Sunday, 2 November 2014

Chocolate, Hazelnut and Almond Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Posted by Kim Fong On 12:21 pm

Hi readers, I sincerely apologise for being so absent with my posts. I have been busy in the kitchen but also busy in my life, to find the time to blog. It's been since August! Wow! My bad! hopefully I will make it up with a series of quick posts. 

This particular recipe is from way back to October 2012. I made this cake for Mum's birthday. I didn't post it initially as I wasn't very happy with the photo quality. Then last year I decided to post it to my Bulla Cream account and also giving Bulla Cream some exclusivity. Now that my ambassadorship is over, here it is! Better late than never eh! Plus hopefully my photo editing skills have improved.

From memory, this cake is chocolate-y and moist from the nut flours. Of course, the chocolate, hazelnut and almond combination is always a winner.

1 ½ cups plain flour (225g)
¾ cup almond meal (90g)
¾ cup hazelnut meal (90g)
2 tpsn baking powder
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
200g butter, melted
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup cocoa (35g)

150g dark chocolate, chopped
125ml Cream

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Lightly grease and line with baking paper a 20 to 22cm diameter cake tin.

2. In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa and baking powder. Add almond and hazelnut meal, butter, sugar and eggs. Mix well to combine. Pour mixture into prepared cake tin. Tap sides to remove any big bubbles.

3. Bake for about 65 to 75 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Remove from oven and allow to cool in tin for 5 to 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely. Place cake in fridge for about half an hour.

4. In the mean time, place cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring cream to hot and almost boiling. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Keep stirring until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Allow to stand for about 10 minutes.

5. Pour ganache over cake. Serves 8 to 10.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Chocolate Raspberry Lamington Roll Cake

Posted by Kim Fong On 9:37 pm

One of the best things about Australia is the lamington. It's one of my all time favourite desserts, ever since I was a kid. Because it's so easy to find and relatively cheap, I've actually never made lamingtons before. According to SBS food, recently it was national lamington day. They put together a lamington recipe collection that has a slight twist on the ol' fav. One in particular caught my fancy - the Chocolate and Raspberry lamington. Mmm sounded delicious! It really wasn't such a stretch as lamingtons sometimes comes with jam and cream. This recipe just used raspberry jam and chocolate sponge (instead of regular vanilla). 

One evening when I was home alone, I made this recipe. Well... I started making it. I did it in stages. 1) Bake the sponge 2) whipped the cream and stir in the jam 3) prepared the ganache 4) construct the lamingtons. Verdict? Yes they were delicious and ridiculously big as I sandwiched together two pieces of sponge. The cake was pretty dense so eating it was a staged process too. 

This is my first attempt at making lamingtons

I chose not to blog it though as I think I could make it better. "How so?" I hear you ask. Well this is why I'm blogging this particular recipe. This is my take on the Chocolate Raspberry Lamington - I made it into a swiss roll. I decided to change the sponge cake recipe and used the "Chocolate Roulade with Coffee Cream" recipe from Australia's Sweet Baking Favourites (ISBN: 9780646580050) (Published by Nestle and Pacific Magazines). This cake is definitely for the sweet tooth folks out there. Enjoy!

6 egg whites
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar (I reduced to about 90g)
1/4 cup (25g) cocoa powder
2 Tblspn plain flour
2 Tblspn boiling water

Chocolate ganache
200g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
300ml thickened cream

Filling and construction
100 ml thickened cream 
1/4 cup (85g) raspberry jam (1 reduced to about 70g)
1/2 to 1 cup shredded coconut

1. Reheat oven to 170C. Grease a swiss roll pan or shallow baking tray (~35 x 25 cm). Line pan with baking paper.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition to ensure the sugar dissolves. Sift cocoa and flour over egg mixture then pour in hot water. Fold gently. 

3. Spread mixture into prepared pan evenly. Try get this as levelled as possible. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cooked through and springy to touch.

4. Meanwhile, lay a clean tea towel on the table and cut a sheet of baking paper the same size as your baking pan, and lay the paper over the towel. When cake is cooked, remove from oven and turn the hot sponge onto the paper and peel away the lining paper. This maybe tricky, I used a chopping board to help me flip out the sponge. Working quickly and using the tea towel as a guide, roll the sponge into a swiss roll and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

5. Place cream in a medium bowl and whip til soft to medium peaks form. Stir in raspberry jam. 

6. When cake is cooled, gently unroll it and spread the cream evenly along the inner side of the roll. Gently re-roll the cake, this time using the baking paper as a guide. Place on serving dish, cover and place in fridge for about 15 to 30 minutes.

7. In a small pot, heat cream until just before boiling. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Constantly stir until all chocolate has melted is well combined. Set aside to cool slightly and thicken.

