Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dreaming of a new oven, friands and SHF23

Friands

Friands: Raspberry surprise and Green tea Chocolate surprise

I dream of an oven.
An oven that does not turn off whilst in the middle of cooking;
One oven that does not have faulty seals that tampers with the circulation of hot air in the oven;
One that when you turn the temperature knob to 180 deg C will heat the oven at 180 deg, not 200 deg;
An oven with a working display screen;
And an oven light that will allow you to watch over the little goodies in the oven, as they bake.
I dream of the day that I can remove the hanging oven thermometer that I purchased for the oven..
I dream of the day my goodies will turn out well browned in all places, not just in patches where a large pocket of hot air lies..
I dream of an oven..

Ok, so that dream hasn't come through yet. But that doesn't stop me from fantasizing about it. :)

I have access to two ovens. One at the rental place that I'm currently living at (with my number one piggy/taste tester: the Housemate) and one at the boy's place. The oven at our place (being me and the Housemate) is an ancient electric wall oven with: non working display, an oven light that is broken and unreplaceable (not irreplaceable because the heat's in the oven probably permanently welded the light into its socket) and door seals that are way overdue for replacement. If you stand close enough to the oven, you could probably feel the heat eminating from the loose seals on the oven door. When I make roast veges in the oven, you could see see the moisture building up at the top of oven where the door meets the oven and steam rising through the gaps. LOL It's hilarious!

The second oven, is a gas oven. Yes, the notorious gas oven that turned off on me in the middle of my lemon tart and when I was baking the green tea butter cookies. It's clean, white, about 10 years old, the lights are working and it's almost perfect, except for the fact that the fire turns off whenever it feels like it. Oh and did I mention that the timer on the oven is faulty.

I am plagued by bad ovens. I can't wait til the day I own my own home with the kitchen of my dreams. I digress!

Friands also known as Financiers, are a type of French tea cakes similar to Madeleines. Spongey in texture, the difference between the two is that Friands contain almond meal (or almond flour). My friand experience was from my colleague Jules (whom I always share my goodies with and vice versa), who made them for her children. She made a double chocolate friand, in which she used cocoa powder and chocolate pieces in the friand to double the taste and texture. It is from this that I drew my inspiration for these friands.

I've been scouring the internet for friand recipes and have come across a few different ones. Most of them have your basic ingredient "beurre noisette" (brown butter), egg whites, almond meal (almond flour), vanilla extract and some flour, but all in different quantities. I have chosen to try two of the ones I've found to see the effect of difference quantity of egg white, almond meal and beurre noisette makes to the tastebuds.


Friand: Raspberry Surprise

Raspberry Surprise

So called because of the "raspberry surprise" inside.

Surprise!!

This is an adaptation of the Strawberry Friand that jenjen from Milk & Cookies.

Ingredients:
2/3 cup unsalted butter
½ cup all purpose flour
1 cup almond meal or almond flour
1½ cups icing sugar
¼ tsp salt
6 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Melt butter in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until browned, be careful not to burn the butter. Set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 200°C.

In a bowl, combine flour, almond meal, icing sugar and salt. Fold in the lightly beaten egg whites and then add the vanilla and browned butter. Mix well.


To the recipe, I added Raspberry Coulis (frozen)

? Frozen Raspberries
1 Tbsp Lime Juice*
1.5 Tbsp of Caster Sugar

Melt frozen raspberries, lime juice and sugar in a saucepan. Cool mixture and place into ice cubes mould and freeze.
*I used Lime juice because I had 1/2 a lime lying around but you could substitute it for lemon.

Freeze a small bowl or plate in the freezer before you remove the frozen raspberries to prevent them from melting too quickly.

Half fill friand moulds, drop a cube of raspberries and top it up with more friand batter. Fill it up to about 1cm before the top and tap/knock the mould a little bit to remove any trapped air in the pan.

Setting up the surprise

Bake friands for 10 - 12mins at 200 deg C. Remove from oven and cool.

Note: If you're like me and do your baking at night during the weekdays, be sure to remove the friands from the moulds before you nick of to bed! Or you'll have a nice handful removing it the next day. :(

Makes about 6 friands.

