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Monday, February 25, 2013

Chocolate Royal


           Wow when I learnt this, the name of the mousse cake itself was impressive & tasting this cake simply floored me!!! At the back of my mind I was wondering whether I could make this as, watching the Chef doing same, it didn't look easy so still boosted with euphoria, I geared myself up to do this while it was fresh in my mind. I made this cake quite sometime back & it's about time I do it again & seeing the Feuilletine at the shop, I snapped it up.

           The mousse cake is made up of many parts.  Its base has 2 layers of meringue and a feuilletine base & each of the 3 base is spread with a Chocolate Gananche. The feuilletine base consist of a Hazelnut praline & Milk Chocoate & these two are double boiled until they have melted; remove same from the fire & then the Feuilletine is stirred in [we were told that feuilletine was marketed by Cacao Berry, France or Belgium.  Its shape reminds me of corn flakes but it is very much thinner.  Its very crunchy & when you eat the cake, its crunchiness is somewhat like eating Kit Kat; simply divine & awesome] Then we had to make a Chocolate mousse using Bitter Sweet couvertures from Belgium.  

         So the assembly of the mousse cake is placing the first layer of meringue in a cake ring which is secured with a durable plastic at the bottom [then the cake ring is placed on a round tray for support]; then spreading a layer of Chocolate Ganache so that the second meringue can stick onto it; then the third layer is the feuilletine base & again spread with Chocolate Gananche.  Once this has been done, the Chocolate Mousse is poured on top of this 3 base. Give the ring a slight shake to remove air bubbles then place the cake in the freezer overnite.  Next day you can either pour another Chocolate Ganache on the top then only remove the cake ring using a cake torch but this time since there is a "Chocolate overload" I decided to pour a Raspberry topping as Raspberry & Chocolate jive well together & also because I wanted to take a photo with the contract in color.  This cake is one of the best that I learnt from a top notch Chef.



                           Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Not enough Icing Sugar!!!



            When I created my blog; my primary objective was to share my recipes, tips that I learnt throughout the entire 26 years that I spent learning baking & cooking & my tots.  I felt very deeply that if I could share whatever I learnt or knew with ppl out in blogspire, esp the young adults who have just started working or those who have started having their own little family or young single adults, I would have accomplished what is, perhaps, my call in life, touching their lives in a little way. When we were young and we wanted to learn something then we had to pay & go for classes; these days the young adults & even children are very lucky as they have the internet; we didn't have "fairy godmothers" that we can approach; thus I like to think of myself as a fairy godmother, haha the title does seem fancy!!!

           I also think that after 26 years learning from various Chefs & Bakers, that it was time that I came out from under their wings & learn to also trouble shoot things myself.  Before if I encountered any problem or needed any explanation, I would "run" & ask my mentors.  What I am trying to say is this, which in realty is not a problem really.  A couple of days ago, I wanted to make simultaneously my Gum Paste & Royal Icing & as I use alot of Gum paste for all my "adventures" this time I decided I would increase the recipe 5 times and as I wanted to make Royal Icing, I needed in total 1,654 gm of Icing Sugar in total & after weighing the Icing Sugar, I realised I was short by 550 gm!!! I know the easiest thing would be for me to make a wild dash to the baking ingredient shop which was just 20 minutes away but then it was 6.30 p.m. & both the three shops closed at 6 p.m. I thought for a moment & then thought why can't I try to process castor sugar after all I did try to make my own Rice Flour as I mentioned in my recent post on the Lok Tau Peang that I baked so that was what I did exactly.  I processed the Casor Sugar, which really was not so time consuming then I sieved it & then I took the store bought Icing Sugar & compared its fineness with the Icing Sugar I processed & I was very happy as the one I made was just as fine as the one I bought!!! So I was happy as the next day I was able to make 5 batches of my Gum Paste & the following day the Royal Icing.  


           Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dinner tonite


              I was a little lazy this evening, haha but I kidded myself that I wanted to "change" the style.  Sorry for not making my thoughts clearer from the onset. Actually when I took out the chicken from the freezer to defrost, I took out the wrong packet of chicken; next time I need to label them!!!  Instead of taking out the chicken that was chopped, I took out instead 3 whole chicken legs. So I decided that I do not want to chop the whole chicken legs [I bought the whole chicken legs to make roast] & just cook it whole & wonder whether the Hubs would say, "Why didn't chop the chicken?"

