Friday, January 29, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I am taking a break from mousse cakes and going for the quintessential loaf and simple cakes this year. One cake that I particularly love to eat is the pound cake. Basically it is a very dense butter cake, very buttery and contains quite a number of eggs that yields its denseness. I think it is the best cake to go along with coffee!
Still in line with my diet plan, I used the portions control widget in allrecipes.com for its pound cake recipe to yield a smaller portion for 4 to 6 persons, baking them in two pans of a 1lb loaf pan. The size of the loaf pan was perfect, a small rectangle measuring a little over 5 inches in length, 3 inches in width and a little over 2 inches in height! Yes, very soon I will be a health freak with all these number and calories counting but I figured, this is the only way I can have my cake and eat it too!
Instead of using the marzipan to make sugary confections to decorate the cakes itself, I crumbled it with the flour portion of the batter. This takes a bit of an effort but the taste and aroma of the marzipan really blended in and makes the cakes super good! Initially I wanted to try to make swirls to create a marble pound cake but not successful. Blackberry is a lovely fruit, whose seeds add an extra bite to the texture of the cakes and of course, its deep reddish purple color makes the cake prettier than plain yellow. I first blended 10 blackberries which yielded 1/2 cup of puree and reserved 6 blackberries to drop into the cakes themselves. Instead of heavy cream, I substituted with low fat milk and reduced the amount of sugar from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup in view of the added sweetness from the marzipan. When these cakes came out perfect, I was so proud of myself as I know I am on the right track of learning the art of amending the ingredients of recipes to suit my diet plan and although it required time to re-do a whole given recipe with more healthier choices of ingredients and to get the correct measurements for everything, I am absolutely gamed for it! Take it as a better way of keeping the weight on track compared to the puffing & panting on the threadmill!
1)Preheat oven to 350F and lower the rack to the bottom of the oven. Grease 2 small loaf pans with butter and dust with some cake flour. Tap out excess.
2)Crumble the marzipan into coarse meal state. Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt together. Using hands, crumble the marzipan into the flour mixture, till there is no big lump visible.
4)Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl and when foam starts to appear, add in the extra 1-1/2 tbsp sugar and beat till stiff peaks. Leave aside.
6)Lastly fold in the beaten egg whites. This will instantly lighten the batter. Fold till well combined.
7)Divide and pour the batter to 1/2 full into the 2 loaf pans. Half way, insert 3 blackberries into each of the pan and continue to fill it up. Reserve 1 tsp of the blackberry puree and spoon the rest randomly onto the cake batter in the 2 pans. Swirl with a fork, poking towards bottom at intervals.
Serves: 4 to 6 persons (small size)
Friday, January 22, 2010
Miss E stayed home today with her cold symptoms. Even though full of snot and a husky voice, she still managed to spend half of the day reading and doing crafts with her brother and even argued along the way. I was glad that I took the initiative to take out a craft book from the library yesterday and let the kids maneuvered their ways with the scissors, foam, glue and glitter while I ran into the kitchen trying to think of something to keep my sanity knowing that a big mess will be waiting for me by the time they finish. All I can think of for the day was Bento lunches and I was creating as much mess as my kids with their craft supplies.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Snowy day today and school was out in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. day. I have been re-arranging my Bento stuffs last week and really, most of my loot from Malaysia and Hong Kong are still in their plastic baggies and I am still figuring on how and where to locate the biggest portable box to contain them all. They are currently like my kids toys, scattered everywhere in a big bin and still impossible to compartmentalize and identify them by types and usage.
I would like to thank Heidi for getting me all the cutest Bento stuffs from Japan and seriously, no Daiso nor anything online outside Japan can offer more choices. When I stayed in Japan in early 2001, I was not sucked into the Bento craze as I had no kids then and rightly to say, my cooking skills then were not good enough and Curry loved his neighborhood Obachan's family restaurant so much that he can eat there for all his 3 meals. I can imagine if I was there now, I will be the first one at Daimaru or Isetan when a new Bento tool or box is introduced into the market! At the meantime, I just have to curb my enthusiasm and limit my spending on these appealing stuffs or else I will never get to the point of arranging the Bento tools!
