Monday, July 25, 2011

Posh peanut butter sandwich cake

A very simple vanilla cake with  peanut butter icing in the middle...This is indeed my dream sandwich...

I decided to call this cake "Posh peanut butter sandwich cake" because Andy described it "humm, it's like posh sweet peanut butter sandwich....". This nutty cake is so easy to make and no-frills whatsoever, but it does taste amazingly addictive. I was having it for my late lunch and before I knew half the cake was gone.... That's how good it is...;D

Well, like that famous french lady said... "let them eat cake...", I'm more than happy to have this cake sandwich instead of those boring sandwiches from supermarkets...

Ingredients;

Butter 175g
Sugar 175g
Flour 140g
Almond powder 50g
Baking powder 1 tsp
Egg 3
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
***
Peanut butter 5 tbsp
Icing sugar 2-3 tbsp
Water 1 tsp

1. Pre heat the oven to 180ºc. Cream butter and sugar together until it's fluffy.
2. Add egg into 1, and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, almond powder, and baking powder. Mix well.
4. Sift 3 into 2. Fold in.
5. Pour the mixture into a cake tin. Bake in the pre heated oven (180ºc) for 45 minutes. When the cake is baked, cool it down. 
6. Prepare peanut butter icing. Mix peanut butter, icing sugar and water together.
7. Slice the cake into half. Spread the peanut butter icing in the middle.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Green tea brownie (抹茶ブラウニー)

So..., yesterday I rediscovered the fun of making brownies, which made me want to bake them more. In fact, I was thinking about making them whole day today. Well, that's what people call addiction, no?

Anyway, followed by yesterday's orange-coloured carrot brownie, today I went for green! Yes! My favourite frog, Kermit said "It's not easy being green." However, when you use a good quality green tea powder, you really get a bright green. Not only that, it has a lovely bitter green tea taste, which goes well with sweet white chocolate...

The intense taste and heavy texture will satisfy you after a small portion. With a hot cup of green tea (not sweetened please...), this brownie goes down nicely... Aghaaa, having a taste of home..., that's one of the moments when I appreciate being Japanese...

Ingredients;

White chocolate 50g
Butter 30g
Egg 1
Sugar 50g
Flour 40g
Green tea powder 15g

1.Preheat the oven to 180ºc.  Melt white chocolate and butter together.
2. Beat egg and sugar until it's fluffy.
3. Pour 1 into 2. Mix well.
4. Sift flour and green tea powder into 3. Fold in.
5. Pour the mixture into a cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven (180ºc) for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Carrot brownie

I love it when a recipe I imagined in my head actually worked. And today was one of those successful times;)

My new recipe... Carrot Brownie! It sounds unusual but try it when you have lots of carrots and don't know what to do with them. I've used white chocolate just because I don't eat normal cacao chocolate, but I believe it would work just as good.

What is nice about this brownie is that you get a good nutrition from carrots while enjoying a soft and sweet piece of treat or two...

I'd forgotten about how versatile a brownie can be until now, but the success with this brownie made me want to experiment with more unique brownies... Well, wait and see how it goes...

Ingredients;
White chocolate 100g
Butter 25g
Egg 1
Brown  sugar 50g
Flour 65g
Cinnamon 1/2 tsp
Carrot (cooked and mashed) 170g
Vanilla extract 1 tsp

1.Preheat the oven to 180ºc.  Melt white chocolate and butter together.
2. Beat egg and brown sugar until it's fluffy. Mix Vanilla extract in.
3. Pour 1 into 2. Mix well.
4. Sift flour and cinnamon into 3. Fold in.
5. Mix mashed carrot into 4.
6. Pour the mixture into a cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven (180ºc) for 30 minutes.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Purple sweet potato cake

Amongst of all those potatoes out there, this Purple Sweet Potato is..., I believe, the most unique one. Purple sweet potato (we call it "紫いも (Murasaki Imo)" is very popular in Japan, and especially in Okinawa , where the purple sweet potatoes are originated, we can find a lot of purple sweet potato sweets such as ice creams, cakes, tarts and many more.

Not only do these potatoes taste nice and sweet, but also they have a very vivid purple colour, which is perfect when you're making a eye-catching cakes or desserts.

