A Belated Holiday Greeting

Hi!

A little late, but December 2013 was a busy month!

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We celebrated two birthdays… I made this cake for the two lovely ladies, Pinkydoodles and S.

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Then it was Winter Solstice Festival. We made tang yuan for with K and her family. I think her 3 year old had a good time making this 🙂

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Then it was Christmas! Our tree this time includes chocolates, candy canes and home made gingerbread men.

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Saw Borobudur for the first time on Boxing Day in Indonesia…

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Cream puffs for New Year’s Celebration by EggTart. Recipe soon!

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All and all, a good year for us! We hope this year will be better and full of fun with our love ones!

A happy new year to all!

-M.

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Mocha macarons

Oh how difficult was it to get macarons right? Very! Especially if you live in a humid, hot, tropical country.

But somehow, the more you try, you will eventually get it. Oh and what a happy sight indeed when my macarons look somewhat like macarons. Crispy thin shells, yet chewy…

mocha macarons
The thing about macarons that one seems to complain to me is that it is way too sweet. Well, I always try to reduce the sugar in my confectionary, and sometimes with disastrous results. But these macarons seemed OK to me.
Recipe? (adapted from http://macaron-fetish.blogspot.com/)
For the macaron shells:
1 or 2 egg whites (about 40 g)
20 g of castor sugar
45 g icing sugar
30 g ground almonds
5 g cocoa powder plus a pinch of instant coffee powder
Method:
1. Sift icing sugar, ground almonds and cocoa powder/coffee powder together.
2. In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy.
3. Add the castor sugar and continue to whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks (seriously stiff!)
4. Add about 1/3 of the icing sugar/almond mix over the top of the egg whites and fold with a spatula until combined. Continue to fold in more almond mix until all the mix is used up. DON’T OVERDO THE FOLDING PART. Once you incorporate the almond mix, and the batter is glossy and smooth, but not watery, you are ready to pipe.
5. Put batter into a piping bag with a large round nozzle. Pipe rounds onto a try lined with parchment paper. Rap the tray to get rid of any large air bubbles in piped rounds.
6. leave mac shells to dry. The surface will be a little matte and if you lightly touch it will not stick to your fingers.
7. Heat the oven to 150 – 160 celcius. Put in the macarons to bake for about 20 minutes. Rotate pan when the macarons have puffed up with the “feet” and continue to bake until macarons cannot be moved from the “feet”.
8. let macarons cool and gently peel shells off the parchment paper. If it doesn’t peel off, then it is not baked enough.
For the filling:
100 g mascarpone cheese
20 g icing sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder
25 ml of coffee liquor
method:
1. whisk mascarpone cheese, icing sugar, coffee liquor and cocoa powder until smooth.
2. put filling into a piping bag and pipe about a thumb size of filling onto the macaron shells (about half of the numbers).
3. sandwich the filling with the remaining macaron shells.
4. chill and keep in fridge. Best eaten the day after making them!
That’s all from me. I’ve been so busy with work that this blog is being neglected. Sorry, but RL comes first.
-M.

Akok

Wow, it’s been a while… sorry!

We had relatives from overseas visiting, so Pinkydoodles and I got to go back to Kelantan for a while to meet up with them.

Mumakil made dinner for all of the guests one night: Khaw Jham (more on that in another post maybe). For dessert, Papa Salvatore drove to this stall somewhere in Pasir Mas where it is said to be the best and authentic Akok made and sold. Of course, Pinkydoodles and I (and our uncle) tagged along.

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Man, I wished I had tagged this on a GPS or something so that I can locate this place again! Papa Salvatore bought all that there was at the stall!

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Mmmm… akok is best when it is freshly off the grill. Akok is kind of a ‘kuih’ popular in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is made of eggs, flour, coconut milk and sugar. There is a lot of egg yolks in Akok, thus it is somewhat like a fusion of custard and pastry… cooked in a metal grill mold  (something like a  takoyaki pan).

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So the end result is a sweet caramelised skin on the outside, and custard-pudding-like texture on the inside. So good!

-M.

Matcha and lemon curd shortbread spirals

Before I continue with more of my Canadian experience, let me just slide in a cookie recipe since it has been a while a recipe has been posted here. 😛

Based on a matcha sablé recipe by Keiko Ishida, I’ve decided to incorporate a lemony flavour to it as well. What luck that I had that leftover lemon curd that needs to be used up. This calls for an interesting experiment. I was happy that it worked, but still am not used to making buttery cookies in this tropical heat. My dough tends to go soft too fast and hence my spirals were not as pretty as they could be. 😦

Anyway, taste-wise… I love it. The crumbly texture of the cookies were lovely. Matcha goes so quite well with the tangy yet sweet lemon curd part of the cookie.

