Sunday, September 18, 2011

Double Chocolate Muffin

Look forward to a 9-days holiday trip to North East China tomorrow! I have been very busy to get my luggage packed these two days and therefore, have no time for baking ...

You may be wondering why I still have this recipe to post, in fact, this was baked last weekend but I wasn't free to get this up till now...

Since I'm in a hurry,  I'm not going to spend too much on this post and will let the pictures talk.  Hope you like these photos :)

I adopted this recipe from Small Small Baker- Nigella's Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins but since I adjusted the recipe a bit, I will name it as Double Chocolate Muffin. Verdict: I don't think it's to my liking (both my daughters said so) but somehow, my hubby's colleagues love it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Brownie with Chocolate Mousse

After a slice of Brownies with Chocolate Mousse cake at Bakerzin on my birthday, I missed it so much and look forward to another visit but after second thought, since I can bake, why not "DIY ".   Recalling the structure of the cake, it appeared only brownie below chocolate mousse and top with a layer of chocolate ganache, given I had done a couple of brownies and mousse cakes before, I think I should be able to get there.  

 
I flipped through the slack of my cookbooks but to no success of closer recipe.  I searched online and finally found one from Nestle website.  Judging from the recipe description, I was very confident that it should turn out as close as the one I tasted at Bakerzin.   I cut down the recipe by half since it's my first attempt.  I used a 10" square loose pan but realized the pan size seemed to big for the amount of the ingredients as the cake came out very low,  the mousse layer wasn't seemed to be sufficient.  As for the ganache, if I followed the same amount from the recipe, it's way too litte as it 's barely able to cover half of the cake.

I flopped twice when trying to mix condensed milk with melted chocolate to prepare for the mousse, it just stuck together and become solidified.  I got so mad and decided to give the condensed milk a miss since I don't like sweet food.  Although I wasted a pack of couverture chocolate, I think the attempt is paid off as the cake is great. I will definitely try it again but will need to fine tune this recipe - the mousse recipe needs to be double up, baking time for brownie needs to be cut down slightly as it was a bit dry, the egg should be beaten fill foamy before adding into chocolate mixture, etc.  I believe the cake will be perfect after these being fixed. 

If you like to try the original recipe, please follow this link .. but for my next attempt, I'll try the following improved version.  

Preparation:
-  Prepare 9" (10" is too big for this recipe) loose plan, base lined with baking paper.  
-  Preheat baking at 175*C for min. 15 mins. 

Ingredients
For the chocolate mousse

For the ganache:
  • 120 g dark chocolate
  • 120 ml liquid cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp golden syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp rum

For the brownies:

  • 125 g dark chocolate
  • 50 g butter
  • 140 g Condensed Milk
  • 3 small egg (50g)
  • 65g plain flour                                }sift and mix well
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder        }
  • 120g lightly toasted walnut (chopped)
Method:
To prepare the brownies:

  1. Bring water to boil and off fire.  Melt the chocolate over double boiler hot water, add in butter and condensed mil and mix slowly.
  2. Beat the eggs until foaming (5 mins) with a electric mixer, then add into chocolate mixture (step 1).
  3. Mix the flour, walnuts and baking powder; add it to the above chocolate egg mixture and mix slowly using a spatula. Pour into the baking pan and bake in a 175°C preheated oven for 10 minutes (don't over bake) or when you touch the top near the centre of the cake, it sprinkles back. ( I use 12 mins which over baked the brownie).
  4. Remove from the oven, let it cool down for 10 mins before removing the lined baking paper.  Keep in fridge  to allow it to cool down totally.
To prepare the chocolate mousse:
  1.  Beat whipping cream and sugar under cold water till stiff.  Keep in fridge for later use.
  2. Mix gelatine with water, melt under double boiler hot water. Keep warm.
  3. Melt chocolate under double boiler hot water, stir till smooth.  
  4. Remove whipped cream from fridge, stir in chocolate (slight warm) and gelatine.  Mix well.
  5. Spread chocolate mousse evenly onto brownie and chill in fridge.
To prepare the ganache:
  1.  Add cream into a heavy duty cooking pot, bring to boil.  Off fire and then add in chocolate, golden syrup and rum.  Slowly stir till smooth. 
  2. Let ganache cool down (still runny) and then spread evenly over the mousse. 
  3. Chill the brownie in the fridge till set before serving.

