Saturday, April 22, 2017

Baked Three-Cheese Tarts

Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts
Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts
Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts

Originating from Japan's island of Hokkaido, the most raved about Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart is a crispy, and buttery shortcrust pastry base filled with a top-secret mix of three types of cheese produced in Hokkaido.  However what we are getting in Australia is a close replica, made with local quality dairy product. Today I decided to try my hands on making Meg's HBCT recipe.  And I was over the moon when my tarts came out from the oven - they were simply beautiful and bursting with cheesy aromas. Thank you Meg for sharing the recipe!

Tart Pastry:
100g plain flour
20g caster sugar
50g cold salted butter, cut into cubes
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp fresh milk

  • Place flour, sugar and butter into a large mixing bowl.  Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add in egg yolk and milk and mix until the dough binds together.  Knead the dough gently into a ball and wrap it in clingfilm. Refrigerate the dough for about 1 hour.
  • Remove dough from the fridge.  Take a small amount of dough and press down gently with your fingers so that the dough is centred in the well. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork.  
  • Bake tart shells in 180°C fan-forced oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. After tart shells are cooled slightly, remove them from the moulds and cool completely before use.

Cheese Custard:
150g cream cheese
50g mascarpone cheese
20g parmesan cheese
30g salted butter
100g fresh milk

30g icing sugar
12g corn starch

1 whole egg
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt

  • Bring a small saucepan holding a couple of inches of water to a simmer over very low heat. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water (you only want the steam from the simmering water to gently warm the bowl).
  • Place all ingredients (A) into the bowl and stir occasionally until all the cheese have melted.
  • Sift in all ingredients (B) and stir to combine.  
  • Add in all ingredients (C) and continue to stir until well blended.  The mixture will thicken.
  • Strain the cheese custard through a fine mesh strainer to get a velvety and smooth texture.  Leave the custard to cool completely before using.
cooking cheese custard over double-boiler
cooked cheese custard

To fill the tart shells:

Glaze - 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • Preheat oven to 230°C (fan-forced).
  • Fill the cheese custard into a piping bag with a nozzle and pipe custard into the cooled tart shells.  Brush the top of the custard with beaten egg yolk.
  • Bake the cheese tarts for 7 minutes.
  • Remove tarts from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Note:  I managed to make 8 mini tart shells but didn't use up all the cheese custard. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Potato Pizza

Recipe adapted from Sydney's Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion

600g bread flour
15g sea salt
10g dried yeast
15g milk
410g water
20g olive oil

1 large Desire potato
salt & pepper
chopped rosemary
  • Combine everything in a mixing bowl.  Using a hook attachment, mix on low speed for about 3 minutes.  Then increase the speed to high and mix for another 7 minutes or until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and has a silky, smooth texture.  Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to prove until doubled in size.
  • Lightly grease two 36 x 26 cm rectangular oven trays.  Divide the dough into two portions and use a rolling pin, roll each dough out to create two 40 x 30 cm rectangles, about 3mm thick. (Do this in stages to allow the dough to rest and relax between rolls). 
  • Gently transfer to the prepared trays, trimming the sides to fit the tray and set aside for about 15 minutes or until risen by half.
  • Meanwhile, dissolve about 2 tsp salt in about 1 litre of lukewarm water. Using a mandolin slice the potatoes very thinly and put directly into the salted water, which will prevent oxidation and also helps to soften them. Soak for about 30 - 60 minutes. Then pat dry on paper towels.
  • Using a fork prick the base of the pizza, spread garlic oil over the base and sprinkle with cheese.  Arrange potato slices over the base and sprinkle with chopped rosemary, salt, pepper and cheese.
  • Cook in a preheated oven at 220°C for about 10 minutes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sweet Potato Bread Loaf


230g bread flour
30g caster sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
4g (1 tsp) dried instant yeast 
100g mashed sweet potato
25g egg (lightly beaten)
140g fresh milk
20g coconut oil

  • Combine flour, sugar and salt together until well blended. Add in dried yeast and mix well. Add in mashed sweet potato, eggs and milk.    Knead until it forms a slightly sticky dough.   
  • Then add in coconut oil.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.  
  • Shape dough into a ball and placed in a bowl covered with cling wrap.  Leave it in a warm place to rise until doubled.
  • Punch down to expel trapped air.  Divide into 4 equal portions.
  • Rest for 10 mins.  
  • Flatten the dough and then roll up like Swiss Rolls. 
  • Place the rolls on a lined loaf pan.  Cover with cling wrap and leave to proof until doubled.
  • Using a sharp knife, make a slash on the bread and place strips of butter into the incision.  Then sprinkle some raw sugar over.
  • Bake in a  preheated oven at 180°C for 35 minutes or until golden brown.  

the dough rose to more than double...

