Sunday, 27 February 2011

Lemon Drizzle Cake with Coconut Icing

I am avid fan of the Stylist Magazine that is distributed free for Londoners to take. Somewhere towards the end there is always a recipe that I find appealing. One such recipe was this cake. But of course, it is not all the time I keep limes in my fridge so substituting it with lemons kept the cake as yummy too!

175g butter - softened
175g caster sugar (or even soft brown sugar)
175g self-raising flour - sifted
3 eggs
finely grated zest of 2 lemons / limes
75g icing sugar
freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons
175g cream cheese 
5tsp coconut milk / cream
2tsp icing sugar
additional zest from 1 lemon
1 tbsp of desiccated coconut - toasted

  • Preheat the oven first at 180 Degree Celcius. Grease a cake tin and set aside.
  • Combine the softened butter, sugar and lime zest and beat till light and fluffy. Add in the flour slowly alternating with an egg each time and fully combined.
  • Pour mixture into cake tin and bake for 50 minutes or until springy to touch. My cake tin was slightly wider so the baking time was reduced to 40 minutes. Remove and let it cool.
  • Whilst the cake is being baked, make the drizzle by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the lemon juice before setting it aside.
  • When the cake is cooled for 5 minutes, poke holes with cocktail sticks, pour the drizzle over the cake covering every inch. Let it cool further.
  • Make the frosting next by beating the cream cheese, coconut milk / cream and icing sugar and then refrigerate it.
  • When the cake is fully cooled, cream the top of the cake with the icing. Then sprinkle the zest and toasted desiccated cononut over the cream.
  • Serve!
The cake finished naturally in one seating. Now to see whether it works with another kind of icing!

Thinking of a blueberry tart,
The Innovative Baker

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Hot Chocolate with Chilli - SPICY!

The heavens brought down a heavenly drink called....(drum roll)... HOT CHOCOLATE! But with a twist :) I had this version of hot chocolate with chilli when I was in Duesseldorf at a chocolaterie and trust me, you'd also faint when you try it the first time. 

So, this morning, I decided to make it and it was done in 5 minutes!

1 cup full fat milk
50 gms chocolate pieces - preferably dark chocolate
1/4 tsp chilli powder

  • In a small sauce pot, heat up the milk. When the milk begins to froth, place in chopped chocolate pieces.
  • Using a whisk, constantly beat the milk chocolate mixture until fully combined. Then whisk in the chilli powder.
  • Serve up piping hot with some biscuits on the side or better yet brioche!
My morning breakfast was definitely a fulfilling one :)

Must see whether lemon grass goes with hot chocolate....
The Innovative Baker

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The ever favourite - Rendang (Malaysian Dry Curry)

When I first discovered that rendang was not exactly that difficult to cook, I set out to make it. Given that this picture looks lighter than usual, the rendang did not cook for a long period of time but still tasted like it, looked like it and was done in no time! So what went into it?

2 kg lamb - for braising / stewing (preferably the neck)
6 stalks of lemon grass - julienned
10 to 15 Bombay shallots (or 5 normal shallots)
8 cloves of garlic
A palm size of ginger (equivalent to 8 knobs of ginger)
A handful of kaffir lime leaves -julienned
2 tbsp of chilli boh (made of dried chilli boiled in water, drained and blended to a paste)
1 tbsp oil
2 kg of coconut milk
Salt to taste

  • Firstly make your chilli boh, by placing 1 cup of dried chilli into a mixing bowl, cutting them into smaller pieces and soaking in hot water. Drain it before blending it into a paste. Put it into a big pot.
  • Place skinned shallots and garlic in a food processor and pulse it. don't blend into a pulp form. You still want it a little rough.
  • Add shallots and garlic into the pot. Julien your ginger and lemon grass and add them into the pot. Next add the julienned lime leaves and the meat that has been washed.
  • Finally add in the coconut milk, salt and oil before bringing it to boil.
  • When it comes to a boil, lower the heat to a simmering volume and let it sit on the stove for a minimum of 2 hours. At best 4 hours on very low heat as then you'll see the coconut milk reduce, turn colour and the oil from the coconut milk separating from the milk. Stir occasionally to avoid the bottom from burning.
  • From what it would look like a full pot, it will reduce to 1/3 of its contents as everything becomes to soak in its sauce. 
  • Remove from the heat and serve hot with white rice or bread. Indian breads like naan, chapati, pratha and even dosai are perfect matches.
This was my third attempt at making rendang and I must say, the recipe truly does live up to its name. The original recipe called for turmeric leaves. So add that in instead of kaffir lime leaves if you have them. Otherwise the lime leaves will do just fine. 

Already wanting to cook another round of rendang,
The Innovative Baker

Wantons, wantons and more wantons!

Twas a cold and wintery day in London. My flatmates and I were in the mood for something warm and having heaps of it. So out came the wanton skins, meat and several other ingredients and tada!!!! Wanton soup :)

1 packet of wanton skins
500 grams of pork / beef / chicken / lamb / turkey mince
1 large yellow onion - diced
1 egg
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp corn flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

soup stock ingredients:
1 large stalk of leek
1 large carrot
1 large yellow onion
whole white peppers
A handful of goji berries (kei chi)
1 tbsp of dried prawns
1 packet of dried anchovies (ikan billis)
2 litres water

Chinese vegetables of your choice or spinach leaves.

