let sit for 10 minutes. Then pour in remaining syrup or if you want your cake to be less sweet, then don't bother with the other half. just half the syrup will do. =)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

sundays and the teevee

Been a big weekend and I'm glad to say I'm back here, writing about food again, in front of my TEEVEE. oh YAYY!=) We're bonding.

anywhos, It was Maria's birthday this weekend but I didn't make it to her party so here's a birthday cupcake for you doll!

happy birthday babe!=) History class wouldn't be the same without you!

MOOOving onto stuff I've baked this week...fat-free cookies. That's what it's called because it has no butter or oil, egg yolk-less so it's pretty healthy. The sugar content is low but it uses Karo (golden syrup) which has very high GI so, I tried to reduce the amount of golden syrup and replace it with a little raw sugar and some sweetened applesauce because reviewwers of the recipe all agree that the batter was very sticky so I was hoping the applesauce would ease with the stickiness...Unfortinately, the batter was STILL sticky, maybe because I used 1 egg and 1 egg white instead of 3 egg whites...

Anyway, the flavour was veryvery good, and it baked up crispy on the egdes and cakey on the inside, chewy a little, and i added CHOCOLATE CHIPS...i couldn't help it. HAD TO ADD SOME FAT IN. heehee. =) FUN! here's how it goes...

1 1/2 cup flour (I used Spelt)
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Vanhouten)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup - 2 tbsp golden syrup
3 tbsp sweetened applesauce
1/4 cup chocolate chips
3 egg whites (I used 1 egg and 1 egg white)

Preheat oven to 175 degrees celcius
Mix flour, baking soda, cocoa, sugar and salt together.
Stir in the golden syrup, applesauce, egg and chocolate chips.
Batter will be veryVERY sticky
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of batter and bake for 7-8 minutes, cookies will be soft.
They will harden on cooling.
*I baked bigger cookies and baked for 10 minutes. I heart big fat coookies. COOOOKIEEE.=)


Next time, using this as a base recipe, I will try adding oats, raisins, peanut butter, chocolate chunks, and fiddle with it for other cookie variations. =)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Muffin Monday on a Tuesday

Muffin Monday is here, yay yay yay...and it's not really monday today. So here's how my muffin came about... My cousin and I were just having our usual chitterchatter about food and how hungry we were. Then if I recall correctly, we started talking about cheesecake because I mentioned my tofu cheesecake experiment (I'm too crushed to talk about it). So being our usual hungry selves, Adrian and I started listing all these ideas for cakes, cheesecakes...peanut butter cheesecakees. you get the picture. OHWELL! It got to the topic of Jammie Dodgers, oooh yummy ole jammie dodgers. Too bad there isn't any here, but my jammie dodger muffin sprouted! and TADAH! today after uni, I went to Safeway to find the closest thing I could to a Jammie dodger, and ended up with Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake, which wasn't that fantastic if I may say, but good enough. All the vital flvaours were present- the sticky jam and buttery crunchy cookie. I took the basic recipe from here and fiddled with it, substituting milk for buttermilk (because I love the moistness buttermilk gives to baked goods) and reduced the sugar because the shortcake was sweet already, added in huge swirls of strawberry jam and crushed up cookies. there you go, my Jam Shortcake Muffin =)

2 cups flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kirsch extract (or a little more, I couldn't taste much in mine)
1/2 tsp vanilla
250g Raspberry shortcake cookies, crushed
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup veg oil
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, for topping
3/4 cup jam of choice (eg: raspberry, blueberry, strawberry etc), warmed

Preheat oven to 190 degrees celcius
Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder together, and mix the sugar in
In another bowl, whisk the kirsch extract, vanilla, buttermilk, vegetable oil and eggs together until it is a homogenous mixture
Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the liquids, stire to combine. Mixture will be thick
Add in 3/4 of the crushed cookies, reserving the rest to sprinkle over the top
Fill each muffin hole 1/2 full and add in 1/2 a tablespoon of jam.
Cover the jam with until muffin hole is 3/4 full
Sprinkle the crushed cookies over the top before baking, just like streusel
Bake for 12-15 minutes, checking regularly.
When muffins are done, place a heaping handful of the sweetened coconut flakes on top and serve. =)

YAYYY! I liked them alot, the cookies were like streusel and the jam enhanced the berry-ness of the whole cupcake. and finally, because it's so simple to make. =)

Monday, April 16, 2007

I miss home...

