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Sunday, 18 March 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies - a recipe vs a packet!

For those of you that follow this blog, you would know that I am not really a biscuit/cookie person. Sure, I love to eat them but I dont often have the patience to make them preferring to bake cakes anytime.

That is not to say that I have never baked cookies/biscuits. I have and I will continue to do so. My two darling kids love chocolate chip cookies and they love the ready-mix Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip cookies. I'm usually very against using ready-mixed anything but somehow the Betty Crocker ones turn out really well and are really very tasty. It's getting harder to find the Betty Crocker premixes here but we had two packets on hand not too long ago when some of Michael's friends came over for a school project.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Boozy Cheesy Cherry Cake

Many weeks ago - in January - one of our good friends, Elison, celebrated her birthday and we invited her over for dinner together with another good friend, Lynn. I've mentioned before that Eli is a great cook who also has very high standards so I'm always a bit nervous when baking a cake for her - especially her birthday cake!

The Lovely Wife suggested that I do something different instead of always going down the route of chocolate. I considered making her my Chocolate Trifle that she adores but then decided to try and dazzle her with something new.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Salmon with Cream Cheese rollups

I'm still very late and trying to play catch up! It's a good thing that I haven't been that busy in the kitchen so I don't have a whole lot of backlog as catching up is bad enough as it is!

So, what do you make for an appetiser when you have some smoked salmon in your fridge? I got a package of smoked salmon from my mom. Someone had given it to her and she thought I would put it to better use as well as enjoy it more. The Lovely Wife and the kids enjoyed one package with some Pasta I threw together and then I used the next package for this appetiser when Lynn and Ms Lor Siak Por came over for dinner back in January (Yes, I'm that Late! Late I tell you, Late! )

Ms LSP had heard about the Roast Pork I made for Christmas and 'demanded' that I make her the same. Now Ms LSP makes a wicked Roast Pork herself albeit the Chinese type (Siew Yoke) so I had to make sure that at least the appetiser would be something special. Smoked Salmon is always special in itself but when rolled with cream cheese and dill - ah, even more special!

This appetiser is really easy to do although the rolling can be a little cumbersome. Not that difficult really. This is what I did:

200g Smoked Salmon slices
125g Cream Cheese
75ml Whipping Cream
Two large handfulls Dill
Black Pepper
Whip Cheese till soft. Add in the whipping cream and continue beating till light and fluffy. Season with dill and black pepper. Spread the salmon with the cheese mix and then roll up. Cut into bit size pieces and place on a plate. Pipe in remaining cheese mixture into the salmon rollups till full. Place a caper on top. Sprinkle with more black pepper and keep in fridge till ready to serve.

Once cut, plated and sprinkled with pepper, the Salmon Rolls actually looked very presentable. They were bite size and very easy to eat and the creamy cheese offset the smoked saltiness of the Salmon.

As I said, a very easy yet delicious dessert and something that tastes as good as it looks!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Almond Choc Chip Chinese New Year Cake

I'm late
I'm late
For a very important date.
No time to say "Hello, Goodbye".
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late.

Yes, Late, Late, Late! Chinese New Year has come and gone and I'm only now posting about the cake I made for Ms Lor Siak Porfor Chinese New Year 2012!

Taking a cake over to Ms LSP's for her Chinese New Year parties has become something of a tradition. It's the least we can do since Ms LSP always feeds us with some awesome food! This year, I fell in love with her Abacus Yam dish. The dish is basically yam shaped into abacus like discs and then cooked with minced meat and all sorts of other stuff. I dont know how to make it nor what goes into the dish but is really yummy. You'll have to ask her how it's made but trust me when I say it's delicious.

I always feel I need to make something different to tantalise Ms LSP's taste buds. She is one person that I really enjoy baking for as she is honest and will tell you if the cake doesn't meet up to her expectations. She also doesn't ooh and ahh for the sake of oohing and aahing but will tell you what she really thinks.

So for this year, I decided I would make a Choc Chip Almond cake topped with my usual Chocolate Ganache. This being the year of the dragon I piped out a dragon on top of the cake.

No, I dont have good piping skills, what I did was to make a royal icing and pipe it over a printed out picture of a dragon. Then I carefully moved it over to the cake. Rather clever of me I thought!

For the cake, I flirted with the idea of making a blondie - the vanilla version of a Brownie. What I did was meld the method of a brownie with my butter cake recipe and this is what I came up with.

250g Butter
230g Brown Sugar
4 Eggs
230g Flour
2.5 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Vanilla
100g Choc Chips
100g Almonds (nibs or chopped)

Chocolate Ganache
150g Dark Chocolate
200ml Cream
Sugar to taste

Melt the butter and let cool. Beat in sugar. Add in eggs one at a time till creamy. Sift flour together with baking powder and fold into the mixture. Add in vanilla, nuts and choc chips. Mix well. Spread into a lined baking pan and bake in a preheated 170C oven for about 40 minutes or till done.

For the topping, heat the cream and then pour over the chocolate. Mix well and add sugar to taste. Allow to cool slightly then spread over top and sides of cake.

My kids reckoned that the dragon looked a little bit like a prawn but fortunately Ms LSP and her guests all knew it was a Dragon!

I think the cake turned out pretty well and Ms LSP gave me the thumbs up. Thanks for a great lunch Ms LSP and here's a belated wish to everyone for a Very Happy Chinese New Year! May the year of the Dragon bring you lots of peace, love and prosperity. Gong Xi Fa Cai!


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