Latest Eats, Cooks and Bakes

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Steamed Banana Cake


Happy New Year! Here's hoping for a good year of cooking and baking. To kick things off, this is the simple banana cake that I have made when I had a bunch of yellow, ripening bananas lying around. This is by far the best recipe that I have tried for banana cake - simple, uses little oil but still as moist and fluffy. I've cut down the amount of sugar and put in more bananas than recommended by the recipe, but the cakes still turned out fine, which was a relief. I was pushing it by including as much bananas as possible because the bananas are too ripe to be eaten. This recipe is certainly a keeper.


I've used some cute cupcake liners for the cake. Those liners has been living in the dark cupboard for awhile, it is time to break them out and make delicious cakes with it. I filled the cups 3/4 full, and some cakes came out split in the middle. Will reduce the batter next time so as to achieve the smooth dome shape cakes.
Steamed Banana Cake
adapted from Amanda
Ingredients
2 eggs
100 grams sugar (I used 70 grams)
2 ripe bananas, mashed (I used 5 medium bananas)
150 grams self-raising flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
75 grams oil (any flavourless oil)

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Direction
  1. Sift together self-raising flour and baking soda, set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar till ribbon stage.
  3. Mix in mashed bananas, beat until combine.
  4. Gently fold in flour mixture and oil, taking care not to deflate the eggs and sugar mixture.
  5. Pour batter into muffin pan, lined with muffin cups.
  6. Steam over high heat for 15 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cake



The Home Bakersorganised by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours are baking recipes from "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas. Finally, after choosing a recipe from the book sometime back, its my turn to host The Home Bakers! I've chosen to bake the Dark Chocolate Almond Cake (page 127), because J and I love chocolate and nuts, so it is likely that we will both enjoy this cake very much.



And we really loved it! The chocolate and the hazelnut was a wonderful combination, although I have to say, this is a very chocolaty cake. When I measured out the dark chocolate, I was amazed by the sheer amount of chocolate this caked called for, but it was all good. The cake was delicious and the inclusion of grounded nuts gives the cake a nuttier flavour and texture. I especially loved the soft center of the cake. However, for those who prefers dense and fudgey chocolate cake, this cake is not. This cake has a rather airy and crumbly exterior, with a moist and just slightly dense middle. In fact, it could be rather dry if its over-baked  as noted by other THB members.

The cake rose beautifully in the oven as well, thanks to the beaten egg whites. However, my semi sweet dark chocolate was too sweet even after I cut down the amount of sugar, so I've skipped the icing sugar dusting.



I initially had misgivings about baking this cake, as I was experiencing a streak of unsuccessful baking and was afraid this cake might turn out badly as well. I did three bakes for Martha Stewart last month, and two of them, one bowl chocolate cake and lemon parsley gougeres, failed. My Martha's chocolate cake tasted off and the lemon parsley gougeres flattened in the oven. Needless to say, it was all rather disheartening. This cake managed to make me feel better.

Dark-Chocolate Almond Cake
by Lou Seibert Pappas

Ingredients
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs, separated
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup (1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup)
2 tablespoons brewed coffee, Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, or rum
3/4 cup (3 ounces) finely ground almonds or toasted and skinned hazelnuts
6 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Makes one 9-inch cake; serves 12

Baking Temperature: 350F/180C
Baking Time: 35 minutes

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. In a double boiler over barely simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate and stir to blend. Let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy with a whisk or an electric mixer; add the salt and cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Add the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored, then beat in the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the coffee or spirits. Stir in the chocolate mixture until blended. Fold in one-third of the whites to lighten the mixture, then fold in the nuts, flour, and then the remaining whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted 1 1/2 inches from the center comes out clean (the center should still be soft). Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing the pan sides.
  6. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar shaken through a sieve, and cut into wedges to serve.



Chopped semisweet dark chocolate


Stiff peak egg whites


Finely ground hazelnuts


Do check out our fellow THB's rendition of Dark-Chocolate Almond Cake as well!




Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tomato, Scallion, and Cheddar Frittata


Ohmy! December 2012 is coming to an end! In a blink of an eye no less! I've been really busy, as I was tasked to organize Christmas gifts exchange in the office. We did it in a Secret Santa way, where the participants get to pick a name for the intended recipients of the gifts, and it was supposed to be anonymous, unless the gifter decided to let the recipient knows. I've also included a wishlist for the recipients to fill up, which makes gifting easier. In all, it was quite a fun session, especially for those colleagues whose wish comes true.


My desktop came back to work after the holiday break, which I attribute it to the miracle Christmas! Here's the photos of a brunch I made:- a tomato, scallion and cheddar frittata. I served them with bacon and the meal lasted me through dinner.


The frittata was a good mixture of tangy cheedar, hearty egg and a slight tartness from the grape tomatoes. I could imagine adding all sorts of vegetables to it, making it a more balance and healthy meal.
Tomato, Scallion, and Cheddar Frittata
by Martha Stewart

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (1 cup)
2 cups grape tomatoes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated cheddar (1 1/2 ounces)


Baking Temperature: 425F/220C
Baking Time: 10 - 13 minutes

Directions


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add scallions and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook about 5 minutes.
  2. Add eggs and cheese, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook, undisturbed, until edges are set, about 2 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until top of frittata is just set, 10 to 13 minutes.
  3. Invert or slide frittata onto a plate and cut into 6 wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook's Note
The frittata will appear to be mostly liquid on top when you transfer it to the oven, but as long as the edges are set, the eggs will finish cooking evenly.

This is another dish for Cook Like A Star December 2012 - Martha Stewart, hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids , Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and I, Riceball from lilnut.net.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Buttermilk Cornbread


Oh dear its Christmas Eve already! Merry Christmas to all of you who kind readers, and may you have a wonderful festive season! Speaking of that, this buttermilk cornbread from Martha Stewart makes a good turkey stuffing, although I had mine with soup.

We've had a wet and humid December so far, with rain almost every other day. Thankfully, our family's Christmas celebration is minimal. We are eating out, a simple luncheon in fact, which means no home cook and no cleaning, which also translates to no stress.

However, the my desktop decided to take a vacation as well, along with some of the photos taken for some planned blog post, and I pray that the desktop will be up and running after Christmas!




Buttermilk Cornbread
by Martha Stewart

Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups buttermilk

Baking Temperature: 425F/220C
Baking Time: 15 - 20 minutes

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush bottom and sides of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with 2 tablespoons butter.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk; whisk in remaining butter. Stir cornmeal mixture into buttermilk mixture just until moistened. (Do not overmix.)
Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool in pan at least 15 minutes before inverting and slicing.

This is another dish for Cook Like A Star December 2012 - Martha Stewart, hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids , Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and I, Riceball from lilnut.net.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Spaghetti with Bacon and Peas


This simple pasta dish, which basically is carbonara sans the egg is deliciously creamy and there's bacon in it. Everything taste good with bacon, so I believe this dish needs no further recommendation. I decided to also throw in an egg for a good measure, so I cooked spaghetti carbonara instead? Look at the color scheme: red, green and yellow. Reminds me of Christmas! Speaking of Christmas, have you guys started decorating and shopping yet? Any plans for the holiday?


Spaghetti with Bacon and Peas
adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
2 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
1 box (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed
1 cup half-and-half
18 ounces fresh angel-hair pasta

Directions
Set a large pot of salted water to boil. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain (leave fat in skillet).

Add shallots to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add peas and half-and-half; season with salt and pepper. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to combine, adding some reserved pasta water a little at a time to coat. Sprinkle with bacon, and serve immediately.

This is another dish for Cook Like A Star December 2012 - Martha Stewart, hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids , Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and I, Riceball from lilnut.net.


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms


Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms, recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart


I am glad to be able to spend time cooking Martha's recipe this December, and extremely glad to be co-hosting this month's Cook Like A Star. Many thanks for everyone's kind word and support, it was particularly encouraging. I will try my best!

No doubt, being the end of the year, everyone's busy with stuffs at work, busy preparing for the festivities and busy clearing their annual leaves. No such luck for me though, I've just started working! Speaking of that, I am really in need of speedy recipes that requires the least time for the working night dinners, and this chicken with tomatoes and mushroom fits the bill.  

Chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms, which is also a simplified version of chicken cacciatore, is a rustic stew cooked in a rich tomato mushroom sauce. Serve over rice or with a thick slice of crusty bread for a homely, satisfying meal. I had mine with warm fluffy rice, and it was comforting. Good for the days when there's not much time for cooking, because this cooked up very quickly as well. Mine is slightly sauce and could use some slow simmer to reduce the amount of liquid, but otherwise is fine. Also, I would think that some sugar will cut off the sourness of the tomato sauce. Do taste and adjust as necessary. 


Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms
by Martha Stewart

Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 1 1/2 pounds
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large (5-quart) saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high heat; swirl to coat bottom of pan. Cook chicken, turning when it easily releases from the pan, until golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add mushrooms; cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, and oregano. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until tomatoes have broken down, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan; cover, and cook until chicken is opaque throughout, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn chicken to coat with sauce, and serve. 





This is another dish for Cook Like A Star December 2012 - Martha Stewart, hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids , Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and I, Riceball from lilnut.net.


Saturday, December 01, 2012

Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Wow, look at that! We've reached the last, and no doubt, one of the best month of the year! Are you excited about Christmas and New Year, yet? I know I am, and I couldn't wait to be decorating for Christmas!

I am going to kick off December with an interestingly colourful and dish: chicken and avocado salsa, by Martha Stewart.


This is a very refreshing dish: the tangy lime, the luscious avocado and pungent onion complemented the otherwise dry and bland chicken breast nicely. I've used a generous helping Korean red pepper powder in place of the cayenne pepper, and the resultant vibrant red colour is very visually pleasing. The taste was wonderful as well, though I would prefer a different cut of more succulent meat.

Chicken with Avocado Salsa
by Martha Stewart

Ingredients
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (6 to 8 ounces each)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into chunks

Directions
  1. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne; rub all over chicken.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chicken, and cook until browned on the outside and opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice; set aside. Just before serving, fold avocado chunks into onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken topped with salsa.



Totally love the vibrant colour of this dish! This dish will go well with tortilla and a dollop of sour cream, though I had mine with rice, and it was pretty good as well.



Hello lovely bloggers!

Welcome to lilnut.net! I am proud to announce that, in this wonderful month of December,  Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids , Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and me, Riceball from lilnut.net will be co-hosting Cook Like Star December 2012. This month's celebrity of choice is - Martha Stewart!

I am sure most of us knows Martha Stewart. A successful multi-talented personality, Martha not only cooks, but is also an entertaining and home decorating guru, Coincidentally, its December, the month of celebration right now! I am sure Martha is taking Christmas by the storm with sumptuous food, Christmas decorations and festive entertaining ideas! Let our celebrations of Christmas and New Year Eve be filled with Martha's delicious recipes (and decorating ideas!).  Join us in our blog hop and let the fun begins!

To blog hop with us, simply make sure that:

(1) Your post must be a current post.

(2) Please mention Cook like a Star in your post and link back to Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and Riceball from Riceball Eats @ lilnut.net.

I am also sharing this dish with Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Traditional Steamed Sponge Cake


My Sundays are filled with domestic chores and time alone with my cat. The quality time spent with my cat are mostly of passive aggressive cat behaviour, which includes him evading from my pets and hugs, and him attempting to trip me by rubbing his neck all over my leg when I am trying to walk. Water supply is still rather erratic in my part of the city, which makes cooking difficult - I've been thawing and re-freezing the same raw chicken breast, giving up as soon as the kitchen tap refused to run.


Browsing through blogs, I thought of making something simple and fun, so I am choosing Sonia's 鸡蛋糕recipe, which consisted only 3 ingredients measured by bowls. Easy peasy. Added a touch of red dots for a touch of cheerful colour. I am curious though, is it normal for this steamed cake to be not perfectly domed, or did I make a mistake somewhere?



