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Peaches and raspberries must be in season somewhere cos the supermarkets in Singapore are carrying them.  Lots of them!

Hence I made a simple dessert with these in-season fruits when the JC ladies came over the other night.

You just can’t go wrong with crumble.  I mean, it must be the simplest dessert to whip up from scratch.  If you don’t have raspberries or peaches, you can use any other fruit!  Or even canned fruit!  But of course, fresh fruits taste the BEST.

You can also make this dessert ahead and keep it refrigerated.  Pop it in the oven when you’re ready!  And this dessert is one of those that I don’t need to refer to a recipe and measure out ingredients to the T.  Anyone REALLY CAN do it!  =)

But if you really need a recipe to follow, here it is:

Raspberry Peach Crumble

(makes 4 individual ramekins)


1 punnet of fresh raspberries (more if you like your crumble on the tart side)

2 tablespoons sugar

2 large ripe peaches (you can used canned pitted peaches as well)

100g all-purpose flour

50g brown sugar

60g butter (plus extra for brushing ramekins)


Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Brush ramekins with butter.

Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar over raspberries and let sit for about an hour.  This releases the juices from the raspberries.   (Tip: Don’t wear white when attempting this recipe!)

Skin and pit the peaches and cut into bite-sized chunks/slices.  Place at bottom of ramekins.

Mix the flour and sugar, and cut butter into small pieces into the flour mixture.

Rub butter and flour mixture with fingertips until mixture resembles crumbs. (Tip:  If the crumble feels too wet, add more flour / too dry, add more butter).

Place raspberries and released juices over the peaches in the ramekins.  Cover generously with the crumble.

Bake for 15-20 mins or until crumble is golden brown.  Raspberry juices should ooze down your ramekins when its done!  (Tip:  Place ramekins on a pan before placing in oven.)

Serve with your favourite ice cream.  I had chocolate caramel as I was out of good ol’ vanilla.


Peach on Foodista

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There is an institution that is called Lana in Singapore.  Before chocolate cake specialty shops like Awfully Chocolate sprouted up, the recommendation was always to Lana’s for chocolate cake.

Lana’s bake other cakes as well, but its their chocolate cake that is so sought after.  That fudgey chocolate coating that covers the moist cake is always SO good.  A Singaporean friend’s birthday over the weekend prompted me to attempt this cake – a treat quite a few of us miss about Singapore.

I searched extensively for something as close to a Lana chocolate cake as possible and just when I was about to give up, one appeared in an obscure mommy forum!  It is credited to Aunty Yochana, a cake blogger some Singaporeans might be familar with.  It is quite a curious recipe and I was a little doubtful that it would be successful for various reasons.  First, it uses canola oil instead of butter (this is supposed to make it healthier?) AND it is steamed instead of being baked.

But I guess that’s what makes it old-fashioned.  Heh.

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The recipe is meant for a 9″ cake tin, but I only had my loaf tins, so I used the extra batter for some tea cakes!

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The cake was a big success, the birthday girl enjoyed it tremendously, and I had a lot of fun licking the chocolate coating as I frosted the cake.  I would say its about 90% similar to Lana’s.  Especially the chocolate coating.  It was super YUMS. =d

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Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake (an attempt at recreating Lana’s)

Cake ingredients:

350 ml canola oil

1 1/2 cups raw sugar

1 can of evaporated milk

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups plain flour

1 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Chocolate coating ingredients:

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted

1/2 teaspoon salt


Cake

Combine sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla essence and canola oil in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar is completely dissolved then turn off fire and let cool.

Add the beaten eggs into the cooled mixture and stir until well mixed.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate soda into a large mixing bowl then pour the egg mixture over the flour and stir till well mixed.  The cake batter should be runny.

Heat up the steamer.

Grease a 9 inch baking pan and pour the batter into prepared pan.  Place the pan into the steamer.

Steam on medium heat for 90 minutes.

Cool the cake completely before turning out for frosting.


Chocolate Coating

Combine the sifted cocoa powder, condensed milk and canola oil.

Stir over low heat till mixture is smooth and shiny, making sure to stir all the time to prevent burning.

Add salt and vanilla essence.  Stir well.

Let cool a little before use.