The verdict: The friands from this recipe was delicious! Moist, spongey and not to sweet at all. The raspberry surprise added a lovely blend of sweet and sour taste to the friands. Best raspberry friand I've ever had, and I'm not a big fan of raspberry either.


Green Tea Chocolate Surprise friand

Chocolate Green Tea Friand

For this friand, I adapted the Financiers Recipe form Joy of Baking

Ingredients:
1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) (85 grams) beurre noisette (will need 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter)
1/4 cup (35 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (50 grams) almond flour (meal) or ground blanched almonds
3/4 cup (90 grams) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp of matcha (green tea powder) melted with about 2.5 tbsp of hot water.
6 squares of dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 177 deg C and bake almond meal for approximately 6 - 8mins until browned. Turn the temperature up to 200 deg once it is done.

Melt butter in a saucepan over a medium low heat. When melted, turn up the gas and let it come to a boil and continue to cook the butter until it looks clear and the milk solids have dropped to the bottom of the pan and have turned dark brown. Remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth lined strainer. You should have more than 1/3 cup of butter. Let it cool.

Meanwhile, combine flour, almond meal, icing sugar and salt. Fold in lightly beaten egg whites, vanilla extract, butter and matcha.

Grease friand moulds with left over butter. Fill half the moulds (like in the raspberry friand) with the batter, drop in 1 square of dark chocolate and top it up with more batter until it's approximate 1cm from the top of the mould. Lightly tap mould to remove any trapped air in the pan.

Bake for 10-12mins.

Makes 6 friands.

Heat friand in the microwave for about 5 - 10secs before serving.

See the chocolate..


The verdict: I'm not sure baking the almond meal beforehand makes any difference to the friand. Maybe it's just me. Although this recipe seems to bring out the almond texture in the friand a bit more compared to the previous one. The added complexity of straining the beurre noisette kind of threw me off a bit. Considering it tastes the same with the raspberry friand when I didn't even strain it. Perhaps it's the proper way of doing it, but I don't think I fancy this recipe very much.

The chocolate however, was yummilicious. I love green tea and would normally put on more than what I've prescribed above but since I didn't want the green tea to over power the taste of the friand and chocolate, I was a bit conservative with the amount of matcha I added. That led to the chocolate overpowering the matcha effect. As you can see, the middle of the friand seems a little undercooked. It was fine when I tested it with the cake tester. Pity, it still tastes yummy and didn't taste undercooked at all.

Little surprise that this will be my entry to Sugar High Friday 23, themed "Surprise" hosted by Alanna over at A Veggie Venture. :)


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Trackback link: SHF23 at A Veggie Venture

BP14: Kid's Party (I wish I was still a child)



Sometimes.. I wish I was still a kid. Around 7 or 8 years old. Old enough to know the rights and wrongs in the world, old enough to learn to appreciate things but still young enough to not be too bothered by the silly things happening around me. I was thinking this as I watched the replay of the eulogy Little Bindi Irwin gave her father, Steve Irwin's memorial service on late night news last night.

Young Bindi at 8 was so calm, articulate and spoke with bright confidence as she recalled the fond memories of her dad, his passion for animals and the good bloke that he was. But it was Little Bindi's speech that touched my heart, her eloquent speech and confidence belied her young age and you'd almost expect her to break down and cry half way through her speech, but she didn't.

I wish I had such maturity when I was at her age. Last I could remember was that I was a real pain in the butt (as countless relatives have reminded me) tom boy, running around with the boys and snapping at anyone who was in my way. LOL. The joy's of youth. Anyway...

Blog Party #14: Kid's party is the theme this month at Stephanie's (the Happy Sorceress) blog: Dispensing Happiness. When I saw this, it had me searching my past for the parties that I had when I was a kid, the sort of food that I enjoyed as a kid and all that I would give to have right now at the old ripe age of 27. (ok, so I'm not that old, but I get constantly reminded that I am OLDER than the friends I hang around with). The last party someone threw me was when I was 15, the one before that was when I was about 5.

I wish I could remember what sort yummy food my mum made for me at that party. The only things I remember from the younger days was:
>> Honey Joys
>> Agar-Agar Santan (Agar Agar Jelly with a Coconut Milk layer)
>> Ribena
>> Authentic Malaysian Curry Puffs (Not the Puff pastry kind)
>> Kuih Lapis (Layer Cake)
Ahh.. those were the days...

