Wednesday, January 27, 2010
This challenge is hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen who is now busy compiling feel-at-home recipes for her ebook, an actual contributing action for Haiti relief. Bloggers have been asked to send their most-loved, most-made recipes that make them feel at home. The final ebook will be published to raise money for Haiti and available soon for online purchase. Kudos to her wonderful thoughts and I wish her all the best and great sucess for the ebook in regards to both its completion and sale. Double kudos for her initiative of taking up this DB hosting assignment in the midst of her major charity effort. Thanks Lauren!
This Nanaimo Bars challenge was full of surprises. First, while I was baking the Graham Wafer, I was surprised of how much puffing occured to the previously neat and flat squares of wafer dough on my baking tray. They inflated tremendously and became out of shape. Fortunately once they were cool and hard, the taste was nice with buttery aroma! And there I was actually thinking of baking it again and serving as stand-alone cookies.
Second, as I was mixing the ingredients for the bottom layer, I was surprised that it was amazingly possible to mix the whole great amount of dry mixture (a lot of coconut shreds, nuts and crumbs) with seemingly very small amount of liquid mixture (egg.,butter, sugar, and cocoa) and yet yielded a pliable mixture pressable into a cake ring. Wow!
And third surprise was the apparently-too-much icing sugar while entirely mixed into the butter custard mixture still resulted a not-dry, thick-yet-soft consistency just nice for the middle layer. And this is actually my favorite layer as I managed to marry the buttery flavor with passion fruit's fresh sourness and produced an interesting refreshing taste. This recipe would be suitable for great tropical icing for cakes! Yummy yummy...
Finally, I was surprised that the top layer was so hard after overnight refrigeration. I was thinking maybe I shoud do a second round with a softer version of chocolate layer like the chocolate glaze on cheese cakes. But would it be suitable for bars? Lets' see...
The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and http://www.nanaimo.ca/
I have made some adjustments to the challenge recipe. The original recipe could be found here
Makes a 8 x 8 inch bar, cut into desirable size
1. Graham Wafers
- All purpose flour > 100 grams
- Tapioca flour > 50 grams
- Brown sugar > 100 grams
- Baking soda > 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt > 1/2 teaspoon
- Salted butter - cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen > 50 grams
- Honey / passionfruit syrup > 50 ml
- Milk > 50 ml
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey or passionfruit syrup and milk. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
- Turn the dough onto a surface dusted with flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
- Remove from fridge and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Prick chilled wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
- When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make crumbs. Set aside.
2. Nanaimo Bars
- Salted butter > 115 grams
- Granulated sugar > 50 grams
- Cocoa > 5 tablespoons
- Large egg - slightly beaten > 1
- Above Graham wafer crumbs > 160 grams
- Chopped roasted almonds > 55 grams
- Desiccated coconut >130 grams
- Salted butter > 115 grams
- Whipping cream > 40 ml
- Custard powder > 2 tablespoons
- Icing sugar > 254 grams
- Passionfruit juice > 4 tablespoons
- Lime juice > 1/2 teaspoon
- Dark chocolate > 115 grams
- Salted butter > 2 tablespoons
- For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
- For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, passionfruit juice, lime juice and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
- For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I should admit that I am pretty happy with the way a couple of things are going in my life. For one I know this blog has been fun and I am challenged of creating nice baking/cooking content and taking better photos for hopefully more frequent posts. Just the right moment for me to express my gratitude to Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! for passing me a very nice Over The Top award. Do visit her blog and explore her great recipes with beautiful pictures. You will definitely love it....
Meanwhile, I like to pass this award on to:
- Julia of Melanger :: to Mix
- Jo of Sugar & Everything Nice
- Barbara of Barbara Bakes
- Simone of Junglefrog Cooking
- Anncoo of Anncoo's Hobby. These 5 bloggers, with each individual, unique and distinctive style of blogging, have truly inspired me. A visit to their blogs is a must! Again, a must! :-)
Second, I am so glad that coming into the sixth month, T has always been there for me. The connection is getting stronger and we seem to be inseparable. And he is getting more involved into things that I like for instance now if we go for shopping, he will keep an eye on photo props for me, like plates, cups, cake stands, and all. And I reciprocated with picking up an interest in gardening everytime I am in his garden.
