30 Nov 2009

apple pie (puff pastry)

Target lock on!

On a mission to eliminate the basket full of evil apples. Every time I do, the baskets seem to refill themselves and on this case the amount doubled! Fortunately one basket was given away :) I still have about 25 apples on hand. Does any one have any good apple recipes? I don't want to become sick of apple pie as well.

golden and crisp *munch munch*

apple pie (puff pastry)

165 degrees Celsius
fan forced

makes 3 large pastries or 12 mini sized
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 apples
    (2 apples per puff pastry)
  • 1/2 cup of sultanas, cooked
    (bring to a boil under low heat until sultanas are soft and plump, drain and dry)
  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 30 grams sugar and honey to taste
  • 1 Tb of corn flour blended in 1/3 cup water - optional
    (if you want a thick and sticky sauce)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 3 frozen puff pastry sheets, semi defrosted
  • 1 beaten egg
1. Juice the lemon and put juice in a mixing bowl. Peel the apples, cut into 8 wedges and later into thin slices 2-3 mm. Mix the apple with the lemon juice to stop it browning.

2. Melt the butter and sugar in a non stick pan under high heat.

3. When sugar turns brown add the apples and cooked sultanas. Cook the apples until colour changed and apple softens to your preference. Add the cinnamon in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Cool filling.
Note: You can add honey if you want. To make a thick sauce, blend the cornflour and water and pour into apples when the apple browns. Stir to combine.

4. For a large apple pie, fold the pastry in half and cut. For smaller apple pies, divide the pastry into 8 equal pieces. Fold one half of the pastry in half again and make slits in the middle (around 2 cm intervals), making sure to leave a border.
5. Place apple filling in the middle of the pastry and brush egg wash on the sides of the pastry. Unfold the slitted half and place on top of the base. Trim the edges for a neat appearance.
6. Using a fork, press down on the edges to seal the pastry together, Brush with egg wash.
7. Bake until golden brown.

sweet treats

A mix of apples brought home...yet again. This time there were 2 baskets full, but thankfully my mum gave one basket away. I was so relieved I didn't have to eat apples for a whole month! And to avoid eating raw apples, I made more apple pie. This time I couldn't be bothered making my own pastry, so I used store bought puff pastry. I don't think I am ever going to make puff pastry from scratch...too much work!

I found this apple pie photo on Cookpad last night and decided to shape my apple pie like that. Followed the same recipe for the filling only made some slight adjustments since my dad wants sugar free bakes and my mum complained about the apples not being soft enough and was a bit on the dry side. I found it okay though. This time round, the apples still have a slight sour tinge which can be fixed with a dusting of icing sugar/ a drizzle of honey or sweetened whipped cream and the apples actually have a sticky sauce.

Baked 2 large ones and 4 mini ones. Pictured is mini sized.

Apple filling within a golden crisp pastry
Raspberry and lemon friands - before baking

Also decided to try my hands on friands. They are basically light cakes traditionally made from egg whites, icing sugar, almond meal, flour and melted butter. You can top them with berries etc.
Had a bit of apple filling left so I put it on the friands. The result way better than the raspberry ones!

They are pale yellow/white in colour since no egg yolks are used.

Look what happened!

29 Nov 2009

chocolate sour cream cupcakes

Nothing new happened today. Just an average Sunday of going over to Thangstahh's place for tutoring, eating lunch, going to the market, do whatever until dinner and do whatever until I go sleep. Because there is nothing to write about, I'll just share with you (virtually) the cupcakes I baked on Friday. Tomorrow, I have plans for mini raspberry (and lemon?) friands, tarte tatin/ puffy apple pie/ apple pie since there is yet another stash of apples sitting on the kitchen bench top, and because I absolutely detest eating raw apples, I shall cook them :P

26 Nov 2009

红豆沙金瓜汤圆 - pumpkin glutinous ball with red bean dessert

Tang yuan/ yuan xiao is traditionally eaten during the Chinese Lantern Festival which occurs every year on the first and fifteenth day of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar. Tang yuan symbolizes reunion therefore it is traditionally eaten every year with the whole family. Something like that...I myself am not really sure about Chinese history however, I'm sure Thangstahh could tell you pages and pages of Chinese history. History is just really not my thing.

Back to the topic of food, tang yuan can be filled and unfilled. Fillings can include azuki bean paste, gula melaka (palm sugar), sesame paste, peanut paste etc. Generally the ingredients for tang yuan can be found in a typical Chinese household pantry.

White glutinous rice flour, white rice flour
This tine round, is actually my second time eating tang yuan. First time was when I was overseas in Malaysia, where everyone helped Grandma make a whole pot full of tang yuan. And because the society around us is getting busier and busier (typical thing of me to say in detail study) it is more convenient for people to buy tang yuan since they are available in the frozen section in all good Asian grocery stalls.
And before you go ranting on about the use of pumpkin and read bean together, there was absolutely no pumpkin taste. I think it's only used for its natural food colour.

