December 05, 2013

Gluten-Free Roti Gambang and Orchard News

This pouring rain we are having for days recently have given me a lot of excuses to be browsing my old recipe books or binders and do baking. I've revisited some recipes I've not made again for years, like this Roti Gambang. I first saw Roti Gambang recipe on one of my Indonesian blogger friends at, but since the site is closed down, I cannot provide you her link. However, she got the recipe from my good friend and fellow Indonesian veteran food blogger, Riana ( 

Roti Gambang is a spice Batavian quick bread which is characterized by the richness of gula Jawa (dark palm sugar--make sure to use Indonesian dark palm sugar, because it's made of palm nectar, not of coconut like many other Asian sugar products), sesame seeds and cinnamon. The addition of almond in the mixture is to give a much crunchier texture. 

I'm using gluten-free flour and almond meal to substitute the wheat and breadcrumbs. They taste just as delicious. I might try to make a rather softer texture next time and bake it in a small loaf tin that we can carry to our summer tree house, enjoying the growing seasons from the height.

Apples, stone fruits, passionfruits and grapes are all at the maturing stage right now, while feijoas are flashing red with their blooms, ready for fruiting in Autumn.

However, we are not lucky with cherries. They are not suitable for our climate, I suppose, since we don't have a very cold winter. These cherries will never be enjoyed by us but birds.

Our strawberries have never ever been staying red too long. We have a three year old merry berry fairy who's ready to pick them each time they start blushing.

It's rather exciting with our orchard this year. On one afternoon, we were visited by a swarm of bees, around three weeks ago, and imminently rang our local beekeeper to help us move them into our ready-and-vacant long-bar beehive we had it made two years earlier. It's about time, we said that bees have eventually come all the way for their new (possible) residential lodge.

Mary Dwen, our local beekeeper, with my husband helping, is removing the bees into the beehive, ever so gently and considerately. We had to hold our breath from afar while watching the whole process. This is a new science lesson for my homeschooling children, for sure.

So yeah. With all of this excitement, we do hope they'll be happy to stay and make honey for us. They don't need to be worried because we are not using pesticides that can harm them. We will be a good provider, ensuring my flower garden is all ready for nectars supplies. Should they be needed.

Roti Gambang (Indonesian Spice Quick Bread)

I'm making the gluten-free version of this quick bread.

Gluten-Free Roti Gambang
By Femina Online
Source: Riana Ambarsari

250 g dark palm sugar, grated (find these at Wah Lee's at Hobson St or Tofu Shop in North Shore if you're in Auckland. Otherwise, dark cane sugar or brown sugar may be used).
175 ml water
380 g gluten-free flour 
125 g almond meal
25 g milk powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp vanilla flavouring essence
2 egg yolks, loosely beaten
200g margarine if you want softer texture, use less for a rather dry one

112g raw slivered almond, crushed lightly with rolling pin

3 Tbsp water, for brushing
3 Tbsp sesame seeds


Put sugar and water in a saucepan on a medium heat. Stir the sugar until dissolved and let it boiled for a while until bubbly. Remove from the stove and let cool.

Combine flour, almond meal, milk powder, salt, baking soda, baking powder, crushed almond and cinnamon powder. Pour in the sugar mixture. Add in egg yolks and vanilla essence. With a thick and strong wooden spoon, mix well until all the mixed dry ingredients hydrated. The mixture should be rather sticky. Add in margarine, mix well. Leave  and cover the mixture a rest for 30 minutes for easy handling. 

Preheat the oven to 150C.

Line baking trays with baking paper. Weigh mixture 75g each, roll into balls, oval shape or long fingers like I do, and put them on the trays. My mixture is not sticky but rather greasy (in a pleasant manner), so there's no need to brush each bread with water. The sesame seeds stick on them easily.

Bake for 30 minutes. I noticed the texture is rather too soft for me, so I re-baked the whole batch in a very slow oven to make them crisp on 120C. They came out fine and we love enjoying them with black jasmine tea.

November 27, 2013

KBB: Gingerbread House

It's the third time I make gingerbread house. First time it was back in 2007 when my good friend's daughters came to visit and had fun decorating the houses with my children ( Second one was for my son's birthday, back in 2008 ( This time, I made it as an entry for KBB's latest challenge.

The design is a bit tricky and unbalanced to my opinion. Or maybe it was me who misunderstood the building instruction and miscalculated the outcome (which it was my mistake!). But I thought I was precise. However, it's done.

