Monday, October 30, 2006

New Experiments

What do you do when you find you have like lots of and lots of spare egg white??? It's quite exasperating actually. You can either 1. make a large omelette, 2. make a pavlova.

Most times, egg whites will be used up, when recipes call for separation of egg and state. ie, for chiffon cakes, lemon meringue pies...but not for tiramisus, though while some recipes incorporate the egg white into the filling, mine doesn't, so for every yolk I have, there's be the balance egg white.

So anyway, on Saturday, I had told my raya open house host that I'll bring a sticky date pudding, but after baking it, it seemed a tad tiny. Although I used a 8" round tin instead of square tin, it still seemed very shallow. KSL pointed out maybe it was meant to be shallow, like a brownie. But the taste seemed to go down quite well with everyone. It's a different texture to the one sold my my friend, Mrs McGregor. Her's seems to be more springy and spongy, whereas mine is more like a dense cake. But as I said, the taste was fine, rather delicious if I may say so myself.

So, to rectify the small looking cake, I thought I'd attempt a pavolva of sorts, but stupidly, didn't bother referring to the books, so just whipped up the meringue (yes, the kenwood whips egg whites stupendously well), plonked them onto baking tray and baked on low heat. Wasn't till after that I read that you need to add cornflour la, vinegar la, this la that la. So, my meringue never hardened. Nevertheless it still did not deter me from turning it into a strawberry meringue. Which to me tasted okay, if you like meringue.

While we're on the topic of meringues, indeed, the kenwood does whip egg white really well, and for 5 my egg whites, I've never managed to get such a tall meringue before. I'm not sure how the cooked texture tasted like, but I reckon it looks good. The lemon meringue pie below was an order for Sunday.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My New Baby's Tricks

Well, so far I have to say, the new baby hasn't been as exciting as I thought it would be. Firstly, I am not used to to the settings, ie, control not every good yet. Secondly, it is a royal pain to screw, unscrew, lodge, dislodge, the bowl. Thirdly, it's mainly good for one bowl mixes, ie, you don't require something ELSE that mixed from another bowl, eg, say if you needed to beat some egg white, and incorporate it into your cake You still have to fall back onto your trusty hand held mixer, because, you'd need to scrape the bowl clean, wash it, wash the beaters, and start all over again. Whereas with the handheld beaters, all you need is different mixing bowls, and move the beater from bowl to bowl. (and just wash the beaters).

On Sunday, the day after Deepavali, I had to make 3 carrot cakes, 2 brownies, and 2 tiramisus. So, I had to do it in the following sequence. The brownies first, coz they're basically one bowl mix. It was my first time making brownies with the baby, and the texture looked fine, initially. It wasn't until I was pouring the batter into the pans that I realised a lot of gunk at the bottom wasn't mixed properly. I made a feeble attempt to restir the gunk back into the remaining batter, but that might not have worked, because, the most awful thing happened while the brownies were baking. There appeared on the surface of the brownie a gurgling, boiling oil kinda texture. Which really alarmed me. Miraculously, it disappeared the minute I took it out of the oven. However, the brownie looked darker and harder than I was used to, so I honestly don't know if they were dry and hard as rock. For the next brownie order on Tuesday, I stuck with the old handbeater, and it was perfect.

For the 3 carrot cakes, I used the Kenwood to mix the cake batter, but had to mix the carrots, walnuts and raisins in another bowl. I guess that was coz of the sheer volume of it. Whipping of cream was easy enough, but I reckon it would be QUITE easy to overbeat cream in this baby. But again, I had to mix the mascarporne in another bowl, WITH another mixer. The cream cheese frosting for the carrot cakes, and buttercream for daughter's birthday cake, were done in the kenwood, and yes, it is great for that.

I am sooo exhausted, in addition to having been sick since Sunday. I want a refund on my public holiday.

One of the many Raya carrot cakes. Okay, granted, the Deepavali colors may have rendered it a bit gaudy, but hey, I was in a chirpy mood.

