Saturday, 15 April 2017

Double Chocolate Cookies


This is another hit from my trusted The New Best Recipe cookbook from Cook's Illustrated. I especially love the intense chocolate taste of this cookie while remaining quite soft and chewy. I do have to go grocery shopping for 50% cocoa content dark chocolates since my baking chocolates in my pantry is always 70%. The coffee in my opinion can be omitted since it really made the flavour very intense. But other than that they were very nice cookies indeed.


Double Chocolate Chip Cookies (Thick & Chewy)

260 g  [2 cups] plain flour
35 g  [1/2 cup] cocoa
2 tap baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
4 large eggs
450 g  dark chocolate (50% cocoa content) - chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee (optional)
185 g  [3/4 cup] unsalted butter - softened
300 g  [1 1/2 cups] light brown sugar
100 g  [1/2 cup] granulated sugar
  1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine eggs and vanilla and beat lightly. If using, sprinkle the coffee over and beat until dissolved.
  3. Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a simmering saucepan of water. Cool slightly and set aside.
  4. Beat the butter with the sugars.
  5. Add the egg mixture while beating.
  6. Mix in the melted chocolate.
  7. Add in the combined dry ingredients while mixing at low speed or with a wooden spoon.
  8. Cover bowl and let stand at room temperature until scoopable (about 30 minutes).
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
  10. Scoop or shape the dough into balls about 1 1/2-inch in diameter or 60 g in weight and arrange in baking sheets 1 1/2-inches apart.
  11. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges have begun to set but the middle is still soft.
  12. Cool in the sheets for about 10 minutes and then transfer to racks and cool completely.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Bread and Butter Pudding

Bread and Butter Pudding

One of my favourite comfort food is Bread and Butter Pudding. It has that ability to be classified as both a dessert or a snack depending on how you serve or how much you eat.

A lot of bread puddings I have the experience of buying in shops are too stodgy. They resemble more like slightly sweetened thick chewy bread. But not this one. I do love this recipe because is lighter and the ratio of the egg to milk/cream is just right. Plus the sugar is just right - not too sweet. I got this from an old ripped-off page of the BBC Good Food magazine with the recipe coming from the chef Paul Heathcote. Thanks Paul.

Bread and Butter Pudding

I know I burned some of the pudding top but believe me it's not that badly burnt. It's probably just the lighting angle of the picture. Not a problem for me because I'm partial to slightly charred food!


Bread and Butter Pudding


Bread and Butter Pudding

6-7 slices of white bread - crusts removed
65 g  [1/4 cup] butter - softened
100 g  sultanas or raisins
250 ml  [1 cup] full-cream milk
250 ml  [1 cup] double cream (heavy cream)
3 medium eggs (or 2 large eggs)
50 g  [1/4 cup] caster sugar
1 tsp  vanilla extract
25 g  icing sugar
25 g  apricot jam - warmed and sieved (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/375°F. Grease a 1.5 litre ovenproof dish, about 2.5 inch deep.
  2. Butter the bread slices generously and cut each into 4 triangles.
  3. Arrange a layer of the bread in the prepared dish.
  4. Sprinkle the sultanas on top.
  5. Then arrange the remaining bread slices on top of this.
  6. Make the custard - mix the cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and caster sugar in a bowl.
  7. Strain the cream mixture over the bread slices and leave to soak for about 5 minutes.
  8. Put the dish in a larger roasting tin in the oven. While the oven rack (with roasting tin) is about a third out of the oven, carefully pour hot water in the roasting tin to come halfway up the side of the dish.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden and the custard is lightly set.
  10. Remove the dish from the roasting tin and leave to cool for about 15 minutes.
  11. Preheat grill to the highest setting.
  12. Generously dust the top of the pudding with sifted icing sugar and glaze under the grill until golden brown. If it starts to puff up remove and leave to cool a little longer before returning to the grill.
    Note: It will be more efficient if you use a cooking torch to glaze the icing sugar.
  13. [Optional] Brush the top with the warmed apricot jam. Serve with clotted cream or warm custard.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Daing na Bangus

Daing Na Bangus

One of the ways Filipinos flavour and preserve fish (especially bangus or milkfish) is by marinating and drying them. One such technique is called 'daing'. By which the fish is marinated for hours and optionally dried out in the sun afterwards.

I don't have the luxury of having the delicious bangus in our neck of the woods. So I go for the nearest one available - sea bass. The one advantage of sea bass over the bangus is its got less bones. So there's less to be wary about.

