Saturday, July 27, 2013

Onion Tart

This delicious Onion Tart recipe is from the book, "The Bread Bible" by Beth Hensperger. According to the author, this is a relative of quiche, an onion custard baked in yeasted bread dough. The topping is actually just like a quiche's with the base of a yeasted bread. I supposed it is called a tart because it is baked in a tart pan? 

Looks like a quiche, doesn't it?

How this is made :

  1. I used the bread machine to do the kneading. If you would like to knead by hand or by using the stand mixer, refer to the instructions in the recipe below. The dough was really wet, I was actually expecting that, and forgotten to reduce the amount of liquid when I mixed the dough. So I added in another 1/4 cup of bread flour during the kneading cycle, and ended up using 3/4 cup more than the recipe calls for, which total to 3-3/4 cups. It was still sticky but decided not to add anymore flour after that. I used the "Quick Dough" cycle in my bread machine, where the machine kneads the dough for 6 minutes, and I have repeated the cycle totalling 3 rounds, that comes to 18 minutes of kneading. I have reduced the salt from 1-1/2 tablespoons to 1-1/2 teaspoons and the yeast from 1 tablespoon to 3/4 tablespoon.
  2. Remove dough from bread machine pan, and flour your hands and work surface as the dough is soft and sticky. Shape into a round and place in greased large bowl, turning over once so the top of dough is oiled, cover bowl with greased cling wrap and leave to rise until tripled in size.
  3. Punch down dough gently, divide dough into two, freeze one for later use, and roll out the other half of the dough to fit a round tart pan or pizza pan. I have used a 11" pizza pan and only fill the base of the pan, not the sides. And also I have used slightly more than half of the total dough, as I wanted a thicker base.
  4. Prepare the onion filling as per instructions in the recipe below. I have added in 2 slices of bacon, chopped to pieces and fry lightly for a couple of minutes, add that to the onions with 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. Scatter the onion and bacon mixture over the rolled dough in the pan.
  5. I have made my own creme fraiche for the custard, mixed with some eggs, salt and black pepper. Pour this mixture over the onion filling.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven for 35 minutes at 375F.

The onion filling will puffed and turn golden brown when cooked. Just like a quiche.

Only difference is, the base is yeasted bread. And the bread is very soft, fluffy and so delicious with the onion filling. The onions which are fried until caramelized, brown and soft are very sweet and delicious, that is if you like onions.

These are so good eaten warm, about 10 minutes right after baking.

According to the book, this can be eaten hot, warm or at room temperature. I have no idea if these are as good at room temperature. We finished everything in less than 20 minutes, while it was still warm and delicious! This bread tart do reminds me of focaccia.

Two days later, I took the other frozen dough out from the freezer and was surprised that it was not completely frozen, maybe because I store it at the compartment of the freezer door and not cold enough? Left it on the kitchen counter for half an hour, pat it into a 8" tart pan, top with some cheese, and use some leftover spaghetti sauce as the topping, and scatter more cheese over. Bake for 35 minutes at 375F.

It was yummy! The bread is so soft! You can see how fluffy the bread is from the photo above. This is like eating pizza! Made this for the kids' after school lunch! It is definitely a winner! I'll be making the dough again to store in the freezer, simply a breeze for a quick meal. A definite keeper recipe, I can see lots of future baking from this book. 
Onion Tart
(adapted from "The Bread Bible", Beth Hensperger)
Tart Dough (enough for two 12" tarts or 1 shallow 11-by-17-inch sheet)
1 tablespoon (1 package active dry yeast) (I use 3/4 tbsp)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water (105 to 115F)
2-3/4 to 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour (I used in total 3-3/4 cups bread flour)
1-1/2 tablespoons salt (I use 1-1/2 teaspoon salt)
2 tablespoons corn oil
1 large egg, at room temperature, slightly beaten

Onion Filling
4 large onions, thinly sliced
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter (I use 2 tbsp canola oil)
1 cup sour cream or creme fraiche (I use 3/4 cup homemade creme fraiche)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 slices bacon (my addition)
1 tsp dried oregano (my addition)