I ran out of steam halfway, for these freebies, and only managed to slap on some cream cheese frosting onto the cupcakes as a background for the lettering. As you can see, the yellow letters can't be seen clearly coz of the frosting. Next time I might just try an icing sugar glaze.

More sugarpaste letters....No prizes for guessing what they spell.

Tiramisu torte, with almonds and cocoa as opposed to caramelised nuts.

Another new item I tried was a Walnut Coffee Sour Cream Cake, fulfilling a last minute order by Mr Cambridge, who told me to "surprise" him.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this sms I received from No1 in Tianjin yesterday.

Friday, October 20, 2006

My Baby Has Arrived

After much scouting around, I decided that the "SPECIAL BUY" from Southern Bank's Direct Access was the best deal. RM1599 for this baby, at interest free instalments of RM133 per month. Now the problem is looking for a place to house this baby, considering the kitchen is more congested than a Singaporean HDB.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that you can fit all kinds of trendy attachments, from sausage maker to blender to processor. Of course, the attachments probably cost an arm and a leg. Now, if anyone can enlighten me, when we beat normal cake batter, which do we use? The K beater, the balloon whisk, or the dough hook? (obviously not the latter la). In Alex Goh's creative cake mixing, he uses the balloon whisk to mix the sponge mix. How? This is more exciting than getting a new car, and is singularly one of the most expensive appliances I've ever purchased. Heck, my TV is 11 years old, my dvd is the chiplak RM119 one. My stereo (or amp), is also 10 years old, and is falling apart. I use the chiplak dvd player as a cd player....

Godma unloaded a tonne of very ripe bananas on me yesterday, so I decided to try out a new banana cake recipe, ie, the Chocolate Banana Cake from AWW. However, after mixing the milk & lemon juice mixture, (I guess this is a form of buttermilk), I FORGOT to add it into the final batter. Anyway, it turned out okay, sans chocolate icing, coz brought it to in-laws place and no time to cool the cake.

These mini loaf pans I bought from Carrefour are a real boon. Now I can have a few experimental loafs on the side, by making extra batter. And they're non stick, so only need to grease a little bit, and they plop out easier than a baby from a woman who's had 6 kids.

The other experimentation was using fondant/sugarpaste icing to make lettering. I bought the lettering set from Pasaraya Bagus, in Shah Alam. I haven't touched fondant since the wedding cake episode, and it was with trepidation that I tried. Anyway, I intend to do what everyone's doing with cupcakes, and using these banana cupcakes below, putting a letter of the alphabet on each, to form the words HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMILIE.

These are the colors of the fondant that I made. I discovered that one batch of 500gm can probably go a LONG LONG way as far as lettering goes. Can probably write a short essay with it.

Further to the comment by Snowdrop in the previous post, regarding auctioning cookie cutters, well, keep your eyes peeled, I have been known to lose interest in certain hobbies, ...... like guitar lessons, so if that day comes, EVERYTHING, from cookbooks, to baking pans, will be on sale.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Enough Cookie Cutters For Now

Thanks to Spot, or was it Snowie, who directed me to that marvellous baking decoration heaven, called Wilton, in Section 14. Of course, don't expect to pay your average Bake With Yen prices for any of the merchandise. But hey, yutt fun cheen yutt fun for. I think Venetia had earlier on directed me to that site as well, but I had deleted her comment in haste cos it revealed my name, and it aint Rumpelstiltskin.

Check out my latest purchase....what got me was the T-Rex cutter. But after buying it, I remembered that 3rd kid, ie, boy no 2, is no longer into dinosaurs, but more into Ultraman and Power Rangers..... oh well, Christmas is around the corner, so I guess they (the cutters) can be used for a whole gingerbread zoo, though I have no idea how gingerbread is related to the birth of Jesus Christ in any way.

