Monday, April 7, 2014

Easter treats with Choc-Peanut Tartlets and Salted Caramel Tart


How can you celebrate Easter without chocolate? Here are two very simple and easy tartlets and tart that may make the preparation of Easter much easier for you.  

This year my daughter will be having Easter in France and I'm going to miss her very much. My son may feel happy that he can get all the Easter eggs but she reckons she would get better chocolate eggs in France. My little girl is growing up as a young lady, learning to drive, to be independent, to achieve her best in life.  I'm missing the fun time when the kids believed in Easter Bunny and got so excited on Easter Sunday for the Easter eggs hunt!  However, the big kids still love Easter eggs and chocolate treats for Easter!

Have a happy Easter and enjoy a great time with your family! 



Choc-Peanut Tartlets

Ingredients:
frozen tartlet cases
peanut butter
dark cooking chocolate and white chocolate
100 & 1000 sprinkles and Easter eggs

Methods:
Bake the tartlet cases followed by the instruction of the package.  Spoon in peanut butter into the cases and then toped with melted chocolate, decorated with sprinkles or Easter eggs.

Salted Caramel Tart

Ingredients:
1 frozen tart case
1/4 cup caster sugar
25ml water + extra 2 tablespoons water
25g butter
1/2 can of 397ml condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
almond flakes for decoration
melted chocolate for decoration

Method:

  1. Bake the tart case followed by the instruction of the package.
  2. Meanwhile, place sugar and 25ml water into a small saucepan, boil till sugar dissolved.
  3. Bring to boil till dark golden colour, remove from heat and add the extra 2 tablespoons. The mixture is very hot, watch out for spit!
  4. Then add butter to the caramel followed by condensed milk and salt. Return to heat till boil. Let cool before fill into the case.
  5. Decoration the cake with melted chocolate and almond.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Good Morning Green Juice


The fun of juicing and blending smoothies is that they are so colourful, the awesome green, red, purple or orange and you know that it provides you with loads of goodies! Having one in the morning helps to cleanse your body and give it a kick start. These days I don't buy bottled juice as making your own is healthier and you can be creative to create your own favourite! This is what I call FRESH!


Green Juice
(make 1 tall glass)

Ingredients:
1 cup alfalfa sprouts
1 cup lettuce
2 celery stalks
1/3 continental cucumber
1 green apple, cored
1 piece ginger

Method:
Process all ingredients in a juicer and drink right away.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Banana & Walnuts Bread (Lactose Free)


Gluten free baking has been popular at cafe these days but there are hardly any lactose free baking available. My son is lactose intolerance so every time when he goes to camp with the school, he has to supply his own milk and request a special diet. He just miss out all the fancy shakes and milk based beverage when we are out dining. Most of the time he can tolerate cheese, ice-cream and chocolate but when his stomach is not well, these special treats are out of the question.

One of my friend's son has very bad reaction to dairy product so all her baking would be dairy free by using lactose free product. You can find lactose free milk, yoghurt and cheese easily these days so it is not a problem if your kids don't like soy or other milk substitution. I come across this recipe from Coles website of Curtis Stone's recipe and decide to making it a lactose free version. Usually my son doesn't like baking contain banana or walnut but he has been eating a few pieces and I guess I can call it a success!


Banana & Walnuts Bread (Lactose Free)

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons Lactose Free yoghurt
3 bananas, mashed
1 2/3 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped (leave 3 whole walnuts for garnish)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Sift flour into a mixing bowl, add sugar, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. 
  2. Add the oil, beaten eggs, vanilla essence, yoghurt and banana to the dry ingredients, then add the toasted walnuts until it is well combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into a paper lined loaf pan and top with 3 whole walnuts for garnish.
  4. Bake for 1 1/4 hours at 180c or until the skewer comes out clean when insert into the cake.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chocolate Chai Seeds Cupcake (Gluten Free)


Chai seeds has been regarded as a superfood with its nutrients value.  It was introduced by one of my friend and she asked me to put it into drinking water and consume it daily for well being.  I have been trying to find out more use with this little seeds by adding it to smoothies, salad and cereal. Last week I celebrated with my girl friends for finishing my chemo and I ordered a chocolate chai seeds cake which was quite delicious! When I got home, I got onto the computer to search for a recipe straight away.  These days I don't bake very often for trying to cut down sweet food and have more veggie and fruit for good health. But sweet food makes you happy and it is OK to have a once in a while!

These cupcakes taste quite different with the cinnamon added to the chocolate.  If you have had many chocolate cake and prefer something special, you may like this recipe. The cake is moist and strong in chocolate taste and not too sweet.  This is my first baking for gluten free cake and I'm very please with the result!



