Monday, January 22, 2018

Lemon And Thyme Shortbread Cookies



I was searching a good shortbread cookies that is easy to make and taste good. When I came across this recipe from WriteOnRubee, I knew I had to make it. Lemon and thyme are a perfect match for this shortbread cookies. The recipe calls for 2 hours chilling in the fridge but I left it overnight as I wanted to bake them in the morning, reason being weather is cooler. 

I woke up at 5am , listen to a sermon on Youtube and spent 20 mins workout with my 1.5kg dumbbells. I had a great workout, bathe and within 15 mins, I had the shortbread cookies baking in the oven. Buttery, lemony thyme-y fragrance filled the whole kitchen . Even my furkids are excited.  They know they will be treated to a piece each :)  What to do, this mommy loves them so much.  Sharing is caring !  I made half a load which is about 25 pieces and just perfect for hubby and I .  For the next two days, we can have these delectable cookies for our tea or midnight snack :p  I love the beautiful texture , has a  light crunch, melts-in-mouth , bursting with lemon,thyme and buttery flavor.  It is truly addictive. I will surely make a full load on the next round.  Hubby is happy and I am happy.


you can see from the picture, I took a bite and gosh
it was so good that I almost forgot the photo session :p


 because I did a half load, I use the hand whisk I bought from Daiso
to cream the butter and sugar till creamy


I forgot to chop the thyme leaves :p

 because the weather is hot, I prefer to shape the
dough into a long log of 1" diameter ,using the cling wrap
to wrap the soft dough
Chilled the soft dough overnight before slicing
 into 1/4" thick slices


after a night in the fridge, it is easier to slice the dough


bake them for 17 mins @175C /350F till you see
the edges are slightly brown.

once the cookies has cooled down, use a spatula
to lift them onto a rack to further cool them
once harden, you can store them in air tight container


photoshoot time is my favourite time, 
I hate the washing up , I wish I have a maid to do it :p



Lemon And Thyme Shortbread Cookies - adapted from Write On Rubee

 * I halved the recipe when I make mine - 25 pieces

ingredients

250 g unsalted butter softened at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar *  I reduced sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 tsp of fresh thyme leaves  * I used 2 tsp
zest from 1 lemon
2 cups all purpose flour

Method:
1. Rub half the zest with your fingers into the sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Using a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it is smooth and creamy. Add both sugars and salt and continue to beat one minute more.

3. Reduce to low and beat in the egg yolks until blended.

4. Add flour, thyme, and the remainder of the zest and briefly pulse your mixer about 5 times at low speed . If you still see flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of more times.  Mix just enough to incorporate the flour into the dough.  It should be a uniform, clumpy, soft dough.

5. Scrape it out onto a piece of cling wrap, pat it into a ball, and divide in half.  Gently flatten each piece into a oblong shape about an inch thick and chill for at least 2 hours.  ( or overnight )

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees when ready to bake and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

7. Remove dough from the refrigerator about 7-10 minutes before rolling, just so the dough softens enough to be slightly pliable.  Roll out to 1/4-inch thick and cut out shapes with a biscuit or cookie cutter.

8 .Place one inch apart on the prepared sheet and bake for about 15-17 minutes, rotating halfway through.  They should be pale on top and golden brown around the edges.

9.  Cool cookies for 1-2 minutes before transferring with a spatula to a cooling rack.

Tips:
1.  Butter with a higher butterfat percentage (which also means less water) = better cookies
2.  Grate the zest over the bowl of sugar to capture the spray of the citrus oils.
3.  Remember to allow time for the egg yolks and butter to come to room temperature.
4.  If the cookies soften too much after cutting, put them on the prepared pan and chill for 5 minutes before going into the oven.  You want them to be cold when they go in the oven or they can spread.
5. You can also roll the dough into two logs and chill (or freeze).  Before slicing, brush with beaten egg yolk and roll in coarse or sanding sugar. These were rolled in demerara/turbinado sugar.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Mix Grains Sausage Bun


Nothing beats kneading a piece of dough gently...it is so therapeutic . I have learned to add mix grains into my dough to increase our fibre intake.  Cannot just depend on the edibles from the garden :) Hubby loves it and that is most important. And he being a meat eater,  I add sausages for him.  With the same recipe, I made another load without sausages for a friend.  I remembered those days I used to bake for my kids when they were schooling.  They loved the buns that I baked for them.  Sweet memories indeed. Now I bake mostly for hubby.  He loves homebaked buns and I took the opportunity to bake ....killing two birds with one stone as the saying goes. He gets to eat and I get to enjoy playing with the dough :)  This recipe is a keeper no doubt. I used the same recipe for making burger buns and just add mix grains and brings the bun to a healthier level.


