Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blueberries Wholemeal Oats Crumble Muffins





As I was searching for healthier recipes to bake for my family, I started to read up on food and nutrition again. There are so many conflicting reports about what is good or bad for our bodies. This article gives a brief but good info on more healthful baking with white flour alternatives. Inspired by that, I decided to try baking with 50/50 wholemeal (or whole wheat) flour and plain flour.

Found this recipe, thanks to Felicia for sharing this healthful muffin recipe :) The original recipe she adapted was a blueberries muffin recipe, and since blueberries is in season now, I baked with blueberries and the result was very satisfactory :)

The crumble toppings recipe is from Happy Home Baking. Thanks to HHB for sharing this recipe. I was reading the two recipes concurrently, and finally decided to combine the two :)

Here's the list of ingredients I used, based on what I had.

Ingredients
Makes 9, 5cm diameter muffin cups

For the muffin (adapted from here):
90g plain flour
90g Origins organic wholemeal flour
28g rolled oats
113g dry demerara sugar
1/2tsp salt
1-1/3tsp double-acting baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup low-fat fresh milk
1 medium egg (about 50g without shell)
About 100g fresh blueberries

Please refer to method here. It is basically whisking the dry ingredients in one mixing bowl, mix the wet ingredients in another mixing bowl, then pour the wet into the dry and fold with a spatula. Add the blueberries last. The batter should look lumpy and gooey.

I had been using a digital scale and got a bit lost using the cup to measure the ingredients. Therefore, the metric measurements you see here may not match Felicia's recipe. I only have one measuring cup, so I tried to memorize the metric measurements as I measure each ingredient with my cup :p 

For the crumble toppings (adapted from HHB's recipe):
20g plain flour
20g Origins organic wholemeal flour
25g dry demerara sugar
25g cold unsalted butter

Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl (butter last), and use your finger tips or a fork to rub-in the butter into the flour and sugar.

For the crumble toppings measurements, there was some hiccups too, as I thought I had a packet of grounded almond at home but I just couldn't find it! So, I had to use my impromptu judgment (better description is 手忙脚乱加误打误撞). Fortunately, the muffins turned up just the way I had imagined - crunchy on the outside and soft inside. I wouldn't be able to tell that wholemeal flour was used in this if I wasn't the one who baked it :D I think the addition of almond will give an even nicer crunch.

To assemble, fill the batter up to 2/3 full and sprinkle the crumble toppings on top.

Bake at 200 degC for 20 mins, it is done when a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

My kid does not like blueberries and even requested me to remove them. But I managed to convince her to try, which she did. I really hope that she will eat more fruits :p

My search for wholemeal flour recipes continues, as I have a whole 1kg packet to finish up :p

But certainly glad that at least I manage to introduce whole grains into our diets :)

Happy healthful baking!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Dim Sum Style




These egg tarts are really yummy. They are so good that I had to bake them two days in a row. Yesterday, I ate one and gave the rest to my mom and sis. But I can't stop thinking about how flaky the tart shell was, and how smooth the egg custard was, so I baked them again today. I devoured two egg tarts while they are still warm. These are the legendary Heimama Egg Tarts 黑妈妈祖传蛋挞. I am not sure why is it called Heimama, but I have seen this on many blogs. I first saw it on Happy Home Baking. A big thank you to the bloggers who share this recipe, as well as the original "creator" of this recipe.

You know those egg tarts commonly found at Cantonese Dim Sum restaurants? These egg tarts are pretty close to those. The crust is flaky and fragile, so handle with care when you flip them over while un-moulding them.

When I first saw this recipe on HHB, I really didn't pay attention to it. In my head I was thinking, it must be very tough to make these. I was reminded of the process of making fruit tart and I thought this would be as troublesome as that. Then, as I read through HHB's post some weeks/months later, I was inspired to bake these. And it was simpler than I had thought, and the results are surprisingly good. The toughest part for me was probably pressing the dough into the cups. I definitely don't have HHB's 巧手, so it is 好吃就好 :D I did not grease the tart moulds as advised, and I used my knuckles to knock the back of the mould to release the tart. On the other hand, those baked with the silicone cups came off very easily.


Here's the list of ingredients I used, for your easy reference. Please go to HHB's blog for the original recipe and detailed steps. As usual, her detailed steps make it very easy for me to follow :) Thanks HHB! :)

Ingredients
For some reason, I only managed to make 9 tarts :D

For the crust
- 150g plain flour
- 1 tbsp skimmed milk powder (available in Phoon Huat)
- 1 tbsp corn flour (original recipe uses custard powder, please read up on HHB's blog)
- 100g cold butter
- 1/2 tbsp dry demerara sugar
- 25 to 30g beaten egg
- few drops of vanilla paste

For the egg custard
- 140g water
- 55g dry demerara sugar
- 90 to 100g beaten egg
- 40g low-fat evaporated milk
- few drops of vanilla paste



I noticed the colour of the custard darkens the longer the tart is out of the oven. I am not sure why.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Chocolate Snowskin Mooncake 2014


It is important to write down steps on how a dish is prepared, so that you can refer to it the next time you make the same dish. Now, repeat that 100 times (talking to myself). I do not have the habit of writing down the steps I took to prepare a dish successfully. I blame it on my laziness but my friend told me she wrote down because she is lazy (?) - different definition of laziness? :D

Too much time and food wasted if recipes and methods are not recorded down properly. In fact, part of the reason I started my own blog is to force myself to write down the recipes and steps, so that I may refer to them when I want to make them again. However, I also respect all the original bloggers who selflessly share their recipes online, and do not think I should copy their recipes and methods and paste on my blog, although I always make sure to make reference back to them. But, there's nothing like your own notes right? What you did correctly, or what you did wrong that you would want to remind yourself the next time.

