Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Easy Chocolate Orange Cake

Birthday Cupcake: 22-Nov-2010

Birthday cupcake for my good friend Adeline..  :-)  Happy Birthday dearie! :-D

Kept the cake for my family... *haha*  :-) Hubby has been enjoying a slice just about every night...  :-D Oooo I just had to have another slice especially after blogging about it... very chocolate orange-y... nice! (although I think frosting a tad bit sweet & then again, when is frosting every NOT sweet! LOL!)

Recipe obtained from the most yummiest looking cook book, "The Golden Book of Chocolate" by McRae Books; pg 502, recipe entitled, "Easy chocolate orange cake". I bought it from the book depository at the Curves Gym I attend in Riversdale...  :-)

Recipe says:
Serves: 8 - 10 pple
Preparation: 25 mins
Cooking: 35-45 mins

2 cups (300g) plain flour
1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (75g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (125g) butter, softened
2 tbsp finely grated orange zest (I used a zester then a pair of scissors to cut it smaller... LOL!)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup (60ml) water
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarb of soda)
1/2 tsp salt
2 - 4 tsp decaf nescafe coffee (optional - my little extra. I dissolved in the 60ml water (I used HOT water) in ingredients above then let it cool, or in my case, put into freezer so it'll cool in less than 5 mins *haha*).

Marbled Frosting:
1/4 cup (60g) butter
1 tbsp finely grated orange zest
2 cups (300g) confectioners' (icing) sugar
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven to 350oF (180oC/Gas 4).
2. Butter an 11 x 7 inch (28 x 15cm) baking pan (or 20 cm round cake tin & a cupcake)
3. Beat the flour, sugar, cocoa, butter, orange zest and juice, eggs water, baking powder, baking soda & salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at LOW speed until just  blended.
4. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until the batter is smooth, about 5 mins.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (approx 35 - 45 mins).
7. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Marbled Frosting:
1. With mixer at high speed, beat the butter and orange zest in a large bowl until creamy.
2. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar and milk.
3. Place half the mixture in another bowl.
4. Stir in the cocoa to 1 of the mixtures.
5. Place spoonfuls of orange & chocolate frosting next to each other on top of the cake.
6. Swirl them together with a knife to create a marbled effect.

Note: I found my mixer to big to beat the butter for the frosting so I had to add in at least 1/2 sugar to the butter & beat them together before I added the rest of the sugar & milk & follow on step 2... :-)

Enjoy!!  :-D

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Choc Chip & Walnut Banana Bread

Breakfast: Sat 13-Nov-2010
Firstly, thanks heaps to Anne Leary-Smith for this most yummylicious banana bread!!

This was a superbly scrumptious banana bread... especially nice when its fresh out of the bread machine... after returning from soccer practise with my 3 yr old on a wet spring morning... & feeling rather cold from it... The house smelt awesome too!!  :-)

4 medium large mashed bananas
2 eggs beaten
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup milk
2 1/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (optional)

1) Mash bananas & place into the bread pan of the bread maker machine.

2) Put the rest of the ingredients into the provided bread pan of the bread machine in the listed ingredients order.

3) Put to dough setting for approx 5 mins until well mixed (make sure you clean & scrape down sides as machine is mixing)

4) Put to bake only setting & bake until properly cooked. (You may have to increase the time towards the end of the setting, machine will start to beep in the last 5 minutes of the run & this is when you can increase the time of the setting).

Note: You can substitute the choc chips & walnuts for anything, eg. different nuts (raw almonds are really yum!) or sultananas... Also, substitute plain flour & baking powder for self-raising flour if you like & substitute sugar for 1/2 to 3/4 cup honey for a different taste... :-)  Enjoy!