I finally got around to cooking something that I've been wanting to since...awhile ago. haha. Pulut Hitam. For those who are unfamiliar, it's a malay dessert that's quite similiar to a soup. It's creamy because of the black glutionous rice that is used and it's usually served with swirls of coconut milk.

Okay, so I'm not the usual fan of Pulut Hitam but all the same, I missed home and this was one of the easier (and more interesting) desserts. GAH, I'm having trouble typing because my arm hurts from carrying the microwave. I know, i love carrying microwaves around for fun, makes me feel so...manly. hah! kidding, ours died, apparently it's 10 years old. So it just failed on us one day and I have to say, living without a microwave is worse than living with a tv. AND I'VE SURVIVED WITHOUT BOTH. I deserve icecream for that. oh! and I still don't have my tv, but TOMORROW-it's coming. can you say heyyy...hoh YIPPEE AYE YO! nownow, don't judge me. =P

Okay, back to the pulut hitam. I burnt it, well, i thought i did, but in the end i realized that it was just a case of the rice being STUCK at the bottom of the pot, but luckily, i transferred whatever that wasn't stuck into a smaller pot and continued letting it simmer while I so painstakingly scrubbed the stuck rice off the big pot. ohwell. =) I should have ended up with MORE of the pulut hitam but because well, 1/2 of the rice got stuck and some of the 'soupy' bit got erm, bubbled out of the pot sooo, I ended up with about 5 serves. lovely. It was good though, albeit a little too much pandan (screwpine) leaves so I will use less next time. ALL IN ALL! It was a good first try, and my sister loved it. =)

By the way, I'll be submitting this to The Heart of the Matter since it's low in fat compared to other desserts and has no butter/oil or eggs and dairy in it. =) check the round up out!!!

the icing sugar, gula melaka and pandan leaves, about to be stirred in

Pulut Hitam (Black Glutionous rice pudding from
280g Black Glutinous Rice
4700ml water
55g icing sugar
55g gula melaka [coconut palm sugar]
2 pandan[screwpine] leaves [substitue with pandan essence/coconut essence]
2 tbsp corn flour [i left it out, forgot]
3 tbsp water [left it out, again]
1 can coconut milk [for topping]

Wash glutinous rice until the water runs clear. Leave rice to soak in water for 2-3 hrs or best overnight in the refrigerator
Put rice and water in a deep pot and cook over med heat until the rice is soft and creamy
When reached the desired creamy consistency, add gula Melaka [Malaccan sugar], pandan leaves [optional] and icing sugar
Simmer for another 10-15 mins
In a small bowl mix the cornstarch flour and water
Add the cornstarch slurry into the rice, keep stirring
As soon as a boil is reached, remove from heat
Ladle into dessert bowls, swirl 2 to 3 tbsp of the coconut milk on top, serve warm

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Just Because...

Just because...I've been inconsistent in updates, I shall do one thats filled with pictures today!=) The cookies above are the Alfajores I baked Vee...quite a while ago. I forgot that Adrian had already passed me the photos and only just discovered them. THEREFORE, here are the long overdue photos. Obviously a ton nicer than my usual ones because Adrian's a star and he so kindly took professional shots for me. =) goooodie!

Next! here's some photos of the baking process of my Muddy Chocolate Cake, taken from Donna Hay's Modern Classics 2. It's very much a moist dense chocolate cake, with a flavour that isn't took sweet. Perhaps I might even use darker chocolate next time. I used the Nestle Plaistowe Couverture chocolate but the flavour wasn't as deep and dark as I'd like it to be. Or maybe I might substitute a couple tablespoons of flour with cocoa instead. you reckon?

