Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ice cream & Meringue

I've been expressing my love for ice creams many times on this blog. So far, I've tried making some of them from scratch such as Indian kulfi, Persian ice cream and so on...

I have to admit that making ice creams can be time consuming, and to be very honest with you...., sometimes I can't be bothered to go for that effort... ( Oh! what a lazy thing to say as a sweets lover...) We found a very useful product for one of those lazy days, an instant ice cream mix! With this packet of powder, it's so easy to make ice cream! All you need to do is mix with water and freeze it. It takes only a minute or so (but of course, not including the freezing time.)

I tried this super easy ice cream mix yesterday. I made it quite soft, which was almost like a milk shake. Since I made little effort to prepare the ice cream, I decided to put a bit of sophistication on the topping. I made vanilla and pistachio meringue to go with it.

Even when you "cheated a bit", a little bit of extra effort (I believe making meringue was good enough...) does make all the difference! The super easy ice cream and chewy meringue were indeed a perfect treat on a hot day!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

抹茶あずきかき氷 (Macha Azuki shaved ice)

There are things that I love in the Japanese summer... a long nap during a boiling hot day, loud cicada's sound, fire works festival, and of course icy foods and drinks...

かき氷(Kakigori, shaved ice, similar to snow cone) is one of my must-have Japanese summer desserts. As you might have guessed from the name, it's a shaved ice dessert served usually with flavoured syrups such as strawberry, lemon, melon... But my favourite is "green tea with azuki (抹茶あずき, Macha Azuki)" and condensed milk poured on top... hoy yeh, lovely...

So... I made... yeah let's say... "an attempt" to make it at home although I don't have a machine to shave the ice finely...
My way was damn easy. I cooked azuki nice and sweet (see how to cook it here), dissolved macha powder in milk, mix it with the azuki, then put them in the freezer. I kept crushing the ice bits every couple of hours until it finally set... The final result was rather impressive!! Nice, icy and sort of airy home-made Kakigori was done!

Tasting time... tasting time... tastin... well.., as always... I ended up destroying it... I guess that tells you how good it was...
Green tea and azuki... taste of home and childhood... can't beat that!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Russian Roulette cupcakes

I've always wanted to make them, but not to get involved in the game so that I don't hit the ONE...

And finally, the best opportunity has come! Andy was going to his mate, Yung's stag do at Glastonbury... it had to be done.. The Russian Roulette cake for the boys!

I made my normal buttery cupcakes with a hint of cassis liqueur... However, there is one  with Wasabi hidden inside (and I'm quietly telling you that the one with "eat me" written with pink is the one!)...Mwahahaha!! Not only that, I also added a good amount of Wasabi underneath of icing...Mwaghaahahaha!!! I feel such an evil... Sorry for one of the boys who is going to get it, and that will probably be Yung...

Well, the cupcakes have been sent to the boys. Let's wait to hear from my partner in crime... Can't wait! Guahhahahahah!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Experimental Vegan cake

Just so you know... I don't eat meal but I'm not a Vegan... I can't give up my cheese, milk, cream nor eggs...

Not being a Vegan didn't keep me from trying a piece or two nice looking vegan cake at Taste of London. And they definitely inspired me to try something a little different from my normal cupcake.

First thing...first.. a recipe... There was not much I can do than just try it out... So, I've measured the ingredients that I believe "vegan"... Since I wasn't using any dairy products or eggs, I wanted to give my cake something else to make it taste nice.
This time I opted for "Nuts". I used hazelnut oil, almond paste powder and hazelnut syrup to make it extra nutty! To give a nice crunchy texture, I also added dried fruits.

Let's see.... how they came out from the oven... Although I put baking powder, the cakes didn't rise...;( However, they were really aromatic... nutty;)
One bite... huummm... they were very crusty... almost like a shortbread in a way nice... Good almond flavour and crunchy bits of dried fruits are definitely a nice kick... I would have like them to be more moist...

All in all... I think it was a good "experiment".. but the recipe needs some work.... I'll try again to make them more moist... See what I can come up with... will keep you updated...

If you like to know... here is what I've done...