For today's Bento boxes, nothing fancy and I just let the colors of the ingredients bring out their best. Grape tomatoes is a change to the usual baby round tomatoes and they seem to have a brighter red and its oblong rather than round shape makes stuffing the boxes easy. I love the apple shaped mini cups that contained the blueberries as they blend in with the other ingredients well and still separated the fruits from the cooked rice and chicken meat. I managed to get alot of new food picks from Daiso and when I have no idea what to make with the rice balls or tired of the nori punched outs, these picks will brighten anything that you poke it with! Furikakae or nori flakes comes in various flavors and easily located at any Japanese or Asian grocery. They do perk up the white rice in taste and in appearance.
I got up very early to make Curry's Bento box first which contained mostly the same thing as the kids, except his box has the additional long bean omelette and julienned carrot. Due to the late rise of the sun, my camera didn't worked very well in the yellow soft light. Thank you Auntie Mary for giving me 2 of these lacquered Bento Boxes and be assured that they will be put to full use.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
1 tbsp & 1-3/4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Makes : 8 muffins
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Friday, January 8, 2010
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As with my interests in all things culinary, I got a very useful tip from my monthly BBC Good Food Magazine on where to buy kitchen stuffs! Shanghai Street which is accessible from Exit B1 of the Yau Ma Tei subway station was a brilliant place. Again, all the shops selling pots, pans, cookie cutters, big and small woks to all sorts of utensils were concentrated on a 2 blocks stretch. And here, my money flies faster than any where else in Hong Kong as I was really lost amongst the choices of unique mooncake and biscuit moulds, mousse cake moulds, cutest cupcake liners and specially shaped vegetable cutters with the patterns of the auspicious Chinese pheasant and dragon. I highly recommend this street to anyone interested in the art of food preparation. Curry was impressed that I was able to fish out this place as he had never been there and he begins to believe that food bloggers like myself do mean business when we say we are food enthusiasts who will hunt down anything related to food and not simply a waste of time to write up a food blog! So far, I haven't seen the Bento craze sweeping the Hong Kong market yet and Bento tools were not available.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The street markets that I ventured out to see was Temple Street ('Miu Kai'), Ladies Market ('Lui Yan Kai'), Flowers Market and Goldfish Market. All these are located in the Mong Kok area which can be very confusing to visitors like myself and I admit that I wouldn't be able to cover everything if not for the help of Curry's cousins. A big thank you to them for this wonderful experience. I was amazed by the number of stores located in both the Flowers Market and Goldfish Market, which stood next to each other, opposite facing and running for at least 2 blocks! And each of them sold the same thing and according to Curry, they can survive by offering one or two unique and exotic species with eye catching displays of their commodities. I guess that is the very basic way of doing busines in Asia and no matter how big or small, competition is fierce. And I would like to add, there is ample consumer potential in Hong Kong itself that keeps these businesses running. In short, I enjoyed the walk along these 2 markets despite the fact that I have nothing to buy for the one reason that all are concentrated in one street and you can see alot in one place. For Temple Street and Ladies Market, counterfeit and cheap knock off fashions are plenty coupled with souvenir stuffs and whatever stuffs that never crossed your mind! I managed to find stalls selling paper punches that I have been locating for my Bento nori punching quest and oh boy was I spoiled for choices! But beware at these markets, once you touch the stuffs, the vendor will come selling and you might get an unpleasant smirk or even a scolding for not buying. Well of course, a thick face can always shield you!
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
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Surely street food should only be consumed with a feisty and daring heart especially in the compact Hong Kong with people, buildings, traffic, dust and particles existing together in a very crowded place. I was happy to try out the famous stinky Tofu, made popular and known to me through those TVB dramas in the 1980s and my take on this is that if you can take durian and fermented tofu used mostly in Chinese cooking, this notoriously named 'drain water tofu' is nothing! I liked mine plain while I poked around and saw others dowsed theirs with chilli paste. My absolute favorite would be the pig's intestine, deep fried on the skewer upon your order and its taste was so good with the crispiness and crunchiness on the outside conjured up with the soft juicy inside. The mixture of beef offal and curried fishball were amongst the best sellers and costs around HK$30 for the smaller tub. I find it very funny to see well dressed and fashion conscious HK people slurping and munching on these delicacies by the street, ignoring all etiquette of the fork and spoon with table manners.
Another must go and try are those small local restaurants on every street. I absolutely love the pastries and buns when they are served hot and fresh and with a cup of hot milked tea, it made my day. They are surely in my list to make this year for my blog updates!