May 31, 2011

Tuesday- When life give you make?

What dish would you make out of these crabs? 
Not the right size and type for the famous chili crab recipe I've in hands. 
Gulai lemak cili padi? Naah.. I'm sick of anything to do with coconut milk. 
Dry masala/curry sounds nice, but there's no more curry leaves left in my freezer. 
{yes, I freeze them}
Crab cake? Again, not the right size and type of crab. 

That's all I can think off. {and write}

May 28, 2011

Friday- Mini Spiral Tuna Curry Puff.. a.k.a Karipap Tuna Pusing Mini?

"...nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should." 
~Julia Child (My Life in France)

This was my first attempt in making spiral puff or karipap pusing.. I always thought I would never make one since the step by step pictorial, in getting the spiral done, scares me. Note: I have love/hate relationship with anything related to dough. Sometimes it turns out great, sometimes not. 
Anyway, this one fell into 'great' category. The dough is crunchy and very soft when you bite it. Almost similar to pau goreng dough, but crunchier. Should it tastes like that? I'm not sure how the original recipe would tastes like tho. I'd to swiped the shortening to butter since I'm out of it.. 
Anyway, my husband loves it. [psst.. he is a man of few words especially when it comes in complementing my foods.. when he said, "Macam kat kedai", that's means good.. If he eat more and more non-stop,- means great!..he he When he keeps silent and tak tambah2x..-probably means bad.. ;p] Adam loves it too.. he ate 2 pieces of mini karipaps.. 
Okay, the karipap may seem like over-fried, but trust me it's not. My photos don't give justice to these minis. Thanks to Mat Gebu for the recipe. I'll keep experimenting few other karipap pusing recipes, but for now, I'll stick with his recipe.  

If you're looking for a recipe that doesn't take hours and make less mess of the kitchen, this is the one you should try. The end result is satisfying. :)

May 26, 2011

Tasty Thursday- Sicilian Orange Cake

This Sicilian Orange Cake is the famous orange cake from the once popular Café Agostini (this cafe has closed on 22 July, 2005) owned by Margie Agostini, in the heart of Sydney ’s suburb for the rich and famous, Woollahra. Customers have often been heard to say that “Margie’s orange cake is to die for”.

I found this recipe on Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escape Cookbook a while ago but was surprised to find out how this recipe was linked to Australia:

Rick Stein: "To be accurate, I suppose this cake should be known as Margie Agostini'sorange cake. It was her signature dish at her greatly missed Caffe Agostini in Woollahra in Sydney. It seemed to me to be just made for Sicilian oranges. The recipe came from an article in the Times by Jill Dupleix, although I had eaten the cake at the cafe a few years earlier and I thought it was amazing. As Jill says, it has to be the richest, moistest, butteriest and yet lightest orange cake in the world."
~Ellie,  Almost Bourdain, Aug 16 2009

Hello there. It’s been a little while since my last post, and certainly longer than planned. Well, you do know that I'm a part-time blogger and a full time house-mom-wife right...

Right now, after gone for almost 10 days [it feels like 10 years tho], I'm back with the renowned Sicilian Orange Cake. This is a perfect orange cake. Ask around if you don't believe me. It became a blogosphere phenomenon since 2009, and everyone who tried it, loved it! 

I believe no one will say no to this buttery, moist and full with mild aroma of orange citrus cake. It's a simple cake, yet so pleasing.. I had to agree with Ellie excerpt above, it is the richest, moistest, butteriest and yet lightest orange cake in the world..
I came to know this cake from Ellie of Almost Bourdain. Early this week,  Ellie decided to leave the blogging world, and I had to admit that I'm quite shock to hear the news. Personally, I'm a big fan of Ellie's blog. Her appetizing photos and inventing recipes were so inspiring. Most of my baking/cooking goodies came from her site, whether it get published here or not. There's more recipes waiting to be tried and her blog would be my online "recipe-book" for years coming. :)

And to be honest, I baked this cake for her. My so-called farewell tribute for her leaving. To Ellie, you'll be missed.. Wish you the best of luck with your life and I hope we get to see you again...soon :)

Sicilian Orange Cake Recipe

(Adapted from Almost Bourdain)
Makes 1 x 22-cm cake, to serve about 8 

250g lightly salted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
250 g caster sugar ( I cut down to 230g)
4 medium eggs
1 1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
250 g self raising flour (make sure you get self raising flour!)
85 ml freshly squeezed orange juice

For the icing (optional):
125 g icing sugar
5 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line a 22-cm clip-sided round cake with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together for 4-5 minutes until very pale. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating very well between each one, if necessary adding a spoonful of flour with the last egg to prevent the mixture from curdling. Beat in the orange zest. Add the flour all at once and mix in well, then slowly mix in the orange juice.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer, inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean. If it starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with a sheet of lightly buttered foil.
  4. Leave the cake, in its tin, to cool on a wire rack, then carefully remove the sides and base of the tin and peel off the paper. Put it onto a serving plate.
For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the orange juice until you have a spreadable consistency. Spread it over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides, and leave to set. Serve cut into slices, and store any leftovers in an airtight container.

May 15, 2011

Friday- Meatballs with Tomato sauce

Phew..glad to see my dashboard again..while Blogger was on the freeze thingy yesterday, I don't know about you guys, but I felt like I was cut off from the outside world..and that just make me realized just how obsessed I am with blogging world. Even though I seldom put up a post or drop a comment on your blog, but I checked the headlines from time to time just to catch up with the your update..hi hi

Okay, another recipe from Ramsay's World Kitchen. :D I baked, instead of frying them, which made the outer part less crunchy.. hmm..  tastewise, biasa-biasa je.. ;p My favorite part of this recipe was the tomato sauce. It has a good balance of sweet and sour taste. It yummy-ed {?} the meatball more, and I think I'm gonna stick to this tomato sauce recipe. So yes to the tomato sauce and boohoo to the meatball recipe. He he..
Does anyone else have a good meatball recipes? care to share...?

May 11, 2011

Tuesday- Roasted Black Pepper Chicken with Plum Sauce {Edited}

It has become a routine of ours to spent some time in the library once in every week or two. Husband would always browse items from management, career-related and photography sections while Adam browse his on kiddy sections. Sometimes he likes to 'arrange' the book too..bersepah-sepah..In order to avoid that, one of us would pick few books, find a place, sit and read to him- and that's would give some ample time for each of us to browse whatever we like on the shelves. 
As for me, most of my borrowed items, so far, are from the cooking books shelves.  I'm a sucker for pretty cookbooks, especially if it has appetizing pictures with minimal clear instruction...To me, a good cookbook MUST have pictures for every recipe written inside, unless it's a renowned old cookbook like Julia Child's.  A step by step pictures are bonus, but not necessary.

I borrowed Gordon Ramsay's and Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts this week, and today menu was inspired from Ramsay's roasted duck with plum sauce. I've bookmarked another 4 recipes and can't wait to try it! 
Anyway, happy Mother's day to all mom out there.. I bought this lilies for myself..he gift from si dia tu.. ;p okay pe celebrate sorang2x.. ;p

May 5, 2011

Friday- Opera Cake..finally..

"Opera Cake is a type of French cake. It is made with layers of almond sponge cake (known as Joconde in French) soaked in coffee syrup, layered with ganache and coffeebuttercream, and covered in a chocolate glaze. According to Larousse Gastronomique "Opéra gateau is an elaborate almond sponge cake with a coffee and chocolate filling and icing."The cake was popularized by the French pâtisserie house Dalloyau." -Wikipedia