  • First prepare your stock. Prepare your vegetables by slicing them in large cubes. Soak the dried prawns in some hot water and drain after 5 minutes. Prepare a large enough pot with some vegetable oil and lightly fry the yellow onion that has been skinned and cubed. Add in the pre-soaked prawns and continue stir frying. Then add in dried anchovies and fry til fragrant. Then add in the vegetables and pour in the water. Then add in the goji berries last before bringing up to boil. Once water is boiling, bring down to a simmer. Lastly add some salt and pepper to taste.
  • Then in a food processor, place all ingredients and blend til all of it is mixed through and finely combined. Prepare a bowl with some water and an empty plate to place the wrapped wantons in. 
  • Take one wanton skin and place on the palm of your hand. Place a teaspoon full of filling into the middle. Using a finger, dip into the water and rub around the edge of the skin before folding and gathering it into a parcel. (The hawkers back home basically press the skin together with their palm and fingers), Place completed parcel onto the plate.
  • Once the filling is finished, the soup stock should be ready. Sift the stock and the soup that remains is brought to boil once more. When water is nearly coming to a boil, add in some wantons and cook them. You'll know they're cooked when you see them bopping up the surface of the soup. Spoon them out with some soup and some vegetables and serve.
The whole process is not tedious but time consuming. If you're not up to making small batches then make bigger batches and freeze them. If you want variety, add in some egg noodles and you have wanton noodles right in your kitchen! 

Asian Ravioli perhaps the next time round!
The Innnovative Baker

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Pie!!! Glorious Pie!!!! - in the form Curried Beef and Leek Pie

Whilst watching a Jamie Oliver episode of wintery dishes, I was inspired. I haven't actually made a pie let alone looked for pastry to make pie. So taking inspiration from Jamie's version of turkey and leek pie, I decided to make an Asian version by infusing curry instead. Though no stranger any longer on the shores of England, curried pasties are usual. So my version of a pie wouldn't be strange either.

1kg stewing steak or cuts of beef for stir fry
1 portion of curry paste (recipe below)
3 stalks of leek - finely sliced and washed
284ml single or double cream (which ever is available)
500 ml water
salt and pepper to taste
Instant puff pastry

Curry Paste Recipe:
6 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
a thumb size of ginger
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
2 fresh red chillies

  • Firstly make the curry paste. Skin the shallots, garlic and ginger, cut into smaller pieces and place into blender or food processor. Add in diced red chillies that have been deseeded, the curry powder, salt and water. Proceed to blend the ingredients together until it becomes a paste. Add a little water should it not be sufficient. Take out the frozen puff pastry and let it thaw.
  • Heat up a pot large enough with some vegetable oil. When hot, add in curry paste and stir til fragrant, and some oil comes out of the paste. Add in the beef and stir until fully covered with paste. Pour the water in and bring to boil. 
  • Add in the leeks and stir. When water is boiling, reduce to a simmering state and let simmer til water has reduced. Then add in the cream, cook for 10 minutes before turning off the gas.
  • Crank up the oven to about 180 Degrees Celcius. Prepare the pastry by flouring a surface or a large cutting board. Roll out pastry and cut into strips. Set aside.
  • Ladle curry into a casserole dish before laying strips of pastry onto the the surface. Weave it if you can otherwise criss crossing is just fine. Baste pastry with egg wash (a beaten egg).
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
  • Dish out and serve hot!
My flatmates and I finished the pie in an instant! It definitely gave us a warm and fuzzy feeling afterwards.

Wondering if a chicken pot pie will surface soon enough,
The Innovative Baker

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Savoury Muffins - the Cheese and Bacon way!

Admittingly, I have been slow in updating my blog. Not all my culinary creations pan out but when they do, they do :) One such creation is actually baking savoury muffins. Naturally I cannot say that the recipe is my own but I have modified it to fit my needs instead. Also, fitting to my already bursting refrigerator, I had to rid myself of cheddar cheese, bacon and milk. So what more than coming up with Cheese and Bacon Muffins!

 The recipe required:

250g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
50g (3 slices) bacon rashers
50g (1 cup) Cheddar cheese and more for topping
1tsp dried oregano
75g chilled butter
1 medium egg
175ml milk


  • Firstly crank up your oven to 200 Celcius to warm up. Then prepare your muffin tray by laying muffin cups. With that out of the way you can commence with making the batter.
  • Fry up your bacon rashers till crispy. Drain excess oil with kitchen towels and crumble them. Then grate your cheese. Which ever size is fine as long as it is grated.
  • Sift the flour into a large enough mixing bowl along with the baking powder. Then pour in crumbled bacon and toss in grated cheese. Next add in the dried oregano before grating in your chilled butter. However, you can also cut your butter into cubes and rub it into the flour as you toss all the ingredients together.
  • Next, beat the egg with the milk before adding to the flour mixture. Using a fork, just toss the mixture until most have been combined but lumpy. Don't worry about the mixture being lumpy as that allows muffins to retain airiness in them while baking and it doesn't become a weapon when you throw at people. 
  • Spoon into muffin tray, top it with more grated cheese and bake for 20 mins. 
  • Serve warm or cold.
I had a blast making them and it was a change to having sweet muffins all the time. 

Have fun eating...I sure did.

Ricotta muffins perhaps?
The  Innovative Baker

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