Seriously yummy corn muffins!!

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When I first saw this post from Sherie over at Maameemoomoo, I bookmarked it almost immediately!  Corn muffins were something that I’ve always enjoyed especially the ones from Kenny Rogers which I used to order – best eaten when dunked with the sinfully good mac and cheese.  I made a mental note to must bake these corn muffins one day.

Then I saw this post by E over at missusC’s reverie and I was really itching to make me some of them corn muffins!  So I did.  Turned out it wasn’t that difficult.  Although I did experience some difficulty in trying to look for yellow cornmeal in the supermarket but turned out, yellow cornmeal is actually polenta!  Colleague of mine got some for me while doing her grocery run. 🙂

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Sweet Corn Muffins
(makes 10 muffins)

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups self raising flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal (or polenta)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
113g unsalted butter
75g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
120g corn

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line muffin tin with muffin liners.
2. Mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium speed for 3-4 minutes until pale and fluffy.
4. Slowly drizzle beaten eggs into the mixture, beating until fully incorporated.
5. Reduce mixer speed to low, add one third of the flour mixture and half the milk. Repeat with flour, then milk and then finish with flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated and batter is smooth.
6. Add corn and stir to distribute evenly.
7. Scoop the batter into the lined muffin tin. Bake for 10 minutes.
8. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C and bake for another 12 – 15 minutes, until the muffins are golden in color or when the cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of a muffin.

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These were soo good that we couldn’t resist popping one into our mouths the moment they popped out of the oven.  I had to stop the Man from eating them all before I took a photo of them.  Hehe..

And like what E said, this recipe is definitely for keeps!  I can see myself making them over and over again!  🙂

Granola Snack Attack

I’ve been trying to perfect my granola recipe and after one failed batch and one somewhat successful batch of maple granola, I was itching to make more.

So over the long weekend, I did just that. I experimented with another new recipe for I wanted my granola to be in a cluster form. This recipe from Kitchen Simplicity seemed fairly simple and one that I could hardly mess up.

IMG_8304This time round, I threw in candied fruit (you know those orangey bits in hot cross buns?) into the mix for I really liked them. Also in my granola were Pecans, Almonds, Walnuts and Sunflower seeds.

I did cheat a little for I wanted my granola mix to be a little crunchy and I realised that even though I toasted the oats with the nuts, it wasn’t as crunchy as I liked it to be, so I popped it into the oven for about 15 minutes. But it still wasn’t as crunchy as the other batch that I baked, so I took it out and let the granola cool down before storing in.

How did I like this batch compared to the previous one? Well, this batch of maple granola was a tad bit too sweet for my liking. Even though the recipe didn’t have oil added to it, the sweetness from the maple and the candied fruit was a too much for me. I’m sticking with the other recipe for now and maybe tweak it a little further the next time.

Stay tuned for more granola adventures to come. 🙂

 

An attempt to eat healthy

It’s been a while since I’ve baked anything.  Grateful for the mid-week public holiday, I was kinda desperate to get busy in the kitchen.  In an attempt to try and eat healthy, I thought of baking granola.  Been seeing loads of pictures by instagrammers and recipes on the www, so I was really tempted to try my hand at making some.

IMG_7773I eventually settled on using this recipe from E over at missus C’s reverie.  I figured that the recipe looked relatively simple and something I could manage.  Well, I was wrong…. 😦

Breakfast Granola
adapted from missus C’s reverie

Ingredients:

  • 5 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Handful of sliced almonds (I used whole almonds)
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
  • Handful of dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1-2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Line an 18×13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together maple syrup, vegetable oil, brown sugar, and salt. Fold in rolled oats and nuts (except sliced almonds). Mix until the dry mixture is thoroughly coated.
  3. Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet. Spread evenly to form an even layer.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes until mixture is golden brown in color. Stirring every 10-15 minutes. Add in sliced almonds and dried cranberries at the last 5 minutes of baking.
  5. Let granola cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to one month.

Granola - 0While the granola was slowly baking, my kitchen was filled with a lovely maple scent.  I was so excited thinking that ‘I did it! I’m going to make an awesome batch of home-made granola good enough to share with friends!’

Turned out I was wrong.  The nuts that I added into the mix?  Well, some of them got burnt along the baking process.  Despite this baking boo boo, the granola still tasted great (enjoyed with yogurt/ ice-cream or on its own as a snack).  So, I had the burnt nuts removed and kept the rest stored away.

I’m not going let this little mishap stop me.  I’m going to try to whip up another batch of these bites.  This time round, I’m going to keep stirring the granola during baking to prevent the nuts from burning and put the baking tray a little lower from direct hit.

Send some luck along my way, wont’ you?

And E, if you are reading this?  Maybe it really is time for you to send me a batch of your granola to try? ;p  Hehe…

A simple Feast with these easy recipes

Thought I better get round to posting some of these recipes of the dishes that we whipped out during our simple Christmas feast for we will definitely see most of these back on our dining table when entertaining at home.

