Scone Success!

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There’s something about this photo that looks so… mathematical…

ANYWAYS.

A pathetic photo of 4 lonely triangular (yes I wish they were circular and fluted on the edges too) scones but deal with it. It was my first time. And they were good. Aw yeah.

I was having lunch when I felt like making something. Do you get that? That burning itch in your finger (can an itch be burning…?) to go to the kitchen and make something because you FEEL like it and not because you want to eat it? Well I wasn’t going to bake anything big or that required a lot of work because I had no time to be honest. I was meant to be either practising or revising. Oops!

Since we’re going out for a picnic tomorrow I thought why not try making scones! The first time I did back home in Singapore they were awful. I don’t actually remember what happened. Too painful a memory that my subconscious has buried it deep within.

After watching cooking and baking shows I felt a lot more confident on how to handle doughs. Rule of thumb for anything pastry-ish like pie crusts – do not knead or work the dough. Just pat it and push everything together. Don’t allow yourself to play around with it!

I’m quite excited actually. Now that I can make plain scones, it’s opened up a door for flavoured scones. Whoopee!

Ingredients
350g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
85g butter, cubed
175ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Beaten egg/more milk/melted butter
*85g dried fruit 

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line baking tray with baking parchment.
2. Combine milk, lemon juice and vanilla in a jug. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Add the cubed butter and rub in until butter is about pea sized. Comparing to crumble mixtures this would look as though there way too little butter for the amount of flour. Rub butter in from a height to aerate the flour.
4. Place the baking tray in the oven. 
5. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the milk bit by bit (just in case you don’t need all of it). Cut in the milk to the flour using a knife in quick motions. Once you have a sticky but not wet dough, STOP! 
6. Flour your work surface well and turn out dough. Dust lightly with flour and pat down. Fold over 2-3 times, dusting lightly with flour on the sticky bits so that you can handle the dough easily. Pat the dough to about and inch thick and cut into triangles or if using a circular 5cm cutter, pat dough slightly thicker. 
7. Carefully place your scones onto the baking tray and brush with egg wash/milk/melted butter. Bake for 10-15 mins (mine took about 14mins) until tops are golden. Serve warm or allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container or freezing. 

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‘Nuff said.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

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I literally have been waiting for this day.
I’ve been craving squash and pasta so much and was really happy to finally be able to make this!

It’s so simple and very little washing up to do (because that’s all that matters hah!). The meatballs were an addition. My mum had made burgers the night before and had an extra patty that I HAD to eat. Her patties were massive. No joke. I could make 11 regular-sized meatballs from that 1 patty.

This was my first time making mac & cheese so I have no idea how good this recipe is in relation to the millions of others out there. But I thought this was a rather ‘light’ recipe which I liked because sometimes mac & cheese can just leave you feeling sickly and stuffed. And we don’t like to feel that way, do we?

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Look at that crust! Nomnomnom! Breadcrumbs and cheese, delicious!

So anyway, the original recipe makes 6 servings but as I was home alone I made a third of it for 2 servings. If you’re a small eater this could possibly be enough for 3 servings.

Ingredients
113g rigatoni or any other tubular pasta

227g butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
220ml milk
1 tbsp + 1 tsp flour
76g Gruyere/Cheddar cheese, grated
3 slices bacon, cut into lardons
1 small onion, sliced
28g breadcrumbs
2 tsp melted butter
chopped sage

Directions
1. Grease a 3-4 cup baking dish. Cook pasta, drain well and put in a medium bowl.
2. In a large saucepan combine squash and milk over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer until squash is tender. 18-20 mins
3. Stir milk and flour, add to squash and cook until thickened. 2-3 mins. 
    Preheat oven 220C on grill function. 
    Stir in 3/4 of the cheese until melted. Set aside.
4. Cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Add onions to the pan and cook until soft.
5. Add everything to the cheese sauce, mix well. Transfer to baking dish.
6. Mix breadcrumbs with butter. Sprinkle over pasta along with the remaining cheese. Bake 14-15 mins until nice and brown. Cool 5 mins before serving.

