Monday, April 25, 2011

my baking diary #30 pizza, #31 smoked duck crepe rolls and #31 no-bake cheesecakes!

after a short hiatus, i finally had time to do some baking - not the usual cakes or cookies, but some minimal baking to make sure my oven is still in a good, working condition :P

#30 Quick and Easy Pizza

my next visit the dentist is in mid-may, so i will get to have my usual bakes on most saturday morning when dear is working... had wanted to bake some oatmeal cookies, but dear requested for pizza... so pizza it is! and i did not even get to taste the pizza! dear finished it up on his own!!!


i prefer an 'hawaiian' style pizza topped with ham and pineapple chunks, but not dear.. so this time, the pizza is only ham and cheese... realised i forgot about the cheese in the morning, so a trip to the supermarket after having breakfast at the market near my place... being a supermarket in the market area (prime supermarket btw), it is rather small and hence, products they carry are rather limited... could not find my usual cheese, and was rather panicky till i set my eye on this block of kraft cheddar cheese! only solution, so i gotten a block and grate it myself...

there are recipes for doing the pizza crust - i tried a couple myself but thought it was too tedious to do it up from scratch (i am just plain lazy since i stopped baking for a while...) so i used a packet of Betty Crocker pizza crust premix! Read about this in a forum, and though a premix, still gives a diy feel to it...

Quick and Easy Pizza
1 packet Betty Crocker pizza crust premix
Pizza or Pasta sauce (i used the tomato pasta sauce)
Ham (and whatever toppings you want)

1. Mix the pizza crust premix with half cup hot water (not boiling water). I add in some mixed herbs into the mix for some flavoring (but not sure how the taste turn out since i did not get to eat it!)
2. Stir the mixture till dough is form. Leave it for 5 mins or so before you start working on it - this will make the dough much easier to handle
3. Flour surface and hands before kneading out the dough to desired size
4. Place dough in baking pan, top with pasta sauce, cheese and ham
5. Bake in preheated over for about 10 - 12 mins

Note that one packet of premix churns out about a 9" size thick pizza crust. I split the dough into 2 and hence made 2 smaller and thinner pizzas

I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #6: Say Cheese! (April 2011), hosted by Jean of Norms I Must

#31 Smoked Duck Crepe Rolls

next up on what i did over the weekend... smoked duck crepe rolls!

the more common one is Peking Duck rolls, which we usually see at most restaurant... hmm, price for some may be on the high side, so how often does one order this dish whenever we dine at restaurants...

this was first introduced by my colleague, C, when we had a popiah party in the office for J's farewell! Since its a popiah party, of course we had to had popiah and kueh pie tees... Wanting to provide more varieties, C suggested preparing some smoked duck which we can wrap with popiah skin...

the smoked duck provides an alternative to peking duck, and it's really quick to fix this up at home!

Smoked Duck Crepe Rolls

1 box of frozen smoked duck meat (note this is breast meat so no bones!)
1 packet of crepe
Sweet sauce (or hoi sin sauce)

1. Microwave the frozen smoked duck meat according to instructions on the box (alternatively, some supermarkets like NTUC does sell ready cooked duck meat at the deli section) and slice
2. Cut the crepe and zucchini into suitable size.
3. Apply some sweet sauce on the crepe, top it with the smoked duck slices and zucchini
4. Roll it up (and pop it into your mouth!)

a quick and easy dish to put together!

#32 Oreo and Mango no-bake cheesecake

set my mind to prepare this for aspiring bakers after the theme was announced since its a chesse theme this month! but only got around to doing this after a month!!

i got this recipe from Kraft, but modify it, especially the amount of sugar required.

Cheesecake (adapted mainly from Philadephia Peaches N Cream no bake Cheesecake)

Digestives biscuits and Oreo cookies (without the cream) - Amount largely dependent on how big your baking pan is and how thick you like the base to be
Butter, soften (i use moderate amount to make sure the biscuit mixture sticks together) 
Sugar, divided 
4 blocks Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
Dry Gelatin (i used Knox Gelation - see picture below)
Cubed Mangos
Whipped Topping, thawed

1. Crush or grind Digestives or Oreo cookies - i usually divide my recipe into half so i can do the cheesecake in two flavours
2. Mix crushed bisuits or oreo with some sugar and soften butter (note: you can refer to Kraft webby for the exact measurement, but i usually go with gut feel as i want to control the level of content in my cheesecake)
3. Press the mixture into pan and chill in the fridge while working on the cream cheese mixture
4. Mix soften cream cheese and sugar till well mixed
5. Mix in dry gelatin (i used about 2 - 3 pkts of gelatin for 4 blocks of cream cheese. and this gelatin does not require any water, can use as it is)
6. Stir in cubed mangos (or coarsely chopped oreo cookies or other fruits) and whipped topping and mix well
7. Scoop mixture into the chilled biscuit base and leave in fridge to set (for at least 4 hours or overnight)

this is the usual recipe i turn to when doing cheesecake... started on this way before i got my oven since this is a no bake cheesecake... have made a couple of varieties over my attempts - peach cheesecake or topped with blueberry fillings.... otherwise, keep it plain for an original taste!

