28 Feb 2013

the last day of summer

A recent showering of rain helped cool down the blistering summer heat we've been having for the past two to three weeks. Finally. A shame it'll become summer again by the end of the week.

No more (accidental) afternoon cat naps on the sofa downstairs, no more puddles of melted ice cream and a good night's sleep in bed. 

The fluctuation of lime prices; from a dollar a pop to six for two - bargain! Definitely a good reason to turn on the oven for a deliciously moist lime cake (adapted from here). Yum.

One jug of fizzy limeade later and this pops in my head. It all started with a tub of mascarpone cheese and a tiny bottle of booze I randomly bought on my way back home.

It's very simple to make, and you won't be sweating bullets if you have a food processor (or have someone else whip the cream for you). 

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Not a very traditional tiramisu     makes 1 x 24cm x 14cm loaf

I tried Baileys for the first time ever and it actually tastes good in tiny amounts. Like a funky chocolate milk - in a good way.

100g milo powder
40g condensed milk
21 savoiardi biscuits
250ml thickened cream
250g mascarpone cheese
80g caster sugar
30ml Baileys Irish Cream (optional)
30g dark chocolate, for garnish

Dissolve milo powder and condensed milk with enough hot water to make a thin syrup. Dip the savoiardi biscuits until soft on both sides and set aside. Make some more syrup if you don't have enough.

Whip thickened cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Add mascarpone cheese and whip until just combined into the cream. Add Baileys and mix well to combine.

To assemble: line the tin with seven biscuits and cover with one-third of the cream mixture. Repeat two times, ending with the cream. Chill until firm. I think it tastes better overnight.

Grate dark chocolate on top or dust with Dutch processed cocoa powder just before serving.

16 Feb 2013

a different kind of pancake

We have some kind of a Vietnamese food wave going on in the house. 

Dad and I are still experimenting on how to make the banh xeo crispier. For the batter we've used: 340g banh xeo (pancake) flour, 100g rice flour, 50g corn starch, turmeric - enough to make it a light radioactive yellow, 1 can of coconut milk, 4 bowls of soda water and half a bunch of chopped spring onions. Just mix everything up and let it rest whilst prepping the other ingredients. Next time we're going to substitute the extra rice flour with 50g of corn starch - hopefully that'll do the trick.

Fillings wise, just the standards of sliced pork stir fried with garlic, prawns, steamed split mung beans, bean shoots and we ate it with Asian lettuce, Vietnamese mint and Dad's fish sauce.

15 Feb 2013

homemade banh mi

Sometimes my Dad makes pretty awesome stuff, like these homemade nem nuong. We had leftovers from previous night's dinner so Dad went out in the morning to get some crusty Vietnamese baguettes for breakfast. We filled them with whatever we could find in the fridge. 

Asian lettuce, thinly sliced cucumber, pickled carrots, Vietnamese mint and perilla and the leftover meat patties and sauce. Rather than having them in bun or in the rice paper rolls, everything just tasted so much better in the baguette. We're just missing some chopped roasted peanuts and coriander.

I reckon it's going to be hard going back to the regular nem nuong banh mi from the Vietnamese baker. At least we still have two boxes of marinated mince in the freezer.

Dad's nem nuong: ground fatty pork, copious amounts of finely chopped garlic, garlic powder, fish sauce, white pepper, potato starch and nem nuong powder. || Sauce: hoisin sauce, crunchy peanut butter, water, sugar and vegetable oil.

13 Feb 2013

sweet tooth

I had a sweet tooth dilemma going one during summer school and I couldn't afford to use my time baking when I had x pages of readings to do each night. Store bought sweets and pastries didn't exactly hit the spot, until I ate a handful of sweet things after dinner one night... 

Since I didn't get to bake, this is basically all sorts of my favourite things rolled into one. A rich, gooey chocolate cake, spiced biscuits (blitzed into crumbs), orange curd and whipped cream, check. 

So um, Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Go bake something and knock your (and someone's) socks off!

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Flourless chocolate and orange cake     makes 1 x 14cm cake
adapted from Billy's flourless chocolate cake in Masterchef Series 3 Cookbook

65g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
150g Lindt Orange Intense dark chocolate, chopped
50ml thickened cream
10g dutch cocoa powder, sifted
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
30ml Grand Marnier (optional)
rind of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 14cm round cake tin with baking paper.

Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, melt chocolate and cream over a double boiler, stirring occasionally. Pour the melted chocolate into the butter and stir until smooth. Lastly, add the cocoa powder, eggs, Grand Marnier and orange rind and stir until smooth.

Pour batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 35 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature before chilling in the fridge. The center will be soft and gooey-like. 

9 Feb 2013

breakfast in a cube

We bought a packet of these smoothie cubes after work one night and left it in the freezer to rot. We eventually found it when we were clearing out room for (more) ice cream. The packet says you can use it straight away, but I was paranoid my blender was going to break, so I defrosted it with some milk in the fridge.

I like the blitzed oats and LSA.

To those celebrating, Happy Chinese New Year!