Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Finding Inspiration

what a wonderful thing it is to find inspiration and feel motivated again. I haven't really touched this blog since 2011. 
I've only returned back to it on occasion, in order to find old recipes that I know I've tried and enjoyed. but speaking with the casting team of The Great Canadian Baking Show, and realizing that I need to practice a few more techniques, I'm ambitious and determined to audition for the next season.

I was flattered that I was given the chance to audition for this season, but sadly my schedule and my vacation/time off would not coincide with the schedule for the show. But I was still so grateful to even be considered. Casting said they could "see my passion" for baking.... and I'll say, it's only going to get even more fiery!

Choux Pastry
- 1/3 cup water
- 40g butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 eggs

1. Warm water in a saucepan, add in the butter. Continue heating until butter melts, and mixture just comes to a boil.
2. Remove from heat, add in sifted flour. stir mixture with wooden spoon until dough forms and comes away from the sides of the pan. allow to cool for 2 minutes.
3. incorporate eggs, one at a time. mixing well until uniform dough forms.
4. place dough in piping bag, pipe dough patterns on to well greased baking sheet. bake at 425F for 30 minutes. until golden and crisp.
5. immediately cut slits (to release steam, so that the pastry does not become moist)

I filled my choux with bacon-bechamel sauce and Genoa salami!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Brain Cake!

I made this Brain Cake for Halloween after being inspired by watching Feast of Fiction on YouTube. I definitely love this vlog. You should definitely tune in if you're a gaming/pop-culture geek.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Orange and Raspberry Yogurt-bran Muffins

I'm a proud, proud sister today... yesterday my sister texted me and asked if she could borrow my muffin pan to do some baking and invited me home to watch her in action. My sisters have never really shown any inclination towards baking or cooking before, aside from what they learned in Home Economics in high-school and today marks the day that something in them has changed. Perhaps my fascination with baking has rubbed off on her... most likely it was because this recipe for muffins is easy and ridiculously tasty. I like to think it is the former.

Orange + Raspberry Yogurt-bran Muffins

- 1 1/2 cups All-bran cereal
- 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1 medium orange,. juice and zest
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 cup frozen raspberries

1. In medium bowl, combine cereal, yogurt, orange juice and zest. Allow to stand for 2 mins or until the cereal softens.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir until uniform.
3. Add eggs and oil to the cereal mixture. Mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and continue to stir until well combined. Fold in the raspberries.
4. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin and bake at 375degrees for 20minutes.

Hopefully my sister continues to bake, because these muffins were wonderfully moist, not overmixed... light and fluffy and you would never know they were healthy. I love her to bits and just know that she can do pretty much anything she sets her mind to. Even out-bake me :D

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

After a long haitus... Spicy Squid Noodles!

It's been a long hiatus for me... yes, I'm still alive and kicking, but I just haven't gotten around to even logging into my Blogger account as of late. Surprise, surprise... ol' me and my scatter-brained ways. My how things have changed on here, this does not look like the same old blogger that I was used to. It's so much more "blah" (well, maybe I'm just averse to everything being in white... it just seems so much more boring to me than the good old blue, orange, white and tan color that blogger used to have. Anyways, what have I been up to? A lot. Since I last logged in, I think I kind of mentioned that I'd met a boy overseas (in Manchester) and since then we've been seeing each other back and forth (the distance is seriously killer). He proposed, and although I know it'll be a long time until we'll actually be able to be physically together, on the same continent, I threw caution to the wind and said "Hells yes!" We are, quite the unconventional couple I know... young, spontaneous and just plain crazy; but, we're both the kind of crazy that the other one needs (and heck, we just work). It's been 9months since I first laid eyes on my boy, and in just over a month I'll be heading back to see him and enjoy Reading Festival (my first festival ever, and his 7th... so, at least I'll be with a seasoned veteran). But anyways, enough about me and my random life... on with the recipes!!!

