August 31, 2007

Fancy Cupcakes



I was inspired by Peggy Porchen's 'Pretty Party Cakes' cake decorating book and I definitely knew what to contribute on Daffodil Day. Actually, the leaflet was spread only two days before the actual day, so I only have one day baking and one day decorating.

I was thinking the quick way of making roses. Avoid the traditional way of using petal cutters, glueing, and other stuffs you probably don't want to know in order to making effects on petals. I was running out of time (was rushed with meals, bathtime, bedtime, kids, chores in between, you know) and didn't think of all that. So, for the roses, I only used my simple way: one ball of marzipan, roll sausage shape, flatten one side with fingertip, smooth a little bit with ball tooling, then start from the far side of the flatten sausage, roll inwards. The rest of it is depending on how you will use your imagination.


As for the leaves, I had to spend more time to do them because I had to use leave cutter. Once it was cut, I use the tip of my spatula (I use a palette spatula for painting, another option and a cheaper way to collect it than if you have to buy spatula specially for cake decorating—or you can use the tip of a blunt knife) to mark the leaves.

The cupcakes themselves are sponge cakes and iced with buttercream. I choose sponge cakes because they are easy to make and will rise very well for little cups. And also they will taste pretty good with simple buttercream.

We went to Tuakau around 10am and there were already some ladies buying sweets people donated for Daffodil Day. There were also raffle tickets, huge parcels from sponsors, and a man with his toy (why men are always in charge of BBQ, it's a mystery to me). When I was approaching the stall, some pretty ladies went goggled to see my cupcakes and you know what? She bought my cupcakes immediately when they were labeled 4 for 6 dollars (and there were plenty more in the box for others to purchase). Pretty good, isn't it? Oh, I'm just hoping (I'm sure other bakers and sponsors are hoping as well) that everything/anything we do to support will help the Cancer Society doing the research and may help people in need.

My warm regards to all of you who are still fighting cancers (indeed, it goes specially to my dear friend Barbara): my thoughts are all for you. Keep strong, keep fighting, and keep smiling!

Hugs.

Addition: My Mum-in-Law had just been there and there ought to be a misunderstanding about whose cupcakes were there. Because I used cake board and cover from Pak n Save which has Pak n Save still stamped on, they thought the cupcakes are from Pak n Save. But no, I made them myself. I regret this misinformaiton as the ladies didn't take the time to ask my name and where the cupcakes were from. Perhaps not important for them, but it can be for the bakers.

August 29, 2007

Fruit Cake for Daffodil Day




Having known Barbara and get acquaintances with Chris, who both are affected by cancer, either in the past or still at present, gives me enormous feeling over what humans call 'survived'. Reading all the posts from Cooking to Combat Cancer hosted by Chris of Mele Cotte, and Taste of Yellow hosted by Barbara of Winos and Foodies makes me realize that there are many others who are still suffering and fighting their lives, which I believe will require strong will to live and alive. Somehow I am amazed by their fights, these people are stronger than we can imagine.

I used to be one of them, probably I can call myself a survivor. My suffering period was shorter though than other fellows who should be under surgeries and post-surgery treatments for many times in their lives. I just had had it once, and that I felt already like that's it, no more. I am sure none of us would want to carry this disease, not even when it is already there in your body. Oh, with these words and hugs for all of you, my dear fellow bloggers: dont't give up!

31 August is Daffodil Day , a day of cancer awareness throughout New Zealand. With daffodils springing out on the paddocks, we are likely to be reminded that there are many people still suffering and fighting off cancer in their lives. Many fund-raising events are taking place. National Bank is the proud sponsor for supporting the Cancer Society and in Tuakau, where I live, they will have Cake Stalls and Sausage Sizzle (raffle tickets are already available now) on the very day at 7 George Street. I am going to donate my iced cupcakes to the bank on Friday morning. If you want to contribute, you can donate here (remember, every dollar counts!), or go to any fund-raising events Cancer Society and National Bank hold in your area, or another option is: buy my cupcakes!

I'll see you there!

Meanwhile, here's the menu today.

Big Fruit Cake

This fruit cake is enriched with chopped dark chocolate, which is adapted from the funky British chef Gary Rhodes. I have seen his creations on Sugarcraft Magazines. Fantastic!

Source: Taste Magazine. October 2006.

