May 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to him :)

I had been flipping through pages of "Okashi Treats" by keiko ishida" , trying hard to decide which cake recipe should I choose to bake for his birthday. Everything was solved by just his one reply "chocolate cake". :P This narrowed down my options and I could just concentrate baking a chocolate cake for him. :)

Layer mousse cakes is still something I'm not good at but I'm still trying to perfect it. I decided on a chocolate sponge cake with mousse layers. Something new that I tried was a feuillete base! I can't resist chocolate cakes with the crunchy, chocolate-hazel-nutty feuillete base, and could never have enough of it! I bought this packet of feuillete for months and finally get to use it this time.
I almost wanted to make my own praline paste and had even bought a packet of hazel nuts. In the end, I managed to get a small tub of hazelnut cream from Phoon Huat and used that for my praline paste. Hazelnut cream, milk chocolate, feuillete mixed with a little butter and the result of the praline feuillete was simply divine....

The base is a layer of praline feuillete, followed by a brownie cake base and alternate layers of chocolate sponge and mousse. The chocolate sponge was hard and dry. I had probably over-whipped it but since i sliced it into thin layers, it wasn't that significant. The worst thing was I didn't have the time to let the mousse set long enough before pouring the ganache. Hence it got mixed with the ganache and that was what you see at the sides (below). Nevertheless it's a truly yummy, chocolatety cake. I'm just worried for our waistlines! :P

dd loves ramen so for his birthay, I will accommodate him. :) We our dinner at Marutama Ra-men at Liang Court.

One thing good about such limited menu is you don't have to flip through pages after pages deciding what to eat because there are too many choices. The menu is just in this one page.

Side dishes: Gyoza

I ordered this : Aka Ra-men (7 kinds of ground nuts mixture with chicken soup, its mild spicy)

dd ordered the Nama Karashi Ra-men (spicky chicken soup base with toppings)
Their ramen has a rich soup base which makes one really satisfying but (for us) it's easy to feel full after a while and won't feel like eating. Probably it's too rich for our liking, unless it's served in smaller portion.
Yaki Char Siu (grilled roast pork) Yummy! But it's not lean meat. ;)

Ajitsuke Tamago (half boiled seasoned egg). It's hard boiled egg but its egg yolks are half cooked. I yearning to replicate it some day. I found one recipe thats quite similar to this over at Quinn's Baking Diary. Maybe you would like to give it a try first and let me know. :D

May 23, 2010

Phuket Trip (Part 1)

Our first day at Phuket was spent mainly touring around the streets, shopping malls and the night market. We reached there at about past 10 am in the morning. We could not check into the hotel so we first left our lugguage at the hotel and went in search of tour agencies to book our day tours.
Burasari Resort.

One of the main mode of transport over there is motorcycle. You can just rent a motorbike for a cheap thai baht without any official license and ride all over Phuket, provided if you dare!

I thought my dd looked good in this photo. :P

McFlurry ice-cream! :P

This is where we booked our day tours for the next two days. There were actually lots of such tour agencies all over the streets of Phuket. This Mr Mark was recommended by fellow Singaporeans so we thought it would be safer.

Lunch at Jungceylon Shopping complex. Coconut juice (dd's) and mine was water-melon juice.

dd always order ramen.

This was my set. A healthy brown rice set with grilled salmon, kimchi and side salad.

This trip wasn't a shopping trip so I don't have the mood to shop. This is the only big shopping mall so there wasn't much to shop.
Finally we checked into our hotel. I had been looking forward to this stay cos' it doesnt' really come cheap considering that the rate was USD373 for three nights. To our dismay, the rooms wasn't as nice as what we had expected. No doubt it was rather big, some of the furnishings were rather old. The services was disappointing too, that we felt we had to write a review of it when we were back. You can read more about our reviews at Tripadvisor.

After a good rest in the hotel, we went for a stroll at Patong beach. Patong is one of the busiest and most commercialised beach. As you can see, there are many beach chairs which they chargeable.
We then proceeded to their a weekend night market, known as chatuchak located at Phuket Town.