Chocolate Chai Seeds Cupcake
(make 10)

Ingredients:
5 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup raw sugar (3/4 cup if you want it sweeter)
2 heaps tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons chai seeds
pinch of salt

Chocolate frosting:
1/2 cup dark choc chips
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil
few drops of vanilla essence
2 heaps tablespoons icing sugar

Methods:

  1. Soak chai seeds with 1 cup of water for 15 minutes then drain.
  2. Beaten eggs with oil, sugar and honey in a mixing bowl until well mixed.  Sift in almond meal, cocoa powder, bicarbonate soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir well, then add the soaked chai seeds. Mix sell.
  3. Divide the mixture into a muffin pan, lined with muffin case. Fill the unused muffin holes with water to ensure even heating for baking. Bake for 20 minutes at 180c.
  4. For the frosting: microwave the choc chips, milk and coconut oil in medium heat at 20 seconds, then 30 seconds until the chocolate melted. Add in vanilla essence and sifted icing sugar. Mix well, then place into the fridge to harden the frosting until it is spreadable.




Wednesday, January 29, 2014

White Radish Cake and Taro Cake for Chinese New Year



With the Chinese New Year coming in 2 days,  people that celebrate Chinese New Year will be busy cleaning the house, preparing traditional food to celebrate the biggest festival of the year! White radish cake and taro cake are the two most popular savoury cake amongst the Chinese.  I prefer white radish cake as it is not so filling but one of my sister likes taro cake so I prepare this for her as a way to say thank you for the support during my chemo. Cake sounds like high in Chinese, having these cakes means good meaning for achieving well for the new year.

Chinese New Year is the celebration of family gathering, a fresh start of a new year with new hope and good health.

Have a great Chinese New Year!

White Radish Cake

Ingredient:
1.2kg White Radish
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
2 Chinese sausages
1/4 cup dried shrimps
4-5 Chinese mushroom
340g Rice flour (粘米粉)
115g Wheat flour (澄麵)
shallot, finely chopped
sesame seeds, toasted

Seasoning:
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chicken powder
pepper
sesame oil

Method:

  1. Soak shrimps and mushroom with just enough water to cover the ingredients for 1 hour or until soften. Reserve the water. Steam Chinese sausages for 5 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Chop the shrimps, mushroom and chinese sausages into small cubes.
  3. Peel and grate white radish into a large bowl. Mix rice flour and wheat flour in another bowl.
  4. Heat oil in a large pan, add the shrimps, mushroom and sausages till fragrant. Add the grated radish and water and reserved water then let it simmer for 15 minutes or until the radish is transparent.
  5. Add the seasoning, then add the rice flour and wheat flour, keep stirring till the mixture is thicken and dough liked.
  6. Spread the dough evenly into a 24cm round cake pan. Steam on high heat for 20 minutes, then simmer for 2 hours.  Sprinkle with shallot and sesame seeds. Let the cake cool.
  7. Heat oil in pan, cut the cake into slices and pan fried till brown and crispy on the outside.


Taro Cake

Ingredients:
650g Taro
110g Rice flour
70g Wheat flour
3 cups water
1 tablespoon oil
2 Chinese sausages
4-5 Chinese mushroom
1/4 cup dried shrimps

Seasoning:
1/2 teaspoon Chicken powder
3/4 Chinese 5 spices powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
pepper
sesame oil

Methods:

  1. Prepare the shrimps, mushroom and sausages as the white radish cake. Reserve the water.
  2. Peel and chop the taro into 1 cm cubes. Boil taro with 2 cups water for 10 minutes or or until soften.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan, add the shrimps, mushroom and sausages till fragrant. Add taro, 1 cup of water and reserved water stir through, then add the seasoning and finally add the rice flour and wheat flour.
  4. Stir through till thicken. Spread dough into a 24 cm round cake pan.
  5. Steam in high heat for 40 minutes. Let cool.
  6. Heat oil in pan, and heat up as the white radish cake.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Heart-shaped Tart and a Speedy Recovery


My dear friend, I will be starting my 6 months of chemo treatment in 2 days time.  After the surgery, the doctor told me that I had cancer and instantly my body kept shaking even my mind was very clear, thinking how should I deal with this trauma again.  Having had two cancers within three years were not easy to handle. The doctor had been telling us good news all the way until the pathology report had been given.  Those two weeks before and after the surgery were so stressful, worrying that I could be sick again.  I did not know how to tell my husband as I knew he would be very disappointed as he said to me, "Aren't you suffering enough?" I was liked a child telling the doctor that I'd been good all these years and wonder if I could live till 50 years old seeing my kids become adult.  It was a comfort that he said he'd seen a lot of patient like me and they were all well.  I'm grateful that out of this bad luck, my survival chance is still very high. Just because I care of my health and I find this cancer early to save myself.  So here I'm, ready for another battle and learn to be a healthier and happier person.

During the recovery time, many people came to visit me, giving me flowers and leaving comments at this blog.  I could see the love and care from those kind-hearted people. (especially to you, Delynne if you're reading, my friend) I became a more relaxed person and what I really enjoy was to have a good family time watching TV together, waiting my husband came home from work and sat besides him for dinner.  I don't dream about holidays or luxury things as I treasure every moment I'd with my family and live the way as simple as I can.  I hope this type of stress free lifestyle could make me cancer free. I went to see a doctor last week and my blood test show that my health is at it best for years, so thanks for the good diet and stress-free mind!