  1. To make the tart dough : Put the yeast, a pinch of the sugar, and 1/2 cup warm water in a small bowl. Stir until dissolved and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl using a whisk or in the work bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and the salt. Add the remaining water, oil, egg, and yeast mixture. Beat hard until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough that just clears the sides of the bowl is formed.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, resilient, and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes, dusitng with flour only 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to prevent sticking. Shape into a ball. (If kneading by machine, switch from the paddle to the dough hook and knead for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and springy and springs back when pressed. If desired, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead briefly by hand.
  4. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Turn once to grease the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until tripled in bulk, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
  5. To make the onion filling : In a skillet saute pan over low heat, cook the sliced onions in butter until golden and soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Just before shaping dough, combine sour cream, eggs, salt, and pepper in a bowl ; add onions.
  6. Gently deflate the dough. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Grease a springform pan or tart tin with a removable bottom. Divide dough into 2 equal portions; freeze 1 for later use. Roll out the remaining portion to fit the pan or tart in. Pat into the bottom and up the sides. Fold any extra dough down. Pour the onion mixture over the dough.
  7. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375F. Place the pan or tin on a rack in the center of the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until crispy and golden. The onion filling will be delicate brown and puffy. Let stand 10 minutes before removing the sides of the pan to cool before cutting into wedges.

kitchen flavours notes :
My changes :
  • Use the bread machine to do the kneading for 18 minutes (3 cycles of 6 minutes of kneading, using function "Quick Dough"). Place the wet ingredients at bottom of bread pan, spoon the flour over and place salt, sugar at the corners and yeast in the centre. The dough mixture was very wet, added in 1/4 cup of bread flour at a time, total amount of flour used, 3-3/4 cups. Note to self : to reduce the amount of liquid the next time.
  • Reduced salt to 1-1/2 teaspoons for the dough and the yeast to 3/4 tablespoon. For the onion filling, added in 2 slices bacon, chopped and fry for a couple of minutes. Mix the cooked onions, bacon and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. Just before baking, scatter the filling on the rolled dough in pan, and pour over the eggs and creme fraiche mixture. 
  • I wanted a thicker dough, so I have used slightly more than half of the kneaded dough for one round pan of 11", did not pat the dough to the sides of pan, I just filled the base of pan with the dough.

Scrambled Eggs with Potatoes and Preserved Lemon and Harissa : IHCC

"Eggscellent", our theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), where we are currently cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes. And this month's Optional Monthly Community Recipe (OMCR) is Harissa. I'm actually cheating with the making of Harissa, we are supposed to make Harissa paste from Ottolenghi's recipe, but since I've already made a jar of Harissa paste before the OMCR was announced and which is not an Ottolenghi recipe, I'll just use it to make an egg dish, recipe of Ottolenghi's.

Homemade Harissa Paste

Originally, this recipe is called Scrambled Eggs with Merguez and Preserved Lemon. Merguez is a spicy North African sausage and of course it is impossible to find over here. So I have omitted that and decided to make this scrambled eggs a vegetarian dish. This recipes uses Harissa Paste (refer to the bottom of the post) and Preserved Lemons, which I've shared it previously, here

I have used one large russet potato which are sliced to 1/4" thickness and cut to pieces. The onions are first sauteed, then the potatoes, sausage (if using), garlic, caraway seeds, turmeric powder, harissa and tomato paste are added, fry for a couple of minutes. Pour some water and let it simmer till potatoes are tender and water has evaporated. I've added in some salt to taste, even though the recipe does not calls for it. It needs the salt, maybe because I did not use the merguez sausages. I've got to add in a small amount of water a couple of times as the potates takes about 10 minutes to soften.

The eggs are whisk with some salt and pepper and double cream, which I have replaced with milk. This mixture is then poured over the hot potato and gently stir until cooked. Stir through the chopped preserved lemon, taste for seasoning and serve with a sprinkling of chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Review : There's a hint of spiciness from the Harissa paste, and a mild spice fragrance from the caraway seeds. The preserved lemons adds a nice interesting bite. This dish is just OK for me, maybe because I did not use the Merguez sausages or any sausages, which I think really contributes to the final taste of this dish. I may try this dish again if there's Merguez sausages available just to compare with and without the sausages, otherwise, I would not bother cooking this dish again. 

