Monday, February 21, 2011

21 Feb 11 (Mon) - Chocolcate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Didn't have to work today and so decided to give the basic cupcake recipe another try. This time I attempted the chocolate version and baked them at 165 degree celsius for 20 minutes. By about 10 minutes later, they had risen to the normal cupcakes shape but I didn't take them out to test. By the end of the baking time, they were like muffin shape again with the top risen and cracked but at least not as bad as yesterday. Took them out to cool and went on to prepare the buttercream frosting.

Combined the icing sugar and butter using the electric mixer. Initially the two didn't combine very well and the mixture was lumpy. Thought of adding a bit of water to it but it was a good thing that I continued with the mixing a few more minutes coz the mixture had turned creamy by then. Used a small transparent plastic bag, cut the corner and inserted the nozzle to the opening. Scooped the buttercream into the bag and started piping it onto the cooled cupcakes.

This was my first time doing frosting on cupcakes and my hands weren't very steady so the first one didn't look good. Subsequently, it got better and after I was done, did more decoration by sprinkling some colored rice crisp and crispy mini chocolate.

Before frosting

Frosting with colored rice crisp

After frosting

Frosting with crispy mini chocolate

Ingredients for Chocolate Cupcakes (Makes 12):
150g butter - soften
150g castor sugar
175g self-rising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp cocoa power

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 165 degree celsius
2.  Line a 12 cupcake pan with cupcake cases or line 12 silicon muffin cases with cupcake cases
3.  Place all the ingredients in a large bowl
4.  Beat with an electric mixer for 2 mins till light and creamy
5.  Divide the mixture evenly between the cake cases
6.  Bake for 20mins until risen and firm to touch
7.  Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool

Ingredients for Buttercream Frosting (Makes 12):
150g butter - soften
250g icing sugar

1.  Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer till smooth and creamy

Sunday, February 20, 2011

20 Feb 11 (Sun) - Vanilla and Chocolate Muffins

Copied a basic vanilla cupcake recipe, a chocolate buttercream frosting recipe and a glace frosting recipe intending to try out today. So borrowed the ingredients and equipment from my sis's SIL and started baking at 10am.

Measured the flour, sugar, butter, vanilla essence and added one egg before using the electric mixer to beat the mixture for two minutes till light and creamy. While I was filling the cake cases with the mixture, my nephew came along and said he also want to make the cupcakes himself.

So after I had put the filled cupcakes lined with the silicon muffin cases into the oven and set it to bake at 180 degree celsius for 18 minutes, I washed the equipment and help Ry do the second round. He wanted to do two eggs and so had to double the amount that I used during the first round. Also suggested to him that he could try making chocolate flavour instead so after adding all the ingredients in the mixing bowl, handed it to Ry to mix using the electric mixer.

While he was at it, I checked my four cupcakes and they didn't look like cupcakes, they looked like muffins instead. When the 18 minutes were up, used a satay stick to check them and it didn't come out clean. So set them to bake for another two more minutes and then they were done. Took them out and helped Ry with his eight other cupcakes.

Ry wanted to try making one very large one and so filled that cake case to the brim with mixture. Put them into the oven and did the same setting. He was very anxious about the result and so was practically sitting near to the oven to see the cake rose up. When the time was up, took them out to cool. His batch of cupcakes also look like muffins instead. So in the end, I decided not to do any frosting and treated them as muffins instead of cupcakes.

Thought about the process, the taste and the inside texture were just nice but the top was a bit hard and they cracked up. So was thinking maybe for the next attempt, I can reduce the temperature to about 160 degree celsius and cook slightly longer.

Vanilla and Chocolate Muffins

Ingredients (Makes 12):
150g butter - soften
150g castor sugar
175g self-rising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp cocoa power (if making chocolate flavour)

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree celsius
2.  Line a 12 cupcake pan with cupcake cases or line 12 silicon muffin cases with cupcake cases
3.  Place all the ingredients in a large bowl
4.  Beat with an electric mixer for 2 mins till light and creamy
5.  Divide the mixture evenly between the cake cases
6.  Bake for 18-20mins until risen and firm to touch
7.  Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool

Saturday, February 19, 2011

19 Feb 11 (Sat) - Yam Paste with Ginko Nuts [Ou Nee] (芋泥与白果)

Tried cooking the Teochew Ou Nee today using the simple recipe I found on the Internet. Followed the steps closely but somehow the end result neither look like the normal Teochew Ou Nee nor did it taste quite like it.

I even wondered if I had bought the correct ingredient until I tasted it. Though it had yam taste, still it didn't taste the same as the real Teochew Ou Nee should be.

Perhaps the next time I should try using cooking oil that is fried with shallots instead of olive oil.

Raw Yam

Yam Paste with Gingko Nuts (芋泥与白果)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

17 Feb 11 (Thu) - Steamed Milk Custard (炖奶)

Tomorrow I will be on anuual leave at home and a friend will be coming to visit as well as to make some desserts together. So decided to make steamed milk custard (炖奶) for her to try. After I had showered and set the clothes to wash, I started making preparations for tomorrow as well as making the steamed milk custard (炖奶). As my washing machine is the semi-auto type so I had to juggle between doing my laundry as well as the cooking.

Wanted to try something different and so took a small portion out of the usual amount of milk mixture and added some dried osmanthus flowers to it before steaming. Probably I had turned the heat slightly more towards the high side rather than the usual medium-high and also maybe the portion I had for my friend is smaller than usual, at the end of the steaming process, the surface of the custard was almost turning crater form.

So when I steamed my own small portion, I had to use a shorter amount of time instead and hence it didn't turn out too dry. The osmanthus steamed milk custard was very fragrant but I have not eaten it yet coz I wanted to eat it chill tomorrow.