In honour of BP14, I threw a little party of my own for my two kids: the Housemate and the Boy.

Menu of the day:
Honey Joys
Agar-Agar Santan
Pigs in Blanket
Ham, cheese and pineapple mini tarts for BP14


Honey Joys


Honey Joys

These are my all time favourite kiddy food. No one can resist the temptation of a Honey Joy. NOT EVEN THE ADULTS! These are my party favourites, I have made Honey Joys countless amount of times and each and everytime it has never failed to bring out the inner child in the most mature person at the party. They're quick to make and quick to disappear!

Ingredients:

90g butter
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tbsp honey
4 cups of Corn Flakes
24 paper cases

Preheat oven to 150 deg C. Line a 24 hole patty pan with paper cases. Melt butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan until it becomes frothy and has a caramalised texture. Add corn flakes and mix well. When combined, spoon into paper patty cases and bake in the oven for 1omins. Cool and serve.

Makes 24 serves.

Agar-Agar Santan (Agar-Agar Jelly w/ a Coconut Milk layer)

Agar-agar santan

Agar-agar is the Malay word for jelly. It's a type of jelly that is firmer and crunchier in texture and is a very common dessert in Malaysia. It is a little bit trickier to make, but I love how the richness in the coconut milkoffsets by the sweet rosey jelly.

Ingredients:
30g agar-agar powder
250ml water
750ml hot water (in a large saucepan)
300g sugar
3 screwpine (pandan) leaves, knotted*
180ml thick coconut milk
1/4 tsp any colour (food colouring)

Combine agar-agar powder with 250ml water. Stir to dissolve, then pour into the hot water. (If the agar-agar does not dissolve well, use a balloon whisk and whisk the mixture in the saucepan until smooth) Add sugar and screwpine leaves and bring to a boil for 10–15 minutes over a medium heat. Stir occasionally while cooking. Divide agar-agar into three portions. Add colouring to the two-thirds portion and pour into individual moulds or a large mould.

Bring the remaining one-thirds liquid to a gentle simmer, then add thick coconut milk. When it begins to boil, remove from the heat at once. Test the firmness of the coloured portion. It should be about set. Gently pour spoonfuls of coconut milk agar-agar mixture over the coloured jelly(take care not to break through the surface of the coloured jelly). Leave to set completely. Chill in the refrigerator before serving.

*Screwpine leaves or pandan leaves can be found in the frozen section of your local asian grocery. Alternatively, you may substitute with 1 tbsp of rose water/rose essence.


Pigs in Blanket

Pigs in blanket

This is another of my party favourite. Pigs in blanket, or just cocktail sausages w/ puff pastry. Pigs refers to the cocktail sausages while blanket refers to the puff pastry wrapped around the sausages like being covered like blanket. They're a quick an easy snack to prepare and another of my party favourites.

Ingredients:
15 cocktail sausages
1 sheet of puff pastry (I used store bought pastry)
1 egg beaten (egg wash)

Divide puff pastry into 15 little rectangles, wrap a piece of sausage in each rectangle. Brush lightly with egg wash and bake until pastry is golden.


Ham, Cheese and Pineapple Mini Tarts

These are the little Ham, Cheese and Pineapple Mini Tarts I made previously for HHDD#5.


Mini Ham Cheese and Pineapple tarts


An adaptation from my favourite pizza, I was thinking of calling it The Mini Hawaiian, but decided against it.
Ingredients:
Mozarella cheese (I used Perfect Italiano's Pizza Plus, which is a combination of Mozarella, Cheddar and Parmesan Cheese)
Your favourite Ham shaved or sliced (I used Virginian Ham
Pineapple pieces (I used canned pineapple)
Puff pastry sheet (I used store bought puff pastry)
1 egg beaten (egg wash)

Begin by cutting puff pastry into mini squares. 1 puff pastry sheet can be divided into 9 squares. Fold about 1cm border along the puff pastry square and paint with egg wash. Bake in the oven at 180 deg C for about 8mins or until it starts rising. At this point, remove pastry from the oven and flatten the middle portion of the pastry to create a cavity in the tart. Then, stuff some cheese into the tart cavity, arrange a layer of ham, cheese, ham, cheese and top with a piece of pineapple and more cheese. Bake for another 5mins until the cheese melts and serve.
Finally, no party of mine is complete without my favourite drink in the world. Ribena. I love Ribena. I love Sparkling Ribena more! A simple concoction of Ribena and Soda water is guaranteed to bring out the kid in me :)

Ribena and Honey Joy


Thank you Stephanie for coming up with such an excellent theme. It has certainly brought out the kiddy side of me (and the kids).

