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Thursday, January 22, 2009


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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Café Fanatique

Never met anyone who was so into coffee cake until I was introduced to my friend's mom. One Sunday morning I took the initiative to bake her one huge coffee cake. Then something funny really happened. My friend told me that her mother was keeping the entire cake for herself. When the word "coffee cake" slipped out accidentally during an afternoon conversation with her dear neighbor, had she come to face her ultimate fear of sharing. Yes, she had no choice but expressed a little generosity. Well, she had to, hadn't she?

Guess what happened? She went into the fridge, took the cake out, and sliced it to the thinnest that she possibly could. Maybe it was too thin, it hardly had the strenght to stand on a plate ha ha ha! And maybe I should have looked at her face when that precious little slice of cake was handed over. Oh, come on... order another cake, okay?

Anyway, she always has cravings for my coffee cake and orders regularly through her son. She is my loyal customer! As I promised my friend since last 2 weeks, I should just make her happy again, one more time...

Serves 10 persons

1. Coffee Sponge Cake
- One 7.5 inch round cake tin
- Baking paper > cut into 7.3 inch diameter circle

- Margarine - to grease cake tin > 1 tablespoon
- Salted butter > 35 grams
- Cake flour > 72 grams
- Corn flour > 7 grams
- Coffee powder > 5 grams
- Baking powder > 1/2 teaspoon
- Sugar > 74 grams
- Egg > 2 1/2
- Ovalett (cake emulsifier) > 7 grams
- Water > 18 grams
- Vanilla essence > 1 teaspoon
- Chocolate coloring > 3 drops

- Grease base and side of the cake tin with margarine. Line with baking paper and grease it too.
- Melt butter and leave to cool.
- Preheat oven to 175 degree Celcius.
- Combine cake flour, corn flour, coffee powder, and baking powder. Sift thoroughly.
- Place sifted flour mixture in a mixing bowl. Add sugar, eggs, and ovalett. Mix moderately with a spatula.
- Turn on electric cake mixer and whip flour and egg mixture for 3 minutes.
- Fold in water, vanilla essence, and chocolate coloring.
- Continue whipping until batter becomes glossy and thick, approximately 4 minutes. Finally add melted butter and mix well.
- Pour into cake tin and bake at 175 degree Celcius for 35-40 minutes.
- Remove cake out of tin and leave to cool.

2. Coffee Butter Cream
Makes approximately 450 grams

- Egg yolk > 20 grams
- Whole egg > 60 grams
- Water > 90 grams
- Vanilla essence > 1 teaspoon
- Sugar > 124 grams
- Salted butter - room temperature > 250 grams
- Coffee essence > 1 tablespoon
- Mocca paste > 1 teaspoon
- Chocolate coloring > 1 teaspoon

- Combine egg yolk with whole egg. Whip moderately with fork until frothy. Set aside.
- Mix water, vanilla essence and sugar. Bring to boil until it reaches 118 degree Celcius. Remove from fire and quickly place the hot syrup in a mixing bowl.
- Gently pour egg mixture into hot syrup while whipping with electric cake mixer at medium speed. When egg is fully in, switch to high speed and continue whipping until cream is cool and thick.
- Add butter into cream and whip until thick and smooth, approximately 5 minutes.
- Fold in coffee flavoring, mocca paste, and chocolate coloring. Mix thoroughly.

3. Assembly:

- Cashew nut chunks > 200 grams
- White chocolate discs > 13
- Fresh fruits > as desirable

- Slice cake into 3 equal layers.
- Sandwich cake layers with coffee butter cream. Spread some cashew nut chunks.
- Cover cake with coffee butter cream.
- Sprinkle baseline of cake with cashew nut chunks.
- Decorate top of cake with butter cream, white chocolate discs, fruits and the rest of cashew nut chunks.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Red Rosy Memory

My family came to visit in 2004 and they all had a good time exploring Thailand for the very first time. A very good trip indeed and they kept great memories with them! When were asked about things that impressed them the most, undoubtedly they would mention food, fruits, and shopping. In this country they had seen many new fruits for the very first time - not only in terms of type, but also size, color, texture, and taste!

