Monday, November 22, 2010

Cornmeal and Dried Mixed Herbs Crackers

When my daughter started whining and complained that nobody wanted to play with her on Sunday afternoon (after 6 hours of hanging around with me and her friends!) happened to be the same time that I was looking at the foodgawker site and just saw this cracker on the front page while my husband lost in a newspaper..So I kind of ignored her and read through the post quickly, given not much time before she would do something worse to get our attention !

To make everybody happy..I found a solution and luckily, my daughter was successfully convinced to help me make these easy-peasy crackers ! By the time, the crackers were done, she forgot about playing and instead, was excited with her well-done job which means we were safe from playing such a boring game! lol..

The recipe could be found here ( I substituted dried mixed herbs for dried savory) 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Baked Apricot Bars

Even though I've been cooking and baking lots of things for some time now I still find myself not feeling comfortable enough to make something without seeing an original product first! And that's why I had second thoughts about trying the apricots bars potsed on David Lebovitz's site because there's no picture of the bars shown!

However,my curiosity won in this defeated my inner fear or inconfidence and in the end, I even managed to have enough guts to modify the recipe! Typical

And the result? I had some of the filling and topping...The apricot filling was so gorgeous and really worth your effort to make instead of using a paste as a substitute like David's suggested while the crumb topping was fabulously buttery ( consequence of adding more butter, I guess!)

You could find the recipe from here..

Cinnamon Rolls

Starbucks in HK used to sell cinnamon rolls which my daughter really liked it. Unfortunately, they abruptly discontinued the product for some reason and that kind of made me get into trouble because my 5 years old daughter kept asking for it everytime we visited a branch and complained why they didn't have it anymore!

Being a try-to-be good mum, I therefore offered myself to make a homemade one and promised her it would taste the same as Starbucks ( at least taste of sugar and cinnamon ! lol ) and luckily, that could stop her from nagging..

Honestly, it took me for a while to find the right recipe that made my daughter happy with the outcome and since I've found the one, my daughter never fails to be pleased everytime I make it !!

Here is the winner recipe..


285g bread flour
50g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6g instant yeast
85 ml warm milk
84 g water roux
40 g beaten egg
40 g soften unsalted butter

Filling :

6 tablespoon caster sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
some melted butter
some raisins

Egg+milk for egg wash

For the dough:

Mix all ingredients except the butter in the bowl and using a dough hook on low speed to form a ball. Add the butter bit by bit and mix until incorporated. Increase to a medium speed and knead the dough unitl smooth and elastic about 15-20 minutes. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in volume around 1-1.30 hours. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl for the filling.

Deflate the dough and divide into two pieces. Working with one dough at a time, roll out the dough into a  rectangle shape about 1/4 inch thick, brush with the melted butter and sprinkle half of the sugar and cinnamon mixture over roll the dough up tightly like a jellyroll. Cut into 7 pieces and place them into a buttered round tin ( 8 inches ). Repeat the same process with the second dough. Let them rise for another hour until almost double in volume. Preheat the oven to 180 c.

Brush the top and sides with eggwash and bake for 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for a bit before serving.

Ps.this cinnamon roll has been sent to yeastspotting hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rhubarb Crisp

I normally don't like anything sour but I strangely have a craving for it once in a while..The other day while I was doing some food shopping, I spotted packs of rhubarbs on a shelve and abruptly felt like eating I simply grabbed 2 packs of them without any idea of what to do with it but I knew it wouldn't be that hard to come up with something nice !!

Back home, I looked at my recipes'file and surprisingly found many of rhubarb recipes which some were made and some have been left I opted to try for something new and my choice was from one of sources I could always rely on!

What I like about the recipe is that it doesn't call for much sugar used in the rhubarb filling like the method is quite simple. Anyway, I ended up modifying the recipe a bit and fortunately, the final outcome was not consequently effected ! Instead, it came out wonderfully and tasted just like the way I expected it to be..heaven !!

Rhubarb Crisp (adapted from here)

170 g cold butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for greasing pan
2 1/2 to 3 pounds rhubarb, trimmed, tough strings removed, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 5 to 6 cups)
1/4 scant cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
a zest from one (medium) orange
1 scant cup brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 scant tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pecans

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking or gratin dish with a little butter. Toss rhubarb with white sugar, orange juice and zest, and spread in baking dish.

2. Put the brown sugar, flour, oat, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl, rub in the butter until it looks like small peas and just begins to clump together. Add the chopped pecans and mix just to combine.

3. Crumble the topping over rhubarb and bake until golden and beginning to brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Served warm with cream or ice-cream.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Sbrisolona means crumbly.. but in term of food, it's a traditional crunchy tart created around the 16th century in the Northern Italian countryside, outside of Mantua, sbrisolona was a popular dessert among poor families. In order to save money, they would prepare the tart by mixing cornmeal, hazelnuts and lard, instead of butter. Although this sweet is made with inexpensive ingredients, sbrisolona was so loved by the people that it was even served at the tables of the noble families of Mantua, including the Gonzaga family. In the noble households, the recipe was enriched with more expensive ingredients like sugar, spices and almonds, without moving too far away from the original characteristics of the dessert. According to tradition, this hard, yet crumbly dessert whould be broken into pieces and eaten with one’s hands.

