Nigella’s Caramel Croissant Pudding

August 25, 2013 4 comments

What strikes me the most about Nigella Lawson is her beauty.

It’s almost a pity that she is hosting a cooking show instead of starring in a blockbuster movie. What a waste of pretty face, me thinks.

After watching numerous episodes of her show, I’ve come to conclude that Nigella’s style of cooking comes with a careless wanton. She is not very rigid on her measurements. It’s always a “drizzle of this” or a “handful of that”. That doesn’t sit well with me. My sense of estimation is tragically useless.

Thankfully, someone was able to convert her recipes into teaspoons, tablespoons and cups. Precise instructions are my bedrock. Without it, I am just a piece of wood drifting about cluelessly in the world of culinary.

So the recipe I’ve chosen for this month’s cook like a star , organised by Bake for Happy Kids, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Anuja from Simple Baking -  is Nigella’s Caramel croissant pudding.

croissant bread pudding 1

 

croissant bread pudding 3

What made this pudding stand out is the use of croissant instead of the common stale bread. This made a very soft, melt-in-your-mouth pudding texture which you barely have to chew.

So, grab a spoon and dig in!

croissant bread pudding 4

Recipe taken from Food Network.

Caramel Croissant Pudding

Ingredients

2 stale croissants
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 cup whole milk
2 eggs, beaten

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Tear the croissants into pieces and put in a small gratin dish; I use a cast iron oval with a capacity of about 500ml/ 2 cups for this.

Put the sugar and water into a saucepan, and swirl around to help dissolve the sugar before putting the saucepan on the hob over medium to high heat. Caramelize the sugar and water mixture by letting it bubble away until it all turns a deep amber colour; this will take 3 to 5 minutes. Keep looking but don’t be too timid.

Take the pan off the heat and add the cream – ignoring all spluttering – followed by the bourbon and milk. Whisk to mix, then still whisking add the beaten eggs. Pour this quickly over the croissants and leave to steep for 10 minutes.

Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes and prepare to swoon.

 

Fast food @ home

August 14, 2013 Leave a comment

I am currently reading a book titled “the super natural home” by Beth Greer. In this book, Beth tells us about the toxins that we unwittingly expose to ourselves daily and what we can do to avoid or rather minimize them.

In a chapter of the book, she mentioned about her daughter coming home having eaten two pieces of McNuggets. She said, and i quote : “the dreaded food made from highly processed reconstituted chicken that is breaded and mixed with toxic additives and preservatives , then deep fried in fat-laden, partially hydrogenated oil.”

Also in the recent news was Jamie Oliver winning his case against McDonald’s over the use of pink slime, Where he pointed out that the meat in the burger patties had been pre-treated with a cocktail of chemicals and thus not fit for human consumption. McDonald’s has since agreed to change its recipe.

But, I don’t think i will be going to the golden arches for a while now.

So instead, i try to re-create. I’ve even gone a step further by making my own burger buns!

sausage patty

So here i am with my sausage patty burger. Appearance wise, it’s a far cry from the McDonald’s sausage McMuffins. Namely because i’ve used burger buns instead of english muffins and added the lettuce and tomatoes which are absent from the original.

The sausage patty tasted pretty close. I can confidently say that because Mr. Crustabakes who had absolutely no inkling of my copycat attempt pointed out the taste resemblance.

So, do try it out and save yourselves a trip to the drive-thru!

Simple Homemade Sausage Patties

Taken from MarthaStewart.com

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork- i used chicken
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage, crumbled
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried fennel, crushed
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Mix together the pork, garlic, sage, thyme, fennel, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the egg white and combine thoroughly. Cover and chill for at least 15 minutes.

  2. Step 2

    To easily form the sausage patties, rinse your hands in cold water. Divide the mixture into eighths and shape each portion into a 2 1/2-inch disk. Patties can be made to this point and refrigerated or frozen until ready to use.

  3. Step 3

    Heat a skillet over high heat, and then swirl in the oil. Fry the sausages on both sides until completely cooked through and golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Drain and serve immediately with pancakes, waffles or eggs. Sausage patties can be fully cooled, wrapped, and frozen for microwave reheating.

 

Taken from King Arthur Flour

  1. Volume
  2. Ounces
  3. Grams

Buns

  • 3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • *For best results (a smooth, slightly soft dough), use the smaller amount of water in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate); and something in between the rest of the time.

