Sunday, 28 May 2006

Weekend Baking Session # 14

One of the oldest spices known to mankind is cinnamon. It was the primary motive of world exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries. Cinnamon comes in two varieties namely Ceylon cinnamon and cassia. The cinnamon bark is peeled and rolled one in another into long, slender ‘quills’. These strips of rolled barks are called cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon also comes in powder form.

Cinnamon Stick and Cinnamon Powder

Cinnamon is strongly aromatic, sweet, pleasant, warm and woody. It is used as condiment and flavouring material. Cinnamon adds a lovely fragrance to savoury dishes. Its sweet-spicy flavour enhances the taste of vegetables and fruits. Cinnamon is the most important baking spice. It is used especially in apple pies to mellow the tartness. It is also infused in wine or punch to give a delightful aroma.

For this edition, Weekend Baking Session comes with one of the most popular baking that uses cinnamon.

Cinnamon Rolls

What do we need:

2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar (or more if desired)
1/4 cup raisins or nuts (if desired)
1 tbsp cinnamon powder

1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

How do we do it:

Dissolve yeast in the warm milk and let stand 5 minutes. Combine butter, egg, salt and the yeast mix. Add flour until dough is smooth and soft, but not sticky. Knead well. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Combine butter, brown sugar and cinnamon powder. Beat until smooth.

Roll dough out into a rectangle. Cover generously with the filling. Sprinkle the raisins or nuts if using any.

Starting from the long side, begin rolling the dough down to the bottom edge, swiss roll style. Cut the rolled dough into 1 inch slices and place on a lightly greased pan 1 inch apart in staggered rows. This is to ensure that the rolls cook evenly. Let the rolls rise again in a warm place until nearly double in size, approximately 30 minutes. Bake in a preheated oven at 200° C for 12-15 minutes.

While the rolls are baking, prepare the topping. Combine icing sugar, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Beat well until light and fluffy.

When the rolls are baked, remove from the oven. Drizzle the topping onto the rolls when they are still warm.

Serve the cinnamon rolls warm.

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Ginger Rice

Ginger has a refreshing lemony aroma and a warm pungent taste. This rhizome has been used in cooking and baking for centuries. I incorporate ginger in almost all of my cookings.

My mom cooks excellent ginger rice. I wish to share the recipe with everyone.

Ginger Rice

What do we need:

2 cups rice
3 cups water
1 tbsp ghee or butter
1 inch ginger
1 inch cinammon stick
1 lemon grass, bruised
2 cloves
2 cardamom pods

How do we do it:

Wash the rice and drain. Set aside.

Julienne the ginger. Set aside.

Switch on the rice cooker. Melt the ghee or butter. Add the julienned ginger, cinnamon stick, bruised lemon grass, cloves & the cardamoms seeds. Fry until it is aromatic. Add the rice. Fry for 5 minutes. Pour in the water. Season with salt. Cook until done.

Ginger rice with Acar and Mutton Masala

Serve ginger rice warm with ur favourite curry and vegetables.

Sunday, 21 May 2006

Weekend Baking Session # 13

Blueberries have more to offer than just good looks and good taste. They are a good souce of the Vitamin C and dietary fiber. Just like all other fruits, blueberries contain no cholesterol or fat and are also low in calories.


When choosing blueberries, select the ones that are firm, uniform in size and indigo blue with a silvery frost. Blueberries are used in bakings, jams, pies, pancakes, salads or eaten just as it is.

Blueberry Cake

What do we need

1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup plain flour

How do we do:

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

Wash fresh blueberries and drain. If using frozen blueberries, thaw to room temperature.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Stir in vanilla essence. Fold in the sifted flour mixture.

Dredge the blueberries in the flour. Very gently fold the floured berries together with the flour into the batter.

Pour batter into a greased and lined loaf pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 165° C for 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

A Parcel From Home

This morning I received a parcel from home. Of course it is filled up with all kinds of goodies. It is so very difficult to get them here in Switzerland. Most of them are merely unavailable here. I would say that almost all of my baking ingredents are from home.

