July 31, 2013

Gluten-Free Chocolate Whoopie Pies and Earl Grey Teas

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Winter comes in with its southerlies bone-chilling blow that makes a tropical gal like me have to seek a refuge to find the warmth spot possibly found around the house (or from someone I know and love so much). Sitting close to the fireplace is quite comfy, especially when it's enjoyed with good companies, hot drinks and a plate of sweets.

hot chocolate

Hot chocolate is the ultimate drink in wintertime no doubt, however, coffee or tea can be rather a common deal as well. 

hot tea

I love my Earl Grey teas. It may come from any brand, whether it's packed by let's say Twinings, T2, Coffee and Tea Lovers, or Dilmah to name a few, I can just expand my options. 
Anzac bikkies, a cup of Twining's Earl Grey tea, and a good book about Thinking, Fast and Slow written by Daniel Kahneman--not a fiction I'm sorry. 365 project.I got a nice surprise in the mailbox this morning. Since I am a loyal customer of a props store, they sent me a box of Monk Pear tea, which is a mixture of black tea, jasmine petals and flavour (bergamot and sweet pear). I'm loving it! #PicFrame#Chinese #Buns filled with aduki beans paste that I made last night. #tea #food #cooking #iphoneasia #iphonesia #homemade #foodporn #foodphotography #iphoneography365 project. iPad2. Gluten-free Chocolate Chiffon cake. Roast peaches. A cup of tea.

Nonetheless, loose teas Monk Pear from T2, and Superior from Coffee and Tea Lovers are my two top favourite of Earl Grey teas so far. They have unique flavors, packed with the essential Earl Grey iconic citrus scent Bergamot, with additional goodness of herbs, dried fruits or dried fragrant flowers, which will be bursting in each sip and gently tickled my senses. 


Loose teas have fresher taste than those are dusted in bags, my opinion. However, they often are available only at specialty shops like T2 or Coffee Tea Lovers, which is rather costly. Perhaps, you may think I'm quite consumptive, but then I don't buy Gucci bags, own expensive cameras with expensive super lenses, wear Jimmy Choo shoes, buy world-brand cosmetics, have a walk-in wardrobe crammed with designer clothes, go partying at luxurious villas and drink posh wine or champagne, spend time holidaying every month--if not year at the grandest hotels while traveling around the world, or dining at the finest Michelin-star restaurants. I don't live in a glitter world, but I just like my cup of tea with qualities. Simple as that.

Nope, I don't feel guilty by simply enjoying my cuppa. After all, it makes me happy.

As happy as my children when I made these little whoopie pies. There's something about these hucklebucks that attracts so much attention of young ones. Perhaps, it's its soft texture, or the filling sandwiched in between. Or perhaps both.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Whoopie Pies2

Or how Donna Hay's serves whoopie pies can be seen as a clever preference from my young ones' view.

I substitute the flour with gluten-free and add a little almond meal in the mixture. I thought the filling will be too sweet for my children, so I just make a simple chocolate buttercream and roll the sides of the whoopie pies with chocolate hails, specially ordered right from Indonesia.

July 28, 2013

A Guest Post: Gluten-Free Coffee Chiffon Cake

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Back in June 15th, I received an email from Lubna that she'd like me to write a blog post for Ramadan issue on her blog. I have had written about Indonesian traditional food and those comfort food I love since I was a child a lot in this blog, so I thought I could do something hot happening at that current time.

Since I was craving for coffee, therefore, my entry for her Joy from Fasting to Feasting VI was Coffee Chiffon Cake.

Chiffon cake may be told to be a rather tricky one to make. Not many food bloggers in the world ever made chiffon cake, but it seems quite a popular cake in the Asian world.

I once ate chiffon cake which was made of white glutinous rice flour in Ubud, Bali when one of our staff members held a Hindu ceremony for her newly-built temple. The chiffon cake was made for the offering. Nevertheless, she served some slices for us, as to respect our presence during the ceremony. It tasted rather surprisingly good. It was light. Although a bit dry to my taste, it was just as delicate.

When Klub Berani Baking challenged us to bake our own chiffon cake back at the 16th task, I dared myself to experience more of it. I made Chocolate Chiffon Cake, Rainbow Chiffon Cake, Pandan Chiffon Cake, to name a few. And there are loads more if you surf Google, from the most favourite one to the most unique.

The flour used for chiffon can be anything. Take a look at Widya's Banana Chiffon Cake which made of black glutinous rice flour, for an option. 

The flavour is your preference, and perhaps with a little adventurous mind, you can make chiffon cake ubiquitous. There is Jasmine Tea Chiffon Cake, made by Mira; Cheese Chiffon Cake, made by Sofie, Carrot Chiffon Cake made by Syanti, or the particular combination of this Red Guava Chiffon Cake made by Lukie.

To combine fruits in chiffon cake is a common practice. There's Blueberry Chiffon Cake by Kitchen Corner, Durian Cheese Chiffon Cake by Sajian Sedap, and how about this Strawberry Chiffon Cake by Betty Crocker? Like I said, chiffon cake is ubiquitous.

Well? Are you interested in trying to make it now? Don't think of its tricky part, but think how much fun you're going to put into it. Once you get hold of correct whisked egg whites consistency, you might as well get yourself experience more flavour. The thing that I actually will do myself.

Have fun!

