Light, easy and tasty purple yam custard. I know, this purple colour may seem artificial to you, but there was truly no colouring added! So if you like purple, or you’re on the purple diet, then here’s the recipe for you. What’s more is that it can be adapted with kobocha or something similar, and you can add whatever spices/flavourings you desire.
This recipe was originally intended to be used with kobocha, as it was given to me by a Japanese friend who made really delicious desserts. The texture is just like a creme caramel, without the richness. And if you leave in some chunks, then you can really taste the delicious purple yam.
Pictures to come.
On the westcoast, people seem to be especially green and ecofriendly. By this point, you have probably heard about the 100 mile diet, where people eat foods produced within a 100 mile radius of them. That’s right, folks… it’s possible! (Albeit a bit more pricey. I try to buy local, which allows foods to be packed with the utmost nutrients and saving on pollution from the transport by cutting down on the journey travelled.
The key to this is cooking seasonally. As it is blueberry season here, the blueberries came from an organic U-pick farm. Oh, how I love U-pick! It’s a smorgasboard of berry delights, and you can eat until your fingers and tongue turn blue while you’re getting the exercise from picking the berries. In addition to this, the eggs are from a local free-range chicken farm. This free-range thing is really not just a trend, as many civic establishments will only be allowed to use such eggs from now on. So this is my entry for the Earth Food Monthly Mingle.
While I didn’t source the flour and other ingredients from local sources, I know that it could have been done. Although I’m trying to incorporate slowly this local eating so that a practical balance can be achieved. But making a conscious effort to buy locally is my little way of reducing my footprint.
This coffee cake is the most addictive recipe ever! I must warn you, that once you’ve made it, you better have someone to share it with, or you might find yourself eating the whole thing unknowingly. Freeze the extras to be safe. It’s jam-packed full of antioxidant blueberry power, and with only a moderate amount of butter, so it’s well worth the baking effort.
<Gasp!> My namesake, the classic Easy-Bake oven of your childhood years, is being recalled. Apparently, those made between May 06-July 07 are a burn risk. So if you have one, then please return it. If you have an old one, then please be cautious when using it.
Ok, I think that I’ve done my last basic cake experimentation. My oven is asking me to make something else. Enjoy! I adapted this recipe from Lily’s recipe for Pandan Chiffon Cake. But since I don’t have pandan juice readily available in my pantry, I went with the ever so trendy matcha.
Taste: Today, I made a luxurious tasting coconut milk chiffon cake. The matcha provides antioxidants and a nice light taste. The coconut taste is barely noticeable. If you had not been told that there was coconut in it, you would not detect it. But it adds to the moisture of this cake.
Texture: Very soft and even moister than the Chinese sponge cake! Continue reading
So, I’m on the continuing quest to find a good cake recipe to act as a base for my celebration cakes. Today, I went with a recipe from a friend. Strangely enough, it comes from a baker from Safeway. But I’m assured that this wasn’t made for the store, but for his personal use. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Safeway baked goods. It’s just that they aren’t exactly known for Asian-style cakes).
Taste: This one is moist with a light crust on the outside. It is a Chinese-style sponge cake. It’s similar to what you would buy in a Chinese bakery, where they sell it as a paper-lined sponge cake and “gai dan goh”. Or in a Chinese fresh fruit cream cake. If you wish, you can add some vanilla for a nice fragrance. But I generally leave it out if it will be in a filled cake.
Texture: Definitely sliceable when cool. The texture is just a bit drier than the hot milk sponge cake, which makes it more sliceable. But as you can see, the crumb is also very fine. There are a few tricks to getting the crumb this way. It doesn’t work for me everytime. But when the egg whites are just beaten in the right way, they will produce this nice crumb. It stays moist when well wrapped in plastic wrap or a cake case. Let me know if you would like to know how I beat the meringue. Although it’s a pretty forgiving recipe.
Coming off the delicious high of the chocolate lava cake and cookies, I wanted to make something low fat. So I opted for a simple cake. The hot milk sponge cake is nice and easy because it doesn’t require you to beat the egg white and yolks separately. I believe that this changes the crumb of the cake a bit. Compared to the chiffon cake, this cake has a very fine and even crumb with no opportunity for large air bubbles.