Making the dough is not a hassle. It's easy and quick. When the dough was chilling in the fridge, I made the measurement and the house templates. We still have some dough left for extra gingerbread men and animals. Baking and cooling the biscuits while I was washing the dishes.

Then, the fun began. I noticed that the walls on the left and right were shorter than they should be. This is the thing that I thought I didn't measure it correctly. I reread the instruction again, and there the mistake I made. The front and back measurement was supposed to be 51/2 inches wide and 3 inches tall. There's the answer why the roofs can't be fitted well at the joints.

I had a difficulty to keep one of the roofs staying where it should be. I used a support to keep it in place, but it kept sliding down. I was so frustrated that I applied more royal icing to join both roofs, which it was a disaster! 

So yeah. My gingerbread house which is laden with sugary treats has a crack in between the roofs. It stayed strong when the royal icing was set, so it was a relief.

November 26, 2013

Sweet NZ: Hydrangea Cupcakes

I've been too busy with baking these days I don't even realize I've baked a lot of them. It's the fun of producing and decorating that takes away the fancy of eating them. Well, mostly I baked for other people, so I didn't get to enjoy it myself. 

This baking marathon has started with weekly baking to fill in the cake tins for my family, and recently is moving to a further step as to make a contribution to the pre-school's fund-raising gala, and then finished with my mother-in-law's birthday cake and whatnot last weekend.

On the fund-raising gala, I baked a gluten-free chocolate cake in a wonder mold which later on was transformed to be the barbie's dress. I cut the cake into three layers, sandwiched and iced them with buttercream before decorating it with sugarpaste. It took me 3 hours to decorate the barbie, and it was bidded for only $35 (I expected more bidders, but it wasn't really a big crowd of people to be honest), bought by Pam whose daughter was going to have a birthday on a closer date. She could have the barbie before the actual D-day, she said. How lovely.

Moving on closer to the end of November, there is my mother-in-law's birthday coming. She requested to have 'butter and flour' birthday cake, given that I always bake gluten-free goodies. Why not, I thought. So I baked two batches of mud cakes, sandwiched with dark chocolate ganache, and thought of decorating it as a purse cake for her.

I watched Paul Bradford's purse cake tutorial on You Tube and learned how to decorate it from there. Yes, I'm self-taught. I like learning and doing on my own pace and time. It wasn't disappointing, don't you think? I just keep the design simple. I was so happy to see Mum was thrilled and loved the cake as well.

On that very day, I also contributed a plate of gluten-free chocolate brownie cupcakes, iced with chocolate ganache, and gluten-free vanilla bean paste cupcakes, iced with buttercream that I piped on the cupcakes to resemble hydrangeas. 

I'm sending Hydrangea Cupcakes to Mairi ( who is hosting Sweet New Zealand ( this month. Sweet NZ was initiated by Alessandra Zecchini ( as a monthly sweet event of a Kiwi food bloggers.

The vanilla cupcakes can be viewed on Donna Hay's website here ( only that I substitute the wheat flour to gluten-free flour and use vanilla bean paste, since I ran out of vanilla essence. For buttercream, I use my own buttercream recipe. To achieve hydrangea flower resemblance, I coloured half of the buttercream blue and the other half stays white. Using Wilton 2D tip attached in a piping bag, spoon the blue buttercream into the bag, push the buttercream to the side of the bag to make a hole for the white buttercream. Then, spoon the white buttercream into the middle of the piping bag, where you've created a hole. Press to let some buttercream out, then use the next one to pipe on top of the cupcakes. It will create two-tone buttercream flowers, just pipe all around the top of the cupcakes closely one flower to the other. You'll amazed how pretty your cupcakes will be looking. Have fun!

November 02, 2013

Double Ginger Cake

I'm fond of Nigel Slater. The Kitchen Diaries book that I bought myself for Christmas back in 2008 is the cookbook that I often browse through and the recipes I often use in my own kitchen. It is my favourite cookbook.

I particularly love the content of the book and the-matter-of-fact photographs which represent the honest cooking he produces from his kitchen. I love his generosity in using herbs, spices or other ingredients that truly is reflecting a humble soul of a cook who loves to eat and who cares so much about the flavour the particular food has to offer.