Muddy Chocolate Cake from Donna Hay's Modern Classics 2
300g dark couverture chocolate, chopped
250g butter
5 eggs, seperated
1/3 caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 130degrees celcius (260 fahrenheit)
Melt butter and chocolate over a low heat and stir until smooth, set aside
Place egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat until thick and pale
Place the eggwhites in a seperate bowl and beat until stiff peaks form
Fold chocolate mixture into egg yolk mixture
Sift over the flour and baking powder and gently fold through
Carefully fold egg whites through as well
Pour into a 20cm (8in) round cake tin lined with nonstick paper and bake for 1 hr 15 mins
Cool in tin and spread cooled cake with a chocolate ganache
*serve this cake at room temperature

Egg whites ready to be folded into chocolate/egg yolk mixture

Next on the agenda is the fruit crumble that I baked to bring to Adelle's house for our little potluck. Happy to report that it was well and it was devoured! I am beaming with pride and guess what! I didn't follow a recipe! hahaahahah! *giggles* I'll try remembering roughly what i put in...

Fruit Crumble, mostly apple.
3 granny smiths, sliced thinly (each quarter into 4/5 pieces)
275g pears from a tub (the fresh pears were insanely ugly so i had no choice), syrup drained and pears slices (not too thinly) and rinsed
handful of blueberries just because I had them in the fridge
handful of raisins just because they were on the counter top

about 1 3/4 cups plain flour
3/4 butter, cold and chopped into tiny cubes
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar (mixture of brown and white is fine)

Mix apples in 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar and big splashes of cinnamon, stir in 1/2 tsp of cornflour and sautee in a pan until apples are tender

because the pears are soft, just mix in some cinnamon and the raisins and blueberries, set aside while apples are cooling

Rub the flour into the cold butter pieces or process in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. Not ALL have to look fine, some of mine were big splodges. Then, mix in cinnamon and sugar.

mix the all the fruit toether and place in preferred pan, I used a regular square pan. Sprinkle liberally with the crumble and put into a 180degreecelcius oven for 15 mnutes and check if the crumble is brown. Bake until crumble is golden brown (the blueberries will bubble a bit through the sides but it looks pretty anyway. rustic even! hehe.

ENJOYYYY with heeeeeeeeeaps of vanilla icecream or vanilla custard. yums!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Apparently, we don't all love chocolate

In the midst of trying to find out how M's essay was going and what we were going to do for her birthday, we found out the TRUTH about chocolate and erm, pringles.

vicky: omg i want chocolate
M says: oh god i'm SO over chocolate
vicky: NO that's evil
M: yeah i don't like it but i do LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEE pringles omg! they are the snacks of the gods
vicky: i thought chocolate was! maybe chocolate was the dessert of the gods
M: haha exactly but salty stuff is way cooler

HAHA! SO-NOT-THE-CASE! Actually, I like my food salty and sweet. Salty, buttery pie crust with diabetically-sweet pecans. YUM! Now I just startedmy craving of the moment. PECAN PIE! Tell me, what do YOU crave... and we'll crave together!=)

Monday, April 9, 2007

superwoman kinda day

Today I felt like I did alot. By alot, I mean cooking everyone buttermilk pancakes for brekkie and making myself lunch and a snackpack at the same time AND packing my bag for uni. I feel brilliant. haha, one of those better days I'd say.

The problem i always have with ingredients is that I buy an entire carton/pack of something and never get to really finish it which results in me having to chuck it out, feeling a little guilty since there are kids in Africa starving. This time, it was buttermilk. Well, I've had to thow out a couple of cartons of buttermilk and yes, I do feel insanely guilty. Therefore I now feel better that I made use of my third carton. Initially I had to buy the carton of buttermilk for my avocado cupcake experiment which then led to me cooking everyone pancakes today! Found this amazingamazing recipe from and the promise of extremely fluffy pancakes were fulfilled, down to the tiny little ones i made for myself and sprinkled a couple of blueberries on (oh shoot, now I've got the blueberries to finish...any ideas?) Guys being, well, guys, fred wanted his with NO berries but chocolate chips seemed to work fine. I suppose it's a very basic recipe that makes use of buttermilk and other flavours you could try out might be adding 2/3 tbsp of dessicated coconut and serving with palm sugar sauce. Or maybe adding 3 tbsp of cocoa powder and making a marshmallow chocolate sauce. Possibilities are endless I might say.