Spicy Squid Noodles

- 1 cup of yu choy, chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp hot chili paste in oil
- 250g dry wheat noodles, par boiled
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 squid with tentacles and all, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces

1. Combine the chili paste, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar and hoisin sauce with the squid, yu choy and onions. Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
2. In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the marinated squid and fry over medium-high heat until half-cooked (about 2 1/2 minutes).
3. Add in the half-cooked noodles and fry with the squid and sauce, continue cooking over medium-high heat until the noodles are fully cooked. Serve.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Berry Pudding Cake

I think the thing that motivates me most when it comes to baking goodies is when I get to make them for other people and share my love of food with them. If it were just up to cooking for myself, I'd probably just be living off of canned soup and sandwiches... actually, scratch that. It'd probably just be tinned soup and bread... sandwiches would take too much effort :P But anyways, it was because I was scheduled to work on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (night shifts... so, I still had celebratory time with the family, don't worry) that I was lured back into the kitchen to make treats to share at our staff potluck! So, I decided on something semi-healthy... a berry pudding cake. Nom nom nom.

Berry Pudding Cake

- 4 cups of mixed berries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp orange peel
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- Powdered sugar to decorate

1. In a 9-by-3inch dish, add in the berries in an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup sugar
2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and add in the olive oil, orange peel, vanilla and 1 cup of sugar.
3. Add in the flour, baking powder and salt. Continue to mix until well encorporated.
4. Pour batter evenly over the berries and bake in a 350degree oven for 35-40minutes.
5. Cool and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Slice into squares and serve warm or cold.

This was a big hit! I loved it! It was actually really easy and the presentation was simple, yet a real stunner. Definitely a recipe I'll be keeping in my good-books ^^

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

It seems like I'm just always apologizing for stepping away from my food blog for months at a time. I've actually noticed that a lot of the blogs I follow have done the same... I guess it's just that life has taken hold of all of us and we've not had the opportunity to spend as much time in the kitchen as we once did. I'm hoping that soon enough I'll make the kitchen my nesting quarters again, but for now I really have no idea when I'll be posting my baking creations. It's just a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing for me at this point in time. Don't ask me why I decided to wake up this morning and make Red Velvet Cupcakes. Perhaps it was the thought of a future wedding that got me thinking... "I've always wanted Red Velvet Cake for my wedding cake. It's simple, none of that fancy-schmancy custard filling, with multiple layers of cake + fruit preserve + frosting all with a fondant exterior." I just like the plain, the ordinary, the non-showy... that's me. And then I thought to myself how I'd always wanted to bake my own wedding cake or make a cupcake-tree display (as it saves on the messy and awkward hacking up of the cake with a knife). Call me crazy... all my friends have; stating, "You're going to have enough to worry about in terms of the wedding; taking on the task of making the cake... girl, you're insane!" Maybe I am, but I think it'd be cool to say that I made my own wedding cake... either it says "Hey, this girl's really talented" or "Hey, this girl's ridiculously frugal"; honestly, I could live with either remark. Ain't nowt wrong with being frugal.

Anyways... enough with the rambling banter. I'm sure you all just want the recipe. So here it is!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Yields 8 cupcakes

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Red food coloring (I use Wilton's concentrated coloring paste, as you get a nice deep color without needing to use loads of coloring)
1 egg
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp white vinegar

1. Set the oven to 350degrees. Sift together the flour, salt and cocoa powder.
2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla, beating until smooth. Add in enough red food coloring to make a deep red color.
3. Alternately, add in the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the butter mixture (In thirds, starting with the milk and ending with the flour). Stir until just combined.
4. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins and bake for ~25minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Remove from oven, place on cooling rack and then ice with your favorite cream cheese frosting.

My Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 cups of confectioner's sugar

1. Cream the butter and cream cheese together.
2. 1/2 cup at a time, add in the sugar.
3. Place in piping bag and use to decorate.

