Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mini mooncakes

Out of no reason, I've decided to bake some mini mooncakes. I used to bake traditional mooncakes with my mum. Usually, the whole baking process takes one whole day, as we always make dozens of it and give to our friends and relatives. I miss those days.

Mid-autumn festival symbolizes togetherness and bonding, and now it has turned into many different kinds of mooncakes. Nowadays, mooncakes are prettier, cuter, weirder and perhaps more tastier. Usually, my family would always go for the traditional 大中国 mooncakes, which have less calories than the snowskin ones. However, you have to queue up in order get it. It takes quite awhile to get your order.

Lotus paste traditional mini mooncakes
This recipe will makes estimated of 12 mini mooncakes.

100g of plain flour
70g of golden syrup
2ml of alkaline water
25ml of canola oil

420g of lotus paste (can be purchased from Phoon Huat Bakery Store)
40g of melon seeds

How you do it:
Mix lotus paste with melon seeds. Divide the filling into 35g portions and shape into balls. Set aside (filling ratio of 3:7, for 50g mooncake mould).

Place golden syrup in a bowl. Add in alkaline water, stir to combine. Add in oil, mix well.

Place plain flour in a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre. Add in the above mixture. Mix with a spatula to form a soft dough. Gently knead the dough till smooth (it takes 1 to 2 mins). Shape it into a smooth round dough. Wrap with cling wrap and leave in fridge to rest for at least 2 hours or over night.

Dust work surface with some flour. Give the dough a few light kneading to smooth it.

Divide dough into 15g pieces. Shape each dough into a ball. Roll each dough over some flour. Dust hand with flour and flatten each dough into a small disc (about 5cm in diameter). Wrap it around the filling and shape it into a ball (always dust hand with some flour to avoid the dough from sticking).

Lightly dust the wrapped dough with some flour. Place it in the mooncake mould and press the mooncake out. Place mooncake on a baking tray line with parchment paper.

Spray some water on the mooncakes (this helps to prevent the mooncake from cracking during baking).

Bake at preheated oven at 180° for 10mins. Remove from oven and leave to cool for 15 mins.

Brush the top with some egg wash. Return to oven and continue to bake for another 15 mins until golden brown (since all oven works differently, do check after 10 mins, and subsequently every other 2 mins to make sure the mooncakes are not over browned).

Leave mooncake to cool completely and store in air tight containers.

It is a really good experience indeed and do try this out!

Creamy and fluffy cheesecake

Cheesecake is a classic sweet dish consisting of a mix of soft, fresh cream cheese, eggs and sugar, and a base/crust made from crushed Marie biscuits, Digestive crackers, Graham cookies, pastry or even sponge cake. It may be prepared in baked or unbaked form. This sweet dish is usually sweetened with sugar and may be flavored or topped with fresh fruits, whipped cream, nuts, fruits sauce or chocolate. In another words, it can be prepared in many different flavors such as raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, lime, pumpkin, or butterscotch. So for this time round, I've tried the no-bake cheesecake for the first time and it turned out to be a success.

Creamy Cheesecake
This recipe makes an 8-inch round cheesecake.

Ingredients needed:
2 cups of digestive cracker crumbs
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2/3 cup of butter (melted)
2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese
3 teaspoons of lemon juice
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup white sugar
1 lemon (sliced), for topping

What you need to do:
In a small bowl, stir together the digestive cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter and mix well. Press into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. Chill until firm (I suggest put it in the freezer for better results).

In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and lemon juice until soft. Add whipping cream and whisk the batter until it becomes thick. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until stiff. Pour into the chilled crust and top with the lemon slices. Chill serveral hours or overnight. As mentioned earlier, I suggest it to be chilled in the freezer. Just before serving, remove the sides of the springform pan and thaw it approximately 15 to 20 mins.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Beany brunch

A good day to everyone... Brunch today is simple. Without a reason, I have a great craving for beans. Not any kind of beans but just burmese yellow beans. Yes, it's burmese yellow beans... you must be wondering what kind of beans are these.