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Crispy Coffee Cake

    Notice that many of the bakers are out there busy with baking mooncake but I am still hesitating and have no gut to go forward.  I think I will not be able to make it as by then I decided, the Mooncake festival probably will be over since my kitchen has not yet equipped  with the all necessary stuffs.  I have never baked mooncake before, this is one of my reservation preventing me from going forward and if I will bake, I think I will go for an easy way, that means I will buy ready-made filling but to get good quality one, I will need to make a special trip down to the specialized store which takes time.  With all these considerations, that's why I am so reluctant and I think I will  give it a miss this year.  Anyway, I have been trying to avoid high calories stuff, this will be a good excuse for me to keep away.

    The price of mooncake has become exorbitant this year, I can't convince myself to fork out S$10-15 for a mooncake, it's ridiculous! Don't you think so?  Mooncake ingredients aren't that expensive, why it charges so high!  Initially, I wanted to go without it this year (not willing to pay) but both of my daughters gave me an disappointing look because they would not able to enjoy their favorite Yam and Pandan mooncake this year.  At the end, I bought two Yam's and one Pandan's just to satisfy their craving.

    I was quite bored in one of the weekday evening but never thought of doing any baking since I still had a night call to attend at 9pm.  Since the call was cancelled, I decided to bake something for breakfast tomorrow.  I found this Crispy Coffee Cake recipe from one of my cookbook, it's similar to some coffee cakes I baked before, since it's something my elder daughter had been craving, I decided to give it a shot.


    I didn't expect it turned out so yummy and tasty, it's moist, crispy, soft and not oily.  It's definitely perfect to go with a cup of coffee.  From my view, this recipe tastes better as compare to those I baked before.  If you would like to try out, here you go ...

     Crispy Coffee Cake Recipe(modified from amy wong & k.s. lee's lovely butter cakes)
    - Preheat oven at 175*C for min. 15 mins. Baking Time: 50 mins.
    - Baking pan: 8" square baking pan. Base lined with baking paper (Don’t grease the side). 


    Ingredient A:
    - 100g plain flour   } sift- 60g brown sugar (I think 70g will be ideal, original recipe asks for 80g caster sugar)
    - 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
    - 1 tsp instance coffee (should keep 2tsp per original recipe)
    - 70g butter (cold)

    Ingredient B:
    - 200 butter (original recipe asks for 220g)
    - 165g caster sugar (should keep 180g per original recipe)
    - 3 eggs  (beaten slightly) - 60g each
    - 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

    Ingredient C:
    - 250g plain flour         }sift (original recipe asks for 260g)
    - 2 tsp baking powder  }  
    - 135ml yoghurt (original recipe ask for 125ml sour cream)
    -  50g chopped walnut (optional)


    Method:
    1. Mix plain flour, brown sugar, cinnamon powder and instance coffee of Ingredient A together, mix well.  Cut butter into cute and rub into flour mixture to form dough.  Keep it into fridge till firmed.
    2. Beat butter and sugar from ingredient B till pale and fluffy (about 4-5 mins).  Add eggs, one portion at a time, mix well.  Add essence and mix well. 
    3. Alternately pour in yoghurt and flours from Ingredient C with a spatula, mix well. 
    4. Pour the batter into 8" square mould based with paper.
    5. Remove dough from fridge, grate it, mix with walnut and sprinkle over the batter.
    6. Bake in preheated oven at 175*C for 50-55 mins.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    Another Year Has passed!!

    Another year has passed, again, I'm a year older (hope will be another year wiser?!)! Can't believe ... time flies so quick ..so fast.. No birthday cake, no present, no party ... sound boring, dull, and  uninspired, right?   I don't expect I would receive any big surprise, eg. a well prearranged romantic candlelight dinner, a big boutique of flower, etc as such thing if happens on me will like strike lottery ...as my the other half is such practical man ...

