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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cake musing

                  Wow had a hectic few days since last Friday. I had 3 cake orders, almost 3 days running, although of course it was booked ahead which allowed me to plan the buying of the ingredients and then baking, frosting and the case of the Trifle Cheese cake, the assembling of the Trifle and the last one, ie the Raspberry Mousse cake.

                 The Raspberry Mousse cake was the easiest of all as being a Mousse cake, there was no baking involved; just a crunchy biscuit base; doing the mousse, setting it overnite and then doing the Raspberry topping the next day.  Having learnt so many types of mousse over the years by an excellent Chef and selling same, I decided that it was high time that I came out from under the wings of my mentors and try my hand at creating something myself and this Raspberry Mousse cake was my first..  I made this in honour of a wedding registration of my child and last week when a regular customer requested me to do a mousse cake, I recommended my Raspberry Mousse cake.  If she had not lived down the road from mine, I would Not have recommended a Mousse cake as the shop that I purchase my ingredients ran out of Ice Cream box as the mousse cake, which had gelatine in it, would probably melt. 

Raspberry Mousse cake

                                                        Trifle Cheese cake

                                                Chocolate Moist cake

                     Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pandan flavoured butter icing cupcakes

                     One of my neighbours, who buys regularly from me, ordered 40 cupcakes and since I was making them, I decided to make an extra batch for my family.  I wanted to pipe the grass decor on some of the cupcakes and as I didnt have the green food colouring, on a whim I used a teaspoon of the Pandan flavoured essence and though the colour was not vibrant, I was so glad I did, as the butter cream had a pandan flavour to it!!! 

                                 Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Friday, November 18, 2011

Homemade Sausage

                   Wow it has been so long since I made Sausages almost a year ago.  When I was in Sydney early part of this year, I went to a few butcher outlets with my better half in tow, to try to get some Hog casing in a vacuum pack so that I could put them in my check in luggage but was disappointed :) as a friend told me that she brought some back but forgot where she bought same & even though I learnt this 6 years ago, I only managed to do them 5 times as so hard to source the casing.  I called the factory that I used to buy from but they told me that there were no longer selling fresh hog casing but rather were selling protein casing. So after sourcing for almost a year, I was very excited as I found one factory supplying them to the food delis but they were not interested to sell some to a home maker so after much persuasion; he must have heard the plea in my voice, he said he will sell some to me & my better half had to take me to the factory which was so far away and then I pandered him by making some sausages for his breakfast!!! So after making them, I pouched them & grilled a pair for him.  The only thing unpleasant was the cleaning up as I had to sanitize the utensils and equipment but given a choice, I will do it again as nothing beats making things yourself and the reward is when the family appreciates the gesture.

                  If anyone is interested in the recipe, drop a comment here.

                                  Rolling the sausages to dispel the air bubbles so that it does not burst when pouching the sausages in hot water.

                                        Pouching the sausages in hot water

                             Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Strawberry Ice Cream

                 Wow making this Strawberry Ice Cream is taking ice cream making into a whole new ball game; if you are into sweet & slightly sour, you should make this as the taste was awesome; a right balance of sweet & slightly sour & the chopped strawberry bits gave another texture. When I learnt this 8 years ago, I made a note to do this. The only "flaw" is that there is quite a bit of work involved.  Trimming off the leaves from the strawberries, washing & cutting them into small pieces & I like to remove a little of the hard white parts from the strawberries & then making the strawberry coulis & to make this ice cream, you need to make a Cre'me Anglaise which is a custard base & the Strawberry Sauce & these two has to be cooled completely & then put in the fridge until they are real cold; 3 - 4 hours

                   For any of my Muslim friends & visitors, if you are unaware, Kirsh is a Cherry liqueur, so omit same.

                 So let's start first with making the Strawberry sauce.

                 STEP 1 - Strawberry Sauce

                 500 gm                   Srawberry
                   40 gm                   Castor Sugar
                     1 Tablespoon      Raspberry/Strawberry Compound
                     1 Tablespoon      Kirsh, opt

                  Method for Strawberry Sauce
  1. Trim off the leaves from the strawberries.  Wash & then wipe dry.  Cut into small pieces, removing some of the inner white parts.
  2. Place srawerry pieces into a saucepan with the 40 gm of castor sugar & cook over medium low heat, stirring from time to time for 10 minutes until mixture starts to thicken.  Remove from fire & pour into another bowl. If you are using Kirsh, add now, stir to incorporate same then add the Raspberry compound, stir then let it cool to room temperature.  Cling wrap & place in fridge for a couple of hours till it is real cold.