I add butter to the sausage bun before wrapping
for extra oomps


not just kneading is fun but to braid the dough is fun too


 brush a coat of milk and a toss of mix grains
before sending them to the oven


love the scent of freshly baked buns
it is a natural aromatherapy for the home

I enjoy the soft fluffy texture of the bun


I made another load with dried cranberries and mix grains
this is more healthy without the sausages



dried cranberries  added for extra oomps



before mixing into the dough, cut the dried cranberries to 
smaller bits
 


gently knead till dough is light and dough leaves the side
of the mixing bowl and divide equally and shaped
into balls



Mix Grains Sausage Buns
  
ingredients:

200g bread flour
60g plain flour
70g mix grains
 *add 70g dried cranberries if you want to make the Mix grains cranberry bun
125 ml full cream milk 
42g caster sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
3g instant yeast
1 egg  - grade C, beaten
85 g water dough
25 g unsalted butter

8 chicken sausages

Recipe for the water dough " water-roux"

Cook 125g water with 25 g bread flour at medium low heat, keep stirring until it become thicken and no lumps left. If you've a candy thermometer, measure it until the temperature turn to 65C and turn of the heat. Cook it until quite liquid consistency like the baby porridge. Transfer to a clean bowl to cool down. Use only amount required. The rest can be kept in the fridge for 2  to 3 days only. If there is grey mold, throw away.

Method:

1.Place all the ingredients for kneading except the butter until everything come together and become a smooth dough, then add in the butter a little at a time.

2. Let the dough slowly absorb the butter. Gently knead till dough is smooth and leave the side of bowl and not sticking to the hand.

3. Let it proof for 50-60 mins in a clean bowl cover with cling wrap.

4. Divide dough into even size of 8 portions or any size you like it to be then let it rest for 10 minutes.

5. Shape the dough into smooth round shape. Roll out flat into a oblong shape. Cut slant slit on both side. Place the sausage in the middle and braid them ,covering the sausage. You can butter the sausage first before braiding. Place the braided bun on a greased baking tray. Repeat till all is done. 

* For making the mix grains with dried cranberries buns, shaped into round balls 

6.  Leave the buns to proof for another 30-40 mins .

7. Brush milk over the surface of the braided buns and toss some mix grains over the surface.  Bake at a preheated oven @180-200C  middle shelf ( depends on your oven ) for 25-30 mins till golden brown.

* For making the mix grains with dried cranberries buns, shaped into round balls


Monday, January 1, 2018

My First Bake For 2018 - Moist Greek Yoghurt Banana Cake


Happy New Year to all my readers, friends and loved ones.  Wow, I have not been baking much in 2017 and I hope to be able to do more baking this year.  My baking hobby has taken a back seat for  the whole of 2017 while I indulged in my current craze, gardening and photography.  Hope to be in baking mode again in 2018.  For a start, this is my first bake for 2018 - Moist Greek Yoghurt Banana Cake is really packed with banana and uses Greek yoghurt instead of milk :p  This is so yummy good that hubby gave me the due compliment for once !  He likes it moist and packed with banana.


I had two slices at one go.....it is great to be back in baking mode again


 banana cake is hubby's favourite cake besides
butter cake


the greek yoghurt makes the cake moist and delicious

Moist Greek Yoghurt Banana Cake
 
Ingredients:-

9 medium size banana- mashed or puree ( I used Pisang Emas )
250 gm unsalted butter - room temperature
175 gm brown sugar
4 eggs - lightly beaten
440 gm all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsps baking soda
2 tsps baking powder
a drop of vanilla extract
270 gm Greek yoghurt

Method:

1.      Grease a 10" cake pan. Preheat oven to 170C
2.      Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
3.      Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add a drop of vanilla extract.
4.      Add in eggs in one at a time till well blended in.
5.      Fold in the flour mixture in 3 batches until well combined.
6.      Fold in Greek yoghurt and lastly mashed bananas until well combined.
7.      Pour batter into prepared baking tin and bake in preheated oven for 45-50 mins
         or until the skewer test comes clean.
8.      Cool on wire rack completely before unmolding, cut and serve.


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Orange Grapefruit Whisky Marmalade

 

This delicious marmalade is made with oranges, grapefruits and a dash of whiskey. I used Navel oranges from Australia and grapefrutis from South Africa.  Navel oranges are sweet and juicy and seedless . A perfect match for the grapefruits in making this marmalade. Half a lemon and a dash of whiskey to make the most delicious marmalade.  This marmalade is not too sweet, has a tinge of bitterness , yet has a slight tanginess to it.  With a dash of whisky added to the marmalade, the taste is really out of this world.  Heavenly is the word !  Homemade Marmalade makes a great gift for Christmas . 


