Thursday, 11 November 2010

Brewer's blondies

These blondies are so rich, fudgy and delicious! The fudgy bit was only in the middle bit and totally accidental. I took them out before they were done and the squares in the middle turned out fudgier than the edges.

Still good though, I mean, how can you go wrong with Maltesers and chocolate chips in a recipe. The blondies didn't turn out to be too sweet when they were warm but when cooled, they are a bit on the sweet side.

I found the recipe in an article reviewing a recipe book - Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. It's a really simple recipe - easy to follow. The only difficulty I had was trying to spread the batter which was really stiff and thick into the baking tray. It eventually flattened and evened out whilst in the oven.

I cut down on the brown sugar and upped the Maltesers, Horlicks and walnuts. Below are the changes made to the recipe.

Brewer's blondies
makes one 9x13 inch

200g butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp salt

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 heaped Tbsp malt powder (Horlicks)

1 cup chopped Maltesers
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 175 C. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter , brown sugar and salt on medium speed until completely combined. Scrape down the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and malted milk powder together.
4. Add the flour mixture in two batches until just combined. Add the malted milk balls, chocolate chips and walnuts and beat until just combined, about 10 seconds. The mixture will be thick. Turn the mixture out into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly.
5. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the blondie comes out clean.

Sunday, 7 November 2010


My first cooking post! Not that I don't cook, I just haven't really gotten excited about cooking. After Y mentioned something about green lentils, I decided to give it a try. I got a packet of green dried lentils and gave it a go. Not having done this before, I read the instructions on the back - boil rapidly for 10 minutes and simmer for 30 minutes.

I did look at a couple of recipes online too and cumin seemed like a common spice that everyone else used. I did the whole cooking shows style where I laid all my ingredients in front of me. For some reason, I took out a can of chopped tomatoes but decided against it halfway through.

Lentils are awesome! Reckon it's going to be my new phase. I went through a whole couscous phase where there was usually a container of some version of couscous in the fridge 3/7 days a week. Well, that was mainly cause I made a huge portion and it just lasted that long because everyone else got sick of eating it and it was down to me to finish it.
It was fairly simple cooking the lentils and for the other ingredients, I just added whatever vegetables I had in the fridge. There isn't really a fixed recipe so I'll just list down what I added to the pot.


250g lentils

4 cloves garlic
1 onion
2 tsp cumin (ground with 1/2 tsp salt)
2 cm knob of ginger
a couple chopped up carrots
4 stalks of celery
1 stock cube
some cauliflower

I started off boiling the lentils on a high fire on its own whilst peeling and dicing the other ingredients. In a separate pot, I fried off the onions in a tablespoon of olive oil and grated in the garlic and ginger, then added the ground cumin and salt. Then added in the stock cube, celery and carrots and covered with about a cup of hot water. All of this took about 15 minutes and for some reason, I decided to drain the lentils (which was boiling away in another pot) and added it to the pot with the vegetables.

Now I'm not really sure why I decided to do this separately but it turned out alright so I suppose it works this way. I left it to simmer for another 20 minutes, added in the cauliflower, let it simmer for another 5 minutes and switched the fire off. Added a bit more salt and tadaa. Yummm.

It's absolutely delicious! I really like the cumin taste. And I've got a pot of it which would probably last 5 meals? Actually, thinking back, I know why I don't post about cooking. Pictures of cakes and biscuits look so much more appealing than a picture of lentils.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Sweet potato chiffon cake

After seeing some pretty pictures of some purple sweet potato chiffon cake, I decided to give it a go. I couldn't find any purple sweet potato in the UK though so I just settled with some orange sweet potato. How boring and standard looking. Hmm, I wonder if beetroot would work in a chiffon cake?

