Foodiva's Kitchen: June 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Green Tea Biscuits

I think my craving for all things Green Tea has finally subsided now that it's noon. Although not before I had baked two batches of green tea biscuits with almonds, back-to-back with the banana-green tea cake! Diva D will be livid when she finds out exactly how much of her matcha powder I've been pilfering this morning... Oh well, I'll just buy her some more later. 

I used muscovado sugar in this recipe because I just love the colour, smell and soft silky texture of this brown, moist sugar. Suddenly I'm thinking, "Hmmm.... body scrub!" 

Muscovado sitting atop the butter, waiting to be whisked to fluffiness

I used a flat tea-strainer (below) to make those minute gauzy patterns. Thought they were pretty.

Before (top) and after (below) photos. That's an almond slice on top, btw.

When I got tired of all the daintiness, I just plonked lumps of green tea biscuit batter on the baking tray and these are what the second batch of cookies looked like (in a jar). Rough and ready, the way my friend, KJR likes 'em! *Grins*

Banana-Green Tea Cake

My Green Tea Envy brought about by Diva D's baking of green tea biscuits last night led me to an early rise today. After making sure Diva D was no longer in the house, I quickly delved into her baking stuff at one corner of the kitchen. My forehead was glistening with perspiration and and my eyes glowed with anticipation as I opened her container of matcha tea powder and breathed in the heavenly, herbal aroma. Uhmmmmm.....(deep inhaling sound). Uh-oh, I could feel a Green Tea Binge session coming up.

I had some grand ideas which included green tea pavlova, green tea biscuits with almond, green tea cupcake filled with red bean paste, topped with green tea frosting. Alas, some of the ingredients were not stocked in the pantry and I needed to satisfy the craving, like, quite immediately! So I scavanged around the kitchen some more and what did I find? BANANAS. Overripe and perfect for baking. The only problem was, there were a mix of them - plantains as well as those little local bananas we call pisang kapas. I resolved the issue by just mixing them all together. When life hands you different types of bananas, you just go and make something out of all of them. An anomaly to the lemons and lemonade story, tropical-style.

I used my normal banana cake recipe but just added two tablespoons of matcha/green tea powder. This part really depends on whether you like the taste of green tea or not, and I happen to love it. It has side benefits as an antioxidant (read: anti-aging) and speeds up your metabolism (read: weight-loss) too, so I try to consume green tea whenever I can remember.

The usual suspects (butter, flour, sugar, egg) + matcha powder

Another key ingredient in the form of mashed-up lurrrve... (bananarama)

The luscious green colour of green tea - will it stay this way once cooked?

As I'm typing this, the cake is still in the oven. I can smell it all the way from my bedroom upstairs though, and I can't wait.
The baked caked. Yep, it's still green!

I had no vanilla ice-cream in the freezer, so I scraped slivers of the rainbow ice-cream that somebody had bought and placed it next to the banana cake. Scary, yes...but fun. Oh yah, definitely yummy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cupcake Mania

We can't help but smile when we see a cupcake. However, too much of a good thing can be hmmm, quite hazardous to one's health, and after last night's marathon cupcake baking session, I don't think I can face looking at another cute cupcake again today (and perhaps tomorrow) and not feel nauseous...

You see, my lovely friend J, who's a teacher, celebrated her birthday today by sharing around some sweet treats amongst her teeny students. She'd pre-ordered about 30 boxes of cupcakes from me for this purpose and never one to say no, I unwittingly agreed. Hey, I could handle it! I didn't give it much thought until it was time to bake the darn things. I realised with some dismay that in order to fill up all the boxes, a substantial number of uninterrupted baking hours was required! And more extra time to frost, decorate and pack the cuppies the following morning. Yikes.

Bear in mind that I hadn't enlisted any help (it's best for QC, being the prefectionist that I am) so everything from A-Z was done by moi moiself. Oh, there were some points during the long, hot session in the kitchen when I wished I was the Hindu Goddess Durga (pictured right) who had 10 arms and would've been very "handy" in the kitchen. Haha.. I hope I haven't just offended anyone here as it wasn't my intention to make fun of any type of religion, but I was just saying. Never mind, forget it - pronto.

Back to the cupcakes, I made four different types and stuck to what I thought children liked - basically anything chocolatey and with a bit of fun colour would be a guaranteed hit. Of course, I wasn't going to indulge them totally, so I also hid some bananas and oranges somewhere in them cupcakes. Sneaky. I fervently hoped they wouldn't find out and would eat them anyway!

A bit like Willi Wonka's Chocolate Factory in the kitchen this morning, I'm afraid.

Silver boxes waiting to embrace the cuppycakes with open arms lids. Don't you think the lids look like they have arms though?

(Clockwise from top left: Orange cake with orange buttercream, pure chocolate cake with chocolate ganache, banana choc chip cake, red velvet with choc ganache)

All packed up and ready to be delivered to J. Happy Birthday, Teacher J!

Btw, the children must've liked the cuppies because in the afternoon, some parents called up wanting to order some more. Oh, the thought of one more cupcake..... (eyes rolling upwards).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Banana is Bigger... Oh Yea.

My helper came into the kitchen yesterday lugging a bunch of really BIG bananas from our garden. Wow! I wondered what nutrients we gave to the plants around here that they are able to grow like that? I think they may be plantains, but I'm not quite sure as I'm no banana expert (in the kitchen, anyway). And I'm too lazy to Google.

So here they are, and to give you some perspective on the size, I've placed a regular-sized fork on top.