Anyway, I also enrolled for the Level 1 Cake Decorating course. The lady there asked me at least twice if I was registering for myself. It wasn't until I announced that I was bored with my day job, did they believe me. I very foolishly showed one of them my attempt at my first wedding cake, and she almost condescendingly said, "hmm, not a bad effort for first time"... and proceeded to show me a styrofoam coated with fondant cake by one of the students, proudly telling me, oh, this was done by a guy, first timer with no experience. I have to say the fondant was exceedingly smooth.

Meanwhile, this morning, to my horror, I discovered that two lemon meringue pies I had made for a delivery today had gone partially soggy in one section. (ie, the crust). I'm not sure why this is so, probably the meringue leaked or something. And what is with the bleeding of the meringue? Can anyone enlighten me? (usually when I ask these kind of culinary question, it's directed at Boo_licious)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Caramel Banana Pie

Got my last of the 4 books that I ordered from Amazon. I don't understand how the postal service here works. The first parcel had to be picked up from Chan Sow Lin area, and the 2nd parcel, in the Pantai Dalam area. Important thing is, they all arrived safely.

It's been a phenomenal week last week, with 15 orders. Well, 4 were complimentary, 11 were commercial. An old recipe I dug up, that haven't used in awhile, was the Caramel Banana Tart, which is something like a Banoffee Pie, except the latter usually required boiling condensed milk for 2 hours, and I can't get myself to waste that kind of electricity, unless I have 10 orders of banoffee. My alternative recipe has all the goodness of milk and sugar, without having to make TNB happy. Alas, I didn't take any decent pictures of the pie, so I only have this to show:

If you're interested in trying it out, the recipe is as follows:


1 cup milk with 1/2 cup corn flour, mixed
100 gm butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1½ cups whipping cream
3 bananas
chocolate sauce

Pie case : Well, you should know how to make it by now, so no need to explain here

1. Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan until all melted. It should form a lovely brown-ish golden caramel.

2. Add the milk and cornflour mixture until the whole thing thickens. My boy calls it Taffy. Donno WHEERE he learnt that from.

3. Remove from heat, and stir in the egg y0lks and vanilla essence. When it is cooled, spoon into the tart shell, top with bananas, and a layer of whipped cream, and just before serving, place some banana slices on the top, and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Refrigeration is of UTMOST importance. The colder the pie the better.

In fact, it tastes better after overnight in the fridge.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Is Semolina/Sugee Considered Flour?

I just had lunch with "Tan Sri", at Delicious, upon my suggestion, as we were trying to decide where to eat at Bangsar Village.

The place is a success story, and sticks to the simple formula of fairly good food at fairly affordable prices in fairly nice surroundings, with fairly easy parking. My nasi kerabu was fairly good, not the best, but certainly not the worst. "Tan Sri"'s mushroom soup looked thick and mushroomy, with evidence of shitake mushrooms swimming about.

Now, many many years ago, King of the Chinese used to lug back a Flourless Lemon Cake from Daimaru, Melbourne, for us everytime he came back. Not into baking yet at the time, I was intrigued by the term flourless, just like most of the non cake laity out there, (FLOURLESS? REALLY AH? HOW LIKE THAT? WHAT DO YOU USE?) but never really pursued the matter beyond going ooh and aah. Fast forward, many many years down the line, I wish I had done SOMETHING about obtaining the recipe back then.

So, I've been meaning to try the flourless orange cake in Delicious. Tan Sri and I dissected the cake, and tried using our tongues and imagination to decipher the composition. I told him that most flourless cakes have almond and egg, which was when he commented, it tastes like sugee. Now, sugee seems to be known as sugee only in this country, otherwise it is known as semolina. (Not salmonella, which is the poisoning from raw egg). From an internet search, I found that

Semolina flour;
Typically hard durum wheat which has been ground into flour. The resulting product is high in gluten and is used for making pasta and breads. Semolina is available in coarse or fine texture flour.
(courtesy of

Which begs the question. Is it a flour? If not, then an orange sugee cake can be classified as a flourless cake.