160g currants,
160g sultanas,
50g glace cherries, chopped,
finely grated zest and juice 2 lemons,
3 Tbs brandy,
200g plain flour,
1 tsp baking powder,
¼ tsp ground cinnamon,
½ tsp mixed spice,
pinch salt,
175g butter, softened,
175g caster sugar,
3 large eggs, beaten together,
2 Tbs ground almonds,
100g dark unsweetened chocolate, cut into small cubes,
100ml milk,
70g blanched almond for the top (I didn't use)


Line sides and base of a 20cm cake tin with baking paper. Put dried fruit and glace cherries in a bowl with the lemon zest, lemon juice and brandy, stir well, cover and leave to soften for 1 hour (or up to 12 hours) (I left them overnight, without brandy).

Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt together on a piece of paper.

Put butter in bowl of cake mixer and beat until loose. With machine running, add sugar, a little at a time. Whisk until it is pale in color and like thick cream. Whisk in eggs a little at a time, adding a tablespoon or two of the sifted flour mix to keep the mixture stable.

Fold in remaining sifted dry ingredients, ground almonds, dried and glace fruit with all the juices and the chocolate. Mix in milk. Spoon cake mix into the tin, smooth top. Scatter almond on top or make into a pattern.

Bake for 1 ½ hours in an oven preheated to 170C. Protect the top of the cake with tin foil after the first hour. An inserted skewer should come out clean when the cake is done. Cool in the tin, then, keeping it in its baking paper, wrap in greaseproof paper. Store in an airtight container (uncut, the cake will keep well for a few weeks. Once cut, it will dry out in several days). Serves 20.



August 26, 2007

Home-made Lemonade


I am going to a party, where I am going to meet my buddies.

YAY! And September means Spring here in New Zealand. We've been celebrating the sunny weather these three days. Although it's a bit chilly in the morning and evening, still the sun is bright and warming us up. I think I am going to bring a jug, no, a barrel of lemonade for all of you to enjoy. I am picking lemons which are very much in season, and I boil the grated skins with cupfuls of white sugar to give nice, tangy, lemony and sweet lemonade before I squeeze the juice in. I put plentiful of ice cubes, slice more lemons thinly and throw in handfuls of fresh mint I pick from my herb garden. I am hoping Ivonne and Lis will be okay with this home-made lemonade and all of you will enjoy it as well on this September La Festa al Freso 2007!

I am going to a party, will anyone want to come with me?

August 25, 2007

Russian Rye Bread


A bit of surprise to see the ingredients to make this sourdough rye bread. It is the most interesting bread I have made all my life. The recipe calls for instant coffee and unsweetened chocolate among others.

However, I made rye sour five days ahead and now ready to keep the next procedures on. This is my entry for Bread Baking Day, hosted by Küchenlatein, which the chosen theme is Rye Sourdough Bread.

Russian Rye Bread

The book suggests to have the bread with a thick soup and I made minestrone which I think is quite hearty. I don't sprinkle the soup with shaved Parmesan because my children are allergic to dairy products. The bread itself is quite solid and a bit bitter with molasses and instant coffee. It's the taste you would never find unless you're in Russia or a Russian.

Source: The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook

Doughs made with rye flour and/or molasses tend to be sticky. Although the dough should be fairly stiff, don't continue to add flour to try to completely eliminate the stickiness. You can't. It's just the nature of this kind of dough”. [p.535]

½ cup warm water (warm to the wrist),
2 Tbs or packets active dry yeast,
1 tsp sugar,
6 ½ to 8 ½ cups (King Arthur) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour,
2 cups boiling water,
1 cup pumpernickel (or coarse rye meal) (I don't have it, so I just use the finely ground rye flour),
1 cup shortening or vegetable oil (I use grapeseed oil),
1 Tbs salt,
½ cup molasses,
3 Tbs instant coffee,
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate,
3 cups thick rye sour,
2 cups medium rye flour (I use the finely ground rye flour)

Activating the Yeast: In a small bowl combine the ½ cup warm water, yeast, sugar, and ½ cup of the unbleached all-purpose flour. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean towel and set aside for about 15 minutes, until bubbly.

Making the Dough: In a large bowl, combine the boiling water, pumpernickel, shortening, salt, molasses, instant coffee, and chocolate. Mix to blend. When this mixture has cooled, add the rye sour and the yeast mixture. Add the remaining rye flour and then the unbleached all-purpose flour, one cup at a time, until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.

Kneading and Rising: Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead, adding only enough flour to prevent sticking, for 4-5 minutes.