8. Remove roll from fridge and pour ganache over roll to cover. Sprinkle with shredded coconut. Keep in fridge until ready to serve. Serve with fresh fruits.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Jumbo Pizza Muffins

Posted by Kim Fong On 4:52 pm

Walking past cafes with lovely jumbo muffins, it takes me back to winter in high school. I used to love getting a jumbo choc chip muffin that's been over heated in the microwave with choc chips melting between your scorching fingers as you juggle muffin between your hands and mouth. 

This week I dropped into a kitchen outlet store and picked up my first jumbo muffin tin. Being super excited, I couldn't wait to use it. I had a bunch of leftover pizza ingredients in the fridge so I decided to make these jumbo pizza muffins. The recipe was inspired by Leonie's instagram post and based on Donna Hay's recipe with some ingredient changes - (seriously guys - pineapple belongs in a pina colada! Yes! I'm one of those people). 

The other dilemma I encountered was how do I line these muffin hole! Online - everyone seems to just use baking paper cut into squares and folded. Here is a good video on how to do it yourself. I literally cut a big square and shoved the paper into the hole and used a little ramekin to hold it down as I didn't have a tumbler that fit as per the video.

Of course, you can make this recipe vegetarian by omitting the meat. You can make this carnivorous by adding more meat (bacon, chicken, mince beef...). It's really how you like your pizza, but the basis is pretty simple - mix dry ingredients together, mix wet ingredients together then combine, fill muffin cases and bake.

A couple of learnings. 1) best put the mushrooms on top of the muffin before baking as they get soggy (unless you like it like that). 2) Cut up most of the ingredients small but not too small.

Makes approximately a dozen jumbo muffins or more smaller ones.

3 cups self-raising flour
1 tspn baking powder
2/3 cup oil (I just used olive oil and a little less)
2 eggs
2 Tblspn tomato paste (or pizza sauce)
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (I used a pizza mix, however, Cheddar and mozzarella are best)
1 tblspn dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced

Filling (use what ever you like from this list - this is just what I used)
chopped pepperoni
fresh basil, chopped
mushroom, diced
sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
80g chopped spinach (I defrosted some frozen ones)
red onion, diced

Other filling suggestions
Capsicum, diced
olives, sliced
ham or bacon, diced
anchovies (you crazy kid)
artichoke hearts
prosciutto, small pieces
bocconcini, small pieces

1. Preheat oven to 180C (moderate). Line muffin tin with cases or baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, oregano, 1 cup of cheese, garlic and your filling (perhaps leave out the mushrooms if you intend to have it). Mix to combine. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, add eggs, tomato paste, oil and milk. Whisk to combine. 

4. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture. Stir to combine. Fill prepared muffin tin. Add mushrooms on top and distribute remain grated cheese on top of each unbaked muffin.

5. Place muffins in preheated oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes (less if using smaller muffin tins) or until cooked and golden brown. When pricked with a toothpick or skewer it should come out clean.

6. Remove from oven. Allow to stand for 5 to 10 minutes and remove from tin onto a wire rack to cool further. Serve warm - perhaps top with some aioli or pesto for that little bit extra. 


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Turkish Inspired Red Lentil Soup - Mercimek Çorbasi

Posted by Kim Fong On 5:44 pm

After wondering the streets of Istanbul, we discovered a local restaurant near our hotel, in the old town of Sultanahmet. I don't even remember the name of the place. Upon discovery, we frequented the restaurant daily and even multiple times a day. It was a little family run place with brick design linoleum lining their walls and a simple menu. This cheap and cheerful place was always busy! 

So what's was the big deal? Their red lentil soup - AKA Mercimek Çorbasi. Oh my! So damn tasty! We tried a couple of other places' Mercimek Çorbasi, but it just didn't compare.

This is THE SOUP!
After return from our big trip, I was determined to replicate this soup. I didn't want to wait for another trip to Istanbul to get this soup. So I scoured the web and various family members' recipe books. I had a relatively long shortlist of recipes and I studied each one carefully. Their methods, their ingredients, their quantities. I then started experimenting. I've been through about 7 pots of soup now... and I think this is as close I can get it... so hence I've titled this "Turkish Inspired" as I don't think it's 100%, but hey, it's pretty close and it is definitely damn tasty. So to settle my cravings, and enjoy a warm hearty soup for the winter - here is my version of Mercimek Çorbasi. This should serve about 6 entree size bowls, 4 main size dishes or 2 super hungry hippos!

***Please note these herbs and spices amounts are approximate. I'll leave it to your best judgement to figure out the right ratios.