pour hot water on the oranges and grapefruits to remove
the wax on the orange peel, before use


cut orange peel into thin 1.5 inch strips
I use peels from one orange or the marmalade
will be too bitter


grapefruits are seedless too :)


once the orange and grapefruit flesh are ready,
put them into an electric chopper/blender

blend till fine
 pour the blended juices and orange peel strips
into a thick heavy pot, add in castor sugar
and cook over medium low fire, keep stirring
till mixture has turn thick and sticky


when the Marmalade is ready, add a dash of whisky
and give it a quick boil


Seal marmalade in sterilized jars


Orange Grapefruit  Marmalade With Whisky

ingredients:

5 navel seedless oranges - remove peels and use a sharp knife to take out the flesh
2 seedless grapefruits - remove peels and use a sharp knife to take out the flesh
orange peel strips -  from 1 1/2 oranges
Juice of half a lemon
1.5 cups of castor sugar
2 tablespoons of whisky

Method:
 ( prepare sterilized jars before cooking )

1. Place a few saucers in freezer.
2. Wash the oranges and grapefruits and put them in a large bowl.  Pour boiling water on them for a few seconds to remove the wax from the peel. Wipe them dry with a towel.
3.  Use a sharp knife to cut the peel of the oranges and grapefruit . Keep aside.  Then cut the flesh out from the membranes.
4.  Put all the orange and grapefruit flesh into a chopper or blender and blend till fine. 
5.  Cut the orange peel into 1.5 inches long thin strips.
6.  Pour the blended juices , orange peel strips into a thick heavy pot. Add sugar and cook over medium low heat. Keep stirring. Cook mixture for 40 to 45 mins till marmalade is ready to do the setting stage.
7 .To test for setting stage, place 1 tablespoon of marmalade on a cold saucer and chill in the freezer for 1-2 minutes. Gently push through middle of the marmalade with your finger - it should stay in 2 halves.
8. Once it has pass the setting stage.  Add the whisky to the marmalade and give it a quick boil. Off heat.
9. Seal the marmalade in sterilized jars.

Enjoy!


Friday, December 8, 2017

Roasted Chestnut


I have not eaten home roasted chestnuts in years . Those days my grandma will boil and even remove the shell for us , those were the days where my siblings and I were pampered by her.  The long hours of waiting for the nut to soften takes a bit of time and keeping track of the water in case the water dries up before the nuts are soft , makes me not wanting to make this delicious nuts for snacking.  But after purchasing the Philips Pressure Cooker and joining the PPC group in facebook, it changed my mind of making my own from home instead of buying those roasted ones from the stall selling roasted chestnuts.  

With PPC, it makes life so much easier and food can be ready in half an hour and food taste even better because it traps the aroma and flavors get infused into the food.  

I saw some  fresh chestnuts at Tesco ( I guess chestnuts are in season ) and it brings back memories of those days grandma used to cook for us.  With the PPC, what is the problem of making them at home for hubby and myself :p  .  I first cooked them in PPC, drained the nuts and oven roast them for 15 mins and they are as good as those ready ones sold at the stall :)  I have not tried using the bake

Chestnuts has lots of nutrients and vitamins that are good for us.  Check the link to know why we should consume more of these delicious , sweet nuts.

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/seed-and-nut/chestnuts.html


pressure cook them in Philips Pressure Cooker
under bake mode , KPT 7 mins, seal
 with water just covering the nuts,
natural release (7-8 mins), drained off water


using a sharp using a penknife,cut criss cross over the
surface of the cooked nuts


place them on baking tray, space out evenly
and bake at temp 400F or 204C for 15 mins


take them out of the oven and serve once it has cool down
healthy snacking is my motto for 2018


Roasted Chestnuts 
 
ingredients
1 kg of fresh chestnuts
1/2 tbsp of salt
water - enough to cover the nuts

Method:

Cooking - Using Philip Pressure Cooker
Roasting - Using conventional oven - 15 mins @400F or 204C

Wash clean chestnuts .  Place them in Philips Pressure Cooker and pour water  just enough to cover the chestnuts.  Add salt and give it a quick stir.  Cover the lid, turn knob to seal.  Set to Bake, set Keep Pressure Time to 7 mins . Once the PPC beeps , off the PPC.   Natural release is always safer .This will take about 7-8 mins.  Once the valve is down, turn knob to Vent, then remove lid. Pour out the chestnuts and drain off excess water.  Using a sharp penknife, cut a criss-cross on the surface of the chestnuts and place them on a baking tray. Space them out evenly and bake at 400F or 204C in a  conventional oven.

Enjoy!