             So I pounded some Lemon Grass, Kunyit, Garlic, Red Chilies, Limau Perut leaves & Garlic & then I sliced 3 big Onions & set it aside.  Then I sauteed/fried the big onions for a short while & then dished it onto a plate & set it aside.  Next I added quite a bit of oil & I fried the pounded ingredients till fragrant & then I added the chicken in & sufficient Salt & fried till the chicken was half cooked.  Next I added some Assam water & some sugar & let the chicken simmer till it was cooked. Once the chicken was cooked, I threw in the pre-fried Big Onions & let it fry for about 3 minutes & then dished it out.  If you fry the onions too long, it would be too soft.

         I was wondering in my mind whether the Hubs could finish his piece of chicken as he is not a very big eater & in the end, he finished all his chicken, the veg, the soup & the rice!!!  BTW this is one of his favourite dish.  This chicken dish is quite appertising; having a nice blend of slightly sour, sweet & hot; a lovely combination of flavours.


                  Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Cookie - Part 3 [finale] Shoe cookie


           After successfully baking the cookies in the shape of shoe, bib etc, that would be ideal for me to decor them; this is what I did.  








          I spread Chocolate Ganache [ratio of same - 1 to 1 [one part Chocolate couvertures to one part Whipping Cream.  I put the Chocolate couvertures in a bowl & micro waved them; have to be very careful as the chocolate would burn easily then stir same.  You can bain marie the Chocolate couvertures. Then put the whipping cream in a small pot & heat same on the fire just for a while as if you heat the whipping cream too long, it will have a skin formation [and if the skin formation forms; stir same] then mix the warm milk to the chocolate couvertures and mix them both till you get a smooth texture; then spread it on the cookie. I spread it with a palate knife & those lines made the shoe more interesting as instead of a smooth finish; I ended up with a textured look and pardon me if I may say so myself, I adored it!!!



                               Just simply tying ribbons to the cookie made the shoe look lovely.










                           I also made some Royal Icing & flooded it on the cookie.  After flooding with White Royal Icing, I did some brush embrodery and though the brush embrodery was my first attempt & not a very great effort; I was quite happy with the overall result. 

                          Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cookie - Part 2 in the shape of Shoe - successful trial


                 As I mentioned in my 2nd last post, on Cookie in the shape of a Shoe - 1st Trial, IT wouldn't be long before I bake a second trial on the cookies.  When I bought the imported moulds during my recent holidays, there was a recipe attached to one of the moulds.  Me, I am a little of a "slow bird!!!" What I mean to say is that sometimes it will take sometime before I try something new that I have not learnt as then it meant I have to bake once to know about its texture and taste.  I rather bake the things that I learnt as it meant I more or less knew about its taste and texture so as I was smitten with flooding with Royal Icing & seeing so many tutorials on Youtube, I told myself to give it a try & boy was I glad for so many reasons.

                First, the dough was just the right consistency; not too soft nor too hard & I was able to roll same on my marble rolling board & it was so easy to lift it up from the board to my baking tray that was lined with parchment paper.  Then it was also easy for me to make a hole with my smallest round mould & to remove the dough from the hole; ok I was enthralled as the cookies barely enlarged & if it did, perhaps 1/4 of a cm!!! Ok that was good; now the next text was to practice more on flooding, with Royal Icing, techniques as I am definitely an amateur in this, having only done this 3 - 4 times recently and then to round it up with Brush Embrodery!!! I know I am setting my own bar high but if I don't practice enuf, I will never reach my own goal!!! 










                          Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia. 

Cookie in the shape of a shoe - 1st trial


              After buying a few moulds from a holiday recently I did Not have a chance to bake a cookie in the shape of a shoe.

             I was waiting till I was completely free b4 venturing into this & as I was free a couple of weeks earlier I decided to do same.  In my mind I was trying to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.  A friend wanted to taste my sugee biscuit & so I thought I would make some for her & some to experiment on the shoe mould which I bought & as it was imported from Europe, the tin mould was solid; no doubt the solidness compensated the fact that I paid quite a hefty sum for same but to me, that never matter as I am always a believer of If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys!!! For me whether it was cakes that I sell or things that I buy in respect of my passion for baking; be it ingredients or moulds, they had to be the Best that I could find, no half measures for me!!!

           Sorry I do have this penchant of deviating but then I find that it makes it more interesting if I could tell a tale or two instead of just typing what was originally on my mind. Ok to continue I started making my sugee biscuit JUST by this exercise I had to trouble shoot & I found I learnt alot. First thing, I found that this dough was much too soft to my liking so I place in a plastic bag & place them in the freezer for 30 minutes.

