coffee kick

This morning I got to attend an espresso coffee making class that came with my espresso machine which I got recently as a present. It was quite interesting though I've learned most of the grinding and tamping techniques from the DVD that came with my machine too, I was only really interested in the milk texturing aspect of the class. I think I've got it just about right but it's all about practice now.

I just got inspired to make something caffeine infused which I was then prompted to browse for some coffee baked goodies. I came across Su's recipe for coffee and walnut streusel topping muffin and it was perfect. I changed the proportions and measurements just a touch which I've included here.

Coffee and Walnut Streusel Muffin

Muffin batter:
1/2 cup less 1 tbs butter
1/2 cup less 2 tbs brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp favourite coffee powder
1 tbs hot water
1 cup self-raising flour
1/3 milk (I used soy milk to no ill effect)

Streusel topping:
1 tbs butter
2 tbs brown sugar
1/2 cup crushed toasted walnuts
2 tbs plain flour

1. Mix the streusel topping ingredients till they resemble coarse lumped sand. Set aside.
2. Cream butter and sugar. Mix in egg till well incorporated.
3. Mix the coffee powder and hot water in a cup and stir into the batter.

4. Alternate the flour and milk additions into the batter till you get a smooth consistency.
5. Divide the batter into 6 muffin moulds/tin lined with paper cases and cap the batter off with the streusel topping.
6. Bake in preheated oven at 180 C for 25 minutes till well risen and golden brown.

The coffee flavour was a good kick, very soft and moist cake, and not too strong which contrasted very well with the crunchy sweet walnut streusel topping.

honey, i blew up the cookie!

No, that is not an exaggeration. Well maybe a little but it is still the biggest cookie I've ever made. The site I got the recipe from is Clumbsy Cookie. I never thought of using yeast in cookies before but this made a believer out of me and it was one of the best cookies I ever made. It's perfectly crunchy and crisp outer shell and soft chewy center is the most perfect type of cookie I love and have finally found the magic ingredient. I altered the measurements slightly from the original recipe and my cookies are a lot flatter than the original had intended, but no less yummy!

Large Yeast Leavened Chocolate Chip Cookies

6 tbs butter
5 tbs brown sugar
5 tbs caster sugar

1 egg
8 tbs bread flour (I used plain flour to no ill effects)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp instant yeast

2/3 dark chocolate chips
1/3 toasted chopped walnuts

1. Cream butter and both sugars till fluffy.
2. Add egg and salt and mix together till incorporated thoroughly.
3. Mix the flour and yeast in a separate bowl till well incorporated.
4. Mix the flour with the batter mixture and stir well till no streaks of flour is visible.
5. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. The dough should be neither sticky nor dry.
6. Divide the dough into four medium-large mounds on the grease paper. Keep them sort of raggedy and not too well rounded. You want them kind of rustic looking.

7. Bake in preheated oven at 190 C for 10 minutes then lower the temp to 180 C and bake for a further 10 minutes.
8. Cool on sheets for about 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.


Restaurant Wars
Episode 11 Season 4

I am angry. Sad, bummed, disappointed and in his own words, bitter. VERY.

It's the end of the road for the fiery tempered and super talented Dale Talde in the Top Chef trip and I will miss him. Le sigh. He was doing so well and produced very consistent food in lieu of some recent occasions but then even I had to cringe at the sound of butterscotch miso scallops and groan at his lack of knowledge or inexperience with a traditional Asian cuisine like laksa. I love my curry laksa rich, super spicy and assam laksa tangy with a slight sour taste from the lime but Lisa's laksa just looked bad and unappetizing with very thin and watery looking soup. Spike was smart to stay out of the kitchen to take care of front of house and let the battle of exec chef Dale and sous chef Lisa war out for the last time.

To make the whole situation for Dale as bad as it could get, Anthony Bourdain, was the guest head judge of the Restaurant Wars episode and I was literally cringing with delight when it came to him seeing 'Mai Buddha' in the kitchen. Like who else but Tony could be the harshest critic of Asian cuisine especially when it is well known that he loves Asian food. It was just not Dale's night to shine when he very well could have shown his skills except that his attitude got the better of him combined with some bad decisions made and sloppy execution, which all just led to his eventual downfall. He did not deal with the stress well enough and everything just crashed and burn right before him in the end.

With that said, I hope he's still doing well at Buddakan but now I've only got two of the remaining top three people whom I really wanted to see at the finals battle it out for the grand prize. I hope Stephanie and Richard at least make it to the final two and kick those other non-deserving cheftestants' asses out. And they know who they are. And to cap Dale's farewell off, the dude cried in the exit interview. All the walls are breaking down to reveal a soft squishy inside which is not such a bad thing after all.

For a better composed, well rounded opinion and written review of this episode and past ones, these sites are great and awesome.

in my time of knead

It's the return of the no-knead dough! I found a different recipe this time round which uses olive oil instead of honey.

The recipe is from Bake or Break which I halved the original and got three personal sized pizzas and about a dozen savoury buns with a meaty tomato, onion and garlic, mince beef filling.