Happily took some photos of my creations and started packing up the kitchen when I realised that I had forgotten to add sugar to both portions of the steamed milk custard (炖奶). So in order to try to salvage them, I dissolved some sugar in hot water and added them to the custards.Hopefully they will be tasty with the sugar syrup.

Hahaha... I know tomorrow my friend is going to laugh at me about this silly mistake. Will update about the results after we eat the custards tomorrow. Stay tune.

Steamed Milk Custard (炖奶)

Osmanthus Steamed Milk Custard (桂花炖奶)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

13 Feb 11 (Sun) - Chawamushi

Attempted the chawamushi again and this time I used the conventional steaming method as well as covered the dish properly during steaming. It turns out much, much better than the last round.


1 egg
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cooking sake
1/4 tsp mirin
1/4 tbsp light soya sauce
1/4 chicken cube
125ml water

1.  Dissolve 1/4 chicken cube with 125ml water to make chicken stock
2.  Add sugar, cooking sake, mirin and light soya sauce to the chicken stock
3.  Make sure the chicken stock is at room temperature before adding the egg
4.  Use a chopstick to stir the egg in a cutting motion to combine egg and chicken stock without creating too much foam
5.  Place other ingredients that you like (e.g. fishcake, shredded chicken meat) into a bowl
6.  Strain the egg mixture into the bowl
7.  Cover the bowl with foil
8.  Steam over high heat for 10mins
9.  Off the heat and serve hot

Monday, February 7, 2011

7 Feb 11 (Mon) - Song Pyeon and Peanut Shiru Tteok

Today I was on leave and so took the opportunity to try making Song Pyeon again. Started making the rice dough at 9am. This time round I modified the steps a little. Instead of adding the sugar and salt to the flour directly, I dissolved the sugar and salt in 1/2 cup of hot water first before adding the liquid to the flour. As I kneaded the dough, I added water bit by bit to combine the flour.

This time round, I managed to get a more manageable dough without having a lot of the dough sticking to my hands. Followed the rest of the steps as per stated and put white sesame seeds with sugar mixture in four rice balls and the peanut powder with sugar mixture in another four rice balls. My nephew prefers plain rice balls and so made the rest as plain ones for him.

The previous round I used the steaming method and the round balls turned out flat at the end of the steaming process. So this time I decided to try the boiling method instead. Boiled a pot of water and then put the rice balls into the pot of boiling water. Prepared a bowl of cold water with a bit of sesame oil and when the rice balls floated, transferred them to the bowl of cold water. After that, drained them and placed them on a plate to serve.

Since I had extra peanut powder so rolled one of the rice balls in it and it became Peanut Shiru Tteok. Overall, this time round the result is much closer to the Song Pyeon recipe. The only thing that I need to improve on is to make the skin thinner so that the balls will get cooked faster and the sugar inside will be able to melt into liquid form.

White Sesame Seeds

Peanut Powder

Rice balls before cooking

Rice balls after cooking

Song Pyeon and Peanut Shiru Tteok

White Sesame Seeds and Sugar in Song Pyeon

Friday, February 4, 2011

4 Feb 11 (Fri - CNY Day 2) - Song Pyeon (Improvised Version)

Managed to get glutinous rice flour from Giant and started making the rice dough about 4.30pm after my sis and her family went out to my BIL's friend's house for gathering. Added the water according to the amount stated in the recipe and it was still a bit towards the wet side but not as bad as yesterday. So added a bit more glutinous rice flour to make it drier.

It worked and so started making the rice balls, made them into cup using my thumb and added roasted white sesame seeds and sugar into the centre and sealed them up. Tried with a couple of chocolate buttons as well. After I was done making the rice balls, steamed them using medium high heat for 25 mins. By the time was up, the round balls became flat. Took them out and put them into cold water.

Was anxious to try them out and so ate one of them. The sugar seemed to have seeped out of the balls and so didn't have the effect like those I bought from the Hankook Rice Cake House. Tried the ones with chocolate and the taste was rather unique. Since I had some roasted white sesame seeds left, so added some sugar to them and rolled the rice balls in the mixture.

I think my next attempt, I either have to cut down the time for steaming or use the boiling method instead.

Erawan Brand Glutinous Rice Flour

Rice balls before coating with
roasted white sesame seeds and sugar

Rice balls after coating with
roasted white sesame seeds and sugar

Thursday, February 3, 2011

3 Feb 11 (Thu - CNY Day 1) - Red Bean Soup (红豆汤)

Today is the first day of CNY and I woke up early even though I slept very late last night because I was eager to try out the red bean soup with rice balls recipe. Soaked the red beans overnight and started cooking them after eating breakfast. While the red bean was cooking, I started preparing the rice flour to make rice balls. My sis said to make more and so used the whole packet of the flour.

Followed the steps and the amount stated in the recipe but guess I added too much water than I should. The dough turned out too wet. Messaged my sis's SIL for some plain flour so that I could salvage the dough but it didn't work. Tried putting the dough in the microwave for a while but it didn't work either. So I had to dispose the dough in the end and only had red bean soup for the day.

For the red bean soup, after the beans were soften, I drained away the extra water and used a ladel to try and crushed the beans to make them into paste since my sis didn't have a blender. The texture was closer to the red bean soup that we used to eat during wedding dinners but it would be even better if the beans had been processed using a blender.

Roasted some white sesame seeds intended for the rice balls but since the making of the dough wasn't successful, so added the sesame seeds to the red bean soup instead. The taste was rather unique though with the adding of the roasted white sesame seeds.

Was not happy with the failed result and so went through the recipe again to see what went wrong. My sis mentioned that she might be going to Giant the next day to get some stuff and so decided that I would follow her and get a packet of the glutinous rice flour to try out again tomorrow.

Red Bean Soup (红豆汤)