Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Butter and Chocolate Marble Cake

My boy wanted a chocolate cake for his 10th birthday.  But since I'd made chocolate cakes for the last two occasions, we both agreed on a butter and chocolate marble cake instead.  :-)

This classic cake is great for teatime treat with or without whipped cream!

225g plain flour
225g butter, soften
225g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
3 tbsp milk
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 170 degree C.  Grease a 23cm round tin and line the bottom with baking paper.

2.  In a mixing bowl, mix butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Add in the eggs, one at a time.  Then add in vanilla extract, milk and mix well.  Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth.

3.  Divide the mixture into two bowls.  Stir the cocoa powder into one of the bowl and mix well.

4.  With a large spoon for each bowl, scoop the mixture into the tin alternately until all the mixture is used up.  Give the cake tin a tap on your table or worktop to get rid of the air bubbles.  With a skewer, or a chopstick, swirl it around the mixture a few times to create a marble effect.

5.  Bake for 35 - 45 minutes or until a skewer or a toothpick inserted into the centre and comes out clean.  Leave to cool on a wire rack.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Almond Pithivier

Pithivier (Pithiviers in French) is a round pie usually made by puff pastry.  It is said that this pastry originates from a town in France called Pithiviers.

275g frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
50g flour
egg for egg wash, lightly beaten

Filling A:
50g butter
60g sugar

Filling B:
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 tbsp orange juice
70g ground almond

1.  Preheat the oven at 180 degree C.  For the filling, beat A until well blended.  Add in B, mix until just combine, then add egg, flour and mix until well incorporate. 

2.  Cut out part of the puff pastry a 15cm circle as the base.  Spread filling on the base, leaving 2cm from the edge.

3.  Then cut out a 17cm circle for the top.  Brush egg on the edge of the pastry base and carefully lay the top over the filling.

4.  Seal and press the edges together with a fork, egg wash the top and line the top with the tip of a knife.

5.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and dust with icing sugar on top.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chinese Sweet and Sour Fish

Fish fillets cut into smaller pieces, coated with flour batter and deep fry until crispy.  This sweet and sour fish is an all-time favourites Chinese dish! 

350g white fish fillets, cut into 1 x 2" pieces
150g cucumber, cut into 1" chunks
150g green pepper, cut into 1" chunks
3 brown onions, cut into chunks
2 tomatoes, cut into chunks
4 sour pickles, sliced
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water mix with 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
Oil for deep frying
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup (180ml) water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/3 cup white vinegar or apple cyder
1/4 cup sugar or more
1/4 tsp salt or more
1/3 cup juice from sour pickle's jar
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
Serves 4


1.  In a large bowl coat the fish pieces with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

2.  Whisk all the ingredients for the batter together until smooth.  Pour the coated fish into the batter and make sure all fish pieces are coated with batter.  In a pot, heat the oil and deep fry the fish until brown and crispy.   Arrange the crispy fish pieces on a serving dish and set aside.

3.  In a saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of oil, then add in onions and green pepper and give it a quick stir.  Dish out and set aside.

4.  To make the sauce, add in all the sauce ingredients into the saucepan and cook in medium heat until the sugar dissolve and sauce is hot.  Add more sugar or salt to taste.  Add in tomatoes, cucumber, sour pickles onions and green pepper.  Stir in the cornstarch and water mixture.  The sauce should be now thicken.  Pour the sauce over the crispy fish and serve with hot plain rice.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mother's Day Dessert 2 - Chocolate Torte with Raspberry and Blueberry

This torte is moist and chocolicious!  Topped with fresh whipped cream, raspberries and blueberries, it's attractive and presentable. 

1 1/3 cups (160g) flour
2 large eggs
110g butter, soften
1 cups (200g) sugar
150ml boiling water
1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
250g fresh whipped cream
1/2 cup icing sugar
Raspberries and Blueberries
Serves 8

1.  Grease and line the springform.  Preheat oven to 180 degree C.

2.  Pour boiling water over cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.  Set aside and let it to cool.  Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and set aside.

3.  In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla extract.

4.  Add flour mixture alternately with cocoa mixture until smooth and lump free.  Pour the batter into the springform.

5.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or when a toothpick inserted in the middle and come out clean.  Do not overbake.  Cool on a wire rack.

6.  Whip the fresh cream with icing sugar.  Spread on the torte when it's completely cooled.  Arrange the raspberries and blueberries over it.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Asparagus, Cherry Tomato and Brie Tart

Yes, another asparagus recipe.  We're seeing asparagus for sale everywhere and we're eating plenty of them!  And some of the white asparagus are huge!

This tart is made from puff pastry.  Great for a light meal or for snack!

1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed
2 bunches asparagus, blanched
80g brie cheese, sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 egg
2 tsp pure cream
2 tsp mustard
Freshly ground pepper
Serves 2 - 4

1.  Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

2.  Place pastry on baking tray.  Using a knife, make a 2cm border around the edges of pastry, making sure not to cut through.  Refer to the picture below.

 3.  Using a fork, prick the centre of pastry a few times.  Bake for 5 minutes or until puffed and a little brown.
4.  Remove pastry from oven.  Press down the centre of pastry.  Arrange asparagus and top with brie.  Whisk egg, cream and mustard together.  Pour over asparagus and brie and sprinkle with pepper.  Bake for another 8 minutes or until pastry is golden.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mother's Day Dessert 1 - Carrot Cake with Walnut and Cream Cheese Frosting

Mother's Day is just a week away.  Why not show your love by baking her a cake.  This carrot cake is always welcome at birthdays, weddings, gatherings and all special occasions.

4 medium eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup dark brown sugar or brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups grated carrot
1 cup chopped walnut

Cream Cheese Frosting:
175g Philadelphia cream cheese, soften
2 to 4 cups icing sugar
80 cup butter, soften
1 tsp vanilla extract
Serves 12

1.  Preheat oven to 180C.  Line a 9 inch/23cm cake tin with baking paper.

2.  In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the eggs, sugars, oil and vanilla extract together until well mix.

3.  sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, mixed spice and fold in the wet mixture until well combine.

4.  Stir in grated carrot and chopped walnut.  Bake for 40 - 50 minutes or until inserted a toothpick and come out dry.  Cool in a wire rack.

5.  To prepare the frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and 2 cups of icing sugar together.  Then gradually add more icing sugar to the sweetness you desire.  The cake itself is not so sweet, so you might want to have a sweeter frosting.  Place the frosting in the fridge while waiting for the cake to be completely cooled or for an hour for easier spreading.