Today I used a packet of purple potato powder that I brought back from Japan to make petite purple potato cake :) As soon as I started mixing in the purple potato powder, the mixture got... well, very very purple ... like a beetroot... and that indescribable homely smell of sweet potato hit my nose.... :) Ahaah, bless me...  Oooh, have a look at the picture! See..., how bright they are!

Unfortunately, I don't know where we can find purple sweet potatoes in the UK although I saw something similar in Whole Foods...  So, please let me know if you see one ;D

Ingredients;

Flour 170g
Purple potato powder 80g
Sugar 100g
Baking powder 1 tsp
Butter 100g
Egg 2
Honey 20g

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºc. Cream butter and sugar together until it's fluffy.
2. Add eggs into 1, and mix well.
3. Add honey into 2, and mix well.
4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, purple potato powder, and baking powder, and mix well.
5. Fold in 4 into 3.
6. Pour the mixture into cupcake moulds. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dessert for a Japanese night...

Last night friend of mine from Japan (Oh, her name is also Yumiko!), who is currently traveling the world came around stayed with us. Because she spent last 9 months in South America, I thought she must be missing Japanese food.... So, I made a very Japanese dinner for us;)

Japanese curry with some sticky Japanese rice, and of course Japanese dessert! A sort of green tea pudding... The reason I said "sort of" is because it's not like usual egg based pudding...

I used almond paste powder and gelatin to set the pudding, which gave the pudding a very unique texture. It was like pudding, jelly and bit of mochi in one... Hum, addictive... We had it with sweetened soy powder, きなこ(Kinako), which for us "Just like Japan"....

Hope my friend, Yumiko-san, felt a bit of Japan before moving on to another place... :D

Ingredients;

Almond paste powder 3 tbsp
Gelatin 1 tsp
Water 450 ml
Green tea powder 2 tsp

1. Boil water. Add almond paste powder and mix well.
2. Combine green tea powder and a few tsp of water and make a paste.
3. Add 2 into 1 and mix well.
4. When it the liquid becomes little sticky, turn the heat off and sprinkle gelatin in. Mix well.
5. Cool it in the fridge until it's set.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Strawberry cheesecake cookies

Yesterday, I made the Polish jam filled cookies, Rogaliki. That gave me an idea for this cookie... Strawberry cheesecake cookie...

I love cheesecakes.., and when I tasted the cream cheese in Rogaliki, I immediately thought "I've got to try strawberry cheesecake...!!" So I kept some dough to try it.

It's almost the same as Rogaliki but in a different shape and bit more sweeter. I've cut the dough into a pretty little circles, sandwich strawberry jam, and sprinkle icing sugar on top... done... ;D With a mouthful, you get the taste of strawberry cheesecake and the texture of light and flaky cookie at the same time... Hummm, it is two in one... :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rogaliki

Rogaliki is a croissant-like shaped polish cookie filled with jam. These cookies are a great fun to make and look pretty;)

What is unique about Rogaliki is that it has cream cheese in the dough, which makes the cookie light and flaky as well as tastes a little sour. Although apricot jam seems to be the most popular filling, we can put any jams we like... This time I put apricot and my plum jam (have you seen my jam?).

It looks complicated to shape the cookies, but it's not too difficult. See my drawing here! Hopefully, that would make your job easier ;D


As there isn't much sugar in the dough, this cookie is quite versatile... Add sweet jam, caramel sauce, chocolate spread to have them as tea time treat, or try something savoury such as cheese or nuts for snacks with drinks...

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

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sugar free cupcake

Yesterday, we were invited to Steve's for BBQ and I brought the cupcake family with us...

This time they were sugar free. Although I'm still experimenting the sugar free cake recipes and these weren't  quite 100% "THE" one yet, I think (or at least I want to think...) it is getting closer to what I want.

So..., here is how they were this time...

My :-) points..., the cakes were risen perfectly. The taste of mixed spices did work. The cherry nose gave a nice accent.
My :-( points..., the texture was still not as moist as I want. It could have been sweeter...

Just to share my experimental recipe...

