Sunday, 20 January 2013

Almond Crisps

After making pineapple tarts I had some leftover egg whites and one of the ways to get rid of it will be making another cookie.

(Recipe modified from Food-4Tots)
2 large egg white (about 64g each with shell)
50g plain flour
60g castor sugar
30g melted butter
80-100g almond flakes
1/8 tsp vanilla essence

Makes 32-34 crisps

1. Thaw egg white to room temperature and hand whisk egg white till you see bubbles.
2. Add in sugar and whisk till the sugar dissolves. How to tell that the sugar is dissolved? When you add the sugar and whisk you will hear "sha..sha.." sound, when you no longer hear that it is ready.
3. Sift the flour, add into the mixture and mix well.
4. Fold in the almond flakes using a spatula.
5. Melt the butter in microwave oven, set to high power and 30 secs.
6. Stir in the butter and vanilla essence. Mix well.
7. Line baking paper on baking tray, spoon 1/2 tbsp of mixture and spread it out thinly using another spoon. I find that using a long teaspoon spreads better. Make sure there's no overlapping of almond flakes to achieve a thin spread. My crisps are about the size of 7-8cm.
8. Bake in pre-heated oven of 170 degreeC for 15-20 mins or until golden brown.
9. You may need to turn your tray around in the last 5mins if there's uneven color and take out those who have turned brown first. Leave the balance to continue to bake till desired colour.

Spreading the mixture, before bake

香酥桂花 Osmanthus Cookie

I always like the fragrant of osmanthus 桂花, normally I will used it to make Koniyaku jellies or infused in honey drink.This flower has a therapeutic effect for me, it calms me down :) Pretty amazing! Recently found another use for this lovely flower, to add to cookie. I couldn't describe how excited I was learning about this new found, thanks to mykitchensnippets for sharing this wonderful recipe. The cookie has a very mild fragrance of osmanthus, love it.

180g unsalted butter
140g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
260g plain flour
40g cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
 4 tbsp dried Osmanthus flowers
1 beaten egg (for egg wash)
Pink food coloring gel (optional)

1. Sieve flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt together. Set it aside.
2. Pour 4 tbsp of osmanthus flowers on a plate and remove any twigs or dried leaves. Set aside.
3. Cream butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolk and beat till combined. Add in the osmanthus flowers and mix well.
4. Lower down the speed of the mixer and slowly add in the flour mixture until the dough comes together.
5. Chilled the dough for 10mins.
6. Divide the dough into 4 parts. Color one part with pink. I prefer to have just a small part in pink.
7. Transfer the dough to a work surface that is lightly floured, roll out the dough to about ¼”, cut into flower shape.
8. Brush only the center of the cookies with egg wash in order to achieve the flower design.
9. Bake in a pre-heated 160 degree C oven for 20mins or until the egg washed center is browned.

1. You could also use other desired shapes and egg wash the whole cookies.
2. You can get the dried osmanthus flowers from Chinese Medical Hall like Fu Hua.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Zesty Salad

Salad Ingredient
1 pack romaine lettuce (tear/cut into big pieces)
1/2 orange carrot (shred thinly)
1/2 purple carrot (cut thinly)
1 piece Mozzarella cheese (comes in a round big ball, cut into cubes)
1 slice of honey pineapple (cut into cubes)
10 cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil (can reduce further, next round I will probably try 1-2 tbsp)
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey mustard
Pinch of salt

Jumbo golden raisins
Pine nuts
Zest grated from 1 large navel orange

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Durian vol-au-vent

A vol-au-vent is a puff pastry with a small hollow at the center for filling. Vols-au-vent are typically made by cutting two circles in rolled out puff pastry, cutting a hole in one of them, then stacking the ring-shaped piece on top of the disc-shaped piece.

1 sheet instant puff pastry
Butter for glazing
Chocolate powder (for dusting - optional)

1. Thaw the frozen instant puff pastry a bit for 1-2mins until it is ready to be cut. Do not thaw for too long, it will get too sticky soft to handle.
2. Use a stainless steel cookie cutter (round or flower shape) to cut the pastry sheet. Cut 16 flower shapes  to yield 8 vols-au-vent.
3. Place 8 flowers on the baking tray line with baking paper. Use fork to gentle poke a few holes. Brush with melted butter.
4. Use a small round cutter to create the hollow for the balance 8 flowers. Place them on top of those you have just glazed with butter. You can make another layer if you prefer to have a taller height.
5. Glaze the top layer with butter and bake in preheated oven of 200 degree Celsius for 10 mins or until light golden brown.
6. In a blender, blend durian (without seed) with milk to make durian ice-cream. How much milk to add will depend on how soft you want the texture to be. Add enough so that it will not be runny, I prefer the texture to be stiff enough for piping.
7. Placed durian puree into a piping bag and pipe into the hollow of vols-au-vent. Dust with chocolate powder.

