Butter Cake

COVID-19 Movement Control – Day 45
Tea time: Butter Cake

Back to basic, sometimes that’s all we need.

The rainbow message is true… Beautiful days are ahead of us. And today we received a pleasant update that MCO is partly lifted, can go back to office next Monday. But I know I will miss this MCO, the new normal of life and what I have learnt about myself during this period. I actually can cook 😏 but No, I don’t like to spend too much time in the kitchen and do house cleaning. There’s more things in life. I want to have more time to do other things…. attend Bodyjam classes, family time, connect with people, go for massage and facial, take photos and update blog, listen to music and read before sleep, etc.

I baked this butter cake to celebrate it. This cake is soft, moist and smells so, so good. Butter cake is an easy, simple and basic cake that usually first-time baker will bake when they started baking.

Tips:
  • As this is butter cake, use good quality of butter and vanilla extract. The cake will smell and taste very different.
  • Mix the butter and sugar long enough to make the cake rise and a light, soft and fluffy butter cake.
  Ingredients:
  • 250g of unsalted butter (I used salted butter as I like the cake to have a little salty taste and Anchor salted butter is sold at 250g block)
  • 200g of castor sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 230g of cake flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g of milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:
  1. Preheat over at 320°F / 160°C.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder. Set aside
  3. In a mixing bowl, add in butter and sugar. Mix it on low speed until the sugar disappear. Then increase to medium speed and mix for 15 minutes, until the butter is white, light and fluffy.
  4. Add in eggs, one by one and mix until the yellow eggs disappear.
  5. Add in the sifted dry ingredients, spoon by spoon.
  6. Add milk and vanilla extract. Continue mixing for another 3-5 minutes.
  7. Pour the batter into a baking pan.
  8. Bake for 55-60 minutes. Test the cake using a cake tester.
  9. Cool the cake on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes.



Fermented Soy Bean Paste Stew (Doenjang-Jjigae)

 

Recipe from my favourite Korean chef, Maangchi. I must get a copy of her cookbook.

Jaden added more rice and we finished the entire stew pot and green onion pancake. My cooking must have improved or they are more easy now due to the MCO cause they used to tell me “Mommy, can you please stop cooking”.

Ingredients (Serves 3-4):

  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 green Korean chili pepper (cheong-gochu), stemmed and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 large (8 medium) size shrimp, shelled, deveined, washed, and coarsely chopped (about ⅓ cup)
  • 2½ cups of anchovies stock (water and 7 dried anchovies, guts removed)
  • 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) fermented soybean paste (doenjang)
  • 6 ounces (3 pieces) medium-firm tofu, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 2 green onions, chopped

 

Directions:

  1. Add potato, onion, zucchini, chili pepper, garlic, and shrimp in an earthenware pot or stainless-steel pot.
  2. Wrap the dried anchovies in cheesecloth (or a dashi bag, a pouch for stock-making sold at a Korean grocery store) and put them into the pot with other ingredients. Add water and cover.
  3. Cook over medium-high heat for 15 minutes until it starts boiling. (If use stainless steel pot, it will take about 7 to 8 minutes)
  4. Stir in the soybean paste, mixing well. Cover and cook for 20 minutes longer over medium heat.
  5. Add the tofu and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the anchovy pouch and discard.
  6. Sprinkle with the green onions and serve as a side dish to rice. Serve it directly from the pot, or transfer to a serving bowl. Everybody can eat together out of the pot, or portions can be ladled out in individual bowls for each person.

Green Onion Pancake (Pajeon)

Recipe from my favourite Maangchi

Ingredients (for 6×7 inches rectangular pancake)

  • 10 stalks of green onions:
  • ½ cup of flour
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 tsp of soybean paste
  • ½ tsp of sugar
  • 3 tbsp of vegetable oil

Sauce: Mix these ingredients in a small bowl

  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp of vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar or honey
  • 1 chopped shallot or 1/2 chopped yellow onion
  • Chopped green or red chili peppers
  • 1 tsp of roasted toasted sesame seeds (toasted sesame seeds give a very fragrant and enhance the taste of this sauce)

 

Directions:

  • Clean, wash, and drain a handful of green onions
  • Cut them into 4 inch long
  • Make batter by mixing flour, water, soybean paste and sugar in a bowl. Mix well until the batter is smooth.
  • Heat up a non-stick pan
  • Add vegetable oil to the heated pan.
  • Put the green onion on the pan parallel to each other, in the shape of a rectangle.
  • Pour the batter over the green onion evenly.
    *tip: If you want some seafood (chopped squid, mussels or fresh oysters) in your pancake add it on top of the green onion before pouring the batter.
  • While the pancake is being cooked, keep patting it, pressing it slightly, and keeping it in a nice shape with your spatula.
  • A few minutes later, when the bottom of the pancake turns crispy and golden brown, turn it over.
  • Cook a few more minutes until the bottom of the pancake turns crispy and golden brown again and flip/turn it over.
  • Cook another minute and transfer it to a serving plate.
  • Serve hot with sauce.