One particular fruit they loved the most was Thai red rose apple (Syzygium jambos). Shiny deep red, crisp texture, enormous size, and sweet juicy taste - a cross between apple and pear with a slightly bitter aftertaste. They can't seem to get their minds off of "choum phu", the name it was called in Thai. It still appears as one of the topics everytime we are caught in a conversation.

This same month 4 years ago my family had fell in love with red rose apple, and I like to bring back the memory by dedicating red rose apple sorbet to them! Everyone, do come back and take another trip! :-)

Serves 6 persons

- Red rose apples - puree > 500 grams
- Granulated sugar > 150 grams
- Water > 300 ml
- Egg white - whisk > 1

- Sieve rose apple puree to get fine juice. Refrigerate.
- Boil water and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves completely.
- Remove from heat and cool. Chill for an hour.
- Mix rose apple juice with syrup. Pour into ice cream maker and churn till thick.
- Add in egg white. Continue to churn until sorbet is firm enough to scoop.
- Serve or freeze.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How to Survive the Bitterness in Life?

While a Chinese is asked to consume bitter gourd served on the table and refuses, he would get a silly comment over his gentle rejection. Something goes like "If you can't take bitter gourd you can't survive the bitterness of life!". Wow!

As a child, my Mom used to say that it was good to consume a little bit of everything so our bodies will store a wide variety of nutritients. Apparently my Mom was aware too that bitter gourd had been used in various Asian traditional medicine since long time ago. Like other bitter-tasting foods, bitter gourd stimulates digestion. Therefore, no matter how bitter and unappetizing it was for us kids, bitter gourd was served for dinner dish from time to time. And Mom would stared at us and sent her alarming signal "Take a bit even if you don't like it!" with no words necessary.

As a grown-up, I took it occasionally... of course purely out of my choice. My liking for bitter gourd grew naturally to the extent that I might have it for a couple of days in a row. Have to admit that I am craving for it right at this very moment as I am typing.... :-)

Serves 3 persons

1. Couscous

- Couscous > 1 cup
- Water > 1 cup
- Salted butter > 35 grams
- Black raisins > 35 grams
- Salt > 1/4 teaspoon

Method :
- Cook water and raisins on pan over high heat. When boiled, remove from fire.
- Fold in couscous and cover pan for 10 minutes to let couscous absorb water and grow.
- Fold in butter and salt. Combine well.
- Bring pan back to fire and stir until butter totally dissolves.
- Remove from heat and set aside for later use.

2. Bitter Gourd Dish

- Corn flour > 2 teaspoons
- Sugar > 2 teaspoons
- Water > 2 teaspoons
- Bitter gourd – halve vertically, cut into 1 cm slices > 150 grams
- Shitake mushrooms – halve > 10
- Prawn – remove shell, devein > 100 grams
- Dried anchovy > 30 grams
- Vegetable oil > 3 tablespoons
- Salted bean paste > 2 tablespoons
- Red chilies – slice lengthwise > 3
- Green chilly – slice lengthwise > 1
- Garlic - slice > 2 cloves
- Shallot - slice > 2 cloves
- Sugar > 2 teaspoons

- Mix corn flour and sugar with water. Set aside.
- Blanch bitter gourd slices in hot boiled water for a short while. Remove and drain.
- Heat pan and pour in the vegetable oil.
- Sauté garlic, shallot and dried anchovy until fragrant.
- Add bitter gourd, red and green chilies, and salted bean paste. Toss well.
- Place in prawns and stir fry for a while. Pour corn mixture in. Bring to boil.
Simmer for 3 minutes.
- Serve hot.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cucumber - A Fresh Start!

Sometimes I cook on the weekend and invite a close friend to join me for lunch or dinner. Mostly dinner. It is a nice occasion when we can chat over a nice meal without the rush or the crowd like while we are having our one-hour lunch on working days. Conversation is enjoyable and we can eat as long as we like.