From top left to right: Roasted peanuts, preserved fruits, anchovies fritters premix
From bottom left to right: Belacan or shrimp paste granules, canned mackerels in tomatoe sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper sauce, light soya sauce, condensed milk, dried shrimps, fried onion crisps
Botttom most: Agar-agar or jelly strands

Sunday, 14 May 2006

Weekend Baking Session # 12

Its Mother's Day today. A day to celebrate motherhood and thank mothers. Mothers are the pillars in our lives. Without whom, we would not have gotten this life.

To celebrate Mother's Day, I am baking an orange cake for our Weekend Baking Session. Orange cakes are not as popular as chocolate, coffee or vanilla cakes. I love orange cake for its citrusy taste and tangy aroma.

Orange Cake

What do we need:

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

2 egg yolks
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp orange zest

2 egg white
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar

How do we do it:

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking sofa ans salt together. Set aside.

Combine the orange juice and water. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add orange zest and egg yolks one by one. Beat well. Add the sifted flour mixture alternately with water, beginning and ending with the flour.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar little by little and beat until stiff peaks form.

Fold 1/3 of the beaten egg white into the orange mixture to lighten it. Then, pour the lightened orange mixture into the remaining beaten egg white. Fold gently but quickly and thoroughly to combine both mixtures.

Pour the batter into a greased and lined 6" round cake pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 175° C for about 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and let it cool completely.

Fill and frost the cake with your favourite frosting. Decorate as per desired.

A Very Happy Mother's Day To All The Mothers.

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

The Food That I'd Die For # 5

Acar is a Malaysian spicy pickled crunchy salad that is commonly served as condiment or relish to be eaten with a main course. It is sort of a must have item in the food served in Indian & Malay weddings in Malaysia.

Acar is made from different kinds of hard vegetables such long beans, carrots, cucumbers, cauliflowers and cabbage which are pickled in vinegar. The vegetables are then tossed with toasted sesame seeds or ground peanuts.


What do we need:

1 cucumber
3 small carrots
10 shallots or 1 large onion
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

4 shallots
5 dried chilies
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water

1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

How do we do it:

Remove centre of cucumber and cut crosswise the cucumber and carrots. Then cut lengthwise into about 3cm sticks. Peel the shallots and leave them whole. If using big onion, cut into wedges. Mix with sugar, salt and turmeric. Leave aside for 1 hour.

Snip and soak the dried chillies in some water for a while. Drain off the water and grind together with the shallots.

Heat oil and fry mustard seed until it pops. Add the ground ingredients. Fry until the oil rises. Stir in vinegar and water. Let boil for 3 minutes. Turn the stove off. Add the vegetables and immediately turn off the heat. This is to prevent the vegetables from overcooking. Overcooked vegetables led to a soggy acar. Stir well to mix.

Toss with the sesame seeds before serving.

Serve acar with hot rice and kurma or sambar.

Sunday, 7 May 2006

Weekend Baking Session # 11

Pâte à choux or choux pastry is perhaps the simplest and uses an entirely different method of all pastries. Whereas other dough can be formed into various shapes, choux pastry is so soft that it hardly supports itself before baking.

Choux means cabbage in French as it derives its shape when the dough is piped or spooned and baked into cream puffs. The airiness is caused by the high water content, which is turned into steam during baking and these forces the pastry shell outwards and gives it volume.

Choux pastry could be used to make many sweet and savoury delicacies. This edition of Weekend Baking Session will be showcasing cream puff as I have been craving for it for a long time.

A perfectly made puff would have the finest crispy crust, the lightest interior, and an even and golden browned shape. Things to remember with choux pastry is that it does not keep well. Best eaten as soon as possible. It stays crisp for only about 4 hours. Another thing is that never fill too advanced as it would go soggy.

Cream Puffs

What do we need:

Choux pastry:

1 cup bread flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Pastry Cream:

1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla

How do we do it:

Put the water, milk, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over a high heat and bring to the boil. When the liquid boils rapidly, remove the saucepan from the heat and quickly and evenly tip in the flour all at once, stirring vigorously until it is smooth and well amalgamated. The mixture will come away from sides of pan and form a ball in centre.