Also, If you do not have a bread machine, you should be able to hand mix the ingredients in a big bowl, then transfer to a loaf tin & bake at approx 180C for about an hour or until cooked. This is approximated as I have not tried baking in an oven instead of the bread machine. Apologies for that... if you do try it, could you please let me know & I can fix up the instructions a little more...  :-)  Thanks!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Char Siew (Chinese BBQ Pork)

Dinner: 5-Oct-2010

Absolutely Yummy... I wanted to try making Char Siew in our nice new Weber Q 300 BBQ... & it turned out absolutely Yum... meat was succulent & juicy... top was slightly burnt to add to the "charcoal-y" nature of the dish... :-)  Thanks heaps A. Margaret for working out a simple but absolutely yummy recipe for char siew! Love it... & so do the kids... Yay!!  :-D

1 tsp 5-spice-powder
White pepper to taste
Approx 1 - 2 tbsp light soya sauce
Approx 3 - 4 tbsp dark (thick) soya sauce
Approx 10 tbsp raw sugar
Approx 1 - 1.5kg pork neck

1. Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
2. Clean pork with salt & wash off.
3. Slice pork into approx 3cm width - lengthwise.
4. Put pork into a ziplock bag with marinate. Make sure marinate totally covers all pork.
5. Marinate for at least 5 - 6 hours (overnight is best).
6. Preheat Weber Q for 10 mins, then turn off middle element (if your Weber Q has one) and turn outer element to mid-low fire.
7. Put in Weber Q, close lid. Allow to cook for approx. 20 mins, turn meat then cook a further 10 - 20 mins till cooked.
8. If you do not have a Weber Q, bake in oven at approx 180C - 200C for about 30 mins turning once, till throughly cooked.

Note: I do not like using colouring hence the "lack" of colour on the inside of the meat... but I assure you it was yum...  :-)  The kids couldn't seem to get enough of it... :-D

To make Loh Mien/Dry Noodles:
1 tsp oil (sesame oil is most fragrant)
1 tsp dark (thick) soya sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce or light soya sauce
Fresh Egg Noodles
Bunch of green vegetables (eg. Bok Choy) - Blanched
Fish or Beef balls - boiled/heated

1. Mix all sauces together in bowl.
2. Remove the noodles from pack & loosen the noodles before putting into boiling water. Cook egg noodles in boiling water. (Note: these noodles cook very fast so watch that it doesn't get overcooked).
3. Rinse noodles in cold water, then dip in hot water again. Put in bowl & mix with sauces.
4. Decorate with blanched vegetables & fish/beef balls.
5. Slice Char Siew Thinly & add to top of bowl.
6. Sprinkle with fried shallots (I didn't as my children don't quite like them). Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Basic Cookie Dough 2 - Woolworths Recipe

Biscuits: 29-Dec-09

Basic Cookie Dough recipe is from Woolworths Fresh Magazine, Issue 46, December 2009, Cinnamon Snowflakes, pg 76.

I think this recipe turned out much nicer than the previously blogged about basic cookie dough 1... :-D

250g butter, softened (I used unsalted butter)
3/4 cup caster sugar (I found this a bit sweet, so would reduce perhaps to 1/2 cup caster sugar)
1 egg yolk 
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used vanilla essence & it was OK)
2 1/4 cups plain flour

1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 block Plaistowe white chocolate
rainbow coloured chocolate bits

1. Preheat oven to 180oC. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
2. Beat butter & sugar together for about 8 minutes until pale & creamy.
3. Add egg yolk & vanilla and beat until smooth.
4. Sift flour over butter mixture & gently stir in until well combined.
5. Divide mixture into half, wrap in plastic wrap & chill for about 15 minutes.
6. Roll 1 portion of dough at a time on a lightly floured surface (or between 2 sheets of cling wrap) until approx 3 mm thick.
7. Cut out biscuits using snowflake or other shaped cutter (I used hearts & ice-cream shaped cutters) and arrange on baking tray.

Note: If you want, press an ice-cream stick behind the cookie shape - in this case, the heart shape & put a bit of dough to cover the top of the ice-cream stick to secure it to the back of the heart cookie.


(a) Heart Shaped cookie on sticks:
Combine sugar & cinnamon (quantities under topping) and sprinkle over biscuits to lightly coat (I sprinkled only on the heart shapes & left the ice-cream shapes plain for other toppings).
Bake for approx 8 - 10 mins until golden (I baked at 170oC for about 20 mins).
Leave cookies in tray for about 5 minutes before removing & cooling on wire racks.