I love the name of this tart at first sight..and when I've found out what it really is, I knew myself that it's a fat chance for not giving it a try even though it's not something my husband would like because he's not a big fan of cornmeal and almond..but I do ! so who cares ?? lol..

As for the outcome, I really like its crumbled texture..and you could feel it crunchy and chewy at the same time. I would highly recommend if you happen to fancy cornmeal and almond as I do..they are there in very single bit you eat!!   And to make yourself enjoy eating it even sure you eat it in a traditional way ! Yummmm..

The recipe could be found here ( note : the only change I made to the recipe is to reduce the sugars )

Friday, November 5, 2010

Oatmeal Shortbread (again!)

Baking for me is not only a hobby but I also do it sometimes to release my stress caused by things gone out of control ! When I feel like baking something to cheer myself up, I always choose a things that is easy to make..thing that I know I can make it even when I'm out of my mind!!

Given nothing would be easier than cookie or I opted for shortbread this time and searched for an easy plus quick recipe on purpose. Without much time in hand, I decided to look at only first two results from my search and fortunately, they happened to be great ones (otherwise I would have got even more upset than I already was!). Simply mixed both and made my own version !

Oatmeal Shortbread ( adapted from here and here )   
Makes 16 bars

1 C AP flour
1/2 C rolled oat, plus a bit more for garnish
1/2 t salt
2 T sugar
2 T brown sugar
6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 t vanilla
demerara sugar to sprinkle


1.Preheat oven to 325. Spread oats on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Let cool completely.

2.In a food processor, combine flour, sugars, salt, and 1/2 cup cooled oats; process until finely ground, 1 minute. Add the vanilla and butter. Pulse until mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. Transfer to an 8-inch square lightly greased baking pan; press firmly into bottom. Sprinkle remaining oats and demerara sugar on top, and press gently.

3.Bake until firm and lightly browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Using a paring knife, immediately score shortbread into 16 squares. On a wire rack, cool completely in pan; gently invert, and break along scored lines.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Bobotie (pronounced ba-boor-tea) is a South African dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping. It's a very old South African dish with probable origins in Indonesia or Malaysia. The name derives from the Indonesian "bobotok," and the dish was likely adapted by Dutch traders and brought back to the region around Cape Town. Every South African cook has his or her own favorite version of this dish, some very simple, others quite elaborate. Bobotie is typically served with yellow rice and a side of mango chutney.

I've been aware of the dish just a few weeks ago when I saw it posted on somewhere that I couldn't recall (not the first that this kind of thing happened to! And although I'd left it unattended for some times but fortunately,it found its way to my mind the other day just the right time when I was thinking of what to serve as our Saturday I did a quick search about it and found some recipes that seem to suit my preference.

As always, I picked few recipes from different cuisines and let my husband decide what he would like to be served. He had a quick look through all recipes I presented and for some reason ( that I didn't bother to ask why!)he opted for the bobotie which I was very happy with his choice!

However, I was worried a bit about the custard-like topping..without an experience on the dish, I couldn't help but wonder how this egg-based thing could get along with the spiced meat. Despite a concern, I decided not to leave it out and simply followed the recipe I chose ( with a slightly change though !).

After the first spoon, my doubt was totally gone exactly at the same time as a pleasure came..:) The yellow rice served along made us enjoy our meal even more ! So see you, bobotie, on our dining table again sooner than rather!! Bon appetit..

Here is my version (slightly adapted from here):


Minced beef: 500 gms
Onion: 1, finely chopped

Garlic: 2 cloves, finely chopped
Ginger: 1 1/2 tsp, grated
Ground coriander seeds: 1/4 tsp
Ground cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp
Ground cloves: 1/4 tsp
Cayenne pepper : 1/4 tsp
Curry powder: 3 tsps
Turmeric: powder: 1 tsp
Raisins: 2 tbsps
Mango chutney: 2 tbsps
Juice of 1/4 a lemon
Salt and pepper , to taste
two slices of crustless bread soaked in a cup of milk
6 Bay leaves
Oil: 2 tbsps

for the custard:

eggs: 2
milk: 1 cup
pepper powder: 1 tsp
a pinch of salt


Heat oil and fry onion, ginger and garlic for about 2-3 mins, or till the onions turn soft.

Add the mince in 3 batches, frying after every addition so as to break up the lumps. Once the mince is evenly browned, add in the spices, curry powder, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper and salt. At this stage, you will notice that the mince has released some water; fry for another 7-10 minutes or till all the water has almost dried up. Turn off the gas. Then, stir in the chutney, raisins and the lemon juice.

Squeeze the milk out of the bread (retain this milk for the custard), mash the bread with your fingers or a a spoon and stir it into the mince. The bread binds the mince together and also keeps it moist.At this point, adjust all the seasonings to your taste and transfer the mince into a baking casserole.

Beat the eggs along with salt and pepper. Add the milk to the beaten eggs - use the milk you soaked the bread in and add as much more as needed to make 1 cup - and beat again to mix the eggs and the milk well.Pour this mixture over the mince. Arrange the bay leaves on top of the egg mixture and bake uncovered at 180 deg C for about 30-40 mins or until the egg mixture has set.

Cut into individual portions and serve with some steamed vegetables and yellow rice.