Archive | October, 2013

Pear Pound Cakes*

31 Oct

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This is another pound cake I baked using “pear”; Pear Vanilla Pound Cake & Pear Caramel Pound Cake.

Fruits such as pear, apple, fig and chestnuts are widely used around autumn season now in Japan, so I made a comported pear and baked them into the cake. In caramel pound cake, I used diced pear and in vanilla pound cake, I used bigger slice of pear. I preferred the bigger slice because you could taste more juicy pear.

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Both cakes were moist and tasty, but I felt that the simple vanilla pound cake matches better with the subtle pear taste!? Perhaps caramel goes better with more sour fruits like apple. (Apple Caramel Pound Cake)

Since pear is such a nice ingredients in cake, I want to study more about it!

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Orange Pound Cake*

25 Oct

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Another cake using orange peelOrange Pound Cake! Very straight forward, hehe…

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It’s a simple pound cake with lots of orange peel inside (I could have put even more). I used “slim pound cake” which is half the size of my regular 18cm pound cake mold, so baked a bit shorter time. It seems like I took out a few minutes too early… I actually like darker color in pound cakes.

But the pound cake tasted nice anyway ^^.

I baked two, so wrapped one and gave it to my friend ^^.

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I’m baking another pound cake right now, as I am expecting my friends’ family tomorrow.

Have a good weekend !!!

Orange Chocolat Cookie*

23 Oct

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This is Orange Chocolat Cookie!

It’s a chocolate cookie with chocolate ganache and orange peel inside. I used Callebaut Ghana (60%) chocolate for chocolate ganache, as its sour taste matches the orange flavor. As you know, chocolate and orange are a good match and I’ve used this combination in my recipes before (Orange Chocolat Finacier and Entremet Orange Chocolat).

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Cookies generally tastes better just baked, but for this cookie I found it nicer after sometime in the fridge. It’s nice to eat cold, and will last crispy for about a week or more. I’m thinking of teaching this recipe in our second menu ^^.

 

 

Orange Peel*

21 Oct

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Speaking of dried fruits, I made “Orange Peel” a while ago. I don’t really eat dried fruits or peel on its own, but seeing we eat so many oranges every day, I’ve decided to turn the skin into peel and use them for some baking! It so happened that the recipes I’ve wanted to bake mostly had orange peel in the ingredients, including the “Spice Fruits Cake” I baked the other day, so that was a good motivation!

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Just a simple note of how to make orange peel;

Orange Skin: 240g

Granulated Sugar: 240g

Water: 400ml

Slice orange skin into 5mm thick and soak into water for a short while to wash. Boil in hot water (enough to cover the orange skin) for 20 minutes to soften.

Sieve into another bowl and soak into fresh water for overnight. Change water a few times. This is to take out some bitterness.

In a pot, put orange skin, granulated sugar and water and boil them for 30-40 minutes until the water evaporates and the orange skin becomes shiny. Off the fire. You can add some liquor (like Cointreau or Grand Marnier) as you like.

Keep them in clean and tight container!

 

I’ve made couple other cakes using this home made orange peel, so would like to show you in the new posts. Thanks^^!

 

Spice Fruits Cake*

20 Oct

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Here is the photo of the Fruits Pound Cake I baked!

I used this lovely Kugulof mold which I recently bought. Kugulof is a type of cake, more like a brioche bread using yeast, and is eaten in certain areas of Europe such as Holland, Switzerland, Germany and Alsace, France mainly during Christmas season.

 

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Mine is not a kugulof and is a pound cake, but I decorated it in Christmas style because it’s just like the Christmas fruits cake “stollen using spice and lots of dried fruits such as; apricot, resin, cranberry, orange peel, lemon peel and walnuts! To enhance the cinnamon spice taste, I also used Cassonade sugar as I wrote in my previous post.

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The funny thing is that I used to not like dried fruits at all, but as I grew older I started to appreciate those and now I love them! Maybe part of the reason is that I use them for baking a lot so can appreciate the ingredients more.

Hmm~, lots of fruits and what a nice cinnamon flavor^^!

Cassonade Sugar*

18 Oct

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Today I’d like to share some good news with my students! I found “Cassonade”, a type of brown sugar in Jaya Grocers @ Empire! This sugar adds some nice flavor to the cakes and cookies especially those that uses spices like cinammon and nutmeg.

I’ve also used cassonade sugar in my class before when I taught sable mandian, a spice cookie with nuts on top. This cookie is one of my favorite but I didn’t get to teach after I finished my cassonade stock, as it is very important ingredient in the recipe… Not only cakes and cookies, cassonade is also good to use on top of Creme burlee for caramelization!

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I also found “Chestnut (marron) paste” in the same shop! Which means that we can do chestnut cakes such as Mont Blanc and Marron Tart in future… yeah~~~. I’m very happy and excited that more and more imported things are getting reachable for us, and increases the variety of recipes I can teach ^^.

By the way, the first photo is fruits cake I am baking with Kugulof mold. Of course I am using cassonade sugar! I’ll update the photos once I’m done baking. Tks!

My son and recent updates*

17 Oct

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Hi! This is my son Dylan! He is 1.5 months old now and is 5.6 kg. Healthy baby!

