Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Apple and Pear Crumble Tart (Gordon Ramsay)

Here I present this super generous apple and pear crumble tart...
... It is generously made with lots of apples, pears and butter!
... It is generously good with lots of tangy fruity spicy flavours and nutty crumbly texture 

This gorgeous-looking and generous-tasting apple crumble tart is baked using a Gordon Ramsay's recipe. The recipe originally comes from BBC GoodFood but the licence has expired and can't be found in BBC GoodFood anymore. Fortunately, I have printed a copy of this recipe prior to its "disappearance" and managed to bake this beautiful tart. You may also refer to Kitchen Delights who had baked this recipe too.

... It is generously made with lots of butter!!! Yes, it is. This tart is made of 325g of butter. 325g!!! For the fact that it contains about one and a half of typical block of 250g butter all in one narrow 34 cm tart. It sounds kind of scary and guilty to consume even a thin slice of it. I must admit that I was initially put off by this...

After baking and enjoying it (definitely more than a thin slice... Ops!), I begin to fully appreciate Gordon Ramsay's style and approach of baking this tart... This tart consists of four major components: 1) the sweet pastry 2) the almond frangipane 3) the apple and pear filling 4) the buttery nutty crumble. Each of the component is straightforward, simple and easy to make. Most ideally, each is made with fresh seasonal best quality ingredients. To complete, all I did is to stack all four components together. Easy?

Interestingly, all of these ingredients and components are complimenting each other extremely well... resulting this one perfect apple crumble tart. I like to relate its perfectness being a perfect family with harmony, a perfect couple and kids... Kind of impossible? I believe that a good recipe with a good amount of effort can sometimes make anything impossible possible. Surely, life is chaotic but something can be possible... I like to remind myself, "Stay positive, Zoe! Stay positive!!!"

Thanks Gordon Ramsay! I really enjoy your professional way of baking this super generously delicious tart. Now, I really don't mind eating these much butter to enjoy this tart gastronomically.

apple pear crumble tart Gordon Ramsay
Apple and Pear Crumble Tart (Gordon Ramsay)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Light Chocolate-Chunk Brownies (Martha Stewart)

I hear whining and complains whenever I serve baked pasta with 50% fat reduced cheese...

I hear the same whenever I serve anything that is not flavoursome enough... especially low fat brownies!!!

Hey guys, this is low fat. You know?
Hey mum, this is not delicious. You know?

What can I say?

Remember that I have used applesauce to bake low calories Happy Brownies previously in January 2012? I must admit that I had to put happy faces on these brownies in order to make look appealing. Although all of the happy brownies were eventually consumed, we prefer something with sinful texture and also something fully packed with satisfying amount of chocolate. Having said that, please don't get me wrong here... I'm truly a pro-health person but like to satisfy my family's taste buds with good tasting food. Like I always said, Moderation is essentially what I'm after. Do you face the same dilemma?

To compromise, I have found this Martha Stewart's light chocolate-chunk brownies recipe which uses healthy ingredients like applesauce, fat reduced sour cream and just 2 tablespoon of good oil to bake a wholesome and moist brownies base and then fills the base with lots of bittersweet chocolate. The beauty of this recipe is that the chocolate bits and chunks have actually given the brownies a compromising boost of chocolaty taste even though that its low-fat moist brownies base is actually quite simple and plain.

For the fact that it is healthier version of brownies, I have to say that these brownies are pretty GOOD! Even BETTER that I'm not hearing any whining or complains when I packed these wholesome brownies into lunchboxes. BEST if you can bake and judge these by yourself???

Hey mum, I can eat these brownies but can you don't bake these brownies again?

Geez... My son can taste that these brownies are fat reduced!!!

Light chocolate applesauce brownies Martha Stewart
Light chocolate-chunk brownies

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins (Nigella Lawson)

It is a rare opportunity that my boy and I had a chance to bake...

Since my boy started schooling, we have been juggling with school, homework, after-school and weekend lessons. Plus, we are always not at home during school holidays for country drives, outdoor picnics, walking at national parks, interstate or overseas trips.

My boy and I missed the days that we were baking and so I have specifically make time and opportunity for us to bake these muffins

"Mummy, let's bake some chocolate chocolate chip muffins!" Instantly, I was thinking of two recipes. One is the recipe from the book, Feast by Nigella Lawson and Another is from the book, The Ultimate Muffin Book by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough and I have seen the recipe from Domestic Goddess Wannabe. I love to try baking both recipes but we shall bake the ones from Nigella Lawson first and the other recipe later. 

Yippee!!! Let's keep calm and start baking ...

chocolate chocolate chip muffins Nigella Lawson
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins (Nigella Lawson)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Warm Chicken Apple Salad (Curtis Stone)

Mummy... I love this salad!

Trust me. My boy don't usually say this whenever I serve him salad. At most times, he eats his salad with heaps of salad dressing and usually decline when I offer him second serve of greens.

Mummy... I like the apples in my salad.
Me too!
Me three!

I like eating salad with apples. It does give a nice tang and crunch like the coleslaw that we enjoyed with our pulled pork sandwiches.

Today, I'm making this really really really good warm chicken salad with apples and it is a lovely recipe from Curtis Stone at Coles website. When I first saw this recipe, I knew that it is going to be a perfect warm salad for Spring or Autumn. Refreshing to eat and yet warm enough to fulfill our satisfaction. And yes, it is!

Really really really good salad? I really mean it when I say this. Please do not underestimate this ordinary-looking salad. Although it has a long list of ingredients, everything that is beautiful tastes even better when they are tossed together. 

Long list of ingredients??? Yup but please don't be intimated by this recipe as it is not difficult at all to execute. Essentially, there are four main parts of the salad and all you have to do is to make each part separately and then toss all together! No worries at all!!! Plus, I have re-written this recipe into a simplified version.

Hope that you appreciate this beautiful salad combination as much we do.

warm chicken apple salad
Warm chicken apple salad with honey vinaigrette

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Triple Layered Apple Haystack Tart

Is it true that...

An apple a day keep doctor away?

I'm not sure because I don't eat an apple everyday

... but I know that eating apple tarts makes me feel happy all the way...

Why I first saw this Triple Layered Apple Haystack Tart at Nippon Nin during April, I told her immediately that I love to bake this for September for an apple baking event. Am I crazy thinking too much ahead? I'm not sure but all I know is that I really like to bake this recipe.

According to Nippon Nin, this is a replicate recipe of an elegant haystack-looking tart originated from Kinzo Nishihara (西原金蔵), the owner of a famous and well-reviewed pastry shop, Au Grenier D’or (オ・グレニエ・ドール) in Kyoto.

As mentioned in its name, this is a tart constructed with three mains layers and they are:

Layer One: An apple sauce
Layer Two: A Frangipane layer
Layer Three: Haystack-looking apples

Although this tart sounds a little complicate with its multiple layers , it is actually not difficult at all to bake. To me, the most challenge thing to do here is actually requiring patience and time to cut two apples into a pile of "haystack". Yes that I did bought a new mandolin slicer specially to bake this tart but eventually chicken out when I faced these sharp potential skin-scraping blades. ugh!!! I'm sorry but this is is me, being not brave to use a mandolin slicer...

I know that I'm not the best person to judge this apple tart as I have never been to Au Grenier D’or or Kyoto in my life. All I can say that this is a cake-like sticky tart fully absorbed with natural sweetness of apples. A cake-like sticky tart? My first bite of this tart tells me instantly that this apple tart is not the same as most traditional apple tarts. The very-apple-infused tart has an almost cake-like texture. The tart base is firm but not short or crispy or flaky. Although the tart base was first baked using classic shortcrust pastry and frangipane recipes, it forms a base to absorb the moisture from the apple sauce and the haystack-looking apples at its second bake and 
eventually form a sticky kind of texture. Sticky? Yup. My second bite confirms that it is truly apple-licious!

Besides enjoying an unique tart here, baking this tart has allowed me to learn a few things about apples. Like what variety of apple to use for what kind of purposes? Using the information at here, I have used the sweet and juicy Fuji to make my sweet apple sauce and firm and tangy Granny Smith as my firm-haystack-looking apples and we are loving this sweet and sour combination. What will be your favourite apple combination?

An Au Grenier D’or inspired Triple Layered Apple Haystack Tart

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My "Very Singapore" Merlion Kuih Bahulu / Kueh Bahulu

Me baking these merlion kuih bahulu?

Am I patriotic Singaporean?

I ask myself this question with a nervous chuckle. What do you think?

kuih kueh bahulu
My "very Singapore" Merlion kuih bahulu

Monday, September 15, 2014


To me, popover is an American version of Yorkshire pudding. Being not American or British, I have to say that popovers or Yorkshire puddings are typically not the food that we always eat.

Then, why am baking these? Little for my curiosity but mainly for our bake-along with Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings. Thanks to Joyce and bake-along, I can be out of my comfort zone, exploring many interesting recipes.

