Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Carrot Muffins

the one without pecan on top is for Phin Zhe

My mum used to make tasty and healthy carrot cake for me and now it is my turn to make for my son. :) I would not want to bake a whole cake on a working day morning, so I tweaked the recipe and changed it to muffin recipe.

I measured everything the night before(step 1 done and sugar in a separated bowl) and kept the grated carrot in fridge. This morning I just need to mix and bake. What a lovely morning with carrot cake fresh from the oven and a glass of homemade black soy milk.

I passed one to Phin Zhe's teacher. She has a cupcake project for the kids and they will bring the end products to old folks home. Before I could reach office, I received her watapps message saying that it is very delicious and feel like getting an oven to pick up baking. Please try the recipe and tell me that she is not trying to be polite. ;)

This recipe makes 8 muffins.

1 1/4 cups(150g) all-purpose flour(sifted twice)
1/2 cup(50g) chopped almonds/walnuts/pecans(I used walnuts)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups(195g) grated carrots
2/3 cup(68g) vegetable oil(I used grape seed oil)
1 cup(145g) brown sugar
(I used 75g only)
3 eggs
** I might further reduce the sugar to 70g because now Phin Zhe can finish one muffin on his own. I do not want him to develop a sweet tooth.**

1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon together. Set aside.
2. Whisk the eggs and sugar until mix well and sugar are almost melted.
3. Add in carrots, vegetable oil to the egg mixture and mix well.
4. Stir in flour mixture and mix well . Don’t over mix.
5. Scoop into cupcake liners and bake in preheated oven at 160’c for 15 to 20 minutes or until tester/toothpick comes out clean.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Purple Sweet Potatoes Buns

I have a bun recipe that I keep repeating almost every Sunday. The recipe makes 12 buns and I will normally make 6 with fillings or toppings, and make 6 plain to keep for Monday. Today I just want to finish up the left over purple sweet potatoes from yesterday mantou. I added 2 tsp brown sugar to the hot mashed sweet potatoes. Once cool down, they are ready to be used. I just love the way they are, organic and real. I can put as much fillings as I want, and they are not very sweet so I won't feel guilty eating them. :)

Purple Sweet Potatoes Mantou(Bread machine version)

To save time, I am trying to pass all the kneading and proofing job to my bread machine. My bread machine proofs bread in a temperature control environment, so the timing is more consistent. Since it is easier to make mantou with bread machine, now I have more time to shape the mantou. :) This post is just to record the measurement needed for bread machine.

300g unbleached flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp yeast
70g purple sweet potatoes
140ml water

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

orange sponge cake with greek yogurt frosting

One week before his birthday.
"Mami, I want to CELEBRATE my birthday in school."
I was stunned.
Actually last year when Phin Zhe was still in the infant care group, the nanny hinted me that I can celebrate his birthday in school with the youngest playgroup(He was the only baby back then). But I chose not to. I do not want him to feel left out, but at the same time I do not want him to feel too special. Being parents are not easy, huh? Now that he has been in playgroup for ½ a year and attended a few birthday celebrations, I am sure that is where the request came from. **sweat**

Ok, story finished. Since the kids are at the age of 2-3 years old, I opted to make cupcakes for them, less messy. I have few organic oranges from Australia, so it has to be orange sponge cupcakes(香橙海棉小蛋糕). It was a popular recipe among cooking bloggers for quite a while. You just have to google “orange sponge cupcakes” or “香橙海棉小蛋糕” and you will find many posts on it.

I doubled the recipe below and managed to make 20 cupcakes. The usual cupcake liners has coating that might leak into the cake. I made tulip liners with parchment paper, placed in cupcake tray, baked and transferred them into the beautiful cupcake liners. It was time consuming to make the tulip liners, but I did not want to feed the kids with toxic.

The next day when I was in the daycare, I used a spoon and placed a dollop of frosting on each cupcake and decorated with DIY cupcake toppers. Actually I could have put the frosting at home, but I am worried that it will get spoilt during the journey. As for the cupcake toppers, they are very easy to make and you could have your own customized and themed toppers. My son loves the big red dog, Clifford. So I printed out Clifford, Cleo, T-Bone, Mac and Emily Elizabeth pictures, cut into round shape and stick it on a bigger and harder round card. I used coffee straw to hold it on the cupcakes. Last step was just to place the cupcakes on the 3 layer tiers. Needless to say, the kids are fascinated with the cupcakes.