IHCC featured chef : Yotam Ottolenghi

Please do stop by I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) to view what my friends have made for the theme of this week, "Eggscellent", and if you are interested to join us, please find out more details from IHCC.

Scrambled Eggs with Merguez and Preserved Lemons
(adapted from, Yotam Ottolenghi)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled, thinly sliced
200gm charlotte potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2cm thick
150gm merguez sausages, sliced on an angle 1cm thick
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp harissa paste
1/2 tsp tomato paste
8 medium eggs
50ml double cream
salt and pepper
10gm preserved lemon, flesh and skin, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped coriander or parsley

Put a large saute pan on a medium to high heat, add the oil and cook the onion for five minutes to soften. Add the potato, sausage, garlic, caraway, turmeric, harissa and tomato paste, and fry for two minutes. Pour over 100ml water and simmer for eight minutes, until the potato and sausages are cooked and the water has evaporated (add a little more water if you need to cook it longer).

Whisk the eggs and cream with a quarter-teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Pour the eggs over the hot potato mix, reduce the heat to low, and gently stir until just cooked. Stir through the preserved lemon, taste for seasoning and serve sprinkled with coriander or parsley.

Homemade Harissa Paste
50gm dried chillies
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt, to taste
3 tbsp olive oil, plus more to cover the top for storage
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp lemon juice,  to taste
1 tsp tomato paste
  1. Snip dried chillies at an angle diagonally, cutting along the centre to release the seeds. Drop the snipped chillies into a colander. Shake colander with the snipped dried chillies to drop off the seeds. Rinse chillies under running water and place in a small pot, cover chillies with water. Let it come to a boil for 2-3 minutes, turn off heat, cover saucepan and let chillies soak in hot water for about 15-20 minutes. Drain chillies well.
  2. Place the spices in a small dry saucepan over medium-low heat and dry-fry for a few minutes, stirring often, until fragrant. Transfer spices to a plate and let cool.
  3. Blend chillies, spices and all the other ingredients to a fine thick paste. Adjust the lemon juice and salt to taste.
  4. Transfer paste to a jar, pour some olive oil to cover paste, seal and store the jar in refrigerator.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Brazilian-Style-Chicken with Okra

This was one of the first recipes which I've bookmarked when I got the book "Relaxed Cooking With Curtis Stone" two years ago. And it finally took Cook Like A Star event to get me trying out this dish!

I cooked this dish for one of our weeknight dinner, quite simple and easy to cook. Do you like eating okra? In my house, we do. And this is a nice way of using okra other that the simple stir-fries or sometimes in curries.

I've used 8 chicken drumsticks for this dish. The chicken drumsticks are first fried till golden brown on both sides, seasoned with lots of salt and black pepper, then remove to a plate. Onions are then sauteed for a couple of minutes, then the bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic are added in, and stir until veggies have softened slightly. A cup of white wine is poured in, add the chicken to the pan, covered and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and more black pepper. The sliced okra are then added in, cover and simmer for another 10 minute until chicken is cooked and okra are tender.

I've added in 1/4 cup water as it appears quite dry towards the end of cooking time.

A very nice dish, the family enjoys this with plain rice for dinner. 

This post is linked to Cook Like A Star, where this month's featured chef is Curtis Stone, an event organized by my baking buddy, Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids together with co-hosts, Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and Grace from Life Can Be Simple.

and I'm sharing this post with :

 photo 77951578-1914-4b72-8eda-9e40a91183ac_zps331eb4b4.jpg

Brazilian-Style-Chicken with Okra
(adapted from "Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone")
Serves 4
4 chicken drumsticks
4 chicken thighs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 or 2 jalapenos, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
10 fresh okra pods, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Score the skin on the chicken drumsticks and thighs with a sharp knife. Sprinkle the chicken all over with salt and black pepper.

Place a large heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the oil into the pan and add the chicken, skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown. Then turn the chicken over and cook the second side for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate and drain all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the pan. (The chicken will be golden brown on the outside but will not be cooked through at this point).

Add the onions to the pan and saute for 2 minutes. Add the bell peppers, tomatoes, jalapenos and garlic, and saute for 4 minutes, or until the peppers have softened slightly. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the wine, and return the chicken to the pan. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the okra into the stew, cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve.