It took me forever to cut this cake into a diamond shape slice. Almost a diamond perhaps. {Phew} The most forever about it was making the cake itself actuallyYerp..I did it..I can finally crossed opera cake from my baking list..Hip2x hurray for me..wuhoooooo... *cheeky proud grin*
I whipped the mocha buttercream on Thursday, and thought of assembling the cake on Friday- the same date as the royal wedding day. It would be great to have a special delicacy to mark the royal wedding ceremony rite.. since it was called the wedding of the year, of the century, of a lifetime, blah blah.. But it didn't happened..err my cake I mean.. =/ You wanna know why? You see..I was glued on TV from 3pm, and after 2 hours in front of the screen, I started to feel dizzy and felt like to throw out already. I knew the wedding service would start at 6, but me being me, over-excited blah blah, didn't want to miss watching every single second of the live telecast.. and by the time Will and Kate finally tied a knot, the headache was swirling all my head already. It was terrible. [I used to be a TV junkie during my teen years..what happened to that part of myself..hihi..] So the plan had to be postponed on the next day. Long story short, I created this marvelous cake on Monday. Period. ;p
Well, it's a rich cake, enough said. Layers of almond sponge cake, with mocha buttercream and chocolate ganache in between.. heaven! You could imagine the taste your self he he..  I made an 8x8 inch square cake, too big for our family to consume it at once. I halved it and keep one half in the fridge and the other half on the freezer. We shall finish it by this month he he.. 

Opera cake
{Recipe adapted from Bisous A Toi..Thanks K Rima!}

  • 200g finely ground almond
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 60g all purpose flour
  • 115g egg whites
  • 55g confectioner sugar - i used caster sugar

For the Jaconde:
  1. Preheat oven to 200C.. Prepare two pans (20 x 20 cm), greased and lined with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine ground almond, caster sugar and 3 eggs, beat at high speed for 10 minutes, scraping often.
  3. Add remaining eggs one at a time, continue to beat for another 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in 4 tbsp of almond mixture into melted butter and mix till well combined, set aside.
  5. Add sifted flour to the remaining almond mixture, mix well... put aside
  6. In another bowl, beat egg whites til foamy, add sugar gradually and continue to beat until soft peaks formed.
  7. Take 1/3 of egg white and pour into almond mixture and mix it gently.. pour back almond mixture into the remaining 2/3 egg white mixture and continue to fold in gently.. dont overmix or u might deflate ur egg white..
  8. Divide and spread into prepared pans, bake both pans at once for 20 mins in 175C. Cool completely, remove from pans, discard paper and slice it into total 4 layers.
For Coffee Syrup:
100ml hot brewed espresso - you can of course use 15g of instant coffee with 100ml hot water
100g sugar
Mix all ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves. Set aside.

For Mocha buttercream:
100g egg whites
200g sugar
300g unsalted butter - cubed and chilled and let it out once u start to whip ur egg white/sugar
1/2 tbsp mocha paste
1tsp coffee oil - u can use coffee essence/flavor if u cant find coffee oil

1. Using double boiler.. heat egg white and sugar till sugar dissolved - use ur thermometer ok.. heat till 65C..
2. Pour egg white mixture into ur mixing bowl and whisk using high speed till mixture turns glossy.. add in cubed butter one at a time and continue to beat till its slightly fluffy.. (buttercream texture)
3. Add in coffee oil, mocha paste and 50ml of coffee syrup into buttercream.. stir till well combined.. set aside

For Chocolate Ganache
200g dark chocolate compound
200g milk chocolate compound - I used a mixture of 70%, 64% and 55%)
75g unsalted butter
250 ml fresh cream - I used double cream

1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
2. Heat cream until warm. Remove from heat and pour it over chocolate.. let it sit for 5 mins and stir
3. Add in butter and continue to stir well again.
4. Put it aside till it thickens.

There are various way to assemble Opera, you can find many on internet. Heres my version..
  1.  Place one sheet of joconde upside down (top of the cake on bottomside).
  2.  Brush thoroughly with coffee syrup until moist.
  3. Spread one part of coffee cream evenly over the cake.
  4. Cover with another sheet of joconde, always upside down.
  5. Brush thoroughly with coffee syrup until moist
  6. Cover with thick ganache and cover with another sheet of joconde.
  7. Repeat above steps until all joconde, coffee cream and ganache are stacked completely. Chill for 10 minutes.
  8. Double boil remaining ganache over low heat just until simmer, pour evenly on the top. Chill for another 30mins.
  9. Trim the sides thinly to remove excess cream & ganache to reveal the layers of art and delicacy.