Sunday, August 28, 2016

A First

An upcoming event has me practicing my skills on making buttercream, piping flowers and frosting whole cakes, everything which I hardly ever touch. Never like frosted cakes because it is always too heavy and sweet, until I found came across this Swiss Meringue buttercream recipe from The Domestic Goddess. I adjusted the sugar amount as I am adding azuki paste.

So here is my Pandan Azuki cake with a pandan sponge, azuki SMBC(made with homecooked red bean paste) and topped with crushed peanuts - all the Singaporean flavours in this cake.

Spent quite sometime frosting hoping to get the perfect smooth sides and top. Still not satisfied with it.

A look at the inside - lovely green hue from pure pandan juice, none of the extract or colorings. Not too sweet which complemented the sweetness from the buttercream.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Another Green Post

I took a vacation to Hokkaido, Japan 3 weeks back and it was GREAT fun! We enjoyed winter Hokkaido tremendously and indulged in some snow activities. Of course we ate a lot - kaisen don(seafood bowls), sushi, shabu shabu plus lots more! Had a lot of milk-based desserts too, because Hokkaido is famous for their silky smooth and creamy fresh milk!

So I came back to Singapore with lots of cooking inspirations hence this dessert is born - Matcha Milk Pudding. Milk pudding has always been one of my favorites - I like Tampopo Deli's milk pudding. Now that I know it's so simple to make, I won't be buying from them anymore!

If you like matcha and pudding, this is for you :p

Matcha Milk Pudding - makes 2 dessert servings

1 tbsp good quality matcha powder
200ml full cream fresh milk(or soy milk)
35g caster sugar
3.5g gelatin sheet*
1.5 tbsp hot water

Azuki(sweet red beans) and kinako(roasted soyabean powder) to serve(both of these can be found in Japanese supermarkets like Meidi-Ya or Isetan)

1) Sift matcha powder in a bowl
2) In a heat proof bowl, cut gelatin sheet into small pieces. Add the 1.5 tbsp hot water. The gelatin will melt slightly
3) Using the double boiler method(see here), melt the gelatin completely(use a small whisk to stir). Turn off heat but leave the bowl on the pot to keep gelatin warm
4) In a separate pot, heat milk over low heat until small bubbles appear at the edge of the pot. Turn off heat, add sugar and dissolve sugar completely
5) Add 3-4 tbsp of the hot milk mixture to the matcha in (1). Whisk until completely smooth and lump-free - very important because otherwise the pudding will have green spots of matcha
6) Add this mixture back to the milk in the pot. Whisk thoroughly until the mixture is evenly green. 
7) Add in the dissolved gelatin, whisk thoroughly.
8) Pour into cups/moulds. Let cool slightly at room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator and leave to set overnight.

A) I used gelatin sheets because I find it hard to work with gelatin powder. I've never succeeded using powder to set my desserts. In addition, the powder has a strange and strong smell which I don't fancy
B) The pudding itself is not very sweet as I'm serving it with sweetened red beans
C) The pudding may set into 2 layers as the heavier matcha powder settles to the bottom. The more matcha used, the more intense the flavor and color will be at the bottom


Sunday, January 03, 2016

Green Milky Way

I've been on a roll using matcha lately. Matcha, which is essentially powdered green tea ground from green tea leaves specially grown in shaded areas in order to concentrate the chlorophyll and stimulate the production of amino acids which contributes to one of the many benefits of consuming matcha. You can read about them on Google.

I started taking matcha in the form of hot matcha, iced matcha, matcha latte, and also adding to my oats, yogurt, chia pudding and smoothies. Have also added them to my bakes and here's my latest  - Matcha Milk jam! I first saw an online Japanese grocer selling a matcha milk spread from Kyoto and it's pretty expensive. Recently saw in Isetan a green tea milk spread from Korea but when I saw the ingredient list it has ingredients like canola oil, rapeseed oil, palm oil, emulsifiers and synthetic flavorings. Hence I wanted to make my own so I don't need to eat all the nonsense in commercial ones.

I found this recipe from a Japanese website(see link here) but modified it to reduce the sugar. It's a simple recipe, just need a little patience with the cooking but you will be rewarded with a silky smooth jam, not unlike Dulce de Leche. It's so good  - rick, milky with matcha fragrance. I couldn't help licking the spoon!

Matcha Milk Jam

100g cream(I used Emborg cooking cream, 20% fat)
140g full cream fresh milk
65g caster sugar
1.5 tsp good quality matcha powder, sifted
2 tbsp hot water

1) Dissolve matcha in hot water and whisk until no more clumps. Transfer to a pot
2) Add the rest of the ingredients into the pot
3) Bring to a slow simmer over low-med heat. Stir frequently and continue to simmer. It should have bubbles continuously, like this picture. 

4)After about 45-60 mins it should have thickened to the texture of condensed milk
5) Remove from heat and store in sterilized glass jars. Cool before storing in the refrigerator. Note that the jam will thicken on storing, just bring to room temperature and it will be spreadable

1) 65g sugar is also a bit too sweet for me. The next time I'll probably reduce it further
2) Feel free to increase or decrease the matcha amount according to your liking. 
3) This recipe makes only around 100 ml. Should be able to double or triple this easily.
4) Please use a good quality matcha powder for this, not the baking ones from Phoon Huat or the supermarket. I'm currently using this matcha. 

This would be perfect served on warm bread, pancakes or if you are a matchaholic like me, on these matcha scones for a double matcha treat!You won't need butter for these, because the jam is rich and sweet enough :D