For this recipe, I adjusted a hot milk sponge cake recipe I found on RecipeZaar. I used directions from Alice Medrich’s hot milk sponge cake because her sponge cake is the best I’ve ever made. It retains its moistness days later and freezes very well. However, there are many egg yolds and more fat in that I recipe and I wanted to see if I could cut down on that.
Taste: The aroma was nice and it was definitely delectable. For my tastes, it was a tad on the sweet side. So I think that I would cut back on the sugar to 1/3 cup and see if it still tasted sweet enough. I will try to cut down on the baking powder to 1/4-1/2tsp. I think that this might have affected the depth of the flavour, so I would adjust this before increasing the butter a bit.
Texture: It was very very soft and moist. I really liked the fine crumb of this compared to the chiffon cake. So I think that I would prefer to make this to the chiffon cake because the crumb is more beautiful. Sorry, but the picture doesn’t do it justice. The compromise is in the height of the cake, as it is not as high as the chiffon. But this cake will also give more consistent results, and there is not as much room for error in the folding. Continue reading
Something nice and cool that doesn’t require an oven. In this mini-heat wave that we’re having here, temperatures are supposed to go up to 37C inland! Crazy! Not wanting to turn on the oven, I made this cooling water chestnut cake. Nice, crunchy and sweet, it’s the perfect treat to cool off (if you’re like me, and don’t have an ice cream maker that is.)
Result: It’s kinda like a slice of jello, but a bit chewier and less sweet. The crunch of the ample chestnuts gives just the right crunch and sweetness. And if you believe in TCM, then water chestnuts have a cooling effect on the internal body as well. So you get a therapeutic bonus!
So, it was bound to happen. I was happily going on my baking ways, when this horribly ugly cake came about. I was practising a new recipe, as I’ll be having a baking potluck with a few close friends. They really like lava cake, so I decided for a trial run. But yuck, it did not work. Basically, I whisked a whole egg with some salt, sugar and vanilla. Then I folded in some melted dark chocolate and butter, followed by the tiniest smidgeon of flour.
I had hid a bit of white chocolate in the batter to melt and ooze out. But the result was that the chocolate sunk to the bottom. (Not enough flour perhaps?) And the white chocolate did not really melt, while the dark chocolate was still quite raw. The whole concoction tasted quite eggy. The plus side was that it was a small recipe and it didn’t take too much of my time or my beautiful chocolate. In the garbage you go! And I’m just disheartened enough to try again… 🙂
(I’m not including the recipe for obvious reasons.)
Fresh bread is one of my guiltiest pleasures ever. Luckily, there are quite a few bakeries in town that cater to my needs. An example of this is King’s Bakery (on No. 3 Rd in Richmond, in the heart of the RAV construction zone). It is not your run of the mill Chinese bakery, but instead there have many inventive buns with a twist to them. On this visit, I had their Sticky Taro bread.
It had a very soft and moist texture. The top was decorated with fine strings of crispy material, dotted with dough, and dusted in powdered sugar. The first bite gave way to the melting powdered sugar on the tongue. This beast was larger than my palm, and at $1.50, it was a steal. The inside was similar to a mochi with a sweet taro paste filling. Purple and white deliciousness. This sparked my need to bake something equally delectable, so I decided on a savoury pizza pretzel.
I had intended to make a pretzel, but as you can see from the pictures, they came out looking more like buns than pretzels. But they were nonetheless tasty. And better yet, they’re fa-free pizza pretzels! The dough was so soft that kneading could be done lickety split. As it was coming together, I felt that the dough called for way too much water. So you could cut back on this or you will definitely need to increase the amount of flour at your discretion because it will toughen the dough. I think that I’ll need to rework this part a bit. As you can see in the picture, there were some large holes in the texture. I think that I need to add a second rise to this before reshaping to minimize this. Also, boiling the dough longer seemed to toughen the crust, but give it more of a golden brown colour. This won’t be too important if you’re adding a pizza topping onto it. But it will become more apparent if you only put sea salt on it. Watch these like a hawk in the oven. You definitely don’t want to overcook them or they won’t be soft. And you must use a Silpat, as they have no oil in the dough, so the parchment paper stuck like nobody’s business.
Results: The bread tasted so good warm out of the oven. The crust was thin and toasty, while the inside was warm and soft. The plain salt topping really did taste like a pretzel, but oh so much more luxurious. The pizza topping won hands down though because everyone loves pizza! The next day, the insides were still soft, but the edges were no longer crusty. So this can be saved by lightly toasting it.