Thursday, 10 April 2014

Orange Cornmeal Cake

Adding cornmeal to bakes gives cakes and muffins a special gritty which I really enjoy. As I haven't baked with cornmeal for a long time, I bought another bag so that I can make this Orange Cornmeal Cake. 


I love this recipe because its so easy to make (no need mixer) - I used a whisk to mix everything together. This cake is also healthier as it uses olive oil instead of butter. All these factors make this cake the ideal type of cake for lazy bakers like me who hate washing up!


The refreshing taste of the orange goes well with the slightly salty aftertaste of the cornmeal. The texture is crumbly and gritty all at once. It goes great with a cup of afternoon tea and my kids enjoyed it for breakfast!




Orange Cornmeal Cake (8 inch)
Recipe by Martha Stewart

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 1/3 cup for topping (reduced to 3/4 cup, omitted topping sugar)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, (or orange juice) 
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Orange segments, for serving (optional)
Method
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Brush bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan with oil; line bottom with a round of wax or parchment paper, and brush paper with oil.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, 1 cup sugar, and wine until smooth. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and orange zest; whisk gently to combine.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan; sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1/3 cup sugar (topping will be thick). Bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Cool in pan 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake; invert cake gently onto a plate, and remove parchment paper. Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely. Serve with orange segments, if desired.
This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Ann of Anncoo Journal.

This is for Cook Like A Star hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Mich of Piece of Cake.


Friday, 4 April 2014

Chicken in Milk

Since the time when we had Cook Like A Star with Jamie Oliver, this recipe had been tried by many others who gave it excellent reviews. 


I finally got down to making it after I got some sage from the supermarket. It seems a little odd to bake chicken in milk but somehow the combination of ingredients makes the entire dish work perfectly. Sage and cinnamon adds a distinctive flavour to the rich creamy milk gravy infused with zesty lemon aromas.  


The chicken was pan fried and then baked to a crisp perfection. The meat was tender and flavourful soaked in the gravy. Writing about it makes me want to do this easy peasy one-dish again. 


Chicken in Milk (Serves 4)
Jamie Oliver's recipe

Ingredients
  • 1.5 kg higher-welfare chicken (I used 2 chicken halves)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • ½ stick cinnamon
  • 1 good handful fresh sage, leaves picked
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 10 cloves garlic, skin left on
  • 565 ml milk
 Method
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5, and find a snug-fitting pot for the chicken. Season it generously all over, and fry it in a little olive oil, turning the chicken to get an even colour all over, until golden. Remove from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and throw away the oil left in the pot. This will leave you with tasty sticky goodness at the bottom of the pan which will give you a lovely caramel flavour later on.
  • Put your chicken back in the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and cook in the preheated oven for 1½ hours. Baste with the cooking juice when you remember. The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, making a sauce which is absolutely fantastic.
  • To serve, pull the meat off the bones and divide it onto your plates. Spoon over plenty of juice and the little curds. Serve with wilted spinach or greens and some mashed potato.
This is for Cook Like A Star hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Mich of Piece of Cake.



Sunday, 30 March 2014

Marble Butter Cake

There are days when the going gets tough (with housework and kids!) that I simply must have a slice of cake! A good piece of cake is such comfort food. This marble cake which I found on The Little Teochew's website was one of those - one bite made everything better. 


This marble cake is quite unlike those crumbly and airy butter cake - the texture of this cake is extremely fine, moist and tender. Instead of the usual whole eggs method (where the whole egg is added to the creamed butter), this cake uses the egg separation method. Egg whites are beaten separately then gently folded into the butter mixture. 


There is no doubt that this method gives the cake an extraordinarily fine and moist texture. This is definitely the marble cake recipe for me from now. 


Marble Butter Cake (8 inch)
Recipe from The Little Teochew

Ingredients
  • 8 large eggs, separated
  • 9 ozs (255g) castor sugar (Reduced to 220g)
  • 12 ozs (340g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 9 ozs (255g) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsps pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsps good quality cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Method

1. Preheat oven at 160°C (convection fan on) with a wire rack in the middle. Line an 8-inch round cake tin with parchment, butter and flour. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.


2. Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment till light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar till light. Gradually add this into the butter and beat on medium speed till just incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites till stiff peaks form. With a spatula, fold in the meringue into the egg yolk mixture in 3-4 batches*. Add in the dry ingredients gradually until just incorporated.

* The first time I added the egg whites, it was impossible to fold. What I did was just mix it up with the thick yolk batter and "loosen up" the batter. The subsequent batches were much easier. I folded the whites in 3 batches.

3. Scoop out 1/4* of the batter in a separate bowl. Sieve cocoa powder over it and fold to mix well. Pour batters into tin, alternating between the two mixtures. Start with the yellow batter and end with the cocoa mixture. Rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. With a long skewer, swirl (sparingly) around the batter to create the marble effect. Bake for 40-55 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

* This is somewhat arbitrary. A little more won't hurt, especially if you want a bit more chocolate in your cake! :)

4. Cool on wire rack completely before serving. Cake keeps at room temperature up to 3 days and can be frozen up to 3 months.


This is for Bake Along hosted by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, Lena of Frozen Wings and Joyce of Kitchen Flavours

Monday, 24 March 2014

Blueberry Walnut Coffee Cake

The Blueberry Walnut Cake from the book Coffee Cakes: Simple, Sweet and Savory by Lou Seibert Pappas is the next bake for the members of The Home Bakers. The Home Bakers  is hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours. If you are keen to join us, please contact Joyce.


Actually its supposed to be a Raspberry Almond Cake but because raspberries are expensive locally and I'm allergic to almonds so I've decided to substitute with blueberries and walnuts. I think the combination works well and goes nicely with the streusel topping. 


I simply love how the blueberries look like jewels sparkling in the sun in the above photo! The cake was moist and delicious with a hint of lemon flavours. The streusel was certainly the best part. 


Angela of The Charmed Cupcake is the host for this recipe, please go to her blog for the full recipe.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Three Flavoured Focaccia

Jamie Oliver claims that this focaccia is not fussy as in its pretty easy and straight forward - and I'm pretty much inclined to believe him as I've tried several of his recipes to great success. . Like Jamie, I made this one lazy weekend afternoon for dinner that evening.


I didn't even bother with my breadmaker as I'm usually quite lazy and would prefer not to hand knead anything. Since this only need five minutes of arm power, I decided to do so. It wasn't too bad after all! Very soon the focaccia was ready to proof and I set about making the toppings. I didn't follow his recipe for the toppings exactly and I made some substitutions yet it was still great! The caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes and cheese toppings went very well with the soft, fluffy focaccia bread. 


The great thing about the this focaccia is that you actually get to eat three different flavours all at once. My family really enjoyed this recipe and I'd be sure to do it again soon. 


Three Flavour Focaccia (1 12 inch by 10 inch tray)
Recipe by Jamie Oliver

Ingredients
          
For the dough
  • 400 g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100 g fine ground semolina flour or strong white bread flour
  • sea salt
  • 1 sachet dried yeast (2 1/4 tsp of instant yeas)
  • ½ tablespoon golden caster sugar
  • 300 ml water, lukewarm
  • olive oil
Onion topping
  • 2 red onions, finely sliced (I used white)
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Basil and cherry tomato topping
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked
  • 1 large handful ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • white wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
For the three-cheese and rosemary topping
  • 30 g Taleggio cheese
  • 1 small log goat's cheese
  • 1 handful Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
Method

1. Dough
  •  Place the flours and ½ tablespoon of sea salt into a large bowl, and make a well in the middle. Add the yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water, and mix with a fork. Leave this for a few minutes and, when it starts to foam, slowly pour it into the well, mixing with a fork as you go.
  • As soon as all the ingredients come together, which may take a minute or so, knead vigorously for around 5 minutes until you have a smooth, springy, soft dough.
  • Lightly oil a large bowl with some olive oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Dust with a little extra flour, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled in size.
  • While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7 and prepare the toppings (I baked at 190°C).
2. Prepare the toppings -
  • Onion Topping: For the balsamic onion topping, fry the sliced onions and thyme leaves in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, reduce for a minute or two, then leave to cool.
  • Basil and cherry tomato topping: Roughly chop the basil leaves and pop them into a bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a tiny splash of white wine vinegar. Add the garlic and mix it all.
3.  Back to the dough
  • To cook the focaccia, as soon as the dough has risen, pound it then place on a baking tray and spread it out to cover the tray. Push down roughly on top of the dough like a piano to make lots of rough dips and wells.
  • Divide the onion and the tomato toppings over two thirds of the focaccia. 
  • For the three-cheese and rosemary topping, break up the Taleggio and the goat's cheese over the remaining third of the focaccia. Sprinkle over the grated Parmesan and rosemary leaves and season with pepper. Finish with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. 
  • Leave to prove for a further 20 minutes then bake for 20 minutes, until golden on top and soft in the middle.
This is for Cook Like A Star hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Mich of Piece of Cake.