                 STEP 2 - Ingredients for Cre'me Anglaise

                 250 ml                 UHT Milk
                     1 teasp           Vanilla Extract
                     5                      Egg Yolks
                   70 gm                 Castor Sugar

               *250 ml                 *cold Whipping Cream

                   Method for Cre'me Anglaise
  1. Whisk manually the Egg Yolks & Castor Sugar till thick & pale.
  2. On Medium Low fire bring the UHT Milk to Almost boiling point [*make sure you dont over boil till you can see quite alot of small bubbles at the sides].
  3. Wait for 3 minutes then gradually pour some hot milk into the beaten egg yolks while stirring then pour in the rest of the hot milk still stirring.
  4. STRAIN this mixture into Another bowl & then place it over a pan of simmering water on MEDIUM Low fire, stirring constantly till it thickens enough to coat the back of a Metal spoon for 3 - 5 minutes.  Dip a Metal spoon & draw a line at the back of the spoon & if you can get a "clean" line, your custard is done.  Make sure you dont over boil as the eggs will then curdle & you wont have a smooth consistency.
  5. Remove from fire & immediately place it in a pot of ice cold water in order to stop cooking process.
  6. Place a grease proof paper/white plastic sheet directly on top of the custard & once it is room temperature, place in the fridge for a couple of hours for it to cool.
  7. Add the cold Whipping Cream to the cold custard, stir to incorporate then add the cold Strawberry Sauce.
  8. Affix the ice cream maker.  Switch on the ice cream maker & once you see *that the paddle is move steady [& Not wobbly] pour the custard through the opening & churn in the ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
  9. Use a wooden spoon [so you dont scratch the ice cream maker] & transfer ice cream to a tupperware then store in freezer for 2 - 3 hours.

                                         Diced Strawberry & the 40 gm Castor Sugar

                                                 Adding the Raspberry Compound to the Strawberry Sauce

                                          Beaten egg YOLKS & Castor Sugar.  See the yellow bits on the side, that is why you need to Strain the mixture AFTER the hot milk

                                        Placing a plastic sheet OR grease proof paper directly on top of the egg custard, to stop skin formation & after it is room temperature, put it in the FRIDGE for a couple of hours to make it really cold

                              On the left is the cold egg custard; on the right is the Cold whipping cream

                                         Adding the cold custard to the cold whipping cream

                                           Adding the cold Strawberry Sauce, then stirring same.  It is preferable to put all these in a measuring jug so that you can pour it through the opening of the opening of the ice cream maker

                                           I made a Banana Split, the Strawberry Ice Cream are at the back & the front, is my Coffee & Chocolate Ice Cream, scattered some toasted almond nibs & the long brown ones are the remainder of my Chocolate Ganache made which Chocolate couvertures.

                        See my Coffee & Chocolate Ice Cream for more important notes. Traallllaa yr ice cream is ready to be eaten. Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting

                This post is dedicated to my latest follower, Melinda. Welcome dear, glad to see you in my Blog, xoxo. When I last baked my Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting last month for another family birthday celebration, I was kinda disappointed that inspite of using beet root juice as the liquid in my cupcakes, with its firey red colour, the outside of the cupcakes were tinged Orange & not red & the inside was the usual light brown colour!!! So when my aunt requested me to bake the Red Velvet Cupcakes again for her birthday, I was happy that I had another chance to get my act together and when I baked the Red Velvet cupcakes this evening, I added one and a half teaspoon of red food colouring & I couldnt wait to pipe the cream cheese frosting before checking the insides, I bit into a plain cupcake with bated breath and yipeeeeee it was red, inside as well as outside!!!

             Tomorrow I will be piping the Cream Cheese Frosting onto my cupcakes & this time, I can proudly call them Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.  Here are some pictures of my effort minus the cream cheese frosting.  PS couldnt wait for tomorrow to do the cream cheese frosting, so decided to do same & uploaded pictures of the finished product!!!

                      Dusted a tint of Beet Root powder & it gives a lovely pinkish hue to the cream cheese

                                   And dusted Cocoa powder, doesnt it look fab?

                      Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

3 Egg steam Custard

                  We went out for dinner recently and one of the dishes that my family loved was the 3 kinds of steamed egg custard so I knew that my next little project was to make this for dinner.  I made this tonight and I was happy that my girl told me that making it myself, I was able to personalise the dish by adding a little fried onion, a dash of Sesame oil, Spring Onion & I couldnt help adding 1 red Chilli Padi for a little more colour & a little "fire" but best of all, she told me she loved it & it tasted better than the one we ate at the restaurant; that remark certainly made my day!!!