Topping

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

1) Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft, smooth dough.
2) Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
3) Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball; flatten to about 3″ across. Place the buns on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until noticeably puffy.
4) Brush the buns with about half of the melted butter.
5) Bake the buns in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden. Remove them from the oven, and brush with the remaining melted butter. This will give the buns a satiny, buttery crust.
6) Cool the buns on a rack.
Yield: 8 large buns.

 

 

 

 

 

Caitlyn’s Sugar Free Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting

August 5, 2013 Leave a comment

I know, i know, majority of you would probably feel repulsed by yet another sugar free, gluten free baby food.

But i feel the need to post this recipe, namely because it’s a recipe I’ve developed myself.

After rounds and rounds of trial error, I’ve finally came up with a cake recipe i really loved.

A cake recipe that’s subtly sweet and soft as can be.

Considering that this is an entirely sugar free (refined/unrefined, synthetic/natural), this is quite a breakthrough. No stevia, no xylitol, or any of that fancy sweeteners was used here.

The goodness came from ripe bananas.

Cait's cupcakes

Working with my sugar free constraints, I also wanted to come up with a frosting that’s equally healthy for these cupcakes. For days, I find myself sometimes staring into blank space. I just couldn’t think of something that’s naturally sweet and is thick enough to pipe.

Then the idea hit me. avocadoes! At first I was skeptical, I didnt know whether blended avocadoes would be too watery. I also thought that avocadoes would be too tasteless as a frosting. That’s when i decided to drop in some medjool dates in. And boy, did it work like a charm! and most importanly, baby Caitlyn loves it!

 

Sugar Free, Gluten Free Chiffon cake with Avocado Date Frosting

Makes 3 of the above star shaped cupcakes

15 grams rice flour

5 grams sago flour

1 organic egg yolk

8 grams olive oil

11 grams raw almond milk

60 grams banana, mashed

1 organic egg white

Preheat oven to 170 degree celcius.

In a bowl, mix the yolk, raw almond milk, bananas, and olive oil together. Sift in the flours.

Beat the egg whites till stiff peaks.

Fold the egg whites into the banana mixture.

Pour into mold and bake till golden brown (+- 20 to 25 minutes)

Avocado Frosting

1 avocado

1 medjool date

With a blender, blend the avocado and the date together.

Using a piping bag, pipe onto cupcakes.

 

 

 

 

 

Durian Cream Puff

July 31, 2013 2 comments

Mr. Crustabakes is never one to care for diplomacy.

If i made something that didn’t appeal to his delicate taste buds, he’ll express it point blank.

He calls it “being honest”. i call it “tactless”

So when he said “I wish to eat this at least ONE more time in my life”. It was the crowning accomplishment of all my baking history.

I couldn’t believe it came from a cream puff.

durian cream puff 1

DURIAN cream puff to be exact.

I wish it were something more sophisticated, more cosmopolitan. Like a macaron.

But homeboy likes it “domestic” (He grew up in Singapore)

durian cream puff 2

Which is ironic because the durian in the filling came all the way from Thailand. I’ve splurged and bought the premier Monthong Durian which were guaranteed of its sweetness.

durian cream puff3

If you were wondering why i am making so many durian themed dessert,

It’s because i am entering my second post to July’s Aspiring baker: Tropical Spiky Month, hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House

durian cream puff

Also because i have a durian crazed husband, who loves durian in everything.

Choux Paste Recipe (makes 2)

50 ml water

32 gram butter

38 grams all purpose flour

1 egg

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180 degree celcius

Over the stove, heat the water and butter together till it comes to a rolling boil. Add all the flour and salt, and mix till it comes together in a dough. Set aside to cool.

Add the egg, and beat into the dough. Mix till well combined.

Put dough into pipping bag, and pipe on greased baking paper

Bake for 30 mins or till the choux turn golden brown

Cool completely before filling.

 

Durian Filling

Whipping cream 30 grams

Durian Flesh 90 grams

whip the cream till soft peaks, Add the durian flesh, and mix till well combined.

 

 

Durian Pancakes

July 29, 2013 3 comments

This dish is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Neither is it for the faint of nose.

durian pancake

 

I was folding the durian filling into this pancakes when i noticed the onset of a headache.

I thought i was imagining it. But then the hired help made a passing remark (she literally walked passed me and made the remark) “the smell of durian is making me dizzy”.

