Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Mixer Saga

I was window shopping at Tangs Vivo last Thursday and saw Bosch is having a promotion on their mixer bringing down the usual price of ProdiMixx46 model from over $200 to $179. The machine comprises a 550W motor, plastic body and bowl with metal dough hook, beater and whisking attachment. I would say is pretty decent for a compact beginner machine.

Cool, maybe is time to upgrade my $29 Sharp mixer. My mixer is still working but I dislike the metal beaters that rust whenever there's presence of moisture. It is pretty irritating although you can clean off the rust stain easily. Without delay, I shared the sale information to my group of baking friends and many agreed that it a good deal. Some suggested me to get a higher end model like Kenwood if I want to make bread. No harm checking out the Kenwood models right? Most likely I won't be tempted as they are just too pricy.

My current $29 Sharp mixer

I went to Best Denki to search for a wider range of mixers and saw the love at first sight mixer, the super retro Kitchen Aid <3 This mixer has always been my dream machine, I am a Retro/vintage geek so this machine fits perfectly but the price is still over my budget at $688 after much discount from the usual price of $899. Take a look at these photos and tell me they are not your dream machine, check out the sexy curvy body and the hot red dress?! Kitchen Aid Artisan series feature a 325W direct-drive motor with a 5 quart stainless steel bowl.It has a 10 speed solid-state control and the machine comes with stainless steel flat beater, dough hook and wire whip and a pouring shield. 1-year warranty and machine is USA made.Why is the motor wattage so small for that kind of price? The things I like about this machine so far is the design, stainless steel attachments and it is made in US. No way to compare this 325W with higher Kenwood range (800-1,400W). But it is comparable to Kmix of 500W as Kmix's motor is at the back hence requires higher wattage to drive the motor. Kitchen Aid's motor is directly on top of the bowl which makes it electrical-friendlier.

Best Denki was having a demo counter of Kmix, a pretty model of the Kenwood range that seems to look somehow like Kitchen Aid but not exactly. The salesman was promoting the Kmix and currently they are having discount of 10% bringing the original price of $799 to $719 with an additional flexi-beater and a dozen of twelve cupcakes. The 3 colors (yellow, blue and orange) didn't leave much impression to me, I was more attracted to the Barcelona color of Kmix which is not on the demo counter but having a discount at $699. All Kmix are having the same features of die cast aluminium body, 500W motor, stainless steel 5 liter bowl. The unique fold function allows the bowl to revolve using a 2.5 turns revolution mixing action to perfectly incorporate ingredients without losing air, which is important in baking mixtures. Each machine is packed with a balloon whisk, the signature K-beater, and a strong dough hook, splash guard, as well as a silicone spatula for scraping down the bowl. But, it is now made in China. It used to made in UK, used to...history. Those days when Kenwood machine was able to last at least 20 years and pass down to the next generation....you know... history.

On last Thursday, my mixer budget was $200. Yes, you heard me correctly (budget for last Thursday). So although tempted to buy a new machine, I didn't get any on that day.

I went home empty-handed and told my hubby about the whole issue from Bosch to Kitchen Aid to Kenwood. Hubby was analyzing if I want to get a machine might as well get a pretty looking one to showcase next to the dining table. He is right, my kitchen has no space for a permanent display set especially when the higher end has a stable heavy body to support the movement. Now, he got me super tempted.

On Friday, I brought hubby to Vivo City to check out those that I have visited. He left the decision to me and due to the budget has suddenly increased from $200 to $700 (a huge jump), I need to be more careful with what I am going to invest. Again, I left Vivo City empty-handed.

Saturday, I went to Causeway Point Courts and they were promoting Bosch series. The salesman bite on the fact that Bosch is made in Europe (Russia) hence it is much better than Kenwood. At that point I have no intention to get a Bosch, my mind is on Kenwood or Kitchen Aid hence I didn't stay long to listen to him.

Sunday, I started to read up more about these machines from the internet especially on reviews. Many has the same concern on Kitchen Aid that its low motor wattage is unable to handle dough but some insisted the same machine is able to do so. Many do agree that the Kenwood machine is definitely a better deal being cheaper in general and a higher power excels compared to Kitchen Aid. So besides Kmix, I also look into the models like Chef, Major and Prospero. Prospero is selling at $449 at Courts and it comes with many attachments like blender, grinder, juicer if I remember correctly. I was on the verge of buying but e-braked by my friend who told me she got that model and it gave her so much headaches that she topped up the price difference and upgraded to a Kmix machine. Again, Sunday was not a shopping day for me.