Oh… I hear someone saying ‘Pacifier is not good for the baby’. Yes I know but my son cries so loud that this became our last resort, well I only use it once in a while, hehe ^^…

I’ve been having fun taking care of my two kids but sometimes it’s overwhelming… especially when my daughter fell sick the last two weeks. Oh she fell sick quite bad when my mother was around that we had to take her to the hospital for 4 times in 7 days! Unfortunately my husband was not around for the entire time, so my parents-in-law’s helped me take her to the hospital and stuff. It was so pitiful to see my daughter in pain, at the same time, I was so worried the disease might spread to my baby son. To my relief, my daughter is now recovering and my husband also came back yesterday after 2 weeks of absence (He is lucky he missed all this, haha).

By the way, I’m very happy to be receiving messages from my students ^^! Sorry that sometimes my reply is late because of unexpected things coming and going – you know, baby might cry the moment I am writing this… and things could get delayed for hours…

But anyway, I am doing fine and hope you all are fine too!

 

  

Foret Noir Pound cake*

15 Oct

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How is your long weekend ^^?

I’ve started to bake some cakes again in the last couple of weeks! This is Foret Noir Pound Cake I baked recently. Black Forest (Foret Noir) cake is one of the most popular cakes in Malaysia, so I made it into pound cake. The bottom is moist chocolate cake and top is vanilla pound cake with dark cherry.

It looks similar to the Pistachio Pound Cake I taught in the class before, but is quite different from each other.

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I’ve been developing some pound cake recipes including this Foret Noir Pound Cake. I like pound cake because it’s fun to make and nice to eat for tea time, after dinner and even for breakfast with a cup of coffee! I hope to teach this recipe end of the year once I am back, maybe for one of our X’mas menu ^^!

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By the way, I am also going to teach this Pistachio Pound Cake maybe early next year because of many requests. I will get pistachio paste soon, so for those students who are looking forward to have it please wait for another 1-2 months! Thanks.

Red bean paste with slow cooker*

7 Oct

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My mother is visiting me from Japan since last week!

She brought me “shiratama ko” (rice ball powder) so I made “Zenzai”, a cold red bean paste with rice balls! This is supposed to be good for the breast milk^^.

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This is the most popular “Shiratama ko” brand among Japanese. You can also find it here – in JUSCO, Shojikiya, or ISETAN. All you need to do is to add some water and boil them in the hot water for a few minutes. It’s so easy to make that this could be one of the first desserts kids in Japan make with their mothers ^^.

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This is “Oshiruko”, more wet kind.

By the way, I made red bean paste from scratch using slow cooker. I got the slow cooker long time ago (as our wedding gift) but never used it until my daughter was born 3 years ago. My confinement lady used it to boil me some soup and stuff. Apparently this slow cooker is popular among Malaysian family but we don’t have them in Japan so didn’t know how to use them. I was always curious to learn how to use it, so when my confinement lady boiled me some soup this time, I decided to learn at least my favorite red bean soup! Wow, it’s so easy…!?

I guess in a couple more months I can try to make a porridge for my son!

 

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I like this Malaysian sweets too, with white bean paste inside!!!

 

 

Coffee Day* Coffee Beans

1 Oct

Have you heard about “International Coffee Day”?

It was first promoted in Japan by The All Japan Coffee Association in 1983, and was set to raise awareness of coffee. The annual harvest year for Coffee starts in October, and although the date of “Coffee Day” varies among each country (Malaysia seems to be 29th of September), Coffee Day in Japan is set on October 1st because of such reason and also since the demand of coffee in Japan increases around Autumn to Winter time. 
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Speaking of coffee, I went to Jasons @ BSC the other day and got another batch of coffee beans!

This time we bought 4 kinds of beans (from right bottom); Ethiopia, Kenya AA, Guatemala Antigua, Papua New Guinea, and Brazil Santos beans. *Ethiopia bean is from the last batch.

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Each bean has different look, aroma and flavor. Although everyone has different taste bud and different perception in flavor, I would like to write a little bit about each coffee beans.

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Ethiopia

The smallest beans among the five. I always feel that Ethiopian beans doesn’t taste so sophisticated but more strong and wild taste (like soil?). I wonder if it’s because it’s harvested in wild Africa.

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Kenya AA

The largest beans among all. This bean is known to have difficulty in roasting because of its thickness and water content. It has a very strong aroma, both sour and bitter. I also feel it has “chocolate” like unique aroma!

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Guatemala Antigua

Caribbean beans tend to have nice fruity aroma, and is one of my favorite together with Costa Rican beans. This bean has more sour taste than bitter taste, and it has a nice aftertaste.

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Papua New Guinea

Most of the Indonesian beans are Robusta Coffee (mostly used in canned coffee), yet this one is Coffee Arabica, known to be more superior than the Robusta beans.

I was surprised to find it very fruity and has nice aftertaste, just like the Caribbean beans. So as I checked their roots, the original coffee tree is from Jamaica (famous for its Blue Mountain Coffee). No wonder!

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Brazil Santos

Brazil is No.1 coffee production country, and it takes about 30% of all the coffee production in the world. The taste is also well balanced, both in sourness and bitterness, so it is widely used as a base for the blend coffee. I feel this coffee has something like a “wheat” taste, and is very easy to drink.

 

I always like to pick “the day of coffee” and hand-drip them and compare the aroma. It gives you more fun than just drinking coffee!

So when you buy coffee beans next time and have a cup of coffee at home or in the shop (but has to be without milk), I hope you can pay a little more attention and observe how you feel about those coffee beans^^!