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Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Pão de Queijo

In baking, bread on January 29, 2013 at 12:51 am

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I love bringing back a little something from my travels, and this includes food. Pão de queijo (cheese bread) is a popular Brazilian snack sold in bakeries. It’s crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Along with pinhão and the local flavours of Maggi instant noodles and Knorr seasonings, I brought home a premix of the pão de queijo from my 2011 trip to Brazil. The bread was incredibly tasty and I was very sad when I finished the pack.

I had downloaded a recipe for the bread but forgot about it until recently. We were having a potluck party in the office and I needed a plan C.

Plan A was crème caramel. I made it over the weekend and brought it to the office a day before the party. It did not survive the bus and train journey. I made them in little stainless steel bowls which I placed in Tupperwares. All that rattling around from the bumpy bus ride caused an ugly mess.

There was already a plan B, which I executed at the same time as plan A. It was supposed to be a bonus contribution, and also my first try of a new recipe – almond squares. That too tanked.

The baking powder was flat, so the mix did not rise. By the time it cooled down, it was hard and had to be scraped off the pan. Plus, the nuts I scattered on top burned. Note to self: mix nuts into batter, never sprinkle on top even if the recipe calls for it as nuts burn easily in the oven.

The double disasters called for a plan C. I wanted to make cinnamon and walnut buns  which I had attempted before (they tasted great!) but couldn’t get bread flour.

Then I considered slut’s spaghetti (will post about this later) but there was already too much carbs (rice and noodles) on the menu. I went through my recipe collection, wreaking my brains over what is doable in the morning before I leave for work and new to my colleagues but yet not too strange (I brought couscous to a house party once and had to take home most of it).

I stumbled upon this forgotten recipe and it made perfect sense to choose this because my new boss is a Brazilian. And the recipe looked simple enough. The ingredients are also minimal.

I woke up an hour earlier on potluck day and set out to work. The dough was sticky (from the tapioca starch) and a challenge to handle, but I had help from the electric mixer. And although I kicked myself for getting grated Parmesan cheese instead of a block (cheaper per gramme), it turned out to be a blessing because I did not have to slave over the grater.

The smell coming from the oven was the kind that makes you wish you had a home above a bakery. The bread is best eaten when it’s still warm. Oohh… it’ll make you go mmm... The bread was well received at the party. Even the Brazilian approved.

Shopping list: milk, tapioca starch, grated Parmesan cheese

From the pantry: eggs, oil, salt 

Hardware: mixer (optional), oven, baking paper

Can I do it?: Yes. Easy but messy because of the sticky dough and having to coat your hands in oil to shape the balls.

Tip: To store the bread, let it cool down completely before putting it into an airtight container. Do it before and the bread will deflate because of the trapped moisture.

Credit: Unavailable. Recipe sourced online.

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Maple-glazed Wings with Bacon

In baking, chicken on January 28, 2013 at 6:08 pm

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With a title like Fifty Shades of Chicken and a suggestive cover of a voluptuous chicken all glazed and bound bondage style, this book had me quivering in anticipation of the pleasures of the flesh nestled with the bosom of its pages.

Yes, this is a parody cookbook of the wildly successful Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. Fowler was quick to jump onto the gravy train of Fifty Shades. Expect lots of thrusting (of fillings into chicken cavities – now get your mind out of that filthy gutter!), begging (to be marinated and cooked), sliding (into the oven), screaming of safe words (Golden! Golden! Black!!), ripping of (tin) foil and spanking (with a rolling pin). Fans of Fifty Shades will appreciate the references to the trilogy and get to relive the tense attraction between the two protagonists – Shifty Blades and Miss Hen.

I’ve marked the book with many post-its as many of the recipes seem easy enough and the ingredients readily available. For my virgin attempt, I chose Maple-glazed Wings with Bacon. Only because I had chicken wings and bacon in the freezer.

The recipe calls for restraining of the wings with bacon. Hmm… Christian Grey would approve. Unfortunately, Miss Steele feels like this is more vanilla chicken than a hot, kinky experiment. Patience, my dear. Hopefully the rest of the recipes will live up to its kinky-cookery inspiration.

Shopping list: maple syrup (I used honey instead), scallions (spring onion) chicken wings, bacon

From the pantry: soy sauce, rice wine vinegar or apple cider, garlic, black pepper

Hardware: baking tray, tin foil, oven

Can I do it?: Yes, baby, yes!!! But be gentle with the bacon strips when you tie up the wings.

Credits: Fifty Shades of Chicken by EL Fowler. And thanks to Wee for the book.

Pound Cake

In baking, cake on June 7, 2010 at 2:37 am

This is the first cake I’ve ever baked. Oh, not counting the cakes I made in SRT class (Sains Rumahtangga – Domestic Science) in school – a long, long, time ago, when I wasn’t interested in cooking or baking.

What intrigued me to make this was its name. Why is it called a pound cake? Is it because it’s so heavy (it’s really dense) you can pound someone unconscious with it? Highly unlikely. A quick check with google revealed that the original recipe used a pound (450 g) each of flour, butter, eggs and sugar. The measurements were kept simple for the benefit of people who couldn’t read, because it’s easy to remember.

The recipe I followed didn’t use similar proportions, so I have no idea what the original pound cake tastes like. I found mine too sweet, even after reducing the sugar (like I always do) by about 50 g. I didn’t dare go lesser because I learned the hard way that baking IS an exact science (refer to post on apple dumplings).

The cake is very dense, so just one small slice with a serving of fruit is filling enough for breakfast. I like having mine with black tea (clove tea is the best) to tone down the sweetness.

Shopping list: eggs, lemon juice, buttermilk or yogurt

From the pantry: butter, sugar, baking soda, vanilla extract

Hardware: cake mixer, cake pan, oven

Can I do it?: Sure, honey! Simple ingredients, easy steps. A very basic cake recipe.

Credits: Jennifer McCullen and I Like You – Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris

Apple Dumplings

In baking on May 23, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Since I started going all out with cooking and baking this year, these yummylicious apple dumplings is my favourite tryout. I found them on Design Sponge’s blog at http://www.designspongeonline.com. They sound fancy but are pretty easy to make. It’s just the thing you should make if you want to impress guests at your tea party.

The dumplings look disfigured because I had a small problem with the dough. You know the saying – baking is an exact science? It’s true! The recipe called for 180 ml of milk. I had a 200 ml carton, so I thought, what the heck, put it all in. Didn’t want that milk to go to waste. What a difference 20 ml made. The dough became soggy and sticky. So I had to add more flour to ‘dry up’ the mix.

Because I didn’t follow the recipe, I got a dough that was hard to roll out and fold. Hence the sorry looking shapes. But they tasted great!

Shopping list: apples, milk

From the pantry: flour, baking powder, salt, white and brown sugar, butter, vanilla

Optional: crushed almonds for extra bite

Hardware: baking dish with cover

Can I do it?: Easy-peasy. Simple ingredients.

Credits: Stacy Newgent and Design Sponge

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