                    200 ml                 Eggs
                    200 ml                 Water
                         1                     Salted Egg Yolk, chop
                         1                     Century Egg, chop
                                                Salt & Pepper
                                                A little Spring Onion
                                                A little fried Onions
                                                Dash of Sesame Oil
                          1/2                 a Red Chilli Padi, opt

                          Beat the eggs, then add the water & beat short while to incorporate.  Add the rest of the ingredients & steam. Steam on medium low fire for approximately 10 - 15 minutes.  Do NOT close the cover of the steamer entirely.  If the fire is too high, your custard wont have a level surface.  Check after 10 minutes to see whether cooked as if you over cook, the texture of the custard wont be silky smooth.

                      Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vanilla Ice Cream

                  My top 6 fav ice creams are Coffee & Chocolate ice cream, Chocolate ice cream, Caribbean Banana Rum & Raisin, Strawberry ice cream, Vanilla & Triffle and these are only a few, with the exception of Triffle, of the ice creams that I had the good fortune to learn from a truly, passionate & exceptional Chef.  Somehow the exquisite taste of the Coffee, Caribbean Banana Rum & Raisin, Strawberry & Chocolate ice creams still linger strongly on my mind that I can almost "taste" the exquisite flavours even though I have learnt them more than 7 years ago & didnt practise much because of one failed attempt many years ago with a Strawberry ice cream, when a friend taught me to use 1 kg Strawberries, but alas it didnt turn out well & then the crave to do the ice creams which I learnt & as I am very much a Coffee person, I kicked off doing the Coffee & Chocolate Ice Cream & you find the receipe in my Blog and I think this is the best year of my life as I have had more time to practise things that I learnt so many, many years ago, things like the various breads & ice creams but even though I didnt do some of them, I "kept in touch" with those recipes by reading them constantly until one day I "wake up" with the craved feeling of making them & thank goodness I took good notes to guide me along & some of them in shorthand too as at times during class the Chefs spoke ever so fast that my fingers automatically wrote them down in shorthand and would be flying in my pursuit to get it all!!!

                  Sorry I have this penchant of diverting from the subject matter :)  Ok so let's get the ball rolling. I will start with Vanilla Ice Cream as you need to make a Cream Anglaise or in simple terms, a custard.  Cream Anglaise is made of egg yolks, sugar & hot milk & is the base for ice creams & from this Cream Anglaise it is just a skip & a jump to do other flavours and after typing the Vanilla Ice Cream, I will be moving on to a Strawberry Ice Cream which I made a few evenings ago and I need to make the Cream Anglaise before I can do the Strawberry ice cream.

                                                Vanilla Ice Cream

               Ingredients for Cream Anglaise

               250 ml                    UHT Milk
               1/2                          a Vanilla pod, split lengthwise OR 1 teasp Vanilla extract
                  5                          Egg YOLKS
                70 gm                    Castor Sugar
               250 ml                    *Dairy Whipping Cream [see notes below]

  1. Bring the UHT Milk & Vanilla pod to "Almost boil" on low medium fire, stirring.  Remove from fire & using a knife scrape out the seeds from the Vanilla pod into the hot milk & let it infuse in the hot milk for 10 minutes. Discard the vanilla pod.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks with the castor sugar in a bowl till thick & pale.
  3. On low medium fire reheat the milk till hot.
  4. Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture while stirring with a whisk.  STRAIN this mixture into another bowl & place bowl over a pan of simmering water on low medium fire while stirring all the while for about 3 - 5 minute. Dip a metal spoon into the custard & draw a line at the back of the spoon.  If you can get an "unbroken" line, your custard is ready. [Make sure you dont over cook this mixture]
  5. Remove from fire & immediately place bowl over a basin of ice cold water for a few minutes to stop cooking process.
  6. Cover the surface directly with cling film [this prevents skin formation] & allow the custard to cool completely then refrigerate it till cold.
  7. Once custard is cold, mix in the 250 ml whipping cream & stir short while in order for them to incorporate.
  8. Then churn in an ice cream maker following the manufacture's instructions.
  9. Scoop out the ice cream with a wooden spoon into a tupperware & freeze.

                   a) See my Coffee & Chocolate Ice Cream recipe for more info;
                   b) Dairy Whipping Cream can be used for baking, cooking & decorating & there are so many wonderful brands out there; brands like "Anchor", "Emborg", "Shani" etc.

