Friday, April 13, 2012

Ultimate sinful moist chocolate brownie!

I've never liked brownies.. not till I had the most FABULOUSLY MOIST warm cherry chocolate fudge brownie at fergburger bakery in queenstown, new zealand last november!

All the brownies that I've tried before have been dry and tastes like saw-dust in my throat (><||).. And they usually mask this problem by serving it with ice-cream! So I've never bothered with brownies!

Anyways, since my trip to nz, I've been on a fervent pursuit for the best moist brownie like the warm cherry chocolate fudge brownie I had there. And I believe I have found a really spectacular brownie recipe! This easy recipe is aptly named the ULTIMATE chocolate brownie. It really is that outstanding! Even big pig who's 15, made this sucessfully on his own! (^^)

Ultimate chocolate brownie.. with raspberries (recipe from vivian nzfavouriterecipe)

320g butter, melted
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
7 eggs
3 cups sugar ( I used 2 cups, anything more than 2 1/4 cups would be excruciatingly sweet!)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 - 2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
Frozen/fresh raspberries (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 160C.

2. Beat cocoa into melted butter.

3. Add eggs, sugar and vanilla and whiz with electric mixer for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is almost double in volume.

4. Mix in chocolate chips.

5. Add sifted flour and baking powder into mixture till well combined.

6. Pour into lined baking tin (recipe would fit into a 24x34cm rectangle dish).

7. If using raspberries, dot them evenly on top of mixture, gently pushing them just under the surface. Oh, don't feel pressured to add raspberries.. it is after all, a very pricey fruit in the tropics (^^). Believe me, this tastes as good without raspberries! 

8. Bake for 1 hour.

9. Enjoy warm or cold..

I did say this is an easy bake, right (^^). And wouldn't you agree that this IS the ULTIMATE SINFUL bake, using 7 eggs and 3 cups of sugar! (^^||) That's what we (baby and me) thought when we first made this recipe.

Anyways, this brownie has a really nice crust on top.. even at 2 cups of sugar. I remember the first time we baked this recipe with raspberries and all, but sugar reduced to 2 1/2 cups, there were complaints all round that it was too excruciatingly sweet! Imagine if I had gone all the way! Yikes! We have baked this using 2 1/4 cups, and I feel that the sweetness level is pretty ok, but pushing down to 2 cups is what I am most comfortable with (^^). I don't recommend cutting the sugar further in case you don't get the crusty top.

This really is a the ultimate moist brownie enjoyed by all! (^^)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Yummy-licious blueberry cheese tart

This is a really delish tart.. well, anything with cheese just cannot go wrong, in my opinion! (^^)

And everyone loves blueberry cheese tart, seriously.. there's no one I know who is not a convert after trying this. Young or old, everyone I know loves this! 

It's so costly to buy from the shops, and there's not much blueberry filling in them too.. so every reason to make your own! And it's really quite an easy recipe to make. Well the only "difficulty" is it can get a little tiring (and time consuming) to make the tart shells.. however with a bit of practise, it gets easier (^^).. really. 

Blueberry cheese tart (recipe from Agnes Chang)

Tart shells
125g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
1 egg
250g plain flour, sifted

250g cream cheese
30g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
1 egg
30g plain flour
250g blueberry filling

1. Tart shells: Cream butter, sugar till light. Add egg and mix well. Fold in flour to form a dough. Rest 15 minutes. Roll out and press out pastry into tart moulds. Prick pastry with fork and bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes.

2. Filling: Beat cream cheese, butter and sugar till light. Add egg and mix till creamy. Fold in flour till well combined. Spoon some blueberry filling into baked tart shells and cover with cream cheese filling. To decorate, put a teeny weeny bit of blueberry filling on top and make a few swirls with a bamboo skewer.

3. Bake at 180C for 15 minutes. 

If you are short of time and patience, you can cheat by buying ready-made tart shells from baking supplies shops (^^||). However I feel the ones made from scratch tastes much better (^^).

Today, I used ready-made tart shells as I have some sitting in the fridge for 2 months (><).. and I'm running short of time to bake something for a potluck party (^^||). Well, the tart shells were okay, but the filling was amazing! Together, the tarts were super-licious (^^)!  

Since I had some extra filling and no more tart shells, I put them into cupcake cases and baked them at 180C for 25 minutes. Do layer some blueberry filling between the cream cheese filling. Big pig likes it like this, without the crust (^^).