Give the dough a rest while you clean out and grease your bowl. Continue kneading for another 4-5 minutes, adding only enough flour to prevent sticking. Place the dough in your bowl, turning the dough to oil the top surface. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled in bulk.

Shaping and Baking: When it's fully risen, punch the dough down and divide it into quarters. Shape each quarter into a round loaf and place on a cornmeal-covered (I use rice flour) baking sheet(s). You can also use four bread pans which should be greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Let the dough rise until it's almost doubled in bulk.

About 15 minutes before you want to bake your bread, place a baking pan on the oven bottom (0r on the lowest rack) and preheat your oven to 375F (or 190C). Just before the loaves go in, slash them once across the top (with a sharp knife) about ¼ inch deep (I just did a few slashes, and brush with cold water.

Pour 2-3 cups of water into the pan in the oven to create steam and bake for 35-40 minutes. When the loaves are done, cool them on a wire rack.

Make Friends with Water



I think anyone will know that water is essential to our life, but let me ask you something and be honest: will you choose a glass of water over a cup of cappuccino?

Water makes up 70% of our body weight, 80% of our blood, 70% of our lean muscle, and a whopping 85% of our grey matter” [French Women Don't Get Fat. Mireille Guiliano. Chatos & Windus. 2005. p.163] which should be something to reconsider and aware of. That if we don't drink plenty of water a day, where should our body get it to replace the water it's losing through perspiration, breathing and body wastes? Even though you're eating healthy, food can only give you a few percentage of their water through fruits and vegetables.

Dehydration is often occurred when we're not aware that our body needs a good supply of water to get through the day and the next day-as we also are losing water during sleeping. Often, when we're thirsty, we'd rather drink coffee, tea, alcohol, or soft drinks than a glass of water. It's like answering a question with a wrong answer.

The facts about water is that it contains no calories, it can get rid of stuffs your body never wants, and the good thing is that your body likes it. “Water helps maintain the electrolyte balance in our bodies and can ease everything from muscle cramps to headaches, weakness, and fatigue.” [[French Women Don't Get Fat. Mireille Guiliano. Chatos & Windus. 2005.]

I have become a water drinker since I felt the benefits of it. Starting the day with a glass of water is refreshing the whole organs I have. I seem can think much clearer and my body feels 'light'. Drinking water is also moisten my skin as I have dry skin. The sensation of water is felt very different from a cup of coffee. Water gives cleansing sensation but coffee gives the speed to our vital organ that makes us to rush.

Some people don't really like the taste of water. You probably have your own reason. I always like to slice a lemon or lime in my drinking water, so do my children and hubby. In Ubud, we usually have our drinking water infused with chopped lemon grass leaves. I think whatever the taste is, the lemon, lime or lemon grass can give a flavour you may like. Have a try.

I am giving this logo away for you all who make friends with water and who find its benefits to your health and who would like to spread the words: 8 Glasses A Day. Please, feel free to use it as to a reminder for all of us to keep sipping fresh water. 8 glasses a day is fair enough for our body, folks.

Keep drinking, everyone!



Rye Sour


I am planning to enter Bread Baking Day #3, hosted by Küchenlatein, and is themed Sourdough Rye Bread. I know making sourdough bread needs so much patience, so much devotion, and so much time but the finish products seems endlessly lovely and tastes wonderful. I am still keeping the sourdough starter I have started a few months ago and always since then bake sourdough bread, sourdough sticky buns or sourdough English muffins for breakfast once or twice a week. Especially when we invite friends for lunch or dinner, I can just scoop out the fresh yeast out of the jug. I always love the fragrant steam escaping from the oven. It's something I can't explain. It has all the freshness you can't smell from packaged breads in stores. Perhaps, the joy to get from the scratch gives more appreciative satisfaction towards the crafted hands.

Anyway, I adapt this rye sour as the starter to make sourdough rye starter from the bible-thick baking book The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook. It is slightly different from the plain-flour sourdough starter I have made before as the starter tends to be much thicker, but the humble sour smell remains the same.

Rye Sour

Make sure to prepare the starter 4-5 days before the baking of the bread, as the starter needs time to develop.

1 Tbs or packet active dry yeast,
2 cups warm water,
3 cups medium rye flour,
a thick slice of raw onion

Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the water and blend in 1 ½ cup of the rye flour. Stir in the onion, cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature. Let the sour rise and fall back. After this point, stir the sour twice a day for three days.

Remove the onion and add the second cup of warm water. Blend in the remaining 1 ½ cups of rye flour, cover and set aside again. When the sour has risen and fallen once more, it is ready to use. This will take another day or so.

