Monday, 31 December 2012

Cocktail Sausage Bun, Year-End SAHM
鸡尾酒小香肠面包, 岁末家庭主妇


It's end of the year, and company do not allow to carry over any balanced annual leave to next year. So, I decided to take the last 2 weeks of December off and be a SAHM (Stay At Home Mum).  It feels good to spend more time with children, and prepare meals personally for the whole family. On some days, I would "take order" from everyone before meals; On other days, I would just cook based on what I have in the fridge. In-between meals, I would flip my recipe book and do some leisure cooking. I really enjoyed being a SAHM for this 2 weeks.

My younger one is a big fan of sausage buns.Whenever we walk into a bakery shop, she would order sausage buns without doubt. As expected, she requested for them again when I asked her what bread she wants me to bake today.


I have some cocktail chicken sausages bought from TESCO, JB during our 2D1N trip to Malaysia. These sausages are of premium quality and make perfect for mini sausage buns.


I used the same recipe as Soft Bun with Ham & Onion in my earlier post. Water roux is a must to retain the softness of the buns.

COCKTAIL SAUSAGE BUN
(Bread recipe source: 65°c 汤种面包)


INGREDIENTS
(makes 25 mini buns)

Water Roux
- 25g bread flour
- 125g water

Bread Dough
- 300g bread flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
- 80g fresh milk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 30g butter (softened)
- 90g water roux

Egg Wash
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Others
- 25 cocktail sausages

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Prepare water roux (microwave method):
    • Mix water roux ingredients together in a bowl. Stir until smooth.
    • Heat up in microwave. Every 15 seconds, take out and stir to make sure no lumps of flour. Within 1 minute, the mixture will start to thicken, stop when you see traces in the mixture for every stir you make with spoon or chopsticks.
    • Leave to cool completely before use.
  2. In a large bowl, add flour, yeast, sugar, salt, egg, water roux and milk. Mix well with a wooden spoon or a whisk.
  3. Add in softened butter and knead with hands to form a ball. The dough is sticky, but DO NOT add flour, just leave it as it is.
  4. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave to proof in a warm area for 45mins.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl . With lightly floured hands, gently give a few light kneading to press out the gas. Divide dough into 25 balls – about 30g each. Leave to rest for 5 mins.


  6. Flatten each ball and roll out to oval shape with a rolling pin. Place the sausage on the rolled out dough. Roll up from the bottom.
  7. Place the roll in a greased tray, and leave to proof for 20-30mins.


  8. Brush with egg wash.  Bake in preheated oven at 200 degC for 15-18 minutes, or until top is golden brown.


Monday, 24 December 2012

Scottish Shortbread , Mayan "Doomsday" Trip
苏格兰牛油酥饼,玛雅“末日”之旅


Just returned from 2D1N trip to Hello Kitty Town and Legoland in Malaysia.Through this trip, realized my daughters have grown up faster than I thought.


Both of them feel the two theme parks sort of "boring". They have no intention for a 2nd visit, especially Hello Kitty Town. Nothing wrong with the two theme parks, it's just that they are designed for younger children, at least for the crowd younger than my two daughters.


Overall, it's a memorable family outing as we spent Mayan "doomsday" in theme parks and 5-star hotel rather than the bomb shelter at home. The world is intact, so are we!


Though it's a short trip to neighbouring country, we were exhausted due to the heavy jam at the customs. 30 minutes drive from hotel to home turned out to be 3 hours, and reached home at almost 2:00am in the morning. Well, after a good 10hr sleep, woke up and felt fresh again. Still have time for some Christmas cookies. Scottish shortbread is in my baking list due to its simplicity and popularity.


Christmas bells are ringing soon, let's celebrate and wish for a peaceful year ahead!



SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD
(Recipe adapted and modified from Famous Cuisine 名食谱)

INGREDIENTS
(makes 15 shortbread pieces)

- 240g unsalted butter (cold)
- 120g caster sugar
- 240g all-purpose flour
- 120g rice flour
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar for dusting


DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degC. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, rice flour and sugar. 
  3. Add the cold butter. With a knife, cut the butter into the flour mixture. With your fingertips, rub the butter and flour together until it resembles coarse crumble like breadcrumbs.  
  4. Press the dough evenly into the prepared baking tray. Smooth the top as best as you can. With a sharp knife, score the top of the shortbread into 1x2 inch rectangular shapes. Poke holes with tines of fork in each rectangular shape.
  5. Sprinkle the shortbread with the caster sugar. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes until the top and bottom are lightly browned.
  7. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes.
  8. Cut the shortbread into 1x2 inch rectangular pieces, along the lines scored.
  9. Cool completely on the wire rack, then remove from the tray.
  10. Keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 2 weeks.
Note:
  1.  No need to grease the tray due to the rich butter content
  2. When mix butter with flour mixture, try not to form a dough. Use fingertips to gently rub the butter into the flour. Butter should be kept cold or frozen. 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christmas Fruitcake
圣诞水果蛋糕


December is my favourite month of the year, not only because of Christmas, but also because my birthday falls in this month. One celebration followed by another, and New Year's Day is just around the corner!  Listening to Celine Dion's "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" again and again , can't help asking myself what I have done in 2012?