It's a pretty hefty yield and I will definitely make it again as well. This dough actually came together better than the honey dough one and was a lot easier to shape it and work with it too.

The pizza toppings were the same mince beef used in the buns, thinly sliced onions, fresh rosemary, and grated parmesan cheese. Of course, everyone has their own taste and favourite topping that can be substituted or opted for when making a pizza.

old favourites

Time to break out those old favourites and indulge. I was craving for some crumble and had some peaches in the fridge which were going to be wasted if not I used them soon so I plucked out an old fave recipe for crumbles from this site and it was delicious and so scrumptious, whether hot from the oven or chilled the day after.

Another favourite and winter warmer treat of mine is an old fashioned chocolate chip oatmeal and coconut brownie.

I decided to try a new recipe from this article and it was great! Very chocolatey yet you don't feel like you've indulged too much because of the oats and coconut which imparted a delicate sweetness.

thrice the charm

It's a muffin, biscuit and chocolate triple threat tonight.

First, is an eggless and butter and margarine free vegan muffin recipe with bananas, coconut and maple syrup in it. Well, in my case, I substituted the maple with honey but the results are just as wonderful and delicious. I feel healthier already just thinking about it. Definitely a repeat performance and it's from this site, which actually originally is a loaf but I altered it for my own convenience.

I've been wanting to try out a shortbread biscuit or cookie recipe for the longest time and found this one. It was very crunchy and quite delicate. Liked it a lot as a tea time snack and a midnight one too.

Lastly, I tried my hand at these delectable looking cinnamon chocolate squares recipe from Baking Bites which I've kept in my bookmarks for quite while but just hadn't gotten to it yet. I have to say I am glad that I did finally, because they were so sinful and luscious but in a very, very good way.


Making bread has always been the bane of my baking skills. I tried it twice before to little success. So after my previous attempt at the yeasted coffee cake, I became more confident and so decided to try the talked about no knead bread recipe.

Sounded simple enough. Just mix the ingredients together and stick it in the refrigerator overnight or for up to 4 days and use as you like. The links are from Tartelette and Steamy Kitchen. I was pretty satisfied with how all the bread came out and will definitely make it again. Only because my instant yeast packets are about the expire soon.

The dough came together well enough and really did double in size after one night of rising. It was a bit sticky but with just a little bit of flouring and shaping it was easy and soft and supple to work with.

I made these little brioche type mini buns in the morning with four different fillings in each.

From left to right; cinnamon, chocolate spread, chocolate chips, hazelnut honey spread.

They were all quite lovely though perhaps a bit too plain on its own. I think it would have gone well with more butter slathered on top and toasted too.

Then we've got an improvised version of the seductively guilty and fattening cinnamon rolls slathered with caramel pecan sauce and filled with buttery caramel goodness. Mine is a more chocolatey or Nutella and coconut version and without the sauce at the base. I wasn't able to photograph the steps along the way as I went about making it as my hands were sticky and floury as I rolled, spread, and arranged the cut out rolls in the jelly pan.

I shaped the dough into as much the same way as how a cinnamon roll would be formed. It was a bit sticky and fussy to get the dough the proper length and width as I wanted but I managed to in the end after a bit of wrestling. After about half an hour in a 200 C oven the results came out smelling great and looked almost as good as any cinnamon rolls out in the shopping malls.

All I need now is an excuse to indulge in some hot chocolate and sinful butter melting on top of some warm rolls. Breakfast is going to be delightful. Mmm.

chocolate coconut banana bread

I think the title speaks for itself already, doesn't it? Try saying that five times fast.

So the recipe is actually a Karen Martini one which I found from this site. The pictures looked too good to pass over and I had some really ripe and black bananas to use up as well.

The results did not disappoint and I had to control myself before scarfing down the whole lot when I made it for brunch this morning. It was moist and tender and bursting with great banana flavour which was matched perfectly with the chocolate and coconut. I used my newly purchased silicone pan which is actually more suited for bar cookies or brownies. They still came out great and tasted awesome. Will definitely make these again.

going green

I recently got some green tea or matcha powder from an Asian grocery store and decided to experiment with some green tea or matcha cupcakes. The recipe is actually a very easy and basic sponge cake recipe from Jamie Oliver's Cook with Jamie. I halved the original recipe to make six blooming green cupcakes without any additions like nuts or chips. Feel free to add chocolate chips or walnuts or even top it off with cream cheese icing. This link is a really cute recipe for green tea cupcakes as well. The cupcakes were full of green tea flavour and makes a great tea time snack with some milk tea or coffee.

Green Tea or Matcha Cupcakes

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup raw or caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1 cup self-raising flour
1 heaping tbsp green tea or matcha powder
1/2 - 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips, roasted walnuts, almonds (optional)

1. Cream butter and sugar till pale and fluffy.
2. Mix eggs one at a time till well incorporated. Add vanilla if using at this stage too.
3. Mix in the flour and matcha powder till well mixed and no traces of flour or green tea powder is seen. Mix in any additions you like.
4. Spoon the green batter onto prepared 12 muffin tins and pop into preheated oven of 180 degrees C. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tester comes out almost clean.