In Summer, when my zucchini plants are producing, I always make Nigel's zucchini cakes with dill and feta. I love the creaminess of melted zucchini mingled with the saltiness and distant pungent of feta cheese. I love the presence of dill that intensifies the flavour even more. I also have tried Nigel's Peach and Blueberry Soured Cream Cobbler when there are crops of peach, peachcott or peacherine in our orchard ready to be used in a hot Summer day. We often have it with ice cream or just with whipped cream, sometimes with mascarpone if I have it in the fridge.

Whenever craving for chocolate, I often make Nigel's Chocolate Almond Cake or his 24-carat Chocolate Brownies which are always a hit in the family. Nigel's Coffee and Walnut Cake is my second-favourite to his Double Ginger Cake that I always come back to, every now and then. 

Nigel's Double Ginger Cake is a must-bake cake if you should love ginger. I made my own ginger in syrup two days before I bake the cake. I use young ginger roots I bought from an Asian groceries, peeled and cooked them in white sugar and water. I reserve the syrup in separate drinking bottles for making ginger ale later on (just ginger syrup and soda water to quench our thirst after gardening under the sun on the weekends), and roll the cooked and sliced ginger roots in white sugar, transferred them on a baking tray lined with baking paper, left them dry overnight. The white sugar coated ginger will be crystallized. I chopped these and use them for Nigel's double ginger cake.

I baked the cake a day before we enjoyed slices of it. I've found out later on that a two-days old cake perfects the flavour even more deeper. It's delicious! So delicious I tweeted about it and Nigel himself tweeted back, to my surprise! 

So here's the recipe: if you haven't yet got his book.

October 09, 2013

Curry Puffs aka Karipap, A Way to Enjoy Curry

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Curry Puffs aka Karipap by homemadesbyarfidotcom
When I saw a batch of pasties photos on Widya's facebook timeline, I fell in love immediately. Those pasties look so beautiful with flaked layers that enclosed yummy curried food inside. I thought of making it, and finally gave myself a go.

Curry Puffs by homemadesbyarfidotcom

I came across Sam Tan's blog post in search of Karipap, and I use her recipe to make mine. 

I have never thought the process is that simple. Started by making two kind of dough: water dough and butter dough, and proceeded with filling of your choice, mostly curried one--that's where the name is coming from, I suppose, it is a curry puff. 

Water dough rules the skin part, while butter dough acts like common butter block in butter puff pastry.

Frankly saying, food processor makes chopping and blending as easy as one, two, three. So I saved my time and muscles (doh!) to work on it just to break the ingredients into breadcrumbs-like mixture.

I turned the mixture on my worktop, and manually knead it until it becomes homogeneous, like a butter block.

I weighed each dough and work on them one pair at a time.

Next process is to put the butter block in the centre of the water dough, enclosing it until we have one united dough ball. This dough is ready to roll out.

Roll out thinly and then roll to be spiral, roll out again, and roll a spiral like you normally do when rolling a Swiss roll, so Sam Tan said.

Slice this spiral roll. This is the best part: each slice will carry layers of dough. These layers will determine the beauty of karipap look.

Roll each slice of dough thinly and fill it with prepared filling. I make beef, potato and peas curry, like the one you make for samosa's, which I cooked the day before I make these pasties and cooled in the fridge to develop its flavour even more.

The next step becomes my daughter's work. She loves fold-and-pinch the edge of the pasties. It is a great team work in the kitchen. Pasties are nicely done. 

Curry Puffs aka Karipap-3 by homemadesbyarfidotcom

We enjoyed Karipap as our light lunch. Actually, it is quite filling with potatoes and all, it is not quite 'light' as light. We still have some leftover for dinner as well, and we eat them with some green salad I picked from our garden. So it was pretty much a nice Karipap day!

September 30, 2013

White Wedding Cake for 6 Years of Having Fun

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White Wedding Cake-1
Klub Berani Baking (KBB) is now 6 years old. We are celebrating it with mini wedding cake using a homemade fondant.

To tell the truth, many of us bakers don't often make our own fondant. We think it's time-consuming and we'd rather pick a ready-made one up on the baking isle or purchase it online from a cake decorating shop. But, truly speaking, it's not that difficult making your own fondant. I found out that I need to work fast and use it as soon as it's made, otherwise, it will go rather hard to knead. Not sure if the measurement I made was correct or it's something else. However, it's done and I'm pretty happy with it.