                     New visitors please note that I am not a Chef by profession; just a passionate home baker. Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lasagna with roasted bell peppers & minced meat

              Made this for dinner tonite, so glad that my second attempt at making Lasagna is much better than my first.  My first my cheese topping got burnt as I put my cheese from the start.  This time I added it 10 minutes before it was done and added some canned peaches for good measure.

              As this was something that I concocted out of thin air, never learnt Lasagna before, I am glad that it turned up good.

                                       Till my next post xoxo, Ophelia.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Coffee & Chocolate flavoured ice cream recipe

               This is dedicated to Cynthia & my very good friends, Anthony & Ilene.  Cynthia, hope you have fun doing it & let me know whether you like it. Ophelia.


                12 gm               Nescafe Coffee Powder
                25 gm               *Belgium Bitter Sweet Couvertures
              250 ml                UHT Full Cream Milk
                65 gm               soft Brown Sugar
                  4                     Egg Yolks
              300 ml                Whipping Cream [example brands like, "Anchor", "Emborg", "Shani"]


         Prep work before you start to use your ice cream maker

         1.  Cut a grease proof paper to fit the size of the bowl.
         2.  Put some ice cubes & water in a basin.

  1. Break up the couvertures into small pieces for easy melting.
  2. Place egg yolks & brown sugar in a bowl & stir till both are incorporated.
  3. Place UHT Milk in a small pot & heat the milk on *low medium heat, stirring to *ALMOST boiling point.  Lower the heat & stir in the coffee powder & couvertures & stir till couvertures & coffee powder have melted & is a smooth consistency.
  4. Pour in gradually the semi hot milk into the egg mixture, keep stirring, in order to temper the hot mixture then add the balance of the semi hot milk gradually into the egg mixture while stirring gently continuously till combine.  *STRAIN this mixture into a bowl & double boil/bain marie i.e. bowl over a pot of simmering hot water on Low medium fire, stirring with a whisk constantly till it thickens enough to *coat the back of a METAL spoon [this step would take about 3 - 5 minutes; see my notes at the bottom] making sure that you do NOT over boil as the eggs will then curdle & you wont have a smooth consistency.
  5. Remove from the fire  & immediate place it in a small basin filled with ice water in order to stop the cooking process.
  6. Place the cut up *grease paper on top of this custard; cling wrap the bowl & put in the fridge until this custard is cold.
  7. Remove the cold custard from fridge. Stir in the Whipping Cream into the custard till it combines. Put this custard in the fridge for a short while while you fit in your Ice Cream maker.
  8. After fitting in the ice cream maker, pour in the cold custard through the opening & *churn till thick, the process of churning for this ice cream would be 30 - 35 minutes & to know when it is ready, the whisk of the ice cream maker would go anti clockwise.
  9. Use a wooden spoon & transfer the ice cream into a container, cover & store in freezer for 2 - 3 hours before eating.

             a)  Your hands/utensil should be dry & clean when handling couvertures;
             b)  *Grease proof is placed on top of the custard before putting in the fridge to cool in order to stop the formation of a skin;
             c)  *Low Medium Heat - it is important that the fire should not be high esp when boiling the UHT Milk in order to avoid a skin formation.  This also applies when doing the custard;
             d)  It is very important that you pour in the hot milk gradually while stirring into the egg yolks & brown sugar mixture as you want the temperature of the hot milk & room temperature egg yolk mixture to be gradual; this is called "tempering";
              e) * Very important also to Strain the mixture;
              f)  To know when your custard is ready; use a metal spoon dip it into the hot custard; use your finger & draw a line at the back of the spoon and if you can get a line that is clear; your custard is ready.  This method is esp useful when you are also doing mousse cakes.

              How to operate an ice cream maker - these were my Chef's verbal instructions which I took down in shorthand and which are very useful & of course you have to read the instructions from the manufacture's manual and these are just additional notes

              (i)  Just wipe the motor unit with a dry, clean cloth;

              (ii)  Wash your ice cream maker freezing container.  After washing; wipe dry thoroughly with a dry clean cloth making sure that there is not a drop of water in the freezing container.  Leave it outside for a short while to air dry the freezing container then place it in your freezer OVERNITE.  You can take note of this when your freezing container is at room temperature you can hear some "movement" when you shake it; once you have kept it overnight in the freezer, there is no sound when you shake it;

            (iii)  When everything is ready & your custard cold; then only take the freezing container from the freezer; wipe the bits of ice outside it with a kitchen towel.  Attach the paddle to the motor unit properly; then lock the unit, you should hear a click sound.  Then switch on the machine (a) check that the paddle is moving steadily & not wobbly (b) then pour in the cold custard through the chute [if the paddle is Not inserted properly & you pour the custard, immediately it will turn icy;

             (iv)  The paddle will move anti clockwise when your ice cream is ready.  Then remove it with a wooden spoon onto a container & freeze for 2 - 3 hours;

              (v)  After removing the ice cream, DO NOT wash the freezing container.  Leave it for 3 - 4 hours for it to be at room temperaturen again otherwise when it comes into contac with water, it will crystallize.  Then wash it.  Wipe dry making sure there is no water on the container.  Air dry then put in the freezer again if you want to make ice cream again soon otherwise store it away in the box

                                           Affixing the grease proof paper directly on the custard before putting it in the fridge.

