Saturday, 17 December 2011

Red Velvet Cupcake

Posted by Kim Fong On 8:43 pm


Another first for me today. Red velvet cupcakes. A number of people have been talking about it around me. Then I see a few recipes here and there so I decided to try it out, having never actually eaten it before either. I found this particular recipe which tickled my fancy. Like chocolate cake recipes, there are so many red velvet cupcake recipes. After reading the ingredients – I nearly fell off the chair when I saw how much food colouring goes in this recipe. Besides that, the method seemed sound. So I gave it a go. I adapted as I went. I think it turned out pretty good. What’s my gauge for “goodness” considering I’ve never had red velvet cupcakes before? Well – unlike most cupcakes, these aren’t crumbly and dry. Plus they’re really red – with “only” half a bottle of food colouring. Below the recipe – which I adjusted to metric.

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (I used 2.5 cups of plain flour minus 5 tablespoons) 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Half a bottle of red food colouring (~2 Tblspn)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (125g)
1 1/2 cups caster sugar (I used 1 cup)
2 eggs, at room temperature (lightly beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda


Method
1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers (I ended up with 18 cupcakes in total)

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. 

3. In a small bowl, mix food colouring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside. The trick to this one, I put the cocoa first into the bowl, then slowly added the food colouring, enough to make a paste.

4. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. 

5. Then add the eggs, one at a time.

6. Followed by the vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

7. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and mix until well combined, then half of the buttermilk.

8. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, and mix until well combined, scrape down the bowl with a spatula to get everything mixed in.

9. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. It is supposed to fizz.

10. Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine.

11. Fill cupcake cups with about 3/4 full.  

12. Bake for approximately 18-22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until toothpick comes out clean.

13. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.


White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients
250g packet of block cream cheese, at room temperature.
1 stick of butter (1/2 a cup), at room temperature.
1 teaspoon vanilla
180g white chocolate
2 to 3 cups icing sugar mixture, sifted


Directions
1. Melt the chocolate and.Let cool for a few minutes. For melting chocolate tips check out a previous post – dealing with chocolate

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the the cream cheese and butter together until combined.

3. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.

4. Add the cooled melted chocolate and mix to incorporate.

5. Gradually add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time through a sifter, and mix until well combined. Add the amount of your liking.

6. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes. There is heaps of frosting to go around, so you can be generous.





Monday, 5 December 2011

Double Rainbow Unicorn Cake

Posted by Kim Fong On 4:42 pm


OMG! Double rainbow across sky! *Sob *Sob! All the way to Candy Mountain Char-lieeee!!!! If you've no idea what I'm talking about, following the links as per each reference. These are a couple of viral videos loved by myself and my group of friends. These two videos are the inspiration for my niece's 3rd birthday cake. Plus she loves rainbows and what 3 year old girl doesn't love unicorns! 


For the rainbows, I followed this blog post as a guide. I basically did a round butter cake, halved it and turned it up. Then decorated using plain butter frosting and M&M wannabes (from Aldi). You can obviously use another cake types, be sure to use a dense one (eg. mud cake, banana cake). The recipe for the butter cake and butter frosting I used was from a 2009 Donna Hay Magazine - Kids Edition. I could say all butter cake recipes are the same - but I'd be wrong. Below the version I used. Its a little dry - so definitely good to have the frosting with it. 

So how did you do the unicorn?
For starters, the birthday girl thought it was a cow. Kids - they're so honest!

So how I built the cow/unicorn - 
1. The body I inverted a cupcake/muffin and covered that in fondant.
2. The head I used a friand tin (with cake mixture), turned it on its side, cut a square groove which lets it sit on the inverted muffin (see diagram below - my dodgy graphics job but you get the point)


3. The legs, arms, tail, ears, nostrils and mane are all made from shaping fondant. The horn is a candle. The eyes I used blue sugar sprinkles and black sesame seed. To "glue" everything together I used liquid glucose or light corn syrup. 

For the "clouds", I used white vanilla Persian fairy-floss.


Friday, 2 December 2011

Teriyaki Chicken

Posted by Kim Fong On 6:00 pm


Last night was my first attempt at teriyaki chicken from scratch (ie. not the packet stuff). After consulting my Japanese friend Chiharu, and my other not-so-Japanese friend Woman's Weekly Japanese Cookbook, below is my version of teriyaki chicken. It's pretty damn easy. I didn't use much chicken (couple of thigh fillet pieces) so the portions of flavouring will obviously vary on how much meat you have and probably how strong a flavour you want.