Third, I am grateful to be in Bangkok for my seventh year. Things have been good here and people are friendly and kind. All I can hope for is that I don't have to leave...... forever. That can only happen if I have the Thai Permanent Residence in hand. Will I have it soon? That is still a curious question mark? I have been trying... and waiting!
To celebrate this particular grateful moment of my life, I like to post Pink Lychee Mousse Cake that I baked recently for my colleague's birthday. I have kept the photos for a special occasion. Apparently January has been a perfect month for everything especially making new plans and keeping people who are close to me even closer to my heart. And my beloved sister's birthday also fell on this month. So.... to all the good things in my life and to people who made them happen, thank you!
PINK LYCHEE MOUSSE CAKE
Makes a 7 inch cake or five 2.5 inch mini cakes
1. Chocolate Base
- Couscous > 135 grams
- Water > 400 ml
- Dark chocolate > 35 grams
- Granulated sugar > 160 grams
- Vanilla essence > 2 teaspoons
- Cover the bottom and sides of a 7 inch cake ring or five 2.5 inch cake rings with aluminium foil.
- Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan. Bring to boil and stir constantly.
- Once boiled, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the mixture becomes a thick paste. Keep stirring to avoid burnt mixture.
- Once the mixture is warm to touch, press it into the base of the cake rings.
2. Lychee Yogurt Mousse
- Canned lychee > 2 cans (each net weight 575 grams)
- Egg white > 60 grams
- Sugar > 60 grams
- Whipping cream > 140 grams
- Plain yogurt > 100 grams
- Gelatin powder > 20 grams
- Hot water > 30 grams
- Open 2 lychee cans and separate 8 pieces of lychees for decoration.
- Weight the rest of lychees plus syrup to 700 grams. Puree them until fine.
- Separate 400 grams for mousse, and 300 grams for jelly topping.
- For jelly topping, strain lychee puree into fine juice. Set aside for later use.
- Make meringue by beating egg white at medium speed until foamy.
- Add in sugar gradually and whisk until soft peaks form. Leave aside in mixing bowl.
- Beat whipping cream at medium speed until soft peaks form. Set aside.
- Melt gelatin in hot water. Leave it to cool for a while.
- Mix lychee puree with yogurt.
- Fold lychee mixture into meringue bowl and mix well at low speed.
- Then fold in whipping cream. Finally add gelatin.
- Pour into cake rings and refrigerate for 2 hours.
3. Jelly Topping
- The above strained lychee puree > 300 grams
- Gelatin powder > 20 grams
- Hot water > 20 grams
- Pink rose coloring > 2 drops
- Melt gelatin powder in hot water. Leave to cool.
- Mix with lychee puree. Add pink coloring. Pour on top of lychee mousse layer.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Take out lychee mousse from fridge.
- Decorate with whipping cream, lychees (that have been set aside earlier), and decorative chocolate pieces.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I am not an expert of Thai food despite I have been staying here for 7 years. Pretty much still learning about it everyday. All I can say is Thais have extreme taste buds - the food has to be either very sweet or very sour or very spicy. Nothing less is acceptable. In Thai we call it "khaem khoun" meaning "very tasty or concentrated".
In regards to that, I could say the challenge satay recipe turned out pretty good. Satays were delicious and tasty (according to me and T, a Thai), but the sauce needed a bit of adjustment. Had added a few teaspoons of granulated sugar and soy sauce. The final taste was acceptable by T but I personally would like it even sweeter to resemble satays from my favorite shop.
In DB Forum, jillouci commented that the cucumber dip was missing from the challenge recipe and therefore attached necessary detail of how to prepare it. This dip recipe was easy to prepare and I added sliced shallots and red chilies. End result was fabulous, exactly as what I had expected - sweet, sour, and with a kick! Thanks, jillouci!
