Friday, January 30, 2009

Sentosa Flowers 2009

I went to the Sentosa Flowers 2009 on the 2nd day of Lunar New Year. Took the Sentosa Express from Vivocity and it was SUPER crowded. The queue for the tickets extended to the rooftop amphitheatre outside and we have to sit there to wait for our turn to move in.

We alighted at the Imbiah Station and this was one of the best places for photo-taking.

Walking towards the beach.

Some of the creative garden sculptures created by students.

Ended our day at the Palawan Beach. Walk across the suspension bridge, you will reach the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia (Asia's closest point to the Equator). Nice views from the top.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pineapple Tarts

Baked these Sunny Pineapple Tarts over last weekend. Don't you think they look like little sunflowers?

It's my first time baking the pineapple tarts. As you know I have been searching for a good pineapple tarts recipe. I finally decided to use Florence's recipe. I thought baking the tarts first and adding the pineapple fillings later is a clever way of preventing the jam from becoming too hard and dry, though it takes some extra effort to change the temperature and taking the tray in and out. The dough is easy to handle but I have difficulty making really deep and clear indentations using the mold. The problem becomes worse after putting into the oven. The tarts puff up and the markings become even fader!

Although there is a bit of disappointment cos the pineapple tarts are not that nice looking, the taste didn't disappoint me. It doesn't really melt-in-the-mouth, but it is soft and crumbly when you put them in your mouth. The Bake King pineapple paste is quite good too. It is sweet but not that sweet (compared to some pineapple tarts that I tasted before). Not sour, good for me, cos I don't like sour ones. But it is a bit dry after baking.

I still have extra pineapple paste left. Shall make more pineapple tarts after the new year, trying out another new recipe, and maybe doing the wrapped types.

Wish everyone an Ox-picious Chinese New Year!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cashew Nut Cookies

This is the cookies that I will bake year after year. It's my favourite Cashew Nut Cookies! Besides liking the buttery, crunchy and nutty flavour, it also reminds me of the times when I used to help my mother make it every Chinese New Year.

I only intend to make 2 types of cookies this year. This one and the pineapple tarts, which will be done this weekend. :) I'm pretty satisfied with this Cashew Nut Cookies, using the same recipe as last year's. I double the recipe and use exactly one 250g packet of cashew nuts. I spent about 4 hours to finish making 264 cookies, all by myself! That's excluding the time used to split the cashew nuts, picking out the good ones and leaving the rest of the cashew nuts for grounding. Is it considered fast or slow? I only have a small oven and 3 trays to bake, baking only 40+ pieces per tray, and took 6 trays to finish everything. Not too bad. :)

I will be making the pineapple tarts this week. Haven't decided on the recipe yet. Guess it will be more challenging and more time-consuming because it will be my first time making them. Update you with my next post. :)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Marbled Cream Cheese Brownies

Looking back at 2008, even though there was a slight slack towards the end of the year, I was glad that I did quite a few good bakes and new attempts. I found my 6 Favourite Foods that I have done last year.

1. I made my favourite Cashew Nuts Cookies and will definitely bake it again this year. I have already bought the cashew nuts and ready to go! :)

2. I was caught up in the bread making frenzy and bought a new breadmachine. I remembered the clumsy moments when shaping the Plaited Loaf. It came up to be my prettiest bread among all.

3. I bought my first tart pan and made the delicious Apple Crumble Pie, but have never used the pan again after that!

4. I made a disastrous attempt at the Easy Peach Cheesecake without a proper tin with a removable base. I have already bought one loose-base tin. :)

5. I made my first homemade ice creams and this was good!

6. I found the Devil's Food Cake recipe and made them into Devil's Cupcakes. Best of the Bests!

Here's my first bake in 2009.

Marbled Cream Cheese Brownies
(Recipe was copied down and I forgot to take down the title of the book)

Ingredients (8 inch square tin, makes 16 squares)
Brownie layer:
125g lightly salted butter
45g cocoa powder
2 eggs
250g caster sugar (I reduce to 160g, still quite sweet)
60g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream cheese layer:
180g cream cheese
90g caster sugar (I reduce to 70g)
1 egg
30g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Gently melt the butter in a small, heavy-based saucepan, then stir in the cocoa until blended and set aside.
2. Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and stir in the chocolate mixture. Sift the flour and fold into the mixture. Add in the vanilla extract.
3. Whisk together the cream cheese, sugar and egg. Sift self-raising flour over this mixture and fold in. Add in the vanilla extract.
4. Pour 3/4 of the brownie mixture into the base-lined tin and spread the cream cheese mixture over it. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining brownie mixture on top, making swirls in it with a skewer for a marbled effect. Bake at 180C for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is springy to the touch.
5. Cool the baked cake in the tin. Turn it out and cut into squares.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Looking for pineapple tarts recipe 2

It's 2009! Hope it will be a great year for everyone and a better year for Singapore!

Continued from my post Looking for pineapple tarts recipe, I did a little research by searching for various blogs that posted recipes of the Pineapple Tarts. Never too early to start baking for CNY. It's only less than a month away and many people have already started baking cookies and testing for their perfect recipes. I'm only focusing on Pineapple Tarts (open type). There are just too many recipes around and I don't want to be too carried away. Hope you will find this useful! ;)

Here are a few selected ones that interests me.

Florence's Pineapple Tarts - she baked the tart shell and top up the filling later to prevent the jam from becoming too hard and dry. I might want to try this.

Delicious Asian Food Pineapple Tart Pastry - from mother-in-law’s recipe and have a nice buttery smell pastry which melts in the mouth. I might want to try this.

Aunty Yochana's Lattice Pineapple Tarts - she prefers this recipe than the other one.
Aunty Yochana's Pineapple Tart Milk Cookies - pastry doesn't use any eggs at all.

Fresh from the Oven Pineapple Rolls/Tarts - two types of pineapple fillings here. One is by grating the pineapple from scratch, the other uses canned crushed pineapple.

Little Corner of Mine Pineapple Tarts - uses cornflour/cornstarch to make the pastry melt-in-the-mouth.

Lily's Pineapple Tarts - used canned pineapples

My Kitchen Snippets Pineapple Tarts
Jthorge's Kitchen Pineapple tarts
Peng's Kitchen Pineapple Tarts
Thelazychef Pineapple Tarts
Wokkingmum's Pineapple Tarts
My Baking & Cooking Passion Pineapple Tarts

And more recipes from Kitchen Capers.

If you need videos, check Oi Lin's blog who authors 3 cookbooks. She has many great tips for making the pineapple tarts.

For suggestions from my readers, check out the comments in my previous post:
Looking for pineapple tarts recipe

Other tips:
1. Store-bought pineapple jam - Sun Lik in Seah St or Bake King brand (Phoon Huat not recommended)

2. Use SCS, Lurpak unsalted butter or canned Golden Churn, if you can afford it.

3. Open tarts pastry will not melt in the mouth so much as those wrapped pineapple tarts. Rub-in method helps to achieve the melt in the mouth effect.

4. Place the tray in the middle rack.

If you have tried any of the above recipes, feel free to leave a comment here to let us know the results. :)