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Coconut and cranberries loaf cake

One of my first successes in making a loaf cake! It really paid to attend the baking course earlier this year @ Palate Sensations in Singapore. The chef/instructor was really good, very willing to share little tips and tricks. I can’t remember her name, I am ashamed to admit.

This is a recipe modified from Waitrose (UK) supermarket food magazine, but I now know what steps are needed to make these kinds of cake.

Recipe:
Makes 1 regular loaf

Ingredients:
175g unsalted butter – take out from fridge and let it warm up to room temperature
175g caster sugar
175g self raising flour
3 medium eggs
80 to 90g dessicated coconut
Dried cranberries (original recipe called for 150g fresh raspberries – roughly torn)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius. Lightly grease a loaf tin and line with baking paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar till pale and creamy.
3. Whilst still beating, add eggs one at a time. Ensure that each addition in fully incorporated before adding the next. If the mixture separates, add a tablespoon of flour and continue to beat.
4. When all the eggs have been incorporated, turn off the beater. Add the flour and foil till just combined.
5. Add the dessicated coconut and cranberries, foil to combine.
6. Pour batter into the prepared loaf tin. Tap the tin firmly on the kitchen top to remove any large air bubbles.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 55- 65 minutes. After around 40 minutes, check that top is not too browned. Cover with a piece of foil to prevent the top from burning.
8. When baked, remove from the tin and allow the cake to cool before serving.

My friends liked it and I have to say, I liked it very much!

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Orange Chiffon Cake

Another chiffon cake…I am still only 90% there, not yet got the perfect chiffon cake but I am very happy with this.

Original recipe from Wendyinkk.

Ingredients:
4 medium egg yolks
100g sugar – will reduce to 80g
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Orange zest from 2 oranges
115ml fresh orange juice
75ml corn oil (or vegetable oil)

4 egg whites
90g sugar

Method:
1. Beat egg yolks with the oil, orange juice and sugar.
2. Sift the flour with baking powder, and add to egg yolk.
3. Stir till well combined
4. Add orange zest and combine.

5. Beat egg whites at low speed till foamy.
6. Increase speed and add sugar in 3 intervals.
7. Beat till stiff peaks formed.

8. Add 1/4 of egg whites to the egg yolk batter and mix.
9. Repeat step 8.
10. Add the mixed batter to the remaining egg whites and fold till all combined.
11. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 175oC for about 45min.
Cover the cake with aluminium fold if the top starts to get too brown.

 

Looks good, soft and fluffy but I think it could do with another 5 min. I find it too sweet so in future I will reduce the amount of sugar.

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Grilled pork loin with apple sauce

Late post of dinner from 2 weeks ago, prepared without planning or preparation. The result was pretty satisfying, the pork turned out very soft and tasty.

Ingredients:
2 pieces of pork loin
Fresh sage leaves (about 10) chopped (half for the apple sauce)
salt and pepper to taste
lemon zest from half a lemon

Apple sauce:
3 granny smith green apples, cored and cubed.
1 tablespoon of demerera sugar
cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of water

Method:
1. Place pork loin in baking tray, sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Sprinkle over 1/2 of chopped sage and the lemon zest.

2. Set oven temperature to 180deg C and place tray in the upper section of oven. Grill till the surface of the pork starts to brown lightly.
3. Remove from oven and turn the pork to the other side.
4. COntinue to grill until the pork is a light brown colour.

To make the apple sauce:
1. Place the chopped apples in a saucepan. Add the sugar and water and bring to a boil, giving the apples a good mix.
2. sprinkle cinnamon powder according to your taste and add the remaining chopped sage.
3. Let the apples simmer until soft, about 8 – 10 minutes.
4. Transfer to a food processor and pulse for a few times.

Serve the pork loin with the applesauce and preferred side vegetables!

20170507_20012520170507_20372620170507_203146

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Lemon Chiffon Cake

Finally, I made a proper soft fluffy chiffon cake! I hope this will be beginning of numerous successful chiffon cakes. This was actually the 2nd attempt of the day…

Please click here for the original blogger and recipe. My measurements are all estimates as my weighing scale only goes up in 25g intervals…

Makes: 1 x  17cm chiffon cake

Ingredients:

2 egg yolks (I used 50g eggs with shells)
30g vegetable oil (or sunflower/corn oil)
15g freshly squeezed lemon juice
lemon zest (1/4 teaspoon)
35g cake flour

Meringue:
Egg whites from the above 2 eggs
30g caster sugar

Method:

Preheat oven to 170 deg C.

1. In a big bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the oil till well mixed. I used a balloon whisk.
2. Add the lemon juice and whisk, then add the zest.
3. Add the cake flour and fold. Do not overwork the flour.