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Lovely.

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It tastes even better the next day.

I managed to get it in one solid piece for the photo! Achievement unlocked! Haha x)
All the breadcrumbs on the plate, don’t they look so elegantly scattered?

Simple Coconut Cake – an Emily Dickinson recipe

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COCONUT!

If you’re wondering why this cake has such a lumpy crumb its because I used a jam knife to cut a slice. I couldn’t wait (or be bothered) to get a proper  serrated knife :p

I’ve been wanting to try a coconut cake but so many recipes call for condensed milk which I try not to use. Also, they’re quite messy to make – pouring condensed milk over the baked sponges and allowing them to soak.

Then I stumbled upon this really simple recipe! Excuse my ignorance but I have no idea who Emily Dickinson is (apparently she’s a poet?). The blogpost was really interesting, talking about how she wasn’t very sociable but liked to send loved ones food.

This recipe is quite similar to the crumble cake that I made recently. However the methods of mixing the ingredients differ. If I make this coconut cake again, I’ll definitely experiment with the “alternating wet & dry ingredients” rather than “wet to dry”.

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder   -or-   1 tsp cream of tartar + 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (~113g) unsalted butter, softened and cubed
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded coconut   -or-  dessicated coconut soaked in warm water and drained well
Zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 162C. Grease a 9″ x 5″ tin well. 
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and pinch of salt.
3. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is well mixed before the next addition. 
Here’s where the combination of wet and dry ingredients can possibly be altered.
Method #1:
Add the milk and mix well. The mixture will now look clumpy as though the milk has been soured. This is due to the cold temperature of the milk causing the butter to solidify into lumps. Do not worry!
Add the wet to dry and fold swiftly until well combined. Do not overmix!
Method #2:
Add a quarter of the milk and mix well. Add a quarter of the flour and fold until flour is no longer visible. Continue alternating milk and flour, ending with flour. 
4. Fold in the coconut until evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared tin and even it out. Bake 50-60 minutes until a skewed inserted in the centre comes out clean and the top is nicely browned.
*If after 50 mins the cake is not done and the top is browned, cover with foil and continue to bake for 5-10 mins, checking after 5 mins. 

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5-10 mins before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack or serve warm.

I was actually worried when the wet ingredients looked like buttermilk but went on with it. I also did not have large bowl so I sifted in the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, a quarter at a time. Crossed my fingers and whacked it in the oven. Mine took 60 mins in total, possibly due to the moistness of my rehydrated coconut. You can tell from the photos that I’ve baked it a tad too long with the slightly thick outer crust but the inside is so, so moist and coconutty! There’s a lot of coconut running through it so every mouthful is coconut bliss <3

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Um yeah, I ate a slice first before taking photos… Oops!

Oh and Happy Mother’s Day if you’re in the UK!

 

Raspberry Buckle

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I really wanted to bake this weekend. So I went on a mad thinking quest on what to make. I first wanted to make an oatmeal cake but after hearing my mum question the possibilities of success I decided to try making a Blueberry Buckle! Then another think quest began on finding the best and most convenient recipe eg: not using 4-6 eggs or 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, that kinda thing. I decided to try the King Arthur Flour recipe!

I felt so stupid when I went shopping for ingredients. Blueberries aren’t in season now so they looked ugly and were expensive. It never occured to me that I could have gone for the frozen ones which would’ve cost me less money than buying raspberries! So much for wanting to make a blueberry buckle!

Anyway, it turned out great. I was fretting a lot about it being too wet (are raspberries more juicy than blueberries?) and coming out underbaked since I was using an 8″ tin instead of a 9″. But yippeeyayo, it turned out PERFECT.

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Look. At. That. Streusel.