I almost forgot why I brought this up :D As I began making mooncakes few weeks ago, I referred to my previous post on Chocolate Snowskin Mooncake. Sure, the ingredients were listed there, but I did not write down the method. Being myself (impulsive, impatient), I dashed straight into the kitchen and started making. It was a failure! Why? I have made it successfully last year. Well sorry, I forgot the crucial step of mixing the liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients quickly, and in one direction. The result was a lumpy mess. So I went back to read up online to refresh my memory on how to make snowskin mooncakes especially when I am using oil and not shortening.

Lesson learned. So here is the recipe :p

Chocolate Snowskin Mooncakes
Makes 4, 50g mould mooncakes

Ingredients:

- 38g kou fen (available in Phoon Huat)
- 40g icing sugar
- 4g canola oil
- 60g drinking water
- 25g Cadbury Gold 70% Cocoa Chocolate Bar, melted

- store-bought lotus seeds paste
- some semisweet chocolate chips

Method:

1. In a mixing bowl, mix kou fen and icing sugar together with a spatula or whisk.
2. Mix melted chocolate, oil and water together in a cup/bowl.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients. Stir and mix the ingredients together in one direction, do this quickly to ensure a uniform and smooth skin.
4. Once the mixture comes together to form a dough, knead with your hand until dough becomes smooth and does not stick to the mixing bowl.
5. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Make them into a ball. It is best to put on a pair of disposable, clean, food-grade gloves, or you can use a clean, food-grade plastic bag. Else, the dough will stick onto your hand.
6. Make the lotus seeds paste into 35g ball each, roll some chocolate chips over each ball.
7. Flatten the dough using your palm, put the lotus seeds paste ball in the center and wrap it up. Close all ends. Roll into a ball.
8. Roll the ball on some kou fen, dust the mooncake plunger mould with some kou fen too. Make sure that the mould is dry. Shake excess kou fen off. Put the ball into the plunger mould and press it out. Keep in the fridge until ready to consume.

Strongly encourage you to refer to Siu Kitchen's video to learn how to wrap mooncake, as well as how to use the plunger. The video is very useful.

The photo below is my attempt to make Earl Grey Tea Snowskin Mooncake. But the flavour of the Earl Grey Tea is extremely mild. I used the same recipe as the snowskin mooncake made last year, just replaced the water with Earl Grey Tea. I tried 60g Twinnings Earl Grey Tea but there was no hint of it :p


Happy mooncake making! :)

A Cookie With No Name :p



As I ponder over what to call these guys, I wrestle between calling them Tau Sar Piah / 绿豆饼, or Mung Bean Mooncake - but they are neither! :p It may even be insulting (to tau sar piah and mooncake) to call them either, as they do not have the crispy skin of tau sar piah, and they certainly do not look like mooncakes. This is a tough one, I have made something I do not know what to call :p It's a long story how these were made, but to cut the story short, it started off with my home-made mung bean filling.

Many thanks to Siu Kitchen for sharing her many videos on how to make mooncakes online, I get to learn how to make mung bean filling for mooncakes myself. The English ingredients certainly help, as my Cantonese is really not fantastic :D I was excited to make the mung bean filling myself so I can really say I make the mooncakes from scratch. The lotus seeds filling and red bean filling I made last year failed, and I have not gathered enough courage to try again. Mung Bean fillings look easier :D I managed to make the mung bean fillings successfully. But after making the snowskin mooncakes, I still have a lot left. So I decided to make some Taiwanese Style Mooncakes without using the mooncake mould.

The texture of these are nothing like tau sar piah. Hubby said the mung bean filling is a bit dry, else, it actually tasted ok.  I may have fried the mung bean for too long. I followed the same recipe I used for my Taiwanese Style Mooncakes.

For the mung bean filling recipe, please go to Siu Kitchen's video. Here's her recipe for your convenience:

- 160g split mung beans (over here it's more commonly known as split green beans or 豆瓣)
- 40g sugar
- 10g oil (I used canola oil)
- 10g wheat flour (omitted)



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Peanut Pancake 面煎粿


This is a very local pancake called 面煎粿. It is one of my favourite snack since young. I made the peanut version yesterday morning for our breakfast. Found this easy recipe, many thanks to My Kitchen for sharing this yummy recipe :)

For some reason, I grew up calling this "ban jian kueh", but all my other friends call it "meen jian kueh" :p

Here's the recipe. Please visit My Kitchen for the original recipe and method. I think it is good advice to cool the pancakes on the wire rack if not serving immediately, as the bottom of my pancake was a little soggy after sitting on the plate for 5 to 10 mins.

Ingredients (I made minor changes according to the ingredients I have on hand)

- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
-  a drop of  vanilla paste
- 1 cup low-fat fresh milk
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- pinch of double acting baking powder

- some butter
- diced or ground peanuts
- sugar (adjust to your preference)

Method (makes 2-3 servings)

1. Whisk egg and sugar together.
2. Add vanilla paste and half the milk. Continue mixing.
3. Add sifted flour in batches and mix.
4. Add oil and remaining milk and mix. The batter will be watery.
5. Heat a non-stick frying pan (I used the HappyCall frying pan so no oil was necessary). Pour half the batter (my pan size is 20") into the pan. Turn heat to low. When tiny air pockets appear on top of the batter, add some butter on top of the batter. Sprinkle peanuts & sugar mixture on top. Fold 1 side of pancake over to form a semi circle. Once the pancake is browned, remove from pan. Cool on a wire rack. It tastes best when hot.


Hope you enjoy this simple yet yummy breakfast like I do :)