    Lately, I seemed to be addicted to Groupon voucher purchase,  I bought so many of meal vouchers.  Since all these have expiry date, I have to clear them regularly.  Since I still had the Honjin Japanese Buffer vouchers which were bought a couple months ago, I decided to use this to celebrate my birthday.  Given that this restaurant doesn't open on Sun and this voucher was only valid for dinner, to adhere to their terms & conditions, I made a reservation on Friday night which meant I would be celebrating my birthday in advance.  I didn't expect the restaurant was quite run down, what I couldn't bear was their toilet, it was so dirty, old and smelly.  The service was lousy.  As for the food, except the salman sashimi and grilled chicken, the rest were not up to my expectation.  It's very disappointing! That's enough.. no more next time !

    With the disappointment of the Japanese buffer dinner, I decided to go for another meal to make up my birthday celebration today.  This time round, I went to Bakerzin at Serangoon Garden, this was another purchase from Groupon lately.  Although it's a simple lunch, I am glad that I make the right choice as my family and I enjoyed meals so much.  The desserts/cakes were also so yummy, although I know my waistline might not able to take it, I just couldn't stop eating! 

    My hubby and daughters suggested to buy a cake from Bakerzin to celebrate my birthday, given I had over eaten just now, I had to decline their thoughtfulness.  Cake cutting is just a formality, I am not very particular about it.   Although there is no cake, no present and no big celebration, as long as I feel comfortable and happy with what I have now, I think I'm satisfied.  Anyway,  I'll be going for a 9-days holiday in two weeks time, I look forward to this trip and I guess that I should consider this to be my belated birthday present! 

    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    A Lovely Stroll in Sydney

    I've been back from Sydney for a month but yet, I have not been able to find a time to upload the trip's pictures. It's either I was busy with work, baking or other commitment. Since it's a weekend again, both my kids and my hubby are out plus I don't have the mood for baking today (too much baking for the teacher's day and need a break!) , I think I should take this opportunity to get these pictures organized and posted.

    If my memory strikes, the last trip was my 8th time in Sydney, of all, once was for leisure, the rest were for business purposes. Frankly speaking, except the trip for holiday, I hardly spent time exploring around Sydney as many a time, I was either lone ranger or schedule was tight. It was such a waste but since I don't enjoy to be alone, there is no point to stay longer.

     

    For this recent trip, I asked my hubby to come along since he had a lot of leave to clear. He agreed but only joined me on the last three nights of my stay. During the day time, he would explore the city himself, I would join him for dinner at night and extended one day stay to explore Sydney with him. We booked a local tour on that day and it brought us to couple of places, eg. Blue Mountain, Featherdale Wildlife Park, Jenolan Caves, etc.  Most of the pictures here were taken by him and since quite no. of them were pretty well taken, I shall let the picture to do the talking ...


    I enjoyed the night stroll around the Sydney city and the time we spent together hunting for food ...

     

    The late winter of Sydney Street had a different kind of beauty with the trees in bare branches ..



     

    St. Mary's Cathedral is so majestic with its prominent brick structure...



     

    An interesting Sydney city scene... the weather was prefect (15-20*C) when we were there ...




     

    We enjoyed walking through The Rocks - the foundation place of Sydney with enormous historical significance. The Rocks Weekend Market was so busy with lots of tourists and locals shoppers ...




    Featherdale Wildlife Park was where we could get close to a large variety of Australian Fauna ...





    Jenolan Caves with their glittering stalactites and stalagmites in the form of columns and waterfalls were first explored in 1866 and are open to visitors ...



     

    Some exciting rides to Blue Mountain ...



     

    A very relaxing experience with a breathtaking view of Blue Mountain ..  It's spectacular!




     

    It's such a pleasure taking a walkabout in beautiful Darling harbour ...



     

    Opera House with its unique shape of a beautiful shell has become a vibrant city of Sydney...



    Harbour Bridge climb provides an ultimate experience of Sydney for those who like to challenge their limit...


     

    Some foods we enjoyed in Sydney China Town ...

    Although it was a very short trip, we indeed had a wonderful time and experience exploring the city together.   I hope I could bring my daughters there next time!

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