For the matcha shortbread:

  • 120g flour
  • 8g matcha (depending on your green tea powder, adjust more or less if need be).
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 45g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the lemon curd shortbread:

  • 120g flour
  • 100g lemon curd (for how to make a standard thin curd, you and refer to this post).
  • 20g unsalted butter

 

Method:

  • For the matcha part of the cookie dough: Mix the flour, sugar, matcha, salt and butter together until incorporated by either squishing the butter with the flour with your fingers or using a food processor until it resembles bread crumbs. (Yes, you may want to cube your butter for easy handling.)
  • Add in the egg yolk and let it incorporate evenly.
  • Form the dough into a ball. Flatten it and wrap it in cling film. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • For the lemon curd dough: Incorporate all the ingredients together in a food processor or by hand same as the matcha dough. Again for dough into a flatten ball and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Turn out matcha dough on a large parchment paper (this will be your work surface). Put another large parchment paper on top of the dough and roll the dough out using a rolling pin. So your dough will be sanwiched between two parchment paper. This saves you from flouring your work table and rolling pin.
  • Once you have the desired thickness of the dough (about 1/2 cm), put the dough (yes, with the parchment paper) back into the fridge to firm up. Repeat this step with the lemon curd dough. Be sure to make two dough roughly the same size.
  • Brush some cold water onto the surface of one of the dough. Place the other dough on top. The water should act like an adhesive to bind your two coloured doughs together.
  • Roll the dough tightly together to create the spiral. You will then end up with a round log of dough. Cut the log into 3-5 cm slices (or whatever thickness you like really).  You may need to chill your dough again if it becomes too soft to handle.
  • Place the slices onto baking trays lined with parchment paper. I re-used the parchment paper from the dough rolling. Why waste, right?
  • Bake the cookies in a pre-heated oven at 150 celsius for 20-40 minutes. Bake time depends on the thickness of your cookies.
  • Place baked cookies on wire rack to cool.

Cookies can be kept for about a week. More if they are kept in the fridge.

-M.

Milk and Honey Pudding with Chocolate Sesame thins

So when my housemates decided to make a special dinner for my leaving the UK, I’ve decided to make my last dessert in that kitchen. I looked into the fridge. I only had a few things left belonging to me as I was leaving in a couple of days. A pint of milk and some butter. OK. Looked into the cupboard. A jar of honey, half a packet of sesame seeds, cocoa powder, and a little of of agar powder left. Hmmm.

I like agar desserts. As a child, mum would make it as a treat. She had one of those cute tin jelly moulds shaped like a rabbit. I loved it so much! I also remember as a child that my favourite drink was milk and honey… can you see where this is going?

Served with some chocolate sesame thins

Here’s my milk and honey pudding. Sometimes, improvisation in the dessert works. I’ve been working with agar for a long long time (both kitchen and work, hehehe). I found that 6-8% agar gives the jelly a lovely wobbliness that is almost like gelatin. I then thought serving just the pudding was a little plain, so I made some chocolate thins to go with.

Smooth and wobbly

Close up of the pudding.

I was really happy on how it turned out. My housemates loved it too!

So here’s the recipe:

For the pudding (makes about 500 ml, good enough for 4 – 6 servings methinks):

– 500 ml milk (I prefer whole milk, but semi-skimmed is fine too)

– 2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)

– 3 g to 4 g of agar powder

Method:

-In a heavy saucepan, bring 100 ml of milk to a near boil. Add agar powder and stir.

– Once agar powder seems to have dissolved into the milk somewhat, add the rest of the milk and stir constantly until all the agar powder is dissolved and that you have a smooth looking mixture. This could take about 5 to 10 minutes. Use a low to medium heat and try not to have the milk boiling.

– Add the honey and keep stirring. You should see that the mixture looks a little thicken due to the agar. To check whether the agar is ready, take a teaspoon of the m

ixture and dot it on a cold surface. If the mixture become solid, then you have put enough agar powder. If not, add a little bit extra to the mix and stir until it dissolves.

– Turn off the heat and prepare 4 ramekins or whatever receptacle you would like as a mould. Carefully pour the mixture into your mould/ramekins and let it cool to room temperature. Cover the surface of the pudding and refrigerate until serving time.

For the chocolate sesame thins:

– 90 g butter

– 25 g plain flour

– 75 g cocoa powder

– 25 g sesame seeds

– 25 g sugar

Method:

– Preheat oven to 180 °C.

– In a bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until light.

– Sift the plain flour and cocoa powder into the mixture and mix well.

– Mix in the sesame seeds. You should have something that resembles a buttery spread.

– Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the batter onto the parchment thinly and evenly like a sheet of paper.

– Bake for about 20 minutes.

– While it is still warm from the oven, use a knife to score the thins to the size you want. Or, just let it cool and break the sheet into pieces.

-M.