Saturday, October 29, 2005


I realized that I had a list (does 2 items constitute a list?) of gifts to bake today.
And I had fun with them. Don't I always? Baking is fun.

Anyway, I made 2 squares of pizza dough for a dear sister in Christ, Juliana, a batch of Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Muffins for my neighbours, at my mom's request (but with pleasure) and Bocconotti Dolci for homegroup.

I'm too tired to post the recipes, so I'll just leave you with pictures. First.

Pizza Dough: The First Rise

I had some extra pizza dough, and I was getting hungry. So hey, why not?
I popped open a can of tuna, put them in a bowl, added some black pepper, basil and oregano. I folded the dough over a teaspoon of tuna and when I removed them from the oven, I had no idea what they were. They kinda popped open when they were baking, so I thought it appropriate to call them Tuna Pops. Yea I know, it's cheesy, but they were filling dough. (Geddit geddit? Filling... Dough... Oh nevermind.)

Tuna Pops

My mom wanted pizza with the works, but there weren't any mozzarella cheese and I didn't want to make some sauce for a 4 inch pizza.
It's amazing what you can find at the far corners of a fridge.
There was a tiny block of cheddar and Spaghetti Sauce in a Can.(Gasp! Sauce in a Can! Are you serious?!)
Aw heck, it's for a 4 inch pizza, I can live with using Spaghetti Sauce in a Can. (You hypocrite, you!)

Here's my niece, Cheyenne, hamming it up for the camera.

Yea, she liked it.

The Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Muffins for my neighbours.

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Muffins

I was watching Avventura on Discovery Travel and Living and when the ever delightful David Rocco fussed over the Bocconotti Dolci(Sweet Mouthfuls), I knew I had to try them. Traditionally, it's made with a grape jam and chocolate filling, but I used a mixed berry jam instead. I have no idea how the texture is suppose to be, but they turned out to be like biscuits with a sweet center.
Bocconotti Dolci

I was still in a gift giving mood, so I had them all wrapped up to be taken to home group.

Now isn't that pretty?


Thursday, October 27, 2005


It was the first thing I've ever baked, and I've grown to find that I love a fudgy type of brownie. The cakey, or chewy ones are okay I guess, but it's the moist fudgy ones that I find myself going back to.
Mmm, yes...the intense chocolatey interior... that kinda melts in your mouth when you take a bite out of it...

Moving on,

The best thing about brownies? They're so simple to make, and easily customised.
You can fold in nuts, raisins, bananas, chocolate chips, apples, strawberries or blueberries, swirl in some caramel, cream cheese or mascarpone, spike them with coffee or booze, or just have them straight up with chocolate.

Whatever it is, they don't take more then 5 mins to make, if you have everything in the cupboard already, and they take about 20 mins to bake.

Here's a recipe that I enjoy.

Fudgy Brownies
5 oz. (10 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3 oz. (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour

Note: Combining 2 kinds of chocolate gives it a more intense sophisticated flavour. You can mix up the proportions in any amounts. As long as you have 7 oz. of chocolate, it's all well for the recipe.

Preheat oven to 350ºF / 175ºC.
Butter an 8-inch square pan and line it with buttered parchment paper.
Melt the butter and Chocolate over a double boiler, and then set it aside to cool slightly. You can cool it down in a ice bath if you're in a hurry to dig into the brownies. Whisk in the sugar, vanilla extract and salt. The mixture will turn grainy. Don't worry about it, it's fine. Whisk in the egg and egg yolks one at a time, making sure it's well blended each time. Finally, fold in the flour.
I had bananas hanging from a shelf and I thought I'd fold 2 in. I mean come on, bananas and chocolate. How can anyone resist?
Slice the bananas vertically first, then horizontally. Then, slice them lengthwise to get quarters.
Fold them into the brownie mixture.
Scrape the gloop into your prepared pan, jiggle it about so that the mix fills the corners, pop it in to the oven, and wait patiently.
I love how the smell of baked brownies diffuse into the air. I know they're almost ready when I can smell them from my room. Take a toothpick, and test for doneness. If it's wet, they aren't ready. If moist crumbs come out, you're good to go.
Let it cool slightly in the pan, and then turn them out into a wire rack.