Finally, my extra tip to make satays taste better. Reserve 125 ml of coconut milk in a shallow plate and dip satays in before grilling or pan frying.
The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day. Thanks to Cuppy for this wonderful and practical challenge. Will definitely make this delicious dish over and over again!
Have made some adjustment to the recipe for my own convenience and preference. Original recipe could be found here.
PORK SATAY WITH PEANUT SAUCE
Makes 38 sticks
1. Satay Marinade
- Pork shoulder > 400 grams
- Small onion - cut in chunks > 1/2
- Garlic - cut in chunks > 4 cloves
- Ginger root - cut in chunks > diameter 2 cm, length 3 cm
- Lime juice > 5 teaspoons
- Soy sauce > 1 tablespoon
- Ground coriander > 2 teaspoons
- Ground cumin> 1 teaspoon
- Fresh turmeric - cut in chunks > diameter 1 cm, length 6 cm
- Vegetable oil > 2 tablespoons
- Cut pork into 1 inch strips with thickness less than 0.5 cm and place in a bowl. Set aside.
- Combine everything except ground coriander and cumin, in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Cover pork with marinade. Use fingers gently fold ground coriander and cumin into pork.
- Cover bowl with cling film and refrigrerate overnight.
2. Cucumber Dip.
- Cucumber - remove skin, cut into 1.5 inch length strips > 1
- Shallots - slice thinly > 5 cloves
- Red chilies - cut small > 3
- Salt > 1/8 teaspoon
- Granulated sugar > 4 tablespoons
- Rice vinegar > 4 tablespoons
- Water > 2 tablespoons
- Combine cucumber, shallots and chilies in a bowl. Set aside.
- Mix water, sugar, salt, and vinegar in a saucepan. Bring to boil.
- Pour boiled mixture over the cucumber mixture.
- Cool, cover with cling film and chill overnight.
3. Peanut Sauce
- Coconut milk > 180 ml
- Peanut butter > 3 tablespoons
- Ground roasted peanuts - preferably chunky > 90 grams
- Lime juice > 2 teaspoons
- Soy sauce > 4 teaspoons
- Granulated sugar > 4 teaspoons
- Ground cumin > 1/2 teaspoon
- Ground coriander > 1 teaspoon
- Mix all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lime juice. Mix well.
- Over low heat combine coconut milk, peanut butter, and soy-lime-seasoning mixture. Mix well and stir constantly until peanut butter completely blends into coconut milk. Remove from fire. Do no bring to boil or overcook.
- When it is cool, mix in the ground peanut. Set aside.
4. Pork Satay
- Marinated pork
- Skewers > 38
- Coconut milk > 125 ml
- Place coconut milk into a shallow plate.
- Remove marinated pork from fridge and gently slide pork strips into skewers.
- Dip satays into coconut just before grilling or pan frying.
- Grill at 290C or pan fry on medium-high until the edges just start to char. Flip and do the same.
Friday, January 8, 2010
This is the perfect time to check out blogs. Most bloggers will do a roundup of their favorite posts in the previous year, so we will get to know the annual mainstream of their baking or cooking without actually going through the long archive.
Apparently most bloggers would have chosen the best of their baking from photos or their tasting memory. It is the fact that no bloggers can blog about their food without tasting them first right? They have done the filtering, rest assured. So when they present the best 10 of the year, I am pretty sure they are really the best 10 they have been happy with.
Meanwhile, I enjoy seeing those roundup photos, mostly because there are a whole series of nice photographs being lined up next to each other like a nice tapestry or a sweet table calendar I got from my Finance colleague every first month of the year. Very eye pleasing!
I didn't do a roundup of my posts but sort of running through what I kept in my mind (and in my computer of course!) and I noticed I didn't bake any bread at all the entire year. Would be nice to start a new year with a bit of change. I have been following some bread baking blogs and that should remind me of getting a copy of Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker Apprentice soon. This book seems like the holy grail of bread baking no one should miss.
