Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lavender Cookies....something unusual but nice

I actually forget to tell you guys that when I went to the 'chinese medical herb shop' the other day to buy my Osmanthus Flower, I didn't only just settle for that......but I ended up buying Rose Flower and also Lavender Flower. According to the shopkeeper, he advised that Rose Flower helps in promoting beautiful skin, whereas Lavender Flower helps in Insomnia, it promotes better sleep and also relaxes the muscles and the mind after a tiring day. 
In fact this is the first time I actually bought dried flowers .........as I don't normally make flower teas, but more to Green Tea and of course, Coffee!!! LOL 


As far as I can remember, I have never bake with any dried flowers before too......so, it's time to start now, eh....hehehe. After the Osmanthus flower attempt in making the Konnyaku, I have also started searching in the internet for other relevant recipes in baking and cooking using these flowers.
Don't be surprise you start seeing me posting topics on baking or cooking with Rose, Osmanthus, Lavender or maybe Chrysanthemum and Jasmine, LOL.....:P
Anyway, these batch of Lavender Cookies were baked by the suggestion from my BFF, Marilynda. She told me that she loved these Lavender Cookies after her first time tasting it years ago, when her neighbor gave a box to her after her return from England for a holiday. The brand of the cookies that she tasted was from 'Marks & Spenser'.......oh, I see.....now that makes me even more lighted up with the urge to quickly work up a cookie dough and bake it, hehehe :P

I promised her that I will come up with the recipe after a search from the WWW and by Monday, I'll be seeing her for lunch with a box of Lavender Cookies for her taste testing :)
And so I search and manage to find a few........but I only need one that is the BEST!!....and after thoroughly going through the ingredients, I finally decided with my own, where I altered here and there........trust me, its' the easiest and the promise of a good cookie crunch is sealed!


Give it a try, it's not asking for a thousand things........just plain simple ingredients that I'm sure you can easily them on your kitchen cupboard......of course, except for the "Lavender Flowers".

LAVENDER COOKIES (Makes about 3 dozen)
Ingredients
315gm all purpose flour (I used HK Flour)
250gm butter , softened
190gm Icing sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 Tbsp of dried Lavender flowers, I used it whole, you might like to chop it if you wish :)

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degree Celsius and line 3 cookie trays with parchment papers.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter  with icing sugar until light pale and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add in the egg, and mix thoroughly until well combined.
  4. Sift together the baking powder and flour, and slowly add in to the mixture on low speed until combined.
  5. Add in the lavender flowers and stir thoroughly.
  6. You can use a spoon to scoop the dough and place a dollop on the cookie tray, OR like me, I use my cookie piping gadget (that I bought 2 years ago, but haven't try it out yet, so this is the chance, hehe). I scooped enough of the dough and insert it into the tube, locked the top. Then, I placed a disc of the pattern I chosed, and locked the bottom, and start piping it on the parchment paper :)
  7. Bake the cookies at 170 degree Celsius for  18 minutes (on my oven).....you kindly adjust the time according to your oven ya.

Transfer the cookies to the tray, let it cool for about 5-10 minutes and transfer it to the wire rack to cool completely before storing it into an airtight container. 

 Here are some beautiful pictures that caught my attention . Just look at those beautiful Lavender field.....like a carpet.....hmmm...aaaahh!!


How I wish I was the owner of this house.....sigh!!
Can you imagine yourself walking on these lovely Lavender field with you loved ones.....aaw!!
Lastly, imagine yourself sipping a cup of English Tea with a small plate of Lavender cookies.....baked by me, LOL
Cheers, hehe!!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hinava.......something very local



Here I am again, crazily craving for something really weird! I'm a 100% Chinese but craving for something really Kadazan.......hahaha, told you I can be really crazy at times :P
Anyone heard about this local delicacy called "Hinava"?? If you are a Kadazan or Sino- Kadazan, this is nothing unusual to you, right? But I also heard my friend saying that there is a Philippine version of this dish, where they add papaya into it......hmm, I would not think I'll like that.