Arrggghhh this is driving me crazy. I didn't even think so much when it comes to buying a bag of few hundreds, why do I need to go through these for a mixer? I don't understand myself @_@

Ok here comes Monday! I have decided not to be so petty with cash, just pay for one pretty fellow and let it sit nicely besides the dining table. Since I wanted a pretty fellow, of course I will choose Kitchen Aid Artisan for its sexy red hot babe. Again, I asked hubby to go to Vivo City. Without any hesitation I told the salesman to get me a new red Kitchen Aid. We opened up the box to check the condition and everything seems alright except the white coating of the beater and hook seemed to be peeling. While we were checking, the salesman in-charge of mixers came over and offer his assistance. He asked me whether I have made up my mind for Kitchen Aid. I told him yes and he said alright otherwise he would recommend me to go for Kmix. He told me not to drop Kitchen Aid's beater and dough hook as they were cracked and cannot be used anymore. Oh gosh! That's a nightmare for me. I am most clumsy when I cook or bake. Asking me not to drop anything is as good as asking me not to eat. Haiz, I held back my wallet again...

No, I didn't go home empty-handed this round :)

Here is my machine...

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Egg Drop Toasty Breakfast Cup

I woke up pretty early today, 7.30am compared to my usual timing for weekend and hubby was still in bed. That's unusual for him as his bio clock will kick him out of bed between 4-6am, nasty isn't it? Good to see him having extra snoozing hours and I decided not to laze on my bed and kick myself up to prepare breakfast. Today's menu will be a revisit to egg drop cup but an improved version.

The last round when I did the egg drop cup I used bacon but I didn't like it at all, it was way too salty. Ham will definitely be a better substitution to this.

Ingredient (2 pax portion)
2 bread slices
1 honey baked ham
2 eggs
1 cheese slice (using Kraft)
Rosemary (optional)
Melted butter for greasing

1. Cut away the bread crust (skin), make 4 slits at corner for easy fitting into ramekin bowls.
2. Grease the ramekin bowls and sit the bread in.
3. Add in cheese, 1/2 piece per ramekin.
4. Slice the ham into 8 portions and arrange 4 each nicely on top of the cheese.
5. Crack an egg into each ramekin, do not break the yolk.
6. Sprinkle some pepper and rosemary.
7. Bake at 170-180 degree Celsius for 15-20 mins or longer depends on how you prefer your egg to be.
8. Serve hot.

A beautiful Sunday to start off.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Violet Ombre Rosette Spongecake

I have been thinking of trying to pipe this ombre rosette design for as long as 6 months. Finally got a chance to try it on a birthday cake, actually this design is very romantic it suits a wedding/anniversary/valentine cake better..hahaha... Nevertheless I am glad that my friend loves the cake.
The cake flavor is cranberry, rasberry and strawberry mixed tea sponge cake. Sounds complicated? Not at all, just purchase the Lipton fruit tea in this flavor and infuse 5 tea bags with hot water. Not forgeting to add a pack for dried cranberries to give you the munching goodness while eating the cake.
I never realised to cream a cake needs so much cream...hahaha... I keep making more cream, probably used about 350-400g of frosty whip powder to cream this 8 inch cake. To achieve Ombre Rosette design, use Wilton piping tip 1M. To pipe, start from the center of rose and go rounds. How many rounds would depend on how big you want the flower to be. Try it, it is really easy to pipe using the right tool.

Get romantic with this Ombre Rosette design!

Easy Custard Puff Pastry

If I want any quick fix for supper or tea, my choice will definately be the instant puff pastry. It is simply a breeze to chun out a quick dessert. Making used of the leftover custard from making cream puff, it makes my dessert even easier.

Just thaw the puff pastry sheet slightly until you are able to cut it into quarters. Place the 4 sheets into muffin cups or tray. Butter wash the surface and poke some holes at the bottom with a fork for air to escape. Bake in pre-heated oven at 200 degree for about 15mins or until golden brown. Cool on cooling rack and spoon in/ pipe in the custard cream. Recipe of custard cream using microwave method is availabe at Totoro cream puff recipe (http://yukiecody.blogspot.sg/#!/2013/04/totoro-cream-puffs.html). Finish off by decorating with any fruits or nuts and sift some icing sugar over it. That's it, READY TO ENJOY!

橙香伯爵茶蛋糕卷 Earl Grey Swissroll with Yakult Orange

How about enjoying your weekend afternoon with a slice of earl grey swissroll with coffee or tea?

