Monday, 14 May 2007

Mousse Magic

After making the Mango Mousse Cake, I went on to make Durian Mousse Cake and Strawberry Mousse Cake with the same method.
I didn't add colouring to the Durian Mousse, so the more yellow layer is the sponge. The recipe for the sponge, and assembly for the cake can be found here.

Durian Filling Ingredients:
3 egg yolks
50g castor sugar (depending on how sweet/bitter your durian is)
1 tbsp gelatine powder
45ml hot water
250g durian meat
a few drops of yellow colouring (optional)
300g whipping cream

1. Whip the egg yolks and sugar until creamy.
2. Whip the whipping cream to soft peak.
3. Dissolve the gelatine with the hot water.
4. Mix well the steps 1 and 2 together.
5. Add in the melted gelatine and mix well.
6. Add in durian flesh and mix well.
7. Refridgerate after assembling the cake.

A close-up of the piped durians!

Strawberry Mousse Mother's Day Cake

A layer of fresh strawberry in the mousse

The mousse had such a pretty pink colour that I didn't want to cover it all up with cream.
Piped hearts details

Strawberry Filling
1 tbsp Gelatine powder
45ml hot water
250g pureed fresh strawberry
3 tbsp icing sugar (optional – depends on how sweet your strawberries are)
300gm whipping cream

1. Whip the whipping cream with icing sugar.
2. Dissolve the gelatine powder with the hot water.
3. Add the gelatine mix to the pureed strawberry.
4. Add the strawberry mix into the whipping cream and mix well.
5. Refrigerate after assembling the cake.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Chocolate Cupcakes


An intriguing debate in baking is difference between Cupcakes and Muffins. Whilst the two yummy baked goods look similar, they are differentiated by the method of baking, texture and perhaps also the way they are eaten.

A cupcake is essentially a small cake. Therefore, to gain the moniker of a cake, the method usually involves creaming the butter with sugar to get a light, fluffy texture for the cake. Additionally, the ingredients are mixed into a smooth texture. Muffins, on the other hand, involves mixing the dry and wet ingredients, to get a lumpy batter; too smooth, and the muffin doesn't taste as good.

For me, muffins are usually unfrosted and eaten warm. Cupcakes, like cakes in general, are usually frosted and eaten cold.

Frosted Cupcakes

This particular recipe hails from, by Ladan Miller. I've reduced the amount of sugar needed slightly, but I must say that this chocolate cupcake is both simple to make and absolutely chocolatey and delicious.

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (171g)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (96g)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened (43g)
1 1/3 cups white sugar (268g)
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 175 deg C. Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well.
4. Fill the muffin cups slightly more than 1/2 full.
5. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
6. Frost with your favourite frosting when cool.

Frosted Mini-cupcakes

This recipe works well with both minicupcake liners and larger cupcake liners. Also, it tastes great a day after baking, retaining its moisture.

A simple frosting for the kids to use is to whip up some whipping cream with icing sugar to taste. Let the kids have fun decorating the cups with piping swirls and sugared bits available from baking shops. Chocolate rice and Hundreds & Thousands (or Fairy sugar) make great decorations too.

Or just bake the cupcakes and have a birthday cake with a difference - let the kids have the fun decorating their own birthday cakes with a candle in honour of the birthday kid!

ETA (20/11/07): You can also decorate your cupcakes with fondant (sugarpaste/gumpaste) figurines. Joyce has an entry in her blog about a sharing session we had at my place with this cupcake recipe.

ETA (20/04/2011): If you want domed cupcakes, fill your cups to 3/4, and heat your oven to 205 deg C. When you put your cups in the oven and close the door, reduce the heat to 175 deg and bake until done. The initial high heat helps make the cupcakes dome up.
If you want a flatter cupcake, fill your cups to slightly more than 1/2 the cup and preheat and bake your cups at 165 deg C. This takes longer to bake, but you'll get a flatter cupcake.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Spaghetti Carbonara

Watching late night Food Channel is a terrible torture. Watching all those delicious food, so simply cooked by celebrity chefs like Jaime Oliver, Nigella Lawson and their peers easily create a desire to run out at 1am to the nearest food centre and indulge in a hot, hot plate of char kway teow to stem the tide of hunger. heh.

That said, watching the ease of chefs in preparing food is also inspiring. You keep thinking - is that all there is to make that? That's so simple!