I made this chocolate tart before I had the surgery.  I decided to have sweet food only for birthdays to maintain a healthier lifestyle. I leave the baking to my children if they want to have some cakes or cookies.  Now I meditate, read books, pray and exercise.

It's a six years of promise for me to make something chocolate out of the BBC magazine for my husband.  He probably has forget about it but I haven't!  When I tidy up my pile of food magazines, this little chocolate recipes book catches my attention and I decide it's time to make my promise!

I haven't made pastry for a while and winter is the best time to make it as the cold weather helps to keep the pastry in shape.  It needs a bit of patience to make the salted caramel as it takes a full attention to keep stirring and waiting for it to thicken. I use less salt for the caramel as I have been using salted butter for the pastry and the chocolate filling. The pastry is crispy and the chocolate custard filling is not too sweet, not over powering the sweetness from the caramel.  It gets too sweet if you add loads of ice-cream as my family do, I prefer to have it with just a little bit of ice-cream or some fresh cream.

I guess it's not too late to make my promise after six years of waiting! And thanks again for those supportive comments and the new likes at my facebook page!

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Tart
(make 6 small or 1x 20cm tart)

Ingredients:

For the pastry:
1 1/3 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
100g unsalted butter, cubed (I use salted)
3 egg yolks
2 drops of vanilla extract

For the salt caramel base:
1 cup caster sugar
125g salted butter
1/3 cup thicken cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes (I use 1/3)

For the chocolate filling:
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
100g milk chocolate button
75g unsalted butter (I use salted)




Methods:

  1. Place the flour, sugar and cocoa in a food processor and process until combined.
  2. Add butter, eggs and vanilla into the dry ingredients and process in a pulse motion until the mixture form a dough.  Shape the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc shape.  Wrap with cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  3. Meanwhile, make the salted caramel.  Boil sugar and water in a pan on low heat until sugar dissolves.  Stir in butter, turn on heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, (it takes me longer than that, about double of the time) stirring occasionally until it turns to caramel colour.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the cream.  When the mixture stops bubbling, stir in remaining cream and sea salt. Let it cool.
  5. Take the dough out from the fridge.  Divide into 6 equal portions.  Roll out pastry and press onto the tart tins. Chill for another 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make the chocolate filling. beat the sugar, egg and egg yolk in a mixing bowl until thick and pale. Melt the chocolate and butter in microwave at medium heat for 30 seconds, then another 20 seconds until they are melted, stir to smooth out the mixture.
  7. Preheat the oven at 200c (180c fan-forced), line pastry with baking paper filled with ceramic beans.  Baked blind for 12 minutes.
  8. Spread 1 tablespoon of caramel sauce over each pastry base, spoon about 3-4 tablespoons of chocolate mixture evenly on top. (I only use half of the caramel and use the other half for ice-cream topping) Bake for another 12 minutes or until the chocolate topping is set, firm to touch. (It takes me longer than 12 minutes) Let cool, remove from the tins and serve with ice-cream and extra caramel sauce.    

Adopted and modified from BBC Australian Good Food Chocolate Classics, August 2009.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

An Unexpected Health Issue and 3 Years of Blogging




My dear friend, I'm afraid I have to leave you for a while as I am going to have an unexpected surgery tomorrow that require a period of resting.  It had been 3 years since I had my last surgery.  I am afraid to go to the hospital again but it is important for me to maintain good health to live in this beautiful world.  Let's hope everything goes well!

I am excited that I'm reaching my 3rd year of blogging at the end of July! I have never stay in a hobby for that long and you can see how much I love spending my time in the kitchen. I am pleased that I've learned from you, not only about food, it's all about sharing love and experiences.

I made the strawberry devils food cake for my son's birthday last year.  Then I find this recipe at the back of the flour packet with the name as "indulgent chocolate fudge cake" which is very similar to the recipe of devil's food cake using bicarbonate soda and milk.  It's the best ever rich chocolate cake so far judged by my husband, he actually ate two big slices in one go, very naughty! I guess we should act like a devil sometimes!

For the left-over cake, simply heat up in the microwave, the ganache melted to be a fudge topping, serve with some ice-cream will be a great winter dessert. I'll recommend using Lighthouse's self-raising flour and Cadbury's cocoa for the recipe, they work well together and the cake is moist and soft!

See you soon, good health to you all!

Devil's Food Cake

Ingredients:
1 cup Lighthouse cake & biscuit self raising flour
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup Cadbury Bournville cocoa
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
120g dark chocolate
200 butter, diced
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk

Chocolate Ganache:
150g milk chocolate
25g dark chocolate
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon thicken cream

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 170c (150c fan-forced), line a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa and bicarbonate soda into a mixing bowl until mixed through. 
  3. Melted butter and chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water.  Let cool slightly.
  4. Add the eggs, milk and chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir till well combined.  Pour the cake batter into the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean after inserting into the cake.  Let the cake cool for a few minutes in the tin before transferring to a wire rack.
  5. To make the ganache: add chocolate and cream in a double boiler over simmering water until smooth.  Cool the chocolate mixture into the fridge until it becomes thick and spreadable.
  6. Decorate the chocolate cake with the ganache.