Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coconut Mochi Cake


I found this recipe last night and I so wanted to try it out.  So I went to buy a bundt cake pan today at lunch hour.  I have always like the chewiness of mochi (mochi is a Japanese rice cake, made of rice flour.  It is a very traditional snack and is eaten all year round) but I never knew you could make a cake out of it. To call this a "cake" could be a bit misleading... don't expect it tastes like a regular cake. 

This is a simple recipe and the ingredients include evaporate milk, coconut milk and eggs and all those wonderful things.  All you need to do is to mix all the wet and dry ingredient together (I found it easier to mix it with a hand-held blender) and then bake it for an hour.  The recipe called for 2 cups of sugar... it's way too sweet for me so I cut the sugar down by half.  

I couldn't wait and ate a slice when the cake was still very hot and burned my lips... silly me...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Soft Pretzels


Pretzels... I would have never thought so soft and delicious if they weren't  introduced to me by Anthony, my brother in-law.  I had never ever even thought about eating one because I let the appearance fooled me... they are just too raw and rustic to my taste.  One time we were shopping at the Yorkdale and Anthony bought a pretzel for a snack.  I told him I have been living here for 20 years but I never tried pretzels.  He suggested me to take a bite.  So I did... You know, you don't find real surprises these days but that bite really gave me an impression.  I admit, there is nothing fancy about pretzels; after all, there are so many other choices to choose from... but pretzels are timeless, at least in my book.  

I baked these pretzels this morning. I like them with salt so I sprinkled some fleur de sel on top... plain and simple.  

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Speaking of flour, I have a story to tell.  Since I have picked up baking as a hobby, I have learned to use different kind of flour for baking breads, cakes, pastry and so forth... I had all these flour sitting on the kitchen's countertop in their original package... they don't look so good and it's messy whenever I scooped out the content.  Before I learned to bake, one bag of all-purpose flour would last me a few years.  Now, I just buy the 10 kg bag and split it with Rita.  We were talking about how to store the flour for easy access, so I decided to shop for some big canisters.  One night, I found these cute glass canisters at Winners.  I really like them because each canister comes with chalk and a little "blackboard" (haven't heard this word for ages!!!) so you can hand-write the label.  So I bought 3 of them, got home, washed them and wiped them clean and dry in order to put the flour in.  As you can see from the picture, one canister is dedicated for cake flour; another one for bread flour... and Francis was watching me doing all these and all of a sudden he asked, "What's 911 for?"

... didn't get it?  Look at the pic again...

Swiss Roll

The Swiss Rolls we baked at George Brown this morning.  We used bread flour for the sponge cake but I found the cake a bit too spongy. The chef told us if we used cake flour, the cake would be too soft and not be puffy enough for the rolling. I may try to use all-purpose flour next time just to see how the texture differs.  

Friday, March 26, 2010

Steamed Banana Cake


Found another way to use ripe bananas.  This is a very healthy alternative.  The recipe called for minimal amount of oil, and I also cut down the sugar.  I have always preferred steamed cake than baked.  This cake is extremely moist and it's a must try.  It makes a great healthy snack for kids too.  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grapefruit Cranberry Walnut Bread


I just wrote my Japanese Language final exam tonight.  I think I did pretty good.  Rushed home and Francis wasn't there.  I have been wanting to bake this bread but I was too busy studying for the exam and doing the homework.  Tonight is a perfect opportunity to bake. This may sound like a Christmas bread, I don't care because I like all the ingredients. I used grapefruit zest instead of orange, didn't use raisins but I increased the walnuts to 1 cup.  The using of walnuts in the bread is such a nice touch.  The recipe doesn't specify the baking time but mine took 18 mins to bake and this is a huge loaf.  Even Francis says the bread is good.  I can't wait to share it with my niece and nephew.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Black Forest Cake

The Black Forest Cake I made at my baking class at George Brown yesterday.  The class ran full 4 hours and I didn't even take any breaks.  There was also lots of cleaning and washing to do.  This is the most time-consuming and challenging project so far.  The cake should look more neat if I didn't put too much chocolate sprinkles on the side.  I don't know how it tastes because I'm (planning) to give away both cakes.  Black Forest Cake is one of my favourite so it's very tempting to see two cakes sitting in my fridge.  Jacques-san and Nagako san, this cake is on its way to your house...

I was too tired to take pictures last night and just realized... what a sloppy job I did... pardon me! 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wolfgang Puck's Pizza Dough


I really miss the pizza I had in Naples and so I decided to make pizza from scratch.  Making the pizza dough is very similar to making a bread dough, it just requires a bit more kneading (please note that I cut the recipe suggested portion by half in order to make one large pizza). I used asparagus, prosciutto, some left-over smoked duck breasts and mozzarella for toppings, my favourite pesto for the sauce.  According to the recipe, the baking time is 8-10 mins, I was skeptical and I thought it took longer to bake.  It turned out that 8 mins was just prefect.  As you can see from the picture, the crust is quite thin.  It is very delicious.  Next time I should try making the real Neapolitan pizza...

Thursday, March 18, 2010


My palvova does not have a crisp crust.  Why?  Why?  Why?  

Creme Brulee

I think I know what's wrong with the creme brulee I made last Saturday.  Martha Stewart's Cooking School's recipe was perfect, the problem was, I used the wrong ramekins.  I should have used the shallow ones which are specifically for creme brulee.  I had no choice but to use the ramekins for creme caramel because I only had those at home.  As a result, the centre of the creme brulee was a little bit undercooked.  This time I used the shallow aluminum containers and the creme brulee got to set perfectly.  I also have got better control with the torch and didn't burn the surface that much.  

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Yeasted Banana Bread


I don't eat ripe bananas because I found them too sweet. As soon as they develop brown spots, I usually would throw them away (I know I should not do that). I had tried making banana bread but I found most too heavy because the texture was more of a banana cake.  I finally found a real banana bread recipe... the recipe called for 1 ripe banana but I put 2. I found the bread dough very sticky...so sticky that I could not knead the dough or divide it into 8 portions as the recipe suggested.  Instead, I put all the dough in a loaf pan and baked for 40 mins. I hope you see the banana bits in the bread.  The bread is very moist and has just a hint of sweetness.  If it's not already past midnight now, I would have eaten at least a thick slice of bread with salted butter... The simplest thing usually is the best.  

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Creme Brulee


The recipe called for 4 cups of heavy cream and 7 egg yolks... The creme brulee had a very creamy texture, Adrian loved it.  We found it way too heavy and felt guilty after eating it.  

It was my first time using a creme brulee torch.  It looks easy but in fact, very tough to control the flame.  

Special thanks to Rita for taking the pictures.  You do a much better job than I. 

Piped Spritz Cookies

Week 8 at George Brown.  
Pictures speak louder than words.
I am very tired from all that baking...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins


It's almost midnight, I was chatting with Francis while he was organizing his new clothes. I decided to bake some muffins as my niece and nephew may come over early tomorrow morning. Hope they like these muffins.  

Just realized I've been baking 3 nights in a row... I have to say it's a bit much...