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Category Archives: Food

Coffee Cake

This Coffee Cake is adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Food from my Frontier cookbook. The recipe is also on her website. It’s made with lots of instant coffee in it so it’s really a Coffee Cake, not the plain type of coffee cake. The instant coffee you use in this cake really influence the flavour so it’s best you use one that you like. I used UCC Instant Coffee Blend No.117 left behind by my parents which has this sour-ish aftertaste (which is why I don’t like drinking instant coffee!) and it didn’t impart a rich coffee flavour to the cake.

I halved the recipe and made the cake in a 6″ round pan, and I’m not sure if that has any impact on the texture of the cake but I’m not crazy about it. It could also be due to the one-bowl mixing method.

The coffee icing is a new update to the icing she used on her blog post. She creamed the butter in that one while this one the butter is melted. Again, I halved the recipe but used only 1/4 of the powdered sugar as it was too sweet when I tasted it. I had to add unsweetened cocoa to make it less sweet and that’s why my icing is darker in colour compared to hers. (The second sign that her sweets recipes will be too sweet for my taste is from her latest blog post where she said she found Starbucks’ lemon poppyseed ‘delightful and delicious’ while I found it too sweet with the icing to finish!)

Coffee Icing
(From Food from my Frontier)

3/4 cup butter
2 T instant coffee
4 T half-and-half
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add in the instant coffee. Stir it together, then add the half-and-half and whisk to combine. Turn off the heat and add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk till the sugar has dissolved and the icing is smooth. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Drizzle the icing over the cake.

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What I think of the cookbook? Well, I wouldn’t buy it as I found three of the recipes that I would make from it on her website. She also gives more instructions there as she’s not restricted by space. However, if you’re a fan of Pioneer Woman and you’re always making her recipes, this cookbook will be convenient. She has included new recipes as well as updates to some of her old ones. This Coffee Cake, for instance, has been updated with a creamy (cream cheese) filling between the layers and a different icing. There are also awesome pictures of her family and farm throughout the book with humorous captions. If you love PW, you’ll love it!

 
9 Comments

Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Baking, Food

 

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Pseudo-Pineapple Fried Rice

Just like the Western casserole is great for using up leftovers, so is the Asian fried rice! In my version of Pineapple Fried Rice, there’s a cup of crushed pineapple left over from a carrot cake recipe, two white mushrooms left over from cooking a green curry dish, and leftover rotisserie chicken from dinner the night before.

‘Pineapple Fried Rice’ 

4 cups cooked rice, preferably day-old rice
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp chicken stock granules
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
2 eggs
1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashew nuts
1/4 cup raisins (I left this out as hubby doesn’t like them)
1 cups crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup frozen green peas

Mix the fish sauce, chicken stock granules and sugar in a small bowl, set aside.

Heat up the oil over medium-high heat and saute the onion and garlic. Add in the mushroom and stir-fry till softened. Add in the chicken and stir-fry till warmed. Make a well in the middle of the wok and crack in the eggs. Scramble the eggs. Make a quick stir of the ingredients in the wok.

Drizzle in the sauce, pouring around the ingredients so it sizzles when it hits the hot wok. Add in the rice and break up large clumps by gently pressing down with the flat side of the spatula. You don’t want to crush the rice. Add in the cashew nuts, raisins, pineapple and green peas. Stir-fry to combine until the rice is hot and ‘pops’. Taste for seasoning.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Cooking, Food

 

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Rich Chewy Brownies

We would usually be out on a Saturday but today the force is strong with the wind. Blowing at 46km/h and gusting at 63km/h at one point, home we stayed. I tried this brownie recipe from Anna Olson. She posted a link to it on her Facebook page on Valentine’s Day. I like that it’s quick to make; no butter to measure out, just vegetable oil.

When it was baking, the aroma was so good that it drew Little Guy out from his room to ask me what it was.   I told him it was brownies and he exclaimed, “BROWNIES!!” then proceeded to thank me for making brownies. So sweet. :)

These brownies are hard to photograph, they are so dark!

Verdict: They are true to name, rich and chewy. Very nice, my boys like it so it means it’s not too bitter even though I reduced the sugar to 1 cup. Would be good with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream!

Update: I have to add that they are very chocolatey too! I used Ghirardelli’s Bittersweet Chips and they’re   larger than regular chips so they didn’t fully melt and it’s wonderful! 

Rich Chewy Brownies (from Anna Olson’s website)

These brownies are rich and dense, and get that beautiful shiny, crackling top to them. Another secret to them: they are Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free!

If you wish to make these using traditional wheat flour, replace the 1/2 cup of rice flour and 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour.

Makes 1 8-inch square pan

Cuts into 25 brownies

  • 11/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups Dutch process (alkalized) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces and/or chocolate chips (I left out the nuts)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment so that the paper comes up the sides of the pan.

Stir the sugar, cocoa and oil together until moistened.

Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk to blend.