August 21, 2007

Spanish Cinnamon Doughnuts with Chocolate Pots




We had had a stormy day, it was scary. I felt the roofs were shaken, as if they're going to get blown away. The rain was pouring hard, and we were kept inside, unless it's the time to feed the chooks (= chickens). And today, it is a beautiful day. Very much the opposite situation from yesterday. This is the time we appreciate sun with its glory and shine. With Spring is around the corner, our fruit trees are in buds, daffodils are flowering, tulips and freesias are opening, magnolia tree starts flowering, honey bees and bumble bees are buzzing around happily, little birds are enjoying nectar of Chinese lanterns-including native bird, Tui-, kereru are happily flying here and there, it is just beautiful.

Spring also means that our chooks start laying more eggs. We pretty much collect 10-20 eggs a day and most of them to give away. Some young chooks which just start laying this year lay smaller eggs, and some old chooks tend to give us bigger eggs which sometimes contain of twin yolks inside. The sheep have all finished their lambing season and now lambs are running around the paddock. We've also lost many old sheep (including Lucey) and some newborn lambs which were overdue, and we're adding the paddock inhabitants with yet two bobby calves. Enough the pleasure for the kids.

I am feeling quite like the Spring itself, the vibrant sensation of moods gives me more crave to chocolate. Perhaps the joy of what's stores ahead: beautiful days with lots of work in the garden to prepare Summer displays gives this energy. I have not had chocolate for a while. I don't know quite sure why. I just don't think I want it, but now I do. Making doughnuts, the midgets from Spain, combined with the richness of chocolate pots, oh, a heavenly thing to do!

I just love the flavour of cinnamon and nutmeg in sugar to complete the presentations. The chocolate pots are another bonus. Either scooped while enjoying doughnuts or dip the doughnuts in, they're just great combination.

Spanish Cinnamon Doughnuts with Chocolate Pots

Source: Delicious. ABC. August 2006.


Chocolate Pots

2 cups (500ml) milk, 2 cinnamon quills, roughly broken, 450g good-quality dark chocolate [at least 70% cocoa solids] chopped, 395g condensed milk, 300ml thickened cream, whipped, grated nutmeg or cocoa powder, to dust

Heat milk and quills over low heat until just boiling. Set aside. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth, then remove. Strain milk into chocolate and whisk well. Whisk in condensed milk. Divide among six 200ml glassed and chill for 2-3 hours.

Top chocolate pots with cream and nutmeg, and serve with doughnuts. Serves 6.

Cinnamon Doughnuts

½ cup (110g) caster sugar,
½ tsp vanilla extract,
1 egg,
20g unsalted butter, melted,
½ cup (125ml) milk,
1 ¼ cups (185g) plain flour, plus extra,
1 tsp baking powder,
canola oil, for deep-frying (I used rice bran oil),
2 cups (450g) white sugar with 3 tsp ground cinnamon and ½ tsp nutmeg (I used caster sugar)

Whisk sugar, vanilla, egg, butter, and milk. Add combined flour, baking powder and ½ tsp salt, and stir until smooth, adding extra flour if needed to form a thick batter. Strand for 1 hour.

Half-fill a heavy-based pan with oil and heat to 180C. (If you don't have a deep-fryer thermometer, test a cube of bread-it'll be golden in 30 seconds if oil is hot.)

Fry teaspoonfuls of batter for 2-3 minutes until golden. Drain. Toss in sugar mixture.



August 17, 2007

HHDH #14-Gnocchi



I watched Jamie Oliver's show when he was traveling to Italy. He went to a suburb where the women and children with skilled hands make piles of home-made gnocchi. I was wondering myself if I could ever make those.

Then Lynn of Cafe Lynnylu has chosen gnocchi as the theme of HHDH#14, I almost have to challenge myself if I can do it. It wasn't that easy, I believe, as the dough is not as doughy as I thought before, 
on the other hand, it's very soft which contains more cheese than flour.

However, I made it. The recipe I adapted from Lynn's blog.

August 16, 2007

Comfort Food: Bubur Injit


Bubur Injit

I still recall there was a man who was carrying two large baskets (which were joined with woven rattan and tied up to one long rattan stick which he carries on one of his shoulders) full of sticky black rice pudding that I and other students who were living far from home would buy from. Every morning as we always rise early, he would cry out 'bubur!' [=porridge (in the terms of breakfast) or pudding (in the terms of dessert)] that we all responded by getting our own bowls and met him by the gate. He would ladle a good amount of pudding, then trickle the cooked coconut milk generously. He sometimes would add a good amount of mung beans pudding when we asked him to. That was the memory tracked on a small students suburb in Bandung, the capital city of West Java, Indonesia.

