June 30, 2008

Focaccia Egg Sandwich from Scratch

Finally finally...after thinking, dreaming of focaccia day and night (hehe I'm just exaggerating), I finally got to make it yesterday.

Weeks ago, I bought this little basil pot from Market Place at Raffles City which I thought would be great to grow my own little pot so that I can pick my own fresh herbs whenever I want! I brought it to my office at first, thinking that it would be great to take care of it myself and at the same time inject some greenery into my office. Thereafter I find that it's leaves started drooping. Doing some googling, I learnt that these plants need sunlight to grow well, not neccessary direct sunlight but it loves the outdoor. So I had to bring it home. There it is now, growing healthily with a good abundance of green leaves. One variation of focaccia is to use herbs, rosemary being one of a popular one. I did not have rosemary, so I decided to use basil.

The entire making process wasn't that tough, with the help of my breadmaker to do the kneading. What you need is just time. I used the Basic Focaccia recipe from Williams-Sonoma's Essential of Baking. There are many bread recipes which I'm dying to try as well... They just look simply enticing.


2 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast
220 ml of warm water
1/2 tsp sugar
90 ml olive oil
390 g all purpose flour (I used bread flour)
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp coarse salt (optional)


  1. Place ingredients into the breadmaker according to the sequence - water, sugar, fine salt, 60 ml of the olive oil, flour and yeast.
  2. Set the breadmaker to "dough mode" to begin the kneading cycle (the cycle takes 20 minutes)
  3. After 20 minutes, restart the cycle again and knead for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. After the kneading process, form the dough into a ball, transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  5. Let dough rise until double in size, about 1 hour.
  6. Pour remaining 30 ml evenly onto a sheet pan. Turn the dough out into the pan. (I didn't use 30 ml as it's too oily. I pour a suitable amount and spread it evenly)
  7. Press dough evenly into the pan. If dough is too elastic, let rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Cover pan loosely with plastic wrap or dry kitchen towel. Let it rise of 1 hour.
  9. Position a rack at the lower third of the oven. Preheat to 230C.
  10. Dimple the dough by pressing your fingertips all the way into it at 1-inch intervals over the entire surface.
  11. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and 1-2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, oregano or rosemary.
  12. Bake until golden brown, for 20 to 30 minutes.
  13. Transfer to wire rack and let cool in the pan.
Note: I had halved the recipe. If you like the original method of kneading by hand or with your stand mixer, feel free to drop me a comment

Recipe source: Williams-Sonoma's Essentials of Baking

Even before the bread is cooled completely, I wasted no time in slicing it, fried an egg and had my favourite sandwich made all from scratch! Nothing beats having homemade bread filled with favourite fillings. :D

June 25, 2008

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

What would you usually make if you have some ripe bananas waiting to be mash and send into the oven for baking?? Banana bread, cake (steam or bake?), banana crumble or chiffon?? Honestly, I don't really fancy eating the above listed bakes. I just wanted to use up the bananas, that's all. Baking lovers like us can't bear to see lovely ripe bananas being thrown into the bin, right?? :)

I was delighted when I found a banana cookie recipe in Nic's blog. I recalled having seen such recipe before, but couldn't recall where I saw it. I turned to Nic - Baking Bite for the search as she had a huge collection of fancy cookie recipes. There I found it without much effort!

It was a good recipe. I like how the oats make the cookie appear puffy and grainy - qualities of a good-looking cookie! The dough itself was already irresistable. Don't you all agree that cookie dough looks like a tub of ice-cream? :P Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, very soft
1/2 cup sugar (I reduced to 90g - 1/2 cup is about 125g)
1/2 cup brown sugar (I reduced to 70g - 1/2 cup about 105g)
1 small/medium banana - about 1/4 cup
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups oats (whole rolled oats or quick cooking)
1 cup chocolate chips (I chopped big-size chocolate droplets into smaller pieces)

