Saturday, July 22, 2017

22 Jul 17 (Sat) - Jalapeno Poppers

Had some leftover cream cheese, want to use it up but didn't want to make desserts with it so searched the Internet for savory recipes that make use of cream cheese. Saw a few but this Jalapeno Poppers recipe on Food Network caught my attention because of its simplicity. Followed the steps in the recipe with a little modification. Instead of the regular streaky bacon, I used back bacon which is wider in size compared to regular streaky bacon and then I halved each slide length-wise. Instead of just wrapping the cream cheese-filled jalapeno in the middle, I wrapped the whole thing for some halves, covering the cream cheese.

Popped them into the oven and set them to bake at 140 degree Celsius for 1 hour and 15 minutes as stated. Fortunately, I checked on them on and off and quickly turned off the oven after 1 hour because the bacon was starting to char on the edges. The recipe actually asked for 135 degree Celsius but my oven doesn't do interval of 5 so guessed that was why the bacon started to char after 1 hour.

These jalapeno poppers tasted great and really easy to make. Ideal as quick bites for parties.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

9 Jul 17 (Sun) - Butter Cookies

Itching to bake something but tired of baking butter cakes so googled for ideas and decided to bake some cookies. Didn't have any experience in baking cookies before so googled for a basic cookie recipes. Found this butter cookies recipe by Nasi Lemak Lover that looked easy enough. Got down to it and as I went along, the process got messy because when I mixed the butter and icing sugar using a hand-held mixer, some of the icing sugar flew out. And when I added the flour to the mixture, it got even messier because some of the flour and bits of the butter mixture flew out. Made some modifications to the basic recipe by adding chopped dried cranberries and ground Brazilian nuts. Mixing the ingredients was not the worse part. Attempted to use cling wrap to create a pipping bag and using the icing nozzle to pipe the soft dough onto the baking tray and the cling wrap gave way because I was squeezing too hard for the dough to come out of the nozzle. In the end, I had to use my hands to roll the dough into small balls and flattened them on the baking tray. The dough was supposed to make about 30 pieces of cookies but I ended up with 50 pieces. Must be due to my poor estimation of the size per cookie. 

Once I was finished with all the dough, I quickly put the tray into the preheated oven and set it to bake for 13 minutes. Soon the time was up, some of the cookies didn't seem to be brown enough so I added another two minutes. Bad decision because those that were golden brown earlier were now of darker shade. The cookies smelled nice, however, those that were of darker brown tasted a bit bitter because I had over baked them. Should have just stopped at 13 minutes and left them in the oven to brown slowly. So a rather crude attempt at baking butter cookies.

Butter Cookies (adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover)

100g butter, soften
30g icing sugar
90g plain flour
30g corn flour
1.5 tbsp dried cranberries, roughly chopped
2 heaped tsp ground Brazilian nuts

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree celsius
2.  Beat butter and icing sugar till creamy.
3.  Sift plain flour and corn flour together.
4.  Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix well to a soft dough
5.  Add cranberries and ground brazilian nuts to the mixture and mix well
6.  Take some dough, roll into a ball and flatten onto baking tray (size about 50 cents coin)
7.  Repeat step 6 until the dough is finished
8.  Bake for 13 minutes or until golden brown

Sunday, July 2, 2017

2 Jul 17 (Sun) - Castella Cake

Recently my sister was telling me how there is this new bakery shop from Taiwan called "Le Castella" at the basement of Tampines One is making headlines on food blogs and newspapers. She said there is always a snaking queue early in the morning even before the shop opens for business. Googled a little and found out that the shop sells castella cake, which is a type of Japanese sponge cake that is moist and bouncy on the inside.

Last Saturday, we went to the shop at 10:30am to try our luck but there was already about 15 people in the queue. We learnt that even though the people were in the queue, the collection could happen in the late afternoon. So we gave up the idea and sis said she may try again on a weekday after the school reopens.

So last Thursday, she went to queue since 10:30am, second one in the queue and she finally managed to get two original flavour cakes after 30 minutes. Her verdict: "古早味蛋糕 so-so, nice but nothing fantastic. Smell good when hot, not very sweet and as fluffy and soft as steamed sponge cake. Maybe because it's baked. Don't think will go back for second round..." Read some other reviews from famous local bloggers and their verdicts were kind of similar - original a bit bland with eggy aftertaste, recommend to try the cakes only after the hype dies down.

The following day, my sister tagged me in a Facebook post with a video that shows how to make castella cake. Watched the video, copied the recipe and decided to give it a shot today. Didn't want to make big batch so reduced the amount of ingredients to that of one egg portion. Also replaced cake flour with plain flour as I didn't want to have too many types of flour sitting in my pantry. Was kind of worried how the cake might turn out as I have tried making Japanese cheesecake and it shrunk after coming out from the oven.

Followed the steps as closely as I can and had to wait for 50 minutes before I could see the result. The cake looked presentable, didn't shrink but didn't turn out to be as high and as jiggly as I had expected it to be. Texture-wise, it wasn't as smooth but fortunately, was soft. Taste-wise, a bit bland for my liking. Maybe a dash of vanilla essence will be nice for the cake.

Conclusion, can try again but with addition of vanilla essence and maybe slightly more sugar. And maybe, just maybe, can up the portion to two eggs instead.

Hehe... for the record, this is how small the cake was. =p