            After removing them from the freezer, I rolled the dough on top of my marble board.  Then I inserted the shoe/dress/bib/boot mould into the rolled dough.  Wow I found I could not lift it up easily; when I place it on the tray lined with parchment paper & removed the shoe mould, I realised that I distorted its shape.  So the next thing I thought was to roll on the tray itself as I just needed to remove the mould & as I wanted to make a hole on the cookie [I found that after making a hole, IT was also difficult for me to remove the dough from the hole] so that I would be able to insert a ribbon, I made a hole with one of my round moulds, I saw in one of the tutorials in Youtube, they used a noozle but I found the hole of the noozle way too big for my purpose [I bought a set of round moulds; a German product, which had a range of sizes from small to large] always at the back of my mind was the thought - would the sugee cookie expand alot & just kept my fingers crossed.  When I learnt this recipe, at the end of the class, I forgot to minute it down whether the cookie would expand or not, THAT was my colossal mistake.  I always like to, after class, to collect my thoughts & input in the recipe whether cookies expanded & I also like to rate the recipe as I learnt so many cakes, cookies, the various kind of cooking; Fusion, Indian, Chinese, Thai, English cooking etc, etc, that If I do NOT rate them according to my liking, 10 years down the line I may NOT know whether they were good, as haha I wasn't getting any younger!!! And IF I rate them as 10/10, I know that I would have to bake/cook them for my family!!! These are a few tips for those of you who love attending classes, I have been learning baking & cooking for more than 26 years.] Again sorry for digressing so to pick up where I left off, so I thought that just in case the cookies do expand, I would leave the shoe mould & the mould for making the hole in one of the cookie; yah just in case that was my Plan B. 

             After the cookie were baked, my heart felt sick as the cookie expanded quite a bit esp the cookie in the shape of the dress. Well it didn't matter, as I would use them to practise with Royal Icing & I was sure IT would NOT be too long before I bake a batch of cookies with a different recipe UNTIL I was satisfied that the cookie would not expand EVEN IF this exercise took me forever, I would NOT give up. 



                         I rolled the sugee dough on my marble but couldn't lift this up onto my tray which I lined with parchment paper.

   
                       Trouble shoot & rolled on the tray lined with parchment paper & this time I left the shoe & the "hole" mould & baked the cookie with them.


                      The shoe came out huge & the hole, for me to attach a ribbon, wasn't too perfect.


                              The 3 tierred wedding cake cookie on the RIGHT was the one I baked together with the mould.  The one on the left was baked without the mould and as you can see the figure was distorted somewhat!!! So my trouble shot idea was quite good but I still was NOT satisfied with this sugee recipe.


                     Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lok Tau Peang [GREEN Pea cookies]


                     From the time of my schooling days, Lok Tau Peang has been my favourite.  I remember those days when I used to buy them at the school tuck shop, they were slightly bigger than a 50 cents coin & a deep yellow colour & they were also quite hard & when we eat them, we have to keep our mouth close for fear that any "excess" flour will fly out of your mouth & after eating them, our tongue will be yellow & the mouth a little sticky but I still loved them.  Many decades have since passed & when 8 years ago when I heard that the awesome chef, we learnt from, was teaching them, I had to clear my calendar & made a bee line for the class AND I was not disappointed.  The Lok Tau Peang that I learnt, literally, melted in my mouth & had a beautiful aromatic fragrance & definitely a far cry from the ones I used to eat in my school days SO every CNY I must bake them & have my fix.  Hope you gals do try them & let me know what you think of them. 

