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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake and Lil' Lemon &Lime Tree

This is going to be a short post.  Baked this Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake a few months ago but never got the time to post it until now.  For a pound cake, it is rather light and the lemon makes a difference to a pound cake as a whole.  You know why I like this cake?  Because it has my fav's the last item in the ingredient list below..that's why..kekkekee..:)

Here's the recipe from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large lemons
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 plus 1/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 160dC. Grease and flour 9 in baking pan.
2. In medium bowl, combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, soda and salt. From lemons, grate 1 tbsp peel and squeeze 3 tbsp juice.
3. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until blended. Increase speed to high, beat until light and fluffy about 5 mins. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, frequently scraping bowl with rubber spatula. beat in lemon peel and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat until smooth.
4. Spoon batter into pan and bake for 1 hour 20 mins or until done, cool in pan on wire rack for 10 mins, then remove from pan; place on rack set over waxed paper.
5. In small bowl, combine lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar. With pastry brush, brush mixture over top and sides of warm cake. Cool completely.

Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator as they turn rancid quickly at room temperature.

I'm proud to show off my little lemon tree that I bought from the nursery and the other is my lime tree that is full of fruits and flowers.  Yay..can't wait to use them in more lemon/lime flavored desserts..:)
Lemon 'Tree'

Lime Tree

 Many little limes

 Lime Flowers

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Onde Onde (Buah Melaka)

Onde Onde, pronounced as 'onn-day onn-day' or also known as Buah Melaka by the Peranakans, originates from the state of Melaka.  These sweet balls of treat is one of the many Peranakan desserts and very popular with the locals.  We love these sweet morsels. It has a soft dough coated with lightly salted grated coconut and filled with natural flavors of Gula Melaka (the Pernakans call them Gula Tuak) as the filling.  Gula Melaka, otherwise known as Palm Sugar is made by first extracting the sap from the flower bud of a coconut tree.  Several slits are cut into the bud and a pot is tied underneath the bud to collect the sap.  Then the sap is boiled until it thickens after which, in the traditional way, it is poured into bamboo tubes between 3-5 inches in length, and left to solidify to form cylindrical cake blocks. Alternatively it can be poured into glass jars or plastic bags.  Here's how they look like.

The way to eat the onde onde is by popping the sweet ball into your mouth.  When you bite into it, the Gula Melaka filling will just burst and ooze into your mouth.  It's an explosion of flavors.  The saltiness of the coconut, the almost maple-like sweetness of the Gula Melaka and the chewiness of the dough.  So little ingredients and yet so rich in flavor.  Here's the recipe and step-by-step on how to make them.  Please enjoy!

Yields: 70-80 balls
500g glutinous rice flour (you can also use boiled mash sweet potatoes - 3 parts of sweet potatoes to 1 part of glutinous rice flour)
1  1/4 cup pandan juice (blend some pandan leaves or screwpine leaves with a little water, squeeze the  juice out. Add more juice as needed.)
1 1/2 tubes of Gula Melaka, chopped into small pieces
2 coconuts - grated coarsely without skin and mixed with a pinch of salt.

1. Mix pandan juice with the glutionous rice flour and mix to a dough. Cover dough with damp towel to avoid drying.
2. Bring a pot of boiling water, lower the heat to simmer gently, pinch out a ball of dough about the size of a lime, flatten it into a disc and drop it into the simmering water.  When the disc is cooked and rises to the surface, lift if out with a slotted spoon, shake off excess water and knead the cooked dough evenly back into the main ball of dough.

Chopped Gula Melaka                    Grated coconut mixed with a pinch of salt

3. Pinch off small balls of dough the size of calamansi limes and roll into smooth balls. Shape it into a flat disc and fill the center with chopped Gula Melaka. Pinch together the dough together to enclose and roll them gently to smoothen the ball, and drop them into the simmering water.
4. When the dough balls float to the top, carefully remove them with a slotted spoon and allow any excess water to drip off. Drop the balls into the grated coconut and roll them to coat evenly.  Transfer to serving plate.  

You can also store them in an air tight container and refrigerate them prior to serving if desired.


This is a definite thumbs up!  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Everything Strawberries - Jam, Ice Cream, Scones

My sisters and I bought lots and lots of strawberries from our recent holiday in Cameron Highlands. If you read my preceded post, our local strawberries come from this beautiful highland.  The strawberries are not super sweet but very flavorful - some sweetness with tangy sourness and very very juicy.  We love it.  I made jam and ice cream from it.  I freeze the strawberries first so that it can last to the weekend to make the jam and ice cream.
 Juicy red Strawberries.  It's more flavorful from the imported ones. Yummy.