When we went to Bali in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2006, we still could see bubur injin(t) on the menu at Batan Waru Cafe, on Jl. Dewi Sita, Ubud. This pudding is served with vanilla ice cream which my hubby really is fond of. And I am sure there would be more cafes or warungs (small food shops) sell this pudding with different accompaniments.

There are some similar traditional puddings I have cooked and written earlier: Putri Mandi (Sticky Green Dumplings with Thin Rice Pudding), Bubur Sumsum (Indonesian Rice Pudding with Palm Sugar Syrup), and Bubur Candil (Sticky Rice Dumplings in Thin Palm Sugar Pudding), which are cooked in a similar way. They are always enriched with the sweetness of palm sugar and are scented with pandanus leaves (which I luckily can find them frozen in an Asian groceries store in Auckland).

The sticky black rice pudding itself is quite filling and it's an alternative for breakfast when I long for jajanan pasar (Indonesian traditional cakes and cookies sold in traditional markets). They are sometimes served in a traditional 'bowl', moulded from banana leaves. Some of cakes or cookies have different moulds from the others. The mould for klepon (rice dumplings stuffed with shaved palm sugar and rolled in fresh shredded coconut) is different from the one for bugis (sticky rice dumplings stuffed with cooked shredded coconut and palm sugar—quite similar to Putri Mandi; it is steamed in banana wraps/moulds). There are much more traditional values in the Indonesian traditional culinary, I am sharing with you especially those who haven't visited Indonesia and those who have visited but have little time to enjoy all of these goodies, more than meets the eyes.

I just believe that every culture is special and has its own characteristics, for it can only be acknowledged by others through introductions.



Bubur Ketan Hitam (Black Rice Pudding with Cooked Coconut Milk)
Source: Kue-Kue Indonesia by Yasaboga. PT. Gramedia Pustaka Utama. 2007. Jakarta, Indonesia.

This pudding is known as Bubur Injin(t) in Bali and Nusa Tenggara Timur.
150g black rice,
100g sticky rice (glutinuous rice),
250g palm sugar, shaved,
1 ½ l water,
2 pandanus leaves

Wash the rices clean. Cook with the rice and pandanus leaves until soften, then add in the shaved palm sugar and salt. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Serve with thick cooked coconut milk syrup.
Coconut Milk Syrup: 350cc coconut cream cooked with ¼ tsp salt and 2 pandanus leaves until boiled. Cool.
***
DIRGAHAYU REPUBLIK INDONESIA
SALAM MERDEKA!!
***

August 13, 2007

Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Torte... and thank you for the honour!



First of all, thank you to Chris of Mele Cotte, who's thinking I am well deserved for Thinking Blogger Award. I have no idea what it is until I have received Chris's email which I just opened today.

It is my turn now to tag 5 people who make me think. I will need to have a look around, and I'll be back to you who I think deserve the tags. Meanwhile, here is a cake for you to enjoy while I am traveling.

This cake I made on Sarah's birthday last time as my sis-in-law is a Celiac. I found this recipe a long time ago and just have the reason to do it. I used Whittaker's Dark Ghana 72% to substitute the chocolate buttons. The cake contains of nuts and that's the only 'construction' base for the cake to shape. The eggs used here will possibly the elements to moisten the cake. The only thing I have a suggestion is: don't overbake, otherwise, the cake will be dry and very crumbly. You can find the recipe here.

Source: Taste

In Bahasa Indonesia

Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Torte

Cake ini sangat lembut dan berasa kacang almond. Karena tidak menggunakan tepung biasa, cake ini memerlukan perlakuan khusus. Cake sangat rapuh saat masih panas, untuk itu harus didinginkan di loyang hingga tidak panas lagi, baru bisa diangkat dari loyang dan didinginkan seluruhnya di atas rak. Pengangkatan cake dari loyang ke rak dan dari rak ke piring saji juga masih harus hati-hati supaya cake tetap utuh. Cake ini enak disajikan dengan krim kocok dan buah-buahan. Saya memakai Whittaker's Dark Ghana 72%. Menurut saya, menggunakan dark chocolate dengan cocoa solid yang tinggi akan membuat cake ini lebih rich daripada hanya menggunakan coklat compound.

