Saturday, 28 May 2016

French Baguette

Just a teaser..! recipe will be shared soon! :)

Macaron - the Pierre Herme Way

Sorry for not writing in a long time!  Since it's spring, a lot of friends have been visiting in the past couple of months!

Yet, I haven't been lazy about my cooking - indeed, I have accumulated quite a few recipes to share with you - one of them is super tempting, the macarons, AGAIN!

My husband got me this Pierre Herme Macarons cookbook from ebay (it was a good deal), as a surprised gift - turns out more of a treat for himself, cause I'll be the one experimenting the recipes and he'll be the one eating.

I was quite amused with my first attempt with using his recipe, and the trickiest part was to cook the sugar before whisking it into the meringue.

Earl Grey Tea Macaron (Makes 20 pairs of macaron shell)

100g almond grounds
100g icing sugar
36g egg white (about one large egg)
1/2 tsp earl grey tea leaf - ground with grinder
1g food colouring (optional)

MIXTURE 2: (Meringue)
100g caster sugar
25g water
36g egg white


300g double cream
10g earl grey tea 
130g dark chocolate
25g butter

1. Prepare 'mixture 1', sift together almond grounds and icing sugar, stir in the grounded tea leaves.

2. If you are using food colouring, stir it in with the first portion of egg white, then pour on to the almond mixture - do not stir.  Set aside.

Stir in food colouring into 1st portion of egg white

Pour egg white with colouring onto almond mixture, set aside
3. For 'mixture 2', with electric whisk, whisk the second portion of egg white till soft peak, meanwhile, cook the caster sugar with water until it reaches 118C - it should turn slightly golden in colour.   Slowly pour the melted sugar on to the soft peak egg white, simultaneously whisking it to let it cool down.  This will form your 'meringue'.
Whisk 2nd portion of egg white into soft peak

cook sugar and water until 118C

Pour in soft peak egg white and whisking in high speed at the same time

4. Fold in the meringue into the almond mixture until just combined - do not over mix, this will make the batter too watery and won't form the shape.
Use a spatular, fold in the meringue to the almond mixture - don't over mix 

5. After resting the batter for 10 minutes, spoon in to pipping bag and pip into 3.5cm diameter circles.

6. Let the shell stand for at least 30 minutes or until they are completely dry and do not look shiny- test it with your finger tip, the shell should not be sticky.

7.  Preheat the oven at 180C and bake for 12 minutes.  During baking, open and shut the door quickly for 2 times to reduce the moisture inside the oven. (First after 8 minutes and second time after 10 minutes)

8.  Let it cool completely on the work surface.

For the ganache, bring cream to boil and remove from heat.  Add the tea and let it infuse for 3 minutes covered.  Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and pour in the cream in 3 times.  When the mixture is cooled down to 60C, add whisk in the butter until smooth.

Cover ganache with cling film and chill in room temperature until thickens.

To assemble, pipe ganache on the macaron shell generously, leaving about 2mm space from the edge.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Italian night-in

Picked up a glossy free magazine from Tesco few days ago, didn't really expect to get much from it.  The magazine surprisingly filled with dozen and dozens of recipes and all looked quite fun (and easy!) to make.  Of which, fresh pizza dough is one of the many things my husband and I had always thought of tackling.

We followed Tesco's recipe of making a florentine pizza last Sunday, and last night, after having Chinese food for many stay-in nights, I decided to have a 2nd take on the home-made pizza!  (Well, part of the reasons was to kill the left over tomato and mozzarella cheese)

Rocket and parma ham pizza (makes 2)


250g strong bread flour
1/2 tsp caster sugar
7g dried yeast (this equals to 1 sachet of the yeast I recommend in my previous post)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
150ml luke warm water


200g tin chopped tomato (just get the cheapest one from the super market)
1/2 mozzarella ball, tear in small pieces
a handful of grated cheese (emmental or mozzarella are both nice)
35g rocket leaves
5-6 slices of parma ham

1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, 1 tsp salt and yeast.  Stir in oil and add water to form a soft dough.  If it is too sticky, sprinkle with more flour.

2. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 mins.  Put into an oiled bowl and cover with cling film.   Rest the dough in an un-preheated oven, to keep the dough moist, I also placed a bowl of boiling water on the bottom of the oven.  Rest for 1 hour until it's doubled in size.
Cover the dough with cling film and spread olive oil on the bowl before placing the dough.

3. Cook the tomato in a saucepan until thickened and reduced.  Season with 1 tsp of sugar to off set the sourness of the tomato.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce the sauce by cooking in a sauce pan over medium heat.

4.  Preheat the oven to 200C.

5. Remove the dough from the bowl on to clean surface again.  Punch it a few times to remove large air bubbles from the dough.  Divide into 2 balls.  Roll out each into a very thin pizza base.  Place them onto a tray lined with baking paper.
Punch hard on the dough and remove air bubbles from the dough.

Roll out into a very thin pizza base.

6. To prevent a soggy base, spread a thin layer of olive oil on the pizza before spreading the tomato sauce.  Then sprinkle with teared mozzarella and grated cheese.
After sprinkling the cheese, it is ready to bake!

7.  Bake for 8 mins or until crisp.

Bake for 8 mins until crispy.

8. Sprinkle with rocket leaves and parma ham.  Season with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Final touches: add rocket leaves and parma ham!  Drizzle with olive oil.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Bread time!

Sorry it has been a long time since I last posted some new recipe!  I have been spending a lot of time making breads, and totally addicted to it.

After a few trials, I am happy to share with you the base of the 'Tangzhong' bread and a few variations of flavours.


Tangzhong, or water roux, is a mixture of bread flour and milk, by cooking them together in a low temperature and form a 'paste' like mixture to add into the dough, this will make the bread result in an extra fluffy and moist texture.

The steps below are 100% machine free (apart from the oven of course), so it would be handy for anyone who does not have a lot equipments at home.

The recipe is a combination of a few, Just One CookbookCarol Easy Life and a close friend Phoebe.

You may refer to Carol's blog for a very detailed video on the kneading method!

Tangzhong Bread:  (make 8pcs)

225g bread flour
25ml full fat milk (kept in 35*C)
25ml double cream (kept in 35*C)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp fast easy dry yeast*
30g unsalted butter, in room temp, cut in to cubes
1 egg
100g tangzhong

Tangzhong: (make 100g)

1/2 cup full fat milk
22.5g bread flour

1.  Prepare the 'Tangzhong' by combing the 2 ingredients in a small saucepan, stir under low heat until forming a paste.  Remove from heat, cover with cling film and set aside.

2.  Mix together flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.

1. Tangzhong covered with cling film set aside for use
2. Butter cut in small cubes
3. Flour, sugar and salt mixed together

3.  In a small bowl, combine the milk and double cream, add in the yeast and 1 tsp of sugar.   Leave them alone and let the yeast react with the warm liquid.  If you see little bubbles coming out around the yeast, you know they are 'alive'.  Set aside for 15mins.

Before and after: Yeast mixed with warm milk + double cream

4.  In a large bowl, mix together egg, tangzhong and the yeast mixture by hand (Hang on to the stickiness).  Add flour, sugar and salt, mix with one hand in a circular motion until it form a dough.  

Mix together 1 egg, tangzhong and yeast in a large bowl.
Add flour and mix well

Constantly scraping flours from the sides to mix well all ingredients until it form a dough

5. Transfer the dough on a clean surface dusted with bread flour.  Knead the dough with the heel of the palm, push it away from your body then fold it back towards yourself.  Continue this process in a anti-clockwise direction for about 10mins until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
Transfer the dough on a clean surface, dusted with bread flour 
Kneading: Knead the dough with heel of palm, away from yourself 
Fold it back towards yourself and rotate in anti-clockwise direction, repeat.

6.  Push and stretch the dough into a long shape and place the cube of unsalted butter along the dough, roll it upwards so it form into a dough shape again.  Continue with the kneading method in anti-clockwise direction for another 10 mins or until the dough is not sticky.  

