January 30, 2008

Baked Donuts


I quite agree with what Heidi wrote on 101 Cookbooks about baked donuts. What is more that I don't have to use any oil (save a weekly groceries list for oil)! Perhaps, a healthy option than the fried ones, because these donuts are baked just like you bake bread. I made this donuts for Time to Make Doughnuts hosted by Helen teamed up with Peabody. I used icing sugar to coat the donuts and I made them in donut pans. Have a great time with donuts!

January 26, 2008

Butterscotch Cupcakes

butterscotch cupcakes

There's always something beautiful about cupcakes. Little cakes are so easy to make, a delightful treat for the children, and there are so many decorate-as-you-please options one would prefer to do. Look at Barbara's pink cupcakes; Deeba's Esspresso Chocolate Chip Cupcakes, and, see this? Aren't they gorgeous? How about Denise's? Superb with lime and coconut. I love the flavour!

My first decorated cupcakes somehow became popular in the groups when they were featured on one of national's Sundays newspapers in Indonesia in 2005 (which was a surprised because I have been living in New Zealand since 2002 and never read the paper, thus I don't keep the archive). I've tried to bake cupcakes in tea cups which were toffeed, I've made fancy cupcakes to participate on Daffodils Day, and now I am trying out these beautiful 'adult' cakes Donna Hay makes. Who can resist moist and smooth cupcakes with the creamy and caramel flavour topping for just a few time spending time in the kitchen with the pleasant tastes to go along the way? I can't. These cakes can also be enjoyed for dessert or for after-lunch/dinner coffee. Coffee goes well with butterscotch. Or, perhaps you can match it with your favorite drinks? There are unlimited options, really. I only decorated them with fresh cherries.

And, no they are not from the orchard. We have had bad, bad, bad cherry crops this year. From 4 cherry trees, none of them is producing. Well, yes, there were flowers in Spring and yes there were young fruits emerged when the flowers finished, but no crops, whatsoever. The tallest tree was bearing a clump of fruits but then was attacked by black aphids and we could not get the hang of it. We'll try again next year with better treatment. Hopefully, we'll be able to enjoy cherries from our own orchard.

butterscotch cupcakes

Butterscotch Cupcakes

Source: Donna Hay magazine.

250g (8 ¾ oz) butter, softened,
1 ½ cups brown sugar,
4 eggs,
2 ¼ cups plain (all-purpose) flour,
2 tsps baking powder,
1 cup (8 fl oz) milk


25g (¾ oz) butter,
½ cup brown sugar,
½ cup (4 fl oz) (single or pouring) cream

Butterscotch cream

I found that Irish cream essence is quite pleasant for giving a hint of the butterscotch taste to replace the liqueur for us who don't/can't consume alcohol.

2 cups (16 fl oz) double (thick) cream,
3 Tbs butterscotch-flavoured liqueur

To make the caramel, plate the butter and sugar in a saucepan over high heat and stir until dissolved. Add the cream and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Set aside and cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 160C (320F). place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well. Sift over the flour and baking powder and beat until combined. Fold through the milk and spoon the mixture into two 12-hole ½-cup (4 fl oz) capacity muffin tins lined with paper patty cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool on wire racks.

To make butterscotch cream, place the cream and liqueur in non-metallic bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Spread the butterscotch cream over the cupcakes with a palette knife and drizzle over the caramel. Makes 24.

January 23, 2008

Hay Hay It's Donna's Pizza!

The weather has been really unpleasant these past two days. We've been receiving strong wind which should not be happening in Summer when we should be enjoying the heat of the sun. On the other hand, the rain gives good drops for the dry ground, although it's not much, I suppose, it's better than none. However, strong wind is a great enemy for the caterpillars because they often are blown and dropped to the ground. I found out that we've lost two caterpillars (out of 92—so far) already caused by the strong wind. The good news are there are first 4 pupas (cocoon) found and more of the big and fat ones are at present getting really quite and separating themselves from the crowd to search for a good spot to hang upside-down, to be ready to spin its wax around and start the next cycle of life. They usually hang on the back of a leaf.

The kids are so excited now watching the caterpillars grow from eggs until pupas, better than last year when they showed less interest. They always check the caterpillars up everytime they wake up in the morning and whenever they feel like to during the day. They enjoy counting how many possible monarch butterflies they can keep or watch hatched out coming from their garden. A good science for littlies, really. I keep jotting down the butterfly-to-be on my calendar and of course, taking pictures to archive for their photobooks that they can keep for their whole life.

