Sunday, 19 November 2017

Mini Tea Cakes with Passionfruit Curd Filling




How many of you are fans of petit cakes or mini cakes? I received a resounding number of votes for YES on instagram a few days ago. I guess everyone's theory is the same. Mini bites allow space for you to try a variety of cakes and desserts. After all, we only have one stomach. 



These mini or tea cakes are unique in the sense that it is my first time making cakes that came with an indent when taken out of the oven. I bought this awesome tea cake pan a few weeks ago and I'm amazed at how easy the cakes could be taken out of the pan due to its non stick nature.. It unmoulds perfectly and retains its shape well. 

So there was a little hole in the middle for me to fill my favourite Vanilla Bean Cakes with refreshing Passionfruit curd filling. SUPER YUMS! You can fill these babies up with Vanilla Custard, Chocolate Mousse, Praline, Whipped Frosting etc. So many ideass to surprise your guests! Don't you think these mini cakes will make a good Thanksgiving or Christmas treat :) It's bite size so you dont have to worry about not having space to enjoy more of other desserts or turkey, baked ham, cheesey casseroles!
I know most of you have been requesting for my passionfruit curd recipe so without further delay, here's the recipe! It's so good, you can really enjoy it with a spoon. My favourite way to enjoy it is to add some on top of my greek yogurt, overnight oats or my recent chia pudding craze!  Hope you like it as much as I do! 


Mini Tea Cakes with Passionfruit Filling and Berries


Ingredients for the Vanilla Bean cake ( or any kind of cake you fancy):


3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/8 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2  teaspoon vanilla extract


1) Preheat oven to 175deg C . Spray tea cake pan with non stick cooking oil. 
2) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add sugar and mix well
3) In a separate medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.
4) Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5) Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
6) Remove pan from oven and place on a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes. Unmold the tea cakes and let cool completely. 

Passion fruit curd


1/2 cup passion fruit ( Flesh from about 3 fruits)
1 eggs
1.5 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
50g butter, cubed


1) Combine all the ingredients in a heat-proof bowl and set it over a bowl of simmering water.
2) Stirring continuously, allow the butter to melt and the mixture to come together. At first the mixture is going to look strange and curdled but just continue stirring and when the butter is melted, switch to a whisk and whisk until the curd is thick and glossy.
3) Taste to ensure the curd is smooth and cooked through then remove from the heat. Refrigerate until cool and set. 

Assembling the Cake


1) When the cakes have cooled and the passionfruit curd has set and is a little thicker, fill cakes up with the curd
2) Top with your favourite berries or fruits
3) You can enjoy it immediately or put it back in the fridge to set until your guests arrive. 


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Thursday, 16 November 2017

Classic Beef Stew




Hello Hello! Sorry for the hiatus! Been pretty long since I wrote a blog post but don't worry I didn't abandon you guys. It's just things have changed the past few weeks. Firstly, I'm getting used to my new married status Woohoooo. Things have been great so far except for the past few days where I was down with fever and supposedly gastric probs :( 


Secondly, my hubs and I were just back from our honeymoon. 2.5 weeks of pure bliss, relaxation, fun and activities. Shall get around writing a post of our excellent Trip to Hawaii but for now cooking something up seems more urgent now then ever! hahaa 


This long weekend provides ample time to whip something delicious up for the family. Mum commented that she hasnt seen me around the kitchen lately. (Which is a rather disturbing comment I must say). Hhaha so here am I with the classic beef stew ( Non alcoholic version though becoz the hubs is allergic to wine).  But still as good I must say. The taste is better the second day when all the flavours have sipped through. 


This Recipe is an adaption of the one by Angela Hartnett ( Came highly recommended by Ell- THANK YOU BABE!!) I used beef shin - "Beef shin contains some gristle and connective tissue and when cooked for a long period of time, the gristle will turn into jelly which melts into the stew and adds a nice wonderful flavour. 


Classic Beef Stew (Serves about 6-8 pax) 


Ingredients

1.2kg of beef shin
3 tbsp of olive oil
5 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium onions, sliced
1/2 bulb of garlic, sliced
2 sticks of celery, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
4 sprigs thyme
12 black peppercorn
2 tbsp tomato paste ( I used Hunts brand)
1 litres beef stock
1 splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 pkt (250g) white button mushrooms 


Steps


1) Cut the beef shin into 6-8 portions and season well with salt and pepper

2) Heat olive oil in a heavy based pan ( I used Le Creuset Cast Iron 26cm Pot)

3) When oil is hot, sear the beef shin on all sides to get that brown color. Remove and set aside

4) With the remaining oil in pan, add leeks, celery, garlic and onions and stir until well mixed. Add thyme and peppercorns and mix.