(b) Ice-cream cones:
Once completely cooled, melt white chocolate in microwave for about 30 secs (watch it though as white chocolate can burn!). then put on ice-cream cone & sprinkle with rainbow chocolate chips. 
Refridgerate till white chocolate hardens.

Hubby complimented by telling me that I should make these for church fundraiser or something! *hehe* whilst others that night (I brought them to a friend's place that night after baking them) said it looked pretty & quite professional... Yay! :-)

Did these ones for my SIL's b'day... 

These next lot I made for Maureen had a special symbolism behind the different shapes...  :-D 

Gingerbread with
- red buttons - E
- green buttons - N
- pink buttons - J
- orange buttons - Hubby & I
- Dog - Dukie
- blue buttons - S
- yellow buttons - M
- multicoloured buttons - Maureen
- silver buttons - mum.

- plain heart - our love for Maureen
- decorated heart with cross on it - Christ love for you & me! 


Monday, September 27, 2010

A day for wings...

Created: 15-Jul-2008 

I've actually ported this over from my other blog in Wordpress that I'm thinking of shutting down... or just leaving dormant for now (like I did this one... LOL!)

Motivated by the fact that school resumes the coming week, I've had a full and VERY satisfying day of wing creations!! :-) Yup... wing creations!! Two of these wing creations (ladybug & grasshopper) had already been made prior as birthday dress-ups for when DS1 was 3 yrs old & DD was 1 yr old. When DS1's kinder teacher saw them, she absolutely loved them. So I've just resized the wings to fit the bigger vests. Easy as pie!

The dragonfly however, was newly created in this last week & I had to rethink of how to make them. I'm totally happy with the result! They did come out better than I had expected. *hehe*  :-D

As for the butterfly wings at the end, they were created just for my daughter... who seems to be going through an "I love butterfly" stage (as I guess most little girls of about 3 yrs would at this age). I'm guessing that this love of butterflies have also been further inspired by Dorothy from the Wiggles... when she sings "Butterflies flit from flower to flower... dancing their happy way..." as my DD absolutely LOVES that song! The wing pattern themselves, were inspired by those T-shirts that they sell at "Cotton-On for Kids"...  :-). I thought it was a great idea & so decided to create them for my daughter too! Finally I have got the ideal thing to create to get rid of all those lengths of netting I'd bought previously for some other idea I had that never eventuated to anything! Oh well!
Here are pictures of those creations!

Oh... & for all those babywearing fans... I actually threaded the shoulder straps of my 1/2 buckle tai through the arm holes of the vests & tied them on... & made for a really cute baby carrier with ladybug wings on!!  *hehe* Just for the fun of it all! What... it was for baby... (I'll see if I can take a picture or two of it & post it up later on!)
OK... here's the picture of my baby carrier with ladybug wings...  :-) Sorry, forgot to lift the hood...


(a) Dragonfly wings
Made with:
Navy polar fleece vests (from Target), Navy blue netting, quilting wadding, thin cotton black cloth, blue remnant fabric (bought with those shiny blue dots already fixed onto the fabric)

(b) Grasshopper wings
Made with:
Green polar fleece vests (from Target), thin cotton green cloth & olive green craft fur fabric

(c) Ladybug wings
Made with:
Black polar fleece vests (from Target), thin cotton black cloth & red with black polka dots craft fur fabric

(d) Butterfly or Angelic wings
Made with:
Navy blue netting

Let me know what you think!



Sunday, September 26, 2010

Melt-in-your-mouth biscuits

Biscuits: 23-Dec-09

Recipe from Sarah at Community These cookies were soooo delicious I ended up emmm... making them & filling them in jars for friends for Christmas presents in 2009...