Friday, September 15, 2006

HHDH#5: Mini Savoury Tarts - 3 ways

Mini tarts x 3


I've got a few parties coming up in the next few weeks and have been trying to think of some finger food that is simple and easy to make to go with it. Then I discovered that it's "Hay Hay it's Donna Hay" time, and this time it's hosted by Tami over at running with tweezers and the theme this time round is savoury tart. When I saw that, it gave me a briliant idea! I could combine my favourite toppings and make a tart out of it :)

Since I wanted them to be bite sized piece, I made a test run of small little puff pastry tarts with my favourite topping combinations. And the results were:


Mini tarts

Top to bottom: Ham, cheese and pineapple tart, Garlic mushrooms w/ parmesan cheese tart and Oven Roasted cherry tomatoes w/ caramalised balsamic onions tart

For all three mini tarts, I used store bought puff pastry and cut the square into 9 smaller square pieces. Folded the sides in and painted it with some egg wash before baking them in the oven until they started rising.

When they've risen a bit, I took them out of the oven and flattened the middle. (*shock horror*) I actually wanted them to have a cavity in the middle so that I could put more stuffing in it, instead of just having the toppings sitting on top of the pastry. This way, the pastry stays crunchy and flaky instead of soggy because of the condensation from the tart topping.

1. Ham, cheese and pineapple tart

An adaptation from my favourite pizza, I was thinking of calling it The Mini Hawaiian, but decided against it.

Ingredients:

  • Mozarella cheese (I used Perfect Italiano's Pizza Plus, which is a combination of Mozarella, Cheddar and Parmesan Cheese)
  • Your favourite Ham shaved or sliced (I used Virginian Ham)
  • Pineapple pieces (I used canned pineapple)

Begin by stuffing some cheese into the tart cavity, arrange a layer of ham, cheese, ham, cheese and top with a piece of pineapple and more cheese.


Ham, Cheese and Pineapple

The verdict: Absolutely scrumptious. Just like a mini Hawaiian pizza on a puff pastry.

2. Garlic Mushrooms and Parmesan tart

Ingredients:

  • Some Mushrooms
  • Shaved Parmesan Cheese
  • Garlic
  • Chopped parsley
  • S&P
  • EVOO

Marinate the mushrooms with some EVOO, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Let it sit in the marinade for about 10 minutes. Next, roast it in the oven (180 deg C)for approximately 15-20mins, depending on how you like your mushrooms (I liked mine cooked thoroughly). Once it's done, let it cool for a bit before arranging them on top of the puff pastry. Top with some parmesan cheese and return it into the oven until the cheese is melted (no more than 5 mins). Drizzle with the juice from the mushrooms and top with some parsley before serving.

Garlic Mushroom w/ Parmesan


The verdict: Pre-marinading the mushrooms gave them very flavoursome when you bite into them. I especially love the strength of the parmesan cheese when combined with the flavour of the mushrooms. It's just.. indescribable. (maybe not.. ) Think of the zing of the parmesan when it hits your taste buds and juicy garlic mushrooms.

3. Oven roasted cherry tomatoes w/ caramalised balsamic onions.

Ingredients:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • EVOO
  • Finely chopped basil leaves or dried basil
  • Sliced Spanish Onions
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • S&P

Slice cherry tomatoes in half and drizzle generously with EVOO, sprinkle chopped basil and season with S&P. Let it sit for 5 mins before roasting them in the oven (180 deg C) for about 10 - 15mins. I like my tomatoes to still retain it's shape when it's cooked, and depending on the size of the cherry tomatoes 10mins might just be perfect.