I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #6: Say Cheese! (April 2011), hosted by Jean of Norms I Must

 i like this brand of gelatin - its fine enough to be used in the cream cheese mixture, without giving a 'sandy' taste... i tried using other gelatin mixed with water before, but did not like the texture of the cheesecake... so far, i only managed to locate this particular brand of dry gelatin at Sheng Siong.

sneaked a quick trip to Sun Lik today since i had some time to while away before a meeting at 4pm! got some sugar decos, so will be working on some cupcakes this weekend if possible

Monday, April 18, 2011

my baking diary #29 what did i 'baked' over the weekend?

usually, Saturdays are my baking days, as it's the weekend... however, these few saturdays were spent at the dentist instead... due to my wisdom teeth, it causes some decay to my molar... and now, i gotta do root canal to 'save' my molar... spent a bomb on it and had to experience pain and numbness. over a spread of 3 saturdays, i had about 6 - 7 injections into my left gum... sigh... finally, the root canal is done... a month from now, its a trip to the dentist again to do a crown for my molar...

so after spending the mornings at dentist, what else could i bake? a trip down to chinatown, and i found some pretty and lovely 'ingredients' for my 'bakes'... presenting my "strawberry and chocolate cupcakes" and "raspberry macarons"

i am into rings recently, especially 3D types of rings with cute cakes and all... was told by the shop staff that there will be more lovely cakes and sweets available, so i will be making a trip to chinatown again!

i would love to give these 'bakes' away (if anyone wants them in the first place) if you would like one, please email me your name and address details, so i can mail it to you...

i have 3 "strawberry" and 2 "chocolate" cupcakes and 3 "raspberry macarons" to be given away... you can indicate your preference over which you want, but i will allocate it based on first come first serve...

work is also getting busier this week coz M is on leave... though we have a new gal on board, but will need to give her time to adjust and pick up things... whenever i have time, i will log online to check out the blogs... but am being a silent reader for the time being...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

my baking diary #28 tri-flavoured melt in the mouth cookies

happy news... my colleague P is finally back from her 1 month mc... and the new girl is coming next Mon... the past 2 months have been tough...

bad news... M is going on her holiday for a week, so during this week, i will have to juggle between my work, covering some for M, and also have the new girl to shadow-study me (like what my boss said)... but i am glad things are settling well... the initial period when J left, along with all the rushed jobs, was really very stressful for me.. resutling in such a long cough... now i can finally take a breather, my cough is so much better...

had a sudden bout of sharp pain in my abdominal during the weekend, and went to the doc on monday... turned out to be a sort of infection... and my sugar level rather high from the test as well... doc was concerned, so i had to see him today to draw some blood for testing.... *praying hard things will be fine*

there are lots of things i wanna bake... cake pops, cheesecakes (for Aspiring Bakers), the oatmeal raisin cookies, cupcakes and more... but the problem is, i have no time!! had plans to meet K and D for lunch, hence squeeze in time last evening after work, and baked the 'melt in the mouth cookies' for them... after baking the plain and chocolate version the last time, i have been wanting to try baking it in green tea flavour...

so this time, i baked them in 3 flavours... plain, chocolate and green tea... from there, i mixed and matched them.... chocolate version gave a more overwhelming taste, hence, when put together with either plain or green tea version, only chocolate can be tasted... green tea on its own is not too bad...