CAKE Ingredient
250g Redman spongecake mix (from Phoon Huat)
5 eggs (beaten)
50g unsalted butter (melted)
5 earl grey tea bags
50ml water

FILLING Ingredient
100g frosty whip powder
1 bottle orange Yakult (about 100ml amount)
1 tsp orange marnier or rum essence
about 20-30ml cold water (add enough to form stiff peak)
1 orange (zest the skin & cut the orange into small cubes)

1) Cut open 5 tea bags and infuse them into hot water for 30mins or longer. Although the instruction of spongemix ask for 50ml water, it is good to add more as the tea leaves will soak up the water. Try to add about 80ml for soaking.
2) Follow the spongecake instruction to beat the batter (Beat eggs, earl grey water and spongecake mix at high speed for 10 mins, reduce to medium speed for another 3 mins. Fold in melted butter lightly).
3) Line a square tin (25cm by 25cm) with parchment paper and gently pour in the batter.
4) Knock out any bubbles by gently tapping the tin on the table.
5) Bake in pre-heated oven at 160-170 degree for 15-20mins until light golden brown is achieved. Use a skewer to test the readiness. I used top & bottom heating oven mode.
6) Prepare another parchment paper and cover it over the tin, invert the tin on a cooling rack and remove the tin. The cake should be easily removed. Peel off the parchment paper which was used during the bake and just cover it back while cooling.
7) Meanwhile whip the filling until stiff peak with all ingredients mentioned. If you are using whipping cream, water shouldn't be added. Just add orange marnier or orange essence to whip your cream and orange zest. Fridge until ready to use.
8) When the cake is slightly cooled, transfer it to a fresh parchment paper. Spread a layer of sugared water or maple syrup lightly. This is to prevent drying of swissroll when stored in the fridge.
9) Use a knife to make few shallow slits (do not cut the cake) on the cake to aid rolling.
10) Spread the filling cream with spatula and line orange cubes. My photo showed 4 rows of fruits but after rolling I realised 4 rolls are too much, 3 rolls will be just nice since the fruits and cream will be "pushed" as you roll the cake.
11) Slowly roll the cake together with the parchment paper and seal the 2 ends with a twisting action like candy wrap.
12) Place in the fridge until ready to eat.
13) To serve, use hot water to rinse the cutting knife and wipe dry. This will give you nice and pretty cuts.

- I experienced some cracks after rolling but it wasn't that bad, understand from some bakers that they experienced the same with this spongecake mix. Will try other spongecake recipe the next round ;)

Recently bought a new tray and I couldn't wait to use it to take photos with my new bakes. Sometimes such little items will bring delights to your daily life.

Monday, 15 April 2013

菜脯蒸蝦 Steamed Prawn with Preserved Sweet Radish (Chay Poh)

Besides frying omelette and as topping for chwee kueh, what can we do with this Chinese preserved radish (chay poh)? My friend Molly has kindly shared her recipe on this steam prawn dish to add to my collection of chay poh dishes. There are 2 types of chay poh in the market, one is the salty type which is more common. Another one is sweeten chay poh which is what I am using in this recipe.

10 medium-large size prawns
10 garlic cloves (minced finely)
1.5 tbsp preserved sweet radish (chay poh)
1/2 tbsp Chinese wine
1 tsp sesame oil
Dash of pepper
Yellow capsicum/ spring onion/ parsley (optional as garnish)

1. Cut a deep slit at the back of each prawn to remove the vein and butterfly the prawn.Do not remove the shell.
2. Place the prawns nicely on a steaming plate.
3. Pour chay poh into a bowl and rinse then drain away the water. (If you are using salty chay poh, you will need to soak the chay poh in a bowl of water for about 10mins. Drain away the water and add sugar to it when you stir fry.)
4. Heat oil on wok, saute garlic mince till fragrant and add chay poh. Stir fry for about 5 mins and use a spoon to add the fried chay poh to the butterflied prawns.
5. Drizzle the prawns with wine, sesame oil and add a dash of pepper. 
6. Steam for about 5 mins and serve.

You may adjust the ratio of garlic versus chay poh according to your taste. Add more sweeten chay poh will probably be well-received by the children. Adults will prefer more garlic ;)


Sunday, 14 April 2013

=@.@= Totoro Cream Puffs =@.@=

Recently I watched My Neighbour Totoro and fell in love with the gigantic chinchilla. Yes I know I am very late, this cartoon was made in 1988 and I only watched it last week. But great cartoon lasts forever, don't you agree? With my new found love, of course I started to buy Totoro stuffs and even bake cream puff in Totoro shapes ;)

Oh mine, I simply love these cuties!
Cream puffs taste best after chilled, the custard cream will taste like ice-cream. I brewed a cup of lemongrass lemon tea to go along with the puffs for supper, is an indulgence.


This recipe is divided into 3 parts -
(1) make the custard cream filling and fridge
(2) cook the dough and bake into puffs
(3) decorate with chocolate

Makes about 14-15 pieces.