Meanwhile, heat approximately 1 tablespoon of EVOO in a pan and fry the onions over medium heat until it starts to soften. Add a splash (or two .. depending on your taste) of balsamic vinegar into the pan and mix well. At this point, the onions would be fairly soft and appears caramalised. Add approximately 1 teaspoon of sugar and keep stirring until the sugar has melted. Do a taste test, and if the onions taste too tangy add a bit more sugar, otherwise it's done. Let it cool.

Once the tomatoes and onions are sufficiently cooled, start topping the tart, firstly with the onions, then tomatoes. If you wish, you could return the tarts to the oven for reheating before serving. Top with small basil leaves and serve.

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes w/ Caramalised Balsamic Onion

The verdict: This is probably the one that took the most effort to make, since I had pre-make the onions and tomatoes, but it was so satisfying that it was worth every effort I had put into it. I love caramalised onions, especially when combined with balsamic vinegar. Each bite I took was crunchy, flaky, sweet and tangy all mixed together. Yumm.. definitely my favourite of the three.


Mini tarts x 2

I'd say that this test run has been pretty successful, especially since my 9 little tarts become 6 little tarts about 5 seconds after I finish taking the pics. Too bad about the lighting. Oh well.


DSCN0616


This trial will double as my entry to HHDH and Stephanie of Happy Sorceress's Blog Party #14 for kids. I figured that Ham, cheese and pineapple is kid friendly enough :)

This is a box...

Box

This.is.a.box...

It is not JUST any BOX.

It is a box that would contain some goodies.

It will be tightly sealed with 3m Scotch Packaging tape to protect from any water damage or bad smell poluting the contents of this box..

As it makes its way via airmail to someone....

Somewhere..

Out there..

In the food blogsphere

BBM aka Blogging by Mail organised by The Happy Sorceress track back link: http://thehappysorceress.blogspot.com/2006/08/friendly-warning-to-postal-service.html

Pistachios - 3 ways

Roasted Pistachios

The Pistachio (Pistacia vera, Anacardiaceae; sometimes placed in Pistaciaceae) is a small tree up to 10 m tall, native to mountainous regions of central and southwestern Asia such as the Kopet Dag mountains of Turkmenistan southwest to northeastern Iran and western Afghanistan. It has deciduous pinnate leaves 10-20 cm long.

The plants are dioecious, with separate male and female trees. The flowers are apetalous and unisexual, and borne in panicles. The fruit is a drupe, containing an elongated seed (a nut in the culinary sense, but not a true botanical nut) with a hard, whitish shell and a striking light green kernel, having a very characteristic flavour ("pistachio" flavour).

When the fruit ripens, the shells split open partially (see photo). This happens with an audible pop, and legend has it that lovers who stand under a pistachio tree at night and hear the nuts popping open will have good luck.

stub from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistachio_Nut


I never used to be a big fan of pistachios. Always thought that they tasted funny and it was green. I never liked anything green. Although I was linked to green a lot, I was House Captain for Green House when I was in high school in Malaysia, our old place in Malaysia was painted in green, the house I used to live in is painted in light green, the only vegetables I (used to) eat are green, the House I was assigned to when I got here was also Green (I can't remember what it was called though).

How ironic it is that green is now one of my favourite colours (especially lime green) and I have learned to love pistachios. I think they call it a paradox.

Anyway, since I've developed a liking to pistachios I have made white chocolate pistachios cupcakes (recipe from AWW Cupcakes) twice and my latest baking venture was making Bill Granger's Pistachios Biscuits from Bill's Open Kitchen. You could almost say that they're now one of my favourite nuts :)


White Chocolate Pistachios Cupcakes (2 Ways)

Type 1. Green tea, White Chocolate Pistachios Cupcakes w/ Green Tea Cream Cheese Frosting


Green tea and white chocolate pistachios cupcake

Before you start ewwing... I will have you know that it was actually quite YUMMY. When I first opened up the book, the recipe was for a Turkish Delight cupcake. I am not a big fan of turkish delight, but I was willing to give it ago, until I discovered that:

a) I had no rose water and

b) I have no idea where to get turkish delight at 9pm on a Saturday night, and supermarket versions just won't do it for me.