Melt in the mouth cookies
125gms butter (can be salted or unsalted...)
40gms icing sugar
125gms potato starch
80gms plain flour (replace with 20gms cocoa powder + 66gms plain flour for chocolate version; 10gms green tea powder + 70gms plain flour for green tea version)

1. Beat butter and icing suger till fluffy and light in colour
2. Sift in potato starch, flour (and cocoa powder or green tea powder) and mix to form a dough
you can do the cookies in the size you like.. for me, the plain and 2-flavoured version are 1/2 tsp size, whereas the tri-flavoured ones are 1/3 tsp of each flavour and rolled together

3. Place the rolled doughs on baking paper and press lightly using a fork (dip the fork in water before pressing on the dough)
4. Bake the cookies at 150C for 20 minutes (don't have to wait till the cookies turn brown) and transfer to cooling rack to cool before storing them

i packed these cookies in the lovely heart-shaped containers... first saw Jasmine using these containers over at The Sweetylicious, and found them at Phoon Huat... Finally found a use for them... After packing them and bringing them to the office, lunch appointment was cancelled :( but at least it was a chance for me to bake... :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

my baking diary #27 vanilla and chocolate cupcakes

to make sure i remember what i learnt during the baking class, i tried baking the cupcakes today... i prefer to make a smaller version, hence i used the smaller cup cases...

these are the chocolate and vanilla cuppies, before they are frosted... the colour seems a shade darker because of the apricot glazing... not sure if its because of the different brands of butter used, i thought the shade of my vanilla batter was much lighter than what was achieved during the lesson... i'll try again using the same butter used in class and see if there's any difference... the chocolate one was all right - i bought the valrhona cocoa powder for this cuppies, instead of using the van houten one i had...

i made chocolate ganache last night, hoping to pipe some nice flowers for the cuppies... but guess its different working in a kitchen and working in the airconditioned classroom - the temperature sort of melt the chocolate ganache, making it difficult to pipe the frosting properly... if i use it straight out from the fridge, its too hard to pipe out :( but of course, the main problem is me! my piping skills sucks big time! haha... just gotta keep practising i guess...
anyway, i don't wanna present my cuppies with such ugly frostings, and seeing the chocolate ganache melting to a more liquid condition, what i did was basically spreading it on to the cuppies! and topping it up with the sugar decos etc... this turned out pretty well...

i will post up the recipe later, as i need to back-up my iphone and get it replaced due to some malfunctionings... and going to meet dear for our movie tonight <3

my baking diary #25 butter cookies, #26 chiffon cake and award!

Many thanks to Edith from Precious Moments and Nancy from Bake for a Queen who passed this lovey award to me... this is my first award! and it motivates me to bake more and keep up this interest of mine!

Here are the rules to abide for accepting this award :
1. Post linking back to the person that gave you the award.
2. Share 7 random things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered blogs.
4. Drop them a note and tell them about it

7 Random Things about Me...
1. I love 'My Melody' character from Sanrio, hence my blog name... Though a fan, i don't (and can't afford to) collect lots of MM stuff... But knowing my likes, friend and families usually get me MM related stuff for birthday, X'mas etc... :)

2. I move on from hobby to hobby rather fast! Reading is one of my hobbies which i never grow out of - i will tend to buy books whenever i step into Popular (now its recipe books!). Other interesting hobbies include collection (unopened) tissue packets with cute and pretty packaging, cute characters plasters (and i still have them though it way past their expiry dates!), and phone cards (those in sets) versus the boring stamps, coins etc (hope i don't offend any of the readers!). I still have these items with me though i am not adding any more into my existing collections... The most recent hobbies prior to baking was Gashapon (turning capsules and collecting those keychains, mini toys and whatever) and accessories making/beading... i am still doing accessories/beading stuff like figurines etc from time to time... I have this whole trolley of beading materials i bought (and they do cost me a bomb if you were to add up everything!) and lots of those japanese beading books... I tend to 'invest' alot whenever i pick up a particular hobby... The newest hobby? Yes, baking! Hope this will last (and i am guessing it will!)

3. Can i add on additional hobbies as another random item? Other hobbies includes paper crafts (i bought this set of alphabets and those cute puncher!), cross stitching, reading and collecting comics books etc... Basically, i am a 'craft-y' person... Hence, like to prepare handmade gifts for birthdays, X'mas etc...

4. I always have an interest in baking ever since home economics classes in secondary school, but the home oven at that time wasn't working, so no chance to bake... I am glad i can now get an oven and more baking tools now that i am financially independence (this explains why i feel that my baking hobby will last long)!

5. I like Harry Potter - both books and movies... I read the books countless times, and at least watch each of the movie at least twice (if not more!) and am looking foward to the last one which will be release in July 2011!

6. I love to shop online - clothes, cute stationaries, baking stuff etc...

7. I ran out of random items about me though i think there could be more (but i don't know what to write!)... If there is anything in particular you wanna know about me, ask me! Haha

I find it difficult to pass this award to 15 recently discovered blogs - most of the blogs i am following seems to have been awarded recently... and mainly, there are more than 15 blogs which i recently discovered and i am still discovering many more lovely blogs...