Recipe is modified from www.annathered.com

Ingredient for Custard Cream filling
1 beaten egg
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp corn flour

200 ml  milk
1 tbsp of dairy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or essence (I prefer bean paste for the more intense flavor)

Method to make Custard Cream using microwave
1. Mix beaten egg and sugar.
2.Sift in the plain flour and corn flour, mix well.
3. Add in milk little at a time and mix. 
4. Pour the liquid into a microwavable bowl through a sieve to obtain a smooth custard.
5. Microwave it on high heat uncovered for 1.5 min.
6. Take it out and mix well.
7. Microwave it on high heat again for another 1.5 min. It should look like pudding after the 2nd microwave.
8. Take it out and mix well by add whipping cream and vanilla essence.
9. Cover the custard with cling wrap directly on the surface, this is to prevent a thickening layer forming. Let the custard cooled down and place inside the fridge.

Ingredient for the Puffs
80 ml water
4 tbsp unsalted butter 
2 beaten eggs
2 pinches of salt
6 tbsp plain flour (sifted)

Method for the Puffs
1. Put water, butter and salt in a saucepan and bring it to boil. Best to use non-stick saucepan.
2. Remove the sauce pan from the stove when it starts to boil, add the flour in all at once and stir well with a spatula.
3. When the pan is cooled down enough that you can touch the pan’s bottom with a finger, add 2 tbsp of beaten egg stir well.
4. Keep checking the texture as you add a tbsp of beaten egg at a time. The dough is ready when the dough is thin enough that when you scoop the dough up, a lump falls after 3~5 seconds, making a triangle shape from the spatula. You don't have to use up all the egg, just make sure you got the correct texture.
5. When the dough is ready, put it in piping bag and cut a corner of the bag.
6. On a tray lined with parchment paper, pipe a round shape for the body and continue by making an oval shape for the head. The size is about 3.0 inch.
7. Using another piping bag with a smaller hole pipe 2 small triangle shape as the ears.
8. With a wet finger, gently push down any pointy parts on the dough and ears.
9. Pre-heat oven to 200-210 degree Celsius. Bake for 25-30mins. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN at all, it will deflate the dough and fail the bake!
10.The puffs should be ready when they are golden brown in color.
11. Remove from oven and cool down completely on cooling rack.
12. Make a slit at the bottom of each puff. 
13. Pipe in the custard cream filling.

Ingredient for the Decoration
1 tbsp White compound chocolates
1 tbsp Dark converture chocolates
Icing sugar and water
Snow powder (optional)

Method for the Decoration
1. Melt the white compound chocolate using microwave with high heat for 20 secs. Take it out to check, if chocolates are not melted put it back and heat for another 20 secs.
2. On a tray/ plate pipe the melted white chocolate into small circles as the eyes using pipping bag.
3. Cover the chocolates with a parchment paper and lightly press to flatten the eyes.
4. Place inside the freezer to set the chocolates.
5. Melt the dark converture chocolates using the same method.
6. Pour the melted chocolate into piping bag and cut a tiny hole. Remove the piped white eyes from the freezer and pipe the pupils onto the eyes with the dark chocolate.
7. Mix some icing sugar with a little water to act as the gluing agent. Stick the chocolate eyes onto the cream puffs and pipe the nose and whiskers on each puff.
8. You may dust some snow powder on the puff as the body if you like.

 TOTORO =@.@=  TOTORO =@.@=  TOTORO =@.@=  TOTORO
 My papercraft of Totoro and Catbus

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Mini Parmesan Buns


Wet Ingredient
80g milk

1 beaten egg

Dry Ingredient
200g bread flour
1/3 tsp yeast
30g sugar
2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese (still find the taste too mild, will add more in future)

To Be Added Later
30g butter
1/8 tsp salt

1. Add the wet ingredients into bread machine. Followed by dry ingredients and make a shallow hole at the center to contain the yeast.
2. Choose Dough function on the bread machine and start the machine.
3. When machine stops and starts again, add in butter and salt.
4. After 1hr 30mins, take out the dough (1st proof incorporated). Gently punch the dough to release the air and shape it round. Cover with cling wrap and proof for 15mins.

5. Roll out and cut into small squares, place them apart and proof for another 50-60mins.
6. Egg or milk wash the surface.
7. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 degree for 12-15mins.

Recipe originated from Carol's 原味 cookbook.

Monday, 1 April 2013

夏天的甜点~桂花果冻 Osmanthus Konnyaku

1 pack of pre-sweetened konnyaku powder (small packet from supermarket, Phoon Huat sells bigger pack)
1 tbsp dried osmanthus
1 tbsp wolfberries (pre-soaked 15mins before use)

1. Bring the required amount of water to boil, lower heat and add osmanthus for a min.
2. Add konnyaku powder and stir until dissolve.
3. With 2 jelly mold trays, place 2-3 wolfberries into each mold and fill it up with the konnyaku solution.
4. Leave it to cool down a little before transferring to the fridge. Serve chilled.