In order to bake the most 
traditional looking tall kind of popovers, I was thinking of buying popover pan but didn't buy it eventually because I know that I won't bake popovers very often. Instead, I have baked mine using a standard muffin pan yielding these small and rather short popovers...

popovers muffin pan
Popovers baked using muffin pan

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake

Are you a person that can fully appreciate beauty of apples?

If you are the type of person who eat nothing but just apples, I'm sure that you can... LOL!

I'm sure that Marie-Hélène is the person that can fully appreciate the beauty of apples. After baking this apple cake, I'm sure that I can too!

This unique apple cake is baked with generous amount of apples. So generous that the apples constitute more than 50% of everything in this cake. It is baked by a recipe from the book, Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. According to the name of the recipe, this recipe was originally inspired by Dorie's friend, Marie-Hélène who is a top editor of the Louis Vuitton City Guides and one of the restaurant critics for the Paris edition.

Marie-Hélène? Based on her name, I assume that she is a French. I wonder how she cooks and looks... In regardless, I like to assume that all French women are sensual with their emotions, food and cooking...

Marie-Hélène has demonstrated the baking of this cake with great generosity of added apple with no exact recipe to follow... Yes, it is true. A French friend told me before that French likes to cook a lot with feeling. I can't help to laugh knowing that French likes to agak agak too (meaning estimation in Malay).

When Dorie asked Marie-Hélène for her recipe, she was told that this cake is baked with 2 eggs, a little bit of these and a little bit of that. Fortunately, Dorie have managed to figure the full content of this cake that Marie-Hélène has roughly mentioned and wrote it with concise details in her book.

Have you ask yourself... What is the apple of your eye? Apples that are crisp? Soft? Sweet? Tart?

To maximize our appreciation of apples, Marie-Hélène mentioned that this cake is best if it is baked with different varieties of apples. This will give you all you want in an apple cake as every bite of this is a little bit of crisp, soft, sweet, sour and tart...

This is me, fully appreciating the beauty of apples...

Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake
My Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Super Soft White Basic Sandwich Bread (Rose Levy Beranbaum)

I like Rose Levy Beranbaum but find that her books and recipes very cheong hei (in Cantonese dialect meaning long winded)... LOL!

I can understand why Rose is so cheong hei because I'm cheong hei too... LOL!

In order to ensure successes in all bakes, Rose has written her recipes with many specific details, along with many alternative steps. For some, she has included principles and rationale explaining how the crucial ingredients or steps works on her recipes or why they don't work. For this reason, I reckon Rose's books are like PhD thesis and can be hard to digest for my everyday baking!!!

Having said that, I really like this basic white sandwich loaf that Rose has written in her book, The Bread Bible or at Epicurious. Using a simplified version of her recipe, I have baked these loaves and we are loving them!!! As promised, they are truly super soft and enriched with milky and buttery flavours.

Why are these breads so soft and delicious? This recipe is good of course! LOL!

  • Accordingly to Rose at Epicurious, this recipe uses a greater amount of sponge dough starter which offers a fuller flavours in this plain bread. In this recipe, almost 50% of total of flour flour is used to make the sponge as compared to the usual 30% in other hearth breads.
  • In order to develop its fullest flavours, the sponge is ferment for 1 hour at room temperature and then overnight or up to 24 hours in the fridge.
  • This recipe contains a high proportion of liquid and a comparable high amount of butter fat and this combination gives the bread a most ideal amount of moisture.

However... Due to her super lengthy recipes, I have decided not to buy this book but will you?

super soft white sandwich bread dough starter
Super soft white sandwich bread

Monday, September 8, 2014

Champion Garlic Bread!!!

Sweetie, I think this is the one...

Having just one bite of these garlic bread, I know that I have found the garlic bread that my boy always want. Then quickly, I asked my boy to try one of these.

I was watching my boy anxiously... staring every single moment of his first bite of these breads and leaning forward to hear his response. After a couple of munches, I feel good seeing his greasy smile and his greasy thumb up.

Mummy, this garlic bread is delicious!

With no doubt, I like to confirm that I have found the garlic bread recipe that we always want... and this is the one!

As mentioned in my previous post, my boy and I have searching around for a recipe that bakes the unforgettable "Singapore" garlic bread... The soft, buttery and fragrant kind of garlic breads like the ones we bought Mugiya bakeries in Singapore that make my son couldn't forget.