It's been years since i have marinated bangus and I have forgotten that it takes several hours or overnight to make the vinegar-based marinate to permeate the fish completely. Otherwise, once you've pan-fired it, the flavour is hardly noticeable. So make sure to marinate it for a long time - I reckon at least 8 hours or overnight.

Daing Na Bangus


Daing na Bangus
(Fried Marinated Fish)

2 pieces bangus (milkfish) or other white fleshed fish like sea bass
2/3 cup  palm vinegar or any white vinegar
2 tsp  sea salt flakes
1 tsp  black pepper corns - cracked
4 cloves (or more) garlic - smashed
  1. Ask your fishmonger to butterfly or fillet your fish.
  2. Combine all the other ingredients and stir until the salt is dissolved.
  3. Put in a non-reactive container (plastic, glass, or ceramic) and marinate the fish in it for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove from marinade and drain briefly.
  5. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Pan fry the fish about 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Filipino-Style Caramel Cake

Filipino-Style Caramel Cake

It's that time of the year again for my husband's birthday. Another excuse to experiment with one of the listed cake recipes in my to-bake list. I chose a caramel cake because I know my husband's fond of caramel. So Corinne's wonderful looking Filipino-style caramel cake recipe gets taken out.

Filipino-Style Caramel Cake

It is essentially an airy chiffon cake with a pourable icing. The cake was good although I would have liked the caramel icing to be a little bit sweeter so I adjusted the recipe. And be very careful in caramelizing the sugar. I found out it burns very easily after it starts turning brown. Also, I didn't bother with cutting the cake in half horizontally and ice the middle. I thought there was not enough icing to spread around. This step is marked optional because our cake was just fine as it is.



Filipino-Style Caramel Cake

*For the Vanilla Chiffon Cake:

4 large egg whites
1/4 tsp  cream of tartar
1 cup  plus 2 Tbsp  sifted cake flour (or plain flour)
1 1/2 tsp  baking powder
1/2 tsp  salt
3/4 cup  white sugar - divided
1/4 cup  corn or vegetable oil
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup  water
1/2 tsp  vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
  2. Line the bottom of an ungreased 20cm/8-inch round 3-inch high pan.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until frothy.
  4. Add in half of the sugar (6 Tbsp) gradually while beating until stiff peaks form.
  5. In another bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, salt and the rest of the white sugar. Mix well.
  6. Add in the egg yolks, water and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer or by hand until smooth and well blended.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for about 50 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched or a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Invert pan into wire rack immediately and cool completely. To release cake from pan, carefully run a thin knife around sides of pan and invert cake onto a large serving plate.
  10. [Optional] Cut the cake in half horizontally. Invert the top half onto a cake plate and spread a little icing on it. Top it with the other cake half cut side down.
  11. Pour the rest of the icing on the cake spreading evenly on top and the sides.
**Tip: For easier handling, wrap your cake very well in cling film, then refrigerate overnight before frosting.


*For the Caramel Icing:

2 egg yolks
1/2 cup  white sugar - divided
1 1/2 cups  evaporated milk (one 375 ml can) - divided
1 1/2 Tbsp  cornstarch
1/4 cup  boiling water
1/4 cup  butter - cubed
1/2 tsp  vanilla extract
  1. Whisk the egg yolks with 2 Tbsp of the sugar in a small bowl/jug. Add in 1/4 cup of the evaporated milk and all of the cornstarch. Mix well and set aside.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, over low to medium heat, carefully caramelize the remaining (1/4 cup) sugar.
  3. When sugar is completely melted and a golden brown colour, add boiling water (careful it will splatter).
  4. Bring back to a boil while stirring ocassionally making sure all the caramel well mixed into the water.
  5. Gradually add in the rest of the evaporated milk (1 1/4 cups) while stirring. Heat ;mixture just until it starts to boil.
  6. Without turning off the heat, pour a little of the caramel mixture into the egg yolk mixture while constantly stirring to temper the eggs. Mix until smooth.
  7. Pour this back into the remaining caramel mixture in the saucepan. Mix until icing reaches a thick consistency.
  8. Remove from the fire and then add in the butter and vanilla extract. Let cool just a little bit, whisking once in while. The mixture will thicken more as it cools.
  9. Pour onto cake while still warm.
Note: This icing is pourable. Let it flow smoothly over the top and sides of the cake. Put strips of baking paper under your cake to catch the drips.