红豆沙金瓜汤圆 - pumpkin glutinous ball with red bean dessert
adapted from Famous Cuisine no.53
(Malaysian/Singapore food and lifestyle magazine) RM 13 @ Popular Bookstore
later edited by my mum

makes around 40 tang yuan
  • 200 grams pumpkin (without skin)
    (original was 150 grams without skin, but we had 200 grams left, so we put it all in. didn't make a difference)
  • 250 grams glutinous rice flour
  • 25 grams rice flour
  • 30 grams sugar
  • 120 mL boiling water
  • some azuki bean paste(probably around 1/2 cup maximum)
1. Peel and cut pumpkin into thin wedges. Place into a plate and steam until softened (about 10 minutes).

2. When pumpkin is soft, mash it with a fork into a smooth paste.

3. Mix the pumpkin with the flours and sugars. Gradually pour in boiling water and knead lightly to form a dough.

4. Divide the dough and azuki paste into small portions. Make sure the azuki paste is smaller than the dough.

5. Flour your hands with glutinous rice flour, flatten the dough and wrap the azuki bean paste inside. Seal the openings and roll until the dough is smooth.

6. Cook the tang yuan in boiling water. When it floats to the top, drain the tang yuan and it is ready to serve in a steaming bowl of sweet red bean soup* (see below).
Note: My mum made her own version of the red bean soup, so I don't have a recipe. I'll copy the one from the magazine, in it's original form.
sweet red bean soup
  • 200 grams azuki beans, soaked overnight
  • 250 grams rock sugar
  • 4000 mL of water
  • 4 blades pandan leaves
    (you can leave this out, since pandan leaves are not readily available in Australia)
To make red bean dessert, cook the red beans in water until soften, then blend in the blender until finely paste. Pout in a pot and bring to a boil. Add in rock sugar and pandan leaves, cook for 20 minutes.
My mum cooks it a different way though, she doesn't blend the beans that's for sure.

individual apple pie

Today marks the end of year 11 for me. For some of my friends, year 11 ends in about a week. This is the start of a 2 months + holiday. I'm going to look for a job again, since the last time there was a communication error =="

I hate eating apples raw, so the avoid that, I used about half of the supply of apples in apple pie. Cooked apple is more softer and has more flavour. But the thing about cooked apple is that you'll either love it or hate it. For example, my aunty and uncle refuse to eat cooked apple or apple pie because they think it's weird eating cooked apple. After making "spiced apples" in food tech class a few years ago, I have restrained myself from cooking apples, because it was so horrible. But after following a recipe from Lettuce Club, I started making it again.
Surprisingly, the pastry was easy to work with. I had it at room temperature for quite a long time and despite slightly breaking due to the thin-ness, it didn't crumble or was hard to work with. I wonder what the secret was? The weather or wholemeal flour?
individual apple pie
pastry adapted from Tools and Techniques by Thomas Keller
apple filling adapted from オレ様カフェのきゃらめるりんごパイ
later edited by me
165 degrees Celsius
fan forced
makes 10 x 10cm diameter 4 cm deep individual tarts
or 23 cm diameter tart with a lattice top
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 185 grams unsalted butter
  • 7 Tb ice water
    (water from the fridge is fine)
apple filling:
  • 1 lemon
  • 9 apples
    (I used a mix of pink lady and sundowner)
  • 1/3 cup sultanas, cooked
    (bring to a boil under low heat until sultanas are soft and plump, drain and dry)
  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 30 grams sugar
  • cinnamon powder to taste
    (I used about 1/2 tsp and a pinch)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • almond flakes
1. Sift flour into a mixing bowl. Check the husks in the sift and add them into the flour. Mix well with the sugar and salt.

2. Dice cold butter into cubes and coat with flour. Pulse in a food processor until the butter resemble little lumps.

3. Pulse while adding ice water. When dough forms, clump together and slightly flatten.

Note: The dough should come together with a pinch. If not add 1 Tb of water at a time until it does.
1. Juice the lemon and put juice in a mixing bowl. Peel the apples, cut into 8 wedges and later into bite sized pieces. Mix the apple with the lemon juice to stop it browning.

2. Melt the butter and sugar in a non stick pan under high heat.

3. When sugar turns brown add the apples and cooked sultanas. Cook the apples until colour changed and apple softens. (Takes about 6-10 minutes) Add the cinnamon in the last 2 minutes of cooking.

4. Divide the pastry into 20 even sized balls. Take 2 balls and roll out 1 1/3 of it thinly for the case. Shape pastry into the tart case. Trim off the excess sides.

5. Fill the case to the brim with apple filling. Using the remaining 2/3 of dough, roll out the cover, trim the excess and crimp the sides with a fork.

