Monday, August 25, 2014

Pandan Chiffon Cake & Pandan Sponge Cupcakes

Few weeks ago, mum chopped off her old pandan plant and we were left with a big bunch of pandan leaves. So I took some from her and made some pandan cakes.

Use about 15-20 pandan leaves (the more the better), wash and cut into small pieces for easier blending.


I use electric blender, blend the pandan leaves with about 300ml water. Although we do not need so much pandan juice, we need to add water to get the blender to work, if not the pandan leaves will get stuck without moving for my blender.

After done, filter and squeeze the mixture through a sieve to get the clear pandan juice. Discard the remains. Leave the pandan juice in the fridge overnight or few days even better. I forget to take a photo, but you will get a distinct 2 layers of juices, the top is a clear layer while the bottom is a denser green layer of pandan juice which we will use for the cakes. It's called the homemade pandan extract.


First and always, my favourite chiffon cake.


I use a recipe that is very popular on FB originated from Caryn Man Yoke Peng. There is some similarity between this and the Okashi's recipe, both yield very soft chiffon cakes!

Pandan Chiffon Cake (20cm chiffon tin)

Ingredients:

5 egg yolks
30g sugar
50g oil
70g homemade pandan extract
83g cake flour

5 egg whites
70g sugar

Method:

1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
2. Gradually add in vegetable oil, followed by homemade pandan extract. Mix well.
3. Add sifted cake flour. Mix until just combined. Set aside.
4. In another bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add in sugar gradually and continue whisking until stiff peak form.
5. Gently fold in the egg white into the egg yolk batter (in step 3) in 3 batches.
6. Pour the batter into an ungreased chiffon tin. Give the tin a few slight knocks on the tabletop to remove air bubbles. Bake in preheated oven at 170 deg C for 35 minutes. (If your oven is hot, try 160 deg C for 40 min or 150 deg C for 45 min)
7. Remove from oven and invert the tin immediately onto a cooling rack.
8. Unmould the cake only when it is completely cool.


See how I'm 'torturing' my chiffon cake. Hehe! It's super soft

video

Pandan sponge cupcakes made 100% extracted from pandan leaves and all natural colouring.


This cake uses beating the whole egg method which I actually don't like to make. Cos I always find it hard to fold in the flour nicely. However, this time I did it without much problems, maybe more experience now. The result is also moist and fluffy. A good alternative if I feel lazy to do egg separation method.


Pandan Sponge Cupcakes (about 10 cups)

Ingredients:

2 large cold eggs
50g sugar
pinch of salt
65g cake flour
25g homemade pandan extract
15g oil

Method:

1. Whisk eggs, sugar and salt at high speed until white and fluffy, about 15 minutes.
2. Fold in sifted cake flour gently until the mixture is smooth and no traces of flour.
3. Mix homemade pandan extract and oil well. Scoop some batter from step 2 into the pandan mixture. Mix well. Then pour the mixture back to the batter. Fold in gently till smooth and well combined.
4. Scoop the batter into paper cups until almost full.
5. Bake in preheated oven at 170 deg C for 20 minutes. (adjust time according to the size of the baking cups)

Recipe adapted from: Butter . Flour & Me

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Non-spicy Kid-friendly Curry Chicken with Roti Prata

I have been cooking this instant curry chicken almost every week cos my choosy nieces can finish their meal very fast if they eat this! I admit I love it too cos it's so quick and easy. Instant sauces are perfect for me who can't cook very well!


I bought this Prima Taste Nonya Curry Paste from Giant at $1.75 for a 80g packet. The spicy level stated is mild. So I think the kids will be able to take it. Indeed, it is not spicy at all and very kid-friendly and for those who die-die want to eat curry but cannot take spicy food (me lor, hehe)! Maybe not shiok enough for spicy food lovers though.


I don't really have a recipe when it comes to cooking. Just roughly followed the instructions at the back of the packet. I believe you can always adjust according to your own preference.

Ingredients & Method for 2 small servings:

1. Dissolve 1 heaped tablespoon of curry paste in 220ml of boiling water in a pan. (please add more paste if you prefer a thicker version, mine is totally served for children.)