                   Baba & Lingams sell this ROASTED Green Pea Flour & You need to sieve the green pea flour as sometimes you can find some grainy peas & by sieving same, you sort of fluff the flour. Two very important things to take note is also you need to buy High RATIO Flour/Superfine Flour & the 3 ELEPHANT RICE FLOUR, For me when the Chef mentioned we needed to buy this particular Rice Flour, I only buy the same as I am quite "paranoid" as they are also Blended Rice Flour SO make sure you buy the 3 Elephant Rice Flour yah!!! A couple of weeks ago I was quite upset as I could Not find the 3 Elephant Rice Flour inspite of checking out whenever I am at a supermarket or a grocery shop & as I wanted to eat the Lok Tau Peang I decided that I would make the Rice Flour myself. So I wash, dried in the sun, fried it without oil for a short while then blended the rice flour.  I then sieved it twice & found that it was grainy still & I would not let that defeat me.  I proceeded to pound same in a bowl with my wooden rolling pin [as if I were to use my mortar & pestle which I use to pound my rempah for cooking, I am sure that the rice flour would have a slight chilly taste & aroma & as I did Not have a mortar & pestle like the one Jamie Oliver uses & sell, I made do with a bowl & my wooden rolling pin.  It was slightly better but not as fine as the rice flour we would buy as they have powerful machinery to do this. I proceeded to do the cookies & I found that, using the rice flour that I made myself, the cookies had a slight crunch but melted after a few seconds & that made me wonder, perhaps in the composition of the rice flour there were other things like perhaps corn flour, etc? THEN a week after I baked the cookies, I happen to pass another grocery shop & being the person that I am, I went to check for this particular brand and lo & behold, I found it!!! Happiness was apparent in my face as I needed same to also make the Pie Tees!!! For a moment I thought that the company discontinued the item.  Praise the Lord, Allelulia!!!  Sorry for this rigmarole.  Ok now for the recipe.

Ingredients

110 gm              shortening
250 gm              Roasted Green Pea Flour, sieved
  50 gm              High Ratio Flour OR Superfine Flour, sieved
  25 gm              Rice Flour, sieved [3 Elephant brand]
110 gm              Icing Sugar, sieved
  80 gm              Almond nibs, toasted
 SLIGHTLY LESSER THAN 1/8 TEASPOON SALT [The salt is for enhancing the flavour but make sure that it IS LESSER than 1/8 teaspoon]

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to *140 degrees Celcius [Pse see note below] for 15 minutes.
  2. LINE trays with parchment paper.
  3. SIEVE the roasted Green Pea Flour, High Ratio Flour, Rice Flour, Icing Sugar INTO the mixing bowl. 
  4. Throw in the almond nibs & salt into the mixing bowl & using an electric mixer, On lowest speed, mix it thoroughly for a minute [to ensure that everything is mixed properly].
  5. Add the shortening & mix on lowest speed until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  [I use a Kenwood Major & step No.4 will take me about 8 - 10 minutes].
  6. Then remove bowl from machine & still in the bowl, knead it with your hands till it clings together. Press mixture to form a ball.
  7. Dust your mould with a little roasted green pea flour.
  8. Press mixture into mould. Remove dough from mould by knocking.  [Remember to cover the "excess" mixture that you are not using as yet].
  9. AS these cookies DO NOT expand, you can place them quite close. Place the cookies on the prepare trays. 
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes Or until lightly brown at the bottom of the cookie & fragrant.
  11. Remove from oven & leave cookie on the tray for 5 minutes before turning them on to wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Store in airtight containers with paper in between layers.
  13. Makes approximately 84 cookies.

               Notes

          a) *As everyone's oven is different, you must know your own oven heat.  When I learnt, the recipe called for 140 degrees Celcius but I found that 135 degrees Celcius at the same time frame ie 30 minutes works fine for my oven.
         
            b)  A bonus -  This dough can also be kept in the mixing bowl, cover the top of the mixing bowl & can be kept at room temperature for 2 days as there are no eggs in the recipe. One thing to also take note is your own electric mixer.  I use a Kenwood Major which is a very good machine & I sometimes multiply the ingredients by 3.5 times & it can "withstand" the pressure of same.

              c)  You can also substitute the Shortening with 100 ml Peanut Oil BUT take note that the peanut oil has to be warmed slightly to enable it to combine with the dry ingredients & Please note  to put the slightly warmed Peanut Oil gradually & in the same way as per the recipe ie. Step No.5.

                  d) You also need to use a toothpick to clean the any remnant of dough in the openings of the mould after each time to ensure that you get a "flawless" cookie & we were also taught to use a soft brush to brush the top of the cookie before placing them on the prepared tray, you will know what I mean from the following picture. 


                                  Yipee they are ready for me!!!


                           Sorry didn't place the left mould nearer.  Ok here's it.  First place a little roasted green pea flour in the mould then turn over & knock the excess off.  Then fill the mould [centre picture]. Then use a spatula to scrape it to level then knock out the dough.


                                  Use a soft brush to brush the top of cookie. 


                                Do you see what I mean when I say to use a toothpick to clean the mould after each knock.  See the flower on the top of the cookie is so prominent.  I even go further to see that if the curves at the sides are not beautiful, I throw it back into the pile & do again as I am very "fussy" even when I am not selling the cookies & make these for myself, I want to ensure that they are beautiful.

                       Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia.  Do let me know whether you like same if you try them.