And today, Vee's dad brought us out for dinner and then Max Brenners after. FINALLY had a hot chocolate. I know it sounds silly but i've never had a hot chocolate from Max before, it's usually the crossiant with chocolate sauce and WATER. I had the magic hot chocolate or something along those lines. It was AUD$6 and terribly yummy. It's a milk chocolate hot chocolate so it bordered on the sweeter side and it supposedly had 'chocolate covered waffle balls' which promised MUCH but, it turned out more like the chocolate valrhona ball things that I used to serve at work. Like, rice crackle covered with good quality chocolate. HMMMM... ohwell, go try it out and let me know what you reckon!

Til next racial chocolate equality!!!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Easter Cake Bake!

Happy Good Friday! (is it counted as Easter yet?)

A Slice of Cherry Pie is hosting the Easter cake bake and I've decided to enter this 'Avocado Cupcake with double chocolate and gula melaka coconut topping' in. EXCITING STUFF!

After Pharmacy last night, nono, this morning, I rolled into bed at 7am with every intention of putting off my baking experiment. Who knew sleeping til 4 pm could be so difficult, I eventually got up at 2pm and decided to get cracking! I was inspired by the pack of Gula Melaka that I got at the asian grocers and was dying to just do something, anything with it! Gula Melaka is basically a coconut palm sugar, very fragrant and it's a dark rich brown. The form I got it in was a rod form, wasn't difficult to cut through, just had to hack at it like I was a woodcutter. Fun I say!!!

First off, I baked the avocado cupcakes. I initially wanted to just substitute the weight of carrot in a carrot cake for the mashed up avocado but I backed out, feeling a little scared. Found this avocado cake recipe from and decided to stop worrying about failure and do it! Made quite a few changes mainly because the recipe originally used alot of spices and nuts and raisins whereas I wanted my cupcake plain so the gorgeous coconut topping would be the showcase. The recipe below is the editted form.

I got slightly angsty and irritated while baking the cupcakes and if you are superstitious like me, you think 'this is soo gonna fail because I wasn't in the right state of mind'. HEH! prove me wrong, the cupcakes were pretty splendid, weird I might say because well, its avocado. hahaha! But hey, I love the texture of the cupcakes and the subtle flavour really does go very well with the coconut and chocolate. One huge problem I encountered was that the mixture appeared curdled at 2 stages. First was during the creaming, I personally have this silly fear of the creaming method simply because I have the tendency to make it curdle. It's just me-I swear. But I decided to brave on anyhow. Then when I added in the buttermilk mixture, the curdling just got WORSE. You should've seen my heart sink to the sole of my feet-not good. So I prepared myself for failure. HOWEVER! Once the flour was added in and whisked, it looked luscious or sorts and like it was never curdled at all. *whooopie!!*

Avocado Cupcakes
¾ Cup Sugar
½ Cup Butter
2 Eggs
1 Cup Mashed avocado
½ Cup Buttermilk
1 tsp Baking soda
1 ½ Cups All-purpose flour
½ tsp Cinnamon

Cream sugar and butter, add the 2 eggs and avocado and mix well.
Add the baking soda to the buttermilk and add to the batter, it will appear curdled, well mine did.
Add cinnamon to flour and add to the batter all at once and mix well.
Pour into cupcake liners and bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean
Makes 10 big cupcakes

Next came the coconut topping. At this point, I still couldn't decide how I wanted to assemble the cupcakes. Should I put the topping as a fillng instead? Oh well, used the recipe for a broiled coconut topping from King Arthur's Flour and modified it again. Looked a little watery for my liking so I added in more flaked coconut. It was originally just 1 cup. The original recipe called for the topping to be placed on top of the cake and placed under the broiler until it bubbles, and I figured that wouldn't work for me. Instead I let it bubble and reduce a little in the saucepan and let it cool. It got stickier on cooling, which was fantastic.

Coconut Filling
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter
120g palm sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 ¼ cup flaked coconut

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the palm sugar, milk and coconut, stirring to combine until it’s golden brown and bubbling. Let it bubble for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened and not watery.

