Monday, August 30, 2010

Greek St.Phanourios's Cake

I have nothing to do with Greeks but I do like their food...and when I saw and finished reading the article about this cake, what I did next is to walk into the kitchen and made it without hesitation ! What inspired me to do so is nothing but the story about the cake and I did it even (I thought) I didn't have anything

Anyway, during preparing the batter, I tried harder to think about something that I might have missed so that I could pray and ask the Saint Phanourious to help but I absolutely failed to find one, so I gave up and started to worry about the cake instead !

Despite knowing that the batter would be thick and gummy, I have to confess that I still thought that this ( too easy-to-make)  cake wouldn't come out nice and be edible when I saw how the batter became. I also thought that it's right and lucky that I decided to make only half of the recipe and didn't dare to whisk it as long as stated in the recipe !

As for the result, it's not bad as I expected at all. This spiced cake's totally edible! It was dense but surprisingly soft and chewy. If you like a spiced cake, then I think this cake is really worth a try and you certainly don't need to wait until Saint Phanourios's day next year!

The recipe could be found here.   

Compost Cookie Slices

Last Friday when I picked my daughter up from school, she got into the car and started crying..not with pain but with a complaint that she wanted her old teachers from her reception class last year to be with her in the new class and wished they could be the only and last teachers of her life! I couldn't help but feel sad and sorry for her that what she wanted and wished couldn't be true..I,though, told her so and that made things even worse cuz she cried harder and went on and on! I had to say lots of things to calm her down and at the end, she stopped crying and abruptly asked if I could bake something for her teachers and let her bring it to school and give them by herself like we did through the last whole year.. When I said 'of course,I can!', she said ' yeahh ' with her fist pumped and lifted up and easily turned her sadness into joy straight away...What a kid!

Next I had to think of what to make.. Must be something new that I haven't given to them before because I don't like giving away the same thing to the same people and I know this is make myself more trouble than the people who are given to but this is me and that's why I love making new things that I have never done before ( in baking era, not in life )
I usually baked something that was easy to be carried by 4 and a half years old and made sure that the baked goods were still in a good shape when it's in the teachers' they were basicly cookies and same sort of things..Anyway,I failed to come up with any idea, so I ended up with looking through my recipe file to find something that I could make. Luckily, I spotted the compost cookie recipe and remembered that I had not given it a try yet although I've got it in my file for some my problem's undoubtedly sorted!

What caught my attention about this cookie is snack bits called for in the recipe and it made me curious to find out how this would work or get along with other basic ingredients for a cookie. When the dough was done, I decided to bake them into two forms, cookie as done originally and bars ( because I didn't have enough space in my fridge to put a big tray in!)..

My cookies didn't spread out that much and didn't have much crack on top either but that didn't matter to me..what I was concerned more is the one baked into bars but at the end it came out fine ( needed more time to bake though ) and I gave all of cookie slices to my daughter's teachers because it looked better than the cookies.  

As for a result, I wrote a note to the teachers telling them that this is the first time I baked this cookie and I didn't really know how it if they thought it's not edible or they didn't like it ,then please accept my apology for not proving it first ! Anyway, I had a few bites on cookies and thought it didn't taste bad or weird at all..Now I am waiting to get a reaction from the teachers and have my fingers crossed in the meantime!!

The recipe could be found here.. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pot-Roasted Ayam Betutu

Apart from suckling pig, ayam betutu is also one of Balinese signature dishes and I had this scrumptious chicken for the first time this summer in Bali where we really enjoyed drinking Bintang beer and eating local food!

What I like about the dish is actually not a chicken itself but I have instead fallen in love with the marinade which is so flavorful and aromatic! To stop myself from thinking about it all the time, I decided to make it not only to satisfy my own craving but also my husband's who happens to love the dish as well!

There are many recipes of ayam betutu on the net but I chose the one that I felt comfortable with. Luckily, we live in the country that Asian ingredients are easy to be found, so I didn't have any problem to get all ingredients called for in the recipe. The only trouble I've got from making this chicken is that it turned everything into yellow which could make me have a second thought to cook it  

Anyway, I didn't cook the chicken like the way stated in the recipe because I wanted the chicken skin crispier than the original one I ate. So I decided to cook it in my way using a pot-roast method instead and fortunately, it worked beautifully..

As for a verdict, my husband said it tasted better than the one we had in Bali ( I thought he just tried to make me and to prove his word, he nearly finished the whole dish by himself but he's nice enough to let me have some marinade and all bones ! Now I really think that I could stand seeing all of my kitchenwares become yellow again and again... Bon appetit !!