I am notorious for changing recipes (and stuffing them up because I didn't quite get the measurements right) and since I have some left over maccha decided to make a green tea version of it. (I am also nuts about maccha). Substituted rose water for maccha and ta dah... I have green tea and white chocolate pistachios cupcakes! Incidentally, white chocolate and green tea does blend together, probably not as well as dark chocolate and green tea, but nevertheless.

So what did I need the turkish delight for? The topping of course! I should take a photo of it to show you what it's suppose to look like! Anyway, flicking through the book I saw a recipe for cream cheese frosting. I love cream cheese frosting, that's about the only thing I love about carrot cakes and THAT is the ONLY way you could get me to bite into a piece of carrot cake.

Still had some maccha, I thought, "What the hell?" and went with the cream cheese and maccha and since I love maccha, I probably went a bit overboard with the amount in the frosting (hence the super green frosting)

The verdict: I was a bit surprised at the texture of the cake though, I suppose since I was using pistachios meal, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the cake was a bit muffiny. But hey, muffiny or not, everyone loved it. I brought some to work for my colleagues and they loved it and even my friend who HATES green tea ate TWO of it. The frosting was yummy too.. mmm...

Cupcake Ingredients:

60g white eating chocolate, chopped roughly
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup pistachios nut^
90g butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup self-raising flour
2 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tbsp maccha powder*
3 tbsp of hot water*

Preheat oven to 180 deg C(160 fan forced) and line 6-hole texas or 12-hole standard muffin pan with paper cases. Melt chocolate and water in small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Process pistachio nuts until fine. Fold in sifted flours, ground pistachios and warm chocolate mixture. Stir in maccha** to taste. Divide mixture among cases and bake for approximately 35 mins (large cakes) or 25 mins for smaller cakes.

^Pistachio nuts may be pre-roasted for a fuller flavour but this is not essential.
*Mix hot water and maccha until it forms a liquid consistency before adding into batter.
**I think I ended up putting a bit more than 1/2 tbsp because I love the green tea flavour.


Cream Cheese Frosting

60g butter, softened
160g cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp melted maccha (melted as above)
3 cups of icing sugar

Cream butter, cream cheese and maccha until light and fluffy. Then gradually beat in sifted icing sugar. Decorate cupcakes once they have cooled in temperature.

Makes up to 12 cup cakes.

<<>>

Type 2. White Chocolate Pistachios Cupcakes w/ Rose Water and White Chocolate Ganache


Pistachios, rosewater and White Choc

Round 2! I have all the proper ingredients! Except turkish delight. By now, you are probably thinking, "Girl, you were never intending to make it using turkish delight were you??" I say: CORRECT! I was just looking for excuses :D

Round 2, I decided to make round 2 with White Chocolate Ganache, because it was for a family dinner. My family do not eat turkish delight. My cousins might, but the oldies like granny, my aunt, dad and mum will not eat turkish delight, especially not my brother. But everyone LOVES chocolate! The key to one's heart is chocolates I say. So, I search high and low until I found a white chocolate ganache recipe of my liking. And the result was....

White Chocolate Pistachios cupcakes

The verdict: I fooled everyone! My mum thought it was superb but a bit sweet (but that's because she didn't know that I used rose water for the chocolate and the cup cake!) My two cousins, aunt and my mum took away a doggie bag with one cup cake each.

Cupcake Ingredients:

60g white eating chocolate, chopped roughly
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup pistachios nut^
90g butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup self-raising flour
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp rose water


Preheat oven to 180 deg C(160 fan forced) and line 6-hole texas or 12-hole standard muffin pan with paper cases. Melt chocolate and water in small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Process pistachio nuts until fine. Fold in sifted flours, ground pistachios and warm chocolate mixture. Stir in maccha** to taste. Divide mixture among cases and bake for approximately 35 mins (large cakes) or 25 mins for smaller cakes.

^Pistachio nuts may be pre-roasted for a fuller flavour but this is not essential.


White Chocolate Ganache

1/4 cup cream
185g white chocolate chopped coarsely

Bring cream to boil and pour over chocolate and stir still smooth. Cover and referigerate for 30 mins. After 30mins, beat with a mixer until light and fluffy. Decorate cupcakes once they have cooled in temperature.