Pineapple Tarts

If there's only a Must-Do bake for Chinese New Year, it has to be pineapple tarts. I love my tarts to be melt-in-your mouth kind of texture and I have found a good and easy recipe last year. This will probably be the same old recipe for me to bake for the rest of my CNY.

This recipe yields about 70 tarts, you will get more if your tarts are not as big as mine. Yes, mine are pretty big just the filling alone is 2cm wide :P

300g unsalted butter
60g castor sugar
1.5 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
450g plain flour
38g custard powder (not instant custard powder)
3/4 tsp salt
1 kg of ready-made pineapple paste (I used AAA brand, not so sweet)

0.5 egg yolk + 1 tbsp milk for glazing

(Recipe modified from Goh Ngaileng)

1. Start with the filling first as this is time consuming, I took almost an hour to roll the whole pack of pineapple paste into 74 balls. The size is about 2cm, this is consider big. You can roll it into 1.5cm. I did it a day before and store the balls in the fridge.
2. Cream butter and sugar.
3. Mix in beaten egg yolk and vanilla essence.
4. Sift in plain flour, custard powder and salt. Fold and mix well to form dough.
5. Cover with cling wrap and chill it inside the fridge for 10-20 mins.
6. Take a small part of the dough and roll it into a ball slightly bigger than your pineapple filling. Flatten it and wrap the filling. Seal and roll into round or other desirable shape. How thick the crust will be is determined by how much dough you are using.
7. Glaze with egg yolk and milk.
8. Bake in preheat oven at 170-180 degree Celsius for 15mins or until the top form light golden brown.

Starlet retro pineapple balls, after glazing and before bake.
Rose pineapple tarts, before glazing and bake. 

Dual colored rose pineapple tarts after bake.
Besides the balls with a star imprint, I also did the rose design. For this design, you will need to get a crimper. A crimper is a small stainless steel pastry tool, it's a tweezers with serrated tips. It is available at baking stores like Phoon Huat. After rolling and sealing the filling with dough, crimp the top 3 times to form a triangle design. And crimp the 2nd layer below 5 times to from a hexagon design. I didn't do a good job in the design, I have seen others crimping really pretty rose pattern on their pineapple tarts. One thing I discovered is you need a thicker dough to crimp a more obvious petal design. For my thin dough, that's the most I could crimped. But I am not disheartened, looking at the rose tarts in dual colors actually make me happy. Don't they look like ice-cream or cupcakes when I arranged them in the bottles? These sweet little ones are brightening up my days.

Did a second batch of pineapple tarts few days before CNY as the first batch was almost gone :( So fast! This time I bought Bake King brand pineapple paste to try, verdict is not so sweet. I would say is comparable to AAA brand but AAA is much cheaper. I also made smaller tarts this time, the filling is 8g and dough at about 10g. Here's the result:

Chicken Essence Frog Leg with Cordyceps Militaris

450-500g frog legs (meaning the whole pieces)
1 king oyster mushroom (optional)
2 bottles chicken essence
8g cordyceps militaris (虫草花)
1/2 tbsp wolfberries
3-4 slices of ginger
4 garlic cloves (minced)
Spring onion (cut into length of a inch)


1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp chinese cooking wine 
1/2 tbsp grated ginger 

1. Rinse the frog legs and cut into small pieces, season with the marinade for at least 20mins.
2. Heat pan and saute garlic and ginger till fragrant.
3. Add in frog legs, mushrooms (cut into slices) and fry for a min.
4. Add in cordyceps militaris and wolfberries. Cover lid and cook until frog legs are just cooked.
5. Add in chicken essence and spring onion. Cover lid and once the sauce starts to boil, off the flame and serve.

What is Cordyceps Militaris and it's benefits? I have mentioned this before and the information is available at my Chicken with Cordyceps Militaris Soup recipe.

Benefits of Chicken Essence? All I can remember is my mum would ask me to take it during examination period saying that it will make me less fatigue. More information is available at Brand's website