Ingredients;

Flour 50g
Almond paste powder 20g
Sugar 20g
Baking powder 1/2 tsp
Hazelnut oil 50ml
Hazelnut syrup 1 tbsp
Dried fruits 2 tbsp

1. Preheat the oven to 180º. Combine flour, almond paste powder, sugar, and baking powder together. Mix well.
2. Pour hazelnut oil and syrup into 1 and mix.
3. Fold dried fruits into 2.
4. Bake in the preheated oven (180º) for 15 minutes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

父の日, Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my dad and father-in-law!

Unfortunately, I can't send these cup cakes to either of them because they are both away... but we'll take care of eating them and send some love instead...

**Please note...**
By the way, neither of them look like these cupcake-men... (Just like my mother's day cupcake...)

お父さんへ
今日は父の日なので、こんなん作りました〜。残念ながら、日本には送れないけどこっちで食べときます。。では、暑い夏がやって来ますが体に気をつけて過ごして下さい〜。

Friday, June 17, 2011

Taste of London

I went to Taste of London yesterday to help my friend, Sakina, who has got an excellent  Madagascan vanilla company, Vanillabazaar.com (see their amazing products here...)
Although the weather wasn't too great (I felt like we had all the weather in a day... Heavy rain, wind, and sunshine....), thanks to Sakina, I did enjoy the whole event so much! It was really inspiring!

And... there is a thing or more like...a chef... I met there when I was wandering around during the break time. Yes, Michel Roux Jr! Seriously.... I thought I was going to throw up my heart! I was THAT thrilled to see him because to me he is THE chef, my legend. I was totally speechless. Overwhelmed....
I don't remember what I said to him... maybe something like "I am a... a... a... big.. fa fa fan... oof... you...". Anyway..., I got one of his books and he gave me his autograph... Oh, and and! I took picture with him too!! Amazing... I just can't believe how lucky I was...

So..., it was a really really good day for me:) Thanks again to Sakina for such a lovely day:D

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nutty ice cream

I was given 杏仁霜 (Almond paste powder)  at work on the other day. Because that's the main ingredient for 杏仁豆腐(Almond pudding), one of my favourite Chinese dessert, I was so excited to make one at home.

However, I thought... "Making almond pudding is so predictable... I want to try something bit more creative and innovative with it..." Then, I saw the bright sun. Baking hot. People were lying in the park... Summer is definitely here! That means ICE CREAM!

Done! Before I knew I was in the kitchen, preparing the ice cream mixture. It was an experimental recipe but I sort of knew it would work... (That might be because the mixture was custard based... and custard ice cream always taste gorgeous!) While I was making it, I decided to make it extra nutty along with the almond powder, so added a good handful of roasted mix nuts :D

I've served my lovely nutty ice cream in these beautiful shot glasses I found on the other day. They are so summery, are they not? I love the whole presentation thing with cakes and desserts too! Oh, and of course...., the taste... It's really really nutty and creamy... This is what I call Summer...

Ingredients:

Almond paste powder 3 tbsp
Double cream 220ml
Sugar 80g
Egg 2
Mix nuts handful

1. Combine cream and sugar in a pot. Keep stirring and bring it to boil.
2. Stir in almond paste powder.
3. Take the pot off the heat. Stir in beaten eggs. Keep stirring to keep eggs from scrambling.
4. Put the pot back on a medium heat. Cook it until it's creamy and shiny.
5. Pour the mixture in a container. Cool it down.
6. Roast the mix nuts. Fold them in 5.
7. Freeze until it's set.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Marble bread - Strawberry flavoured

I've been learning lots of techniques about bread making at work. This pretty marble patterned bread is one of those breads that we make at the bakery (where I bake breads for happy customers. ;D )

So... today, I'd like to share how to make marble pattern! Once you know how to,  it's pretty easy and every time the pattern is slightly different, which make it fun to make this bread!

First of all, here is the recipe...

Strong flour 200g
Plain flour 100g
Sugar 25g
Dry Yeast 7g
Milk (lukewarm) 175ml
Butter 25g
Egg 1
***For coloured dough***
Strawberry flavouring 1 tbsp
Sugar 1 tbsp
Strong flour 2 tbsp

1. Combine milk and dry yeast and set it aside until it's foamy.
2. In a large bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients and mix by hands. When the mixture becomes together, place it on a floured surface and kneed until it's nice and smooth.
3. Place the dough in a bowl, cover it with cling film and rest until it is twice its original volume.
4. When the dough has risen, punch it to get the air out of the dough. Kneed the dough for a few minutes.
5. Take out 100g of dough. Cover the remaining dough in order to keep it from drying.
6. Combine all the ingredients for the coloured dough with the 100g of dough. Kneed until it is well blended.
7. Grease the loaf tin. 
8. Make marble pattern. See the illustration...
9. Place the dough carefully into the loaf tin.
10. Prove the dough for 1 hour or so.
11. Bake in the preheated oven (200º) for 40 minutes.


