Sunday, September 30, 2012

Aspiring Bakers #23: Desserts on a plate (EXTENDED)

Here's a quick announcement.

Aspiring Bakers #23: Desserts on a plate (September 2012) closing date has been extended to 7 October 2012.

As everyone is busy with mooncakes and exams and this month's theme is also more challenging, Swee San and I have agreed to extend the event for another 7 days.

If you don't know or not sure about what plated dessert is, the rule is to make a main dessert with at least 2 other components (except for garnishes like cut fruits and snow powder, etc).

Some of the suggestions by Swee San are:

If you have great ideas on plating a dessert, do participate and share with us. Look forward to all your entries.

Lastly, the new theme will be announced on 1 October as usual.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My first homegrown bittergourd

Some of you might know, my mother loves gardening. We have a long corridor of plants, usually flowering plants and some herbs. Recently, she starts growing a variety of chillies, which I will blog another time.

Now, it's about our very first homegrown bittergourd, which also starts my recent interest in gardening. We don't really know when this bittergourd started growing in our gardening. We always use water that is used to wash vegetables to water our plants. Some bittergourd seeds must have sprouted and grow and cling around all the other plants.

 My first lesson in gardening is identifying plants and its leaves.

My second lesson is identifying the male flowers and female flowers. Female flowers have an obvious baby fruit behind the petals whereas you don’t find any behind the petals of the male flower (more info here).

We spotted the very first female flower on 15 August 2012. And hoping that it will turn into a fruit succesfully, I tried to hand-pollinate the flower. Pluck the male flower and strip off its petals. Lightly brush the pollen-laden anthers of the male flower with the pistil of the female flower. In doing so, you transfer the pollen from the male flower to the female flower.

On the 3rd day after pollination on 18 August 2012, the fruit had visibly grown larger to about 3cm long. Our bittergourd is successfully pollinated!

This was our 1-week old bittergourd on 22 August 2012. It was growing very fast at 8cm long already.

Our 2-week old bittergourd on 29 August 2012 at 12cm long, growing slower.

On the 3rd week on 5 September 2012, the bittergourd has ripened and we had to harvest it.

Look at our first bittergourd! It weighs 156g and 14.5cm long. Compared to the one we bought at the market, it is considered small. But we are already very happy because it is our first time growing! When the bittergourd is ripe enough, the pulp surrounding the seeds is red. Remove the pulp and you can save the seeds to grow again.

Currently, we have another 2 bittergourds growing and they are not hand-pollinated. The ants must have helped them to pollinate!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The end of camera and Chiffon Cakes 1 to 4

I ditched my faulty digital camera which I had been using since 2009. Without a camera, I have to turn to phone photography from this post onwards. It has been so convenient to use handphone for taking photos and I can just upload to my fb and instagram instantly, without the trouble to transfer and edit photos. But the image quality is not as good, so please bear with the quality of my photos now.

I have quite a number of bakes to be posted and to save time, I'm squeezing 4 chiffon cakes into 1 post.

Chiffon Cake #1: Banana Chocolate

18cm chiffon tin:

4 egg yolks
10g sugar
40g oil
20g milk
120g mashed bananas
70g cake flour
10g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder

4 egg whites
55g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Bake 160 deg C, 40 minutes

From 茄子

Chiffon Cake #2: Passionfruit

18cm chiffon tin:

4 egg yolks
20g sugar
48g oil
65g passionfruit juice + seeds of 1 passionfruit
80g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder

4 egg whites
45g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Bake 160 deg C, 40 minutes

From 茄子

Chiffon Cake #3: Cranberry Yogurt

17cm (20cm) chiffon tin:

3 (5) egg yolks (use large eggs)
25g (40g) caster sugar
40ml (65ml) vegetable oil
1 tsp (2 tsp) lemon juice
80g (130g) plain yoghurt
80g (130g) cake flour

4 (7) egg whites (use large eggs)
55g (90g) caster sugar

60g (95g) dried cranberries, chopped to small pieces and coat lightly with cake flour

Bake 170 deg C, 35 minutes (45 minutes)

From 好吃戚风蛋糕轻松上手

Chiffon Cake #4: Triple Chocolate

17cm (20cm) chiffon tin:

3 (5) egg yolks (use large eggs)
20g (35g) caster sugar

100g (160g) unsweetened chocolate
10ml (15ml) vegetable oil
*double-boil chocolate and oil till chocolate dissolved

40ml (65ml) water
60g (95g) cake flour
10g (15g) cocoa powder
1/2 tsp (2/3 tsp) baking powder

5 (8) egg whites (use large eggs)
50g (75g) caster sugar

chocolate chips

Bake 170 deg C, 35 minutes (45 minutes)

From 好吃戚风蛋糕轻松上手

Lastly, I apologize for the lack of blog post. You are invited to join my Facebook page as I update there more often.