Sumber: Taste Magazine, January 2006. English version just click here from Taste website.

250g coklat kepingan,
150g mentega,
5 btr telur, suhu ruangan, pisahkan kuning dan putihnya,
½ cup icing sugar, ayak,
1 ½ cup almond bubuk,
½ cup gula caster

Panaskan oven suhu 150C. Campur coklat dan mentega yang telah dicincang dalam mangkuk tahan panas, microwave tenaga 100 persen selama 1-2 menit (tergantung dengan watt-nya), lalu aduk rata. Jika adonan belum leleh, panaskan lagi selama satu atau dua menit lagi. Sisihkan hingga agak dingin.

Kocok kuning telur, icing sugar, almond bubuk dan campuran coklat tadi. Di mangkuk yang lain, kocok putih telur hingga membentuk ujung tumpul, lalu masukkan gula sedikit demi sedikit hingga putih telur kaku, seperti proses pembuatan pavlova atau meringue.

Campur kedua bahan dan tuang ke dalam loyang 23cm yang telah diolesi mentega dan dialasi kertas roti. Ratakan permukaan dan panggang di rak tengah sekitar 1 jam, atau sampai matang. Cake ini tidak akan padat dan tinggi seperti cake memakai tepung biasa, tapi bagian tengah cake akan sedikit lunak saat cake diangkat dari oven. Cake ini akan mengeras saat dingin.

Angkat dari oven. Jalankan pisau atau spatula tipis di sekeliling sisi-sisi loyang untuk memudahkan mengeluarkan cake dari loyang. Diamkan di dalam loyang selama kurleb 1 jam hingga dingin. Angkat dari loyang lalu letakkan di atas rak dan dinginkan lagi hingga betul-betul dingin.

Sajikan dengan taburan icing sugar dan ditemani dengan buah-buahan, krim atau yogurt.





August 09, 2007

SHF: Scones


If you ask what I want to taste from the food's original country, I'd like you to know that I want barley scones made from a Scottish good cook's kitchen. Why Scottish? Well, Peta Mathias said in her book that 'scones come from Scotland, the name being derived from the word 'sconbrot' meaning fine white bread, but they mostly became popular in England and thence New Zealand.' [Peta Mathias. A Cook's Tour of New Zealand. Viking. 2005], and I am wondering how good to feel the air of Scotland while munching the real sconbrot made by the real Scottish cook which if I am lucky, I would be enjoying those baked over the fire!

On 4x4 meme last time, I include Scotland as my country wish list, for I just love to imagine a beautiful country with fragrant loaves of home baked bread, scarved ladies wearing their little smiles, bearded men with skirts (reminds me of Billy Connally), barley field... and I can go on and go on.

My mum-in-law usually bakes scones for morning or afternoon tea, for an option after another old favourite ginger crunch or ginger gems. The Coffee Time cafe on King Street, Pukekohe makes a good batch of scones which I like. They have date scones which rather more like a small bread and taste great. Although I prefer to have coffee at Hollywood Bakery on Manukau Rd, Pukekohe, I am just wondering if they will make any scones as good as Coffee Time's. Perhaps, there's a Scottish lady at Coffee Time, I wonder?

Anyway, scones have been on the menu for either morning or afternoon tea at home, from time to time, and they can be made from gluten-free baking mix as well. Although the results are not surprisingly more crumblier than those made from wheat, they just taste as good. Have you tried to eat soup with cheese scones? Have a try, they are as great as dumplings for stew while scones are usually eaten with clotted cream and jam.

Lois Daish suggests in her book “A Good Year” to use currants as an alternative because they tend not to fall off when cut. She also uses more butter than most of us do. Similar method to Donna Hay's Rhubarb Scones, Lois also uses the mixture of milk and yogurt (or cream) or buttermilk to make creamy flavour scones.

The recipe on old favourite local recipe book Edmonds Cookery Book is also ecxellent! Have a good try, you'll know what I mean. This is my entry for Sugar High Friday: Going Local, hosted this month by Passionate Cook.

Scones

'Like cheese-making, if you can make a good scone, it means you are a real woman or man.' Peta Mathias. A Cook's Tour of New Zealand. Viking. 2005.

date scones


Source: Edmonds Illustrated Cookbook. 1998.