Anyway, to cut things short, I know there are already a few people waiting for this post to be uploaded since the day I posted my Hinava picture in my Facebook page 2 days ago. Sorry ladies, you know I'm always lagging in my blogging updates, however, this is still fresh as the dish itself.....hehe. Oh by the way, this recipe I got it form my best friend , Marilynda, thanks 'Pu Ngiong'....hehehe


Hinava.....a very local delicacy
Ingredients
- About 600-700gm of Tenggiri fish meat, de-boned it, cut into small slices, make sure its really fresh
- Lime juice from about 5 - 6 lime, enough to cover the fish meat in a bowl
- Red shallots, chopped to very small pieces
- Bitter gout , thinly slice, rub with salt, let it soaked for awhile, then rinse with warm water to get rid of the bitter taste
- 1 big chilli, cut into small pieces
- A small piece of ginger, grated and squeeze out the juice of about 2 tsp
- 1-2 Tbsp of Bambanggan seed, you can get this in the local market (tamu)
- Salt and  MSG to taste






Method

  1. Clean and slice the fish meat to small slices, rinse quickly with some hot water, taking care not to cook it. 
  2. In a medium size bowl, put in the fish meat, chillies, shallots, Bambanggan seed and pour in the lime juice, enough to cover the surface of the fish meat. Stir and thoroughly mixed and blend well all the ingredients. You will be able to see that the fish meat is slowly changing its color after being cooked by the marination of the lime juice.
  3. Add in the bitter gout  and ginger juice and stir to mix in. Then add your salt and MSg to taste according to your liking.
  4. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate it overnight for better taste and marination. 
hope you like the combination of this recipe, according to Marilynda, some people like to add 'chilli padi' into it for a little spicy taste. Well its all up to your taste bud, you can even try adding papaya, just like the Philippine version of Hinava...hehe. Tell me how you like this dish ya  ;)

Till then, ciao!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Osmanthus Konnyaku Jelly



The other day I bought a Groupon Voucher for a quite a good deal. The voucher was a 2 person for RM12.90 (actual value is worth more than RM30.00) for 2 bowls of Assam Laksa, 2 Iced-lemon tea and 2 pcs of Osmanthus jelly.


I would say overall, the whole meal was really worth it and it tasted really good too. Well, as you may have know, why this post was created , it was due to the Osmanthus Jelly that we had there, it was so refreshing and it tasted really yummy. Especially with the awesome weather that we have here in Malaysia, you'll constantly think of ways to soothe and cool yourself........like drinking as much cool drinks as possible, or eating something that is really cooling, calming and most of all, refreshing, sometimes I would think of storing the watermelon into the freezer and later, using s scoop to scoop out the fruit to eat it, wondering if it'll turn into 'watermelon ice cubes or better still, 'watermelon Ice blended!! LOL......


Other times, I would make some agar-agar or konnnyaku jellies, as the my kids are a big fan of these two dessert. So, this is how I got the idea of making this 'Osmanthus Konnyaku Jelly'.....thanks to the outlet that I went to, hehe :) The two of us was complaining not enough after we gobbled up the little piece of jelly, and when we check the menu for the cost of this small piece of dessert, it cost RM3.90 per piece (the size of 1.5 x 1.5 inches) and therefore I assured my friend that I'll come up with the recipe and I'll make a lot and we can share then, LOL

Here is the recipe......hope you like it as much as me and my friend did :)


OSMANTHUS KONNYA KU JELLY
Ingredients
- 1 packet of Konnyaku Jelly powder, mine was the one in the picture, you can get other brands in the supermarket
- 950ml water, as required in the packet (as stated in the packet)
- 240gm castor sugar (as stated in the packet)
- 1 - 2 Tbsp of Osmanthus flower tea
- Some wolfberries, optional and quantity up to your own liking






Method

  1. Soak the wolfberries , if you are using, into some warm water to softened. Set aside.
  2. Bowl the water on medium heat. When it starts to boil, lower down the heat and pour in the Osmanthus flower tea into the pot, stir for awhile and let it simmer for about 4-5 minutes. Let it flavored the water.
  3. While its simmering, mix the Konnyaky powder and the sugar together in a bowl and slowly pour into the pot.
  4. Constantly stirring until the sugar is all melted and let it boil on medium low heat for about 6-8 minutes. 
  5. Add in the wolfberries and stir it in. Turn the fire off .
  6. With the jelly moulds ready on the table counter, slowly spoon in the mixture.
  7. Let is set a little at room temperature before storing it into the refrigerator for about 2-4 hours.
  8. When it's cold and fully set, dis-mould it, and serve .......the kids will love it!!


Enjoy!