What to cook? My preference is making salad to go along with the main dish which most probably either chicken or seafood with rice. Salad is great since it is easy to make and the ingredients are fresh! As Thai is well-known for being creative, Thai salad comes in many creative combinations. It will take months to explore all of them so I made my mind that I should just start with one - fresh and contains the vegetable which I really like: cucumber!

Hope I got everything right. Should just get a Thai friend to taste-prove it! :-)

Serves 4 persons

- Cucumber - remove skin and core seed section, slice thin in length > 1
- Prawn - remove skin and tail, devein, boil > 8
- Lettuce - shred into moderate size > 1
- Onion spring - slice > 2
- Red chilly - slice > 1
- Roasted black sesame > 1 teaspoon
- Roasted peanut > 1 tablespoon

- Red chilly - ground until fine > 2
- Sugar > 1 teaspoon
- Fish sauce > 2 tablespoons
- Lime juice > 2 tablespoons

- Make spices by mixing all ingredients together. Leave for later use.
- Mix boiled prawns, cucumber, lettuce, onion spring, and sliced red chilly in a salad bowl.
- Fold in spices and mix thoroughly.
- Sprinkle with black sesame and peanuts.
- Serve.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Exquisite Taste

Even though I am not a big fan of pumpkin, but I could never resist a slice or two of baked Pumpkin Cheese Cake. Always curious how pumpkin while combined with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, etc., plus vanilla and cream cheese gives such an exquisite taste!

My Mom always reminded her kids to consume pumpkin in the meals she prepared on our dining table due to its health benefits. Nevertheless, as a kid or a growing teenager I simply refused cause pumpkin with its bright yellowish orange flesh just didn’t appeal to my appetite. But now I could see why my Mom did what she did …

Besides full of Vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids such as alpha and beta-carotenes, this gourd-like squash named from the Greek word “pepon” for large melon is also a great source of vitamin C, K, and E, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron. As an important part in our diet, it contains a great amount of effective carbohydrate and fiber.

So are you game to try?

Serves 10 persons

1. Crust

- Chocolate cookie >100 grams
- Roasted cashew nut - crush into small chunks > 100 gram
- Salted butter - melt > 40 gram
- Salt > 1/4 teaspoon

- Prepare a 7 inch cake ring or pie tin.
- Blend cookie in food processor to fine powder. Place into a bowl.
- Mix with cashew nut chunks, melted butter, and salt to form paste.
- Roll with the thickness of 0.3 cm. Press into cake ring or pie tin.
- Refrigerate for an hour.

2. Custard
*Prepare 2 hours before making filling

- Milk > 210 grams
- Sugar > 70 grams
- Corn flour > 7 grams
- Egg > 1
- Salt > 1/4 teaspoon
- Vanilla essence > 1/2 teaspoon

- Mix milk, sugar, corn flour, egg, and salt in a pot and cook until boiled.
- Remove from fire and fold in vanilla essence. Leave to cool.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours or until custard is cold.

3. Filling

- Canned pumpkin > 200 grams
- Cream cheese- room temperature > 100 grams
- Whipping cream > 100 grams
- Sugar > 11 grams
- Gelatine powder > 20 grams
- Hot boiling water > 40 grams
- Ground clove > 1/8 teaspoon
- Ginger powder > 1/8 teaspoon
- Nutmeg powder > 1/8 teaspoon
- Cinnamon powder > 1/8 teaspoon
- Custard > 1 recipe *see above

- Beat cheese cream and sugar with cake mixer until smooth.
- Beat dairy whipping cream until thick.
- Dissolve gelatine powder in hot boiling water.
- Mix cheese cream mixture with whipping cream, gelatine, pumpkin, custard, and all spices.

4. Praline for Decoration

- Sugar > 100 grams
- Roasted sunflower seeds > 10 grams
- Vegetable oil > 1 tablespoon

- Brush pizza tin with vegetable oil. Scatter sunflower seeds on it.
- Melt sugar on medium heat until boiled. Leave simmering until color turns golden brown.
- Pour caramel onto tin. Shape as desired. Leave to cool.