I had no real ideas what to do with them and it was only breakfast-time. Well, the quickest thing was to grill them in the oven with a pinch of butter and sprinkling of nutmeg on top.

There, my grilled bananas. Drizzled them with some honey and they're gone in an instant!

Another sweet-savoury adaptation is to add cheese on top. I squeezed some cheddar on mine.... vicious!

Btw, if you're wondering what that yellow, plastic contraption is in the pic at the top of this post - it's called a Banana Saver. You know, to save those half-eaten bananas for later and prevent them from oxidising. I bought this novelty item while I was in the US a few months back and while I love the concept part of it, I haven't used it yet to save any bananas (we always finish ours in one go!). Ok, now you now I'm a Chindogu-lover too, but hey, someone's got to be a fan of these useless things...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Eggs Benedict

When I woke up this morning, I had every intention to go for a run, but (yes, it's that hard, there's always a 'but') I woke up hungry and it's a rather bad state to be if you are me. Once I'm down in the kitchen and everyone else living here is either at school or at work.... I get my camera out and start photo-cuisining, or whatever it's called! It's cheaper than therapy, or having coffee with friends.

So, exercise thoughts abandoned, I proceeded to indulge in my craving for eggs benedict for breakfast. A hearty and evil meal which in all fairness, I only eat probably once or twice in a moon. Hey, why am I explaining myself here?? I have every right to eat evil eggs benedict whenever I want to, thank you conscience and Mr. Cardiologist Dr, Sir.

I decided to omit the meat part of it because I didn't fancy that (besides, there were no sliced meat or halal "ham" in the house, anyway). I substituted that with hashed potatoes though, delicately made with these beautiful, unmanicured hands.

Grated potatoes

Squeezed potatoes in between two tea strainers to make a little nest, before plunging the whole thing in hot, boiling oil. This keeps the potatoes intact instead of floating around and making you look stupid helpless.

My eggs were poached in water, hence the bubbles at the sides

Next up, homemade mini-pancakes instead of boring, old toast.
Yeah, why not go ALL the way?

Finally, improvised "Hollandaise sauce" using creme fraiche, freshly squeezed orange juice, milk and some dried italian herbs. Yum-hah!

My final assembled dish.

My saving grace today were the luscious yellow kiwi fruit and the red cherry tomatoes (which I dipped quickly in the hot oil until the skin just splits). Btw, talking about kiwis, when I went to New Zealand for the first time over 10 years ago, I went to the supermarket looking for the perfect kiwi. NZ is after all, the largest producer and exporter of these hairy fruits in the world. Well, all I saw on display were these really imperfect kiwis - full of lumps and bumps on the outside and they were not even oval! Every shape but, I think.

I asked my Kiwi friend and the explanation for this was that the country exports all the perfect, beautiful, Diva-like kiwis to the rest of the world while the NZlanders have to be content with the ugly ones (unless they travel overseas and buy some, of course). That said, the fugly kiwis tasted the same inside and may I say in all sincerity, they tasted fresher and juicier because they had probably just been picked from the farm too.

Anyways, my first cut into the egg benedict made the dish O-O-Z-E like so....

"Quod me nutrit me destruit"
(what nourishes me, destroys me)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Phyllo Treats for Breakfast!

I ran for a good hour plus around the stadium area this morning and when I came home, my stomach, mind and heart knew I deserved something special to eat to reward the morning's efforts! You know the saying, "love yourself first"? Well, precisely because I DO, I decided to make something light yet can satisfy my forever-sweet tooth.

Looked in the freezer and found some forlorn, forgotten phyllo (or filo) sheets tucked neatly in a corner. Checked the expiry date on the wrapping and yeaaayyy... it was still edible - such joy! So what I did was cut the phyllo sheets neatly into squares with a pair of scissors, melted some butter and slathered the sheets with it. Well I poured the melted butter into a flat dish, dipped the sheets quickly and and rubbed two against each other for better butter coverage.

After about 4 sheets, I realised that perhaps using olive oil would be better healthwise and easier to handle so I switched to the healthy alternative. Lined the well-oiled square sheets on a baking pan and baked them till they turned golden brown.

Phyllo sheets prepped and ready to be grilled

Golden brown and ultra-crispy

There were some pears in the fridge, and I took one and let it warm up a bit to room temperature before slicing it thinly and grilling it separately from the phyllo sheets.

Sprinkle with a little brown sugar on top to caramelise the pears. Naughty!

Once everything were cooked, they were assemble in this order: phyllo, phyllo, phyllo, pears, almond slivers.
I also did a mango phyllo treat just because (and just because there are still TONS of mangoes in my house!). Don't hate me just becauseI had these for brekkie.....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Beetroot Cake

I've been wanting to try this beetroot cake recipe out for ages, and I had a chance the other day. This was actually a recipe for carrot cake, given by my friend Noraini all those years ago in Germany. I've always loved it because you just need a blender to mix everything together and then it's ready to bake. And yes, it tastes finger-lickin' good, as Colonel Sanders likes to say!

Btw, I've substituted the carrots in the original recipe with beetroot, a very healthy (and very RED) vegetable that we don't often eat at home for some strange reason. You'll see what I mean when I said "Just blend everything together"....

I LOVE the rich colour of a beetroot!


Everything in its own layer in the blender.
Layers: Sugar, Veg oil, vanilla extract, eggs, beetroot

Blending away

Mix with some flour and pour into a lined baking pan. Still loving the purply-red tone!

Once cooked...yikes, the beetroot turned a caramel colour.

Still yummy though, with a splash of chocolate sauce on top.
Related Posts with Thumbnails