Konnyaku

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake



Today was being declared a Public Holiday as our new Agung is being coronate. To the kids, it was the best of news was a holiday is being announced. For us who are chasing datelines, another unforeseen holiday means another day of delayed work, haha.
Well, no matter what, we just take it and enjoy ourselves with our loved ones - Hubby and the kids. It's been quite a while now, that the boys have not followed their old man and woman (me and hubby) for our weekly 'yum-cha' and window shopping on Sundays. Only my little girl , Angel accompanies these two old fellas......LOL
Therefore, since today is not a Sunday, but it is a holiday, I bribed the boys to go for a breakfast with us in exchange for them to play their PC games later in the afternoon, how sad right? haha.......kids nowadays, they can just sit in front of their laptop all day without having to eat, drink, pee and poo........how shocking , right?
What can I say, internet rules the world now!!
Anyway, after coming home from our breakfast, that was around 1pm, I decided to bake something for afternoon tea later, since MiL is out playing her mahjong, which means that dinner time will be delayed , hehe :P


I decided to bake this Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake that I have listed down to bake months back. Well, nothing special about this cake, just that I love lemon and this bag of "blue Poopy seeds" were given to me by my MiL months back too.......and I hate to see it sitting in the cupboard without being touched. So, that is how and why this cake was being chose.




Here's the recipe :-


LEMON POPPY SEED POUND CAKE
(Yield 8" inch Round baking pan)


Ingredients
200gm butter, softened
250gm SRF
5 eggs, room temperature
200gm castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 Tbsp evaporated milk 
3 Tbsp lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
30gm poppy seeds ( I used blue poppy seeds)


Method 

  1. Pre heat oven to 175~Celsius, greased and line the bottom and sides of an 8" round baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 4-5 mins on medium speed.
  3. Add in the lightly beaten eggs, portion by portion, making sure that its fully incorporated.
  4. Add in the vanilla , milk , lemon juice and zest, one at a time and see that it's completely mixed in.
  5. Sift in the SRF , mixing well on medium speed until fully incorporated. Pour in the poppy seed and lightly fold in.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared baking tin, and bake for 1hr 15 minutes or until the skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Put it on a wire rack to cool, and then take it out of the baking tin, slice and serve.
Enjoy!!

Conclusion, I would say this cake is medium moist, nice texture and not too sweet, I like it at this sweetness, and the poppy seed with lemon is a perfect combination. Give it a try and tell me about your preference :)

Happy Baking!






Sunday, April 1, 2012

My very first Cake Decorating Class.........Sugar Art

That's me and SugarArt award winning instructor , Mr Kelvin Chua of Vinism SugarArt
Anyone heard of Vinism SugarArt or Mr Kelvin Chua before? I'm pretty sure you all did, if not you can always check him out at eBlogger or Facebook , Youtube and etc. He is a very fine 'young' man that has a sky-high talent in creating and making very fine and mystique designs using royal icing. Don't be surprise when I tell you that he doesn't bake, not as good as us (ahem), hahaha......as his passion is not in baking, but only the decorating, and using only 'sugar' and that is why it is called "SugarArt".
Sometimes, it really amazed me when I think of what 'sugar' can do. I have never attended any baking or cake decorating class before , not that I don't want to, but generally time is not on my side. Now that I have been baking for about 2.5 years , this is the first class that I have ever attended :P
Well, I'm a bit choosy when it comes to attending classes like baking or decorating, I very much prefer a 100% hands on classes, and definitely not classes where you just sit there, with a notepad and pen, jotting down what the chef is doing in front of you, and later only get to taste the finished product :P,  Secondly, at times when I found one that I like to attend, it's either the timing is not right for me, or it's somewhere not in my location.......so there is always something that came up :(


Day 1 - Flow of Fantasy
Anywhere, this time I finally got myself signed up in not one, but two classes on SugarArt Cake Decorating jointly organized by Sugar Art of Kota Kinabalu (Mdm Fanny Chin) and Mr Kelvin Chua of Vinism SugarArt. In fact, it was a 3-day course for three different theme, but the 2nd day, I have an order to fulfil, so I had to skip. I must say, I have learnt a whole a lot of tips and tricks and really useful information on decorating a cake using royal icing. I have not had the privilege yet to try out on royal icing as a decorating factor for my cake orders, but definitely, with this techniques learnt, it will help in many ways!!
These 2 classes that I have attended, it was all about 'piping, piping, and more piping!! However, we had so much fun and lots of laughter in the room, though our hands are trembling with the pipings......LOL


I'm very happy with the outcome of the class at the end of the 2 days session........look what I have created, and I'm impressed with myself too!!


Day 2 - Black Charm


This is the group photo with those awesome 'Black Charm' creators on Day 2
Overall, I would say, I highly recommend those of you who wishes to explore into Royal Icing creating to join in classes like these to learn the techniques and for those who is already into royal icing piping, further sharpen your skills in embroidery painting, filigree piping and lots more!!


Lastly, my heartfelt thanks and honour to the privilege in meeting and knowing, and most of all, learning these wonderful skill from Mr Kelvin Chua of Vinism SugarArt.


"I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I remember" - by Pablo Picasso