Return the pan back on a low heat and stir for 1 minute. This is to dry out the mixture slightly. Avoid drying out the pastry too much as it will crack when baking. Break 1 egg at a time into the pastry while beating vigorously until smooth and fluffy.

When done, the choux pastry should be a pale yellow, smooth, moist, sticky, and slightly elastic.

Drop by tablespoonful onto a lined baking sheet 3 inches apart in staggered rows. This is to ensure that the buns cook evenly. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 20-25 minutes or until the buns are puffed and golden colour. Pierce the side or end of each bun to let out the steam. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the pastry cream. Mix milk, sugar, salt and the egg yolks together. Whisk until well mixed. Cook on a medium low heat, stirring constantly until mixtures thickens and boils. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Cool completely.

To assemble, cut off tops of the buns and fill with the pastry cream. Other fillings such as cream cheese, whipping cream or ice-cream could be used as well.

Thursday, 4 May 2006

A Simple Supper

While hunting for something eat in the night, found some leftover sandwich bread. As I was thinking of what to do with it, many ideas came flowing. Finally, chose to make fritters out of them. Yes, using bread instead of flour. Yeah, why not? Lets give it a try.

Fish Fritters

What do we need:

4 slices of stale bread
1 fish, filleted
1 onion
1 green chilli
1/2 inch ginger
1 bunch coriander leaves
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

How do we do it:

Chop the onion, chilli, ginger and coriander leaves very finely. Set aside.

Dip the bread slices into a bowl of water. Squeeze of the water immediately. Place the fish fillets and the bread into a food processor. Process until it becomes a smooth paste. Transfer the paste into a bowl. Mix with the chopped ingredients. Add garam masala, turmeric powder and salt.

Heat oil. Drop the batter by tablespoonful into the hot oil. Fry on medium heat until golden brown.

The fritters are very crispy. To gain the crispiness, ensure that the batter is thick enough.

Serve the fish fritters hot with your favourite dipping sauce.

Monday, 1 May 2006

Jihvā For Ingredients - Mango

Along with bananas, one of the most commonly eaten fruits in the world is mango. Tell me anyone who hates mango. It is such a divine fruit. No wonder they are called the "food of the Gods". The mango is also known as the "apple of the tropics". The aroma and the taste of this delectable fruit is unimaginable. They are excellent, soft, juicy and with a delicious, aromatic flavour. Mangoes are rich in vitamins A, C and D.

Mangoes are eaten raw or ripe. Raw green mangoes are pickled or made into salads, chutneys, rojak or just eaten with salt. Ripe mangoes exceedingly juicy and exotically sweet and tart. They are blended into juice, whipped up with yoghurt into luscious lassi. Ripe manoes are made into numerous scrumptious desserts or eaten just as a fruit.

As an entry to "Jihvā For Ingredients - Mango " event hosted by Indra of Mahanandi, I have thought of making a special dessert. It is a fusion of a Thai and a Malay dessert. Steamed glutinous rice topped with mango custard layer.

Kuih Seri Mangga (Mango & Glutinous Rice Dessert)

What do we need:

1/2 cup glutinous rice
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 screw pine leaves or 1 drop of screw pine essence

1 ripe mango
1 egg
4 tbsp plain flour
3-4 tbsp sugar (adjust with the sweetness of the mango)
1/4 tsp salt
1 drop mango essence

How do we do it:

Wash and soak the glutinous rice for about 4 hours. Drain the water and mix the rice with the coconut milk, salt and the leaves or essence in a pan. Steam for 15 minutes.

Peel and cut the mango. In a blender, combine mango, egg, flour, sugar, salt and essence. Process until the mixture becomes smooth.

Scratch cooked rice with a fork. Pour the mango batter on top of the rice. Steam it again for another 15 minutes.

Cool completely before cutting into desired shapes.

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