Friday, October 31, 2008

I need to cool down

First, it's fever. Then, comes the cough and sore throat. I tried to search for blogs that share recipes or any home remedies. With no satisfactory results, I made a pot of chrysanthemum tea learnt from Noobcook. Serious. I even need to look for reference to make such a simple chrysanthemum tea. I'm really clueless in cooking. This website is great and has a lot of easy recipes. Promise to learn some simple dishes and post here ok.

I couldn't find soups that helps to soothe coughs. So I made some lemon honey. Juice of 1 lemon + 1 cup hot water + honey to taste. At least, I get a boost of vitamin C and soothe the throat. Anyone has remedies for cough?

Anyway, I'm into baking sponge cakes nowadays. Tried to make green tea cake roll and spread with azuki beans and whipping cream. The cake roll cracked, not much surprise, I knew I can't make cake rolls. :( No choice, I turned it into a layer cake like this.

The other sponge cake I made is a strawberry sponge cake (recipe from HHB). Love its texture - soft and spongy, and it remains soft on the next day.

No chocolates and heaty stuff for me now. I'll see what I can bake.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Making fruit enzymes

Not baking. So I will post up something that my mum is very into recently:
Making fruit enzymes (水果酵素).

We have heard of the health benefits for taking fruit enzymes. Enzymes are important for our digestive system and when our body does not produce enough enzymes, we can't absorb the nutrients from the food that we eat.

It is easy to make enzymes at home.
1. Just prepare a glass container that is very clean and dry. Be careful! Any grease/water will spoil the whole jar!
2. Wash and dry the fruits. Cut into small pieces. Make sure they are very dry!
3. Put a layer of fruits, followed by a layer of rock sugar (we used 冰片糖), repeat until the jar is about 3/4 full. Make sure the top layer is sugar.
4. Seal the jar and leave it in a dry and cool place to ferment.
5. On the 3rd or 4th day, shake the jar to mix the fruits and sugar evenly. Open to release some gases. Remember to close the jar.
6. Enzyme should be ready to be consumed in 2-3 weeks time, depending on the fruit.
7. Filter the fruit from liquid. Store the liquid enzyme in a new glass bottle. Must be clean and dry too!
8. Keep in the refrigerator and drink it within 1 month.
9. If you are making many batches (like my mother), paste a note of the date of making and date of completion on the jar.
10. Drink daily and amount according to your weight (reference from a book). E.g. if you weigh 60kg, then drink 60ml a day, 30kg - 30ml a day.

Here are some enzymes that are ready to be consumed. More coming... :)

Pomegranate enzyme

Mixed fruits enzyme (apples, grapes, lemons and kiwi fruit)

Roselle enzyme

I like the Roselle enzyme the best. It tastes almost the same as Ribena. Very nice to drink.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Easy Honey Cupcakes

Do you know that honey is the the only food in the world that does not spoil?

I remember I read it somewhere and it is quite amazing to know that it can be kept for thousands of years! As for the science behind it, you might want to find out for yourself and let me know, hehe! I think it's a good project for children to do some little research about their favourite food. :)

Anyway, back to baking. :) One day, last week, I was feeling hungry and couldn't find anything good to fill my stomach at home. So, I decided to make this Honey Cupcakes from 孟老师的100道小蛋糕. It looks pretty easy. The only problem is I have a phobia for making sponge cakes that requires me to beat up eggs and sugar first, then fold in flour and oil/butter. I remembered deflating it when I first started baking and since then, I hardly make any sponge cakes, if you have noticed.

Still, I call this an easy recipe, cos I only take 30 minutes to make these cupcakes (including weighing and washing). Fastest record for me! Wasn't very sure if I had beaten the batter to the right stage. But at least, I did not deflate the mixture this time and the cupcakes remains soft and spongy. Not too bad! :)

Easy Honey Cupcakes (From 孟老师的100道小蛋糕)

20g oil
30g honey
2 eggs
20g sugar
50g cake flour
1/4 tsp baking powder

1. Place oil and honey in a bowl and heat up the mixture by placing the bowl in hot water. Mix well using a spoon and set aside.
2. Beat eggs and sugar using a mixer. Gradually increase the speed to high and beat till mixture turns creamy white and when the whisk is lifted up, the trail does not disappear immediately. Reduce to slow speed and beat for another 1 minute.
3. Sift in cake flour and baking powder and add in honey and oil mixture in step 1. Mix gently until smooth.
4. Fill into cupcake cases until 8/10 full, rest in room temperature for about 5 minutes.
5. Bake in preheated oven at 180 deg C for 15-20 minutes. (Bake at a higher shelf or use a lower heat for the bottom heat cos the honey can cause the base to burn easily.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Red Bean Buns

It has been quite some time since I baked breads and buns. I have been putting it off as the thought of handling stubborn sticky dough keeps me away from it. And I don't want to leave it in a bread machine to bake too. And more excuses like making ice creams and cakes and muffins, which are easier for me to handle.

Making breads is no easy task for me. So far, none of the breads really satisfy me. I still think there's something lacking, I couldn't get very very soft breads just like those bought from the bakeries. Could it be because bakeries use additives which made the breads softer? But I guess it is most probably due to my bad skills in kneading the bread. Though with the help of a bread machine, the dough still comes out sticky and I have no idea how to knead it to the right stage.

But with a 不服输 attitude (refuse to admit losing), I made the Red Bean Buns from 孟老師的100道麵包. The sticky problem improves a bit. I have left the lid of the bread machine open during kneading, use cold water and eggs. It's definitely less sticky than the last time. Wrapping the fillings is a challenge for me too. One of the buns had red beans leaking out. Inexperience... I also tried plaiting the bread like what Happy Homebaker did. Of course, hers look much better mine. :)

However, I'm still unsatisfied with the softness of the bread. That will be my next challenge.

Recipe can be found in My Home Kitchen's blog. Hers looks great too!