Ingredients
3 Tbspn soy sauce
3 Tbspn mirin
2 tspns sugar
2 chicken thigh fillet piece (about 250g) sliced into strips
oil for coating the fry pan

Method
Add soy sauce, mirin and sugar with chicken in a bowl. Stir around and set aside to marinate for around 10 minutes (or more).

Heat a fry pan over high heat, add oil to coat pan with a little extra. Add marinated chicken and any residual marinate juices. It may spit a little. Spread around (don't crowd the pan). Cook the chicken (I really don't need to tell you how to do this). And that's it! Serve how you like - on rice, in sushi, bento box.


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Quinoa Sushi Fusion

Posted by Kim Fong On 10:27 pm


Yeah you read that right. Quinoa! Sushi! Brilliant! Inspired by a recipe out of the book Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood. I made some modifications - most notably, I used balsamic vinegar instead of rice wine vinegar, purely because I forgot to pick some up at the store today. But it worked out! Next time I may try some not-so-asian fillings.

Ingredients
2 cups water (I used a weak chicken stock)
1 cup quinoa grains
6 Tbspn rice wine vinegar (1 used about 1/8 of a cup of balsamic)
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 pinch of salt
dried sushi nori (I used 4 sheets, depends how much quinoa you spread on the sheet)

You can use a range sushi fillings include:
  • avocado
  • hydroponic lettuce
  • carrots (julienne cut)
  • cucumber (julienne cut)
  • salmon
  • tuna
  • teriyaki chicken
  • wasabi
  • enoki mushrooms
  • crab
  • tofu

Method
1. In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil quinoa and water (or stock). Reduce to a simmer and cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for an additional 10 minutes to allow residual heat in the pot to continue cooking the quinoa to an plumpy texture. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

2. Heat vinegar, honey and salt in a small saucepan or in the microwave (around 30 seconds on high) to dissolve salt and honey and to warm the mixture.

3. Stir vinegar mixture into warm and cooked quinoa until evenly distributed. Allow quinoa to cool to room temperature in the uncovered pot.

4. Ensure your hands are dry, place nori on sushi mat (I used a piece cling wrap on a table placemat) rough side up. Spread quinoa on nori to form a layer right to the edges. Leave a gap (as per picture below) so you can seal the sushi after rolling it.






5. Place filling in a row, closer to the side opposite the gap of nori. And roll the nori around filling. Ensure its quite tight. I'm not very good at articulating how to do this, so watch this video here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

6. With a sharp knife, cut roll into 1 inch segments turn it up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately with soy sauce and wasabi on the side (optional).


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

Posted by Kim Fong On 7:30 pm



With spare hazelnuts, I decided to use them up and make brownies. There are heaps of brownie recipes out there. This is one I always use. Its a mix between those fudgy brownies and those cakey ones.

Ingredients
65g butter (plus extra to grease pan)
180g dark chocolate (coarsely chopped)
2 eggs
150g (2/3 Cup) caster sugar
1 tspn vanilla essence
75g (1/2 Cup) plain flour
2 Tblspn cocoa powder
¼ tspn bicarb soda
125g (1 cup) chopped hazelnuts

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm square cake pan with baking paper.
2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate and stir until all chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool.
Using electric beaters, mix eggs and sugar in a medium size bowl until pale and creamy. 
3. Add vanilla and butter/chocolate mixture and fold in gently to combine.
4. Sift flour, cocoa and bicarb together. Add these sifted dry ingredients and hazelnuts to the chocolate mixture, fold in gently to combine well. Be sure not to over mix it as it will become less soft and chewy.
5. Pour mixture into prepared cake pan. Bake for 25 minutes. When it comes to brownies, it is better to under bake than over. You can tell they're done when the brownie comes away from the side of the pan. 



6. Allow cake to cool completely in the cake pan. Brownies cut better and taste best when thoroughly cooled. They will crumble and crack if you remove them from the pan while they’re still warm. Remove from cake pan and slice to serve. Serve with chocolate ganache, cream or icecream.





Monday, 28 November 2011

Mrs Stevenson's Coconut Loaf (Egg free, Dairy free)

Posted by Kim Fong On 9:26 am



My dear friend Anna, gave me her mum's recipe for Coconut Loaf. Its been in her family for many years. Its very easy and simple! 1 bowl - no fuss. I added my own spin to this recipe - channelling the Cherry Ripe flavour.

Ingredients
1& 1/2 cups plain flour (sifted)
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup dessicated coconut
3/4 cup caster sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup water
(optional) mixed frozen berries

Method
Preheat oven (190C) and grease and line base of a loaf tin.