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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Peach-Almond-Berry Buckle : Bake-Along #48, Theme - Fruit Buckle

Time for our Bake-Along #47 and theme is Fruit Buckle. I first read of fruit buckle when I was sourcing for some other info on the internet. A buckle is really a simple variation of cobblers. It is basically a dense moist butter cake, with fresh seasonal fruits mixed into the batter, with a topping similar to a streusel which gives a crumpled or buckled appearance at the top when baked. The classic buckle are made using fresh blueberries, though other fresh seasonal fruits are widely used nowadays. This old-fashioned classic dessert has been in the United States for centuries.

A slice of mixed fruit buckle.

When you search the internet for fruit buckle recipes, you would find many different versions of buckles. There's however one thing in common, that is the presence of fresh fruits in the batter. But you can find many different variations for the topping, some with buckled top appearance and some are just simple struesel topping such as the one below.

I made this Peach-Almond-Berry Buckle, recipe taken from "Baking For All Occasions" by Flo Braker, the original recipe uses fresh apricots, but since I could not find any, I have substitute with canned sliced peaches. And have mixed in 1 cup of frozen blueberries and half a cup of frozen cranberries. I have substitute the sour cream with homemade yoghurt, and reduce the sugar to 140gm.

The batter is very easy to mix, as everything, excluding the fruits, are mixed together in a mixing bowl until creamy. The fruits are then added in gently and the batter is spooned into the prepared baking pan. The almond topping which is just a mixture of some egg white, some sugar and flaked almonds, are mixed together, and then sprinkled all over the batter.  Bake at 375F for about 60 minutes until the top is golden and cake is done.

Crispy, fragrant almonds.

This cake is a winner! The texture of the cake is moist, tender and buttery. The canned peaches are sweet, the blueberries very juicy and sweet and the cranberries are juicy and sour.  Very nice buckle! Though there's no buckled appearance in this cake at all, with just a shiny layer of crystalline golden almond crust at the top, as just what the recipe says, but then I supposed this is the modern version of fruit buckle! Maybe next time I'll omit the cranberries, as they are quite sour, it's a good thing I've only used half a cup.

Please visit my baking buddies, Lena from Frozen Wings and Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids, and all our friends who has baked along with us in the linky below :

For our next Bake-Along, we will be baking, Classic Cinnamon Rolls, from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book, pg 296 or get the recipe, here. Bake-along with us and link your post to the our blog-hop linky which will start on  7th August right up to 16th August. Everyone is welcome! 


A friendly reminder when linking to our blog hop :
1. Please mention Bake-Along event in your own post linking direct to any of the hosts' post (JoyceLena or Zoe)
2. Please link only new and current post, related to the current bake or theme provided by us. Unrelated post will be deleted.
3. Feel free to display our Bake-Along badge in your post.

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 photo 77951578-1914-4b72-8eda-9e40a91183ac_zps331eb4b4.jpg

I'm sharing this with Food on Friday : Cherries and Almonds hosted by Carole's Chatter

Apricot-Almond-Berry Buckle
(adapted from "Baking For All Occasions", Flo Braker)
Yield : One 9-inch round cake, 12 servings
Cake :
4 ounces (1 stick/115 gm) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons sour cream (use yohurt)
2 tablespoons whole milk
1-1/4 cups (5 ounces/140 gm) cake flour
1 cup (7 ounces/200 gm) granulated sugar (use 140gm)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the topping)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

Fruit :
5 to 6 small (10 ounces/280 gm) firm but ripe apricots, halved, pitted, and halves quartered lengthwise to yield about 1-1/2 cups (9 ounces/255 gms)
1 cup (5 ounces/140 gm) red raspberries, picked over for stems
1 cup (5 ounces/140 gm) boysenberries or other seasonal berries, picked over for stems

Almond Topping :
1 to 2 tablespoons egg white
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup (3-1/2 ounces/100 gm) natural or blanched sliced almonds

Before Baking :
To soften the butter for the cake batter, remove it from the refrigerator about 2 hours ahead and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer. Center a rack in the oven and preheated the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round springform pan with 2-3/4 or 3-inch sides, then flour it. tapping out the excess flour. Line the bottom with parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and milk for the cake batter. Have all of the other ingredients at room temperature.