Enjoy the moist cake with all the fudgey goodness of the chocolate coating!  And don’t forget to let me know if you do! =)

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plain simple buttermilk pancakes

This morning, I received a rejection email from Pancake Parlour re: my application for a waitressing job with them.

Sad, I made some buttermilk pancakes to console myself.

They were really simple to make.  And they were fluffy and yummy.  I felt better.

Great with honey, maple syrup, butter or homemade strawberry jam.

pancakes cooking in the pan

Simplest Buttermilk Pancakes

(makes about 10 5-inch pancakes)

1 1/2 cups of self raising flour

2 tablespoons sugar

375 ml buttermilk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons melted butter


Sift flour into a large bowl.  Add in all the other ingredients and beat until batter is of a smooth consistency.

Heat a hot pan with a little butter.  Pour a small ladle-full of batter into the pan and cook for about 1-2 minutes until bubbles appear in the batter.  Check underside of pancake and flip when nicely brown.  Cook another 1-2 minutes until both sides are equally browned.

Repeat until batter finishes.

Serve hot with butter, maple syrup, honey or jam.  Or anything you wish.


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Eve told me about Jelly Hearts sometime ago and I really wanted to attempt it.  I tried them once for a little gathering at Flo’s but they didn’t turn out so good.

The problem I had with it was that because I needed the cheese to still be slightly soft so that the strawberry shape will stay, bits of the cheese layer floated up after I added the jello.  But if I waited for the cheese to set completely before adding the jello, the strawberry floats up.

So for M’s TATP (Tea @ the Patio) last week (which I also made lemon chocolate cake pops), I made tweaks to how I set each layer, which was just a little bit more time consuming, but results were really good.

I also decided to make them in little individual cups.  And for the cheesecake purists, you can turn back now.  This is a light NO-BAKE cheesecake, so if you absolutely need your cheesecakes baked and heavy, this is not for you. Heh.

p3070017Crumble the digestive biscuits.  I love using my stone pestle for this cos it makes it so easy.

p3070019Add butter to the crumbs and mix well.  Don’t be over-zealous with the crumbling.  You don’t want them powder-fine.

p3270043Distribute them into the individual cups (my recipe makes about 10-12 of these cups) and throw them into the freezer to set.  Yes, the freezer.

p3070021Blend the cream cheese, milk and sugar till a nice smooth consistency…

p3070022…then add the gelatine mixture to it, blend again.  The consistency might feel too watery, but don’t worry, it’ll be fine.  Take the cups out of the freezer and pour the cheese mixture in till the cups a just slightly more than half full.  IMPORTANT: Set aside about 1/3 cup of the cheese mixture.  You’ll need it later. Put the mixture back into freezer. (Yes, the freezer again)

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Prepare the strawberry shapes.  The original Jelly Hearts calls for strawberries cut into heart shapes.  I used a flower cookie cutter instead.

Now, the next bit is important, and I forgot to take pictures.  So instead, here’s a picture of the beautiful strawberries I used.

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Ok, now back to the important bit.  This step will ensure that you don’t have cheese mixture or strawberries floating in your jello.

Take the cups out from the freezer, the cheese mixture should have set.  Place a strawberry shape on the set cheesecake, and very, very carefully, spoon the cheese mixture that you had set aside previously, around the strawberry.

Be careful not to add too much mixture and cover the strawberry too much, just a little will do, but it has to come in contact will all sides of the strawberry. I swirled it around a bit just to make sure of that.

Quickly place the cups back into the freezer (yup, the freezer) again.

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Mix the jello/jelly mixture according to packet instructions. Let cool.

Bring the cups out of the freezer after approximately 8 minutes and test if the added cheese mixture has set.  Slowly spoon the cooled jello mixture on top of the strawberry shape.

You’ll get this:

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Now, place the cups back into the fridge to set.  Yup, not the freezer anymore. =)

They’re ready to be enjoyed after the jello has set completely. =)  They were well-received at M’s TATP, so… SUCCESS!

Here’s the recipe:

Individual Strawberry Jello Cheesecake (Jelly Hearts)

(makes 10-12 individual cups)


13 -14 pcs of digestive biscuits (more if you like your biscuit base)

125 g butter (softened)

1 pkg (250g) cream cheese (I use the Philadelphia brand)

3 tablespoons sugar

125ml fresh milk

125ml warm water

15g gelatin

6 large strawberries (halved)

1 pkg strawberry flavoured jello/jelly


Crush biscuits and add softened butter, mixing well.  Spoon into cups and lightly press to form a firm base. Place in freezer.