1 cup red split lentils, well washed (soaked for a few hours or overnight)
1/4 to 1/3 cup of Bulgur (either fine or coarse)
1 big knob of butter (this makes it, so don't skimp or use margarine), if butter isn't your thing, just leave it out.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large carrot, finely diced or grated
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Approximately 4 to 6 cups of stock (vegetable or chicken)
hot water to top up
salt/pepper to taste
Marash pepper to serve (optional)
Lemon to serve (optional)

The list of herbs and spices***
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon sumak
2 teaspoons dried parsley
3 to 4 medium size bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon paprika powder
1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried mint leaves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1. Wash the lentil and bulgur well  in a medium pot. Cover with about an inch of water and over medium heat bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, it should look pale and mushy.

2. To a large pot over medium heat, melt butter and add oil. When butter has melted, add onions. Saute until translucent.

3. Add garlic and the herbs and spices list above. Stir to mix.  Add carrot. Stir to mix. Allow carrots to cook slightly - about 1 to 2 minutes. Add lentil and Bulgur mixture. Stir to mix. Add stock. Stir to mix. Add tomato paste. Stir to mix. Turn heat up to bring to a boil and then turn it down to low to simmer.

4. Stir every 10 minutes. Simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes. The longer the better. Top up with water if it's starting to get a bit dry and thick. Taste to season. If you're in a rush, the carrots should be soft, take out the bay leaves and using a stick blender, blend until smooth (optional).

5. Serve with some fresh bread, lemon and some Marash pepper^. 

^What is Marash Pepper: This is a red pepper/capsicum that is grown in Turkey with a complex flavour and moderate heat. It comes as flakes and maybe difficult to find. You can substitute with Aleppo Pepper which is similar or any moderate heat pepper flakes.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Cinnamon Rolls, Cinnamon Buns, Cinnabons

Posted by Kim Fong On 5:42 pm

Rolls, buns, cinnabons - whatever you like to call them. They're round sticky cinnamon'y goodness.

During my recent trip to Vancouver Canada, I scored another recipe. Vancouver is turning out to be a good source for great recipes! This one from my Aunty Maria. She claimed it to be one of the best Cinnamon Rolls/Buns she's had. Passed down to her from someone else, another tried and tested recipe. 

These rolls puff up pretty big but they're really fluffy! It makes about 24 rolls which is quite a lot, so feel free to freeze some of the dough, as per instructions below, or have a few more mouths to feed. 

Here is a good video with a slightly different recipe but the method is similar.

1 cup milk
½ cup caster sugar
1 ½ tspn salt
60g butter
14g dry yeast
2 Tblspn sugar
1 cup warm water (bath water temperature)
3 eggs beaten
6 cups of flour (approx. 800g)

Butter – softened (approx. 60g)
Cinnamon powder (approx. 6 Tblspn)
Brown sugar or caster sugar (approx.. 4 Tblspn)

1¼ cups icing sugar (icing sugar mixture is okay) – 160g
60g butter, melted
3 Tbspn milk
½ tspn vanilla essence
Pinch of salt

1.     Warm milk. Add caster sugar, salt and butter. Allow all to dissolve (sugar, salt and butter). Allow to cool.

2.     In a separate bowl, combine yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar and water. Set aside to dissolve and ferment. It will get frothy.

3.     In a large bowl add flour – make well in centre, add eggs, yeast mixture and milk mixture. Mix in cake mixture with dough hook. If mixture is too wet, add more flour, until mixture comes away from the bowl. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth. Place back into mixing bowl and set aside and allow to rise (about 1 to 2 hours). At this point you can portion out some dough to freeze.

4.     Grease a large baking tray (or two). You can also just line with baking paper.

5.     Roll out risen dough to ¼ inch thick, spread butter and sprinkle will cinnamon and sugar. Roll up to a long and slice out even portions. Turn portions up so cross section is facing up and place onto greased tray, 2 inches apart. Set aside and allow to rise again (1 to 2 hours).

6.     Preheat oven to 175C (350F). Bake for about 20 minutes until lightly brown. Be sure the sugar doesn't burn.

7.     Prepare glaze – whisk together icing sugar, melted butter, milk, vanilla and salt in a bowl until smooth.

8.     Drizzle glaze over warm cooked rolls. 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Spring Rolls – Lumpia (Filipino Style)

Posted by Kim Fong On 3:34 pm

For the longest time, whenever we'd go over to our Filipino friend's family's place for parties we'd gorge ourselves on mainly two dishes. One of them being spring rolls. I don't know what it was about these spring rolls that were a million times nicer than any restaurant's. We could eat an entire bowl full and be completely stuffed yet they still kept coming! And we'd just keep eating. Magical spring rolls!

A few years ago, our friend's mum showed me how she makes them. They were very simple. We tried to make them ourselves, soon after being shown, but it just didn't turn out. So we left that alone.

After a few years of not having these magical spring rolls, recently our friend's wife told us about her version. And after trying hers, we got so excited and re-energised about making them. They were similar, except our friend's wife added more pepper and some prawns.