I read a tip of getting it real crumbly and chunky which was to clump the mixture together then break it apart slightly before sprinkling on top. Or you could add a sprinkling of cold water and fork through the mixture to get it clumpy. I really don’t like the sandy variation :/

Ingredients
For the Streusel:
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon (or 1/2tsp if you don’t want it too cinnamon-ey)
1/4 cup (~56.7g or 1/2 stick) salted butter *you can use unsalted butter but add a pinch of salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
For an extra crunch add 2 tbsp granulated sugar

For the cake:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 large egg at room temp.
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh/frozen blueberries or raspberries

Directions
1. Make the streusel! Mix flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon well. Add the butter and rub in until it resembles wet sand. Set aside in the fridge.
2. Grease an line the base of a 9″ cake tin (you can use an 8″ like me). Preheat oven to 190C
3. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the egg, vanilla and zest. Mix well.
4. Add milk and flour mixture alternately, ending with the flour. As the milk is cold, the batter may look curdled but it’s okay! Do not panic! Batter will be quite thick.
5. Fold in the berries, literally 3-4 times. Be gentle! Spread evenly in the pan and sprinkle the streusel topping making sure its well covered. Bake 40-45 mins for a 9″ tin. As I used an 8″ tin (and was paranoid about underbaking) I added an extra 10 mins and also reduced the temp to 160C in the last 5 mins as it was pretty brown by then. I will experiment with the amount of extra baking time when I make this again!

Allow cake to cool in the tin for 15 mins before removing and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Alternatively you could allow it to cool for a bit more and serve warm (with custard!). Cake will keep in an airtight container at for 2 days.

This cake is so good. Proof? My mum and I ate a third of it in one night.

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I didn’t want to show the ugly baking parchment but… that cake…. nom.

Best Granola Ever!

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This literally is the best one I’ve made so far.

I think it’s the addition of dessicated coconut. It makes it so fragrant and nutty. The house smelled amazing when it was baking in the oven!

I used some ingredients that I usually would not for a change and also because they were cheaper (I have been feeling guilty about my expenses for all my baking oops). These included chopped hazelnuts and flaked almonds. I actually liked the flaked almonds better than whole almonds as its easier on the jaw in the morning ;) not so much energy required for all that chewing!

I played around with quantities, granola is pretty much up to you – what YOU want in your mix.

Here’s my recipe for it!

Ingredients2 cups whole rolled oats
1 1/2 cups nuts – 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 cup flaked almonds
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 cup flaxmeal
1 cup dried fruit
(plus a handful of whole almonds because I had them)

4/5 tbsp oil
1/4 cup + 1/2tbsp honey -> adjust according to your taste
sprinkling of brown sugar, about 1 tsp

Directions
1. Preheat oven 160C
2. Mix everything well, making sure they’re well coated with the honey and oil.
3. Bake for 45 mins, stirring ever 15 mins. Reduce to 150C if browning too quickly. You have to keep an eye on them!
4. Remove from oven when done and mix in the dried fruit. Allow to cool completely in the baking tray/sheet before transferring to an airtight container.

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So much goodness in a (tiny) handful!

WARNING: They’re so addictive. I actually just sat down with the box and stuffed my face for a good 15 minutes. Eek!

Baking Biscuits!

Holiday + Some free time = bake.

That’s just logic, isn’t it?

I’ve been wanting to use my cookie cutters for a long time! I don’t usually make cookie dough, as in the kind where you roll out and cut out shapes because its always too warm in Singapore. So I finally decided to make them!

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First, you make the dough. Haha yes those dents are from me poking the dough.

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Roll it out! I used 2 sheets of cling film so I didn’t have to get flour everywhere.

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My 2 cookie cutters! Meet Gary the giraffe and Dino the dinosaur. Yes I have no imagination. But to be fair, I just typed that out like 2 seconds ago.

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My tiny work area. Yes I used that water bottle to roll out my dough :p

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A few loss of body parts as they cooled.

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After being glazed! I don’t know if glazing half of each cookie was a good or bad idea…

Wondering what biscuits they were? Lemon biscuits!

The only problem was that I used dark brown sugar and so the lemony flavour from the zest was pretty much overpowered by the taste of molasses. Although the glaze offered real lemony goodness!

Super simple, no-frills biscuit dough recipe from BBCGoodFood.

Healthier Breakfast Muffins

I came across this webpage titled “7 Unhealthy Breakfast Foods” one day and it promised to surprise with the list of breakfast items.

Muffins were on the list and I wasn’t too surprised. Everywhere you go, muffins are massive and topped with sugary icing or drowned in chocolate chips. With all that sugar thrown into a single muffin it’s no longer ‘healthy’.

We had our Christmas dinner 3 days ago and with all the homemade cranberry sauce sitting in the fridge, I thought of using it in muffins. I found this recipe and it really is a ‘healthier’ muffin recipe!

Ingredients
150ml natural yogurt
50ml vegetable oil
2 large eggs
3-4 tbsp honey (depends on your taste!)
100g apple sauce/pureed apples (or in my case, cranberry sauce)
1 tsp vanilla
1 ripe medium-sized banana, mashed (size doesn’t really matter)

200g wholemeal flour (or you could also use whole wheat flour)
50g rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
100g blueberries 
*2 tbsp mixed seeds for sprinkling on top

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 160C fan. Line 2 6-holed muffin trays or ~6-8 jumbo sized muffin tray
2. In a jug, whisk together all the wet ingredients. In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients except the blueberries. 
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold in, gradually adding in the blueberries ** I usually count up to 10 strokes and stop there. Do not over mix or you will get tough muffins! 
4. Spoon into muffin trays and sprinkle with some rolled oats and seeds. Bake for 25-30mins until golden and well risen. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. 

Remove from tins and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Muffins will keep in an airtight container for 3 days. 

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(apologies for the low-quality photo :( )

Tips:
- line muffin trays with baking parchment for super-easy removal from tins and no muffin bits sticking to the paper
- you can replace fat in recipes with yogurt or applesauce or mashed bananas
- quantities are really just a guideline, experiment! 
- do not be tempted to keep mixing, allow little pockets of flour to remain as this keeps the muffin soft

Zucchini Bread, Courgette Bread?

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This massive loaf wouldn’t last long in this household with me around. Have it for breakfast, pinch a little as a quick snack, dress it up pretty for dessert. Gone.

It has a very beautiful brown crust on the outside. Like protective armour :P Very nice and crisp, not hard and difficult to chew at all.

As it baked, the smell of cinnamon permeated the whole house. It felt like Christmas!

When I told my mum I’m making Zucchini/Courgette bread, her face squished up like a little kid going “ew” at vegetables. If carrot cake can get the glory of being delicious, I’m sure zucchini bread/cake can!

(you can tell I’m getting confused with bread and cake here..)

Ingredients
1 pound zucchini – about 2 medium sized

3 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 nutmeg (I left this out as I don’t like it)

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar – I used packed brown sugar
3/4 olive oil
1 tsp vanilla

*optional: 1 cup dried fruit / chopped nuts / chocolate chips

Directions
1. Grease 2 8″x4″ loaf tins or 1 9″x5″ tin.
2. Wash and trim the ends of the zucchini. Using a box grater, grate the zucchini. Ball it up in muslin cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you possibly can. 
**Tip: let the ‘ball’ rest for a bit and squeeze it every now and then while you prepare the other ingredients
3. Preheat oven to 175C. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a large bowl (you will need a large bowl indeed!)
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla. 
5. Toss the zucchini and any other extra ingredients in the flour mixture. Then pour in the wet ingredients. Mix well using the folding method until no more flour is visible. The mixture will be thick and sticky. Do not over mix!
6. Spoon into the prepared tin(s) and bake for 45-55 minutes if using 2 tins or 55 minutes – 1 hour 10 minutes if using a single tin. The finished loaf will have a golden brown crust and should spring back if pressed lightly. 
Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edges to make sure nothing is stuck to the tin, then flip over onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
** You may need to cover it with foil midway through baking to prevent it getting too brown

The loaf will keep in an airtight container for several days. You can also wrap it up and freeze it. Just allow to thaw overnight and warm it up to serve. 

The next time I make this, I’ll try using a mixture of sugars or even a dark brown sugar. Maybe even reduce the sugar to 1 cup? I think the loaf could also do with a touch more cinnamon :B I love my cinnamon. Adding the dried fruit was definitely a good idea.

It was very tempting to make a cream cheese frosting or lemon icing but I decided not to after having a slice. It’s just sweet enough as it is and the frosting/icing would cover up the taste of the loaf.

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The crack on the top doesn’t look too pretty… But it’s still delicious! :D

Fluffiest American Pancakes

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PANCAKES!

Today marks the first day of half term and it called for a mini celebration of pancakes. So many amazing things have happened, so many new opportunities coming up. I feel so blessed!

So I woke up early this morning so that breakfast would be ready at 9.30am (yes, I’m working on timings here)

Pancakes are amazing. They can be eaten on their own or with so many other toppings. They’re both breakfast and dessert. Chocolate spread, maple syrup, fruit, jam, butter. The options are endless.

So if you’re a thick, fluffy pancake lover I suggest you try out this recipe.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar

1 1/4 cup milk
1 egg
3 tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil

Directions
1. In a large bowl, sift flour and baking powder. Add the sugar and salt and whisk to mix.
2. If using butter, heat milk lightly in a saucepan and add the butter to melt it. Allow to cool slightly. (This is why I just used veggie oil!)
3. Make a well in the flour mixture. Add the milk, butter and eggs and whisk until smooth. Small lumps remaining are fine. Leave for 10 minutes
*You will see lots of bubbles while you mix and the batter will become thicker!
4. Grease a griddle or pan and heat over medium high heat until it is well hot. Turn the heat down slightly. Pour (or rather dollop :p) 3 tbsp of batter per pancake. When there are bubbles and the top is almost dry, flip over and cook for another minute or until golden brown. 

Makes about 11 10cm pancakes. 

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Toppings! That strawberry juice makes the chopping board look like a murder scene…

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Anybody know why the first pancake always comes out ugly?

Raspberry Frangipane Cake – an almond sponge cake.

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Isn’t she just beautiful.

My mad cravings for cake after watching the Great British Bakeoff resulted in me baking today. I just needed cake in my system. Lots of it. I don’t care if it’s unhealthy. Cake makes the world go round.

I think I’ve eaten at least a quarter of it within 2 hours of it coming out of the oven. Oops.

I must say frangipane is one of my favourite baked treats (I know I say that everything is one of my favourites). Almond sponges are just so lovely, as are sponges made with polenta. I got this recipe from this really cute food blogger and the design of it is just right up my street. She’s got quite a few interesting recipes I’d love to try some day!

 

Ingredients
140g unsalted butter, softened
140g caster sugar/soft brown sugar
3 large eggs (I just used medium eggs)
180g ground almonds
60g self raising flour or 60g plain flour + 3/4tsp baking powder
Zest of 1 small lemon
Pinch of salt
Handful of almond flakes

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 160C. Lightly grease the sides of the tin and line the base with baking parchment.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between each addition. Add the ground almonds and lemon zest, gently mixing until well combined.
3. Sift in the flour and fold until just combined. Spoon into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Arrange the raspberries on top and press them into the batter. Sprinkle a handful of almond flakes ontop. 
4. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 40-50 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. The cake should spring back when touched. You may need to cover it with aluminium foil if it gets too brown. 
5. Allow to cool for 1 minutes before removing from the tin. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool completely. 

The edges of my cake are a little too brown. But I guess, I can enjoy some crispy ‘crust’ to my cake :P

Definitely will make this again, probably with different fruit like pears or plums. Exciting times!

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I was wondering how the almond flakes would stay on the cake just by sprinkling them on top. It never occured to me that the batter would rise. Silly me!