Category Archives: Desserts

Steamed Cakes

Hi dear blog …..it’s been almost a year again since my last post so I guess it’s time for another update. I will strive to maintain you a bit more than I have done. For some time now I’ve lacked the inclination to maintain blogging but that is no fault of yours. At any rate, it’s good to have my favorite recipes compiled together and I hope they will be useful for other people.

The recipe below is for Steamed Cakes and is one of my mother’s. Like most of the other recipes here, steamed cakes is also a form of comfort food for me.

As the seasons are changing and we enter cold, drizzly Autumn, my craving for comfort food has returned.

My life is also going through its own seasons and some recent experiences have left me feeling confused, shocked and with my nerves worse for wear.

There have also been some changes at work which have added to my feelings of tiredness. I work for a charity organisation that supports people with disability.  It is for me something I love. I’ve been doing volunteer work since I was in high school and have always wanted to work in the community sector. A job that allows me to do this which also focuses on promoting social inclusion and diversity is something I always dreamed of. However the sector is also changing with the introduction of a new insurance system  for people with disability.  

With all these changes and recent experiences, I feel physically and emotionally tired. I am definitely wanting comfort food these days. The fortunate thing for me is that I live at home so at the end of a long day, a most beloved and comforting sight is there to greet me (mom) along with warm, comfort food which she has already cooked.  I’m very blessed that for me cooking is something I do optionally and as a hobby (although this has resulted in you dear blog becoming somewhat neglected).  So, on to her recipe for steamed cakes:

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Ingredients

About 1/2 cup melted butter
3 cups self raising flour
1  1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
Approx 2 cups water
1/2 tsp baking powder

Instructions

  1. Cream together the sugar and butter.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder together.
  4. Add the flour and water, beginning and ending with the flour. The batter should have the consistency of a pancake mixture.
  5. Pour into individual molds and steam for about 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.Serve warm with butter or a little bit of cheese.  

The recipe above is for basic steamed cakes to which  you can add your favorite flavor extracts and coloring. In the picture above, I had made  buko-pandan, yam and strawberry flavored steamed cakes. To make this, just divide your batter into 3 separate bowls and add your extracts and coloring respectively before pouring them into the individual molds and steaming. 

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Jadeite love

My mother and I were watching a show we both love not too long ago when we made a wonderful discovery. The show was ….dare I say it? Arguably uncool, totally nerdy but so what I love it Poirot. I like Agatha Christie’s novels and enjoy watching the Poirot and Miss Marple series.

The Poirot series is set in the 1930’s and we were admiring the art deco items from the time. My mother noticed the tea set from the episode we were watching and said it looked a lot like the dishes they’d had when she was a child. They were milky green, a bit transclucent and lovely. Before we left the Philippines she looked all over for another set but could never find any. For the last 27 years since we moved to Australia she had looked for these dishes at homeware and department stores but still could not find them.

So, when she mentioned it to me, I did a little bit of research the intuitive 2015 way……Google! Within minutes, we solved the mystery of the green dishes. My grandfather had worked as an aircraft mechanic for an American air base in the Philippines (before Philippines had their own airport, then he moved to Philippines Airlines) and consequently often bought American-made products from the base which he brought home. It turned out the dishes were jadeite plates and it made sense that my mother couldn’t find them in the Philippines or Australia because they appeared not to have been produced in either country. However, they were mass produced in the US and were inexpensive during the 1930s- 1970’s. They were manufactured by McKee (the first to produce these), Jeanette Glass Company and Anchor Hocking. Mosser Glass produces more modern jadeite pieces.

JadeiteloveMayYouCookIt

My search in sites like Ebay and Etsy led me to vintage jadeite plates while in Amazon.com I found a variety of new and old. They are collectable items these days and although they were reasonably priced, they turned out a little bit expensive in terms of postage and currency conversion. Interestingly, in my searches I could not find one single posting from Australia so I had to order them from overseas (most from the US, one from France). 

After we discovered what the plates were,  I have to admit I also fell in love with their beautiful mint green loveliness. I understand now why my mother loved them so much and it is nice to have a lovely part of history on our table.

Mocha Chiffon Cake with Buttercream frosting

It was my brother’s birthday recently and his favorite cake is mocha chiffon. Like a dutiful little sister, I decided to make him a mocha chiffon cake for his birthday. The recipe  is outlined below which is pretty straightforward to make and tastes delicious.

For the mocha chiffon cake you’ll need:

6 eggs at room temperature, separated.

1/2 cup oil

1 cup sugar

1 tsp cocoa power

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 tsp coffee and chicory essence

1 cup self raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cream of tartar

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1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius and grease two 9×2 inch baking pans.

2. Mix the yolks and sugar until light and creamy. Gradually add the oil then mix in the vanilla, chicory and coffee essence.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the yolk mixture. Mix until well combined.

4. Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to stiff peaks.

5. Gradually fold in the egg whites into the yolk and flour mixture.

6. Pour  the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 25 mins or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

7. Leave to cool in the pan for about 15 mins before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Sandwich the cakes using some of the buttercream icing and decorate the exterior with the remainder. I used a blue ombre design  for my brother’s cake and topped it off with 2 large gumpaste flowers.

MayYouCookIt

For the buttercream frosting you’ll need:

1 cup butter

1 tsp vanilla essence or preferred flavoring (for this I used (surprise, surprise!) coffee and chicory essence)

3 cups icing sugar

1. Whisk butter and icing sugar until light and creamy.

2. Add the essence and a little milk if a lighter consistency is desired.

Chocolate Mousse

This  chocolate mousse  is very simple to make and delicious too. It’s a great choice when you want to make dessert in advance but don’t want to spend a lot  of time preparing it.

To make it, you’ll need:

500ml thickened cream

150g dark chocolate

1 Tbs gelatine

1/2 cup warm water

2 punnets fresh raspberries

Base:

Approx 10 digestive biscuits (or shortbread biscuits)

1/4 cup almond meal

2/3 cup melted butter

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1. Place the biscuits in a food processor and grind to a fine consistency. Or place the biscuits inside a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin until crumbly.

2.  Mix in the melted butter and almond meal with the ground biscuits then press the mixture into a greased tart pan.

3. Bake at 180 for about 15-20 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

4. Mix the gelatine into the warm water.

5. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler until smooth.

6. Whisk the cream, then gently pour in the chocolate and gelatine into the cream. Continue whisking until smooth.

7. Pour the mixture into the cooled base then place in the fridge to set for 1-2 hours.

8. Remove the mousse from the pan and garnish with fresh raspberries before serving

Egg Pie

Egg pies are one of those kinds of dishes that take me back to my childhood. I used to love eating egg pies, especially when they were cool, straight out of the fridge. I never could figure out why I grew out of them, but for some reason, I haven’t really hankered after them over the last few years. That changed last night when I suddenly had a craving for a slice of cool, soft, creamy egg pie.  That the craving would come in the evening when all bakeries are closed is just typical of my cravings which always seem intent to achieve maximum inconvenience for me. There was nothing for it but to head to the kitchen and whip up a batch. It was delicious though and I think I will stock up on some ready-made pastry shells or short crust pastry for next time. The recipe is pretty simple but making the pastry from scratch can take some time.

Egg Pie | May You Cook It

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

DOUGH

2 cups plain flour

2/3 cup shortening

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vinegar

1 egg yolk

About 1/3 cup ice water
FILLING

1x  375ml can evaporated milk

3 large eggs

1 stick softened butter.

1 cup sugar

Vanilla essence

Lemon zest

 

Instructions

Dough:

  1. Blend flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in the shortening using a pastry cutter.
  2. Combine the vinegar, water and egg yolk. Gradually add it to the flour mixture and knead the dough well.
  3. Leave the dough to rest about 30 mins.
  4. Roll out the dough to fit into a 16 inch pie plate with about 2 inches extra for the sides.
  5. Press the dough into the pie plate and allow the sides to hang over the pie plate. Press out the crust around the sides and cut off any excess dough.
  6. Set aside.

Filling:

  1. Whip the eggs then mix in the remaining ingredients.
  2. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 180 degrees celsius. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until cooked (you can test it by inserting a toothpick in the custard- if it comes out clean, the pie is ready).

Pavlova

The Pavlova was created in honor of the Russian ballet dancer Anna Matveyevna Pavlova after she toured Australia and New Zealand in the 1920’s. She was a renowned dancer, lauded for her grace and beauty. During the peak of her popularity many chefs would create desserts in her honor to coincide with her visits to their countries. Not surprisingly, these desserts would generally be light and airy to reflect her dancing style – eg. meringue based desserts, lights cakes and jellies.

The traditional Pavlova is one such dessert. However, there is some uncertainty as to whether it was first created in New Zealand or Australia. Anna Pavlova toured New Zealand in 1926 and Australia in 1929. Some food writers claim that before her 1926 visit, a recipe had been published in New Zealand for a fruit filled meringue pie. A chef in the hotel she had been staying in apparently used this recipe but created the augmented base after being inspired by her ballet tutu. However, in 1935, a hotel chef Herbert Sachse from Western Australia apparently claimed that he created the modern Pavlova after building upon a recipe for a Meringue Cake which he saw in the Women’s Mirror Magazine April 2, 1935 edition. This recipe was submitted by a contributor from New Zealand. It appears though, that Sachse was the one who actually named the new recipe Pavlova after he noted that the dessert was “as light as Pavlova”*. Consequently, the modern day Pavlova is an iconic dessert claimed by both countries and is a national dessert for both.

As its namesake suggests, it is incredibly light.  It’s a lovely dessert, particularly on a warm summer day. Today is also Australia Day and to honor this special day, I thought I would make this traditional Australian dessert. Ahhh…a restful day off, a cold drink and a slice of Pavlova….all I need now is to find a nice spot “under the shade of a coolabah tree”* and there’s little else I could ask for.

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To make the Pavlova you’ll need:

6 eggwhites
1 Tbs cornflour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar
Vanilla essence
400ml thickened cream
1 punnet strawberries
2-3 kiwifruit
1 punnet blueberries.
1/2 cup strawberry jam.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating to a stiff peak. Add the vinegar then mix in the cornflour and vanilla essence.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with baking paper and pour in the meringue.
  4. Reduce the oven to 100 degrees and bake the meringue for about 1 hour. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly when the meringue is baked – leave it to cool completely.
  5. Carefully transfer the cooled meringue onto a serving platter.
  6. Whip the cream using an electric beater and pour over the cooled meringue base.
  7. Top with the sliced fruits.
  8. Heat the jam for a few seconds in a microwave then glaze the fruits with the melted jam.