5) Add tomato paste and mix well.

6) Pour in the beef stock and stir and scrap the sticky bits from the bottom of the pan. Add in the beef shin. Bring to a boil and skim the surface scum. 

7) Turn fire down to low and simmer for 1 hr 15 mins. 

8) Add carrots and mushrooms ( I added it at a later stage so they wont be too mushy at the end of cooking). 

9) Cook for another 1.5 - 2 hrs or until meat is soft. 

10) Once the stew is ready, add a splash of Worcestershire sauce. 

11) Serve stew hot with crusty bread or over mashed potatoes or rice :) 

12) Stew is excellent the next day as flavors start to develop. 


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Monday, 13 November 2017

Hippo Cake for Baby Oli


I don’t have a kid YET but I sure enjoy the perks of having “One”. A few days ago was my nephew Oliver's FIRST BIRTHDAY Celebration! HAPPY BIRTHDAY FURBALL 😆😆😆 We had a smashing good time at the indoor playground. The days leading to the party were spent baking for his party! 


His favourite soft toy is the Hippo I gave him since the first day he came to this World. That explains the Hippo theme! The cake is a lychee cream cheese and chocolate Oreo fudge cake!


Cupcakes were Vanilla bean flavor with Blue and Yellow cream cheese swirls. 


I also designed a Milestone board specially for him! Pretty proud of how the final product turned out!! 


and FINALLY. My favourite picture of the Birthday Boy!! My Beloved Furball!


Have a Blessed Birthday Baby Oli. May the Good Lord Bless you always as you grow up to be a fine young chap. I'll reserve this post on my blog for you to read in 10 years time! Love your fav ee sher. 


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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Healthy Veggie Sriracha Balls


Howdy everyone! Remember those AWESOME Juicy Portobello Bean Mushrooms I made a couple weeks ago? It was such a hit so I improvised to make a newer version. This time round there are no beans involved. Just purely vegetables!


Broccoli and Red Bell pepper lovers, this one is specially for you! It is perfect as a snack, as an addition to salads or wraps or can be well eaten plain! I have been craving falafels since the first time I had them in Abu Dhabi.


Our friend gave us a tour round the country and introduced us to his favourite Falafel shop. You can customize your falafel fillings in the wrap. One I remembered was filled with oozing cheese! From then on, whenever I see falafels, it brought back many good memories.


This Seriously Veggie balls are a little different from falafels in that they only contain veggies. Great for people who are looking for a light snack during the day or afternoon! It carries a little spice ( Sriracha + Paprika)- you can omit this if you want it to be kid friendly. Just a simple mixing of these 2 ingredients with a little Worcestershire sauce, your favourite spices ( I use Texas Steakhouse rub, a little Sriracha and paprika), ½ cup Panko crumbs and an egg ( or you can use an egg white). Mix Mix Mix and bake for 20 mins.

The balls are extremely moist and yummy. I love them with a little heat!

Broccoli Veggie Balls ( Makes about 15  2" Balls)


- 1 egg ( or egg white)
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 whole red bell pepper
- 250g broccoli, chopped coarsely
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp texas steakhouse rub
- 1 tbsp Sriracha + Paprika ( Can add more if you like the patty spicy)

Instructions


1) Preheat oven to 175deg Celsius. Line a baking tray with non stick baking paper and spray a little cooking oil over. 

2) In a food processor, pulse red bell pepper, broccoli until small pieces. If you like a little bite in your veggie balls, don't pulse until too fine. 

3) Add in the Worcestershire sauce, Steakhouse rub, Sriracha sauce, Paprika, egg and Panko crumbs and mix well. 

4) If mixture is too sticky to roll into a ball with your hands, add somemore panko.

5) Roll into balls and place on baking tray and bake for 20 mins until light golden brown. 

6) Optional: Mix Japanese Mayo/ Greek yogurt ( for healthier alternative) with Sriracha for the dip. ENJOY!! 