July 15, 2013

Spice Up with Sate Padang

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Sate Padang
My son and I are spice lovers. It's a statement. We are like those soldiers who are wounded in a battlefield but keep shooting at the enemies until the last drop of blood leaked out. We 'fight' the heat of chilies that squeezes the snort out on a gentle force.  We 'suffer' the peppery sting that shocks the tongue. And we savour the delectable of spices until the last drip of sauce licked clean. It's that kind of adventure, enjoying a plate of homemade Sate Padang. Finishing the meal itself is a strong endeavour, I tell you. 

The richness of spices in it is incredible. First bite, there is a punch of peppery flavour that kicks in your taste buds. The next thing is that all the spices are blending in, offering you the heat, the savoury, and the saltiness-type of Padangese cuisine.

I always love Padang food. The mixed flavour of spices in it have that kind of effect on your enslaving nerve in your brain. Each bite successfully entices each taste bud I have. Although I often get that ear-tingling-hot-like-a-steam-loco after such a journey, I'll be coming back for more. It's beyond a thought. It's just what-so-called sensational, I would say.

Back in 2009, the first time I made Sate Padang my own was rather a success. That was to see the kids enjoying each bite. Surely, I did not make it too hot for their taste, but just enough for them to understand how hot the mixture of chili and pepper can be. And THAT is what flavour real Padang cuisine will be like back home.

I used meat which was not lean to try to 'impersonate' the real sate Padang sold at Padang restaurants or street vendors. Apart from fatty meat, it's common to use ox tongue. Now, I don't eat animal guts however fancy you cook them at whatever Michelin Star a restaurant is, cooked by however clever and famous your chef is. I just keep helping myself to think where that piece of meat coming from. And it is rather worrying.

So, when I dag out of the freezer and found corned tongue we preserved from latest home-kill, my mind ran wild. I wonder...if I can use this tongue to make Sate Padang and change my opinion about animal's insides.

The thing about corned tongue, it is preserved with sodium chloride, therefore, it is salty. So salty, I am not sure if the spices can even penetrate in to change the flavour. But... 

One thing to find out is to actually do it. So, I dare myself to cook this poor corned tongue with nothing but water in a pressure cooker twice, by changing the water fresh every 15 minutes before cooking another 20 minutes, in order to reduce the saltiness in the meat. I peel and dice the cooked tongue--first time to deal with such organ, kind of weird, however the show must go on. My cooking time is much faster than the one stated on the recipe below, as I'm using a pressure cooker.

Time to cook the spice paste in a low heat and rub this on and around the diced meat. I crossed my fingers to Heaven it will work. 

Although perhaps it could work better with fresh tongue, I'd say it was not too disappointing. In fact, it is not disappointing at all. There is a texture of corned meat mixed with spices that enliven the whole lot. I would expect something too salty in it, but it did not taste like it at all. I guess, I cook it right by boiling it twice prior to spice it up.    

Now, Padang cuisine does not use bird chilies to heat the flavour up, so I am told. They use dried or fresh red chilies, the wavy and slender type of chilies. I grow chilies in my garden , so I use a fairly amount of them to make paste, just to wake the flavour up, but not enough to give old loco impact though.

Sate Padang-2

May the battle begin. My son and I loved it to every bit. We salute to the spices, we thank the Almighty for creating such clever people to invent the recipe.

Future predict? Weeeeell, I'm not a huge fan of animal guts, you see. So, I'm happy I have tried, but now I know where I am standing. Thank you, but no more, thanks.

Sate Padang a la Sumiyati

I have to adjust some of the ingredients here. I have to omit the use of turmeric leaves since I have never seen any fresh turmeric here. No fresh turmeric, no fresh turmeric leaves. I substitute garcinia with tamarind, just 1 tsp. I use beef stock to enrich the gravy. I also reduce the use of chili paste to half amount. So, it's all good.

1 kg ox tongue
3 turmeric leaves
3 kaffir lime leaves
galangal, bruised
lemongrass, bruised
1 Tbs curry powder
garcinia xanthochymus
2 Tbs rice flour + 2 Tbs tapioca flour
vegetable oil

Spice Paste:

15 shallots
7 cloves garlic
4 Tbs chili paste
4 cm turmeric
4 cm ginger root
2 tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp salt

Here's how to.
Cook ox tongue in boiling water for 7 minutes, removed, peeled and trimmed. Wash clean and cook again in a salted water for an hour. When it is cooked, removed, and diced to 1x1x2 cm. Reserve the stock around 600ml (I add beef stock powder here before further cooking). Have this stock ready on a medium heat.

Heat a frying pan or wok, add in oil. Cook the spice paste until fragrant. Add in leaves, lemongrass, galangal, and curry powder. Put 2/3 of the cooked spice paste into the ready stock. Add in garcinia.

Mix rice flour and tapioca flour in a bowl with enough water to dilute, pour into the boiling stock while whisking. The sauce will be thickened fast, so you need to keep stirring. Cook until thickened, removed from heat, and set aside.

Mix the cooked and diced ox tongue with 1/3 remaining spice paste on a low heat until just coated well--no need to cook it even further. Removed from heat. Thread the meat using (soaked in water prior to use for 30 minutes to avoid burning) bamboo skewers.

BBQ the sate for 3 minutes each side, removed. Serve with gravy and sprinkled of fried shallots. Eat warm with the iconic rice cakes (ketupat: is rice cakes wrapped in coconut leaves; lontong: is rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves--Padangese commonly use ketupat, but you can use either or, why not!).

Have a blessed Ramadan!