3 cups Champion standard plain flour (all-purpose flour),
6 tsps Edmonds baking powder,
¼ tsp salt,
50g butter (I use 80g),
1 ¼ cups milk (I use 1 cup milk, ¼ cup cream/yogurt—or you can do 50% milk and 50% cream/yogurt),
milk

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Cut butter in until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add milk and mix quickly to a soft dough with a knife. Lightly knead. Lightly dust an oven tray with flour. Press scone dough out onto tray. Cut into 12 even-sized pieces. Leave a 2cm space between scones. Brush tops with milk. Bake at 220C for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12.

Cheese Scones: Add ½ cup grated cheese and a pinch of cayenne pepper to flour. Before baking, top each scone with a small amount of grated cheese.

Date Scones: Add ¾ cup chopped dates, 1 Tbs sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon to flour. Before baking sprinkle scones with mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Sultana Scones: Add ½ cup sultanas to flour.

In Bahasa Indonesia

Scones

Adonan scones jangan disamakan dengan adonan roti, meskipun dikategorikan quickbread di Amerika. Cara membuatnya yang super cepat menjadikan alasan kalo scones sangat populer di negara asalnya Skotlandia, kemudian makin terkenal di Inggris dan New Zealand. Adonan scones sangat lembek, dan tidak perlu diuleni hingga kalis. Asal udah nyampur aja dan udah ga lengket lagi, itu berarti udah bisa dipanggang. Kalo terlalu lembek, itu berarti kebanyakan bahan cairan. Tambahin sedikit tepung, lalu dicampur rata, dan uleni sebentar. Lalu panggang.

Sumber: Edmonds Illustrated Cookbook. 1998.

3 cups tepung terigu,
6 sdt baking powder,
¼ sdt garam,
50g mentega (aku pakai 80g),
1 ¼ cup susu (aku pakai 1 cup susu, ¼ cup krim/yogurt—atau 50% susu dan 50% krim/yogurt),
susu (untuk mengoles)

Ayak terigu, baking powder dan garam ke dalam wadah. Remas-remas mentega (sebelumnya dipotong-potong dadu, biar gampang ngeremasnya) ke dalam tepung sampai berupa remah-remah. Tambahkan susu dan campur secepatnya membentuk adonan lunak, menggunakan pisau. Uleni sebentar. Taburi loyang dengan tepung. Tekan-tekan adonan scone, lalu potong 12 sama besar. Sisakan jarak sekitar 2cm di antara scones. Olesi permukaannya dengan susu. Panggang dengan suhu 220C selama 10 menit atau hingga kuning kecoklatan. Untuk 12 potong.

Cheese Scones: Tambahkan ½ cup keju partu dan sejumput cayenne pepper ke tepung. Sebelum dipanggang, taburi setiap scones dengan keju parut.

Date Scones: Tambahkan ¾ kurma cincang, 1 sdM gula dan ½ sdt kayu manis bubuk ke tepung. Sebelum dipanggang, taburi di permukaannya campuran gula dan bubuk kayu manis.

Sultana Scones: Tambahkan ½ cup sultanas ke tepung.



August 06, 2007

White Chocolate



Taste Magazine, April 2006:

White Chocolate is not really chocolate at all as it contains no cocoa solids. It is made from cocoa butter mixed with milk solids, vanilla and emulsifiers. Good-quality white chocolate is made entirely from cocoa butter. Read the label to check for this. Usually, price will be an indicator of quality.” p.44

That probably does explain why white chocolate appears like bleached bars and tastes more milky rather than chocolaty. I am not really fond of white chocolate yet store some bars for time to time, just in case the hormone will make me craving for something really sweet.

I followed this recipe but reduce the sugar by ¼ cup only as the white chocolate is already sweet. I like to taste the milky flavour out of it rather than overpowering the taste by adding so much sugar. However, if you're a madly sweet tooth, you might like to use the whole sugar this recipe tells. The method of mixing the ingredients is also unique.


This is my entry for Brownie Babe, hosted by Myriam of Once Upon A Tart.

White Chocolate Brownie

Source: Taste Magazine, April 2006. p. 44.

275g white chocolate, roughly chopped,
250g butter,
1 cup caster sugar (I use ¼ cup),
4 eggs,
1 Tbs vanilla essence,
2 cups flour,
1 cup chopped pecans, preferably toasted

Icing:
100g butter, softened,
1 ½ cups icing sugar,
few drops vanilla essence,
about 1-2 Tbs milk

Put the chocolate pieces in the top of a double saucepan with the butter. Warm over boiling water until just melted. This can be done in the microwave allowing about 2-3 minutes on high power. Be careful not to overcook the chocolate, as it will burn easily. Cool.