Grab a fork, and dig in. Or if you have some ice cream(I made some dark chocolate ice cream for SHF#13 the week before, but I didn't have time to finish it. Oh well.), scoop yourself a generous amount, pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy!

Brownie à la mode

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The One That Failed

If it's one thing I've learnt, Always, make frozen desserts ahead of time, and serve them only when people are visiting. It's less of a hassle, to serve it from home, I'd reckon.

The Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake I made for youth didn't freeze in time, and to top it off, I brought it over to a friend's place.

We ended up scooping the peanut butter chocolate mousse into pretty glasses, cutting up wedges of crunchy chocolate layers and plonked them into the glasses.
The crust alone was a treat. It's a disc of cornflakes in chocolate, sitting atop an oreo cookie crust.

So much for a nice slice of Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Anyways, here are some old photos. Just because.

Tuna Mushroom Calzone

I folded my first Calzone at work. I'm glad I learnt how to make these little gems.
You make them the night before, pop it in to the oven, and have an awesome breakfast the next morning.

Lemon Squares

I was really broke, and I had run out of chocolates.
The solution?
Bake with fruits! Well, the cheaper ones at least. Like lemons, oranges, apples, etc etc.

I had fun with these Lemon Squares. The recipe looked boring, and I thought I might add some Lemoncillo. It added the right amount of zing to the already tart squares.

Orange Cheesecake

Another one I had fun with. I kinda winged it on this one.
About 2 oranges, freshly squeezed for its juice, a splash of cointreau, some grated orange zest, a dollop of sour cream, and about 500 grams of cream cheese. Oh, and some sugar.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Cookies and Cream, like you've never had

We've all had ice cream. Be it a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie™ or a scoop of Vanilla flavoured Häagen-Dazs.

Here's another awesome way to enjoy ice cream.
Make your own!
And to kick it up a notch, bake a batch of Chocolate Chunk Cookies, break it into small pieces, stir it into the custard, and enjoy your very own Cookies and Cream ice cream.
Don't just buy oreo cookies. It's easy, I know, but baking cookies aren't all that hard.

Make the ice cream

French Vanilla Ice Cream
(adapted from Baking at home with The Culinary Institute of America)

3 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Cup Whole Milk
2 Cups Sugar (Divided Use)
1 Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise
6 Large Egg Yolks
Makes about 1¼ quart

Prepare an ice bath, Combine the cream, milk, 1½ cups of the sugar, and the vanilla bean in a heavy nonreactive saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
Whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining ½ cup sugar in a bowl until thick and pale yellow.
Gradually add about one-third of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly.
Pour the tempered mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a spoon. (About 180°F / 82°C).

Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Set it in the ice bath. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the custard.
Stir the custard every few minutes until cool.

Refrigerate the custard for at least 4 hours or up to overnight before freezing in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Pack the ice cream into containers and let ripen in the freezer for 3-4 hours before serving.

If you do not have a ice-cream machine, you can still smoothen the custard by hand, or a mixer.

Basically, to turn the custard into ice-cream, you want to beat the ice crystals out of the custard and incorporate air into the custard so that in grows in volume.
The result you want is to have a soft and creamy frozen dessert with a light texture and barely perceptible ice crystals.

Smoothening without an ice cream machine.
Pour the custard into the bowl that works with a mixer. Let the custard harden slightly, and then, pop the bowl in to position, and beat with a paddle for ~ 5 minutes.
You can taste the custard at this stage, and you’ll find the custard rough. That’s the ice crystals, and we don’t want that. No sir, we don't.

Repeat the process until you’ve achieved a smooth and creamy custard.

Make the Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Cookies
(adapted from Baking at home with The Culinary Institute of America)

Flourless cooking Spray for greasing. *(Alternatively, you can use non stick parchment paper/baking sheet, etc)
2½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 Cup/226g Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 Cup granulated Sugar
¾ Cup tightly packed Light Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla Extract
2 Cups Bittersweet Chocolate Chunks or Chips

Pre heat the oven to 375°F/ °C. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or line them with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until light in texture and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and the vanilla extract. Blend until incorporated. On a low speed or by hand with a wooden spoon or spatula, mix in the sifted dry ingredients and the chocolate chunks. Scrape down the bowl as needed to blend evenly.