To Make The Cake :
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt onto the butter in the mixer bowl. Add the sour cream mixture, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla and almond extracts to the bowl. Attach the bowl to the mixer, fit it with the paddle attachment, and beat on low speed until creamy and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Detach the paddle and bowl from the mixer, and tap the paddle against the side of the bowl to free the excess batter.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the apricots and berries. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread as evenly as possible with the spatula.

To Make The Almond Topping :
In a small bowl, use a fork to beat the egg white just to break it up, set aside. In a small bowl, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over the nuts. Pour 1 tablespoon of the egg whites on top of the nuts and toss with the fork to coat evenly. If needed, add more eg white to coat the almonds evenly. Scatter the almond mixture over the cake batter.

Bake the buckle just until it springs back when lightly touched in the center, a round wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out free of cake, and the almond topping transforms into a shiny, crystalline golden crust, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes.

Slowly release the springfrom clasp and carefully remove the pan sides. Invert a wire rack on top of the buckle, invert the buckle onto it, lift off the pan bottom, and slowly peel off the parchment liner and discard it. Invert a serving plate on top, invert the buckle so it is right side up, and remove the original rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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Monday, July 22, 2013

Sweet Green Bean Dessert With Durian

Durian is known as The King Of Fruits! I can understand why. It is truly a unique fruit which either you love or totally loathe!  As far as my family is concerned, we love durians! Mention durian, and the eyes would light up with excitement and anticipation! LOL! I guess only the durian-loving fans would understand these "gila durian" (durian craziness! LOL!). For those of us who love durians would welcome the "fragrant" smell from these fruits, you could practically smell it before you could even see the fruit. And for those who are not a fan of durians, either you are so used to the smell and don't mind it at all, or you would run as fast as your legs could carry you! There are so many different grades and varieties of durian, with prices ranging from cheap to very expensive. I love eating bitter durians than the sweeter ones, which we would usually reserve for the kids! Though now that some of my nieces and nephews are older, they are learning to like the bitter ones too! 

 Durians, the King Of Fruits. 

The fruit inside, creamy and delicious! 

I made some Malaysian sweet green bean dessert and added in some durian flesh. This sweet dessert is great eaten with the family on a lazy weekend afternoon, and it can be eaten either hot or chilled.

Dried green beans are washed in several changes of water, put into a deep pot and cover it with some water, boil till the beans are tender, about 30 minutes. Palm sugar, granulated sugar and salt are added in to taste. Two pieces of pandan leaves are added for that pandan fragrance. Durian flesh are then added in. I have remove the seeds from the durian, using only the flesh. Let it come to a boil for 2-3 minutes, and the thick coconut milk is added in last. Let it come to a simmer and turn off heat. Do not let it boil too long once the thick coconut milk is added.

Enjoy it warm or cold.

This recipe is just a guide, adjust the water amount to the consistency desired and sweetness to your own liking.
Green Bean with Durian
1 cup green beans
8 cups water
2 pieces meaty durian, discard seeds
50gm gula melaka (palm sugar)
1/4 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
pinch of salt
100ml thick coconut milk
2 pandan leaves

Wash green beans in several changes of water. Place in a pot with 8 cups water. Let it come to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until beans are tender. Add in pandan leaves, both sugars and salt to taste. Simmer until sugar are completely dissolved. If consistency is too thick, add 1/4 cup, or more, of water.  Add in durian flesh, let it simmer for 2-3 minutes, add in thick coconut milk. Let it come to a simmer, turn off heat. Either eat it warm or chilled.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cherry Hand Pies : ABC July 2013

I am so late with this month's bake at Avid Bakers Challenge (ABC)! Two days more before the linky closes. Well, I have a good reason for being late, my 18 year old oven finally gave up and I am without an oven for a couple of weeks. Yeah, it was torturing, out of baking action for a couple of weeks!! Now that I finally have my new oven, I am back with a baking vengeance! LOL! Looking at everyone's linky at ABC, I am practically drooling over their delicious pies. And with great reviews from everyone too, so I am definitely not going to miss this one, even if I should miss the deadline, I would still make this, sooner or later!

This month's bake, Blueberry Hand Pies is from King Arthur Flour website, here. I have some frozen blueberries in my freezer, but have used a can of cherry pie filling which I bought quite sometime ago. 

