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Friday, January 18, 2013

Mixed Berry Buttermilk Bundt

This is one huge bundt cake.  The next time I make this cake, I shall halve the recipe.  This is too big for my family unless I share it with my neighbor which I did.

This recipe calls for 2 tsp of almond extract which I thought the taste to be too strong.  I used only 1 tsp but even that, no doubt it's a huge cake, we find that the almond flavor is rather overwhelming.  Otherwise this is a delicious cake.  The next time I make any cake that calls for almond extract, I shall omit from adding it totally.  Maybe because we don't like the taste of almond extract.

This recipe actually uses raspberries and blackberries but since both these berries are very very expensive here, I decided to use strawberries and blueberries instead.  I should have sliced the strawberries or chopped it into smaller pieces.  Instead, I put it whole into the cake and it's kind of chunky unless you prefer it that way.
What and how to do this?  Well, here's the recipe....

Pre-heat oven to 180dC.
10-inch bundt pan, sprayed with nonstick baking spray with flour.

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, divided
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp almond extract (I shall omit this totally and instead will use vanilla extract)
11/2 cups blackberries
11/2 cups raspberries
2 tbsp icing sugar

  •  In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt
  • Add eggs, buttermilk, butter and almond extract (if you decided to add this in) to flour mixture. Using electric mixer on medium speed, beat for 1 min until blended. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula. Beat on high speed for 2 mins. Gently stir in half each of the blackberries and raspberries.
  • Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining berries evenly over batter.
  • Bake in pre heated oven for about 65 mins or until done. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 mins then invert cake onto rack to cool completely. Just before serving, dust with icing sugar.

Great cake to serve your guests at tea time with a cup of hot tea or if you plan to serve it as dessert after meal, just serve it with generous scoop of vanilla or strawberry ice cream.  Lovely!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Molten Chocolate Babycakes

I really make full use of my 'new' collection of Nigella Lawson cookbooks which I bought from the recent book warehouse sale.  This time, the recipe is from her book entitled 'How to be a Domestic Goddess'.  After eating this wonderful dessert, I do feel like I'm the Domestic Goddess! minus her exotic good looks. of

Have you ever eaten Molten Choc Cake or Pudding at the Chilies or TGIF (Thank-God-It's-Friday) Restaurants?  This cake is to die for.  If you are crazy over this cake and not wanting to pay so much for it, well, here's the secret recipe and it doesn't even cost a small hole in your pocket either.  Best thing about doing desserts yourself, is that you can adjust the sweetness.

So easy to make.  That's why I did it.  A winner with my family for sure!

You can make the batter in advance, a few hours or even a day ahead if you like.  Put it in ramekins and keep it in the fridge until you want to bake them.

Molten Chocolate Babycakes
(makes 6 individual 6-ounce custard cups)

scant 1/4 cup soft unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
12 ounces best bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup sugar (i used a little less than 1/2 cup)
4 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 individual 6-ounces custard cups, buttered
baking parchment

  • Unless you are making these in advance, preheat the oven to 200dC, putting in a baking sheet at the same time.  Lay parchment paper into the base of the cups.
  • Melt the chocolate and let cool slightly.  Cream together the butter and sugar, and gradually beat in the eggs and salt, then the vanilla.  Now add the flour, and when all is smoothly combined scrape in the cooled chocolate, blending to a smooth batter.
  • Divide batter between the 6 prepared cups/ramekins, quickly whip the baking sheet out of the oven, arrange the little cups on it and replace in the oven.
  • Cook for 10-12mins (extra 2 ins will be need if puddings are refrigerator-cold when you start) and as soon as you take them out of the oven, tip out these babycakes onto small plates or shallow bowls.  Serve with whipped cream, creme fraiche, custard or ice cream.
These beauties are simply luscious and delicious.  The chocolate oozes out when you break the cake which is simply marvelous.  I hope I tempt you enough for you to want to try at making them.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Chunky Double Banana Muffin with a Twist of Nutella

Anyone doesn't like Nutella?  Anyone?  lol..I think most people do like Nutella.  Ok, who loves Nutella & Bananas together?  oh yeah, baby! That's the ultimate combination..yum yum.