Here's how to make the jam.  My sis taught me how.
1. Place the strawberries in a deep sauce pan and crushed it with a fork.  You don't need to puree it as I like  bits of chunky berries in the jam.  As you cook it, it will be soft.

 2. Boil with sugar to your taste until it thickens.  I only made about 1.5 kilos of the strawberries.  This takes about 40mins depending on the consistency that you want.  I cooked this till slightly thicken but a bit runny as it will set more when cooled.

 Look at the color...isn't it beautiful.

 I saved  some for ice cream...puree the strawberries with some sugar to your taste, chill overnight.  Churn it in the ice cream maker with 1 1/2 cup of whipped cream and a tablespoon of kirsch.  Freeze.

 Topped with some strawberry jam.
So, when you have homemade strawberry jam, what goes well with it?  Scones...yes!
 1. Mix 2 cups self raising flour with 2 tsp caster sugar
2. Rub in 20g butter to resemble breadcrumbs
3. Stir in 3/4 cup milk to mix to a soft sticky batter (add more milk if needed).
4. Turn dough into lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth.
5. Roll dough into 2 cm thickness and cut into 5 cm round molds, place scones on prepared pan lined with parchment paper.
6. Brush scones with a little extra milk and bake in very hot oven 230d C for 15 mins. 
Yields 10.

 Care for some tea?? ..serve with whipped cream and homemade strawberry jam...a perfect afternoon tea indeed!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Camerons Highland, Pahang, Malaysia

Let's take a break from food for a while.  I've not been baking since my reno started more than a month ago and thought I'd take this opportunity to share with you our most recent family holiday over the long weekend.

I have a relatively big family and we try our best to get together in anyone's house for a 'makan-makan' (cook-and-eat session) or if possible, go somewhere for a short holiday.  We'd like the latter to happen more often but since everyone is working, organizing a holiday together can be quite a challenging task.  Thanks to my second sis who organized this holiday, we took the opportunity of the long weekend, being Friday, August 31st, was a public holiday over here in Malaysia in observation of our Independence Day, my sis suggested that we rented a bungalow in the highlands where it has its own courtyard and backyard where all the children and the adults can spend some quality time together.  That's what we did.  Four cars packed with our necessities and food, drove up to Cameron Highlands which is situated in Pahang state in Malaysia where it is much colder than here in the city.  Cameron Highlands is where most of our vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruits produce comes from.  So you can imagine the number of farms/plantations they have there and I bet you can imagine how full our cars were when we drove back down to the city! hahahaa...Here are some pics of our short wonderfully cool holiday..

Fauna in Cameron Highlands.  This is called the Lantern Flower due to it's shape.

Woo hoo..let's check out this place!  The Rose Bungalow.

The Rose Cottage opposite the Rose Bungalow

Night view of the valley from the patio.

Kids having fun in the beautiful garden.

Our popular tea farm - The BOH Tea plantation.  Our best tea comes from this beautiful scenic landscape of tea plantation.

This is Lucky, the caretaker's dog.  He's gentle and friendly.  We grew quite attached to him in such a short time.  Missing you, Lucky!

This is the Strawberry & Mushroom farm.  You can buy these mushrooms as you see it in this bags and cultivate if in your own home.  For the mushrooms to grow, you need to place this in the house and away from direct sunlight.  According to the farmer, each bag can produce mushrooms about 7-8 times a year and these are all edible mushrooms.  Only thing is, it will not produce after a year.  My sis bought these.  I shall visit her every month in the hope of getting to sample some of these gems..heehheeehee
Look at those red juicy succulent strawberries!  I bought almost 2 kilos of these red rubies to make jam and ice cream..that shall be in my next post..hahhaahaa
More tea...look at the contrast.  The mature trees were cropped so that new leaves will grow.

Wonderful and lush..the air is so fresh and cool.  Rejuvenating!

When you go up to Cameron, you must drop by The Smokehouse for a cup of tea and scones serve with fresh whipped cream and their signature homemade strawberry jam.  Yup, after tasting the jam, it inspire me to make some too :D
Outside The Smokehouse and the following pictures were taken in the compound of the premise.  The garden is full of beautiful flowers and foliage and the building itself is so old, an inheritance from the colonial days.  The structure and the interior of the building are so rustic and very very English.