2. Add in 4 mid-joint chicken wings (marinated with 1/2 tsp salt), 2 small potatoes cut into bite sizes, 2-3 stalks of curry leaves. Cook till boiling and reduce to lower heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes.


3. Add in 80ml coconut milk (I use 1 tbsp milk powder dissolved in 80ml water). Add in 1 tbsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook uncovered for another 8 minutes or till chicken is cooked, potatoes are softened and gravy thickened.

4. Pan-fry frozen roti prata on both sides till golden brown. And serve!









My Instagram video. Can you smell it?

video

Another photo of my homecooked curry chicken with roti prata. The Fairprice roti prata quite good. Thin and crispy. Delicious meal!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Orange Chiffon Cake 香橙戚风蛋糕

My initial intention to come up with a series of chiffon cakes recipes failed. Haha! It is just so hard to keep up with blogging.

Anyway, I do bake chiffon cakes very often because my mum loves chiffon cake cos it is lighter and healthier and I love baking it because it is easy to make within an hour with minimal washing, minus the challenge of baking it, hehehe!

After trying different flavours of chiffon cakes, my mum told me that she still prefer orange chiffon cake, the rest so so only. What! You win liao lor! ;P

So I bake this orange chiffon cake for her, despite my desire to try another new flavour. Hahaha!


I am back to using my all-time favourite recipe book "好吃戚风蛋糕轻松上手". Because its 17cm recipe fits so nicely for my tin. Other recipes, if I make adjustment, will either come out too short or too tall. The proportion of flour also not too low and makes the cake more stable and easy to succeed. The extra egg white also makes the cake fluffier. No baking powder and cream of tartar are used, I haven't been adding these to my chiffon cakes for a long long time.


Orange Chiffon Cake

Ingredients: (17cm chiffon tin)

3 egg yolks
20g caster sugar
35ml vegetable oil
1 tsp Cointreau
60ml freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 tsp orange zest (I used zest of 1 whole orange)
80g cake flour

4 egg whites
50g caster sugar (I used 40g)

Method:

1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
2. Gradually add in vegetable oil, followed by Cointreau, orange juice and zest.
3. Add sifted cake flour. Mix until just combined. Set aside.
4. In another bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add in sugar gradually and continue whisking until stiff peak form.
5. Gently fold in the egg white into the egg yolk batter (in step 3) in 3 batches.
6. Pour the batter into an ungreased chiffon tin. Give the tin a few slight knocks on the tabletop to remove air bubbles. Bake in preheated oven at 170 deg C for 35 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and invert the tin immediately onto a cooling rack.
8. Unmould the cake only when it is completely cool.

Adapted from: 好吃戚风蛋糕轻松上手

Photobucket

I'm linking this post to Bake Along #64: Chiffon Cakes jointly hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Lena of Frozen Wings



Sunday, July 06, 2014

Japanese Cotton Cheesecake

I bought cream cheese while it was on offer some time ago. Better quickly use it up. It had been a long time I last bake a cheesecake and I'm craving for one! I'm sticking to a trusted recipe by Alex Goh. I remember I saved a photo of the recipe from the book... BUT I can't find it! Have been keeping too many recipes everywhere and never organize. Anyone has this problem? Haha!

It's ok. I think can easily find the recipe online. :)

Some bakers might have faced problems when baking this cheesecake. I have this phobia too! Scared it will crack, scared it will sink, scared it become dense... Although I rarely make cheesecake, I have more experience in whipping egg whites now, so that makes the task less intimidating. :)


My cheesecake turns out to be pretty good, except for a little crack. I should have stay beside the oven and turn down the temperature. There's uneven browning at the top too. Can't help because of my oven. Or is there a way to brown it nicely? Mostly importantly, it is tall and did not sink! Yeah!


