Pierre Herme’s Vienesse Chocolate Sables


I once ate some chocolate cookies bought from a small shop in Malaysia. I loved the cookies so much that I wanted to replicate them ever so desperately because I know that my small jar of cookies is going to finish some day and the jar will remain empty unless I refill it with something similar.

I was still hunting around for a perfect recipe which would help me feel sentimental and then I stumbled across this recipe which delivers pretty similar results.

Would definitely try the recipe again when I have another cookie crave. One thing I would do differently is that next time I would use a bigger piping tip as the mixture is quite stiff-ish so it was relatively difficult to pipe the shape of a star. Hence you can see why my cookies are taking a round ish shape instead.

Thanks to http://fuzzymazing.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/pierre-hermes-vienesse-chocolate-sables.html for sharing this recipe on her website and I could be blessed with wonderful yummylicious cookies!

 

Pierre Herme’s Vienesse Chocolate Sables

Ingredients:

260g all purpose flour

30g Dutch processed cocoa powder (I used Valrhona.)

250g butter

100g powder sugar, sifted

a pinch of salt

3 tbsp egg white

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Whisk together, flour and cocoa powder and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk butter until creamy. To ensure that the recipe succeeds, the butter needs to be very soft.
  4. Add in powder sugar and salt to butter and continue to whisk until light and creamy.
  5. Whisk in egg white until it is well combined with butter cream.
  6. Add in flour & cocoa powder, mix until well combined.
  7. Spoon dough into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe dough into W shaped cookies. (I just piped into a star, just like Dahlia cookies.)
  8. Bake cookies at 180C for 10-12 mins – no more. The cookies will be delicate – transfer carefully into cookie jar after cooled.

Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme by Dori Greenpan.

Source: atkokken.

Courgette cake with cream cheese and lime frosting


Another inspiration while dining at Kember and Jones cafe in Glasgow. I once tried a courgette cake and fell in love with it. Never did I thought that a courgette would make such a good combination with lime/lemon.

Decided to try baking it tonight and sure it was a hit! I love how moist the cake is. The cream cheese sure did work wonders on the taste buds as well. Courgette is not as wet as cucumber which probably explains why the recipe works.

Would definitely make this cake again for my work colleagues next!

Definitely a keeper! 

Courgette cake with cream cheese and lime frosting recipe: (Rephrased slightly from http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/33416/courgette-and-lime-cake.aspx)


  • For the Cake
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 250g courgette, finely grated


  • For the icing
  • 400g cream cheese
  • 175g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 40g pistachio nuts (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest

 

Method 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / 160 C fan / Gas 4. Grease and line two 9 inch springform cake tins.
  2. Beat together the eggs, oil and sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate soda and baking powder and beat well. Stir in the grated courgettes until well combined. Divide the mixture into the cake tins.
  3. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the cakes from the oven and carefully turn out onto a wire rack. Carefully peel off the paper lining and leave to cool.
  5. For the icing, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and stir in the lime juice.
  6. Use a bread knife to level one of the cakes if necessary. Use 2/3 of the icing to sandwich the 2 cakes together, the levelled one on the bottom, and use the remaining icing to cover the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts and lime zest.

Mini sausage bread rolls recipe


I recently stumbled upon nasilemaklover blog and was inspired by some of the amazing recipes in the blog. The mini sausage bread rolls was one of the recipes which I could not wait to get started on. I love these buns very much. I made them once 2 years ago using a different recipe but the dough was not as soft as this recipe. Maybe it was because I was using wholemeal flour.

But anyway, this recipe is just totally amazing as the texture of the bread is just so soft and stays soft for a few days. I could even manage this without a breadmaker.

Became greedy and doubled the recipe so ended up with approximately 36 buns.

To illustrate on how to roll the dough, the step-by-step pictures on nasilemaklover blog explains it all.

However, I found the methodology on rolling the dough a bit confusing on the blog. Hence, I have rephrased the sentences just so that I can understand easier next time. The numerical order will help me identify quickly which step I am working on at the time.

Anyway, compliments still goes to the amazing recipe created by nasilemaklover and you can find the step-by-step pictures here: http://www.nasilemaklover.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/mini-sausage-bread-rolls.html

Recipe as follows (credits to http://www.nasilemaklover.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/mini-sausage-bread-rolls.html):

Mini sausage bread rolls (makes 19 rolls)

Ingredients:

200g High Protein Flour or Bread flour

130g milk (Cold milk works fine)

35g sugar

3g instant yeast (1/2tsp+1/4tsp)

1/8tsp salt

25g butter, room temperature

 

Cocktail sausages, pat dry.

Sesame seeds

Egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp milk)

Method:

1) Combine all the ingredients except butter in a mixing bowl. Knead until smooth.