Stretch the dough into a long shape and place cubes of butter along the dough, roll it up and continue with kneading.
7.  Now it comes to my favourite part - banging the dough against the clean surface.  First, pick up the dough and bang it heavily against the counter away from yourself - do not loose grab of it.  Then fold it away from yourself and grab it on the right hand side, and toss it again, so you are working the dough in an anti-clockwise direction.
Bang the dough heavily against the counter.

Fold it away from yourself.

Pick up from the right hand side.

Continue with the banging.

8.  After a good 10-15 mins, the dough should be ready - you can test it by spreading a small area with the thumb and fingers, if it can be stretched into a thin sheet without breaking into holes, it means there are enough gluten in the dough for the next stage.

Test the dough with stretching in to a thin layer.

9.  Make the dough into a ball shape by pulling the sides downwards and rotate on the left palm.  Sprinkle a thin layer of olive oil in a bowl before putting the dough in it.  Cover with cling film and rest the dough in an un-preheated oven for 1 hour.  Place a bowl of boiling water in the bottom layer of the oven to keep the dough moist.
Spread a thin layer of olive oil on the bowl.

Cover the bowl with cling film.

Place a bowl of boiling water underneath the dough when resting in the cool oven.

10.  After it has been doubled in size, dust an index finger with bread flour and stick in in the middle of the dough, if the hole does not bounce back and closing the hole, the dough is ready.

11.  Transfer the dough on the counter, press it hard and press out air bubbles in the dough.  Fold it from the 2 sides and then from top and bottom.  Turn it over and make into a ball shape again.  Divide the dough into 8 even pieces, press each piece flat and fold again to create the ball shape.

Press out the air bubbles.

Fold in from the sides.

Then from top and bottom.

Turn it over and form into a ball shape again.

Divide the dough in to 8 even pieces.

1. Press flat again, 
2. Fold in from both sides, 
3. Fold from top and bottom,
4. Turn over and form back into a ball shape.

12.  Put the 8 balls on a baking tray, cover with cling film and rest for 15 mins in room temperature.

13.  Press each ball flat and put filling** in the middle, fold the sides back in and make it back into a ball shape.

1. Press dough flat again and place the filling in the middle.
2.  Cover the filing from all sides.
3. Knead up the closure and turn the bread over.

Rest the bread again in oven for an hour until they are doubled in size.

14.  Rest in the oven like before for another hour.

15. Preheat oven in 175*C while brushing each bread with a mixture of 1 egg + 2 tbsp of water.

16. Bake in oven for 20 mins.


Chinese Style Pineapple Bun

Crust: (make 8pcs)

50g unsalted butter
40g sugar
25g egg
100g cake flour
3g baking powder
vanilla essence

1. Sift together flour and baking powder.

2. Cream butter with sugar in 3-4 additions.

3. Add egg and vanilla essence, mix well.

4. Sift in flour and baking powder and gently fold in.

5. Press into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill in fridge for 30mins.

6. After resting the bread for the 2nd time, take out the crust dough from fridge.  Roll it into a long strip and divid evenly into 8 portions.

7.  Press each piece flat and place it on top of each bread.  Use a knife to draw cross patterns on the crust.

8. Brush on top the egg mixture (1 egg + 2 tbsp water) before baking.
Roll the crust dough into a long strip.

Divide into 8 equal portions.

Press into a flat sheet.

Lay on top of each bun and draw cross pattern with a knife.

Raisins bun

Roll the individual dough into a long shape and sprinkle raisins on top.
Roll it back up and knead the two sides joining in the bottom.

*I am using this fast action dried yeast from Sainsbury's, it comes in 8 sachets, 1 sachet roughly equals 4 tsp.  Really like the idea of packing them in small sachets - normally when I open a tub of yeast, I just leave them die in the storage cupboard.  Now with this packing, the yeast can last longer!

** I am using red bean as filling, which I will share the recipe in a separate post

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