Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ellena, this is for you! :Watermelon Rind Drink

Posted by Quinn at Tuesday, April 21, 2009 4 comments Links to this post

Lately, watermelons and grapes are in season in Adelaide so I've been buying a lot of them. I just love munching on sweet watermelons so sometimes I cut the flesh away from the skin like real deep in, leaving behind a lot of rind and skin. I then chanced upon this blog by Babe in the City- KL and this one from Lily's Wai Sek Hong and realize I can put the watermelon rind to full use rather than throwing them away.

I just clean the skin thoroughly and use a fork to scrap the white flesh over a large pot to catch any juice and then throw them in the pot. I then pour boiling hot water over the rinds until it covers everything and probably a little more.

I simmer them for more than two hour usually so it won't be so 'cooling' according to Lily. However, one hour should be alright but you won't get a yellowish concoction. You'll get a rather off white concoction. Then I sweeten them with crushed rock sugar. I usually start off with 1/4 cup of rock sugar and slowly taste and guesstimate. However, I have had occasions where the watermelon is really sweet and I ended up adding nothing at all! I don't really have a sweet tooth when it comes to things like herbal drink and smoothies. I only have sweet tooth for chocolates!

I hope Ellena will make this for little Reyon. I have had 2 people telling me that this taste very much like barley drink and Sammi thinks it taste like winter melon!!! I think the taste is pretty refreshing and is suitable for most people. I like to serve it either warm or real cold. I usually don't keep more than 3 days.

Try it!

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nigella's Chocolate Honey Bee Cake

Posted by Quinn at Saturday, April 18, 2009 6 comments Links to this post

I made this last year actually. Not that long really, it was made last year December. So, that's like 4 months back. I made this in conjunction with dad's 50th birthday. Yeappie, dad finally reached the big 5-0. I don't think he has any problem accepting it.

When you hear honey cake, the first thing that would cross anyone's mind would be dry and tough. Only Nigella can come up with a honey cake, so soft yet so moist. Chocolate flavour wasn't too subtle too.

Very cute bees aren't they? With bodies made from marzipan and wings made from almond flakes, it was no surprise that the two kids wouldn't sleep and kept bee-ing around as if they were playing with paper aeroplane with the sweet pastry the whole night! Yeap, I sent them a generous slice of this cake each. Not my kids, just a friend's kids!

Instead of using a toothpick to draw lines on the bees like what Nigella did, I chose to pipe them on with the leftover ganache from the cake frosting. Overall, the cake wasn't too sweet and the frosting complimented it really well.

Notice the colour difference between the top and bottom layer. I said it was Nigella's honey chocolate cake, not chocolate cakes. The top layer was a steamed chocolate cake which is a perrenial favourite among me and my loved ones.

Maybe you should give this a go and whip the honey chocolate cake. No regrets, it was undoubtedly the best honey cake I've ever tried. It totally changed my perspective on honey cake. I don't see honey cake the same way anymore now.

Happy so-Belated Birthday Pap.

p/s: A copy of the recipe available here and a video of it by the Domestic Goddess herself here.
(it's not a video in English!)

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Coming Very Sooon!

Posted by Quinn at Friday, April 10, 2009 2 comments Links to this post

Updated as of 22 October 2009: I've decided to delete the comingverysooon blog because I'd rather surprise you all with my posts rather than letting you all know what's next! Cheers!

Just to show you all how much I am lagging behind my posts, I've opened up a new blog just to show pictures of ''unblogged'' bakings, cookings and desserts.

It's clickable here or just click on the middle tab on the far left hand side of this blog page.

I admit I don't get much visitors in my cooking blogs but that's because I don't maintain it much.

I bake and cook faster than I could blog and share with you guys.

Everything seem to look too good to be missed out and deserve a post on its own.

I believe with the coming soon blog page, you guys will get to pick which one should I blog about first and which one in your opinion look really good.

Enjoy the food porn and welcome to yet another new blog.

p/s: Any posts from the 'Coming Very Sooon!' blog will be removed once it is blogged about.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Strawberry Ice Cream

Posted by Quinn at Tuesday, April 07, 2009 4 comments Links to this post

April 7 is a date worth celebrating because today is my younger sister, Angie's birthday. Today is also the date where my blog turned 1! How time flies. What started off as a diary to compile and look back at my baking turned out to be a passion I enjoy.

I like describing my success and failure with others. I like the idea of telling others what to watch out for on their first attempt on anything. In fact, I don't mind failing as long as I am the first few to be able to try out a new cool stuff!