Glutinous Rice Balls with Ginger Soup

On a cold, rainy day … it’s so comforting to have a bowl of glutinous rice balls (tang yuan) in ginger soup.

So glad that I bought this packet of ready made glutinous rice balls last weekend and could quickly made it for our after dinner dessert today, especially after hearing another 2 weeks of MCO.

The pandan leaves are from our pot in the balcony, the reason why I like to have mini herbs garden at home.

Ingredients:

  • A packet of glutinous rice balls
  • Water: 2 cups (480ml)
  • Ginger: 2 inches, sliced
  • Pandan: 3 leaves
  • White sugar: 30 gram
  • Brown sugar: 30 gram

Method:

  1. Put water and ginger into a pot
  2. Let it boil and simmer for 30 minutes
  3. Add pandan leaves

4. Add sugar and let it simmer till sugar is fully dissolved

5. On a separate pot of water, let it boil, put in the glutinous rice balls and let it cook till the rice balls float.

6. To serve, add rice balls to a serving bowl and ladle the ginger soup over.

Toad-in-the-Hole

COVID-19 Movement Control – Day 37
Quick breakfast for Jaden before his e-learning and he liked it. Something new for his breakfast.
I used Tefal Brut Mineral Frypan 28cm. It’s non-stick and spacious enough for me to make this breakfast. It’s so easy that you can make it by just looking at these photos.
  1. Cut out a square hole from a slice of bread
  2. Crack 1 egg into the bread hole. Add pepper
  3. Add cheese
  4. Add ham
  5. Put the cut out bread on top
  6. Turn the bread over

Serve with baby spinach and cherry tomatoes to add colour to the breakfast and cheer up the day.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Wrap

COVID-19 Movement Control – Day 34

We had leftover of Nando’s chicken from dinner yesterday. I decided to make this chicken wrap from it. A healthy food, using sour cream rather than mayonnaise and the taste is delicious.

During this MCO, I have tried several new things, more creative in whipping up a quick and easy meal from whatever in the fridge. Jamie Oliver has been my favourite as he has lots of simple, easy and healthy food that we can follow.

Ingredients

Parmesan Croutons:

  • 1/2 French baguette day-old, crust removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Chicken:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 8-ounces each)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sour Cream Caesar Dressing:

  • 1 cup low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 anchovy, smeared with a fork to a paste
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sandwich Build:

  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 heart romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • Parmesan Croutons, recipe follows
  • Four 12-inch sundried tomato tortillas, toasted with a little oil

 Directions:

  • For the Parmesan Croutons (yield 4 cups):
    1. Preheat the oven to 200ÂşC.
    2. Add the bread and Parmesan to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    3. Drizzle with oil and mix well.
    4. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake until light golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  • For the chicken:
    1. Place the chicken in a shallow dish just large enough to hold them.
    2. Whisk the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl until combined.
    3. Pour the oil mixture over the chicken and toss to coat.
    4. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
    5. Preheat a grill pan or an outdoor grill to medium-high heat.
    6. Remove the chicken from the oil mixture and pat dry.
    7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 12 minutes per side.
    8. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool slightly.
    9. Thinly slice the chicken against the grain and set aside.
  • For the sour cream caesar dressing:
    1. Mix the sour cream, Parmesan, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, anchovy, garlic and season with salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  • For the sandwich build:
    1. Place the sliced chicken, sour cream Caesar dressing, tomatoes, romaine and Parmesan Croutons in a large bowl. Toss to coat evenly.
    2. Fill each wrap/tortilla with the chicken mixture.

3. Wrap it and cut into halves diagonally.

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Walnut

COVID-19 Movement Control – Day 26

Easter Sunday. A memorable one. Grouchy. Can’t go out for eggs hunt. Stay in and do baking instead.

It’s so hard to buy bread during this MCO. So, I baked my own bread with ripe bananas at home and had a fresh loaf of banana bread for breakfast.

Enjoying the freshly baked banana bread with cup of Americano from Krups machine.

I used Tefal Natura loaf tin (26cm) which is the perfect size to bake this banana bread.

Tefal Natura loaf tin (26cm) made out of 100% recycled aluminium and in the perfect size to bake this banana bread.

        

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup / 113 g of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream or fresh milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of chopped toasted walnuts or pecan

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ÂşC.
  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray.
  3. Dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Wet ingredients: In another large bowl, mix together melted butter, sugar, egg and egg yolk (the egg yolk will make the bread richer and moister), sour cream and vanilla. Add mashed bananas and stir until combined.