I think blueberry and cream cheese is really a match made in heaven! It's the yummiest combination ever!

All my piggies and fatty hubby loves this! Friends too!

So yummy.. we love! love! love!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easy spicy tangy baked salmon

Another cheat's dinner (^^)! As usual, an all-in-one meal, my way (^^)! Baked spicy tangy salmon with ladies fingers/okra.

This dish does not require much preparation except making sure you've defrosted your fish if it's kept in the freezer ^^. When you are ready to cook (?), just mix up a paste of 1 tbsp ready-mix tom yam paste, 3 tbsp gochugaru/chili flakes, some grated ginger, 1 tsp minced garlic, 3 sliced shallots, a dash of oil (sesame) and salt to season fish. No pounding or blending required. No need to marinade either. Yes, I'm that lazy! (^^.) You can actually make a paste out of whatever ingredients you fancy.. there's no right or wrong about this.

I put the salmon on top of the okra, wrapped in aluminium foil at 200C for 40-45 minutes. Make sure the foil is well sealed by folding the edges twice carefully. A covered foil actually works like a steam bake, so you will end up with really juicy moist fish. I really like this simple, sit-back-and-relax dish, where the natural sweetness of fish and veggies really shines through. This is an easy, healthy combo for dinner, don't you think? (^^)  

Hubby and I really enjoyed this simple and healthy meal (^^)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My first.. and unsuccessful baguette!

You can call a baguette by any other name.. french loaf.. anything.. it would still smell as sweet (^^)!

I really really like crusty bread.. ok, I love bread. Period.

Anyways, I tried King Arthur Flour Classic Baguette recipe last weekend. The kind that uses a starter. I wasn't sure I should post this, but after thinking about it.. well, I am an amateur after all.. I have my "disaster" moments.. many many, in fact (^^). Still, this could work for you, as it did others. You can check out the recipe through its website king arthur flour and blog here. I think the step by step with lots of pictures is very helpful.

However, this is a very very time consuming bake. And not a successful attempt for me. I didn't get the dough right.. it was too wet (on hindsight, I now know ^^, don't we always learn from mistakes). And the bread turned out quite flat, not puffed up as it should. However, the exterior was beautifully crusty and the holes were quite baguette like.. taste-wise, a tad doughy and  a little under-cooked (><).

Anyways, this is a way way too time consuming bake! So I won't be attempting this recipe ever again. Guess if you have the time and is a very very patient person, you can do this. Well, on to another recipe! (^^)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cheat's bak kut teh

I'm getting really good.. at cheating dinners! (^^)

And this is how you do it.. just make soup.. one that comes with prepacked ingredients! How easy can this get, right? Anybody can make bak kut teh.. with a prepacked mix. All you need to have is meat, garlic, canned mushrooms (optional), soy sauce, dark soy sauce and salt to season (^^). Put everything into boiling water and boil for at least 1-1 1/2 hours. So easy, right?

This is my first time making bkt, and I chose this brand, Mo Sang Kor from Klang. Previously, I bought a cordyceps soup mix of the same brand, which turned out quite well, after I took out the herbal pouch, of course (^^). Anyways it's me.. it's not a problem with the herbs/brand. I just don't take to strong herbal stuff that well. 

So how did the bkt turn out? Absolutely superb! The soup was nicely robust and full of flavor! Just the way piggies and I like it. Oops, did I mention I used only half the ingredients in the pack.. and the usual garlic (less too) instead of black (?) garlic.. and I used slightly less meat than recommended.. Actually, I was afraid that the soup might taste too strong of herbs if I used the full mix. Anyways, this really worked out well.. I have the perfect soup! (^^) And I still have ingredients to make another batch of soup!

And to balance the meal, I stir-fried spinach with 3 pips of garlic and seasoned with a bit of salt. I recommend the use of a good quality ceramic non-stick wok or pan (consider Neoflam), so that you don't have to use a lot of oil for stir-fries or cooking.. I really think that's important. Look at how beautiful and green the veggies turned out.. minus the oil (^^). And this, coming from a not-so-good cook..

I really enjoyed today's dinner. A teeny-weeny (??) bit more effort than usual.. but really fantastic result (^^)!

A robustly perfect soup enjoyed by all, baby pig included!