So, what is for 3 years old? We shall see. :)

Orange Sponge Cupcakes Recipe(Makes 10-12 cupcakes)
25g grape seed oil
35g freshly squeezed organic orange juice
3 organic eggs
55g organic brown sugar (The original recipe calls for 100g sugar. I have tried 70g and it was too sweet to my liking. Now I always use 55g sugar. Do not try to reduce further, else the cake texture will be dry.)
100g organic cake/low protein flour(sifted twice)
¼ sea salt
1 organic orange rind

1. Mix grape seed oil and orange juice together. Set aside.
2. Mix the cake flour with sea salt. Set aside.
3. Beat the egg(cold from fridge) and sugar until pale and thicken.
Tips1: I prefer to put the brown sugar at the center of the mixing bowl, then only add the egg, so the sugar won’t stick to the side.
Tip2: I beat with hand mixer at highest speed(speed 5) for 4 minutes, then medium speed(speed 3) for 2 minutes.
Tip3: If you use a better stand mixer, you will get better result. But I am satisfied with it for now.
Tip4: You need to beat until when you try to write a “8” with the batter, the “8” won’t disappear immediately. The picture below was not well taken but at least it shows the concept. :)
4. Add in the orange rind and 1/3 flour and mix well. Continue until all the flour has been added.
5. Add in orange juice mixture and mix well.
Tip5: Fold gently. Do not overmix.
6. Scoop into cupcake liners and bake at 160’c for 25 minutes.
Tip6: Every oven works different. You might want to adjust the temperature a bit.

Greek Yogurt Frosting Recipe:
1 tube of greek yogurt(strained for 6-12 hours to remove excess liquid)
30g unsalted butter
4-5tsp organic brown sugar

1. Melt butter and brown sugar in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Side aside and let it cool down a bit.
2. Stir in greek yogurt.
Tips6: Do not add the whole tube in. You might not need the whole tube, add until the consistency you like.
3. Put in refrigerator for overnight.

2 year old birthday cake(Cheddar Cheese Cake)

Time flies. Yesterday was Phin Zhe's two years old birthday. This year I decided to bake him a real cake. Last year I did a trick by just assembling a fruit cake(post here).

Since he is only two years old, I want the cake to be as healthy as possible. The cake can not use any unhealthy ingredients, so fondant or icing cake with artificial coloring or essense is definitely a big NO. I haven't introduced him chocolate yet, so I have to stay away from many tempting chocolate cake recipes for now. With so many restrictions, I started to google. Then one day I decided that I should bake him something with cheese since he loves cheese so much. But I don't want to use cream cheese. So, I continue to google...until I came upon Cheddar Cheese Cake recipe from Nasi Lemak Lover.

Last Saturday night after dinner, I started to make the cake. Knowing that the cake will take an hour to bake, so I wanted to speed things up. While I go ahead to beat the egg white, I assigned the egg yolks mixture job to Phin Zhe and his daddy. Phin Zhe was so excited and he did pretty well in combining the ingredients. Then I brought over the egg white mixture, folded in, mix well, pour into the baking pan and it is ready to be baked. I was so happy, partly because I got everything done in such a short time, but mainly it was because Phin Zhe has involved in the cake baking. He helped in his own birthday cake. Wasn’t it something cool and special? ;)

Ok, now on the cake texture and taste. We sang birthday song to Phin Zhe the next morning before we left for Bukit Merah’s Eco Park.  You could see that we did decorate the cake  a bit by placing a puppet on a bed of nuts and seeds, and we managed to surprise Phin Zhe. Well, it might be still too plain for a birthday cake. But it was definitely delectable, with a soft and moist texture.

I followed the recipe from Nasi Lemak Lover, with some minor tweaks to the ingredients. The biggest adjustment I have made was to reduce the sugar to half. The rest was just to make use of whatever is available in my kitchen.

Ingredients: (make 8x8 square pan)
120g Lye Cross Farm Organic Cheddar
100g Pure Harvest organic oat milk
100g Organic Times unsalted butter
7 organic egg yolks(cold from fridge)
7 organic egg whites(cold from fridge)
50g organic brown sugar
100g organic unbleached cake/low protein flour(sifted twice)

1. Melt butter and cheddar cheese in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally with a spatula.

2. Add in milk, and stir until mix well. Set aside and let it cool down a bit.

3. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with a manual whisk.  Add one spoon of the cheese mixture into the egg yolks and mix well. Continue until all the cheese mixture has been added.