Back to the kitchen, I start doing the baking again. Started with pizza which I made for the club's third challenge taken from a different recipe, I think I can feel the affection for baking comes back. Yes, I lost my baking mojo (how this thing happens, I have no idea, but Bruno as well is kind of attacked by the similar blues) for quite some time. If you can see I haven't posted any baking stuffs, that's because I was tired of it, got no mood to start, whatsoever. I am just happy that it is not last that long. I am back on baking track again and for sure, you can expect some sweets from my kitchen in the future! YAY!

I am sending this as an entry for HHDH#17 , hosted by Joey of 80 Breakfast.

Find the recipe here. I just used my own topping: using leftover sausages, tomato paste, kalamata olive, and chopped basil. My kids just love them with chopped pineapple and tomato paste with smoked chicken. We have pizza with home-made chips and a bowl of salad. Usual serving, really.

New Zealand Sweets: Hokey Pokey

Children song:

you put your right arm in,
your right arm out,
in out, in out,
you shake it all about,

you do the hokey pokey and you turn around,

that's what it's all about

oh do the hokey pokey (3 times),

knees bent, arms stretch, roll roll roll

(repeat with left arm, right leg, left leg, and yourself)

I used to do hokey pokey with the kids in the kindergarten when I was still teaching at a Montessori-adopted international curriculum kindergarten school in Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia. Actually, there was a great moment to do this when we could stand, gather, and move together in the same movement. It is a cheerful simple music a child can enjoy. It's so fun that I still am doing it with my own kids. They love the rhytmn, dance, and songs. The movement itself builds a happy

Now, there's a hokey pokey which is not a kind of folk dance in New Zealand, but it is something you can enjoy. Hokey pokey is a kind of brittle but not as hard. It is as well sweet as light and it is old-fashioned. Every old-fashioned according to me is more appealing to explore. You can wrap this as a Christmas present a child will love or break it on your ice cream. Even enjoy it as it is is quite desirable.

This is my entry for Sugar High Friday, themed Candy, this time hosted by Gambini.

hokey pokey with ice cream

Hokey Pokey

Source: Edmonds Cookery Book.

5 Tbs sugar,
2 Tbs golden syrup,
1 tsp baking soda

Put sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Stir occassionally, if necessary, to prevent burning. Remove from heat. Add baking soda. Stir quickly until mixture froths up, pour into a buttered tin immediately. Leave until cold and hard. Break into pieces.

January 20, 2008

Tofu Terrine with Candied Red Chillies

I first tasted terrine at a dinner held by Family Court committee in Manukau City, just to accompany my husband who's involved in domestic violence course as a councellor. I just tried each terrine which looked like different at each table. I loved the earthy flavour of smoked eel terrine they served.

I don't often see terrine made with tofu. Most of the terrine recipes I read in cookbooks are made from the mixture of meats and I think probably tofu is not one option of all. However, my curiosity of getting tofu to the front gives me an idea to combine the ingredients which are relatively close and everyday-flavour type to give more experiment for the palate. This is my latest experiment to give Asian flavour in traditional terrine. I don't use alcohol, of course, but I used rice vinegar, instead. I used basil leaves which I think can lift up the hot flavour in the dish, and also basil makes a good friend with garlic. Yes, they both are spicy but I do believe they will compliment the taste of tofu to the front.

The addition of candied red chillies is another accomplishment which I think will give another burst of flavour. The idea of my mother's home-cooking is tofu eaten with sambal kecap (kecap manis: sweet soy sauce), sliced red chillies or bird chillies, and raw or fried shallots) can be adopted to something sweeter and easier than that. So, I come up with the candied red chillies.

The terrine is good to eat as 'is' as an appetizer, or served with toasted triangles (white or sourdough is fine) and perhaps, accompanied by good wine? I'll give it up to you to try and taste it, more experiments will be enrichen the world of culinary experiences, won't it?

This is my entry for Waiter, There's Something in My... Terrine, hosted by Johanna of Passionate Cook.

Tofu and Herbs Terrine with Candied Red Chillies

I use silky tofu which has no crust or thick surface for this terrine.

500g tofu,
4 cloves garlic, minced,
1 tsp curry powder,
100g blue cheese,
200g thickened cream,
1 tsp rice vinegar,
1 tsp raw sugar,
1 tsp gelatin,
a good handful of fresh basil leaves,
salt to taste

Poach tofu in boiling water for 5 minutes, removed and drained. Dry fry the curry powder until fragrant. Process poached tofu, minced garlic, curry powder, thickened cream, vinegar, and basil together in a food processor until smooth. Dissolve the gelatin in 1 Tablespoon hot water and stir into the mixture. Season to taste. Pour the tofu mixture into a mould. Refridge overnight. Serves 6-8.

Candied Red Chillies

A tiny portion is only needed to add flavour to the terrine.