In a mixing bowl, sift flour and baking powder, mix in coconut, sugar and salt. Pour in water and vanilla and mix to combine. [Add berries if you want it mixed through the mixture]

Pour mixture into greased and lined loaf pan, (add berries if you want berries to be just on top - they don't sink into the mixture in the oven) and bake for 45 minutes. 

When cooked, take out of oven onto wire rack, allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before turning cake out of tin to cool completely.

I served this with a chocolate ganache (which makes it not so dairy free). [Mix heated cream with chopped chocolate. Ratio depends on consistency you want but about 1 to 1].



Saturday, 26 November 2011

Chewy Choc & Hazelnut Cookies

Posted by Kim Fong On 10:35 pm


I've been making these cookies for many many years. This recipe I found in my Mum's pile of recipe cut-outs while searching for chewy cookies (not crunchy), so unfortunately I can't credit anyone specifically for this one. Note on this - its a lot easier if you have an cake mixer. 

Method
150g butter
1 cup brown sugar – packed (I cut it down to 2/3 cup)
1 egg – beaten (make sure you do this)
1¼ cups self raising flour
1 cup choc chip or chunks (I get block chocolate and chop it up myself)
½ cup crushed hazelnuts (can replace with almonds, peanuts etc)

1.  Cream butter and sugar until pale in colour.
2. Add egg and beat well.
3. Mix in flour
4. Then chocolate and nuts, mix well.
Dough!

5.   Place heaped teaspoonfuls of mixture onto greased baking trays, allow room for spreading.
Before

6.    Bake at 170C for 10 minutes before removing from trays.

After


Note: For crunchy biscuits use 1 cup of self raising flour and ½ cup plain flour and cook at 180C.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Simple Tasty Home-made Chilli Mex

Posted by Kim Fong On 6:31 pm


This is one of OG's favourite dishes that's been loved by all who have tried it. No "Old El Paso" packet stuff. This is great mex with simple ingredients. It can be served many ways, over rice, on corn chips, in a burrito - you name it! 

This is dairy free, gluten free and egg free (depending what else you eat with it). The quantities I've listed below are rough and obviously if you want more or less of something, then add or subtract accordingly. Cumin and coriander is a must but don't worry if you slip in too much, all is forgiven.

Ingredients
1 Tbspn olive oil (approx)
1 Medium onion - finely diced
pinch or 2 of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 to 4 Tbspn ground cumin
2 to 4 Tbspn ground coriander
300g of mince beef (can be substitute with mince pork)
2 cloves garlic - roughly chopped
1 to 2 cans red kidney beans - drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tspn salt (to taste)
* (optional) fresh chilli(s) - sliced

Method
1. On high heat, in a medium to large pan, add oil to coat base and a little extra. Add onions and brown slightly. Add half the cayenne pepper, half the cumin, half the coriander and stir. Add mince beef and stir to quickly and roughly seal. When there are still pink bits of meat, turn the heat down to medium to medium low. Stir in garlic (as the pan cools from adding the onions and meat so not to burn and go bitter). If you find it catching at the bottom of the pan, a little bit more olive oil.

2. At this time most of the beef has browned. Move the meat to one side of the pan and add kidney beans. While in the pan, mash about half the beans (either with a potato masher or a fork). You can pre-mash them before adding them to the pot if that's easier. Mix through the beans and meat. Mashing half the beans creates a creamy texture, while having some whole beans for taste, colour and presentation.

3. Stir in canned tomatoes. 

4. Add remaining cayenne pepper, cumin and coriander to taste. Add salt to taste. If you're adding fresh chilli(s), you'd do that now too. Mix through.

5. Turn heat down low and leave to simmer for about half an hour. Check and stir every 5 to 10 minutes to ensure the mixture isn't sticking to the pan. This allows the flavours to combine and absorb through.


Serve with rice/corn chips/ tortillas. Goes well with salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado... all your typical mexican sides. Garnish with fresh coriander/cilantro (optional).



Thursday, 17 November 2011

Pasta Bake with Bacon & Mushrooms

Posted by Kim Fong On 8:58 pm


Pasta bake, pretty simple comfort food but it can also be the fanciest thing in the world made by top notch chefs. From buying a bottle of flavour, boiling some pasta, throwing in some canned tuna, shredded cheese and frozen veges and wacking it in the oven.... And then there is ones with A-grade pancetta and foie gras, truffles, wine, gold flakes, refuse to call it pasta bake, ... and so forth. 

This recipes comes from a TV viewing session of Simon Hopkinson, while feeling hungry, uninspired and really lazy that I was about to pick up the phone and call the local thai takeaway. Its pretty easy stuff with a few pointers along the way, this tastes like a top notch dish without the extra preservatives, salt and MSG you get from a bottle. The only fancy'ish thing are the mushrooms.