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and banana, followed by vanilla extract.
  4. Gradually on low speed or by hand, add in the flour mixture.
  5. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
  6. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 11-14 minutes, until set or lightly browned (I baked for 15 minutes to get crispier cookies)
  8. Let cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the pan before transfering them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe Source: Baking Bites - Banana Oatmeal Cookies

During baking, the kitchen is filled with the aroma of bananas. Just like what Nic described, it tasted like banana bread. It has crisp edges with soft interior that is in between a cake and a cookie on the first day it was baked, probably like rock buns, if you had ever made it before. After a few days, the interior gradually became harder and more chewy. Although I prefer crispy cookies, the crisp and grainy exterior that is not overly sweet would make me want to come back for more. :)

June 23, 2008

Chocolate Walnut Soy Muffins

I was craving to bake something when I saw I still have half a packet of soy milk sitting in the fridge and some leftover apple sauce from the apple juice my mum had cooked for my nephew.

Yeah, perfect for me to whip up these little muffins made with soy milk, walnuts and chocolate chips from this mini cookbook which I bought recently. I made some modifications to the recipe, by replacing some of the apple sauce for oil. I've read in some random cook books and resources that pureed prunes or apple sauce are good substitutes for oil, if you wanna reduce the fat content in a baked good. However, this seems to only works for quick breads, never use it as substitutes in cakes or cookies. It won't work! :) Also to bear in mind that it may not always work or taste that well, since you are trading in some healthful goodness for taste in a recipe.


240g cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
85 g dark chocolate
85 g milk chocolate (I used chocolate rice)
100 g walnuts (chopped and toast in oven)
85 ml vegetable oil (I substituted with 85 ml apple sauce and about 25 ml oil)
4 tbsp honey
125 ml unsweetened soy milk
Juice from half lemon (I omitted this)

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line muffin tin with paper cups.
  2. Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add chopped chocolate and walnut and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine oil, honey and soy milk. Gradually fold in flour mizture until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into lined muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown (I sprinkled the top with more chocolate rice).
  5. Remove from oven and leave it to cool.

Recipe Source: Mini Cookbooks Series - Desserts

Note: This is the original recipe. The muffin was moist and very crunchy with the right amount of sweetness, even though I had used apple sauce. Well, I guess any recipe with chocolates works! :D

June 16, 2008

Life is full of Love

Thank you QQ Red Apple for passing me this tag. With so many unfortunate events happening around the world recently, it is sure a meaningful one for us to take some time to reflect on our life and be grateful for the things we have now.
Someone told me recently that I tend to comment alot on bad things or flaws while never seems to know how to appreciate the good things around me or people who cares for me. Frankly, it's not that I don't see these good things, but somehow I realise I'm not good at praising people, even though at times I do know or realise in my heart that something or someone is worth praising. Be it a simple thumbs up for your mum who cooked a nice dish, or commenting your beloved for having done a good job in his/her presentation, it does brightens someone's day. :)
Right now, I'm really grateful for everything I have and what I am today. Even though life may not be the MOST perfect, I strongly believe one can never feel satisfied. It is only when you are satisfied and be grateful for what you have, you will then feel truly happy. Let's treasure what we have, dream what we want, and enjoy life! *Start Baking* Haha...