Just as the other ABC bakers' review on these pies, these are excellent! The pastry crust is so buttery, flaky, tender, crispy and delicious!

I used the food processor to mix the dough. The only changes I made was to substitute the sour cream with homemade yoghurt. When I mixed the butter into the flour, the mixture was crumbly with pea-sized crumbs just as the recipe says. It was when I mixed in the yoghurt, the mixture starts to turn very soft and sticky!! The dough was kinda soft and sticky, like the texture of a very thick batter when making cookies! I was really worried that it would turn out a total failure. Especially so when I've read from my fellow bakers at ABC, their dough was kinda dry! Mine was totally the opposite! Well, let's just hope for the best. I actually left the dough in the refrigerator overnight, did not plan to, but was not feeling well that day, and decided to bake the pies the next day.

The next afternoon, took the dough out and left it at room temperature for about 15 minutes to soften it slightly. I placed a big sheet of plastic over the dough to roll it out as it was sticking to the rolling pin as the dough was very soft. But with some light dusting of flour over the dough really helps. When the dough was cut to size, it was so soft and fragile that I was afraid that when I filled it up with the filling, I would have difficulty in transferring it to the baking pan. So I placed one piece of dough onto the baking pan and did the assembling of the pie directly on the pan. I made the rest of the pie this way and got to handle the dough very gently! However, I did not sprinkle any sanding sugar on the pies before baking, as I prefer them this way.

Brush the top with egg wash,  and off into the oven they went for 20-22 minutes, at 200C.

They bake up beautifully golden and looks so good! When I took the first bite, then the second, then the third, I was like thinking, all that extra "handle with care" seems to worth it! This is so delicious! The crust is so tender, buttery, flaky and crispy! A superb choice, Hanaa! 

For the full recipe, you may get it from KAF's website, here.

ABC source in 2013     Avid Baker's Challenge

To view the other members bake, please stop by Avid Baker's Challenge (ABC). We are currently baking from King Arthur Flour website, if you are interested to join in, please contact Hanaa.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Giada's Chicken Stew : IHCC

"Potluck", it's potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). For this Potluck week, we are welcome to select any of our former featured chefs recipes, other than the Yotam Ottolenghi's which is our current featured chef. For the last two potluck themes, I have both times cooked from Madhur Jaffrey's recipes, well for this week, I've decided to try one of Giada de Laurentiis's recipes.

Made this Chicken Stew and have seen the many good reviews about it. It was delicious. I have however added in one Russet potato since it is sitting in my pantry basket begging to be used! And since I have a can of black-eyed beans, I used that instead of kidney beans.

On the day when I cooked this Chicken Stew, I've made a crusty bread, but the bread was rising so slowly, and did not manage to bake it on time, and since I have a pack of tortillas, I toast-crisp them instead and my kids had these crispy tortillas with the Chicken Stew. 

The kids love this Chicken Stew. I, myself rather enjoyed it! Just a bowl by itself and it makes a filling lunch. There's no leftovers!

Please do stop by I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) to view the delicious dishes that my friends have made for the theme "Potluck", and if you are interested to join us, please find out more details from IHCC.

I'm sharing this post with :
Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Souper Sundays hosted by Kahakai Kitchen

Chicken Stew
(adapted from, recipe courtesy from Giada de Laurentiis)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, cut into bite-size pieces
1 carrot, peeled, cut into bite-size pieces
1 small onion, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14-1/2 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces (1 tsp dried basil)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 chicken breast with ribs (about 1-1/2 pounds total)
1 (15-ounce) can organic kidney beans, drained (rinsed if not organic)
serving suggestion : crusty bread

Heat the oil in a heavy 5-1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot and onion. Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, basil, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme. Add the chicken breasts; press to submerge.

Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken breasts over and stirring the mixture occasionally, about 25 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken breasts to a work surface and cool for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Add the kidney beans to the pot and simmer until the liquid has reduced into a stew consistency, about 10 minutes.

Discard the skin and bones from the chicken breasts. Shred or cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Return the chicken meat to the stew. Bring the stew just to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the stew into serving bowls and serve with the bread.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Iozza's Corn and Bacon Muffins

These muffins are so delicious! If you love savoury muffins, then you would definitely like these. According to Curtis Stone, his mom often make these special muffins whenever he goes home to his mom's place. And I can see why he would want these muffins whenever he visits his mom!