6. Brush the tops with beaten egg and arrange almond slices on top.
7. Bake for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Warm filling of cinnamon flavoured apples and sultanas

23 Nov 2009

apple pie

9 shiny apples ready to serve their duty...to be eaten!

Recently lugged back a whole bag full of pink lady apples from the market. I personally HATE eating apples (it has a slight sweet taste followed by chewing a paper like texture thing) but I don't mind eating cooked apples because it's softer and has more flavour.

So I practically spent the majority of my day off preparing the pastry dough and pie apple for this apple pie. The pastry was particular easy to work with. Despite slightly breaking since I rolled the pastry skin thinly, it wasn't sticky and took my time with it. Perhaps it was the cool weather?

Whipping cream by hand ain't that hard

I liked the pastry, it was crumbly to the touch and the wholemeal flour gave it a different texture (and yer it was good!)

Cinnamon apple and plump sultanas wrapped in a crumbly pastry

12 Nov 2009

procastination is the key

Right now, I am supposed to be doing my school work and revision for the upcoming exams. But playing mini games, reading manga and being hungry doesn't really help. Just went to stock up on food at Coles and my all time favourite yogurt was on sale.

Actually I am beginning to get sick of junk food. Currently my consumption of fast food is rated rare. Although the temptation of it really kills. I guess I can improve my nooby cooking skills when making lunch on a weekend afternoon. But the things I won't give up on include, chocolate, cookies and cakes. And to prove this, I scoffed down a whole lot of chocolate, ask anyone in my maths class ;) After all, if I give them up, how am I going to improve on my baking skills.

Anyway Cookie was like to me for the past few days "Cook something you lazy ass so your viewers (implying himself) can see it. It's not hot today so you better cook something!" Well, it was still hot today, in the afternoon anyway. And when it's hot I just can't be bothered doing anything especially if you want me to turn on the oven.

Gippsland Dairy yogurt; Mango and Passionfruit Twist, $5.50 @ Coles

Well, it has cooled down during the evening so I decided to do something related to food. Not actually cook anything, but rather segment the orange which was sitting in the fridge and add a dollop of thick yogurt on top. Rather nice evening snack, a shame the orange tasted kinda bitter.

Well whether it's hot or cold tomorrow, I will have to bake something for Saturday, as a commemoration of the last day of Chinese school for the rest of my life. Hopefully it's not hot.

Doodie's and MR PIE's biology rat dissection. Not for the faint hearted.

burning books

I finally got a chance to visit Burning Books. I found out about it last year but never got the chance to actually visit the shop.

The small book shop is run by a Japanese lady by the name of Noriko and it's located in Footscray and it sells second hand books and some new books. Inside, it is very neat and tidy and the atmosphere is very welcoming.

P.S Murasaki, Rihito (the guy) is not cyborg. He is just a S-Rank butler ;)

I placed an order of the nine volumes of Mei-chan no Shitsuji available and it cost me $35. It is actually a pretty good deal since the books are imported and are in Japanese. Well it is definitely cheaper than going to Borders to buy manga. Since the series is not finished yet, Noriko-san said she will contact me if there are more volumes available, which is very nice of her.

Recently, Noriko has been stocking manga translated in English. Prices are definitely cheaper than buying from Borders. Prices start at $11.95.

Volumes 1-9 of Mei-chan no Shitsuji; This is going to keep me busy for a while. Looks like I don't need to buy LaLa for a while.

Hope to visit more often in the future.

If you are interested in buying Japanese books/magazines/manga/English manga (which is cheaper than Borders) please visit or ring:

Burning Books
122A Buckley Street
Footscray VIC 3011
(1 minute walk from Middle Footscray Station)

Opening hours: Tuesdays and Fridays 10 AM - 5 PM or by appointment.

Telephone: 0412-283-060

1 Nov 2009

perry & ジャーマンポテト

This was the kitten I was talking about last week (it only has Asian eyes when it's sleeping, see Thangstahh's post) It grew so much in a week. L said she was going to starve it so it doesn't grow any bigger XD I took 4 photos of the kitten, but because it doesn't like me and the camera it used it's super flinching power, therefore it blurred the photo.

ジャーマンポテト @ レタスクラブ

I tried to make German potatoes, using a recipe from Lettuce Club. The recipe was very straightforward and easy to make.

My take on German potatoes

Served this at dinner and finished it. Have a bit left for my lunch tomorrow as well.

Afro parsely, $3.50 @ K-Mart

Because I need garnishes for my dishes, I decided to buy some parsley. I was looking for mint in particular, but they didn't have any. Settled on parsley instead. The sweet basil plant was looking good as well. Hope to expand the collection of herbs.

Heard it was 33゜C tomorrow. Great! Too bad I don't get to enjoy the long weekend. School tomorrow...