Finally, I settled on a typical chocolate ganache to accompany the whole spectrum of flavours. Seeing that I forgot to by normal dark eating chocolate from Safeway, I decided to part with my 63% Nestle Couverture Plaistowe chocolate, praying hard that it would be worth it. Turns out, Fred and I found it way too bitter and he suggested using milk chocolate instead. But being the 'cheffy' one, I had to have input and say I'd make a milk chocolate ganache but mix it with the dark chocolate one so it would still retain the rich gorgeous cocoa taste. Besides, the gula melaka coconut was sweet as it is, so it was a good decision.

Chocolate Ganache (adapted from

90 ml coconut milk*
90 ml skinny milk*
100g 63% cocoa (I used Nestle Plaistowe)
125g milk chocolate

1. In a heavy saucepan, boil milks. Turn off the heat. Add chopped chocolate pieces and let it rest until melted. Use a rubber spatula to stir the mixture until all the pieces are melted.
*180ml of full-fat milk can be used instead. I didn't taste a huge difference in using the coconut milk.

To Assemble:
1)Fill the cooled cupcake with the 'sauce' of the coconut topping and a full teaspoon of the chocolate ganache
2) Lightly cover the top of cupcake with a little of the ganache (for chocolate goodness and aesthetics purposes)
3) Place 3/4 tablespoon of coconut topping in a heaped manner. TADAH!!!=)

OHWELL! heh, I'm a luckylucky girl. I got an Easter bunny and Easter egg. *evil chuckle* Guess what I'll be eating after this...=)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

catch the easter disease

It might be Easter, or it might just be one of my moments, but today chocolate was highly wanted on my menu. So i shuttled between Safeway and BigW, not being able to make my mind up. It's all about the concept of wasting your preciousprecious calories on food that's worth it. So I stared at Lindt chocolates, Mars bars, Twix, picked up a Boost double bar pack and put it back, Heaven bar, Kinder Bueno, Baci, godknowshowmanyothers and finalllllyyyy picked this one up.

Realizing that this was one that I had been eyeing a while back, and it fit my criteria of being a not-too-big block, dark chocolate, 'healthy' and QUALITY chocolate, I decided to get it. Poor Fred waited for me while my mind flitted about the choices. Do you ever realize that sometimes you know what the 'thing' you want is and it just annoys you when you don't find it? heh, LUCKILY I found IT today. (oh, and I got these new ferrero chocolates-disappointing)

The chocolate bar was absolutely yummy. Very un-diary-free like, very smooth, very intense, not bitter and just all round, a really good chocolate bar. I'm happy!=) I'm sure there are other way to describe the chocolate bar, but it really is unnecessary. I mean, if you want me to compare it, it tastes of a slightly stronger soy taste than ordinary dark chocolate, but just as smooth, I think the cocoa percentage is 50%. On the other hand, comparing it to soy chocolate, definitely alot better in terms of satisfying those INSANE WHACKO chocolate cravings, probably also because it's dark chocolate, but it leaves you feeling like you've had REAL good 'ol chocolate so therefore I say, GO FOR IT! =)

OOOOOH.Easter bunny's got me happy.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

you look so fine and i really wanna make you MINE!

So today I was sitting on the tram on the way home after uni and guess what I saw. Two men, no less, carrying big Haigh's bags. oh yes, they were and believe me when I tell you I was jealous. *whines

ALLRIGHTY, everyone knows Easter is coming so I suppose those brown Haigh's paper bags contained something delectable and brown, and rich and sinful and all that kinda thing that makes my mouth just water. It has reduced me to forgetting words and I'm just busily swallowing my saliva. oh darn those two men. I want a chocolate bunny. Most kids wish for the real one, the furry kind, that supposedly hops around with big floppy ears and wiggle their noses. I JUST WANT THE CHOCOLATE TYPE.

Shan't whine anymore. I'm sure this is a big enough hint that I want a chocolate Easter bunny (oh there, I said it again). Baked some Alfajores during the weekend for Vee's birthday, turned out, I had too much batter so I just added some chocolcate chips to some and made some into jam thumbprints. oooh gooey jam. I'll post the recipe once I clean up the drool on my table. Right now my fingers are trembling from the cold, or maybe just from chocolate cravings...

bag of chocolate chips in my fridge, HERE I COME!=)