The following recipe is adapted from David Rocco's cooking series, Dolce Vita. His programme tries to tell as story each episode, as he weaves cooking and good food into daily Italian life.

Spaghetti Carbonara (for One)

A little Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 slice Bacon, cut into 1cm x 1cm pieces
100g Spaghetti
1 egg, separated
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
Black Pepper

1. Cook spaghetti in rapidly boiling water.
2. Put egg white, milk, cheddar cheese and lots of black pepper in a bowl.
3. In a saucepan, put a little olive oil to fry the bacon. You may fry a little minced garlic along with the bacon if you wish.
4. When spaghetti is done, add the spaghetti to the bacon in the saucepan, and give it a stir. Immediately, lower the heat and add in the cheese mixture. Stir until the spaghetti is coated with the cheese mixture.
5. Serve the spaghetti with the egg yolk on top, eat immediately. The egg yolk will cook on contact with the hot spaghetti - YUMMY! Garnish or serve with some steamed veggies, like broccoli or french beans.

When cooking for more, just increase the amounts accordingly.

My family loves this, and to me, it's an Italian version of eating dry instant noodles. The ingredients for this are usually found in the fridge. If we don't have bacon at the ready, there's always luncheon meat or sausages.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Chicken Pie

One of our favourite meals is the humble Chicken Pie. There's something just wonderful cutting into a pie, releasing that delectable aroma of whatever's underneath the pie crust.

Chicken Pies also make great gifts or potluck items because they travel well, and disposable pie tins ensures that you don't need to wait around to collect the serving dish. *winks*

This pie crust recipe comes via Leelee Hugbear. It's very special because of the inclusion of yoghurt, which gives the crust a lovely aroma and a non-oily feel.

Pie Art? Nah, just leftover pie crust, cookie cutters, and a whole lot of imagination! *hee*
A Mini Version

Chicken Pie (with Yogurt Pie Crust)

Pastry for 9" Pie
200g butter

250g plain flour

1 tsp sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
110g plain yoghurt

1. Put all the ingredients into the mixing bowl except yoghurt, and mix to a crumble.
2. Add in yoghurt and mix to a dough.
3. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 mins to harden.

Chicken Pie Filling
350g diced potatoes
1 cup water (2 half cups)
1/2 tsp salt
1 big onion, diced

50g frozen mixed vegetable
1 can of Button mushrooms, sliced
2 chicken fillets, diced
1 tbsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp water
1 tsp oregano flakes
1 tsp basil flakes
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced, or 4 hard-boiled quails' eggs, halved, or 8 hard-boiled quail's eggs, whole

1. Heat abt 2 tbsp of oil and fry potatoes with 1/2 cup of water and salt until soft, then set it aside.
2. In a clean wok, heat 2 tbsp oil and fry the onion until transparent.
3. Add in the mixed vegetable, mushroom and chicken. Fry for a while to break up chicken.
4. Add in the potatoes.
5. Add in another 1/2 cup of water and simmer for about 5 mins.
6. Add in the cornstarch and stir to thicken mixture.
7. Add in the basil and oregano. Stir and then set aside for later use.

Assembling the Chicken Pie
1. Split the pie dough into half, if making the large pie, or divide the dough into smaller amounts required. Keep the dough which is not in use in the refrigerator.
2. Roll out the pie dough between baking paper until the size is large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a pie dish. Don't worry if there is a tear; fix it by pressing leftover dough into the tear. Use a fork and poke some holes into the pie base so that the pie can breathe. You wouldn't want your pie to explode! *winks*
3. Put 1/2 of the filling on top of the pie base. Arrange the eggs evenly on the fillings and then cover the eggs with the rest of the fillings.
4. Roll out another pie dough to cover the top. Crimp the sides of the pie to seal the top crust with the sides of the base dough. Decorate the pie with leftover pie dough, if any.
5. Poke some holes on the top crust with a fork to allow the steam in the pie to escape. At this point, you can refrigerate or even freeze the pie until needed. If freezing, ensure that the pie is well wrapped to prevent freezer burns. Just thaw the frozen pie in the fridge until required.
6. Before baking, give the top crust an egg wash to ensure a lovely warm browned crust. Brush the pie with 1 beaten egg.
7. Bake the pie in a preheated oven at 180 deg C for 30 mins.