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young
...


It's time to reflect the past, and also time to look forward. To me, Christmas fruitcake is a good way of getting into the spirit of Christmas. How about you?


Almost one month ago, I have already soaked dried mixed fruits in rum, in preparing for this classic, irresistible cake. After celebrated my birthday, on this rainy Sunday afternoon, I spent one and half hour baked this cake. It's wonderful on a wet day to have that lovely smell in the house ... Hope you can smell it too!




CHRISTMAS FRUITCAKE

INGREDIENTS

- 400g of dried mixed fruits (currants, sultanas, pineapple, apricots, etc)
- 1/2 cup of dark rum
- 250g butter (soften)
- 3/4 cup of dark brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 80g chopped nuts (I use walnut, almond)
- 50ml fresh milk
- Zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange (optional)

DIRECTIONS
  1. Soak the dry fruits with rum for a week or more , in the refrigerator.
  2. Prepare a baking tin and lined with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy.
  4. Add in eggs one at a time till well mixed before adding another egg.
  5. Mix in milk, lemon and orange zest.
  6. Add in soaked dry fruits,  and then fold in sifted flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon and nutmeg.
  7. Pour batter into prepared cake tin.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated 160deg C oven for 1 hr or until centre is firm to touch.
  9. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons dark rum over cake while still hot.
  10. Wrap cake pan in a clean tea towel and allow to cool completely. Let the cake cool in the tin before removing the cake.
Note : You can keep this cake up to 3 months in the fridge. Wrap it up properly in aluminium foil and drizzle it with rum at least once a week.



Saturday, 8 December 2012

Shanghai Walnut Mooncake
上海核桃酥月饼

Among major Chinese festivals, my love for Mid-Autumn Festival is just next to Lunar New Year. It is all attributed to my madness for mooncakes.


Every year, I start to buy mooncakes as long as they appear in the market, even one month before the festival. My mom ever joked that the mooncakes I have eaten over the years should be about the same size as me if they were piled up.


This year, the idea of baking my own mooncake popped up for the first time. After some research online, I decided to register for a baking class since it’s just two weeks away from Mid-Autumn Festival. The 4-hr hands-on session turned out to be very fruitful. In the following two weeks, I made 3 types of mooncakes at home: Snow Skin mooncakes , Cantonese style mooncakes and Shanghai walnut mooncakes. Maybe we are too used to the traditional mooncakes, Shanghai Walnut mooncake seems to be the most popular one in my family. Everyone loves it at first bite. Its pastry, which has rich buttery flavor and crumble texture, together with the salted egg yolks, moderate the sweetness of lotus paste.

You know how many mooncakes I made this Mid-Autumn Festival? Close to 100 ! They make perfect gifts for such an auspicious occasion. Other than using white lotus paste with salted egg yolks as filling, I also made some with red bean paste and melon seeds. Decorate with almond slices, these mooncakes look and taste equally good.


SHANGHAI WALNUT MOONCAKE
Recipe from Mdm Er Teck Gin

 INGREDIENTS
(makes 24 walnut mooncakes)

Pastries:
  • 360 plain flour
  • 40g Custard Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Sodium Bicarbonate
  • 50g icing sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla powder
  • ½ teaspoon Ammonium  (optional)
  • 1 whole egg 
  • 250g salted butter 
  • 150g walnuts (for decoration)

Fillings:
  •  600g lotus paste or red bean paste
  • 12 salted egg yolks
  • toasted melon seeds

Egg wash
  •  1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon milk
DIRECTIONS
  1. Prepare Fillings:
    • Dip salted egg yolk in rum, and bake in oven (180degC, no preheat) for 7-10 mins until oil starts to come out.
    • Wait to cool and cut in halves.
    • Divide lotus or red bean paste into 30g each. Wrap in 1/2 salted egg yolk, round if off.


  2. Prepare Pastries:
    • In a large bowl, cream sugar, butter, vanilla powder and Ammonium together with an electric mixer until slightly white.
    • Add in egg, mix well.
    • Add in flour, custard powder and sodium bicarbonate. Knead into dough and leave for 30mins.
  3. Divide dough into 30g each. Flatten the dough and wrap the lotus paste/red bean paste ball into dough.
  4. Decorate with walnuts. Apply egg wash.
  5. Preheat oven to 200 DegC. Bake for 15 mins or until golden brown.


g+1
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