10 red chillies, split, seeds removed, cut into tiny cubes,
3 Tbs white sugar,
3 Tbs lime syrup,
1 Tsp lemon juice,
3 Tbs water

Put sugar, syrup and water in a saucepan. Heat until boiling and bubbling. Add in the chillies, keep cooking until the mixture is thickened. Remove from the pan and serve with terrine.

January 18, 2008

Call A Spud A Spud

Potato (solanum tuberosum) is listed under the same family of eggplant/aubergine (solanum melongena), although we won't guess they are, to judge by appearance. We grow our own spud of yellow and red skin, and another patch of Maori potato which has purple skin.

Michelle of Greedy Gourmet invites us to capture the best moment of our bond with potatoes or the potatoes with us, with different style, cooked or uncooked, you're the best of imagination. I am sending this entry for SnackShots #1: Potato.

I put the washed potatoes in a clear vase. My concept is a potato 'cocktail'.

January 17, 2008

Can you guess?

Can you guess what they are? Cherries? Think again!


Look closer!

tempting red

Still think they're cherries? Well, have another look!

Dans Early Plums

What do you think?

Dans Early Plums
Harvested: early December 2007
Sweet, Juicy, Blood Red, and Petite

January 12, 2008

Grow Your Own: Garlic and Courgette

Courgette/Zucchini is one of my favourite Summer vegetables. They may look like cucumbers but taste far from alike. They even come from different families: courgette comes from cucurbita which is in the same family of pumpkin, Summer squash, and Winter squash, while cucumber comes from cucumis (sativus cultivars). I just love courgette for ratatouille, stuffed, or stir-fried.

Courgette is a very generous plant. When they love the soil with lots of manure and sun, they'll grow very quickly and will produce more than you can expect to supply your needs. Their flowers are also usually used for wrapping or stuffing. We are highly likely going to be enjoying the menu of courgettes in weeks!

Earlier in Summer, I harvested my garlic which I planted around the roses (a little bit earlier than last year's). It is said that garlic can prevent diseases for roses and also will enhance their fragrance. Since I have scented roses, I thought it would be good to plant garlic around the roses while they can act as guardians for them.

While many of you are enjoying the warmth of woolly jumper and a sip of chocolate drink, we're celebrating the festive of heat in New Zealand with iced drinks and thin layer of clothes. We had had rain yesterday but it was not that heavy, and today it is sunny again. I am sending this as an entry for Grow Your Own, hosted by Andrea of Andrea's Recipes.

Garlic and Courgette Spaghetti

You may find that my recipe is very basic, but I do believe that less is more. The addition of runny yolk from the soft poached home-produced eggs is something we love on our pasta cooked like this. I sometimes add some chopped basil or oregano to the mixture when tossed with spaghetti, since courgette is pretty bland. However, feel free to modify as to your liking.

400g spaghetti, cooked as instructed,
2 courgettes, grated,
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped,
grated Parmesan,
salt and pepper,
olive oil

Heat the oil in the frying pan, cook the garlic until fragrant but not brown. Add in grated courgettes, cook for two minutes or until the courgettes are going to soften. Remove from the oven. Toss with the cooked spaghetti and some cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining cheese. We eat them with soft poached eggs. Makes 4.

Click: Liquid

A glass of lemonade. A favourite drink. I took the picture out, overlooking the orchard. I was weeding and needed a glass of cold drink and I thought, oh well, I should try to take a picture of it. So, here I come up with. I use only the sun as the main light. I thought the background of seeding grass is giving a vision (hopefully) that it is hot in New Zealand. This is my entry for Click Photo Event, created by Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi.

January 07, 2008

Sugar-Grilled Nectarines and Strawberries

What's not to enjoy in Summer than enjoying plentiful of berries and stonefruits as well as tomatoes and beans? It's a festive season, time to get hot, and enjoy the Summer breeze with lots of sunscreen, large hat, good books, and sunnies. I think everyone in New Zealand is celebrating the season with lots of outdoors, either dining or other activities. Beaches are very crowded. It's just lovely.

Although we are not planning to go back to Indonesian until June, I'm quite happy to be in New Zealand during Summer. It would be nice to be able to stay in Indonesia for 3 months to avoid the icy Winter seasons, but it's a lot difficult to do the immigration procedures now I am a New Zealand citizen. They will treat me like a tourist in my own home-country, that's a sad fact. I am only allowed to stay for 3 weeks with visitor visa, that's it. Not even enough to stay with my mother while we're still missing each other, let alone to do some interesting sightings I've dreamed of. Sigh.

However, what is going to happen happens. Right now, we have something important to celebrate: sun and fruits.