As I was flipping through Dean Brettschneider's Global Baker, I had noticed there was bread I wanted to bake. And without any delay, I decided to start scaling the flour...
FIG AND CINNAMON SCONE TWIST
Makes 2 loaves with the length of 29cm
- Dried figs – remove stems and finely chop > 200 grams
- Dark rum > 50 ml
- Ground cinnamon > 2 teaspoons
- Softened butter > 50 grams
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and stir well.
- Cover with cling film and chill overnight.
2. Egg Wash:
- Egg yolk > 1
- Water > 2 tablespoons
- Mix both together and whisk briefly.
3. Fruit Glaze
- Fruit jam (apricot, mango, strawberry, etc.) > 4 tablespoons
- Water > 3 tablespoons
- Mix fruit jam and water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Stir constantly.
- Strain through a sieve. Set aside.
- All purpose flour > 380 grams
- Caster sugar > 30 grams
- Baking powder > 25 grams
- Salt > ¼ teaspoon
- Butter – cut into small pieces > 60 grams
- Milk > 190 ml
- Egg > 1
- Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
- Rub butter pieces into flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Separately, whisk milk and egg together and pour into the flour mixture.
- Use a wooden spoon to mix until it forms a soft dough.
- Place dough on a floured surface and knead for 20 seconds. Do not overknead as the dough will become too elastic.
- Cut the dough into 2 pieces to make 2 small loaves.
- Shape each piece into a square and roll with a rolling pin into a 25 cm square.
- Spread filling evenly on top of each dough sheet, leaving 1 cm free at the top edge. Brush this edge with egg wash.
- Roll the dough sheet up from bottom to top edge to form a log.
- Starting about 1 inch from top of the log, use a sharp knife and make a single length way cut down the middle of the loaf all the way through.
- Take the 2 strands - one in each hand, with the cut side of each strand facing up – twist around each other. Brush the two strand ends with egg wash and press firmly together. Place the loaf on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Repeat for the second loaf. Place on the baking tray well apart from the other loaf.
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Brush loaves with egg wash and rest for 10 minutes.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. Turn the tray halfway through to ensure even color.
- Remove loaves from baking tray and brush with fruit gel.
- Cool on a wire rack.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Happy New Year, Everyone! Wish you all a new year filled with love, joy, great health, and success!
It is Bake in Paris’ first anniversary! My gratitudes to all of you - especially the blogger peers - for leaving constructive comments to my 91 posts and providing mental support to me. Thanks for the opportunity to make friends with you and to learn from you!
Also my gratitudes to Daring Baker, DMBLGIT, and CLICK for pushing me beyond the limit of my capabilities and causing me to realize what my true interests that lied deep down and yearned to express themselves were. I have found baking, cooking, photography, photo styling, and blogging my passion. This blog and T are 2 greatest things I have embraced during 2009 and for them I feel very blessed.
Meanwhile, I have made some resolutions for the new year...
* I would like to see myself getting one step closer to finding what I really want to do with these baking and photography interests. Despite there might be obstacles along the way, I would like to work on it and bring it into a clearer definition.
* I would like to inject more exciting content into this blog. Many new possibilites will be explored.
* I would like to keep myself healthy. Hopefully I will have more time to rest and exercise. Yoga skills should be improved.
* I would like to keep my lover, family, and friends close to my heart.
A close friend of mine has been talking about making a change in his life and relocate to a new country. I won't doubt a second if he again has included that into his new year’s resolution. He remarked that he has been doing mental preparation. However, he still has his doubt about his career in the foreign country and how he could cope leaving his mother behind. I truly wish him the best and hope this new year will give him great spirit to finally take the action. Afterall, I think he deserves to stay in a country of his dream, a place where he feels he belongs.
The exciting 2010 has begun with a new DMBLGIT award. Thanks to Arfi Binsted of Home MadeS for hosting the DMBLGIT December challenge! Arfi's blog is fabulous, packed with beautiful photographs and great recipes.... so give it a click! I am so charged up after the holiday and can't wait to bake more cakes and take more photos! Thanks again, Everyone!