I modified the earl grey chiffon cake recipe. Not by much though. Techniques are exactly the same so I suppose once you find a good chiffon cake recipe, all you have to do is substitute the ingredients and play around with them.
It's so cool how you invert the tin the second it comes out of the oven so that the texture remains light and spongy. I have to admit, I was really sceptical about it the first time I read the instructions. Do be careful as if the cake isn't cooked through, the whole cake topples out of the tin when inverted.
I did cut down on the sugar slightly. Just nice for my liking. Shame the sweet potato flavour wasn't too prominent. Maybe it'll stand out more if it were the purple sweet potato. Next of my list for chiffon cake flavours - apple or pear or maybe both.

Sweet potato chiffon cake
makes one 7 inch diameter cake

3 egg yolks
20g brown sugar

50ml vegetable oil
100g sweet potato (boiled and mashed with 5 Tbsp of milk)
zest of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp baking powder
100g flour
1/2 tsp salt

3 egg whites
40g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Peel and cut sweet potato into chunks. Boil until cooked and mash with milk. Leave to cool.
2. Sieve flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.
3. Separate egg yolks/whites.
4. Mix together egg yolks, oil, brown sugar and lemon zest.
5. Whisk the flour mixture and oil/egg yolk mixture until fully incorporated. Add in sweet potato and mix well.
6. In a clean, dry mixing bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar with an electric mixer stiff peaks form.
7. Add the beaten egg white into the egg yolk batter in 3 separate additions, each time folding gently with a spatula until just blended.
8. Pour batter into a 7 inch tube pan (do not grease the pan). Tap the pan lightly on a table top to get rid of any trapped air bubbles in the batter. 8. Bake in preheated oven at 170 C for 45 minutes or until the cake surface turns golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
9. Remove from the oven and invert the pan immediately. Let cool completely before unmold. To remove the cake from the pan, run a thin-bladed knife around the inside of the pan and the centre core. Release the cake and run the knife along the base of the pan to remove the cake.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Chocolate cupcakes

I can't believe that the last post was dated July. Gosh, it has been a while. I've been busy moving, waiting for the internet to be set up and time has just gone by. I have been baking but haven't really kept track of what I've made.

Here are some goodies that I made today. The cupcake is moist and I really like the texture - soft. I did put a square of cadbury's caramel chocolate but you can't really taste it. I did bung some chocolate chips in too just to add to the chocolate-y-ness.
It's funny how the cupcake can look so bare one minute and look so dressed up the next. Kinda like giving the cupcake a makeover! Look, I even added a mini star to dress it up more.
The frosting was such a disaster! I usually use ziplock bags and cut the corner off, place the tip in etc. I used about 6 different types of bags and they kept breaking. In the end, I taped all around the edges of the bag with masking tape and hoped for the best.

That really got on my nerves. Will post the recipe another time. It's sitting on the kitchen counter and I'm feeling really lazy to get up.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Honey and walnut bread

After having walnut bread at various restaurants, I've been on the look out for a good/interesting walnut bread recipe. I ended up using britishlarder's recipe for spelt, honey and walnut bread.
I changed it slightly, adding a bit more honey and swapping spelt for strong wholemeal flour. The bread turned out delicious! The taste of the walnut is so distinct and honey - MMM. It's a simple recipe and the kitchenaid did most of the work. It looks so pretty after cutting the patterns on top and brushing the dough with egg yolk.
The bread when warm has a crunchy outside and a soft inside. Delicious even on its own. Definitely a keeper. It didn't even take too long to make. Apart from waiting for the dough to double in size.