Here's a slice of the cut-out cheesecake. So soft, cottony and melt-in-the-mouth. It's so good when it's chilled! Eating cheesecake is like eating durian. Either you like or hate it. Luckily I like both! Just realize 2 of my nieces are cheesecake lovers. One of them said my cheesecake tastes like the Starbucks one wor. You sure or not? Lol! :p


Japanese Cotton Cheesecake

Ingredients: (I use 6 inch round pan and use 3/4 of the original recipe in brackets)

125g cream cheese (160g)
18g butter (25g)
90g milk (120g)

30g cake flour (40g)
23g cornflour (30g)

3 egg yolks (4)

3 egg whites (4)
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (1/8 tsp), I omitted
75g sugar (100g sugar)
pinch of salt, I omitted

Preparation:

1. Grease and line the bottom and side of the pan with baking paper. Wrap outside of the pan in foil.
(I did not wrap the pan in foil as I prefer to use a normal pan instead of removable base pan.)

2. Place a tray with water at the lowest rack and preheat the oven.
(I did not put the pan in water-bath. I place the tray of water at the lowest rack and the pan at the middle rack.)

Method:

1. Place cream cheese, butter and milk in mixing bowl and double-boil until the mixture becomes thick and creamy and no lumps. Set aside to cool.
(From my experience, it's difficult to get a lump-free mixture. You can pass the mixture through a sieve to get a smooth mixture. For lazy me I just skip it as the lumps will disappear after adding the flour and eggs.)

2. Add in sifted flour mixture and whisk until combined. Do not overmix.

3. Add in egg yolks and whisk until combined. Set aside.

4. Whisk the egg whites until foamy. Add in sugar gradually and whip until soft peaks. Do not whip to stiff peak. Fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture gently in 3 separate additions.

5. Pour the batter into the pan, knock a few times to get rid of air bubbles. Bake in oven at 160C for 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and skewer inserted is clean.
(I bake at 160 deg C, lower to 150 deg C once I spotted crack on the cake, should have reduced earlier. Total baking time is 35 minutes for my 6 inch cake.)

6. Off the oven and leave the cake in the oven with the door slightly ajar for about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from pan, remove the baking paper and further cool down before chilling in the fridge.
(I did not remove the cake from oven immediately to prevent the cake from sinking quickly.)

Adapted from:Fantastic Cheesecake by Alex Goh

I am submitting this post to "My Treasured Recipes #1 - Alex Goh (June/July 2014)" hosted by Miss B of Everyone Eats Well In Flanders and co-hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bangkok 2014: Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam

We had an enjoyable stay at Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam for 3 nights. I am going to summarize everything about the hotel before proceeding to the rest of my trip.

Besides the good location and price, I chose this hotel because I love the nice design of the rooms from their website. In fact the actual room looked almost the same as their photos! Modern, clean and in my favourite blue. The size of the room is 23sqm, small but adequate for us. Room might be too small to accommodate more than 2 persons though.

The 2 comfortable single beds.


Another view towards the bathroom and door.


The pillows are labelled firm and soft. Such a nice touch!


Clearer view of the room during the day. One sleeper sofa and one work chair.


Phone, iPod docking station, switches and universal power plugs all by the bed. So important for me cos I can charge and use my phone while lying on the bed. Their Wifi was fast and reliable too!


The TV area with 32 inch LCD TV. There's a mini fridge below which is empty.


Work station and chair on the right.


There is no room service. But the room has a set of delivery menu for fast food if you need. So special!




The kettle, mugs and instant beverages. 2 complimentary mineral water bottles provided.


I was so looking forward to a room on a high floor with great city view. However despite requesting it during booking and private email, I still got a room view like this because they said not available during my check-in. Full-length window but it was facing another building so close that we could see what people were doing. (It applied the opposite way too, so close the curtains for privacy). This was the biggest disappointment for this hotel.


The bathroom is simple and clean.


It is Holiday Inn Express concept to be environmental friendly. Only a few toiletries are provided.


You can request for other toiletries at the reception if you need. But we didn't as we brought ours. Towels will be reused unless you place them on the floor to indicate change needed. I think it applies for the bed sheets too if I remember correctly.


Hairdryer and handwash dispenser.


Hand held showerhead with good pressure and heat. Not bad. Again the soap and shampoo is provided in the dispenser.


Toilet and sufficient towels provided.


There's something about hotel's bathroom which I find it rather strange. Maybe I'm not well-travelled enough? :) From my few recent hotel stays, the one we stay in Hong Kong, at MBS and here, all the bathrooms door cannot be locked! Why? It's ok if we are staying with adult family or close friends, but kind of awkward if you are in the room with not-so-close people right? Even with children too, because you won't know when they will just come into the bathroom while you are bathing! Haha! Hotels these days also often come with see-through bathrooms! Not in this room though.

