Saturday, 18 February 2012

Mini Black Forest Red Velvet Cupcakes

Posted by Kim Fong On 10:38 pm

Valentine’s day 2012 was a quiet one. But I did celebrate with a little bit of love. I adapted my current red velvet cupcake recipe.

This time around I changed it up a bit.
Red heart I put them in mini cupcake moulds without patty pans, but just greased really well with oil.

Red heart I added the vanilla essence while mixing the cocoa powder with the red food colouring. This allows me to use less colouring but still get the nice pasty consistency.

Red heart I made it “black forest” by putting some Morello cherries in the middle.

Red heart Reduced the heat slightly (170C) and the time in oven to about 8 to 12 minutes

And I came up with this – loved by all who had it.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

A Stove-less Summer: Meal #4 – Homemade Pizza

Posted by Kim Fong On 11:26 am

People tell me they never make pizza at home because making the dough is too much work. Admittedly, it is a lot easier to dial-a-pizza. The hard bit in that scenario is deciding which one you want because they never have just  the right combo for you. Whether it be the wrong sauce, not enough topping, too much topping, the wrong toppings, dough is too thin or too thick. But it's really not as hard as it sounds to make your own pizza. Even if it's only 1 or 2 of you at home. You can freeze and reheat and it's good as fresh.

Below is a simple dough recipe from which I've added my learnings to the method. It requires nothing too fancy, though a cake mixer or a food processor would be useful and time saving.

1 1/2 cups warm water (usually about 1 cup room temp water and half cup boiling hot water)
1 sachet of dried yeast (about 7 or 8g)
Pinch of sugar (prefer caster as it dissolves easier)
600g (4 cups) plain flour (you can use baker’s flour if you prefer)
1 tspn salt
1 tbpsn dried oregano (optional)
1/4 olive oil (plus extra for brushing)

~ Please note the following are all options only. Its up to you what you want to put on the pizza
Pizza sauce (you can use tomato paste, or even bolognaise sauce in a jar)
Mozzarella cheese - grated (or that pizza cheese mix in the supermarket)
Minced fresh garlic (this really makes the pizza)
Onions (diced or sliced)
Dried oregano
Pepperoni or salami (thin slices)
Olives (sliced black)
Sun or semi dried tomatoes
Basil, chilli flakes, Etc….

1. Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Add water first to the bowl and test the temperature with your finger/hand. It should be bath-water warm. Set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy.

2. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture and oregano, then olive oil. Either using your hands, cake mixer, food processor, mix until the mixture is combined. Don’t be temped to put extra flour as this will dry out the dough.

3.  Turn the dough onto a very lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

4. Brush a large bowl lightly with oil. Place dough in oiled bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover dough top with plastic wrap and cover bowl with a clean tea towel (prevents dust and bugs) and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size. If its a cold day, it will rise but it will take a bit longer. Don’t be tempted to put it in a low temp oven as yeast dies at 50C. Best temperature usually is between 26 to 30C.  As a suggestion - you can put the bowl in the bathroom when you or someone is taking a hot shower.

5. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn the dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface and kneed. Portion out the dough (for this quantity, it makes 3 to 4 family size pizzas). Allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes to rest. This resting period is essential as it will prevent the dough from springing back when you roll it out. It gets rather annoying to roll out if you don't let it sit.

6. Roll out dough and place on pizza tray. Again allow to rest for 2 to 3 minutes. 

7. Place your toppings on. Start with the sauce. Use the back of a tablespoon to spread on the dough. I then usually sprinkle a bit of oregano and garlic. Then a little bit of cheese. This allows the other toppings stick to the base. Then the rest of the flavours you want. Top off with more cheese. I also put more mushrooms on top as its nice when its a bit toasted.

8. Place in a 190C oven for about 8 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is golden. If you like the thin and crispy style, roll the dough out thinner and use a hotter oven (~200C).

9. Before you serve, let it cool a little, so when you slice it the cheese holds its shape and doesn't run off the slice taking the rest of the topping with it.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A Stove-less Summer: Meal #3–Polish Potato Platski (AKA: Polish Placki Potato Pancakes)

Posted by Kim Fong On 6:36 pm


This dish comes from OG’s Mum’s family and is reminiscent of OG's childhood. Perhaps not the most summer-y dish, however, it's yummy with lots of sour cream and fresh chives. I don’t think there is really much more to tell about it. It's all in the title. Obviously if you want more, you can grate more potatoes. Below’s recipe will be enough to serve two. So long as the texture is there (see picture below), you can add and subtract ingredients as per the volume you desire. Also, don’t be shy with the salt. You can always add more when you eat, but it's much nicer with a little bit more salt – and lets it crisp better.

3 large potatoes – peeled & grated (we just used the dirty unwashed starchy variety)
1/2 onion – grated
1 egg
1-2 tablespoons of plain flour
generous pinches herbs (dill, parsley)
generous pinch of paprika (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
butter (or olive oil) for coating pan (or sandwich press in this instance)
sour cream (to serve – optional)
Chopped fresh chives (to serve – optional)

1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients minus the butter, sour cream and fresh chives. Mix well. Cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes. This lets the flavour soak into the potatoes and dries it up a little.


2. You can use a pan/skillet or we just used a sandwich press. Melt butter while pan/sandwich press is heating. Ensure not to burn the butter. You can also use olive oil for the vegans out there but its not as tasty as butter. Winking smile


3. Spoon potato mixture onto hot pan/sandwich press forming pancakes. Don’t be too concerned about the liquid as this will solidify when cooking. Ensure the potato pancakes are quiet thin without many gaps or holes. Fry til brown (3 to 5 minutes). If you’re using a plan, you can flip with a spatula and cook the other side (2 to 3 minutes per side).  Repeat with remaining ingredients.

4. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and chopped fresh chives.


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