Ingredients
1/2 litre milk
2 or 3 handfuls of dried porcinni (or mixed mushrooms)
2 or 3 handfuls of fresh button mushrooms roughly chopped
2 or 3 tablespoons of butter
1/4 to 1/3 cup plain flour
250g fettuccine pasta - half/third the length of the pasta (around 10 cm long) this makes it easier to stir later
200g thin streaky bacon (or pancetta)
fresh parmesan cheese to grate over the top
salt & pepper to taste
+ fresh or dried herbs (basil and parsley)
+ pinch of nutmeg



Method
On medium heat in a medium saucepan, bring to a light simmer milk and mushrooms. Ensure to watch the pot! You don't want this to over boil as it can burn the milk. Once simmering, turn off and set aside off the heat for 5 to 10 minutes. This will allow the flavours of the mushrooms to infuse with the milk.

While that's set aside, start boiling your pasta (as per packet instructions). Drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 180C.

After 5 to 10 minutes, strain the milk mushroom mixture, keeping both ingredients.
 
In another medium saucepan, on medium to low heat, melt few knobs of butter. Then sprinkle the plain flour and start whisking until all is combined (you're making a roux). Working quickly, add the mushroomy milk and continuing stiring with whisk. Your mixture will start to turn a thick sauce. At this point a grate a pinch of nutmeg into the sauce. Just as it starts bubbling, turn off, take of heat and set aside.

The original recipe says to use pancetta, I just use bacon. De-rind and cut into 1inch pieces. Chop up some fresh herbs (if you're not using dried). Combine bacon, pasta, herbs, strained mushroom and sauce and place in VERY WELL GREASED/ BUTTERED baking tray. Top with grated parmesan cheese. 
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the cheese is browned onto. Serve with extra parmesan.

Before
After






Monday, 14 November 2011

Lamb Kofta Surprise (Gluten free)

Posted by Kim Fong On 9:22 pm


Today at work we're raising money for the Cancer Council through an event called "Girls Night In". Where we each bring a plate for lunch, and money we would have spent on lunch goes towards Cancer Council for their research, prevention and support programs.

My contribution - Lamb Kofta - with a nice little surprise inside (it's just bocconcini) with a side of mix salad greens and tzatziki.

Ingredients
Kofta
500g lamb mince
1 brown onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 tsp oregano leaves
2 tsp ground cumin
1 clove minced garlic
2 tsp sumac
2 Tbsp falafel mix
1/4 cup almond meal/flour 
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper 
2 to 3 small bocconcini balls (diced into 1.5cm cubes)

Tzatziki
1 cup natural yoghurt
1 small Lebanese cucumber (or half a med to large size), halved lengthwise, deseeded and finely chopped (can use a grater)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a medium sized lemon)
1 clove minced garlic
1 dash olive oil
salt to taste

Method
Kofta
In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients except for the bocconcini. Mix together thoroughly to ensure all ingredients are combined. I usually use my hands and squeeze the mixture through my fist to get an even texture. 

Cover bowl with cling wrap and set aside in fridge for an hour or more. This allows the flavours to marinate into the lamb. Meanwhile, make the Tzatziki.

Roll dessert-spoonful/table-spoonful of mixture into balls, press a cavity with your thumb into the ball and place a bocconcini cube. Close the cavity with the mince mixture, set aside. Repeat until you use up all the mince.

Heat a large well greased frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook meatballs in pan, be sure not to crowd the pan. Turn to brown, reduce heat and cover to cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining balls. Then serve with tzatziki and salad greens.

Tzatziki
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir to mix through. Cover with cling wrap and place in fridge until ready to serve.




Focaccia Bread

Posted by Kim Fong On 9:17 pm


This weekend I attending a cooking demonstration at Alio Restaurant in Surry Hills. It was great! And we got to eat everything Chef Ashley Hughes made. I loved that we got to learn the little tips and ticks and to ask questions as he cooked. 

In my experience, one thing that I could never make by hand properly is bread. Ashley walked us through every step and it was simple and delicious! So I gave it a go last night, with my own twist. After this first go, I will probably change it up even more - will keep you posted as to what I do next.