Ok, if you want to get this going, just copy the link below:
START COPY*In order to be able to achieve and maintain happiness we need to, actively, be able to do two things: Complain and then let go (Dump the baggage, the roadblocks to happiness.)Openly Express Gratitude (The open expression of gratitude promotes happiness.)After all, everyone has something to be grateful for and/or something to complain about.
If you would like to accept the challenge, please follow the appropriate link and do so: "Are You Grateful?", "Complain Complain Complain."Contributors to "Are You Grateful?" & "Complain Complain Complain" are: 1-Attitude, the Ultimate Power 2-Max 3-DianaCA's Metamorphoses 4-Mental Poo 5-My Thoughts 6-Baba Doodlius 7-Wake Up America 8-Life is a Roller Coaster 9-Life and Me 10-pinay mommy's love blog 11-My Happiness Haven 12-And Life Goes On for a Filipino Mom 13-Blessed Sanctuary 14-Expressions And Thoughts 15-Memories by Jenn 16-Reminiscence of My Adventures 17-In the Life of Mne 18-Juliana's Lair 19-Pinay Wahm 20-Lucid Creativity 21-Winged Words 22-Irresistible Fascinations 23-A Little Time 24-See Me For What You Will 25-Greatest Reviews 26-ETC ATBP 27-Gandacious 28-We Are Family 29-Journey to this thing called LIFE 30-www.rajeshrana.net 31-www.rajeshrana.com 32-BaReFooTeD Me 33-Uncomplicated 34-Points of View 35-Pride & Prejudice 36-Colorful World 37-Nora's Notes 38-A Daily Walk With Bill & Gina 39-Strange but True 40-Everything Under The Sun ( Beth Rebokon ) 41-Kaleidoscope 42-Fil-Oz Blog 43-By Osc@r Luiz 44-Comedy Plus 45-Blogging by Sandee 46-Soul Meets World 47-Mae's Memoirs 48-Beyond the Rave Reality 49-Amori, poesie, arte, chat by Hanna 50-Attached at the Hip 51-Carver's Sight or is that Site? 52-Empress Reviews 53-Simple Pleasures In My Heart 54-Lourdes' mia 55-A Grateful Heart 56-Majorsleepyhead 57-Scrappy n Happy in Ohio 58-CHOC MINT GIRL 59-Extraordinary Things 60-ZOOROPAZOO 61-BeNolSatuEm 62-As The World Turns 63-Your Caring Angels 64-Life Is Wonderful To Know Everyday 65-Sugar Magnolias 66-Little Peanut 67-Creative In Me 68-Me and Mine 69-Pea in a Pod 70-the diary of the Pink & Brown Wedding 71-good thoughts, good trades, good life 72-My Blog - all things me 73-Rainbows 74-Little Corner of Mine 75-Me, Myself and I 76-My Planet Purple 77-Amel's Realm 78-A Handful of Surprises 79-A Detour 80-Something Purple 81-Vanity Kit 82-Are You Grateful? 83-A Simple Life 84-BlogTips.Com 85-Balitang Kalye 86-Mariuca 87- Emila Yusof 88-A Total Blog 89-My Life in this Wonderful World 90-MommyAllehs 91-Things That Suck 92-A Mother's Stuff 93-Princess Vien 94-My Inner Thoughts Revealed 95-Roxiticus Desperate Housewives 96-Apples Of The Eyes 97-Nita's Random Thoughts 98-Nita's Corner 99-Thomas Digital Services 100-A Mother's Thoughts101-Meltwater. Torrents. Meanderings. Delta 102-My Perfect Escape 103-Vanidosa. Marie 104-Confessions of a Supermodel Wannabe 105-Lynda's Loft 106-Listening..Learning..Living 107-LadyJava's Lounge 108-The Painted Veil 109-Poeartica 110-Maryannaville 111-the life of a psychotic weirdo 112-CARPE DIEM 113-Turn-u-Off 114-asian mutt international 115-Petty Ramblings of a Petty Queen 116-LIFE IS A ROLLER COASTER 117-AZZY'S BLOG-A-ROONIE! 118-glad to be here 119-WilStop 120-Dare to Blog 121-WebGeek Journal 122-Foster Me Up 123-This is My Life 124-DaveylynneDR 125-Life Realities 126-aNgRiAniWorld Dot Com 127-All That Matters 128-Baking Cottage

I'll like to pass this to the following:
Happy Blogging, Happy Baking, Happy Cooking! :D

June 9, 2008

Homemade Pumpkin Soup

Though known for its high nutritional content, I somehow feel that pumpkin is not a popular vegetable, especially among Asians. I may not be right, but at least it is to the people around me, cos' it wasn't introduced into our diet. On the other hand, it is so much used in western food culture, such as in soups, pies, breads...and so on. Pumpkin bread shall be next in my list. :)