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut Cookies

When I was in Malaysia for a holiday last December, I brought home several kilograms of different types of nuts as they were cheaper than in Singapore. Now I have a stash of walnuts, cashews and hazelnut stored in the refrigerator for baking! When I saw this Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut Cookie recipe, I immediately bookmarked it as I have never made hazelnut cookies and was eager to use the nuts I have. 


Hazelnuts add a distinctive flavour to bakes and it's not exception for this cookie. It's rich, smooth nutty flavour goes perfectly with the chocolate bits to make these one of the best cookies I've made. And the best part is it is so crispy and stayed that way even after days (stored in an air-tight container). This is definitely on my make-again list. 


Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut Cookies 
(Makes about 30 small cookies depending on size)
Recipe by Donna Hay

Ingredients
  • 125 g butter, chopped
  • 1½ cups (225 g) self-raising (self-rising) flour
  • ¾ cup (135 g) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (105 g) chopped hazelnuts
  • ⅔ cups (100 g) milk chocolate chunks
Method
  • Preheat oven to 180ºC (390ºF). Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly. 
  • Place the flour and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. 
  • Add the butter, egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Stir through the hazelnuts and chocolate. 
  • Using your hands, mould 2 tablespoons of cookie mixture into a flat round and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper, leaving room to spread. Repeat with remaining mixture. Bake for 10–12 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on trays. 
* To check if the cookies are done, look at the bottom not the top. If you wait until the top looks right you risk overcooking them. To check, lift a cookie with a spatula so you can see underneath. The bottom should be deep golden. Cool on trays as the cookies will continue to cook after you’ve removed them from the oven.

This is for Cook Like A Star hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Mich of Piece of Cake. 




Sunday, 9 March 2014

Cream Cheese Brownies

Biting into a moist, rich and grue-y brownie is such a comforting thing. There are days I simply need brownies to shoo away stress of housework!


These rich and moist cream cheese brownies did just that for me... I only made half the recipe and immediately regretted it as it was demolished in no time. The brownie layer was really good, though I thought there was too much cream cheese. 


The next time I do this, I'll halve the cream cheese so that I have more of a chocolate-y later. It would also be better to bake this in a smaller tray so that I'll have a thicker brownie to bite into. 


Cream Cheese Brownies (9 inch square tray)
Recipe by Nigella from here


Ingredients
 125 g dark chocolate
  • 125 g unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75 g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 200 g cold Philadelphia cream cheese
Method
  •  Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter over low heat in a heavy based pan.
  • Beat the eggs with sugar and vanilla.
  • Measure the flour into another bowl and add salt.
  • When the chocolate has all but completely melted, take the pan off the heat – the residual heat in the mixture will finish it off.
  • Leave for a bit to cool slightly before beating in the eggs and sugar.
  • Finally add the flour, and beat till smooth.
  • Pour half the mixture into the greased 9 inch square tin, slice the Philly as thinly as you can and put it on the mixture in the tin, pour the remaining mixture over the top.
  • Smooth the mix so that all the cream cheese is covered.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes – the top should be slightly paled and dry, but a skewer should reveal a slightly sticky centre. Cool for about 10 minutes before cutting into little squares.
Note: If I were to make this again, I would bake this in a 8 inch square tray (increase baking time by about extra 5 minutes) with half the amount of cream cheese as I prefer a thicker brownie with more chocolate part than cream cheese. 

This is for Cook Like A Star hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Mich of Piece of Cake. 


This post is for Bake Along #58, an event organised by Joyce from Kitchen FlavoursLena from Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids.