Friday, 31 December 2010

Sausage Scones

I went to the library the other day to return some due books, which the kids borrowed earlier. I told myself that I was not going to borrow any more just because I hate the inconvenience of having to return them (very lazy me).

But the urge was just so great that yes, I went in & borrowed fairy books for my daughter and Dr Seuss for my son. Since the library was having a double quota borrowing promotion I went to the cookery books section to see what else I could borrow. I wasn't looking for anything particular but somehow the "Scones" book caught my attention.

So I was browsing through my newly-borrowed book at home and same thing, my dear daughter would flick the pages as well. Now something interests her - Sausage Scones. And she told me she'd like to make them.

I had this morning free and a quick check of ingredients showed that we had everything we needed. We proceeded with 'Ufairah's first project. It turned out successful, with me helping her to gather & knead the dough, she rolled it with sausage & sealed it. Most importantly she liked what she prepared.

Here's sharing a mother-daughter project:

Sausage Scones (adapted from "Scones" by Genevieve Knights)

200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
50g butter (cold)
1 tblsp mild or hot English mustard
100-120ml milk
4 small frankfurters (we used chicken sausage)

Preheat the oven to 220C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Rub in the butter until the texture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Separately whisk together the mustard and milk. Add most of the milk & mustard mixture to the dry mix. With a fork, stir to combine. If mixture is too dry to come together, add the remaining milk.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough together. Roll the dough out to a 30cm x 20cm rectangle. Place the dough on the workbench so the 20cm width is in front of you. Slice dough into 4 even pieces across the width. Place a frankfurter at the edge of a dough rectangle and brush the farthest edge with a little water. Roll up tightly then press lightly to secure. Repeat the process with the other frankfurters. Slice the rolls into 5 even pieces each and place them onto the baking tray. Bake about 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

Makes 20.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Chocolate Crinkles

As mentioned last week, another chewy cookie recipe would be posted after Christmas. So here I am, with a recipe at hand.

I was browsing through my recipe book for a Christmas giveaway and almost couldn't decide on a dessert as a "Thank You" gift for a repeat customer. Again, I decided to pack some cookies (I gave away Fruits & Nuts Biscotti for Aidilfitri).

There were a few which I've shortlisted - Thumbprints, Vanilla Biscuits and Shortbread. In the end I decided to go with Chocolate Crinkles, simply because they are unique. Balls of dough are to be fully-coated into icing sugar just before they were baked. With cracked tops, the icing sugar are spread out and you'll get cookies that have a crunchy exterior and a moist centre.

Chocolate Crinkles

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups sugar (I used 1 cup which worked just fine)
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup icing sugar

1. Using an electric mixer, combine oil and sugar.

2. Mix in the eggs and vanilla essence.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Gradually add to the liquid mixture and mix until just combined.

4. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour or until firm (a must-do).

5. Preheat oven to 170C-180C and line baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

6. Shape the dough into balls (I used 2 teaspoons to shape the dough). Roll them in the icing sugar, coating them completely.

7. Place the balls on the lined baking sheets, spacing them apart (cookies will spread out).

8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and cracked on top. The cookies should look undone and be soft in the centre. The internal heat will cook them while they cool down. This will keep them crisp on the outside and moist & chewy on the inside.

9. Leave cookies in baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them onto wire rack to cool completely.

Yields about 80 pieces (small / medium size).

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Goodies for Christmas

The days before Christmas were pretty packed with preparations for goodies ordered from my ex-colleagues and ex-schoolmate.

As I'd be working alone and juggling between appointments, I had started planning my baking schedule as soon as I received the requests.

These were the goodies I did for Christmas eve:

3 sets of Brownie Cups for Dilah & Charis

Chocolate Hazelnut CheeseCups & Tiramisu for Azra

Strawberry Cheese Tart & Quiche for Azra

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

When you have lots of blueberries, you make.....

Blueberry Pie, of course!

Since I'd bought two punnets of fresh blueberries from Giant's a couple of days ago, I was pressured by DH to make something different from my usual range of desserts & goodies. (I was thinking of making scones, really).

So the very first thing that he came up with was baked Blueberry Pie. He had been asking me to bake this a few times before and I kept putting it off. I'd always felt intimidated making a full pie (with the shell) because making pie pastry wasn't my best at all. I've tried different recipes but it was always the technique that failed me.

Well since the fresh blueberries were bought at such a good deal, I felt it would be an injustice to leave the berries in the fridge (to dry up) without giving this recipe a shot. So I was subconsciously pushed to try making the pastry again.

I wouldn't say that it turned out perfectly this time, but it was slightly better. There is still room for improvement, though.

What mattered was DH loved it!

sistabrownie's homemade Blueberry Pie

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Casual weekend

It was a 'family-errand' Saturday, as we went from one place to another to get some things done before school reopens. Starting in Tampines, we went to Funan and then finally Bras Basah Popular store for some stationery. I've grown to like that branch as they have complete stationery for everything. Plus lots of other stationery stores too.

With a 20% discount coupon in hand, I browsed through the fiction section to check on my latest novel collection - Sophie Kinsella's "Mini Shopaholic". And yes, it's already in stock! I almost missed it at the shelf.

As I was still busy planning my bakes for this upcoming Christmas orders, I hadn't start on my new book much as I wanted to. Sunday afternoon was spent at the supermarket getting more stuff for my orders too. And I chanced upon a really great deal, an irresistible deal.

Fresh blueberries going for only $1.95 per punnet of 125g! How great a deal was that? But I didn't need blueberries for any of my orders. Well  just because they were on offer, I bought them. So I'd better make something with them.

For dinner we went to 89.7 Supper Club @ Changi Village again. This time we ordered one-dish meal for everyone - Fish & Chips, Mee Goreng, Seafood Fried Rice, Kampung Fried Rice, Sweet & Sour Chicken wz rice, Beef Hor Fun and Satay.

I would say they didn't have the best of everything under one roof. Some of the dishes we ordered were tasty while others were not so. For instance, the peanut sauce for satay. It was tasty & flavourful but a bit runny & a tad too oily.

I was so tempted to try their Dim Sum, but it wouldn't be a good idea. Especially since we were already so full. So next time I shall.  

Friday, 17 December 2010

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

After a week of delay, here's the Chewy Chocolate Cookies recipe.

A rather easy recipe for anyone to follow, this recipe does not use butter but vegetable oil instead. So what you get at the end of your bakes would be cookies with crunchy edges and chewy and cake-like texture in the centre.

For these cookies I did not use the usual chocolate chips but coarsely-chopped + button chocolates, as I anticipated that the chips would 'disappear' in the dough.

So here it is:

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

2 eggs
1 1/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence (slightly more would still be fine)
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (any of your favourite)
3/4 cup raisins (I prefer to put slightly more)
1 cup coarsely chopped chocolates (semisweet / white)

1. Beat eggs, sugar and essence with electric mixer until mixture becomes lighter in colour.

2. Stir in sifted dry ingredients until well-mixed.

3. Pour in the vegetable oil & continue to mix (by this time mixture will look sticky and soft). Cover the mixing bowl & refrigerate for at least 1 hr or more.

4. Preheat oven to 170C (depends on your oven). Grease oven trays.

5. Roll heaped tablespoons of mixture into balls, place on trays 6cm apart, flatten into rounds. (Don't worry if you flatten it through as the dough will puff up during baking).

6. Bake about 10 mins or until browned lightly (mine took 10mins per tray). Stand cookies on trays 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Yields about 36 cookies.
Tip: You may like to add some orange rind for that extra aroma & taste.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Votes are in

So the votes are in - 66% prefers Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies; 44% Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Thanks for those who voted. I'd expected the result will be vice versa. Anyways, the Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe will be posted soon, when I return from my short trip.

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

My favourite food haunt - Bedok Corner

I've been wanting to blog about this place for a long time but every time I was there, I forgot about everything else and gorged on my food as soon as they arrived. See, I even imply the food as "they" and not "it". So you guessed, whenever I was there, I'd start ordering quite a spread. Surprisingly, we always ended up finishing our food. Bedok Corner - the first time I was there it was pre-renovation during my dating days (ehem!). Hubby introduced me to the place which wasn't any close to what it is today.

I was there again yesterday. Before we even left the house I'd started salivating about the, by far, tastiest Halal Carrot Cake (black sauce). Why do I rave so much about Bedok Corner's Carrot Cake? Because the taste is consistent each time I ordered. Unlike other food joints, where the taste of the Carrot Cake differed when different cook prepared the dish, this one never disappoints me. But alas, the stall was closed! (Big sigh!) Anyway, the Carrot Cake stall is No.2, just next to the soya bean stall, which by the way serves good soya milk; not too sweet.

Next is the Tahu Telur at stall No. 5. I haven't tasted a lot of other Tahu Telur so I shall not compare. But do try this Tahu Telur when you're there. You wouldn't be disappointed. It's served with black shrimp paste sauce, which was not too spicy. Even my son loves it. (Don't mind the pic. Again I attacked it before remembering to snap a pic).

We ordered Sup Kambing from stall No.26 and Mee Hongkong from stall No.28. Unfortunately the latter was a disappointment. Although the serving was a lot, it tasted too much of garlic. That totally put me off because of the pungent smell. I also ordered Nasi Goreng Ayam from the same stall. Apart from the generous chicken portion, the rice was almost tasteless. Even hubby commented that the cook might have forgotten to add salt. This might be a one-off case, because I've seen quite a number of people ordering from this same stall on other days. But for me, I wouldn't come back. There's another stall selling good Nasi Ayam / Nasi Ayam Penyet but I didn't take note of the stall number. It's near to the restroom exit. I noticed it was quite popular with patrons.

Since it was a weekday, it wasn't crowded. So I managed to list some of the food stalls I'd go to at Bedok Corner:

Stall No.1 - Soya Bean Milk (Variety, not too sweet)
Stall No.2 - Carrot Cake (@ $3/plate. Go for the black sauce)
Stall No.5 - Tahu Telur
Stall No.12 - Pisang & Cempedak Goreng (Variety, all kinds of banana. The lopes is nice too)
Stall No.13 - Juice (I get my Avocado Juice here)
Stall No.25 - Mee Kuah Upeh (this is their specialty probably because it is served in upeh. Spicy. Sup Kambing is not bad too)
Stall No.31 - Hot / Cold Chng Tng (Die Die Must Try! Generously served)

Since I didn't get my Carrot Cake fix, I'd be sure to make a comeback soon!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Crunchy or Chewy? poll

I am currently running an online poll - "Crunchy or Chewy?" to find out people's preference on cookies, especially Chocolate Chip ones.

I have scanned through some chocolate chip cookie recipes and 'shortlisted' the good ones to try. In fact some chewy chocolate chip cookies are really tasty. But I guess the majority have always been 'fed' with crunchy ones that they might classify chewy ones as cookies-that-have become-soft-over time.

Anyways, the final result of this poll will determine which Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I will be sharing here. Of course before I post the recipe, be assured that it had been tested and tasted. The criteria that I always look for in a recipe are whether the ingredients are readily available and that it does not require much time in preparation.

So I shall be updating the result in 1 weeks' time. Stay tuned.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Homemade pizza

Since I was out and about, I bought the necessary stuff to make homemade pizza for the kids. This would be my 'virgin' project.

I didn't use store-bought pasta sauce for the base, instead it was Mum's recipe. She called it the "sweet-sour sauce". I recalled in my youth (I still am at heart heh!), my mum would make at least three or four big pizzas just for us (me & brothers) to indulge. Her sauce, to me, was a good homemade one. So for me to accomplish that same taste, based on my childhood, was tricky. I hope I nailed it anyway.

Among the three kids, of course it was my daughter who never fail to step into the kitchen to see what I was up to and would try to 'help' in just any way. So I prepared all the ingredients & toppings for her to do her business.

I didn't bother much with the topping like mushrooms, onions, olives & fresh tomatoes because I know the kids would start segregating the vege even before they started eating. This was simplicity at its best.

About to go into the oven

I did the honour of putting the mozzarella (which I bought at an offer at Sheng Shiong - 2 packs in 1).
Fresh & hot

And it's good to eat, especially since the pizza came out at the right time when it was just starting to rain. I cut one pizza into 4 pieces and was taking one after another before I realized that I'd actually eaten a whole pizza. Goodness me haha!