I've a big bottle of Nutella.  Although I like nutella, I don't want to have bread with nutella every other day for breakfast. So what  am I gonna do with this big bottle before it expires?  Muffins, of course!  Yup, been looking for muffin or cupcake recipe with nutella in it but couldn't find any.  Since I've this '750 Best Muffin Recipe' cookbook which I almost forgot that I have it, looked through for a good recipe that goes well with nutella.  Found it! It's Banana Muffin! yay. So, made this wonderfully moist and soft chunky banana muffin and added in a teaspoonful of nutella in the center.  Oh, just superb!  You must give this a try.  Adults and kids alike will definitely fall in love with this.

Can you see the nutella swirl in the center of the cake?

Chunky Double Banana Muffins with Nutella
(makes 12)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking
3/4 tsp b.o.s.
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp lime zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 large ripe banana, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces.

Pre heat oven to 160dC and line muffin pan with paper liners.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, b.o.s., salt and nutmeg
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, eggs, oil, lime zest and vanilla until blended. Stir in mashed bananas.
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Gently fold in banana pieces.
  • Place a spoonful of mixture in paper liners, drop in a teaspoonful of nutella (be generous here), top up with the batter till 3/4 full.
  • Bake in oven for 20-25 mins or until done.
Keep in room temperature for up to 3 days but best eaten on same day.  Keeps moist and soft even after a few days.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Siu Yoke (Roasted Pork Belly)

Today is the first day of school and kids were none too happy about going back to their 'cell'.  For the Primary One students, their parents are allowed to stay on till school is over but only for today.   Parents equipped with cameras taking photos of their little ones in their crisp uniform and snow white shoes, feeling proud on their first day.  Parents stood outside the classrooms looking in at their young ones to see if they are doing fine.  To tell you the truth, I don't know who is more excited and nervous, the parents or the child... lol 

When I went through this with my three kids, I know for sure that I am the one who is nervous and worried if my child will be ok or will he/she knows how to buy food from the canteen or will he/she be bullied or does he/she knows how to be excused to go for toilet break or whether can he/she remember where to wait for the transport lady.  Sigh! Worry is a constant feeling when you are a parent!  That's for sure.  

Tomorrow, the young ones have to brave through on their own and I bet you, there'll be tears when parents are not allowed in the school compound until recess time.  The anxiety and being scared will surface when they don't see familiar faces peeping in from the windows.  Good luck to the first years and their parents.

As for us, Thank God, we don't have to go through that anymore as my youngest is already starting her Primary 3.  Phew!

Anyway, wanna share with you our first dinner in welcoming 2013 cooked by my dear Hubby.  Yup, he baked this Roasted Pork Belly or 'Siu Yoke' in Cantonese.  He loves Siu Yoke and googled on how to make this.  He did this very well indeed.. the pork skin was so crispy and crunchy and the meat was tender.  Here's how he did it...

2kg pork belly - chill uncovered in refrigerator for 3-4 hours to 'dry' the meat from any moisture
a little vegetable oil
Seasoning: salt and five spice powder

  • Pre-heat oven to 250dC. (Use bottom and top heat if your oven has this function)
  • When ready to bake, take it out of the fridge and score the skin to make slits. Coat the skin lightly with a little of the vegetable oil.
  • Rub salt and five spice powder on the skin and into the slits.
  • Bake on a baking rack with a tray beneath the rack to catch any drippings from the pork.  Bake for 20mins and reduce to 180-200dC for 40mins or until the meat is cooked and the skin is crisp.

Serve this with fluffy white rice and chili sauce made from fresh chilies (pounded), some lime juice, 2 inches of ginger (pounded) and salt.