My sis is exactly 21-years-old today but it's just to bad that I couldn't be there to celebrate it with her. But it's alright for she'll be coming to Australia in 2 months time. By then, I can fly to Queensland to meet up with her!

Apart from the stick blender, I have a new addition to my kitchen. I just love gadgets! I bought a 1.4L ice cream maker for just under AUD40 (including postage)! Small capacity but I like it because there's just four of us here and this ice cream maker only makes a small batch at one go. Just perfect!It also occupy very little space and is now sitting on my kitchen pantry waiting to be used again.

I swear if I were to keep it in the drawer or somewhere out of my sight, I would not use it as frequent. Also, many thinks that ice cream maker usage is too specific unlike food processor and other gadgets but that fact doesn't apply to me. How can anyone say no to ice creams and gelati?

I made my very first ice cream using the ice cream maker last week. I chose strawberry because I have a fresh punnet sitting in the fridge which I initially bought to make smoothie. I choose to use Nigella Lawson's Strawberry Ice Cream from her book Forever Summer. You could get the recipe in written form from Kitchen Corner and you could see how it's done by Nigella herself on YouTube here. But I strongly suggest you get a copy of the book yourself.

Here comes our journey!

A cup full of fresh strawberries, cleaned and dried well.

All of them nicely hulled.

A couple of teaspoons of castor sugar added to the chopped strawberries. Set this in the fridge to let flavour infuse.

Place the vanilla pod, slitted lengthwise into the half-and-half mixture. This is gonna be heated to near boil (I did Bain-Marie to avoid overscalding of milk). Once done, the bowl is covered to let it steep for 30mins.

Just look at how beautiful the vanilla pod is.

The vanilla beans all burst out from the pod and added speckles to the pure white mixture.

Check out the yolks. Round and orangey. Mix them with some sugar and beat till thick and pale yellow. Then temper them with the warm milk mixture and form a uniform mixture.

This is my version of Bain-Marie. The uniform mixture is now reheated again until thick and custard-like. It will coat the back of your spoon and you'll know it's ready.

I fish the vanilla pod out earlier as I am only making a small batch of this. The vanilla pod can be kept for future use again. I store it in an air-tight container. STRAIN (I forgotten this step and I swear it's important that you strain out all the scrambled eggs, if any out of the mixture!) and Chill the custard mixture in the refrigerator. We are almost there.

The sugar-coated strawberries looks like it's ready to be blended into a smooth puree.

My stick blender in action, working wonders in less than 10seconds.

Here comes the beautiful thing. Pour the strawberry puree into the custard mixture. Both are well chillled at this stage.

Slowly mix the puree into submission.

You'll get lotsa beautiful swirls like this when mixing. Mix lightly till you get a uniform pinky mixture.Pour in a tablespoon full of freshly squeezed lemon juice and mix well. Now, we are just a step away from savouring over yummy homemade strawberry ice cream! I chose to chill the mixture for a couple of hours before churning it in the ice cream maker. Nigella skipped that. In fact, she didn't even use an ice cream maker in the video! Nigella I am not and I don't have a food processor either.

Get your ice cream maker started and pour the mixture through the opening on top. Let it work for 30mins or so.

When it doubled in volume and looks like the picture above, you know you can stop. Serve it straight if you like soft serve ice cream. I like mine scoopable so I freeze it in a container for an hour or so before serving.

Nothing beats homemade!

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Watermelon Sorbet

Posted by Quinn at Saturday, April 04, 2009 0 comments Links to this post

This is my very first homemade melon sorbet. This will be the only one made without an ice cream maker. I've just ordered one online and it arrived yesterday. I made this watermelon sorbet a couple of days back.

I've adapted Alton Brown's recipe for this and made half batch to try out. I also substituted vodka for Chivas Regal. I thought this would never work but it turns out great. Very adultery and the taste of Chivas weren't too subtle either.

I simply garnish it with a slice of watermelon and a hint of mint.

Recipe that I have used is as below:

300g of watermelon, roughly chopped (I would love to try with cantaloupe and honeydew next time!)
1 tbsp of Chivas Regal
1.5 tbsp lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed but I couldn't be bothered!)
1/2 cup of sugar (original one uses 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp)

As for directions, I would recommend you all watch Alton in action. His episode of Melondrama was hilarious, educational and easy to follow.

Really can't wait for my ice cream maker to come.

Please expect to see lotsa ice cream and gelato even though it's gonna be winter very very soon!

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