I usually don't cook fruits unless they are tart I will make chutney, jam, or fruit cheese. Yesterday, when we did our every-Summer-habit (going to the orchard and spending more time picking and nibbling the fresh fruits), we found out some nectarines were going soft as the fungus attacked. We suspect that as we get more humidity, the fruits tend to develop fungus. To save the lots, I took them in and washed them, cut the affected area off, then cook them with strawberries under the grill. I read the recipe to grill the fruits on one of Donna Hay magazines but I forget which is which.

I send you this Summery fruits on the occasion of Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Vani. Check out more on Weekend Herb Blogging on Kalyn's Kitchen.

Sugar-Grilled Nectarines and Strawberries

Source: Donna Hay magazine.

I eat these fruits with yogurt for dessert. Oh, they're sublime!

6 nectarines, washed, halved, stone removed,
200g strawberries, hulled,
½-3/4 cup white sugar (depending how sweet are your nectarines and berries),
¼ tsp vanilla bean paste

Preheat the oven under hot grill. Place the halved nectarines in a roasting pan, cut-side up. Spoon in the vanilla, mix well. Sprinkle the strawberries over the nectarines. Sprinkle the sugar on top of the fruits. Grill until the fruits are cooked and golden brown.

January 03, 2008

Langue de Chat: Not So Ordinary Tongues

Lidah [lee-daah] means tongue in Bahasa Indonesia, but these tongues are not some of those bloody kinds which are used in curry or sauteed in a hot pan. These are cookies and they taste wonderful. Often, people in Indonesia would choose these tongues to be the option to spend leftover egg whites taken from million-eggs recipes like Lapis Surabaya or Lapis Legit as both recipes use more egg yolks rather than the whites. To overcome the problem, the common choice is to make lidah kucing [kwoo-cheeng], literally means cat's tongue (lidah = tounge; kucing = cat).

These cookies are a marriage between butter cookies and meringue. They taste neither too buttery nor does too sweet and light as meringue. They are lighter than butter cookies and heavier than meringue. That kind in between, how do you suppose to call them? The best way is just to call them lidah kucing or langue de chat. I just found out that these cookies are coming from France.

They're quite rich for a little nibble, but I suppose that the content of protein in egg yolks are shifted to something lighter, and you probably have less thing to worry about expanding your waisteline (that when you eat it in moderation, really).

I made two kinds of lidah kucing which are different in flavours: one is nutty and the other one is chocolaty. I also managed to spend the egg whites to make meringue for my beloved hubby, and used a little more to dip the croquettes for light lunch.

Lidah Kucing Almond [the cookies mixed with almond and flavoured with almond essence]

Source: D'ez Kitchen, Edisi Oktober 2006.

I use dark chocolate to drizzle the cookies.

Indonesian Version click here.

lidah kucing almond

200g margarine,
100g butter,
250g icing sugar,
150cc egg whites,
150g chopped toasted almond,
250g plain flour,
½ Tbs almond essence,
½ tsp salt,
½ tsp baking soda

Beat margarine, butter and sugar until creamy. Sift plain flour in another bowl, add in almond, salt, and baking powder. Fold into the margarine mixture, mix well. Add in the essence. Beat the egg whites until stiff, fold in carefully into the butter mixture and mix until well combined.

Preheat the oven 150C-155C. Line baking tray with lightly greased baking paper. Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip/nozzle. Pipe fingers. Bake for 20 minutes (turn the baking tray around in 10 minutes) until golden brown.

Lidah Kucing Chocolate [flavoured with cocoa powder and vanilla essence]

Source: Femina or Kartini Booklet (Mother's recipes collection).

langue de chat - chocolat

This method is different from above recipe as there's no need to whisk the egg whites until stiff. The taste is rather chocolatey but the texture tends to be heavier than the almond version. Perhaps different method gives different results.

125g icing sugar,
125g butter,
50cc egg whites,
100g plain flour,
25g cocoa powder,
vanilla essence

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add in the egg whites, beat until fluffy. Sift the flour and cocoa powder, fold into the butter mixture. Mix carefully until well combined. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe onto a greased baking tray. Bake until golden brown. (I use same oven temperature as above).

Bahasa Indonesia:

125g gula halus,
125g mentega,
50cc putih telur,
100g tepung terigu,
25g coklat bubuk,
esens vanili

Kocok mentega, gula dan vanili sampai lembut. Masukkan putih telur, kocok terus sampai mengembang. Ayak tepung bersama coklat bubuk, lalu masukkan ke dalam campuran mentega. Aduk perlahan sampai tercampur rata. Masukkan ke dalam kantong segitiga, dan semprotkan ke atas loyang yang sudah diolesi mentega. Bakar hingga matang.