I hope my illustration is clear enough, but feel free to leave me a comment if you're not quite sure...

All in all, my strawberry marble bread came out well. I was expecting to get more of strawberry flavour but it was very subtle. The texture was good and it wasn't sweet, which is what I like for a loaf of bread. If you like it sweeter, try increasing the amount of sugar a bit. 

It is great sliced thick and toasted... with a knob of butter... Humm, nothing can beat the freshly home baked loaf... ;D

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sweetheart cake 2

Another happy couple of our friends, Shreaya and Pritesh, have recently got engaged and we were invited to their engagement party yesterday.

So, I made the famous (?... I say so anyway...) The World of Sweets "Sweetheart cake" with a twist of some spices... because they are a HOT couple...

Happy engagement to Shreaya and Pritesh!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tomato jam

Tomato is one of my favourite vegetable. Especially in the summer, I eat them not only in my salad but also just as a snack, lovely...

On the other day I got a bag-full of tomatoes in different sizes from a veg & fruit stand, and I decided to try making that amazing tomato jam I had in Spain. I love the vivid red sweet jam so much that I had it almost anything when I was there...

So..., my tomato jam is dead simple! All you need is tomatoes (1.2kg), sugar (500g), a red pepper, and a teaspoon of lemon juice. I cut the tomatoes and pepper, and cooked them with lemon juice in a pot for a little while. Then I started adding sugar. I've used 500g of sugar but the amount of sugar can be changed depending on your taste:) Here, you need a little bit of patience.... you've got to simmer the jam down until it becomes half its volume... it does take time, but I promise, it's worth it! Soon, you'll smell of nice sweet tomatoes...

I had my home made tomato jam with Camembert. Unfortunately I was too hungry to prepare those fried Camembert I had in Spain, but this would do for now!

Verdict... simply awesome...! I can't wait to try it on some other stuff. I'm thinking of vanilla ice cream...
Any recommendations?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Corn cake

My recent favourite is Corn! The last post was about the amazing sweet corn pudding, Majarete. This time I used corn meal to make corn muffins. I didn't used any flour but only corn meal to see how the texture would be.

The cake mixture wasn't as elastic as the normal flour cake mixture and looked slightly gritty but the lovely smell of corn meal was really promising...

After being in the oven for 30 minute, they turn nice golden colour. The wholesome smell of corn was so inviting that I couldn't help trying one as soon as they're out of the oven...

So..., here is my verdict on my experimental corn cake...
The surface is crusty but the inside is pretty moist. The overall texture was a little bit dry so it's nice to have them with maple syrup, jam, whipped cream..., basically anything that you can find in your fridge:)
They're slightly more savoury than the flour cup cake so great for breakfast too!

Ingredients;

Corn meal 130g
Butter 130g
Sugar 100g
Egg 2
Baking powder 1 tsp
Vanilla extract 1/2 tsp

1. Preheat the oven to 180º. Cream butter and sugar together until it's fluffy.
2. Add egg  and vanilla extract into 1. Mix well.
3. Fold corn meal and baking powder into 2.
4. Pour the mixture into cup cake mould. Bake in the preheated oven (180º) for 30 minutes.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Majarete

Majarete is a very smooth and delicate pudding from Dominican Republic. This sweet corn dessert has got the natural sweetness and the starchy texture from the corn, which is very addictive.

Traditionally this pudding is made from corn cobs, but this time I used a shortcut with a tinned cream of corn... (call me lazy... but I did make an effort of straining the mixture to make the pudding nice and smooth!)

After cooling it in the fridge, the pudding was nicely set but still very smooth when I put a spoon in. It was literally melt-in-mouth...  It is such a delicate dessert, and so addictive that I, in fact, couldn't help having another cup!

To see the recipe, visit The World of Sweets Recipes, Dominican Republic.