Other Healthy Treats you might like: 

Mushroom Bean Patty


Succulent Moist Juicy SO DELICIOUS Portobello Mushroom Broccoli and Bean Patties! I swear i could eat 10 of this at one go!!




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Tuesday, 7 November 2017

MASSIVE SALES during 11.11 Singles Day and Black Friday



Guess What Time of the Year it is? It’s definitely Shopping time! Of all the months in the year, I look forward to December the most because it marks the start of the festive season where everyone is either out there in the malls doing their last minute shopping, grabbing groceries, gifts, cards, clothes or even chilling out. It’s the time of the year where you let your hair down and indulge in pampering yourself or pampering others (that includes your family, relatives, colleagues and close friends).

We all know that Christmas is a season of giving! But buying something for a special someone can be quite a headache. Not because of the lack of stuff to buy but the unlimited choices there are! Offline and Online Retailers are getting more and more aggressive in their sales and marketing techniques. They can offer you huge discounts and promotions that are simply too irresistible for you to turn down. It’s a win-win situation. They get the profits and you get the good end of the bargain.

It’s never too early to start planning what to buy. In fact November is THE MONTH to start because of the 2 special days 11.11 and Black Friday that offer HUGE sales. I am not kidding. You will be amazed at how much prices can be slashed during these 2 occasions.

The 11th of November (aka 11.11) is widely known as Singles Day because of the number 1 that marks an individual. But over the years, it has evolved to include celebrating friendship day – many “1” individuals coming together to celebrate their years of friendship or it could even mean “ you’re the only one in my heart” where couples pronounce their love to one another. For whatever reason you are celebrating, there are bound to be MASSIVE savings from deals and offers from a lot of e-commerce stores from Taobao, Lazada, Qoo10, Fave to maybe even the Apple Store. (Maybe a good way to say I love you to that special someone is by buying them the latest iPhone X). A better camera function allows you to take more selfies together? Yes? No?


And my favorite Day that I will so willingly sacrifice my “limited time” for is Black Friday!! Do not date me out on Black Friday because I’m usually at home surfing the net for good bargains. Ok some might ask what is Black Friday? It is a day of MASSIVE SALES where prices are slashed by half or even more than that. It is held on the 4th Friday of November and usually after Thanksgiving in the US. I first knew of this DAY when my roommate told me horrifying stories about how people started queuing at physical stores even the night before. She said it’s the time of the year where people buy big ticket items such as Televisions, Computers, Washing Machines etcc.. It signifies the beginning of the Holiday Shopping. Although for me, shopping actually starts NOW! Over the years, this day has been gaining popularity across countries as more and more people get to know about this occasion.

Are you getting all excited already for this shopping season? Want to know where to start? My favorite site to go to is Shopback. They offer a comprehensive list of merchants where I can click through and start my shopping expedition. See How Convenient! During this Black Friday sales and Singles Day sales period, they are offering HUGE discounts that you won’t want to miss.


Close friends of mine will know that I love my food as much as I love travelling. They go hand in hand really. To go somewhere and experience the beauty, history and food unique to each Country and City is certainly something worth dying for! Foodie travelers can relate well to this! Because we all love a good bargain (Who doesn’t!!), we will try to wait till there’s a big promotion on air tickets, accommodations overseas etcc! Expedia is one of my favorite portals to get me out of here! One reason is during these “Special days” or Festive seasons, they offer really good deals!! Trust me Singles Day and Black Friday is the time you wanna sit at your desk and move those fingers of yours!

Amazon is also another of my favorite go to for online purchases of books, home related stuff, cooking/ bakeware. Most of the time when I see something pretty on pin interest, I know I can always count on Amazon to get me what I’m looking for.

Recently they have started their Holiday Season with the opening of its “ Black Friday Store” on 1st November. It has a centralized location that features holiday deals across all categories. To make it easier for customers to make purchases, Amazon has launched their new service called AR view, a feature within the Amazon App that allows customers to visualize their merchandises within their own house. I think this is such a brilliant idea!

Enough Said! I think it’s time to let your fingers do the talking! Go all out and be a blessing to others. Remember it’s always better to give than to receive.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Orange Cranberry Cake


My first encounter with fresh cranberries was in Europe. My friend pointed out a bag of super red and enticing cranberries sitting at the fresh market front. It’s fair to associate the intensity of color to the sweetness of the fruit right. Red apples are always sweeter than the reddish green ones. That were our exact same thoughts when we saw the cranberries. LOOKS are always deceiving.