Makes up to 12 cupcakes.

<<>>

Pistachios Biscuit


Pistachios Biscuit

I have been eyeing this recipe from Bill's book for a while now. The recipe was fairly simple and it wouldn't take too long to whip this up for afternoon tea. The Housemate's dad was in town so I thought I might as well make something nice for him since he was going to be treating us to a yummy lobster dinner (hehe). Everytime he's in town we would always go for Lobster and Noodles at Rock Kung in Glen Waverley. It has almost become a ritual, we'd go for dinner and then he'd be off to Crown Casino to make his money back from what he spent on dinner. (and he always does!)

It's another recipe that incorporates both pistachio nuts and rosewater. Whoever came up with this combination is ingenious I say. It gives a sweet after taste to the cake/biscuit without you having to pile on the sugar in the making of it.



Ingredients:


125g shelled pistachios
125g unsalted butter, softened
115g caster sugar
185g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
2 tbsp plain flour (extra)
1 egg
1 tbsp rose water

Soak pistachios with water for about 30mins. This will soften the pistachios so that you can slice through them when cutting the dough.

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and mix until combined. Add the rose water and stir until smooth. Drain pistachios and add to batter along with flour and baking powder. Fold through until it forms a stiff dough. Sift the extra flour over dry surface and knead dough into 2 or 3 logs and freeze for approximately 30mins. (Bill's recipe suggests refrigerating for 20-30mins instead, but I found that the dough was still a bit soft and my biscuits were all going out of shape when I cut it.)

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

Remove the biscuit logs from the freezer and start slicing them. (between 5 - 8mm depending on how thick you like your biscuits). Arrange biscuits on tray and bake for 10 - 12mins or until lightly golden.

Makes approximately 60 biscuits.

The verdict: Like rose water scented short bread with pistachio nuts. I think that it might have a bit too much pistachios in it because my biscuits ended up going out of way out of shape when I was cutting it (unlike the perfect ones that was in the book) Nevertheless, it was still yummy and I made ended up making so many of it that I decided that I would share this with my BBM partner.

Pistachios biscuit



Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy Birthday Bethany!


Happy Birthday Lil B!

Bethany is the Alv's niece. Jerome, B's dad is Alv's older brother. Put them two together, apparently they look similar although J's a bit smaller in frame and has a better metabolism than Alv. (hahah) B's the first child born to this family (:p)but not the first in the family tree (but who cares!)

B's parents hosted a small family affair at their place last weekend (1/9/2006) in anticipation of her birthday. I think it might have been because the Alv's dad was only in town til the 3/9/2006 and he wanted to attend B's 1st Birthday. (I could be wrong?)

There was about 15 people at Deb and Jerome's place, mostly family and the outsider (me!).

Alv and I was fashionable late, because I promised to bring a dessert and was busy preparing it at the last minute. Everyone contributed to the affair, Alv's mum made Fried Rice, Deb's mum made some pasta, her Nan made these yummy Chocolate Cherry Slice and Marshmallow slice, Deb (& Jo - Deb's sister) made little cup cakes and arranged them in a "1" as Bethany's birthday cake and my contribution was a Fruit tart w/ Mascarpone cheese in my new rectangular tart pan. (actually, it was an excuse to use my new pan) There was chips and dips, some party pies, ricotta triangles and sausage rolls and plenty of food to go around.


B had lots and lots of presents (as you would when you're turning a the big one-oh!). About 5 different outfits just from Alv's mum alone, a little green caterpillar from Deb's cousin, toys from Deb's Mum and Dad (I think) and Alv bought her a Fisher & Price telephone toy which had some pictures of animals on a little album thing attached it and makes different animal noises when you press the dial keys (depending on which animal you had up of course). The funniest thing about the phone was that if you had a duck displayed on the album and you pressed the number 4, the duck will quack four times.. ie. quack, quack, quack, quack.. continuously like a broken record. LOL

It was hilarious especially when you had the horse up... It also rings at random, and there is a child's voice naming the animal and number that you pressed. It was B's favourite that day anyway. I heard that she hasn't really been playing with it since. LOL



So Happy Birthday Little B, though you won't remember your first birthday, at least you enjoyed the phone that Alv got you. :) xoxo