2) Add in butter, continue to knead until you get a elastic and smooth dough. Keep the dough aside to rise until it has doubled in size.

3) Divide the dough into 20g each and roll into small balls. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

4) Take each rolled dough and use a rolling pin to flatten it (should look like a round-ish flattened pancake at the end). Then take two ends of the dough and bring it to overlap in the centre (looking like a cigarette). Set it aside for 10 minutes.

5) Use your hands to roll one end of each dough into a shape of cone. Then use a rolling pin to roll it flat.

6) Place a sausage at the flattened bigger end. Roll the dough over the sausage like how you would roll a swiss roll. Place the sausage rolls on a lined baking sheet. Do the same to the rest. Leave to proof for another 30-45 minutes.

7) Apply egg wash on top of the dough and then sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

8) Bake at a pre-heated oven 170C (fan forced) for 15-20 minutes or 180C (no fan) for 15-20 minutes

Lemon and poppy seed cake recipe


Lemon and poppy seed cake recipe

Having slightly more free time this week…actually, I have been baking because it is almost the end of the rotation before I move on to the next one. Been a really busy 6 months….feel that I am constantly on call and working 12 hour shifts most days.

Anyway, I can finally post this recipe from Hummingbird which was pretty popular and well received. Wiped clean off the plate in no time!

Inspired to make a lemon and poppy seed cake because of Kember and Jones cafe (which is one of my fav cafe in west end Glasgow)  who serves a really irresistable poppy seed cake.

Recipe for lemon and poppy seed cake by Hummingbird recipe book:

Ingredients:

85g unsalted butter at room temperature

245g caster sugar

grated zest of 1 1/2 unwaxed lemons

15g poppy seeds, plus extra to decorate

165ml whole milk

235g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 egg whites

Lemon syrup:

freshly squeezed juice and zest of 1 lemon

50g caster sugar

Lemon glaze:

freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

250g icing sugar, sifted

a 24-cm ring mould, greased and dusted with flour

Steps:

1) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (325 farenheit) Gas 3.

2) Put the butter, sugar, lemon zest and poppy seeds in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated (don’t worry if the mixture looks slightly split). Slowly add the milk and continue to beat until incorporated (don’t worry if the mixture looks slightly split)

3) In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 additions, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Beat thoroughly until all the ingredients are well incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy.

4) In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a handheld electric whisk until stiff peaks form. Using a metal spoon, fold the whisked egg whites into the cake mixture until well mixed but do not overmix. Pour into the prepared ring mould and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched.

For the lemon syrup:

While the cake is baking, put the lemon juice and zest, sugar and 100ml water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over low heat. Raise the heat and boil until it has reduced by half, or until it has a thin syrup consistency. When the hot cake comes out of the oven, pour the syrup all over the top. Leave to cool slightly in the mould before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

For the lemon glaze:

Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar in a bowl until smooth. It should be thick but pourable – a little water or more sugar to thin or thicken as necessary.

When the cake is cold, put it on a cake stand, pour the glaze over it and decorate with poppy seeds.

Slow-cooked oxtail


Decided to try making an oxtail stew especially after eyeing the oxtail displayed at the chinese supermarket. I remembered eating an excellent oxtail stew made by one of my friends 8 years ago and it struck a chord with me. Have always wanted to make my own for a while now.

Finally found this oxtail stew recipe in my favourite cookbook – Barrafina: A spanish cookbook. Barrafina is my favourite restaurant in London Soho and I had to always be in the queue 15-30 minutes prior to opening time so that I can get a place as it does not take any reservations.

Barrafina: a spanish cookbook is a cookbook worth getting as the recipes are do-able and ingredients are not too difficult to obtain.

Slow cooked oxtail recipe by Barrafina: a spanish coookbook:

Ingredients:

150ml olive oil

1.5kg oxtail

75g plain flour for dusting

4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced

3 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm dice

2 leeks (white part only), finely chopped

2 sticks of celery, cut into 1cm dice

4 bay leaves, fresh if possible

a small bunch of fresh thyme

maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bottle of red wine

2 litres of chicken stock

Serves 4:

Heat 3 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan or casserole over a medium heat until almost smoking. Dust the pieces of oxtail in the flour, ensuring they have a fine coating all over. Shake off the excess, then add the oxtail to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Turn it over and cook for a further 5 minutes, then remove from the oil, drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

Add another 3 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add the garlic and shallots and cook gently for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, cook for further 2 minutes, then add the leeks and celery and cook for a further minute. Add the bay leaves and thyme and season with salt and pepper.

Pour in the red wine and chicken stock and add the oxtail. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Make a cartouche (a circular sheet of baking parchment with a 3cm hole in the centre that fits the pan and covers the ingredients) and lay it over the meat, then cover the pan with foil and cook for 3 hours over a low heat.