White Wedding Cake-2

This is my entry for KBB's 36th challenge, this month hosted by Moniza and Emma Isti

Modelling Fondant

It is my first attempt to make modelling fondant from this cook book. I usually make my own marshmallow fondant and chocolate modelling fondant which I use on this barbie cake. This fondant is totally new to me. However, I've taken the challenge, so I must go on.

It's quite simple to make fondant. It's just the matter of dissolving gelatin and glucose warm syrup mixture into pure icing sugar, knead well, and voila! Your fondant is ready.

The tricky thing is that fondant will be hard in just a matter of an hour. You must remember how this fondant is wrapped when you pick it up from a supermarket baking isle, so that is what I need to do. Wrap it in thick plastic food wrap and cover it with aluminium foil, store it in the cool spot of my pantry until ready use. I have found my fondant keep well and smooth when I then used it.


Gathering the ingredients for cupcakes is not a problem, since they are all in my pantry. I use Whittaker's White Raspberry chocolate block because I love the raspberry flakes in it and it is to add more flavour in the cupcakes.

The proses is rather simple and is familiar to me as to be added on my weekly home baking venue. 

The cupcakes are quite delicate to my liking. Perhaps because I substitute the flours to gluten-free ones. But I'm not alone here, as I heard other girls in the club getting the same result.

I always adapt the amount of sugar in many recipes, as I'm finding they are too sugary for me. With 75g WHITE chocolate, 75g dried apricots, and 220g of sugar, plus the cupcakes will be covered in fondant, it is way too much for me. I thought I'm a sweet tooth, but compared to many other people, I am not quite there yet. I don't think I will.

Substitution and modifying recipes to your own needs is allowed in the club, so I reduce the sugar by 50% while keep the amount of white chocolate and dried apricots the same. I also use gluten-free flour and almond meal to replace the self-rising flour and plain flour in the recipe.

Baking time was no hassle. In fact, this is the easiest cake I've ever made in the KBB's challenges history. 

OK. Cupcakes done. And here I am, trying to make a cylinder from two sandwiched cupcakes. The cupcakes were rather crumbly, so when they are completely cooled down, I try to trim the edges with my small Japanese serrated knife, which does the job really well. I was attempted to use bread knife, but the eyes are way too big for the job. 

Now, the fun has begun. With the amount of fondant I have, I need to divide it into four parts: three of them are going to be used for covering the cakes, while the rest of them will be used for making flowers.

Daisies are just simple form of flowers. Even if you are a beginner to cake decorating, you will be able to do it, easily. I still keep my cake decorating tools that I used to use when attending a cake decorator gathering somewhere. Now, I'm considered retired (nah, not really).

This homemade fondant, as I said, will turn quite hard when it is exposed in open air, which is excellent for making flowers for decorations, but it's not so good when you try to cover your cakes. I had to knead and re-knead my fondant to keep it smooth after unwrapping it. The trouble is that when it is sticky with apricot jam, then you won't be able to use it anymore, since the fondant will look dirty.

When covering the fondant over the sandwiched little cakes, I notice that it needs a  bit of a technique to actually include the whole cylinders.

First, I discover that the fondant is too stiff to use it to covering the cakes from the top. When I try to smooth the sides of the cakes, the fondant cracked and hardened. It also makes thick frills on the bottom of the cake as I try to gather it to enclose the whole cake. I was not happy.

Second, I roll out the fondant as thinly as possible to form a rough rectangle. I cover the sides of the cake cylinder first, and then cut a circle to match the size of the cake top. It worked, but I wasn't happy with the visible border it creates between the sides cover and the top one. But it would be able to be disguised with decorations.

Third, I cut a circle to match the top of the cake and then run a rectangle-rolled-out fondant to cover the sides of the cake, smoothing the top while joining it. It was not easy but I thought I prefer this technique.

White Wedding Cake-4

With a little imagination to fill it out even more, I thought I have done a good job. Now, it is time to do the taste test. We are all having a slice each, but none of us eating the fondant. The cake is nice, perfect for our gluten-free treat. The white chocolate raspberry is giving more flavour in it, which is rather like a bonus.

White Wedding Cake-5

Well, we were enjoying our little cakes. Happy Birthday KBB!

Proses pembuatan cupcake tidak ada kendala, begitu pula dengan pembuatan fondant dan royal icing. Sepertinya membuat fondant sendiri dan langsung dipakai itu bikin kecil kemungkinan fondant akan langsung keras ya.