5. Assembly

- Coco powder > 5 grams
- Yellow kiwi fruit - slice > 1
- Chocolate curls > 4

- Pour filling into crust. Refrigerate overnight.
- Sprinkle with coco powder. Decorate with praline, fruit, and chocolate curls. Serve.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gâteau aux Pêches

A close friend in the office will be celebrating her birthday. Another chance of baking a new cake! Have a few cans of peaches in my kitchen cabinet and a pack of whipping cream ready in my fridge. It is going to be an exciting evening!

Serves 10 persons

Ingredients :
- Butter > 35 grams
- Cake flour > 70 grams
- Corn flour > 7 grams
- Milk powder > 7 grams
- Baking powder > 1/2 teaspoon
- Vanilla powder > 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt > 1/4 teaspoon
- Sugar > 74 grams
- Ovalett > 7 grams
- Egg > 2 1/2
- Water > 18 grams
- Peach flavoring > 2 teaspoons
- Whipping cream > 300 grams
- Canned peach - drain, slice thin > 3 halves or approx. 270 grams
- Canned peach - drain, cut chunks > 2 halves or approx. 180 grams
- White chocolate sheets - size 5cm x 9cm> 12 pieces

Method :
- Line and grease a 7 1/2 inch round cake tin.
- Melt butter and leave to cool.
- Preheat oven to 175 degree Celcius.
- Mix cake flour, corn flour, milk powder, baking powder, vanilla powder, and salt. Sift.
- Place sifted flour mixture in a mixing bowl. Add sugar, eggs and ovalett. Blend well.
- With electric cake mixer, beat for 3 minutes. Fold in sugar and 1 teaspoon of peach flavoring.
- Beat for 4 minutes more until glossy and thick. Finally add melted butter and mix well.
- Pour into bake tin and bake at 175 degree Celcius for 40 minutes.
- Remove cake out of tin and leave to cool.

Assembly :
- Slice cake into 2 equal layers.
- Add 1 teaspoon of peach flavoring into whipping cream and beat until just firm.
- Apply whipping cream on the first cake layer. Spread peach chunks and top with more whipping cream.
- Cover with second cake layer. Press it down gently to stick well.
- Coat the entire cake with whipping cream.
- Surround sides of cake with white chocolate sheets. Break their top edges to create an irregular look.
- Arrange peach slices on cake.
- Run a sheet of plastic around the cake if you prefer to beautify the cake with a tie of ribbon. Voilà!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Avocado Frenzy

Came back from my holiday trip in Jakarta and got 2 big avocados (Persea Americana) as souvenir from my sister's family. Don't really know what to do with them.... Avocados can not survive refrigeration and need to be left in room temperature. Obviously these 2 large fleshy pear-shaped berries are ripe. Time is running out, got to do something fast!

Serves 5 persons

- Avocado flesh > 250 grams
- Corn flour > 1 tablespoon
- Water > 2 tablespoons
- Coconut milk > 500 ml
- Granulated sugar > 100 grams
- Salt > 1/8 teaspoon
- Egg yolk > 1
- Green coloring > 2 drops
- Jack fruit - prepare when serve, cut into small chunks > 20 grams

- Mash avocado flesh with a fork until fine.
- Mix corn flour with water. Set aside.
- Cook coconut milk, sugar, and salt until boiled. Fold in corn mixture. Stir constantly till thick. Remove from fire.
- Whisk egg yolk in a bowl. Gradually add 50 ml of hot coconut mixture. Mix well.
- Pour batter back into the rest of hot coconut mixture. Keep stirring.
- Leave to cool.
- Combine coconut mixture, mashed avocado flesh, and 2 drops of green coloring in a blender. Blend for 5 minutes until very fine.
- Pour into ice cream maker and churn for 30 minutes.
- Scoop into ice cream tub and freeze overnight.
- Sprinkle jack fruit chunks on top of ice cream before serving.