Recipe ( adatep from here )

1 whole small chicken ( around 1.3 pounds)
Marinade :

8 shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlics, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 stalks lemon grass, finely sliced
4-5 kaffir lime leaves
3 cm piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
3 cm piece of galangal, peeled and coarsely chopped
5 bird's eye chilli
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
salt as you desired

1. Wash the chicken then wipe it dry, set aside. Mix all marinade ingredients and blend everything well to form a paste ( not too fine ) in a food processor.

2. Rub the chicken outside with the marinade ,make sure you loosen the skin and rub some marinade under the skin as well, then fill inside of the chicken with the remaining of marinade. Let it stand in the fridge overnight.

3. Take the chicken out and put it into a dutch oven  and leave to cool at the room temperature for one hour before roasting. Preheat the oven to 160 c. and bake with the lid on for one hour. After one hour, take the lid off and continue to bake for another hour ( baste the chicken with the juice from time to time ) until the chicken is nicely brown and the skin becomes crispy , let cool for ten minutes before cutting and serve .

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Orange-Glazed Orange Bread

After my poundcake, I still felt like playing with citrus, so I did a search on epicurious to look for something about it and I found a recipe of yeasted bread that uses lemon as a main ingredient which matched my desire and apart from that, it happened to be a bread which I had not made any one for a how could I not giving it a try??

Anyway, I ended up with modifying the original recipe and decided to replace lemon with orange to fit my own preference. Everything was done well and it came out just perfect.. My suggestion is not to omit the glaze otherwise the bread would be too bland.. try it and you will find out how lovely this bread is!

Recipe ( adpated from here )

Ingredients :

3/4 scant cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
60 g sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 1/2 - 3 cups bread flour
7 g sachet of instant yeast
2 large eggs
1.5 tablespoons dark rum
1/4 teaspoon salt
70 g soften unsalted butter

For the glaze : 1 cup icing , 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and few tablespoons of orange juice.

Method :

Pour milk into small saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 20 minutes. If necessary, rewarm milk until instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers between 105°F and 115°F before continuing.

Rub together the zest and the sugar and set aside. Mix everything except the butter in a bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Discard vanilla bean and add warm milk to bowl; beat until everything is incorperated. Add the butter and continue to beat on medium speed until blended. Change to a dough hook and knead the dough until smooth and elastic ( tacky but not sticky) about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a working surface and continue to knead by hands for the last 5 minutes to make sure the dough is ready to rise. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1-2 hours.

Generously butter 8-10 cup Bundt pan 9 ( I used a silicone one). Turn dough out onto working surface; knead gently into ball. Using fingers, make hole in center of dough, creating doughnut shape. Transfer to prepared pan, pushing hole in dough over center tube in pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let rise again for one hour or until doubled in volume.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes ( wrap sheet of foil loosely over top and sides of pan if it turns brown quickly ) until deep brown on top and tester inserted near center comes out clean, rotating pan occasionally for even baking. Immediately invert bread onto rack and let cool completely.

For glaze:
Mix the icing sugar with the vanilla and orange juice. Add more powdered sugar by tablespoonfuls if glaze is too thin to adhere to bread. Drizzle glaze over cool bread and let stand until glaze sets before slicing.

Ps. This bread has been sent to yeastspotting hosted by Susan of  Wildyeast.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Citrus-Almond Poundcake

I feel like making things with citrus more in summer than the other seasons of the year but this summer I didn't have much chance to do anything with it cuz I had been on holiday most of the time. Anyway, my daughter is now back to school, so I have more free time to play with my kitchen toys and luckily, it didn't take long before I found this interesting cake which happened to be made with citrus.. Bingo!!
The recipe is from Mark Bittman which was published recently in NYTimes..What made me interested in this cake and keen to give it a try, apart fom it being a citrus cake, is using a food processor to prepare the batter which I had no experience in doing it before!! Anyway, I made only half of the recipe and used marzipan instead of almond paste.. I also reduced amount of sugar (typical me!) and took longer time to make the batter than it's done in a video shown on the website.

Now speaking of a result, I have to confess that I didn't know how it tasted because the whole cake was given away to my friends and staffs at my new apartment. And there was not a feedback yet while I was writing this post! Anyway, given Mr.Bittman's reputation, I think this cake wouldn't let you down...

The recipe could be found here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Browned Butter Blueberry and White Chocolate Blondies

What I love about browned butter is its wonderful aroma produced during browning process and also a nutty smell that makes the batter more charming to me..and the reason why I made these blondies is certainly a browned butter called for in the recipe!

I've found the recipe in Olive magazine (July issue) and what caught my attention firstly is a photo of the blondies and when I read through the recipe, I then decided to give it a try without a second thought! Anyway, I didn't use raspberry as the original recipe does. I instead replaced it with blueberries left from being used for my previous traybake and I also modified the recipe a bit to suit my preference.