4. Add 1/3 of the cake flour into the egg yolk mixture and mix well. Continue until all the cake flour has been added .

5. Preheat the oven to 150C with a water bath. I placed one tray of water at the lowest rack.

6. Grease and line the baking pan with unbleached parchment paper.

7. In another bowl, beat egg white till foamy. Gradually add in sugar and beat till stiff peaks. When it is done, the mixture won't fall even you turn the bowl upside down.

8. Gently fold in 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the cheese mixture and mix well with a spatula. Continue until all egg white mixture has been added.

9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the surface.

10. Bake the cake in the oven for 60 minutes at second rack. The cake is done if a cake tester come out clean.

11. Let cake sit inside the oven for 5mins with oven door ajar.

12. Remove cake from cake pan and let it cool on wire rack.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Taiwanese green onion savoury bun

Life is busy with a toddler around. But whenever I can squeeze out an hour or two, I like to try out new recipe. Today I tried to make taiwanese green onion savoury bun. I used the dinner roll recipe, form ball doughs and add green onion topping to it. I have made the bun recipe many times, so I know it will be soft and fluffy. But the green onion topping gave the plain bun a new and attractive look, wonderful smell and taste. Each of us took 2 buns and Phin Zhe took one for tea break. Daddy said he will finish the remaining two at night. :)

Green onion topping:
green onion
half egg
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Growing bean sprouts at home(using sprout bag)

I wanted to let Phin Zhe try bean sprouts but I did not feel comfortable with the growth hormones used in the commercial bean sprouts. A chinese article explained that bleaching agents, preservatives and growth hormones are widely used in growing bean sprouts. (read this)

After consulting Mr google, I figured out that there it is not that difficult to sprout beans at home. You can sprout them in a jar or in a colander.(read this) But as a full time working mum, I need to save every minute to do other stuffs. So I tried to google and see if there is any gadget that can help to ease the job. First i found the bean sprouter, then I found the sprout bag. And I decided to get the latter.

The sprout bag is designed to sprout beans or seeds the easiest way, just dip and hang twice a day! I put 4tbsp of organic mung bean in the bag and on the third day, I have half bag of bean sprout. Do note that naturally grown bean sprout will have longer root than the commercial bean sprout grown with chemicals. (check comparison image here)

My first plate of home grown bean sprouts, with some greens and mushroom.

Banana Steamed Cake(rice cooker version)

Thank you to Phin Zhe's daddy who helped to take care Phin Zhe last night so that I can try out the rice cooker version of banana steamed cake recipe. He read books to Phin Zhe and made him a paper boat with a man and his paddle(drinking straw). I heard them singing"Row row row your boat....." :)

This recipe is definitely a keeper. I had a few pieces even though it is meant for the next day. So the recipe is enough to feed 2 adults+1kid for one tea break and you can still quietly eat some when you cut and pack them. ;) I forgot to take the picture of the whole cake. Will definitely take one when I make this cake again.

Recipe adopted from everybodyeatswell and 亲子厨.乐.

160g organic unbleached flour and 1tsp aluminium free baking powder(mix well)
3 free range eggs
110g unsalted butter
60g brown sugar(original recipe is 110g sugar, you make your own judgement)
200g banana(over-riped and mashed)

1. Melt the butter and sugar in a big bowl. Mix well with a manual or electric whisk.
2. Add in eggs, beat lightly with manual or electric whisk.
3. Add in mashed banana, mix well.
4. Shift 1/3 of the flour mixture to the bowl and mix well. Repeat until all flour mixture has been added to the bowl.
5. Grease the inner pot of the rice cooker with some butter.
6. Pour the cake batter into the inner pot, press CAKE function.
**I am using Buffalo smart cooker, the cake function takes 45 minutes. If your rice cooker does not have CAKE function, you need to press the COOK again and again. The total cook time will vary from one rice cooker to another. It should be +/- 1hour.
7. Once it is done, remove the inner pot from the rice cooker. After a few minutes, flip the cake on a rack and allow it to cool down before cutting it.