Avocado and Benefits

Indigenuous to Central America, avocados grow widely in most tropical and subtropical countries. Also known as avocado pear or alligator pear, avocado contains more fat than any other fruits except the olive. Its fat is of the highest quality, wholly free from the unpleasant butyric acid with which many fats are contaminated. It contains a sufficient amount of vitamin A to maintain high resistance against bacterial infection, a quality possessed by few vegetable fats.

The protein of avocado is of the finest quality and is much superior to protein of bread and other cereal foods. Its composition is almost identical with that of milk. In fact, the pulp of the fruit is so free from fiber that it forms, with water, a fine emulsion which closely resembles milk in consistency and appearance. With the exception of an excess of fat and the lack of vitamin C, it may serve as a very satisfactory substitute for dairy milk.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cook for Kids on New Year's Eve

Never thought how easy it is to cook for kids until I was put in that position. Last New Year's Eve that was my assignment - taking care of my younger sister's kids, a 12 year-old niece and a 9 year- old nephew. Told them I would cook something nice and encouraged them to assist. Bet kids love to mess around in the kitchen so as I had suspected they both agreed to help.

First we had to do some shopping. Had no idea what was available in my sister's kitchen so ought to plan for something easy and convenient. So I told the kids we were going to cook linguine with lots of cheese! Their eyes sparkled showing they both loved the idea. And of course I did know how to pamper kids' taste buds by including crab sticks in my recipe - those appealing red colored sticks that are not just appetizing but actually taste great. Even I like them!

Kids cut garlics and onions, and shedded tears. Sliced mushrooms and chicken fillets. Grated cheddar cheese. Real cooking experience they might remember for the rest of their lives.

As we were having our dinner, they both really enjoyed their meals. My niece commented that it tasted even better than what she once had in an Italian restaurant! Upsss! So as we still had some left in the pan, she enthusiastically reserved it for her breakfast.

So this is what I want to share in case you are in the same shoes...

Serves 4 persons

- Linguine > 250 grams
- Salt -> 1 teaspoon
- Cooking oil > 4 tablespoons
- Corn flour > 1 tablespoon
- Water > 2 tablespoons
- Garlic - mince > 3 cloves
- Onion - slice > 1 medium size
- Ham - slice in thin squares > 100 grams
- Button mushrooms - slice > 100 grams
- Chicken fillets - cut into big chunks > 125 grams
- Fresh milk > 500 ml
- Cheddar cheese - grate > 250 grams
- Pepper > 1/4 teaspoon
- Crab sticks - shred into long thin strips > 125 grams
- Parsley - chop > 1/4 teaspoon

- Cook linguine in boiling water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Remove from fire when linguine is cooked but not too soft. Strain. Apply 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to linguine and use chopsticks to mix thoroughly. Leave aside.
- Mix corn flour and water. Set aside for later use.
- Saute garlic and onion with 2 tablespoons of cooking oil until fragrant. Fold in mushroom, ham, and chicken chunks. Continue frying for a short while.
- Add milk and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir to mix well. Pour in corn mixture. Continue to stir until it is thick.
- Fold in linguine and stir well. Add grated cheese, pepper, and 100 grams of crab stick strips. Stir well till cheese completely melts.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Decorate with the rest of crab stick strips and parsley. Serve hot.

Monday, January 5, 2009

About Kris

A graphic designer who found his passion of baking along the intriguing journey that involved Sydney, Jakarta, Singapore, and Bangkok.

While reminiscing his first sweet encounter with the world of baking through a Lemon Meringue Pie recipe in a landlord's kitchen, he has since accepted cakes and dessert as the essential part of his life.

And in turn, various baking courses have introduced him to the meaning of delicacy, quality, aesthetics, and supreme taste.

The constant effort to capture the look of his cakes and desserts stretched his arms wide open to embrace blogging, food styling, and photography. All were seemingly coherent with his years of graphic design practice.

Only when his creations appeared in a dessert magazine and several food photo contests this year, he was determined to explore this exciting path of blending baking, food styling, and photography.

Currently residing in Bangkok, he hopes to interact and make friends with everyone with the same interest, worldwide...

To share ideas or comments, feel free to email Kris