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Japanese Castella Cake / Kasutera

Japanese Honey Sponge Cake
Japanese Honey Sponge Cake

This is my first Castella Cake!  I had no idea how Castella Cake taste like, but I am very happy that my first Castella Cake turned out so well.  Thank you Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids for sharing her Best & Fail Proof Japanese Castella Cake/ Kasutera recipe which she adapted from here.  This cake is definitely different from the normal sponge cake.  It is very moist and has a fine but chewy compact texture due to the gluten content in the bread flour.  
I read that the traditional Castella cake is made of just four basic ingredients - bread flour, eggs, sugar and honey. However, this version veered from the traditional recipe which has no oil or milk in it.  I am sure the addition of oil and milk in Zoe's recipe makes the cake softer and moist.  
Egg yolks mixture:
50g milk
30g coconut oil
40g honey 
55 egg yolks (about 3), room temperature
40g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
115g bread flour (sift twice)

Egg whites mixture:

104g egg whites (about 3), room temperature
50g caster sugar

  1. Line the inside of a (20.5 x 10 x 7.5 cm) loaf pan with two layers of aluminium foil then two more layers of baking paper over it.  
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Position a rack on the second level (from the bottom of the oven).
  3. Place milk, coconut oil and honey into a small saucepan and cook over low heat to just melt the honey.  (Do not boil it as it will curdle the mixture).  Set aside to cool slightly (about 10 mins).
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale. Whisk in the honey mixture.  Then sift flour into the mixture and mix until everything is combined.
  5. Beat egg whites (using an electric mixer) under medium-low speed until foamy. Increase to medium speed and gradually beat in sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form and the meringue looks glossy. 
  6. Add one-third of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture and whisk lightly to combine until it is well incorporated (this is to lighten the batter which will help you fold the rest of the meringue through easily and more evenly).  With a silicon spatula, gently fold in the rest of the meringue in two batches.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Gently drop the pan onto the kitchen bench from a height of 10cm (this is to remove any large air bubbles).
  8. Bake the cake at 180°C for 10 mins.  Decrease temperature to 140°C  and bake for another 1 hour **  Lightly press the cake with your finger, if it bounces back, that means your cake is done.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven.  Gently drop the pan onto the kitchen bench from a height of 10cm - to prevent shrinkage.
  10. Remove cake from the pan and discard the foil and baking paper. Immediately wrap the cake with cling film to keep it moist.  Store in an airtight container for at least one day.
  11. To serve, slice off the sides of of the cake with a sharp knife and cut into thick slices. 
This is how I lined my baking pan

For my oven, I baked the cake at 180°C for 10 mins, then 140°C for 1 hr 30 min to get a beautiful colour.  
Each oven works differently and you need to experiment with your own oven and adjust accordingly. It is always better to over-bake slightly rather than under-bake because under-cooked cakes will shrink after cooling.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Creamed Corn Bread Loaf

corn bread

This is a wonderfully moist, soft and delicious bread and you can even eat it on its own - without any spread or butter.

250g bread flour
20g plain flour
15g milk powder
40g raw sugar
1/4 tsp (2g) sea salt
6g instant dried yeast

(B) Combine together:
80g cold water
80g creamed corn
15g condensed milk
30g beaten egg

35g butter

  • Grease a loaf pan (8x4x3 in / 20.5x10.5x7.5 cm). 
  • In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all the ingredients (A) in a mixing bowl. 
  • Pour in the mixture (B) and knead until the dough is elastic and smooth and leaves the sides of the mixing bowl.  
  • Incorporate the (C) butter into the dough and continue to knead until it passed the window pane test (whereby the dough can be stretched into a paper-thin film without tearing and is translucent).
  • Divide the dough into 3 equal portions.  Flatten each portion of the dough and roll it up like swiss rolls and place them in the greased loaf pan . Cover with cling wrap and let it rise until it reaches 90% of the height of the pan.
  • Bake in a preheated oven of 180°C on the second lowest rack in the oven for about 45 - 50 minutes (tent the top loosely with foil once the bread is sufficiently brown).

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Honey, Citrus, Ginger & Turmeric Tea

You know you can't cure colds or flu. So, the next time when you are down with a flu or cough, instead of reaching for the over the counter medication, why not try this home remedy - which is made from lemons, orange, ginger, turmeric and honey.