When the time is up, remove the foil and cartouche. Take the pieces of oxtail out of the pan and keep them warm. Skim off the fat from the liquid in the pan, then boil until it has reduced and thickened. Return the oxtail pieces to the pan and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken the sauce – you should have about 250-350ml left at the end.

Serve the oxtail in bowls, with the sauce poured over.

Chorizo and peas couscous recipe


It was my boyfriend’s birthday last month March. We have been together for 6 months now and it had been an incredible and exciting journey for both of us. I am so blessed to have met him and he has filled my life with so much joy, love and excitement. Guess my boyfriend is the reason that kept me busy from blogging!

I wanted to make something amazing for his birthday that he will never forget.

But I was a little bored of eating steak again and again although I know he probably does not mind as it is one of his favourites.

Decided to drive through waitrose that evening and see if any bright ideas spark through for something he has never tried before which is awesomely delicious.

Skirting through the aisles in Waitrose, I had my trolley filled with the boring mixed grill meat when suddenly the idea of couscous came up. Plus the duck breast were on discount. Threw all the mixed grill meat out of my trolley and just focused on getting the couscous ingredients right.

I then announced to him that I was going to make couscous and his first reaction was ‘huh…..isn’t that a bit boring and tasteless.’ I was like…..’you got to be kidding…it is an amazing dish!! Who on earth cooked couscous for you in the past?’ I am entirely confident to change his mind about couscous as the couscous I made in the past did taste very flavourful….and I was right! Since then, he have been asking me to make couscous now and again. The first thing he said to me after he came back to Glasgow after not seeing him for a few weeks as he went back home to sheffield was that he missed my couscous!

Anyway, before I get to the couscous recipe, below are just a few photos of remembrance of what I did for his birthday as well. Decided to throw him a sushi party a few days before his actual birthday and invited a few of his friends along.

Made him one of my favourite pandan layered cream cake.

Recipe: http://stephylicious.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/pandan-layered-cream-cake/

I never took a photo of how the inside looked like. So here’s a photo:

He once told me that his favourite cake was a black forest cake so decided to make him one as well for him to try.

Surely it was a good celebration……

Anyway, for the couscous recipe, simple yet wholesome:

Ingredients:

500g of couscous

600mls of good quality chicken stock

A handful of fresh petits pois or frozen

500g of spanish chorizo

5 cloves of minced garlic

Steps:

Boil the chicken stock in a stock pot.

When the stock is boiling hot, pour the couscous into the stock, mix evenly and place the lid cover over the pot. Take the stock pot off the heat once the lid is placed over the pot. Wait patiently for 12 minutes without taking the lid off the pot.

Meanwhile, fry the garlic in some cooking oil in a pan. Add in the chorizo and stir fry for approx 4 minutes over high heat. Add the petits pois into the pan and fry everything together until petits pois is cooked. Season with salt and pepper.

Lastly, add the cooked couscous into the pan when the couscous is done. Mix everything evenly. Taste and season accordingly.

You could then add either juices from the roasted/pan fried duck or roasted chicken or grilled/pan fried steak into the couscous. This will add soooo much flavour to the couscous and certainly make the dish almost irresistible.

Orange chiffon cake with strawberry and lychee cream layers recipe


It has been a long time since I posted a recipe. Had been experimenting twice just to get the baking timing right.

I have to say that I really love the sponge. Orange flavour rather than normal plain sponge. I then tried to layer the bottom two layers with strawberries and the top layer with lychee.

My attempt in layering the cakes together….

After the creaming process, doesn’t look too bad eh…

Recipe for orange chiffon sponge with strawberries and lychee:

Ingredients:

A:

8 egg white

half a tsp cream tartar

1 tsp of caster sugar

B:

7 egg yolk

250g caster sugar

1 pinch of salt

2 tbsp orange zest

150ml orange juice

250g plain flour sieved together with 1 tsp of baking powder

150g corn oil.

Steps for B ingredients:

Beat egg yolk with caster sugar and salt at high speed until light and fluffy.

Add in orange zest and beat the mixture again for another 30 seconds.

At medium speed, add in the orange juice slowly until the mixture incorporates together.

Using a spatula, mix the flour with the mixture.

Lastly, mix in the corn oil until incorporated.

Whisk all the ingredients of A together until stiff peak

Add B into A and fold them together gently until evenly mixed.

Divide the mixture between two 9 inch springform cake tin.

Bake each cake tin for approximately 23-25 minutes.

When baked finished, leave it to cool.

Remove the sponge from the cake tin. Sponge from one cake tin can be divided into 2 layers using a serrated knife.

Whip approximately 1000ml of whip cream and layer them as you wish. You can use any fruits as you wish. I kind of like strawberries, longan, rambutan, lychee in the layers. Cream the whole cake with patience and it’s done! Use grated dark chocolate for the sides.