The door in the bathroom is very special too. It is a 'double door' which can be either a bathroom door when closed or become the shower room door when  fully opened! So let's say someone needs to use the toilet urgently, can use it without peeping the other one having shower. Lol!

There's another side of the room which I didn't take any photos. The usual things in a hotel room, like wardrobe with hangers, in room safe, slippers etc.


Let's explore outside the room. Our room number.


Very blue corridor and a bit dark.


There is not much facilities in this hotel. Only 3 floors actually.


A small lobby area at the ground floor. The staff speak good English, very polite and friendly as well. The check-in and check-out was very fast too.



Internet stations with free wifi and seating area.


Clean toilets.


The highest level in the hotel is at 24th floor. There is a Fitness Room and a Rooftop Garden.

The gym if you need to exercise and get rid of the excess calories from all the eating be healthy. There's no swimming pool in this hotel, some people may not like, but no problem for me cos I can't swim. Lol!


The garden area. Very empty. Nobody was here the 2 times I went up. Funny!



The reason to be here. The view of the Bangkok city! Well, if you get a room with great view, you don't have to come up here to see. (Still complaining) :(



BTS track is just below us. So near!


Sunrise in Bangkok.


Mercure/Ibis Hotel, which I initially want to stay here, is very near to Holiday Inn Express.


Up here the second time for the night scenery. Camera is horrible for night photos.



At the 7th floor, there is a meeting room (no photo), a self-service laundry room and vending machine.



The Great Room where buffet breakfast is served every morning. After breakfast hours, they do not provide food and the place is served as a lounge for resting and gathering.



The hotel provides very simple breakfast. The selection was mostly the same for 3 days and tasted pretty average. But enough for a quick start for the day.


Bread and pastry section



Automated machine for coffee, tea or hot chocolate. I must have the hot chocolate every morning. It was so good!



Fresh fruits and fruit juices



Salad and 3 types of yogurt everyday.



Chicken sausage same same everyday.


Eggs, scrambled or omelette, on alternate days.



3 different types of rice served on the 3 different days.


Mum lucky to have vegetarian rice on the 2nd day.



Porridge


Milk and cereal.


Our choice for breakfast for the 3 days. The Holiday Inn's signature Cinnamon Rolls was nice!





Holiday Inn Express offers grab & go for breakfast. You grab a cup of coffee and snacks using the disposable cups and bags if you are in a hurry. So convenient for the hotel guests!



We like to seat by the window and watch the street outside the hotel.


BTS track just beside the hotel. Many attempts before getting a decent photo of skytrain passing by. :)


The hotel facade.


Outdoor garden. But too hot to sit outside. Haha!


Security guard outside the hotel and it is very safe.


By the road.


The location is good because it is just few steps away from National Stadium BTS.


There is a 7-11 and supermarket nearby too. It is quite quiet on the street outside the hotel though, in terms of street food and shopping. But big shopping malls like MBK, Siam Square, Siam Paragon are all within walking distance.


Mum thinks I'm crazy, took so many photos of the hotel. But only free and easy with her then I can have the free time to explore around the hotel. Plus hotel is not that big. :) I find it quite interesting actually, no? Haha!

Overall we had a great stay here. Good location, value for money. We were impressed by the service of the staff here. Mum accidentally left a hat in the Great Room after breakfast before 7am on Day 3. We went for the half day tour and came back after 1pm. Went back there to look for it and the staff actually kept for us! The security in front of the hotel was very friendly too. Greeted us everytime, helped with the luggages, called taxi and even opened the vehicle doors for every hotel guests.

If you want to know, Holiday Inn Express is located all over the world. There's another one in Bangkok Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Sathorn and Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 due to open in 4th quarter of 2014.

2 in Singapore too. Holiday Inn Express Singapore Orchard Road and Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay. But pricey lah!

Although Holiday Inn Express concept is no-frills and self-catering with basic facilities and services at affordable price, the design and comfort level exceeded my expectation!

Next: Bangkok 2014 Day 2: Erawan Shrine and Chatuchak Weekend Market