This soothing drink contains some of the best cold fighting ingredients nature has to offer. The lemons and orange are packed with vitamin C which works against infections like cold and flu.  The ginger helps to reduce coughing and soothe the throat.  Turmeric has a powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant; it also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.  Honey is effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient and it also helps sooth a nasty sore throat.

(1)  You will need 2 lemons, 1 orange, a knob of ginger, turmeric and honey.  (Wash lemons and orange thoroughly).  Scrape skin off the ginger.

(2) Slice lemons thinly.  Remove pips.

(3)  Slice orange thinly.  Remove pips.

(4) Crush ginger in a mortar and pestle.

(5)  Toss lemon & orange slices into a large glass bowl.  Add in crushed ginger.

(6)  Add in 1 tbsp of ground turmeric.

(7)  Pour in 1 cup of organic honey.

(8)  Mix everything together.

(9)  Transfer into lidded glass jars.  Store in refrigerator.

(10)  Scoop 1 tbsp of the mixture into a cup and pour hot water over it.  Enjoy!

Source:  Flu-Cold Remedy

Friday, March 10, 2017

Pandan Chiffon Cake

Chiffon Cake is by far my favourite cake of all, and Pandan Chiffon is my all time favourite!  Loved the soft, velvety texture as well as the sweet fragrance of the pandan and coconut milk emanating from the freshly baked cake.  The addition of coconut oil gives this cake a wonderful aroma and extra oomph. 

Ingredients: (for a 20cm chiffon)
5 egg yolks
20 sugar
50g coconut oil
70g coconut milk
1/4 tsp pandan paste
70g plain flour 

5 egg whites
70g caster sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
  • Beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale.  Gradually add in oil and coconut milk. Stir until combined. Add in sifted flour and whisk until well combined.
  • In another bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, add in cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.  Gradually add in sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold the meringue into the flour/egg yolk mixture in 3 batches. 
  • Pour batter into a 20 inch ungreased tube pan. 
  • Bake for about  1 hour or until cook.
  • Remove cake from the oven and invert the pan to cool.
  • Unmould the cake when it is completely cool.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wholemeal Bread Using Prefermented/Sponge Dough


This is a two-step bread making process; the first step is to prepare the sponge dough and leave to ferment (rise and doubled in volume) and the second step is to incorporate the fermented sponge into the final dough. Taking the extra step is totally worth it when you bite into the soft and airy texture of the bread.  Since this is a small dough, it took me about 25 minutes  kneading (with hands) to achieve window pane stage.

Step 1:  Prepare Sponge Dough
35g lukewarm water
2g (1/4 tsp) caster sugar
2g (1/2 tsp) instant yeast
50g bread flour
  • Dissolve sugar in the water.  Add in yeast and stir until completely dissolved.  
  • Add yeast mixture into the flour and mix into a dough.  Then knead dough until smooth.  Place in a bowl or container and cover.  Leave to ferment until double in volume.

Step 2:  Main Dough
160g bread flour
40g plain flour (or bread flour)
5g wheat germ
5g wheat bran
15g milk powder
20g caster sugar
2g (1/2 tsp) sea salt
140g liquid (water + 1 egg)
all of the above prefermented dough
30g butter, softened

20g walnuts, chopped
10g chia seeds
20g sunflower & pumpkin seeds
  • In a mixing bowl, combine everything together, except butter.  With a wooden spoon mix until a soft and shaggy dough is formed.
  • Turn the dough onto the benchtop and knead for about 10 minutes or until it is less sticky and smoother.
  • Add in butter gradually.  Keep kneading until you get a smooth and elastic dough which doesn't stick to your hands and pull away from the benchtop.  Take a little dough and stretch to a very thin and almost transparent membrane without tearing to achieve the window pane stage.
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with clingfilm.  Leave it to rise until doubled in size.
  • Punch down the dough to release trapped air.  Gently flatten the dough into a rough rectangle. Fold the rectangle into thirds. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat the process. Or you can roll up the dough similar to a swiss roll after flattening it. 
  • With seam side down, place the dough into a lined loaf pan (20.5 x 10.5 x 7.5 cm).  Loosely cover with clingfilm and leave to rise until almost doubled in size. (To check if the dough is ready for the oven, gently press the dough with a finger; the indentation should spring back slowly but remain visible. If it springs back quickly, that means the dough needs to proof a little longer).
  • In a preheated oven at 180°C, bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

[Weight of dough:  500g]

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Udon Mee Goreng

Mee Goreng

Mee goreng which means 'fried noodles' in Malay is a common dish found everywhere from mamak stalls to restaurants in Malaysia. It is traditionally made with yellow noodles (Hokkien) fried with prawns, meat, tomato, vegetables of your choice and flavoured with sweet soy sauce, tomato sauce and a little curry spice.  Instead of yellow noodles, I used fresh Udon noodles and omit the curry powder. 