The recipe uses hardwood-smoked bacon, and what I have is just the regular bacon, so I used that instead. The bacon are coarsely chopped and fry over medium heat until crisp and half cup of bacon drippings are supposed to be mixed into the batter. I have however fried the bacon until half-crisp as I do not want them too dry, and there's no bacon drippings at all! Not even a drop! Anyway I have intended to use canola oil in the first place, so I have substitute with canola oil to be mixed into the batter.

Some of the other ingredients used are eggs, fresh corn kernels, chopped chives and grated cheddar cheese. These are mixed with the flour and the batter is then scooped into muffin pans, mounding it generously into each cup. More cheese are sprinkled over and they are baked for about 18-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked.

Smells incredibly cheesy good while these are baking in the oven. 

These muffins are so delicious! I've eaten this at room temperature and the texture is just so soft, moist and yummy. The bacon, corns, chives and cheese are all just so perfect together. Love it! I can see this yummy muffins again in my future baking. Perfect for an afternoon lunch, and for a breakfast treat. You could easily pack this for lunch to work since it stays so soft even several hours after baking. According to Curtis Stone, these are great when served warm with salted butter, but they are just as good when eaten at room temperature without the addition of any butter.

This post is linked to Cook Like A Star, where this month's featured chef is Curtis Stone, an event organized by my baking buddy, Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids together with co-hosts, Baby Sumo from Eat Your Heart Out and Grace from Life Can Be Simple.

and I'm sharing this post with :

 photo 77951578-1914-4b72-8eda-9e40a91183ac_zps331eb4b4.jpg

The recipe below is given in full. For half a recipe, refer to my measurements in blue.
Iozza's Corn and Bacon Muffins
(adapted from "Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone")
Makes 12
12 ounces hardwood-smoked bacon, coarsely chopped (150gm regular bacon)
1 ear yellow corn, husked (1/2 cup)
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1-1/4 cups)
4 teaspoons baking powder (2 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4 tsp)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp paprika powder)
1-1/4 cups whole milk (2/3 cup)
1/2 cup bacon drippings (1/4 cup canola oil)
3 large eggs (2 small)
2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (1 cup)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives (1/4 cup)
salted butter, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cook the bacon in a large heavy saute pan over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until it is browned and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels. Brush 12 standard-sized muffin cups generously with some of the bacon drippings from the pan, and set aside 1/2 cup of the remaining bacon drippings to cool slightly. Discard any remaining bacon fat.

Use a sharp knife to slice the corn kernels off the cob. You should have about 1 cup.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl to blend. Whisk the milk, eggs, and reserved bacon drippings in another large bowl to blend; then stir in the bacon, 1-1/2 cups of the cheese, the corn kernels, and the chives. Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it equally and mounding it generously. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the muffins are golden and a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let the muffins cool slightly in the cups. Then run a small sharp knife around the muffins to loosen from the cups, remove them, and serve them warm with salted butter.


Monday, July 15, 2013

THB : Peach-Polka-Dot Caramel Cake

The Home Bakers (THB) bake no 21 this week is Plum-Polka-Dot Caramel Cake, chosen by Emily of Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.

I could not find any plums as they are not in season at the moment, have seen some fresh apricots last week, but not today, when I went to the market this morning. There's some boxes of fresh persimmons, but those are rather firm and not fully ripe yet, so I used canned peaches instead.

This coffee cake is baked in a tart pan. There's no leavening used for the batter, and thus it does not rise that much at all. Plums or other stone fruits are cut in half and placed on top of the batter with the cut sides facing up. A streusel topping is made and is scattered all over the top before baking.

I have mixed feelings over this particular 'cake'. The texture of the crumbs are moist and dense. The lovely Emily describes this as similar to shortcake, while Mich says the texture is "bread-like cake". To me, this is like eating thick moist soft waffles! Haha! I think my fellow baking friends must be laughing at my description, but that was the first thing that came to mind when I ate this! 