Sunday, September 24, 2017

Homemade Yam Cake


It has been quite a while since I last made a yam cake.  I made this for a pot bless party that we had to attend.  All the ladies loved this yam cake and asked me for the recipe which  I am happy to share with them . They went home happy and needless to say, I am the happiest one of them all, for the cake finished in a short time :)  Great fellowship and bonding time with the friends over good food :)

This yam cake is easy to make and it taste good too as homemade ones are packed with fluffy yam and delicious toppings .  I will steam the yam cake in mid morning and let it cool down completely  before cutting them into slices, just in time for the evening party.  This yam cake recipe has been with me for years and it never fails me. A keeper for sure. 

 make sure the cake is completely cool down
before cutting them into slices


Yam Cake
recipe fits into a 7" cake pan with detachable base

ingredients:

300gm yam -  peeled and diced
2 clove of garlic - chopped

batter:
150gm rice flour
38gm tapioca flour
2.5 to 3 cups water
1/8 tsp five spice powder
1/2 chicken stock cube
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp of oil 



garnishing
2-3 red chillies - sliced * if you want more heat, use 5 bird's eye chillies
1 stalk of spring onions - slice thinly
1/4 cup of fried  dried shrimps - * take out 1 tbsp for frying the yam 
1/4 cup of fried shallots  - * take out 1 tbsp for frying the yam
1/4 cup of fried preserved big head vegetable - " tai tow choy " - * take out 1 tbsp for frying the yam

Method:

1. Prepare all the topping ingredients first. Shallots - sliced and  fried in oil  till crispy and golden in color. Preserved big head vegetable (tai tow choy) -soak in water and rinsed a few times to remove the salt. Chopped fine and stir fry till fragrant. Chillies and spring onions to be sliced and keep aside.

2. Steam the diced yam in boiling water till soft. Take out and let it cool down.

3.  Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a wok, add in garlic and stir fry till fragrant, then add in the cooked yam, 1 tbsp of fried dried shrimps, 1 tbsp of fried tai tow choy, and 1 tbsp of fried shallots.  Stir fry till well combined.  Lower heat to medium low and add in the batter.  Keep stirring till the batter becomes sticky. Off heat.  

4.  Grease the 7" cake pan with oil.  Scoop the cooked batter into the cake pan . Use a spatula and level the top. Wrap bottom of cake pan with aluminium foil and cover top of cake pan with alumium foil so that water does not  seep in during steaming.   Steam for 40 mins in boiling steamer over high heat.  Take out from steamer and let the yam cake rest for 5 mins , spread out all  the toppings on surface of yam cake while the cake is still hot.  Let it cool down completely before taking out the cake and cut into slices.


Enjoy!






Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sugar And Butter Buns



Nothing beats having freshly homebaked sweet buns for our tea break.  And for me it is the kneading process that I love most. When the buns turned out delicious, I knew it was worth all the efforts.  I took the recipe from Dailydelicious.  The buns are sweet and buttery and the aroma is enough to warrant another few buns at one go.  Hubby loves it and asked to make these delicious buns more often for his tea break.  I don't mind making these often as I love making bread and buns manually instead of using a breadmaker :) The mixing of flour till the window pane stage is most intimidating yet it gives me great pleasure.  A joy that cannot be described.  Satisfaction all the way !  Try it to believe me.


 the mixing of the flour till you get a soft and sticky dough


 do not worry about the stickiness of the dough
once it rested and proofed, it will be less sticky


second proofing done, cut slits on surface
add soften butter onto the slits


 the aroma is so good , butter and sugar is perfect match


 you can pull apart the buns
once it has cooled down,


Sugar And Butter Buns - adapted from dailydelicious

 Dough 270 g Bread flour 30g Cake flour 5g  Salt 2tsp  Instant yeast 50g  Sugar 30g  Unsalted butter 100g  Milk 1  Egg 80g  Water

Topping
90 g  Butter
90g  Granulated sugar


Method:

Mix together egg, water and milk.

Put the flour, the sugar and yeast in a bowl, whisk to combine, add salt whisk again. Pour the egg and milk mixture into the bowl.


Use large spoon (or pastry scraper) to mix everything together, and knead briefly to bring all the ingredients together.

Take the dough out of the bowl and knead, you will see the dough will be elastic after about 2 minutes.

Add the butter and knead by using the heel of your hands to compress and push the dough away from you, then fold it back over itself. Give the dough a little turn and repeat. Put the weight of your body into the motion and get into a rhythm. Keep folding over and compressing the dough. Knead for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is soft, pliable, smooth and slightly shiny, almost satiny. But this dough is a bit sticky, use a bit of flour will help (1-2 tbsp)

Put the dough into a light buttered bowl. Let the dough rise in a warm place until double in size (can be 1 hour or 1 hour and a half check often depend on the temperature).
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
 

Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

Take the dough out of the bowl, deflate by touch it lightly.

Cut the dough into 10 pieces roll into a ball and let them rest for 10 minutes.
Flatten each ball with the side of your hand, fold the dough and roll into a small batard.
Let the dough rise until almost double in size, about 30 minutes.


5 minutes before baking, cut the top of the dough and place the butter cubes over the dough and sprinkle with granulated sugar.


Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!


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