Add the rice flour, cornstarch and salt and stir until incorporated. Stir in the walnut pieces and/or chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake the brownies for about 25 minutes, until they lose their shine and when a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the brownies to room temperature before slicing.

The brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 3, 2012 in Baking

 

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Sweet and Spicy Nuts II

Dinner’s not ready and I’m snacking on these…not good!

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts

1 pound mixed raw unsalted nuts
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
A pinch of cayenne

Whisk the egg white, water and salt in a bowl. Put the nuts in and toss to coat. Dump nuts into a sieve, place the sieve over the bowl and let it drain for a couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sugar and spices together. Lift up sieve, pour liquid out of the bowl and dump the nuts back in. Pour sugar mixture in and mix to coat nuts.

Pour nuts on to a parchment-lined tray and bake for 30-35 minutes in a 300 degrees F oven till brown. Remove from oven, let nuts cool slightly before breaking them up. Store in an airtight container when cooled.

(Posting from my phone while standing over the stove. The photo’s rotated but I can’t fix it from here, sorry!)



 
9 Comments

Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Baking

 

French Fridays with Dorie: Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin

Mmm…this was a really good, savoury vegetable dish! Cauliflower, bacon, cheese, eggs, milk and cream. It makes a lot as you can see so it’s a good dish for a casual dinner party.

Dorie Greenspan gives her recipe here.

Visit the French Fridays with Dorie’s website for more cauliflower-bacon gratin.

 
15 Comments

Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Cooking, Food, French Fridays with Dorie

 

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Christmas Ham

There was a Christmas potluck in my house and I said I will make a baked ham. It was going to be my first time and I spent some time looking up recipes and also comparing supermarket ham and ham from a butcher. I decided on buying a smoked bone-in ham from a meat shop in town. “Good ham comes from good pork,” the butcher said. It feels good to buy and eat locally too.

Next was the glaze. I decided to make one with ingredients on hand. Based on a Martha Stewart recipe, pure orange marmalade was blended with Dijon mustard and brown sugar for a sweet, slightly bitter and spicy taste. The ham turned out wonderful and the best thing is, it’s so simple to make as the ham is already cooked. No fears of serving undercooked meat to the guests!

The ham smelled so good when it was out of the oven. In the eagerness to slice and serve it, I forgot about taking pictures! There’s only a picture of me putting the cloves on after the first hour of baking, and the picture of the sliced ham above.

 

Orange-Mustard Glazed Baked Ham

3.5 kg (7-8 lb) bone-in smoked ham
1/2 cup Seville orange marmalade
1/4 cup tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons light brown sugar (optional, to offset the bitterness of the marmalade)
1 tablespoons lemon juice
Cloves

Take the ham out of the refrigerator 1 hour before baking to let it come to room temperature. Rinse the ham, pat it dry and wrap tightly in parchment paper-lined aluminium foil. Place on a baking tray and bake on the lowest rack in a 325 degrees F oven for 1.5 hours.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Bring the marmalade to a simmer in a saucepan and pour into a heatproof bowl. Add in the mustard, sugar (if using) and lemon juice. Puree the mixture you want a smooth sauce. (The sauce can be made ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. Microwave till hot before using.)

After 1.5 hours, remove the ham from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

Unwrap the ham and score the fat in a diamond pattern. Place a clove in the centre of each diamond and brush half the glaze over the ham. Return the ham to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the ham and brush the remaining glaze over the ham and return it to bake till the glaze’s dark and caramelised, about 10 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes before slicing.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Cooking, Food

 

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French Fridays with Dorie: Crème Brûlée

Blew the dust off my Around My French Table cookbook and joined the club again with this Creme Brulee. I checked the French Fridays with Dorie website on Tuesday and knew I could make this week’s recipe as there’ll be three egg yolks left over from the cupcakes I was baking for my son’s school. It’s also about time that I wrote a new post since my last post was back in October! I had been busy and was neglecting the blogging world for a bit but will be back next year with more regular reading and posting. I do missed visiting all the wonderful food blogs!

Anyway, back to the Creme Brulee, the custard was cooked on Wednesday and then all of a sudden….. it’s Friday! Where did the time go?? I baked the custard on Friday and served it on Saturday. I baked the custard for 50 minutes and left them in the oven to cool as they were still too jiggly in the middle. Dorie could fill 6 ramekins with 1/2 cup of custard each but I only have slightly more than 2 cups of custard and filled 5 ramekins.

The Christmas busyness got me distracted when I made the creme brulee and I forgot about the jam at the bottom of the ramekins although I remembered it earlier in the day! So no jam surprise, just regular creme brulee for me.

I sprinkled the one on the right with white sugar just to see the difference in effect and it doesn’t look as good as using brown sugar.

The taste? Well, I could have under-baked it or maybe it’s meant to be this way but it was too soft for me. While the taste was good it felt like ice-cream that has been sitting out for too long.

Take a look at other Creme Brulee here.

I would like to end this post by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

 
8 Comments

Posted by on December 25, 2011 in Baking, Food, French Fridays with Dorie

 

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