I started to learn to eat pumpkin after I tried out a simple dish of baked pumpkin introduced in an article. As it is rather sweet on its own, and mashy when cooked, I feel that baking it without much added flavourings brings out the best texture and flavour. I realised I love starchy food, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkins (not the wet, mashy type my mum cooked :P)

When I saw Daphne's speedy pumpkin soup, I made a note that I shall try it someday. :) It was really simple, if not for the cutting and peeling of the hard pumpkin skin. In the recipe, Daphne did not mentioned how to prepare vegetable stock, so I guess the easiest way is to use....yes those prepared vegetable stock sold in cubes!

Modified from Daphne's recipe,

  • 0.75 kg pumpkin (about half whole pumpkin, not chopped yet)
  • Half red onion, sliced
  • 2 cups of vege stock
  • Herbs of your fancy
  • Salt n cracked pepper
  • Toasted almonds
  1. Skin pumpkin shell, remove seeds and chopped into cubes.
  2. Arrange pumpkins and sliced onions onto baking trays, roast at 180°C for about 30 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Boil stock (I used Knorr Brand vegetable stock cubes - Add 3/4 cube into 2 cups water).
  4. When stock boils, add pumpkin and herbs (I used dried oregano).
  5. After about 2-3 minutes, remove from heat and cool.
  6. Use hand blender, mash pumpkin till smooth.
  7. Return to heat. Stir gently till heated through.
  8. Ladle and sprinkle toasted almonds.
  9. Serve warm!

Recipe Source: Daphne - More than Words

This recipe serves 2-3

The soup was rich and tasty! Could it be due to the vegetable stock which contained MSG? Hehe...I only realised it later. :P You may used half of the vegetable stock cube as I find it a little salty to my liking. :)

June 7, 2008

Soy Sponge Cake

My dear friend, Kexian was so excited when she saw my post - Soya Milk Chiffon that she sms me to tell me that she loved soya chiffon but it was rather expensive for a small cake sold outside and not many places are selling. That made me equally excited too cos' then I would wanna create a successful one too, knowing that my friends will be looking forward to my success. :)It so happened that I came across this recipe - Soy Sponge Cake in this series of Mini Cookbooks titled Desserts (published by Marshall Cavendish Cuisine) which I bought from Popular Bookstore recently. There are lots of other soy-based desserts such as muffins, waffles which sounds interesting as well. Anyhow, the first on my list to try in this mini book is this Soy Sponge Cake.

This is a rather simple sponge cake recipe, the only difference is the addition of soy flour, which you can get from most baking supply chains (I got from Phooon Huat). The method involves whisking whole eggs with sugar to light and fluffy (method as you would to a normal sponge cake recipe), then comes the folding of flour and melted butter.

The cake was soft and fluffy, with a slight tinge of soy flavour. I added some red bean paste to some of the mini muffins but all sank to the bottom of the muffin! I have forgotten that the batter is thin and fillings would not stay in the centre. :P They taste equally soft and moist after refrigeration. But I might consider not to reduce the sugar so drastically next time as I think they could be sweeter.


85g All purpose flour
55g soy flour
2/3 tsp baking powder
5 eggs
140g castor sugar (I reduced to 110g)
80ml water
1 tsp vanilla essence
70g butter melted

  1. Sift both types of flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar in another mixing bowl until light and fluffy (about 15 minutes). Add water and vanilla essence to egg mixture.
  3. Fold in flour mixture, then melted butter and blend well.
  4. Grease 6-8 small cake tins. Fill each tin with batter until 3/4 full. (according to original recipe)
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 17 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool before serving.
Recipe Source: Mini Cookbooks Series - Desserts

Note: This recipe is a rather big serving and you might want to consider halving it if you are not making alot or your oven is not big enough. I would not recommend baking it in different batches as the air from the beaten eggs will start to deflate after whisking and staying in room temperature for too long. I was able to make 44 mini muffins size.

Ok, with still half packet of soy flour, I will 'create' my own soy chiffon soon! ;)