Monthly Archives: December 2013

A Salad, A Quiche and A Dessert

Yet another holiday meal, this time with good friends. My contribution this round is just the salad, quiche and dessert.

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My salad style is more of an amalgam of favourite foods and whatever that is in season rather than a pre-mixed salad. I prefer to make my own dressings too. My basic go to dressing is a lemon, honey and mustard dressing. This time round, I am giving it a little twist by adding chickpea miso, shoyu and olive oil.

Basic Salad Dressing
Juice of 1 whole lemon
2-3 tablespoons of honey (adjust to taste)
1 tablespoon mustard grains or Dijon mustard

Whisk (not blend) everything together and you get a tangy and light dressing. Perfect especially if you have added heavier toppings in your salad like meats. If you prefer a smoother, velvety feel, add some olive oil. I use mustard grains to give the dressing some texture. But if you don’t like it, you can substitute with Dijon mustard.

Next up the quiche – mini mushroom and cheese quiche. I bought the mini tart casings as I didn’t have time to make from scratch. I just fried the button mushrooms and onions, added it into the casings with some grated Parmesan and poured in the egg, cream and milk mix and let it bake for about 20 minutes. The casings were pretty good I must say. I personally would have preferred a short crust pastry though.

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Last but not least, dessert. A maple walnut cake with maple cream cheese frosting which I adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. This is a dense and heavy (in terms of weight and not the feel) due to the amount of maple syrup that goes in. But it is not cloyingly sweet mind you. Real maple syrup is not as sweet as those maple flavoured corn syrup. My hubby loves this cake. He calls it Ang Moh Huat Kueh (western maltose cake). Perfect pairing with his kopi (coffee).

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So there goes – a salad, a quiche and a dessert. My type of meal.

Christmas Feast

It’s always my passion to come up with food menus for the family every festive season.

This year, planning started about 2 months ago, first a skeleton, then fine tuning as the days went by.

I had 2.5h to whip up 2 appetisers plus its accompanying dips/sauce, salad, 2 sides, 1 main meat, 1 carb and dessert. Solo. In the end, I overran by 30minutes. Not too bad. Very blessed that hubby and in laws entertained the kids whilst I was slogging it out in the kitchen.

Appetisers
Grilled spiced prawns with a Peranakan inspired mango salsa

Smoked salmon rolls with a Greek yogurt with capers and spring onion dip

Salad
Butterhead lettuce with my favourite toppings in a homemade tahini dressing

Mains
Baked chicken rolls with chestnut and mushroom stuffing wrapped with bacon accompanied by Duchy’s organic apple and raisin chutney

Garlic butter herb rice (sorry, no pics taken for this one)

Sides
Roasted vegetable medley of eggplant, sweet potato, pumpkin and red onions

The other side vegetable was steamed broccoli and French beans tossed in butter, mainly for the younger kids who are less adventurous with spices.

Dessert
Warm molten lava chocolate cake with B&J ice cream
This has got to be my fav of all. First attempt at a lava cake and it turned out good. Got the recipe from Nigella Lawson. Molten lava chocolate cake

I reduced the sugar to 120g but still found it sweet. Maybe I should reduce further to 100g next time. I used 5 medium eggs and I upped the baking time to 20min cos it was no where near ready at 10min. I shall do 15min next time to get more lava in my cake.

Have a Blessed Christmas everyone. Enjoy the pics.

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Last Minute Chocolate Cake

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This is really last minute. I only started making this cake around 4pm for a dinner gathering that is to begin at 7.30pm.

Earlier on in the afternoon, I was busy making sugar cookie dough with the girls. Whilst that was chilling in the fridge, hubby reminded me that I promised the dinner crowd a cake. OMG. I conveniently assumed it was no longer required since it is not potbless tonight.

So I turned to my trusted chocolate cake recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson. Original recipe can be found here Nigella’s Chocolate Cake

Good thing I had leftover ganache sitting in my fridge. It gives the finishing a slightly more polished look not to mention the magic that ganache does to the taste of your cake, almost immediately.

I tweaked the recipe by reducing the sugar to 180g, doubling the amount of cocoa powder to 80g, and using 3 medium eggs instead of 2 large ones. I also made my own buttermilk since I didn’t have any sour cream on hand.

I personally find that this cake pairs better with a ganache rather than chocolate frosting.

Ganache
For the ganache, do 1:1 ratio of cream and dark chocolate. In Singapore, single or double cream is hard to come by. I use whipping cream instead. Bring it to a scald, I.e on the brink of boiling but not quite bubbling yet. Pour it over chopped dark chocolates (I say at least 60% bitter) and let it sit for a while before stirring till the mixture is smooth and glossy.

If you wanna use it as a glaze, pour it over the cake before it sets. Otherwise you can wait for it to set further before spreading. Or whip it up after it has set and pipe flowers.

Bón appétit!

A Granola Christmas

After several years of giving mainly toiletries from Crabtree & Evelyn or The Body Shop as gifts, I am finally departing from my de rigueur this year. I love those toiletries mind you, but, it’s almost like being liberated from all the immobility resulting from pregnancies, confinement periods, young uns etc. not that I don’t have young ones anymore, I still have the youngest one who just turned 1 last week.

So this Christmas, I decided to add homemade granola as part of my gift list.
A good baking buddy of mine shared a Martha Stewart granola recipe with me and it has been a hit with my family. The full recipe can be found here Maple Nut Granola .

I love this granola recipe. Not too sweet, barely oily and has a nice crunch to it. I look forward to my yogurt and granola parfaits in the mornings each time I make my stash.

Don’t be too focused on the measurements. They just serve as a guide. I increased the amount of vanilla and maple syrup, reduced the oil slightly and used 3 cups of rolled oats instead of 3.5 cups. I also went with my gut feel on how much and what type of nuts/seeds/dried fruit that I wanted to add. So far I have added almonds, pecans, walnuts, melon seeds, dried cranberries, dried blueberries and dried apricot. Any mix of 2 nuts and 2 fruits is more than enough, I find. You should have room in each bite to savour the tastes and texture each ingredient brings.

It’s midnight now and I have just finished packing my first batch of granola gift jars. Feeling very pleased with myself. Sweet dreams.

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The Birth of I Cook I Bake I Post

Another hour or so before midnight. Kids are in bed. It’s Sunday soon i.e. gotta wake up early for church and the hum drum from all the busy-ness, I pray not, sets in.

Thought it is about time I start to blog my cooking and baking forays. I love to cook. I love to bake. Especially for family and friends. Seeing them enjoy the fruits of my kitchen’s labour is enough to spur me on.

I draw my inspiration from anywhere, everywhere, from Jamie Oliver to Nigella Lawson, from my dining experiences at the phö shop down the street corner to a family run Italian restaurant in Chelsea, to one of the Top 50 Restaurants in the World or even the street foods of Malaysia….I love my food, and I love the use of fresh quality ingredients. It needn’t be fancy schmanzy, but it gotta be natural with no man-made chemicals that may make it look and taste good, but oh what a wreckage it could do to one’s body in the long run.

So what’s my cooking and baking style – unadultered wholesome goodness with a modern twist.