~above updated 4 Apr 2011~

following up with my last post, my boss came back from his business trip, which means more work for me (in terms of more meetings, appointments, etc)... hence, did not have time to bake after a long working day... was staying late in the office rather frequently, so even on weekends, i need to spend more time catching up on sleep, spending time with dear, getting errands run... so again, no time to bake... i could only read up on other blogs in between travelling from place to place, or when i have that little time during work... seen so many nice bakes, but i can't do any... and i totally missed the March Aspiring Bakers! Did not manage to submit any post for that! Will make it a point to do something for April Aspiring Bakers!!!

#25 Butter Cookies
last week, i baked continuously for 3 evenings, all for my dearest niece, YX's, 3rd birthday... i do feel kinda guilty for only making butter cookies for her party favour, when i made butter cookies and horlicks doggies for XH's 1st birthday... but i din have much of a choice, was too tied up with work... and although only butter cookies, i had to forgo at least 2 - 3 hours of sleeps for that 3 days to bake for her!

i used the butter cookie recipe from Cathy... it's really a breeze working with this recipe coz the dough does not require any chilling before you can cut it into your desired shapes, and does not stick to the rolling pin!

after doing it for 3 continuous day, i can almost memorize the process (coz i prepare and weigh all ingredients for 3 batches on day 1).

But as these cookies were for YX to bring to childcare for her schoolmates, i reduced the sugar level a little more, and also, i used those edible sugar decos to top the cookies...

90g Butter
75g sugar (i reduced this to 70gms)
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence (i used vanilla essence for 2 batches of cookies, and orange essence for 1 batch)
135g plain flour
45g corn flour

1. Cream the butter and sugar together for one minute.
2. Mix in egg yolk and vanilla essence (or orange essence).
3. Stir in plain flour & corn flour. Knead briefly.
4. Roll out the dough (i find that rolling between 2 sheets of baking paper is easier to handle the dough) to about 2-3mm thick and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.
5. Bake at 180°C for 15mins.
This recipe is definitely a keeper, and i will be doing it soon to try my new Rilakkuma cookie cutters!

#26 Rainbow Chiffon (again!)

yes, its rainbow chiffon again... i dun seem to get sick of this, and i found this rather easy to bake... hence, on a friday evening where i got to leave office early (erm, early in this case means leaving on the dot, able to catch company bus and reaching home before 7pm provided i dun spend too much time doing retail therapy at Phoon Huat!!)... so my mum asked me if i am baking tonite, my reply was "do you want to eat chiffon cake? if yes then i bake lor".. and with my mum's reply, here's the chiffon cake for breakfast tomorrow :)

You can get the recipe here, or the orginal here... it's up to your own to decide what colours go into the chiffon... for mine, i chose yellow, green, purple and pink... I bought mango and lychee flavours from Phoon Huat sometime back, and hence added some into the yellow and pink coloured portions... the mango fragrance was rather strong when i was mixing the batter, but after it came out from the oven, it was not as strong...

the top of the cake seem to sunk down - was this because i unmould it when it was not really cooled down yet? and also, i wonder why my chiffon doesn't have the brown crust around the cake which i seen on other blogs... anyone care to advise why?
and working with a bigger pan is much more difficult then the smaller one, hence the batter wasn't that even... but taste wise, still ok lah :)

work has been really stressful recently, like what i mentioned in my earlier post... hence, what's the best remedy to destress? Retail Therapy!! But recently, my retail therapy does not include clothes, shoes or bags... but instead, its all about baking, baking and more baking!!

these are the newly acquired stuff, tools, ingredients... which includes silicon mould - for madeleines, donuts and a silicon baking mat! i also got this thing for cookie cutters... haha, just can't resist buying cookie cutters - rilakkuma, princess tiara and a whole box of 100 cookies cutters which include shapes, alphabets etc... the lastest latest item acquired, is the I Love Macarons recipe book by Hisako Ogita! Tapped on Sis's order and got this from Flipping through the pages, the macarons are really cute and pretty... I am going to bake more butter cookies so as to get egg whites to do my macarons!!

i went to a baking class on monday with my friend, D. we got the voucher from sometime back in Feb for this baking class at Paisley & Cream for only 50 bucks! we had initially planned to go for the class in eary Mar, but due to my work commitment, could only attend the class during end-Mar.
During the class, we learned to bake vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, and do chocolate ganache and buttercream frosting... it was really fun decorating the cupcakes! So much fun that i decided to bake the cupcakes this weekend, and to make sure i really learned the techniques of baking as well! so, lookout for my next post ya!