And because of that, we bought it. I popped a handful in my mouth and I cringed so bad, my expression was almost hilarious. It felt like all my senses were activated due to shock. I was very awake… very awake..


From that day on, I knew munching on these little reddies were not going to part of my fruit diet. Instead, I’ll rather use them for baking. Their tartness makes it a very good pairing with sweeter desserts like cakes. They are excellent as compotes and jam too!

When I received a bunch of these fresh babies, I knew I had to bake something with them. Did my usual foodgawking and chanced upon Twopeasandtheirpod's mouth watering rendition of orange cranberry bread. Looking at the pictures only made me hungrier so I got down to business and whip myself a batch of cake.


The flavor was excellent. I could taste the burst of fresh cranberries in each bite. The sourness wasn’t that overpowering because of the sweetness of the cake. Only regret was that I didn’t cut the cranberries small enough to incorporate them fully into the cake so most of them floated to the top. What a bummer. Next time maybe!


Recipe adapted from twopeasandtheirpod (Makes enough for 4 mini loafs- I use my favourite Mini Loaf Pans!! )

Ingredients for the cake:


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 large orange
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh cranberries


For the orange glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 175deg C . Spray 4 Mini Loaf Pans!!  with non stick cooking oil and line the base.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. In a small bowl, combine sugar and orange zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant. Whisk into the flour mixture. Set aside.


3. In a separate medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla.

4. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Fold in the cranberries. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

6. Remove cake from oven and place on a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes. Loosen the sides of the bread with a knife. Carefully remove loaf from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack.

7. While the bread is cooling, make the orange glaze. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange zest. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the bread. Cut and serve.



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Still unsure of what to bake this Christmas :) Click the link below for my top favourite dessert recipes and DIY projects this Holiday Season!! 



Thursday, 2 November 2017

Truffle Spinach Sausage Galette with a runny egg in the middle


When I first chanced upon this galette by Inspiration Kitchen, I knew that breakfast could be brought to a whole new level. A galette is often associated with something sweet so a savoury change is always welcomed.

If you’re feeling eggy or love an egg porn like me, do crack an egg after baking your galette for 10 mins. The richness of that oozing yolk will blend well when you cut into that flaky galette of yours.


Feel free to use whatever ingredients that is in your pantry. Even better still if you’re clearing your fridge. This recipe is rather flexible. Just don’t overcook that egg of yours if not you won’t get all that flowy goodness. ;)


Truffle Sausage Spinach Egg Galette

Ingredients:

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed ( I use pampas brand) – One sheet should be around 9” square
1 egg, beaten ( For the egg wash on pastry)
2 Medium Sausages
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cup cut leaf spinach, thawed and drained of all liquid
50g Parmesan cheese
50g Mozzarella Cheese
2 tsp truffle oil
100ml cream
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper ( To taste)
1 egg ( For placing in the middle of galette)


Steps:

1) Preheat oven to 205 degrees C.
2) Cut your sheet of puff pastry into a 6” Square ( This will form the main galette where you crack an egg on). What I did with the remaining puff pastry was to cut them into rectangles or squares and add the same ingredients as the 6” square but without the egg.
3) Using the back of the knife, score the pastry ¼ inches on all sides creating a square in the middle. So as to “ contain” the filling when you bake them.
4) Transfer the pastry to a piece of baking sheet lined with baking paper. Brush the tops of the puff pastry with the beaten egg and set aside.
5) Heat a large pan with a little oil and fry sausages. Cut into slices.
6) Heat frozen spinach until thawed and drain off excess water. Drizzle a little truffle oil, salt and black pepper onto it and mix well.
7) In a medium saucepan, heat cream with parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese until the cheese has melted and form sort of a sticky paste.
8) Spoon cheese/cream mixture onto the puff pastry. Do not spoon mixture beyond the ¼” score mark. Top with sausages, spinach and then spoon the remaining cheese mixture on top.
9) For the main 6” Square pastry, be sure to leave an indentation in the middle for placing the egg later on.
10) Bake for 10mins. Remove from oven and crack an egg in the middle and continue baking for 8-9 min.
11) Remove from oven and sprinkle with black pepper.
12) Serve hot!

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