500g fresh Udon noodles
1 big onion, cut into cubes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
150g minced pork (marinate with 1 tsp cornflour, dash of pepper, 1 tsp cooking wine)
1 bunch pak choy, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 spring onions
2 bird's eye chillies, sliced
1 large tomato, cut into cubes
5 fried tofu puffs, halved
fish balls
fish cake, sliced thickly
2 eggs
Cucumber slices, to serve

1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp kicap manis (or dark soy sauce)
1/2 tbsp tomato sauce
dash of white pepper

  • Heat about 1 tbsp of oil in a wok and stir fry the onion and garlic until fragrant. Add in chillies and marinated minced pork and fry until just browned.
  • Add in fish balls and fish cakes, followed by tofu puffs .  Then add in tomatoes.  Toss until tomato softens.
  • Add in a little more oil if desired. Add in the noodles and sauce and toss until noodles are heated through.
  • Move everything to the side of the wok and crack the eggs into the wok with a little more oil. Fry the eggs until slightly firm before mixing through the noodles. Lastly add in pak choy and spring onion and toss through the noodles.
  • Serve noodles with cucumber slices or a wedge of lime on the side.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sambal Pork Floss Cookies

Thank you Zoe for sharing this awesome Melt-in-your-mouth Pork Floss Cookies.  To add spiciness to the cookies,  I blended some sambal dried shrimps (or nyonya hae bee hiam) together with the pork floss, and boy, it lends so much flavour to these spicy, sweet, savoury and aromatic cookies and they are so addictive too.  

Blended mixture of sambal dried shrimps and pork floss


100g unsalted butter, softened
20g icing sugar, sifted
60g plain flour
60g cornflour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
30g blended meat floss + sambal dried shrimp

1 egg, lightly beaten
sesame seeds to sprinkle 

  • Preheat oven to 170°C (fan-forced).  Line baking trays with baking paper.
  • With an electric mixer, cream butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. 
  • Sift flour, corn flour, salt and baking powder into the butter mixture.  Mix well.
  • Fold in roasted sesame seeds and meat floss mixture and mix to form a soft dough. Put the dough into a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until firm enough to handle.
  • Use a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough on a floured surface to about 1 cm thick.  Cut out your desired shape with a cookie cutter.  
  • Place cookies onto the prepared tray.  
  • Glace the cookies with egg wash and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.  
  • Bake for about 10 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.  (Please note that baking time can varies depending on the thickness and size of the cookies, so keep a close watch on the cookies).
  • Cool cookies on a wire rack and then store in an airtight container once completely cooled.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Peanut Cookies

Chinese New Year Peanut Cookies

Ingredients: (Yields 79 cookies)

180g butter, softened
60g icing sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
180g plain flour
20g corn flour
200g finely ground roasted peanuts

Glazing:  1 egg, beaten

  • Sift plain flour and corn flour together.  Set aside.
  • Cream butter, icing sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in flours and ground peanut to achieve a soft dough.  Put dough into a plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Scoop out portions of dough (8g each) and roll into balls and place them onto a lined baking tray.  Then with the end of a straw press lightly onto the cookie to form the indentation. Glaze the cookies with beaten egg.
  • Bake cookies in a preheated oven at 180°C (or 160°C fan-forced) for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Peach-Blueberry-Coconut Cake

180g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
250g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1/2 cup grated coconut (fresh or frozen)                 

50 ml sour cream 
50 ml fresh milk

1 peach, remove stone and sliced 
a handful of blueberries 
slivered almonds or almond flakes

 Note:  If you are using desiccated coconut, add extra 50 ml sour cream or milk

           You can replaced peach with nectarines or pears or strawberries.

  • Preheat oven to 170°C.  Grease a 20cm round pan and line the base with baking paper.
  • Sift flour together with salt.  Set aside.
  • Combine sour cream and milk in a jug.  Set aside.
  • If you are using frozen grated coconut, defrost it and set aside.
  • Beat butter with an electric mixer for about a minute and gradually add in sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined between additions. Then add in vanilla extract.
  • Fold in flour and grated coconut, alternately with sour cream and milk mixture,  beginning and ending with flour.  
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Gently place fruits on the batter and scatter slivered almonds over.
  • Bake for about 1 hour or until a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake. (I baked mine for about 1 hr 15 min)
  • Leave the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
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