This type of beans is one of the main ingredient of many Burmese breakfast dishes - knowing as boiled yellow beans called 'pe byouk'. It literally means boiled beans. 'Pe' is beans, 'byouk' means boiled. In order to prepare a dish with these yellow beans, sprouting of the yellow beans are needed. In Burma, 'pe byouk' is used for traditional breakfast in town and country alike, 'htamin jaw', fried rice with 'pe byouk' and 'yei nway jan' (burmese tea). Besides, it is also used with paratha, 'kauk nyin paung' (black sticky rice), 'hsi htamin' (yellow sticky rice), 'mont pyet talet' (rice pancake) and even with a bowl of plain white rice.

Burmese yellow beans are also called yellow peas or 'vatana' in Indian. However, in Singapore, it is not necessary for you to scout for it at Little India, you can easily purchased it in City Hall, Peninsula Plaza. And usually, it is already sprouted and it's not costly - S$2.00 per packet.

Paratha with yellow beans

Ingredients needed:
3 pieces of paratha (which can be purchased from local supermarkets, alternatively, you can use naan or pita bread)
1 cup of boiled yellow beans (as mentioned above, you can easily purchase it at Peninsula Plaza)
1 yellow onion, sliced
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil or olive oil
1 pinch of turmeric powder 
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of fried shallots with garlic, for garnishing

Method to prepare:
Heat oil in a frying pan, add the sliced yellow onion and turmeric powder. Stir fry it till it turns light brown and soft. Add in the boiled yellow beans and stir fry them for 3 to 5 mins. Depending on your taste, one can mash them a bit or keep them whole. Season it with salt and sugar. And then lastly, add in the water. This is to soften the beans.

Garnish with fried shallots with garlic.

Serve it with warm paratha, naan or pita bread. It's really your own preference!

Welcome - Simply Homecook Affair

To be honest, it's really been a long while since I blogged. In the past, blogging was my daily chore. Not knowing the reason why, unknowingly, I stopped penning down my daily thoughts online.

And for now, after around 5 years' time, the feeling of blogging is back again. However this time, it would be something different. I'll be blogging on the food I prepared at home. Usually, I will do some recipe research on the particular delicacy which I would like to whipped up, customize ingredients of the dish, try it out and take a photo of it. I realized I am happy with this whole process and I really enjoy it. Besides, sharing it online would be really a good idea! Let's share the recipes and be happy together! That's what I've thought... Therefore, from now on, I'll share as many of my recipes in here and hope people who stumbled onto my blog would like it.

Bread Pudding with Apple Pie Filling

Well, the first recipe which I would like to share is Bread Pudding with Apple Pie Filling. To me, I love bread pudding. Going for a second or third round of servings in a buffet is unavoidable. However, to some of my friends and family, the name of the dessert itself did not sound very appetizing to them. Having mushy wet bread for a dessert? They would definitely prefer to brownies or creamy cheesecake...

Little did I know that it is really rich and decadent by its own right. Bread pudding, itself also takes on the flavor of anything you out into it. Just like a slice of plain bread, tasting great with any spreads - be it Marmite, Peanut Butter or Nutella. And so for my this recipe, it calls for apple pie filling, but of course, you can use other flavors if you want... Is up to your personal preference. Besides, you can even omit that part altogether if you want.

Golden raisins would be great too. Although I'm not sure how those renegade dark ones got mixed in. It's all good as well! Personally, I think that the secret ingredient, which is not really a secret because it's the main ingredient, which is the BREAD! The sweet Gardenia California Raisins bread is good enough to just eat alone. Can you imagine that used in this way? I think it would be HEAVENLY!

However, this recipe really isn't complete without a thick and creamy scoop (perhaps, two) of vanilla ice cream on top too. The contrast of cold and creamy with warm and gooey are just in perfect combination. 

Bread Pudding with Apple Pie Filling

You need:
1 loaf of Gardenia California Raisins bread
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 cup of milk
1 cup of sugar
5 eggs (beaten)
1 can of Comstock Apple Pie Filling (which you can get it from Cold Storage Supermarket)
1 cup of golden or dark raisins (it's optional since the bread has raisins already)

What you need to do:
Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Cut bread into small pieces and arrange it in the pan. Spread apple pie filling over bread. Sprinkle with raisins (if you intend to add more of it, or else, you can skip this). Heat up milk, sugar and butter until melt (medium heat, do not boil). Then let it cool. Add beaten eggs to the milk mixture and pour over the bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through and firmed.

And voila! Enjoy it warm with vanilla ice cream on top.