Having this mission constantly in my mind, I saw a light bulb when seeing many food blogging friends like Victoria Bakes, Nasi Lemak Lover, Baking Tai Tai, Lite Home Bake, Mimi Bakery House, Copycake Kitchen, Eat Your Heart Out and Aunty Young are having wonderful experience baking their Wu Pao Chun Champion Toast (吴宝春金牌土司) and wonder if...

Champion bread + garlic butter = champion garlic bread?

Can champion garlic bread be my son's unforgettable "Singapore" garlic bread? LOL! I kept asking myself. I know that the name sounds a little uncool and it is truly a champion recipe.

Inspired by Paula Deen at here, I have made my garlic butter for these bread with roasted garlic and freshly chopped parsley which makes the butter more fragrant with extra nice, zesty and creamy garlic texture.

Now, back to the question: Champion bread + roasted garlic butter = my boy's unforgettable "Singapore" garlic bread?

Zing! Zing! I must say that these extra zesty homemade champion garlic bread is far more better than my son's unforgettable "Singapore" garlic bread. Well, it is a champion! And, should WIN all kinds of bread...

wu pao champion garlic bread
This is the one. Our champion garlic bread!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Stir-and-Bake Flourless Almond Blueberry Apple Muffins (Gluten Free, Low Fat and Low Sugar)


I'm happy that I have found an amazing recipe here!!!

With NO gluten or NO fluffy-beaten eggs, these stir-and-bake flourless muffins are surprisingly delicious!!! I reckon that this recipe from The Healthy Chef is the best flourless muffin recipe that I have baked so far and I'm loving it!!!

Best of all, these muffins can be baked with all possible healthy options. I have baked six of mine two tablespoons of rice bran oil and one tablespoon of honey (or any natural sweetener) and yet they are very moist and tasty!!! Unbelievable! With the least amount of added fat and sugar, these muffins are actually high in protein and low in sugar. As you can see, they are not overly sweetened with added sugar or any sweetener but naturally sweetened with large amount of fruits.

I call these muffins the holistic muffins! You know... It's the kind of food that can feed our tummy and also our souls. Feeling good after eating these muffins? Sure, I am. You know... To me, this is the kind of feel-good feeling which feels like enlightenment. LOL!

Stir-and-Bake flourless almond blueberry apple muffins low sugar low fat
Stir-and-Bake flourless almond blueberry apple muffins

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Uncle Bob's Fresh Apple Cake (Paula Deen)

I like apple cakes!

Strangely, I have baked only TWO decent apple cakes for my entire four years of blogging at here and here. Seriously! I need to bake more apple cakes!

After searching for many Paula Deen's recipes, I have discovered this wonderful apple cake recipe and it is always famously known as Uncle Bob's fresh apple cake.

Uncle Bob? I'm sorry that I really don't know any uncle named Bob. I assume that he is Paula Deen's relative as this recipe originates from here at Paula Deen.com or Food Network. In fact, this popular recipe has been highly reviewed with mostly 5 stars recommendations. With no hesitation, I know that this is the apple cake that I need to bake and eat.

This recipe reminds me of the Belinda Jeffery's quick and easy pear cake that I have baked. Just mix everything and bake... How easy? Unlike Belinda Jeffery's pear cake, this cake recipe contains more oil, flour, less fruit and no water added which makes the batter more viscous batter. In return, this recipe yields a lightly crusted cake with moist, dense and flavoursome cake texture. The reviews are really true. This is truly highly recommended. It is a delicious apple cake with a nice hint of sweetness and saltiness... What more can I ask for? Uncle Bob or Paula Deen to bake for me? Not necessary! *wink*

With no hesitation again, I like to rate this recipe 5 stars too but only if only my apple cake is drizzled with just honey, not the icing sugar loaded glaze recommended in Paula's recipe. All because I like to keep my apple cake as real as it is. I reckon that the extra sugary glaze will ruin the cake, masking its real apple and honey taste which is essentially all that I'm after.

uncle Bob's fresh apple cake Paula Deen
Uncle Bob's Fresh Apple Cake, baked by me, Zoe, NOT Bob!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Chinese Flower Steamed Buns 花卷

August 2014 is gone now... Strangely, time seems to pass quicker when we are busy. Agree?

Today is the first day of Spring in Melbourne, Australia. To me, Spring is a beautiful season. The flowers are blooming and the days are getting warmer and longer. Feeling good, I'm inspired to do some Spring-related cooking. To start, I like to make something flowery and pretty...

Chinese flower steamed buns bao
Chinese Flower Steamed Buns 花卷