As for the result, the texture of my version wasn't as fudgy as I expected to be like the one seen in the magazine and that could probably be a result of my modification. Anyway, I thought the blueberry and white chocolate made a great duo for the blondies and it just simply delicious!!

Recipe ( adapted from here )

200g unsalted butter , plus extra for the tin
150g white chocolate , roughly chopped
200g light muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
200g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g blueberries  
1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter, then line, a shallow rectangular tin, ( I used 7'' * 11'' tin). Melt the butter in a pan, then cook gently for about 5 minutes, until the white solids turn golden and the butter smells biscuity and sweet. Cool for 5 minutes, then add half the white chocolate and set aside for a couple of minutes to melt. Stir until smooth.

2. Use electric beaters to whisk the muscovado sugar and eggs together until thick and pale. Add the chocolatey butter and vanilla and mix until blened , then fold in the flour and salted using a metal spoon or spatula until even.

3. Pour the mix into the tin, then scatter with the rest of the chocolate and the raspberries. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until risen all over ( it took only 20 minutes for my oven) , with a dark golden crust. Cool completely in the tin, then cut into pieces.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Blueberry Traybake

Given there wouldn't be a problem to deal with blueberries, I then could never resist buying when they are on sale. This blueberry traybake came through my mind when I saw a big lot of cheap blueberry at a supermarket the other day and It's just the right time since I haven't made anything with blueberry for a while !

The original recipe is called 'blueberry boy bait' but I chose to call it just simple 'traybake' because after 8 years of marriage, I think I no longer need any bait to attract my only big boy at home!! :)

I made few changes by reducing amount of sugars called for in the original recipe ( both for batter and topping ) and I also added more blueberry to the batter. A verdict ? believe doesn't really matter whatsoever it's called once you find out how wonderful it tastes !

Blueberry Traybake ( adapted from here )

1 cups plus 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
114 g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup mixture of light brown sugar and caster sugar
1.5 xl eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
2/3 cup blueberries, fresh


1/3 cup blueberries, fresh
1 tbsp caster sugar
a pinch of ground cinnamon

For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and linewith parchment paper  8 inch square baking pan.

Whisk a cup of flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss blueberries with remaining one teaspoon flour. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries. Spread batter into prepared pan.
For the topping:

Scatter blueberries over top of batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mackerel Tagine

Mackerel is not a type of fish I usually eat, let alone cook it. To make my debut in cooking the fish interesting, I opted for a tagine which is one of my favorite dishes that I am always comfortable to both eat and cook with. The recipe of this mackerel tagine is from bbc goodfood magazine (August issue)..not only it's simple to make but also it takes a little time to get everything done nicely.

As for a result, In my own opinion,I think it tasted a bit like Thai canned sardine/mackerel tom yum but less sour and sort of stir-fried version which has just a little sauce along..not a soup type. Anyway, it's oddly nice for my experience on tagine and top of everything, my husband liked it!

Ingredient (Serves 2)

2-3 tbsp olive oil
½ red pepper, chopped
1 inch/2.5cm piece of fresh ginger
4 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp ras-el-hanout spice mixture
1 large mackerel, weighing about 12oz/350g, gutted and chopped into 2inch/5cm thick steaks ( I used fillets )
A small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
A handful of black olives

Half a lemon to squeeze over

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the pepper, ginger, tomatoes, garlic and onion and fry gently for 4-5 minutes, then add 1 tsp of the ras-el-hanout spice mixture.

Add the chunks of the mackerel, cover with water and leave to simmer for 7-8 minutes.

Before serving, season with plenty of salt, then add the coriander and olives. Taste and squeeze in enough lemon juice to brighten the flavours.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Melt in the mouth shortbread..

After two months off from blogging, now I've tried to get back on track again. I chose to start with something simple, yet delicious which is these melt in the mouth shortbreads. And two things about it that caught my attention are olive oil and fennel seed! If you fancy fennel seed, then it's really worth a try!

I've found the recipe and saved to my file a while ago..Unfortunately, I failed to remember where it's from..Anyway, thanks to the one who posted this wonderful recipe !


250g all purpose flour
160g butter
A pinch of salt
40g olive oil
80g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
Demerara , to sprinkle


Beat the butter, olive oil and sugar together in a mixer for a few minutes until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the egg yolks and mix well. Once mixed, then slowly add the flour and fennel seeds until blended. In greaseproof paper, roll up the mixture into a log/roll and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180C. Cut out individual biscuits about 1/2 – 3/4 cm thick. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned.

Makes about 2 dozen biscuits.