Beat together the sugar, eggs and vanilla essence until mixture is light and fluffy.

Sift the flour and fold into the chocolate mixture alternately with the egg mixture and pecans.

Turn into a greased, floured and lined 23-25 square cake tin.

Bake at 160C for 40-45 minutes until the top is lightly golden but the centre is still a little soft. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature before refrigerating for 3-4 hours. Remove from the tin.

To make the icing, beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Sift the icing sugar and beat into the creamed butter with the vanilla essence and sufficient milk until you have a fluffy, light mixture. If you need the mixture to spread more easily, add a little more milk.

Ice the cake. Cut into squares to serve. Dust with cocoa or decorate with melted chocolate. Makes 24-30 squares.

August 03, 2007

Lemon Curd Cheesecake


Wednesday and Thursday mornings are the days I am going to be at Ben and Sarah's local pre-school. Unlike the other mothers who drop-in-and-go, I have to stay until my children get used to their surrounding. We have to be going back to square one as to assist my children to adjust in their school. As their immune systems are developing and improving, they can attend the school until today, to my delight.

They could only come twice a term last year because they were prone to viral air it might be circulating at school and would then be infected which the worst part was that they would not get better for the whole tiring months afterwards. Consequently, they were drawn back from the other children and never are used to being with them or other parents, and that makes them so timid, especially to those they just have just met. So, yeah I have to stay with them this term, and hopefully will be permitted to go back home while they were having fun with their teachers and friends at school. Finger crossed.

The joy that I feel is that I am quite happy to bake some goodies for morning tea to share with the teachers or parents who were on parent help duties. I have known the teachers since I took the Te Reo (Maori language) class last year, so I am no stranger to them and neither are they to me.

After the carrot cake I made for Sarah's birthday, I baked this lemon curd cheesecake to bring to school. One thing about lemon curd, I remember Barbara had made me a jar of lemon curd on one of our lunch dates last year, as long as I remember. She said she had to scrub the wax off the lemons because they came from a market and she was afraid that the pesticide will still be on the skin. Such an effort, Barb and very much appreciated!

Our lemon trees are always giving plenty fruits which I can use and enjoy all-year round. One of the trees was just planted last year at the backyard, and I just could not believe it myself to see that tiny shrub is bearing so many fruits! The lemon skins are bright yellow and smooth, unlike its 'ancestor' which we're inherited from the previous owner the fruits are much bigger with wavy skin. Perhaps the location was not as open as the tiny shrub is, or perhaps it comes from a different variety.

Anyway, I don't think I need to scrub off the wax as ours are pesticide-free, and the clean wash will do. I usually make lemon curd as a spread on my toasts (or on the sourdough English Muffins) or spread them on to the cheesecake. However, I made this cheesecake using lemon curd mixed with the cheese and cream. That would probably will make this cheesecake tastes more lemony. I don't use much sugar because I rely on the lemon curd to sweeten the cream mixture.

Lemon Curd Cheesecake

I usually make a jar of lemon curd to be finished in a week, if not is used for making this cheesecake. I don't really like to have too eggy curd, so I don't use many eggs. This cheesecake tastes tangy and lemony.

Curd:
6 lemons, wash, grate the skin and squeeze out the juice,
4 eggs, whisk lightly,
1-2 cups white sugar,
pinch of salt,
50g unsalted butter

Put the lemon juice, grated lemon rind (zest), pinch of salt, butter and half measure of white sugar in a saucepan on a low heat until the butter and sugar are dissolved. Stir well. Whisk together the eggs with the remaining sugar until well combined and pour in the hot sugar syrup, stir well. Put the mixture back into the saucepan and cook until the mixture is thicken (which coats the back of the spoon). Pour into a sterilized jar.

Biscuit base:
Mix 250g digestive biscuits, 1 tsp cinnamon, 100g melted unsalted butter, and 1 Tbs milk in a food processor until well combined, and press on to a 20cm cake tin. Chill for 30 minutes or until it's firm.

Cheesecake:
250g cream cheese,
250ml thickened cream,
1 Tbs grated lemon rind,
1 cup lemon curd,
2 Tbs caster sugar,
3 eggs

Beat the cream cheese and thickened cream together until smooth. Add in the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour into the chilled biscuit base and bake in a preheated oven, 160C, until cooked for 45-60 minutes, according to how hot your oven is. Remove from the oven and let cool. Spread with the remaining lemon curd on top of the cheesecake and chill for 4 hours or overnight.