But back to the more important point, anyone out there has a recipe for flourless orange/lemon cake? (not from the internet la, must be tried and tested)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Carrot Cake With Frosting

Another cake on the "for sale" list recently has been the carrot cake. Aitelyu in this life, you REALLY cannot please everyone. Some say its too dense, they prefer it more cakey, fluffy, ....but when you make it lighter, some say they prefer it dense.

So, for the ease of future ordering, you may follow this guide for lemon and carrot cakes. No point doing one for durians, because, 1. the cliparts of durians aren't available on Microsoft, 2. if you are ordering durian cake, in all likelihood, you'd want DURIAN. Very little room for grey area with durian. You either like it, or you don't. So even a hint of it can make a person sick, if inclination is of the latter.

During a recent dinner, a friend's friend from Ipoh suggested I try making a cempedak cake. She has childhood memories of eating it, and remembers it being divine. Anyone got a recipe to share?

Off the top of my head, this is how I would make it, if I were try.

400gms of cempedak flesh, pureed, with some milk.

250gms butter
3/4 cup sugar

5 eggs

2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup custard powder

1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I wonder why this isnt a more popular snack. Butter and sugar on its own, is divine. Recently, I found out that some friends think BUTTERCUP is butter. Hallo, please read your contents list. If its too cheap to be butter, it ain't!!!

2. Add in the eggs one by one. My favourite cooking eggs are Seri Murni, large. They separate easily too, and are reasonably priced. Who cares about low cholestrol eggs if you are whacking 250gm of butter.

3. Stir in sifted flours in two batches. Add the cempedak puree. Bake in preheated 180C oven for an hour.

Anyone game to try? I am dying to try, but haven't seen any cempedaks on the road yet. Oh, cannot replace with jackfruit, I'm pretty sure. The cempedak needs to be ripe too.

I've got a friend, Woman I am Scared Of, who recoils in horror at the sight of jackfruit and cempedak. Some childhood related trauma. Dunno if it fell on her head or something.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Martha Has Arrived

Sorry for the long hiatus. I haven't been experimenting on anything new in the last few weeks, and all the dessert orders have been stuff that has already been featured, so nothing to blog about. Lately the lemon meringue pie has been getting a lot of exposure, and is becoming increasingly popular. As I predicted, people's SOURNESS TOLERANCE LEVEL varies, so I get comments like, Ah, just right, not sour enough, or EEUGHHHH, tooo sour. I shall incorporate a lemon scale for future orders.

Last birthday, late 2005, dear friend Jays from NY gave me a USD50 Amazon gift voucher. Recently I realised I should use it before it expires. After numerous attempts, at ordering 2nd hand books, baking utensils, all which can't be delivered to out of America, I finally settled for new books, and of course, what kinda books, but cookbooks. For all the variety you can get here, there are surprisingly few Martha Stewart books available locally. Maybe she's a convicted felon, and our censorship board does not allow works by authors like that. Then again, you can buy Jeffrey Archer's stuff quite readily.

Anyway, the problem with ordering from Amazon is the exorbitant postage cost, and basically, you need to buy more than one book to get some sort of economy of scale for postage. So, I ended up buying 4 books, way exceeding the USD50 gift voucher. Today, 3 out of the 4 books arrived!!!!

To my delight, one of the recipes had what looks like something VERY close to Alexis' Pear and Ginger Upside Down Pudding.

My quest for that recipe (apart from the one Boolicious of Masak Masak gave me a few months back) has been like the quest for the holy grail. The other thing that is almost impossible to find is a SQUARE pie tin with a removable base and corrugated pie sides. Unfortunately, the pear ginger cake calls for golden molasses, which I think is quite expensive. I just gonna hantam golden syrup.

The Sachertorte recipe in the Green & Blacks Chocolate Recipes looks to die for. Oh well, lots of new things to try, so keep your eyes peeled in the future.

For a semi food related tale and friend's 40th, do check out the story at limiteditions.