Ah Mah’s Traditional Steamed Sponge Cake 鸡蛋糕
(recipe source: adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover)
Ingredients
One bowl all purpose flour (140g)
One bowl egg (5 medium eggs)
One bowl sugar (240g)

Direction
1. Dry flour under hot sun for an hour (baked in the oven in the lowest heat for an hour).
2. Beat egg and sugar in a mixer over low speed for 2 minutes, increase to medium high speed and continue beat till double in volume (takes about 30 minutes), thick, creamy and passed “ribbon” stage. Change to low speed, beat for 1-2 minutes as to minimize the air bubbles.
3. Sift in flour, mix slowly with a spatula and combine well.
4. Pour the cake mixture into prepared 8” lined baking tin or bamboo steam tray, rest for 10mins.
5. Steam over high heat for about 15 minutes, and wait for 1 minute then only remove the cake.
6. Serve after slightly cool down.



I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #25 - Steaming Hot Cakes (November 2012) hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Lemon Ice Cubes


Lemon is my favourite fruit. I love the bright cheerful colour, the tart and sourish taste, and the zest of lemon is a wonderful cooking and baking ingredient. Probably the only tricky part for me is to use up the whole fruit all at once. So, making ice cubes out of lemon juice is a pretty neat idea. .

The only thing you'll need is the lemon/orange squeezing device and a pair of strong arms. The squeezing does get agonizing by the third or fourth lemon, but think of it as a good exercise to tone your arm.
Lemon Ice Cubes
Ingredients
8-12 lemons

Directions
  1. Squeeze lemon.
  2. Pick up the seeds. Strain pulp, if desired.
  3. Pour into ice cube tray.
  4. Freeze and use as necessary.

When life gives you lemons, make lemon ice cubes! Lemonades are so yesterday! Packed with vitamin C, it is a natural, preservative free vitamin C booster, and taste way better than the fizzy, chemical tasting, water soluble vitamin C tablets in the market (Redoxon, Cebion, etc). Mix 1 to 2 cubes into either water, honey or tea, and voila! Instantly refreshing lemon honey tea! Also nifty in cooking that requires lemon juice. Forget about the expensive, preservative laden, bottled lemon juice and substitute them with these.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Assam Chicken


This is one of my favourite savoury dish. The recipe was written on a piece of torn exercise book page, and the instructions seems to be something that is written from recalling the recipe on the spot, and promised something that comes from the mind of someone that cooked this dish over and over again without the need of a formal piece of recipe. The handwritting was my Aunt Sylvia's, and it certainly looked like a Nyonya style dish, with the use of candlenut and daun kesum in the dish. We love the pineapple that lends its wonderful tart and sweetness to the chicken dish. The daun kesum makes the dish even more fragrant. Goes best with white rice.


Assam Chicken
from Aunt Sylvia
Ingredients 
10 shallots
3 cloves garlic
2 inch turmeric 
10 dried chillies
1 tablespoon assam jawa
1 candlenut

1 small pineapple
2 pieces chicken breast/ 4-6 drumsticks
3 stalks daun kesum (laksa leaf)

Direction
  1. Blend the shallots, garlic, turmeric, dried chillies, assam jawa and candlenut to form a paste.
  2. Cut chicken into desired pieces and season with salt.
  3. Heat oil and saute the blended paste until fragrant. Add salt to taste.
  4. Add chickem and daun kesum. Mix well.
  5. Add pineapple. Cover and cook. The pineapple will release a lot of juice, so additional water is not necessary.
  6. As the chicken cooks, add assam juice to taste. Adjust taste as desired. 

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest (link to here, Melaka State hosted by Cindy of yummylittlecooks).

Thank you for all your visits. Although I was busy, I took the time to read your lovely comments and I am touched that I received an award from Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids. I am passing  this award along to some of my newfound blogger friends. You guys are the best!

Angeline from Angeline's Side of Story
Anuja from Simple Baking
Emily from Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray
Jeannie from Baking Diary
Joyce from Kitchen Flavours
Kelly from Kelly Siew Cooks
Lena from Frozen Wings
Louise from Months of Edible Celebration
Melonpan from My Little Japanese World
Mich from Piece of Cake

Thank you so much for your support! Cheers!



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