Use folk or potato masher to mash banana. Use ripe bananas for sweetness of cake. Best to use Pisang Emas. I couldnt get them during this MCO.

5. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until just combined. Gentle fold, slowly and evenly especially the centre bottom of the bowl to get the lump out of flour. Don’t stir too much as it will make the bread tough.

6. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts and transfer to prepared loaf pan. Spread the batter to make it smooth and even. Set aside some chocolate chips and walnut to sprinkle on top of the batter to make it pretty and nice to show what’s inside the banana bread

For plain banana bread, omit the chocolate chips and walnut. Or can add cinnamon or nutmeg which add some spice and go very well and to banana bread. 

7. Bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool 10 minutes in pan.

8. Then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Happy Easter Day, my friends 🐰

Basil Cherry Tomato Focaccia Bread

COVID-19 Movement Control – Day 24. Good Friday!
As expected, MCO extended for another 2 weeks. I’m neutral on this new update cause kind of expecting it and feel it is the right thing to do. At the same time, while I’m missing the freedom and human vibes, I know I will miss this new norm when this whole MCO is behind us.
So, stay in and let’s do more baking 😉. Baking is so therapeutic and the smell when it’s cooking in the oven is so up-lifting.
I’m using Tefal Natura Gratin dish to bake this Focaccia and Tefal Comfort bread knife to cut it.
Bread Dough
  • 1.5 cups of lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp (8 gram) of yeast
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 Cups of Strong White Bread Flour
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Toppings

  • 3 bunches of vine cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup mixed olives (optional)
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil

 Method

  1. Add yeast to lukewarm water. Add olive oil and maple syrup. Leave it for 5 minutes and let the yeast to activate.
  2. Place flour and sea salt into a large bowl, stir and make a well in the middle.
  3. Slowly pour yeast mixture into the well, mixing with a fork as you go.
  4. As soon as all the ingredients come together, which may take a minute or so, knead vigorously for around 5 minutes until you have a smooth, springy, soft dough.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl with some olive oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Dust with a little extra flour, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for about an hour until doubled in size.
  6. While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 220°C and prepare the toppings.
  7. To cook the focaccia, as soon as the dough has risen, pound it, then place on a baking tray and spread it out to cover the tray. Push down roughly on top of the dough with fingers to make rough dips and wells.
  8. Press tomatoes in focaccia. Press olives in, if using. Place basil and rosemary inside the bread.
  9. Season with pepper. Finish with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
  10. Leave to prove for a further 20 minutes, then bake for 20 minutes, until golden on top and soft in the middle.

Sliced and pan fried Focaccia. Had it with mushroom and egg and baby spinach for lunch.

Salmon Poke Bowl

COVID-19 Movement Control – Day 22

For the left over of pan fried salmon, I was thinking if I should use the deboned salmon to make salmon sandwich, aglio olio or poke bowl.

Based on the ingredients we have at home, I decided to try to make Poke Bowl for the very first time. I did my research and noted below the ingredients that we can use to make a colourful, yummy poke bowl. Just choose and pick from each categories based on your preference and availability.  

I used quinoa rice as the base and salmon meat as the main. For the sides, I have cherry tomatoes, walnuts, mangoes and sweet potato. I added sunflower seeds as the topping and add on soft boiled egg and avocado which I squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper on it. Finally, I added fried shallots and sesame sauce with roasted nuts.

To my surprise, the taste is nice and yummy with good taste of the salmon. I like the colours in my food. The colours make me happy, cheerful, sweet, fresh, healthy and all the positive vibes.

Ingredients (Pick and Mix)

  1. Base
    • Garden greens – Lettuce
    • Rice – Brown, Quinoa, Cous Cous
  2. Main
    • Salmon
    • Tuna
    • Chicken breast
    • Shrimp
  3. Sauces
    • Lime
    • Teriyaki
    • Sesame
    • Honey balsamic
    • Honey mustard
    • Japanese Shoyu
  4. Sides
    • Cherry tomatoes
    • Carrots
    • Corns
    • Onions
    • Shallots
    • Nuts – almonds, walnuts
    • Croutons
    • Fruits – pineapples, mangoes, apples, grapes, kiwi
    • Beetroot
    • Celery
    • Chickpeas
    • Potato, sweet potato, pumpkin
    • Broccoli
  5. Topping
    • Seeds – sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds
    • Raisin
    • Chili flakes, wasabi
    • Seaweed flakes
  6. Add On
    • Egg – Poached/soft boiled egg
    • Soy glazed tofu
    • Avocado
    • Guacamole