We decided to trying a small batch and they turned out beautifully! It was super tasty as if they had MSG in them but they didn't! It was fantastic! I combined our friend's mum's and wife's recipes and below is our version of these magical spring rolls!

300g mince pork
100g fresh prawns, minced/chopped finely
1 carrot, finely grated
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
~1/2 Tblspn oyster sauce
~1 Tblspn soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
~2 to 4 Tblspn finely chopped fresh coriander and/or chives (optional)
1 x 50pkt frozen spring roll pastry (with egg)
Vegetable oil for deep frying or shallow fry with slightly more oil

1. In a bowl combine all the ingredients mentioned above minus the spring roll pastry. Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Set aside.

2. Remove frozen spring roll pastry from freezer and allow to defrost, for most brands, it takes about 50 minutes.

3. Take defrosted pastry out of the packet and wrap with a clean damp tea towel.

4. Place a sheet of pastry on a plate so it sits like a diamond. Place about 1 to 1 1/2 tspn of mince mixture across, on the side slightly closest to you. Fold the corner closest to you over the mixture to form a tight/snug roll and roll away from you. Fold in the left and right corners and continue to roll. Secure with a dab of water at the top tip. Repeat with remaining spring roll sheets.

My funky rolling instructions
Note: If you’re confused about my instructions here is a good guide.

5. Heat oil in fry pan (or deep fryer). You know when the oil is hot enough when you stick something wooden (I use a chopstick) in the oil, it starts to bubble around the wooden item.

6. Slowly lower the spring rolls in, if you’re kind of shallow frying, turn spring rolls after they’re brown on one side (about 1 to 2 minutes per side). depending how big your fry pan is, I usually do about 5 to 6 at one time. Once browned remove from oil, allow excess oil to drip back into pan and place on clean paper towels to further drain away excess oil. Repeat for remaining spring rolls.

7. Serve hot to warm with some chilli sauce on the side.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Chicken Supreme with Curry Bread Dumplings

Posted by Kim Fong On 8:16 pm

After many conversations with OG about favourite dishes we grew up with, there was always mention of Playboy Chicken. First I thought, oh skinless chicken! Or a chicken and rabbit dish. I soon learnt, it’s a dish from the Playboy magazine. I think further questions about the circumstance wasn’t really warranted. So I moved on. Tell me more about this dish. “It was creamy, with capsicum and curry dumplings.” Sounded good. So I emailed for the recipe from his mum and it came looking like this:

Fortunately it was transcribed for me also.

So below is my slightly amended version. I didn't have any cognac or sherry, so I just used a couple tablespoons of whiskey and we had a bit of fun setting it a light!

I tried to take photos as I went to demonstrate outcomes of certain stages. However, as this was my first time, I wasn't sure if this was correct. It turned out perfect, so I’ll be sure to post more photos upon my next attempt.

1 cup flour (~100grams)
1 1/2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
1 tspn curry powder
1/4 tspn turmeric powder
3 Tblspn butter, chopped (~44g)
1 Tblspn chives, finely chopped
1 egg
1/3 cup milk

Supreme Chicken
~3 Tblspn butter
1/2 medium brown onion, 1/2 inch dice
500g chicken fillets (breast or thighs – I prefer thighs) cut into big pieces
1/2 medium green capsicum, 1/2 inch dice
1/2 medium red capsicum, 1/2 inch dice
~150g button mushrooms, quartered
2 Tblspn  cognac
3 Tblspn dry sherry
1 1/2 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
3/4 cup cream (regular thickened cream or cooking cream works fine)
3 Tblspn butter, melted
3 Tblspn plain flour
salt/pepper to taste

1. Prepare dumpling mixture – Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, curry powder, turmeric. Add butter to flour mixture and rub butter with flour mixture until it resembles fine bread crumbs. 

Butter rubbed into flour mixture resembling fine bread crumbs

2. Add egg, milk and chives. Mix until blended. Batter should be lumpy and not too firm. Set aside.

Mixture after egg, milk & chives

3. In a large skillet (heavy base fry pan) over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Turn heat up to high and add onion. When onions turns translucent and chicken fillets. Brown chicken off.
Note: If the chicken catches at the bottom of the pan, that’s normal.
4. Add capsicum and turn heat down to medium. Sauté until capsicum softens.
5. Add cognac and sherry and set aflame. When flames die down add mushrooms, stock and cream. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
6. In a separate bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of melted butter and flour. Add to simmering chicken pan. Stir constantly until sauce thickens. Add salt/pepper to taste.
7. Using tablespoons to form dumplings, drop them into the pan. The dumplings will be partly submerged. Turn heat down to very low and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes to cook the dumplings.

Dumplings just added to pan

Dumplings after it's cooked

Cooked dumplings from the top view

Note: Do not stir dumplings in pan.

8. When dumplings are cooked, serve chicken, dumplings and veges hot.

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