Overall, the cake itself is very tasty and I like the taste of the nutmeg, makes the cake smells really nice with a hint of spice. The almond streusel is very crunchy and yummy. And the canned apricots, well you can never go wrong with canned or fresh fruits! But that being said, I do not think that I would be making this again soon, this is a nice cake, but it does not quite make it to my list of favourites.

For the full recipe, please visit Emily of Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray and to view other members' bake, drop by The Home Bakers (THB).

Welcome to The Home Bakers

We are a group of home bakers who are currently baking from "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas, until each recipe from this book has been baked. This is our bake no. 21 and we have 39 recipes more to go. If you are interested to be a member and join in our bakes, you may drop me an email at


Friday, July 12, 2013

Blueberry and Star Anise Friands : IHCC

"Fruitfull" is our theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) where we are cooking from our featured chef, Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes until September. There are tons of recipes using fruits from Ottolenghi, that I cannot decide in selecting which one to try! I'm having an eye on one particular salad recipe, but somehow the "star" ingredient of this recipe that actually made me decide on making this.

The star in this case comes in the form of "Star Anise", the spice! I was somewhat curious as to the usage of finely ground star anise in a French little cakes, friands. I have never seen ground star anise being sold before, and thought of replacing it with ground cloves from my spice jar. But really, these little friands are all about the fragrant Star Anise, so I have processed the Star Anise till as finely ground as possible.

Star Anise, so fragrant. The scent of the Star Anise lingers in my kitchen for a couple of hours! These are very coarsely grounded as it is difficult to ground them finely when there are only 2, so I have further process half the amount (since I'm making only half a recipe), with some icing sugar from the recipe to further process them finely. 

It helps to ground them further, though I could detect a piece or two when I bite into the friands, which did not bother me at all.

With just half a recipe, I used my 8-mini-rectangular pan and got me 5 mini cakes. This recipe is so straight forward and so easy to make, the batter was done in under 10 minutes. Only thing is, I have forgotten to chill the baking pan as required in the recipe, but it works out fine. The friands bakes up beautifully.

I have reduced the icing sugar to 120gm for half a recipe and have replaced the blackberries with blueberries instead. I have chosen to omit the icing, as these are actually good as they are. 

 These friands are delightful! Yummy! So good with a cup of warm tea.

Look at the moist and soft crumbs. Ottolenghi does it again with his clever usage of spices, this time in a friand! 

IHCC Fruitfull Collage

Please do stop by I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) to view the delicious dishes that my friends have made for the theme "Fruitfull", and if you are interested to join us, please find out more details from IHCC.

I'm sharing this post with :
See Ya In The Gumbo hosted by Ms. enPlace
Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage

This is the full recipe, makes 10. I have made half a recipe and reduced the sugar to 120gm.
Blackberry and Star Anise Friands
(adapted from the guardian, Yotam Ottolenghi)
340gm egg whites (10 egg whites)
100gm plain flour
300gm icing sugar
180gm ground almonds
2 tsp star anise, finely ground
1/3 tsp salt
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
220gm unsalted butter, melted and left to cool, plus extra for greasing
150gm blackberries

For the icing (optional)
70gm blackberries, plus 10 extra, to garnish
2 tbsp water
300gm icing sugar, plus extra to dust

Heat the oven to 170C/3356F/gas mark 3. Use melted butter to brush the bottoms and sides of 10 mini loaf tins (4.5cm high x  9.5cm long x 6.5cm wide), or similar small baking tins, and chill. Put the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk to froth them up a bit; don't whip them completely. Sift the flour, icing sugar, ground almonds, star anise and salt, add to the egg whites, and stir until incorporated. Add the lemon zest and melted butter, and mix just until the batter is smooth and uniform.

Pour into the baking tins, filling them two-thirds of the way up. Halve the blackberries and drop into the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven, leave to cool a little, take out of the tins and leave until completely cool.

To ice the cakes, put the berries and water in a small bowl and use a fork to smash the fruit in the water. Pass through a fine sieve, pressing the pulp against the sides. Pour three-quarters of the purple juice over the icing sugar and whisk vigorously to a uniformly light-purple, runny paste. It should be just thick enough to allow you to brush it over the tops of the cake, and will set as a thin, almost see-through coating on top with some icing dripping down the sides. (If not, add more juice). Place a blackberry on each friand and dust with icing sugar.