Honey and walnut bread
minor changes made below - do refer to britishlarder for original recipe
makes 2 loaves

250g strong white flour
250g strong wholemeal flour
10g table salt
7g dried yeast
2 Tbsp honey
260ml warm water
150g walnuts

1 egg yolk

1. Place yeast, 50g flour and honey in a small mixing bowl and add 50g of the water, mix well, cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes in a warm spot until the mixture starts to bubble.
2. In the bowl of a mixer add the remaining flour, bubbling yeast mixture, walnuts, salt and the remaining water together. Attach the dough hook and mix the bread dough on slow speed for 10 minutes.
3. Grease a large mixing bowl. Once the dough is ready turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape the bread dough into a smooth ball. Place the smooth bread dough into the greased mixing bowl and cover the bowl with a clean dry tea towel. Leave to prove until the dough has risen to double in size.
4. Preheat the oven to 200°C and dust two baking sheets with flour, set aside.
5. Gently turn the bread dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into even size dough balls.
6. Roll each ball into a evenly shaped smooth ball, place each ball onto the dusted floured tray and cover gently with cling film or a clean dry tea towel and leave it to prove for the second time until nearly double in size. Brush the risen bread carefully with the egg yolk and use a knife to make small cuts at the top of the risen bread.
7. Place the baking sheets in the preheated oven and pour 100ml of cold water directly onto the floor of the oven and shut the door quickly. The water will give a burst of steam that will help the loaves to puff and form a lovely crust.
8. After about 10-12 minutes, place a sheet of foil over the bread if it is browning too quickly.
9. Bake the loaves for 35 - 40 minutes, give the bread a tap at the bottom and if it sounds hollow it means the bread is cooked, place the bread onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

Saturday, 10 July 2010


Calzone - YUMMYYY!! I have never used a recipe from the BBC website but I gave this one ago because (a) the recipe uses milk and that sounded interesting and (b) it was the first site to pop up when googled searched. The dough was soft and easy to work with - slightly sticky at times but I just sprinkled flour on the work surface. It was really easy rolling out the dough thinly. It didn't seem as though it would be nice the next day as leftovers but we wouldn't know as Y and I finished all 4 calzones.
I know it says meat feast calzone and I'm not really a person so I ended up just using the dough recipe and making my own filling. For the filling, I just stir fried some onions, garlic, mushroom, carrots, brocolli, capers and some dried basil. Leave to cool and when it's time to fill the calzone, put a heap of filling and loads of shredded cheddar cheese on top. Next time I'll probably add black olives to the filling. I suppose you can use anything as long as the filling isn't too watery.
Y had some leftover strawberries so I cooked them in a pan with sugar and some other frozen fruits i.e.blueberries, blackberries etc. I used a bit of cornflour dissolved in water to thicken it up. Dessert calzones - delicious with ice cream.

I did end up with way too much filling which kept falling out whilst eating it. Actually, I ended up eating the filling on its own and eating the bread with ice cream.
minor changes made below - do refer to meat feast calzone of the BBC for the original recipe
makes 4 descent sized calzones

8 oz strong white flour, plus more for dusting
90 ml warm milk
50 ml room temperature water
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

1. Mix the milk, water, sugar and yeast together in a separate bowl.
2. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
3. Using a mixer with the dough hook attachment, add the yeast mixture to the flour and mix together on medium speed.
4. Scrape down bowl and add in 1 tsp of olive oil.
5. Continue mixing on medium speed for 3-4 minutes.
6. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave somewhere warm for 2 hours.
7. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll into balls.
8. Place each ball onto a floured work surface and roll out into 8-9 inch circles.
9. Place filling onto one half of each dough circle and cover with shredded cheese, leaving a 1 inch gap around the edge.
10. Fold the sides over to cover the filling and pinch the edges to seal.
11. Preheat oven to 210 C. Place a baking sheet in the oven to preheat.
12. Brush the calzones with vegetable oil/olive oil and place the calzones onto the preheated baking sheet and transfer to the hot oven to bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Earl grey chiffon cake 2

This cake recipe is definitely a keeper. This is my second time making an earl grey chiffon cake and this time, I added in the zest of an orange. I'll probably use some lemon zest next time.

I really like the lightness and texture of this cake and the cake is so easy to make especially when you're out of butter and running out of flour.
To think, I used to be intimidated by the idea of folding in egg whites.
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