1 cup butter or margarine or nuttelex (approx 250g)
1/2 cup icing sugar (sieved)
vanilla essence to taste (approx 4 drops)
1 3/4 cup plain flour
cocoa powder to taste (optional for chocolate version)

1. Cream butter & sugar till light & fluffy.
2. Add vanilla essence & mix with cake mixer.
3. Add flour & mix with cake mixer.
4. Fill cookie gun & pipe mixture onto lined baking tray.
5. Bake at 180oC for 15 - 20 mins till golden.
6. Note: each oven is different, my table top convection oven, I baked at 160oC for about 8 mins but my normal oven, I baked at 170oC for about 10 mins.

(a) Christmas tree - I added a few drops of green colouring, then sprinkled 100s&1000s for deco before baking.
(b) flowers- I added pink colouring, then put 1 cachous in the middle of each flower before baking.
(c) chocolate cookies, after baking & cooled, I melted & drizzled white chocolate over the top of them for deco & tastes extra nice this way too! :-)

Onigiri (another form of Sushi)

Lunch: 25-Sep-2010

I had always called this sushi as well... even though it wasn't like the traditional sushi rolls but has since been corrected by one of my friends, Alpha (Thanks!)...  :-D My kids LOVE having this... although I do make them in the huge jumbo size now... LOL! Simply because when I made tiny little ones, they were eating it faster than I could actually make them... *hahahaha*  ;-P

2 cups of rice made about 18 little onigiris as pictured above.
2nd picture on the right shows the onigiri moulds (the ones I have)... :-)

Sushi Rice
Japanese Rice Vinegar (optional - I don't put this for my kids)
Japanese Sushi Rice flavouring (sprinklings)
Canned Tuna
Canned Corn
Japanese Mayonaise

Most ingredients obtainable from your local grocery stores like Coles & Woolworths. You may need to go to your local asian grocery store for the rest (eg. Japanese Sushi Rice Flavouring/sprinkling)! :-)

1. Cook 2 cups of sushi rice in your rice pot.
2. Add 6 dinner spoons of sushi vinegar once rice cooked & mixed thoroughly. (Oh & according to Wiki, not supposed to put vinegar in onigiri that's only for sushi... Ooopsss... you are meant to just lightly salt the rice instead.)
3. Using your onigiri moulds, add sushi rice flavouring, then cooled sushi rice 1/2 way up the onigiri moulds (wetting your hands and pushing the rice in to compact it).
4. Add a filling of your choice (pictured above, there is tuna mixed with corn and Japanese mayo, but you can put anything from ham to bacon, whatever suits your fancy).
5. Top up with sushi rice. So it is like a tuna rice sandwich.
6. Cover mould with mould cover & press to compress the rice.
7. Remove cover, then invert & push onigiri out.

Other options: use different flavoured rice sprinklings, or buy japanese beancurd and stuff rice inside... Enjoy!

Below picture... was when I went nuts & produced I think 2 trays of this (maybe it was just 1)... for my god-daughter's 1st month party... :-D


Basic Cookie Dough 1

Biscuits: 17-Dec-09

Basic Cookie Dough recipe is from the "100pc Cookie Cutter Set" box packaging! LOL!

I found this cookie dough to have a funny bite - but that was perhaps because my cookies were a bit thick but subsequent cookies were a lot thinner (as pictured here) & tasted much nicer.

I made these cookies with 2 batches of cookie dough & that yielded about 30- 40 cookies I think... :-)

120gm Unsalted butter
1/2 cup Castor Sugar
1 Whole Egg
2 cups SR Flour, sifted
3 - 4 drops vanilla essence

1. Preheat oven to 170oC & lightly grease 2 trays.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter & sugar till light & fluffy.
3. Add egg, mix till combined.
4. Add sifted flour & vanilla essence.
5. Knead mixture to form a ball.
6. Wrap dough in plastic film & place dough in fridge to rest (approx 20 mins).
7. Using rolling pin, roll dough evenly on a clean, lightly floured surface until it is 3 - 4 mm thick. (I actually took a portion at a time out & flattened with my hands - found that easier to do as it was sticking to my rolling pin & I couldn't be bothered to keep putting flour on it...)
8. Use cutter to shape dough into desired shapes.
9. Place on prepared oven trays & cook for about 5 mins or until lightly golden (Mine took about 20 mins).
10. Remove from oven & transfer to wire rack to cool.
Decorate with icing sugar (I decorated mine with white chocolate).