Ingredients;

Flour 100g
Artificial sweetener 1/2 cup
Butter 50g
Cream cheese 50g
Egg 2
Baking powder 1 tsp
Mixed spice 1/2 tsp
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
---
Cream cheese and sweetener (For decoration)

1. Pre heat the oven to 180ºc. Cream butter, sweetener and cream cheese together.
2. Add eggs and vanilla extract into 1, and mix well.
3. Sift flour, baking powder, and mixed spices into 2. Fold in.
4. Pour the mixture into cupcake moulds. Put cherry in the middle. Bake in the preheated oven (180ºc) for 30 minutes.
5. Mix cream cheese and sweetener and decorate the cupcakes as you like....



Well, well, well..., I hope I will get the "Wow" moment with my sugar free recipes... Until then, my experiment continues...

PS. Steve... Thank you for the lovely Sunday BBQ... ;)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Apple & Ginger cake

A few days ago I made apple jam (Have you seen my Jam Family?)  which I was more than happy to eat as it is... yes.., I have a tendency of eating jams, butters and creams without anything.... However, since I went for an effort to make it, I thought I might as well make something rather than just eating it on its own...

So, I made really moist Apple & Ginger cake. I personally think apple and ginger go very well. Ginger gives a nice kick to the sweetness of apple. It tastes warm and homely, and it's something that I would love having on a rainy afternoon with a lovely cup of tea...

The recipe is very simple. It works with other jams or compote, so have a try with your favourite ones and see how it tastes;) Humm, what jam am I going to try next...?

Ingredients:

flour 160g
Almond powder 80g
Sugar 100g
Butter 100g
Egg 2
Baking powder 1tsp
Ginger powder 2tsp
Apple jam 5-7 tbsp

1. Melt butter. Pre-heat the oven to 180º
2. Beat egg and sugar until it's fluffy.
3. Add 1 into 2, and mix well.
4. In a separate bowl, mix flour, almond powder, baking powder and ginger powder. Fold them into 3.
5. Mix apple jam into 4.
6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

七夕 (Tanabata)

In Japan, July 7 is a festival called Tanabata (七夕), which celebrate the deities of Orihime (織姫) and Hikoboshi (彦星). The story is like this... Orihime (the star Vega) and Hikoboshi (the star Altair) are lovers but somehow (sorry but I don't remember why...) they are separated by the milky way, and allowed to see each other only on July 7. However, if the sky is not clear enough for them to find the way, they won't be able to meet and have to wait until another year... Quite romantic... no?

We celebrate Tanabata by writing wishes on a small piece of paper and hanging them on a bamboo tree... So, I carried out the custom in my way. It's tough to find a proper bamboo tree in London, but I did find a little one... I baked some star and heart shaped cookies to decorate the tree, and of course the wishes... I think this is good enough ;D

Luckily here in London the rain has stopped and the sky is clearing up now, so hopefully they can see each other tonight... (hum... though I'm not sure whether the British weather matters to them or not...)

Anyway... have a good night to Orihime-san and Hikoboshi-san... ;p

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Homemade Jam - Apple, Plum, Kiwi & Nectarine

I believe it's nicer, and more importantly much more fun to make your own jams and compotes than getting a jar from a supermarket. Especially in the summer, there are so many different fruits available, which definitely gives me a lot of ideas for lovely homemade jams;)

A few days ago, we got a good selection of fruits such as kiwi fruits, plums, nectarines and apples. They were so ripe that I decided to turn them into jams.

I had tried apple jam and plum jam but never made a jam with kiwi fruit before... well, that could only mean one thing, "Just give it a go".
However, because I don't really like the tanginess of kiwi..., because I didn't have that many of them..., because I had some nectarines...., and because I simply wanted to try it... I decided to make Kiwi & Nectarine jam.

When I make jams, I normally use this ratio;
Fruits:Sugar = 2:1 (with a pinch of salt and some lemon juice)

Good! All under control... cut the fruits.. add sugar and cook them until they become nice thick consistency. See? Easy peasy... ;D

Let me introduce my lovely Jam family...
On the right is the dark red Plum, on the left is the yellow with black dots Kiwi & Nectarine, and on the back is the shiny golden Apple!

Enjoy them with bread, yogurt, ice cream, biscuits... anything and everything!!