Thursday, April 26, 2012


These are killer buns!!! The MOTH and I gallantly skipped lunch last Sunday thinking that our breakfast will sustain us till at least tea if not dinner. Fed the kids at Coffee Bean and came home at 1pm only to hear our tummies rumbling. I wanted to bake the Norwegian Cinnamon Buns for tea (and warm up the rest for Monday's breakfast) and realised that there's something similar on the next page. Schnecken- German for snails. Nigella wrote, "They are like the Norwegian Cinnamon Buns, only more so. By which, I mean they are stickier, puffier, gooier and generally more over the top." We couldn't agree more. While it did involve a few extra steps, who would have thought the results were going to be soooooo good. The mixture of butter, sugar, maple syrup and golden syrup was what completed the whole experience of bread indulgence. A good blob of the syrup with walnuts went first into the muffin pan cavities. When the dough was done, it was rolled out, glazed and generously sprinkled with the sugar and cinnamon filling. Roll the dough and cut as you would when preparing cinnamon buns, and place the 12 slices on top of the nuts and syrup. It was love at first sight when I turned the very hot muffin tin over on to a flat tray. The rolls popped out topped with oozing caramelised walnuts, smelling a million bucks. That sight was to die for. The taste was unparalleled. Best cinnamon buns ever. I am so going to abandon the traditional cinnamon bun recipes and bake only these from now on.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hot Cross Buns

Baked this lot for Good Friday a couple of weeks ago with a recipe from Nigella Lawson's Feast. This book features recipes for every celebration and I always love the baked goods from this book. The buns are a bit dense compared to store-bought ones but that's always expected from home-baked breads. We don't use bread improvers or dough softeners, so we'll hardly get those absolutely light and airy-kind of bread or buns. They are nonetheless, tasty and real stomach-fillers. Instead of fruit peels, I used sultanas. Best eaten straight out of the oven.

Instant Chocolate Mousse

Ack! Had to gulp down so much water just to rid the sweetness of this mousse! This recipe was from Nigella Express. A very good book and the recipes in there are truly for express cooks. I love cooking from there when I'm short of time or have limited supplies in the larder. While the upside with this book's recipes is food-on-the-table-in-a-jiffy, the downside is-quite a lot of the ingredients used are "instant" ie. processed, canned. Personally, I'm fine using such ingredients once in awhile because they're easily accessible and most of the the dirty work's done for you like pureed chestnuts, boiled and frozen peas, sponge fingers etc. But, they do tend to be artificially-flavoured, seasoned or sweetened. Which leads us to this Instant Chocolate Mousse. A packet of mini marshmallows (Kraft) was the main ingredient, hence no hand in controlling the sweetness level. I even used dark bitter chocolate with hope to balance out the marshmallow but it didn't help. Even Little Miss, who's got the sweet tooth, couldn't hack the sweetness...."it's like eating tablespoons of sugar and no chocolate taste at all mum!". Will need to have make-up Chocolate Mousse (made from cream) just to restore our love for this dessert.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Espresso Chocolate Cake

Prep and Cook Time 1hr 30mins (+cooling time)

250g butter, chopped
200g dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups strong coffee
2 cups caster sugar
1 1/2cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 tbsp Grand Marnier

1 Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan-forced). Grease and line a deep 25cm round cake pan.
2 Combine butter, chocolate and coffee in a medium saucepan over low heat; stir until chocolate has melted. Add the sugar; stir until dissolved. Remove from heat; transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in the combined flour and cocoa, then add the eggs and liqueur until combined.
3 Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour or until the surface of the cake is firm. Cool cake in pan.

AWW August 2011

Christmas Cupcakes

Err...a post that didn't get published then. No idea why...

MERRY CHRISTMAS, folks! I've finally completed the last round of Christmas baking for both clients, friends and families. Among the goodies I baked this Christmas were the Traditional English Rich Fruitcakes, Yule Logs, Gingerbread Men and Nigella's Christmas Cupcakes (and in cakes, as well). These very light, yet moist chocolate spice cakes are simply a pleasure to not only bake but to eat, too! I offered these for this year's Christmas booking besides the fruitcakes because they were more "healthier" among the holiday buffet spread. Last year was Mint-filled Brownie Cupcakes! I made them in cupcakes as well as cakes (see 2011 Christmas Bakes) - most as you've seen are fondant-covered. At home, I iced them with Crushed Candy Cane White Frosting and some minis in Crushed Candy Cane Chocolate Fudge. Kids loved them with the frostings (obviously...) and as usual in our household, I leave the other half of the cupcakes un-frosted just for us oldies. No less yummy.

Banana, Cherry & White-Chocolate Cupcakes

Another cake baked with "We have nothing for breakfast tomorrow morning!" in the mind. A fairly easy cupcake to do if you have all the ingredients in hand. I had 3 bananas and lots of white chocolate (I don't remember how I ended up with such a large packet of them when I personally hate white chocolate). Didn't have dried cherries, only glacé ones, so I replaced them with dried cranberries. The cranberries turned out to be the saving grace with these cupcakes.
    In case I haven't mentioned this before, white chocolate isn't chocolate. It's primarily cocoa butter, sugar and milk. No cocoa solids at all so it doesn't have any characterising ingredients of chocolate. Me & white chocolate = mortal enemies.
   Back to this cupcake - It was way too sweet. I should have had the foresight to reduce the fine sugar by at least 50gms because white chocolate is sweet, really sweet. The children actually asked about the chocolate in their cakes because they couldn't see nor taste them. Yes, it was banana-ish and the cranberries helped. Had it been cherries, it would have been harder to swallow. The tartness of cranberries helped. Do use the dried unsweetened ones and increase the volume if you're planning to bake this. Texture-wise, perfect. The sticky, goey mixture doesn't look promising in the pan but it bakes beautifully.


Wow! My last post was when?? I've got no other excuse but one word- hectic. Since the start of 2012, my days' been zooming past from one Space Mountain to another. The children increased their participation in school and yours truly end up being at the end of the logistics line. Not to say I haven't been baking or cooking, I have. Just didn't have the time snap pictures and write about it. Well, there were a couple of odd pictures but going through them awhile ago, I have no recollection where those recipes came from. At that time, I must have told myself that I should start documenting my other cookbooks, too. I also try out lots of recipes from food magazines...they are actually good resources because various chefs have their recipes featured in them. But yes, I'll be resuming this and will also be putting up full recipes from magazines or websites I've baked or cooked from. Not those from cookbooks though. I advocate supporting these writers/chefs by buying their books. I believe that we cooks ought to look out for each other and by owning just one or two very good books, you're set for great home-cooked meals in a jiffy!