Geez, i didnt even know HOW that could be possible.

durian pancake 1

Nevertheless, headache or not, i still scarfed down three of these.

Strangely enough, eating these didn’t give me a headache.

So go figure!

PS: I am entering this to July’s aspiring baker

The theme for this month is : Tropical Spiky Month

hosted by Charmaine of MiMi Bakery House.

Thanks Charmaine for hosting!

Durian Pancake

250 gram all purpose flour

3 eggs

500 ml coconut milk (freshly squeezed)

pinch of salt

Whisk the eggs and coconut milk together. Add in the salt.

Slowly pour the coconut milk mixture into the flour

Cook it on a nonstick pan. I used about one spoon ladle for each layer of pancake.

Durian filling:

Durian flesh (+- 220 grams)

Whipping cream (70 grams)

whip the cream till soft peaks. Add the durian flesh and mix till combined

Spoon the durian flesh onto the durian pancakes and fold it like an envelope.

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon French Toast with Red Berry Sauce

July 27, 2013 2 comments

I’ve never really known how to spell “cinnamon”. I always get confused with double ‘N’s or double ‘M’s, or double both.

french toast with berry sauce 1

What i always do is, i type them in and try the different combinations till the red wriggly line, which signify a spelling error is gone. That’s on good days. Sometimes, i don’t even bother. Who cares if i spell “cinammon” wrong? I am pretty sure everyone still knows i am referring to that bark of a spice.

Nevertheless, here’s a cinnamon (Ha! I got it right @ first try) French Toast with Red Berry Sauce. I decided to make this because :

1. I’ve just made a loaf of sandwich bread, which means i could cut them up as thick as desired.

2. I’ve got spare berries lurking about in the fridge

3. I wanted to join the “cook like a star” organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, Baby Sumo from Eat your heart out and Grace from Life can be simple.

Photobucket

 

The selected star for the month of July is Curtis Stone. I know him from watching snippets of “take home chef” whereby he surprises his guests going into their homes and cooking for them.

french toast with berry sauce 2

So, here’s your “berry” delicious toast Curtis. Enjoy the month of July where everyone will be flocking to your site to join the event. ;)

Cinnamon French Toast with Red Berry Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients

Red Berry Sauce

1 6-ounce/170g package fresh blueberries
1 6-ounce/170g package fresh raspberries
1 4.4-ounce/125g package fresh blackberries
3/4 cup/180ml sugar

French Toast

6 large eggs
4 1/2-inch-thick slices brioche bread, halved diagonally
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup crème fraîche
Assorted fresh berries

Method

  1. To prepare the red berry sauce: Combine all the berries and sugar in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Strain the berry puree through a fine sieve, discarding the seeds, and into a small saucepan.
  3. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Remove from the heat and keep warm while preparing the French toast.
  5. To prepare the French toast: Using a fork, beat the eggs in a 13×9 baking dish to blend. Place the slices of brioche in the eggs and let stand for 5 minutes, or until the eggs are absorbed, turning the brioche slices once.
  6. Melt the butter on a heavy large griddle pan over medium heat.
  7. Add the brioche slices to the hot pan and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown on the outside and heated through.
  8. Meanwhile, stir the sugar and cinnamon on a large plate; set aside. Immediately place the hot French toast in the cinnamon-sugar and turn to coat completely.
  9. Divide the French toast among 4 serving plates.
  10. Top with a dollop of crème fraîche. Spoon the berry puree over the French toast.
  11. Scatter the fresh berries over and serve immediately.

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Meet the new popstar: Rainbow Pop!

July 24, 2013 4 comments

After my mini success with the homemade sprinkles, i was hooked.

Baby Cait is at an impressionable age where her senses and motoric skills are developing and need to be stimulated.

So when Eugenie of Eugenie kitchen came up with her Rainbow Pop, I couldnt be more delighted.

rainbow pop 1

This rainbow pop has got colors that captivate and freezing temperature to excite. And it’s made from 100%fruits with NO sugar, coloring, jello, or any other fancy shmancy.

Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. All it takes is a little bit of time, effort and creativity.

And here’s a little “Cait comics” I made. It’s her first experience with a popsicle!

cait popsicle final 1

Rainbow Pop is made of

Watermelon Juice,

Orange Juice,

Pineapple Juice

Kiwi Juice

and Blueberry Juice

 

 

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