Vary this cookie dough by simply adding your favourites to the flour. (eg. sultanas, cherries, lemon rind, orange rind, chocolate bits).


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pandan Chiffon Cake

Cell Group dessert: 24-Sep-2010

Thanks HEAPS Wai Wai for this BEAUTIFUL & super easy recipe!!! YUMMMMMM... You are famous here in DownUnder... :-D And thanks Steph for the yummy picture of the almost finished cake! LOL! Glad you enjoyed it for tea too when I came a visiting during your confinement... *hehe* Oh & apologies for the weight being in ounces instead of grams... I think though, most weighing scales should have both types of weigh styles on them (at least mine do). The recipe was given to me in ounces...  :-)


In 2 separate bowls:

Bowl A:
6 x egg yolks
2oz (liquid oz) vegetable oil (I used sunflower/rice oil)
2.5oz raw caster sugar
5oz self-raising flour
2oz (liquid oz) low fat coconut milk (Ayam brand)
1/2 tsp pandan paste 

Note: Pandan paste, I used "Bake King Best Quality" Pandan Paste bought from Gim Hin Lee (address is in Spore) - my mum bought then didn't use... so emmm... yah... I've got it now! *hehehe* lots more pandan cakes coming up!! yummy!

Bowl B (cake beater bowl):

- Important note: make sure this bowl has absolutely NO GREASE on it... wash it in super hot soapy water if necessary!!

6 x egg whites
2.5oz raw caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar


Note: To grease or NOT to grease... that remains the question for chiffon cakes... I bake without greasing - but then have slight difficulty removing cake from tin. However, a friend has mentioned that when she did grease the tin, the cake just dropped out of the tin when she inverted it to cool and when she didn't cool it upside down but removed it instantly from the cake tin, the cake flopped & lost its airyness. 

I've just tried partially oiling the tin (ie. I oiled the funnel in the centre & a little bit of the base of the funnel to make it easier to get out... )... Some think that the tin should not be greased at all just so that the cake can work its way up the surface & also something for the cake to stick too when placed upside down to cool...

1. Using a bit of olive oil spray, grease Chiffon cake tin - just the funnel & base of funnel (alternatively: use normal cake tin but line with baking paper - paper must rise higher than cake tin, as this cake will rise high).
2. Mix all ingredients in Bowl A (egg yolk mixture) using a spoon or fork. Make sure it has been mixed well! Then set aside.

3. Using a cake beater, whisk ingredients in Bowl B (egg white mixture) until white, stiff & glossy. Do a test: put bowl of beaten egg white upside down, if correct consistency, nothing moves, egg white remains in bowl. If as you're putting bowl upside down, egg white moves, it has not been beaten enough.

4. Take 1 spoonful of egg white & mix into the egg yolk mixture to thin the egg yolk mixture slightly.

5. SLOWLY fold egg yolk mixture INTO egg white mixture.
6. Pour mixture into Chiffon Cake Tin & smooth top of cake.
7. Bake at 150Celsius for 1 hr or till skewer comes out clean.

8. Cool cake in tin upside down until completely cool before removing from tin. 


Instead of 2 liquid oz = 1/2 tsp pandan paste & coconut milk, try:
(a) 2oz = Lemon Rind, a few squeezes of lemon juice & make up the rest of the weight with milk (separately otherwise milk may curdle) - then pour separately into egg yolk mixture.
(b) 2 liquid oz Orange juice (1 Large orange was sufficient for me) plus rind of 1 orange - my MIL's favourite - Orange Chiffon Cake - she was over the moon when I did this for her birthday... :-) Will post in a different posting eventually I'm sure! :-D
(c) Add 25g black sesame seed powder to a liquid measuring cup, then pour & mix in low fat soy milk up to the 2 liquid oz level.
(d) Add 40g (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) unsweetened cocoa to a liquid measureing cup, then pour & mix approx 80ml (1/3 cup) hot water up to the 2 liquid oz level.

Yum yum... enjoy!! :-D