Blend cream cheese, milk and sugar in a blender until you get a smooth consistency. Dissolve gelatin in warm water and add to cheese mixture.  Blend again.


Reserve about 1/3 cup of cheese mixture.  Set aside.  Take the cups out from the freezer and pour the remaining mixture into the cups on top of the biscuit base till slightly more than half full.  Freeze cups to set the cheese mixture.


Using a cookie cutter, cut shapes out of the halved strawberries. Prepare the jello/jelly according to package instructions and let cool.


Take the cups out from the freezer again and place a strawberry shape in each cup on top of the set cheese mixture.  Slowly spoon a little reserve cheese mixture at the sides of each strawberry shape.  Return to freezer.


When the reserve cheese mixture has set, slowly spoon the jello mixture directly onto the strawberry.


Refrigerate till jello/jelly has set.  Serve chilled.

 

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I made these chocolate-covered-lemon-cake cake pops for M’s Tea @ The Patio little party and for Yaya’s gathering at Ritz on Saturday.  I forgot about the styrofoam block for cake pop drying, hence all the cake pops were inverted.  But I think they still looked pretty.  Heehee.

I didn’t use a cake mix for my cake pops.  Instead, I made a lemon cake using the Lemon Drenched Lemon Cake recipe from Joy the Baker’s blog, adapted from Dorie Greenspan.

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It smelled so good while it was baking!   I’m a little sad I didn’t bake another loaf just to eat it as it is, cos it was SO good.  The lemon syrup drenching part of the recipe really brought it to another level.  Will and must try it again.

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So here it is all crumbled. I cut away most of the browned sides so the cake pops would look more… yellow. =P

I made a lemon cream cheese frosting and when they were all nicely rolled up into cake balls, they look like this:

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Then, covered with Valrhona’s 66% cocoa Feve Pur Caraibe chocolate:

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The tartness of the lemon cake was perfect complement to the dark chocolate’s bitter-sweetness.  BIG yums.

Eve helped me with cake pop decoration for the completed fun dessert you see in the first picture.  We used Wilton’s pink candy melts.

Check out Bakerella for more Cake Pop and Cupcake Pop ideas!  She’s got really cool Easter-themed ones up now.  Have fun!

And here’s Joy the Baker‘s recipe for the gorgeous lemon cake:

Lemon Drenched Lemon Cakes

For the Cakes:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of salt

2 1/3 cups sugar

1/2 plump, moist vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved, or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

6 large eggs, preferably at room temperature

2/3 cups heavy cream

zest of two lemons, finely grated

1 stick, plus 7 Tablespoons (15 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the syrup:
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

juice of two lemons

Making the cakes:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8 1/2-4 1/2-inch loaf pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Even if the pans are nonstick, it’s a good idea to butter and flour them. Place the pans on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular sheets stacked one on top of the other.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Put the sugar and the lemon zest in a large bowl, working with your fingers, rub them together until the sugar is moist and thoroughly imbued with the fragrance of lemon. Add the vanilla bean seeds and work them into the sugar. If you are using vanilla extract, add it later, after you have added the eggs.

Add the eggs and whisk them into the sugar, beating until they are thoroughly incorporated. Whisk in the extract (if using), then whisk in the cream. Continuing with the whisk, or switching to a large rubber spatula, gently stir in the dry ingredients in 3 or 4 additions; the batter will be smooth and thick. Finish by folding in the melted butter in 2 or 3 additions. Pour the batter into the pans, smoothing with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.

As soon as the cake goes into the oven, make the syrup.
After about 30 minutes in the oven, check the cakes for color- if they are browning too quickly, cover them lightly with foil tents.

Making the syrup: Stir the water and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts, then bring to a boil. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and let cool.

When the cakes test done, transfer them to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding them and turning them right side up on the rack. Place the rack over a baking sheet lined with wax paper and, using a thin skewer, cake tester or thin-bladed sharp knife, poke holes all over the cakes. Brush the cakes all over with the syrup, working slowly so that the cakes sop it up. Leave the cakes on the rack to cool to room temperature.

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