It actually felt really good to get back into the kitchen after such a long hiatus. Well, I have actually been "in the kitchen" a lot but y'know what I mean... I haven't ventured to make anything new lately, or gotten around to blogging about my cooking adventures. I'll try and amend that problem though. Bye for now, peeps!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Caramel-filled Crunchie Cupcakes

So, I realize it's been far too long since I last posted a quality recipe post on my blog. I apologize deeply for this... not only to my followers, but to myself. I don't know what's come over me... I really don't. I'd like to blame everything else that's been going on in my life for interrupting my passion for baking and cooking, but that'd just be a cop-out. Sure, work's been stressful (since I have to make up for all of the shifts I swapped to go on my holidays) but who hasn't had to deal with hectic work schedules every now and then. Yes, maybe I've been having some relationship issues on my mind but again, I'm not the only one. So, today I decided to kick myself in the butt and actually make something.

This recipe's for my friend James. It's his birthday tomorrow and he's all sad about being somewhere where he knows very few people, but mostly he's all down about being a year older. I say, "Heck to that! You're only as old as you feel!" And he has got to be the most fun-loving, energetic and just plain wonderful person I have the pleasure of knowing :D

For this recipe, I decided to use one of my favourite chocolate bars and turn it into a cupcake. I dunno, cupcakes seem to be all the rage nowadays. What with all these gourmet bakeries specializing in just cupcakes, and shows like Cupcake Wars on the Food Network getting so much attention. So, I thought I'd join in with the crowd.

Caramel-filled Crunchie Cupcake

Cupcake Ingredients:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp each baking soda and salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp molasses (or corn syrup if unavailable)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup whole milk

Caramel Drizzle Ingredients:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 cup heavy cream

Caramel Filling:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp corn syrup
- 1/2 cup whipping cream

Whipped Cream Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Garnish/Other Ingredients:
- 6 Crunchie Chocolate Bars (cut 18 big-chunks for topping the cupcakes; and then roughly chop the remaining bars)

Cupcake Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350degrees, and prepare the cupcake tins (grease tins well, or use liners)
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. Beat butter until fluffy, add in the sugars and when combined, slowly add in one egg at a time. Add in molasses/corn syrup and vanilla.
4. Alternately, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk + milk into the butter mixture. Continue to mix until well combined.
5. Add in the roughly chopped pieces of Crunchie, and pour batter into the prepared tins (~2/3 full) and bake for 15-20minutes.
6. Remove cakes from oven, cool and slice in half.

Caramel Drizzle Method:
1. Place sugar in a heavy bottomed sauce pan with the corn syrup. Heat pan on medium-high and wait for sugar to melt. Once sugar mixture has turned a dark amber, remove from heat and add in the cream. Allow to cool and use for drizzling the cupcakes when ready.

Caramel Filling Method:
1. Melt butter in a saucepan, add in the sugar and corn syrup. Stir continuously over medium heat for 6-8minutes, or until mixture turns a deep amber.
2. Pour in the cream, and continue to cook for 1-2minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to a spreadable consistency.

Whipped Cream Frosting/filling:
1. In a metal bowl, whip the whipping cream until fluffy and firm. Add in the powdered sugar and mix well. Set aside for cupcake assembly.

1. Take top off of a halved cupcake.
2. Spread on a thin layer of whipped cream frosting, followed by a layer of caramel filling.
3. Place top of cupcake back on.
4. Top cupcake with a heaping tbsp of whipped cream frosting. Drizzle on the caramel sauce, sparingly; and top with a chunky piece of Crunchie.

It actually felt really good going back into the kitchen to make something more than a packet of noodles, tea, a sandwich or some sort of frozen dinner. I missed the feeling of being creative and getting my hands dirty; putting effort and love into making dishes is a lot of fun... but I think for a while there, it was becoming more of a chore to up-keep this blog than it was a joy. Hopefully, I'll get back into the groove... and if ever you're worried about whether or not I'm actually still around, check out my tumblr :P I'll probably be on that.