                                                    Belgium bitter sweet couvertures

                 Hope my notes and comments are helpful. Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Friday, November 4, 2011

Coffee & Chocolate Ice Cream

             Wao today I am very pleased as, after a long hactus, I made Ice Cream and this time it was a success.  The first time I made a Strawberry Ice Cream, I didnt know why it couldnt set into an ice cream so after that I went for quite a few ice cream classes and this was one of the best that I love as I am very much a Coffee person.  Another person who was very happy was my better half, whose fav dessert, yes that's right, was ice cream and his all time favourite is Chocolate Ice Cream and as I didnt have enough Belgium bitter sweet couvertures, he had to settled for my Coffee and for good measure, I added 25 gms of the bitter sweet chocolate couvertures to pander to his taste bud and I am happy that he loved the taste and aroma of the ice cream!!!

                Who wants this recipe, just leave me a comment here!!!

                                                     Pork Chops for dinner

                               Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ganache made with bitter sweet couvertures with recipe

                After baking my Semolina/Sugee cake & Orange cake for a customer, I was on baking mood, so the next day I baked a Beet Root cake using fresh beet root juice.  I was trying a Red Velvet cake but, I think because the recipe had cocoa powder and no artifical colouring, the cake wasn't red but black so in my mind, I coined it Black Velvet cake, haha.  It tasted soft and quite good but these two factors could not conceal the disappointment I felt as I wanted so much to make a Red Velvet cake with a cream cheese frosting and so since I had a cake at hand and some couvertures in the pantry, I decided that I would cover the cake with a ganache made with Belgium bitter sweet couvertures and put the balance of the ganache in the fridge for it to thicken slightly before I could attempt to make the swirls on top of the ganache.  I learnt making this ganache swirls so many, many years ago but never attempted to do same as it was a slightly messy job and you have to make the swirls quickly as the ganache at room temperature became softer quite fast so when the ganache was too soft to work on, I put it back in the fridge for a short while and then I continued making the swirls and this is the result of my handiwork. 

                   Will type the recipe for the ganache and swirl tomorrow.  Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia.

                          Recipe for the Chocolate Ganache

                           250 gm                  Bitter Sweet Couvertures
                             31 gm                  Butter, thaw for 15 minutes till it soften slighly
                           250 ml                   Whipping Cream [brands like "Anchor", "Emborg", "Shani"]

  1. Break up the couvertures & put it in a bowl together with the soften butter.
  2. Pour Whipping Cream in a small pot on medium low heat & bring it to a gentle boil [dont over boil].
  3. Pour in the hot Whipping Cream onto the couvertures & butter & stir till the couverture melt.  Use two big spoons to help melt the couverture. Continue till you have a thick & smooth consistency.  Set aside to cool.
  4. Place the cake on a rack & over a bowl which has a flat bottom so that there is enuf space when you want to scrape it when doing the swirls.  Pour the ganache over the cake & let the excess drip onto the bowl.  Leave it for about 30 minutes for it to set.  Then place the cake & then cover the excess ganache & put in the fridge for the ganache to "harden" enough so that you can use a melon scoop to scoop out balls of ganache & roll over with ground pistachio or do like what I did; make into swirls & place on cake; I feel it look more regal.

              a) you have to work fast when you are doing the swirls or melon ball shape as the ganache melts quite fast.  I was doing 3/4 of the swirl when it became slightly soft so I put it back in the fridge for a short while till I can continue.  I must say that though it was a little messy doing this; the amount of happiness it gave me after completing the swirls was worth all the effort;

              b) For this portion it is enough for a 7" cake and if your cake is 9" round; just double up :)

              c) Remove excess ganache from fridge and if you are doing the swirls, remember that you cant do straight away as the ganache is a little hard so it may "break" when you curl it.  It has to be not too hard Nor not to soft.  Leave for a couple of minutes after removing from fridge & play around with it.  The tool I use is just the one that is used to curl up butter.

                      Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia