Archive for October 2013

Strawberry and White Chocolate Chip Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Hello blog!

I'm so sorry for the lengthy wait in between posts, and I am so thankful for everyone who has been commenting and messaging and emailing me asking when I'll be back. Thanks to everyone who visits, I was so surprised to see people still come on here regularly! Anyway. I'm here now, and I'm going to be posting much more regularly now. I'll try my best in any case! 

This is my go-to muffin recipe, because it is super quick, and if you're lazy like me, you only need one bowl, and one measuring cup. It takes almost no effort, which is sometimes the best kind of baking if you ask me. 

The first version of this muffin I made was blueberry and dark chocolate, which was delicious. But one night (at about 2 am in the morning, actually, when I was still in high school) we were at a party and just really felt like eating blueberry and chocolate chip muffins. The boy who's house it was had an amazingly stocked pantry - all sorts of sprinkles and icing tips and and three different types of flour and five different types of sugar - but no blueberries or chocolate chips. We found a block of white chocolate and a punnet of strawberries and twenty minutes later we sat with our feet in the pool and ate them. They were delicious.

I made these for a charity event we had at work :)

*Just a little something: While writing this post, I was a bit confused about what the difference between a cupcake and a muffin was. So I had a quick google which told me basically that muffins don't have icing. And something about the fat, sugar and egg ratio in a cupcake is double that of a muffin. I don't usually make these with icing, but I had some leftover from something else and wanted to make them look pretty. So you absolutely do not have to ice yours, they are delicious without.

Strawberry and White Chocolate Muffins
Makes 12 muffins, or 24 mini muffins
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (white, caster, brown, raw - anything works
  • 200g strawberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (any vegetable oil will do though)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease your muffin tin, or line it with cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, strawberries and chocolate chips.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, oil and milk. (What I usually do here is pour the oil into a cup, then eyeball the milk until it's about 3/4 full and then beat in the egg - very lazy, I know)
  4. Pour that into the dry mixture, and mix until combined, then pour into the muffin tin. 
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until it's golden.
  6. Eat.

Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 250g cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  1. Beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy. 
  2. Add the icing sugar in 1/4 cup at a time.
  3. Colour with food colouring of choice.
  4. Pipe/smear onto muffins.

xx gee


Banana and Almond Bread with Cardamom and Truffle Honey

Friday, 18 October 2013

Banana bread was one of the first things I learned how to bake. We had a banana tree in our backyard, so they were always in supply. I remember that I was only allowed to bake banana bread at first, because I was the youngest, and real cakes would be too hard, so I had to practice first. Otherwise I might mess it up.

This is the recipe I've been using since I was 16. This is the original recipe. Like how I dotted my 'i's? 
Over the years, I've added some modifications. This particular batch had slivered almonds instead of the walnuts, which I usually do. I added in some truffle honey - it's mild but you can definitely taste it! So good. And an unexpected ingredient - cardamom. I figured, why not? I usually add in cinnamon and nutmeg, sometimes allspice, sometimes ginger. The cardamom added something else the sweetness, and combined with the truffle honey, brought out a depth in flavour that I can't quite describe.

Pretty much: It's good. Try it.

Banana, Almond and Cardamom Bread
- 125g butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp nutmeg
- 1 tbsp cardamom
- 2 tbsp truffle honey
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, non-fan forced. Grease your loaf pan with butter and lightly dust with flour. Sift together the flour, cornflour and bicarb soda into a bowl and set aside.  
Beat the butter til light and fluffy. 
Add the sugar. I'm using less sugar than in my original recipe because  I'm using honey instead.
Add in the eggs, one at a time.
Mash the bananas. Add in the spices: cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Do it. If you chicken out, that's fine. It'll still taste delicious.
Add in a tablespoon of the truffle honey. I don't know where this is from, I inherited it from Milo's mom. You can get it from a few places online, though. 
Mix into the butter mixture. Add the flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
Stir in the almonds. Pour into the tin and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clear.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
Make the icing. Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar until soft and fluffy. When the cake is cool, ice it and then sprinkle with walnuts. Delicious.

Please try this and let me know what you think!

xx gee

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Vietnamese Pork Roll / Banh Mi

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Banh mi is Vietnamese for bread. Specifically, these little individual baguettes made of rice flour. This makes them lighter and crispier than French baguettes . They're filled with a different range of things - pork belly, grilled chicken, Vietnamese sausage, meatballs and tofu, and vegetables like cucumber, pickled carrot and daikon and coriander. 

There is a little Vietnamese bakery at the train station 2 minutes away from us that sell these for $5, filled with delicious pâté and two cold cuts of Vietnamese pork. But I wanted to make them at home. So we bought the baguettes there for 90 cents (:

I didn't know where to get/what exactly the cold cuts... So I used proscuitto and salami (: But it was still delicious! I had mint, coriander and scallions growing in my herb garden (which I must write about soon), so quickly made up some pickled carrots. Milo couldn't find any daikon (white radish) at the fruit store at the station... Although he is a boy and when I asked if he asked the man he said no... So maybe there was some there! 
Also, that book in the above picture is by the owner of my favorite restaurant ever in Hoi An called Morning Glory. I did a cooking class there, and I am in love with all the food and have read the cookbook cover to cover so many times that Milo thinks it's a storybook. Get it here.

This is the pâté I used. It's deliciously peppery and also has little mushroom slivers in it. Mm.
Anyway here's how I made the pickled carrots: I shaved them thinly with the veggie peeler then put them in a bowl with a tbsp each of salt and sugar. After about two minutes the carrot liquid will pool at the bottom of the bowl, so squeeze them to get as much liquid out. They'll be soft and bendy. Then put it into a sealable container with 2 tbsp vinegar, 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tbsp sugar. Let it sit for 15 minutes and your pickled carrots are ready! Use however much you like and keep the rest in the fridge for about 3 weeks. Easy peasy.

Cut your baguette in half and either tear out some of the middle filling or smush it down with your fingers (like I did). This is to make room for your filling. Then I smeared one side with the pâté, and one side with Kewpie mayonaise. Then added the fillings in the order I like: proscuitto, salami, carrot, mint, coriander, scallion curls (slice thinly then soak in iced water for a few minutes and they curl up), salt and pepper, and then drizzled the sauce on top. (1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp fish sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp chili sauce)

Look how deliciously crisp they look! And all the fresh herbs. Mm. Can I just say that Vietnamese food is one of my favorite cuisines in the world? My favorite place in Vietnam is Hoi An (in the middle), and we ate about a billion banh mis while we were there. I love them so much.

xx gee