Use 2 serving spoons to drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. If desired, slightly flatten the cookies before baking. In batches, bake until the cookies are cracked on top but still slightly moist, rotating the pans as necessary to bake evenly, 14 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Make Cookies and Cream like you've never had

Break the cookies in to smallish chunks. Churn the ice cream till smooth. Pour in the gems and let it mix throughly.

Pack in to containers and let it ripen.


Personal Notes: I used a ice cream scoop instead to portion the cookie dough. It's more consistent, in terms of portioning the dough. Well, whatver makes you happy.
Oh, and if you can afford it, use good quality chocolate.
I used Valrhona, 55% cacao. No regrets there.
Ripening time depends on your freezer, and the containers that you've packed them in.
The bigger the container, the longer it will take to freeze.

Monday, October 03, 2005

There's Something Wrong In The World Today

In the news today: Bali, rocked by several explosions; at least 25 people, including tourists killed.

It almost seems normal to read about another bomb attack these days.
Suicide bombers, bent on destruction, believing that they've done good for their god.
It scares me.
I would die today, for my beliefs, and what's to stop them if they too would die for their beliefs?

It's hard to believe that there's even hope for mankind today, when everything seems so bleak.

Well the good news is, there is hope. His name is Jesus. Check Him out.

This isn't exactly a foodie post, but nonetheless, important.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

An evening with Jeremy

I've been wanting to go to Corduroy and Finch for some time now, and I finally made plans with Jeremy. It's a pretty nice place. The high ceiling gives it a bigger feel to the otherwise small place, and more tables on a loft adds more real estate.
I love how they've allowed their wares to be part of the decor. Copper pots and pans hang over head from a shelf, stand alone shelves sport various culinary wares. Bottles and cans of Gourmet food items line the shelves, and the one against the wall goes up to the ceiling. The deli takes center stage and is helmed by a deli guy and a cashier. "Corduroy and Finch" is spelt out proudly on the wall behind the cashier. Nice.

We were seated further in the cafe, where the "Food Aquarium" seperates the kitchen. It's actually a walk-in chiller, and on one occasion, a chef popped in to grab a lemon. I like how they offer the impression that they have nothing to hide. No System D's in progress (taking the easy way out in a situation. ie: Dropped a bread? No problems, brush it off and serve.), I'm sure, with their transparency. After all, German Chef Ralf Spika, with two michelin stars to his name, is the resident Chef.

Overall, it was a nice dining experience, with its dimmed lights in the evening. It was further enhanced, service wise, when our waiter turned out to be this guy we knew from secondary school.

Bavarian Pot

Tafel Spitz

German Potatoes with Chives

Creamed Truffle Spinach

We had the Bavarian Pot, consisting of a trio of German sausages, a thick slice of pork with a rind that melts in your mouth and accompanied with sauerkraut and mash potatoes, the Tafel Spitz (veal) with a mix of vegetables and mashed potatoes, German potatoes with chives, Creamed Truffle Spinach and an Onion bread served with home made whipped butter.

After all that, it boils down to this. That one last dish. The one that will leave you with a lasting impression. The one that I can't walk away from.

We shared a Chocolat Hazelnut Crunch and The Corduroy and Finch Trifle experience.

Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch
A Simple Chocolate Mousse with a hazlenut crunch bottom. Simplicity at it's best.

The Corduroy and Finch Trifle Experience.
Hmmm. Yum.

Warm and sour mixed berry jam, cold and creamy vanilla ice cream, toasted hazel nuts, garnished with a pistachio tuile, strawberries, a gooseberry and a sprig of mint.

We ended the evening at Park View Square.
It's a neat place to be in at night.
We talked for a bit, contemplating the future.
The plan: To study in The Culinary Institute of America in New York, Hyde Park. Work a year after our studies. Live the life, travel and experience. And eventually, hopefully, open a restaurant. And if God willing, we can start some sort of ministry in the restaurant, breaking the stereotype, that the kitchen is a cesspit, full of foul mouthed, alcoholic drug users.
Cheers to that.

Water Fall at Park View Square

Contemplating the future
Corduroy and Finch
779 Bukit Timah road, 5¾ miles
Singapore 269758
Tel: 64638038
Corduroy and Finch