To make the meringue:
1. Beat the egg whites using a hand-held electric beater at low speed till foamy.
2. Whilst still beating, add the sugar in 3 batches.
3. Increase to high speed and beat till stiff peaks form.

4. Scoop 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk batter and fold using balloon whisk. Ensure all meringue are folded in.
5. Use a spatula to gather all the batter from the sides of the bowl and transfer to the 2/3 of meringue.
6. Fold using the balloon whisk.
7. Transfer to a chiffon cake tin. Bang the tin hard on the kitchen top 3 times to remove large air bubbles.
8. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30min. If the top gets too brown, cover with aluminium foil or tray for the last 10 minutes.

lemon chiffon cake_06May2017

lemon chiffon cake_06May2017-1

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Chunky vegetables and cannellini beans soup

Part of my welcome home dinner for my bf. My original plan was to make Italian minestrone but I didn;t realise that in minestrone the vegetables are really really soft and the beans almost mashed. So I decided to call mine ‘chunky soup’ instead of minestrone.

Makes: 4 portions

Ingredients:

3 medium carrots – chopped
2 courgettes – chopped
a large handful of kale – remove the hard stalks, roughly chop
1 onion – chopped
2- 3 small stalks of fresh thyme
A can of cannellini beans – drained and rinsed 2 – 3 times with fresh water
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
1. Heat about 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a big saucepan. Add the thyme and fry for a couple of minutes to release the fragrance.
2. Add the onions and fry over medium heat until the onions soften.
3. Add the carrots and stir to coat. Let the carrots and onions cook for 8 – 10 min.
4. Add the courgettes and enough water to cover the vegetables. Cook over low heat for 5 min.
5. Add the kale and continue to cook till the vegetables are soft. I reduced the heat to low heat and cooked for about 45min. Remove the stalks from the thyme now before the next step.
6. Blend half of the soup with a food processor and then add it back to the soup.
7. Add the beans.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook at low heat for another 15 – 20min.

I served this with some homemade ciabatta. It was a very nourishing and warm late night dinner dish.

chunky vegetable cannellini bean soup

 

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Lemon cranberry scones

Makes: 8 regular scones

Ingredients:
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp Baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

100g butter
1/4 cup caster sugar – this was halved from the original recipe but could be further reduced a little as the cranberries are sweetened.

1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp Baking soda
juice and finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon – top up with milk to 1/6 cup
1 small egg – full

1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 deg Celsius.
2. In a large mixing flour, put together the flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Cut the cold butter into cubes and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
4. In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream with baking soda. Stir to mix well.
5. Add all the wet ingredients to the flour/butter mixture. Work into a rough dough.
6. Add in the cranberries and continue to incorporate all the ingredients into the dough but try not to work the dough too much.
7. Take a small portion and shape into a disc about 1 inch thick.
8. Repeat for all the dough – I got about 8 discs.
9. For the glaze: mix 1 Tbsp milk with 1 Tbsp water, and brush the surface of the scone.
10. Bake in the middle shelf for 18 – 20 min.

P1040085

Very delicious scones with mild smell and taste of lemons, just a little sweet and crumbly too. They were actually made by my bf, I was instructing at the side!

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Condensed milk raisin bread

I’ve had some sweet condensed milk leftover since January and have been trying to use them up before they get moldy so today, as it is Saturday and I have the house to myself, I thought I’ll make some bread.

Ingredients:

1 cup boiled water cooled to lukewarm
2 tsp instant dry yeast
1/2 cup sweet condensed milk
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups strong bread flour

2 large handfuls of raisin, soaked in water.

For glazing:
1 Tbsp milk + 1 Tbsp water

Method:
1. In a large mixing bowl, mix water and yeast and stir. Add in the condensed milk, butter and salt. Stir well to mix.

2. Add in 2 cups of flour and stir until all the flour has been incorporated into liquid to form a sticky dough. Slowly add in the remaining flour and stir till it is not possible to stir. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured clean surface and knead vigorously. Once all the flour is kneaded together and the dough no longer sticky, I separated them into 2 smaller dough portions as it is easier to knead. Alternating between the 2 dough, knead each portion vigorously. Add more flour if needed.

3. Knead until the dough are smooth and elastic. Put together and knead a few more times.

4. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl with vegetable oil. Place the dough in the bowl. Ensure to turn the dough over so that the entire dough is oiled. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place.

5. When the dough has almost doubled in size, punch down and knead again for a few minutes. Drain the raisins and add the raisins to the dough. Divide into smaller portions (I divided into 4) and knead, then place in a non-sticky baking tray. Leave the dough to rise again till about 1.5x the original size.

6. Brush with milk/water and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180degCel for 45 min.
7. When ready, remove from the baking tray and tap the bottom of the bread to check that it is cooked. (if tapping produces a hollow sound, the bread is cooked).
8. Leave the bread to cool inverted on a wire rack.