25 Sep 2014

taking a breather

Ploughed through eleven hard weeks and finished three assignments back to back to be rewarded with a sweet, break of twelve days for recovery (thought I wish it had been earlier). I've compiled a list of things I wanted to do during this break and getting my Ls is definitely one of them! Inspired by this post I read at the beginning of the year, I want to try making all the components I need to bake this choco moo cheesecake. These will include the milk jam (condensed milk), cream cheese (!!) and ganache. I am not sure if homemade cream cheese will work for this, but it is worth a shot.

To get the gears running again, my sister and I chose an easy chocolate chip cookie recipe from cookpad to bake. She was hoping it would turn out chewy, but it turned out kind of cakey, like a muffin top (yum!). The inclusion of rice flour gave it a nice texture too. I'm not a big fan of chewy cookies, so these worked in my favour but looks like we'll hit the drawing board again to find something she likes.

Oh, by the way - on my last day of placement, I was able to run a cooking activity with some of the students at the Language Centre! As we did not have access to a kitchen, we made chocolate truffles (the crushed biscuits type) and these coconut waffles which were hungrily gobbled down by everyone! It has always been a little dream to teach food tech so I was glad I was given an opportunity to do so.

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chocolate chip muffin tops    makes about 12
adapted from cookpad

I recommend you eat these whilst they are still warm so you get the gooey chocolate centers.

1 large egg
60g caster sugar
60ml cooking oil
100g plain flour
50g rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g dark chocolate with sea salt*, chopped into small pieces

Whisk egg and sugar until well combined. Add cooking oil and whisk thoroughly. Sift in flours and baking powder and mix. Fold in the chopped chocolate. 

Allow cookie dough to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Place 12 equal sized blobs** of dough onto a lined baking tray. Leave 2-3cm of space between each piece to allow room for spreading. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celcius for 10 minutes or until golden brown. 

*Or just plain dark chocolate with a couple of pinches of sea salt
**I used a small cookie scoop

10 Aug 2014

the weekend cake

Since starting the new semester, I have been quite busy keeping up with the never ending list of things to do. Things keep amassing by themselves - emails to send, papers to write, research to do. This course I signed up for around this time last year, was far from what I expected. It's been challenging, but also very rewarding (most times), especially where I am placed for my rounds this semester. Halfway through my first round, I became kind of discouraged, but by chance, I was able to visit many of my secondary teachers for two days last week who gave me unconditional support and encouragement. Standing from a different perspective, my philosophy has changed from what it initially was. It's definitely something I want to work on improving.

The patience, dedication and time I received from one particular teacher is what keeps me going. I didn't tell him that, but I thanked him for the invaluable advice he's given me once again. "It's easy for someone to sit at the back and criticise, but doing your best is what makes the difference."

In case you were wondering, the cake has nothing to do with my reflection. It was something I whipped up late yesterday afternoon and it's too good not to share. Originally it was meant to be an apple cake, but after I discovered it was rotten inside, I crossed my fingers and switched to using pears. The cake is moist and spicy with the pear pieces giving it extra sweetness and textural crunch. It's only been less than a day and it's almost gone! Luckily it doesn't take long to make. Hopefully with apples next time.

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spiced pear cake     makes 1 x 17.5cm square
adapted from the 350 degree oven

2 packham pears, chopped in small pieces
200g raw sugar
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp ground cinnamon, sifted*
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, sifted
1/2 tsp mixed spice, sifted
2 large eggs
65ml cooking oil
150g plain flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder, sifted
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda, sifted

Mix pear pieces with sugar, lemon juice and spices. Combine eggs and oil in another bowl and set aside.

Make a small well in the sifted flour and powders and add the egg and oil mix. Fold in to combine. When flour is mostly incorporated, add the pears and fold in thoroughly.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees celcius for 30-35 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when inserted.

*The cinnamon taste is quite strong on the first day, but mellows on the second. You may want to reduce the amount if you don't like it so strong.

15 Jul 2014

toasted coconut waffles

I've made a few variations of waffles up to date, but my sister keeps coming back to these ones (I like liege waffles!). I worked out a recipe last holidays for these coconut waffles but I forgot where I put it...so I've come up with a different one that tastes just as good if not better. I made some with pandan paste last week and wanted to try making some without. Tastewise, my sister prefers the green ones but I'm ok with either. 

I still see them being sold in Vietnamese bakeries around my area and I think they're still as popular as they were back then. I'm not quite sure how much one costs nowadays, but back in the heyday they were about $1 each.

My sister is a crazy waffle eater so I often make double batches to be toasted later. If you're interested I've included an ingredient list at the end of the post since not all ingredients are doubled. For my previous waffle recipe that incorporates yeast, please click here

It's become a habit to do chicken scratchings on sheets of baking paper when I bake so I can adapt and perfect the recipe for another time. Actually, this is what my uni notes look like. Unfortunately there is no food involved.

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toasted coconut waffles     makes 6-7 
adapted loosely from the recipes in the manual

200g plain flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder, sifted
120g caster sugar 
50g desiccated coconut, toasted
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
300ml coconut milk
60ml cooking oil
few drops pandan paste (optional)

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, coconut and salt into a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir to combine and make a 'well'. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Add coconut milk, oil and pandan paste (if using) and whisk to combine. Pour into other bowl and stir to combine. Cook waffle mixture on a hot waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions. I like to use the 'darker' setting.

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double quantity waffle batter

300g plain flour, sifted
3 tsp baking powder
200g caster sugar
100g desiccated coconut, toasted
two pinches of salt
3 large eggs
600ml coconut milk (or 400ml coconut milk + 200ml milk/water)
120ml cooking oil
few drops of pandan paste 

Cook as above.