Mobile van selling donut sticks.

Lots of interesting street food ranging from sushi, sweet snacks, pastries and crabs. We only tried some of them.
Our last meal of the day. A simple bee hoon soup with pork balls. :)
I shall post more about our day tour trips. ;)

May 16, 2010

For my Mom

For Mother's Day this year, I think I made a really clever decision by asking mom what would she prefer me to bake for her, instead of making creamy, sweet cakes that she might not really enjoy.

I was surprised when she said she wanted cream puffs... such a shame cos' I didn't know she actually likes cream puffs. :P I'd bought durian puffs for her but she said she found the fillings too thick and heavy that she don't enjoy the puffs. She prefers cream puffs with pastry cream that isn't too sweet. She described cream puffs as "egg tarts fillings wrapped into the pastry like a ball". How cute!

This was my first successful cream puffs that puffed up nicely with a hollow centre for piping in the pastry cream. A labourious task it was indeed, because it involved more cooking and using the stove which i wasn't that good that. The recipe for the pastry cream called for 3 egg yolks but i ended using 6 or 7 because I used small eggs! So one lesson I learnt and to be remembered always is that I must always buy large eggs for all recipes. I think I knew this but still I thought it wouldn't make much a difference.

See the flowers? I bought her a bouquet and I could see she was pleasantly surprised and happy. Hehe my first bouquet for her.
Having brought up from a traditional family, we are not used to expressing our love for each other in words or through physical actions such as hugs and kisses like we younger generations do now. Even though sometimes I may be spending not enough time for her, find her naggy or being too blunt to her in my words that I may have hurt her feelings. But deep in my heart, i love her. I knew she won't be reading my blog so it's ok. :P
An overdue post so I'd keep it short here. Recipe from "Okashi Treats" by keiko ishida, a book a really like. :) If you would like the recipe, drop me a comment. :)
I was lazy yesterday so I just ended my post abruptly. I thought since this is such a successful attempt after my previous failed attempts, I should share this recipe with you all. If I can do it, so can you guys!
75g water
50g whole milk
50g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
a pinch of sugar
a pinch of salt
3 egg yolks, at room temperature, lightly beaten (Please use large eggs)
75g cake flour
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Sift flour once. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine water, milk, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then immediately remove from heat.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, quickly stir in the flour until combined, and mixture forms a ball. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture leaves the sides of the saucepan and a film forms on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Transfer mixture to a clean bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  5. Test the batter by taking a scoop of it using a spoon or spatula. When you coat the spoon with it, batter should hang and form a smooth triangular shape. If batter is not able to hang down, this means the batter is too thick and you need to add more egg yolks (that was ow I increased mine to 6).
  6. Pour choux dough into piping bag fitted with the plain piping tip. (I just cut a small hole). Pipe out 5-cm circles onto tray and gently smoothen out the pointed peaks with moistened finger.
  7. Bake choux puffs for about 20 minutes at 200°C, then reduce temperature to 180°C and continue baking for another 20 minutes. (this is en essential step because baking them at high temperature for the first 20 minutes allows choux paste to rise to maximun height and reducing the temperatue thereafter helps to dry them completely - adapted from the tips). That was how I got mine puffed up nicely.
Recipe for pastry cream
200g fresh whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (you may use 1/2 vanilla bean)
3 egg yolks
50g castor sugar
20g cake flour, sifted
  1. Add milk, vanilla extract to a suacepan and bring to a boil.
  2. In a clean bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until mixtureis pale yellow in colour (can use hand whisk). Add flour and mix well.
  3. Add hot milk to the egg mixture and fold through. (if using vanilla bean, remove the vanilla pod from the mixture).
  4. Return egg and milk mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until mixture becomes smooth and glossy. Remove saucepan from heat.
  5. Transfer pastry cream to a tray, cover with cling wrap and place in the freezer to cool, but do not freeze it.
  6. Before use, gently beat cream with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy (sound tedious isn't it? But it does give me a smooth pastry cream). ;)