Ingredients
Dough
25g active yeast (1 used a 7g sachet of dry yeast)
25g honey
600ml warm water (bath warm - if you can pour it over your wrist, its the right temp.)
900g baker's flour (sifted)
25g salt
Topping
herbs (rosemary, oregano, basil works well)
1 clove garlic
pinch of salt
1/2 cup olive oil (approx)
water to spray
+ defrosted frozen spinach (about 80g)
+ shredded cheese (about half a cup) 

Method
1. Activate yeast
At the demo, Chef Hughes used active yeast and dissolved it with warm water and honey before incorporating it with the flour mixture. I used 7g sachet of dry yeast and dissolved it warm water with honey. Let sit to allowed to foam up.

2. Making the dough
In a large mixing bowl, add the yeast mixture to a well in the flour/salt mixture. Using the dough hook of a food mixer, starting on the lowest setting gradually combine. As the flour gets incorporated into the liquid, you can increase the speed until all is combined and forms a ball of dough. If you don't have a food mixer, you can do this by hand. (I'm just lazy)

Take it out of the mixing bowl onto a clean surface (make sure its not floured as flour will dry out the dough), kneed dough for a further 5 minutes until its smooth and elastic. (Yes, it gets a bit sticky at first - bare with it.) Form dough into a ball shape. With some oil, pat the dough using your hands - this will stop it from drying out. Return the ball of dough into the mixing bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let the dough sit for about an hour (though this time may vary depending on the temperature of your room) or until its doubled in size. This process is called "proving" or "proofing".

While the dough is proving, make the topping.

Note:
Bread dough tends to like temps around 28 to 30C, so don't be tempted to put it in the oven on low. That's too hot. If its in winter and a little chilly, it will rise, just takes its time. Perhaps sit it on top of the stereo or near the TV to keep it warm.

3. Topping
In a mortar and pestle (sandwich bag and rolling pin also works well), place 1 garlic clove and a pinch of salt. Pound garlic. Add herbs and continue pounding. Continue until herb(s) is lightly broken up allowing the flavours to be released. Add olive oil to herb mix and set aside.

I added spinach and cheese to this recipe, so I mixed these two ingredients together.

BEFORE
AFTER
4. Preparing the dough
Once the dough has doubled in size, kneed the dough one more time (can be on a lightly floured surface), but this time its only for a minute and lightly to ensure you don't over work the dough. After kneeding for the second time, form a ball and let the dough sit for 3 to 5 minutes. This gives the dough a quick rest and makes it easier to roll out and doesn't bounce back when you roll it out.

Roll the dough out to fit your well greased baking tray (maybe worth greasing and flouring the tray). Should fit a 45 x 30cm tray (a little bigger won't hurt). 

Cover the dough with some oil (so it won't dry out), and leave it to prove (in the tray) for 30 to 45minutes.

5. Adding the topping
Push your fingers into the dough, giving it the characteristic markings. Using your hands, spread over the top (and into the holes) the herb oil mixture (and the spinach cheese mixture). Ensure the topping is evenly spread and the top of the dough is covered with a coat of oil. Using a spray bottle, spray the bread with water. This stops the herbs (and bread) from burning and drying out. If you don't have a spray bottle handy, use your hands to sprinkle water all over. Lastly, sprinkle with a bit of salt and bake in a 180C oven for 35 minutes.

6. When it becomes bread
If you're concerned, periodically check your creation. If its starting to darken, spray a bit more water onto the top.

When the bread comes out of the oven, take the bread out of the tray straight onto a cooling rack, to stop it from steaming in the tray and becomes soggy.

Drizzle with more oil and serve! 


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Quinoa with Chickpeas, Spinach and Haloumi

Posted by Kim Fong On 9:18 pm


Last night was my first experience cooking and eating quinoa. After learning about what it is a few weeks ago and its nutritional benefits (15% protein!) I was very keen to give it a go. My work colleague, gave me this recipe - which I adapted (of course). Turned out fantastic and delicious with multiple helpings and extras for lunch the next day. Definitely something I'll continue to cook and eat, YUM!

Ingredients
1 tblsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed/minced
¾ cup quinoa
1 ½ tsp curry powder
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon (I put in a few shakes only)
1 ½ cups vegetable stock (I used chicken stock)
1 (400g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
200g defrosted frozen spinach (approx. you can add more or less)
200g haloumi chopped in small cubes (approx. you can add more or less)

Method
In a medium saucepan, stir together the olive oil, onion and garlic over medium heat until the onion has softened and turned translucent; about 5 mins.



Stir in the quinoa, curry powder, salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon and stock.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 20 mins until the quinoa is tender. Stir occasionally. If you find the bottom sticks, add some water to loosen. 

Add chickpeas, spinach and haloumi ¾ way through simmering. Sit off the heat to cool slightly. Serve warm.

 
Tasty Query - recipes search engine