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The starter was these really delicious stuffed portobello mushrooms with chopped mushroom stems, prosciutto ham, onions, parsley, rosemary, thyme and since we didn’t have any bread left at home. The helper crushed some crackers and I threw them into the mix. Pan-fry the ingredients and then stuff them into the mushroom caps. Drizzle a little olive oil and pop them into the oven. After approximately 20 mins, these babies should be done.

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Next, we always need a side of veggies to make our meal a little more wholesome. This is simple to put together. We got some pumpkin, broccoli and corn for the roast. All we did was to drizzle the olive oil liberally, add some salt and srigs of rosemary and thyme. Pop them into the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove broccoli and pumpkin from tray, pop the tray with the corn into the oven for about another 10-15 mins and it should be done.

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Highlight of our meal has got to be this Truffle Butter Roast Chicken recipe that I got off from Lavishley. Simple yet extremely flavorful! This is definitely making a comeback at our parties! 😉

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Last but not the least, the Man’s favorite molten chocolate lava cake with salted caramel ice-cream that I got from Marks and Spencer.

Hope these simple recipes would inspire you to cook more for the coming year. It definitely has inspired us to come up with a New Year menu.

The purple butterflies cake project

If you have been following my misadventures on my recent cake decorating course that I took, you would have known how stressed out I have been over my final cake project. There were only 5 lessons that we had to take in this basic cake decorating course, but it was enough to ‘stress’ me and Germsy out. In between all the cake talk, I guess we bonded even more with a glass of wine in hand. Fun times indeed!

In order to ‘graduate’ from this course, we each had to assemble a two-tier cake and decorate it with fondant. We were told to select a design by the end of lesson 2 and this was the cake that I chose – a gorgeous Anna Sui cake adorned with black fluttering butterflies.

[Image taken from http://www.hannahgracecakes.co.uk]

Looks mighty challenging huh? And it was! I was told by my teacher to bake 2 X 6-inch cakes and 2 X 8-inch cakes and have them stacked one on top of the other. I honestly thought I had a 8 inch cake pan at home but it turned out I baked 2 X 7-inch cakes instead. I only realised the error when I stacked the 2 different sized cakes together and they look abit odd. But I was simply too tired to whip up another batch of cake batter and begin the process. So I chose to live with the mistake.

A lot of prep work was needed in order to make this cake. Besides covering our 2 cakes with fondant, I had to make the fondant butterflies a couple of days before, make sure they harden and bring them into class for the final decoration.

I made a total of 20 big butterflies and 14 small ones. 10 odd or more butterflies were broken in the process. Total time taken kneading of fondant plus making of the butterflies: close to 3 hours.

After settling the fondant butterflies, the next step was to cover our chocolate cakes with the fondant of your choice. Since mine was a purple-based cake, I had to tint my fondant which took me 1 hour to tint 1kg of white fondant. This was really getting to be quite time-consuming. Thereafter, I had to transport my cakes to Germsy’s place to have my fondant rolled out and covered there. Thankfully, Germsy’s daughter was a whizz at rolling and covering the cakes with fondant. So the sweet gal helped us with all our cakes with us taking a supporting role. Total time taken to cover 6 cakes : approximately 2.5 hours. Of course it’s not all work and no play, the wonderful host poured out some drinks while we worked. 🙂

Covering the cake with fondant is truly no easy feat. You have to make sure that fondant is rolled out to the desired thickness before laying it on the cake and slowly covering the gaps without breaking the fragile sugar piece. Well, didn’t have much luck in that department for a part of my fondant cracked really badly while covering the cake. So in order to ‘rescue’ the cake, I cut out a piece of fondant and covered the cracked part. This became a joke in the class for my cake looked like it had a stamp over it. I guess that’s my signature then. 😉

Okay, now to the very last part – assembling the cake.

At our last lesson, we were taught how to stack our cakes and making sure that it had the right support without collapsing.

Next, we were given about 2.5 hours to put the finishing touches and decorate our cake.

The mother-and-daughter team doing a far better job than me in their cake decorating.

This was me, initially, working on my cake.

Towards the end, the rest of the gals chipped in and helped add the sparkles to my black fondant butterflies, simply because I added way too much cornstarch and the white specks couldn’t be removed. Yikes! But I guess it was good fun!

And just like that we’ve ‘graduated’ from cake decorating course 1! Don’t you think the pals’ cakes are also very lovely? I absolutely adore Germsy’s white cake with neon pink bows! Classy and funky all rolled into one! 😉

And here’s a shot of us gals with our teacher.

My Anna Sui Butterflies fondant cake – it ain’t pretty but I guess I’m really proud of the cake that I’ve put together.

Of course, there’s room for improvement and hopefully if I ever do get the chance to make one of these cakes again, I hope to do a much better job at it.

Till then, we will be eating loads of choc cake here at the loft! 🙂

This has certainly been one pretty ‘mammoth’ and fun project that I’m glad to have done with friends on my career break. Doing this project has also opened my eyes for I’ll never look at any fondant cake the same way again.

Recipe: Molten Choc Cake

The Man, he’s not a desserts type of guy. But there is only ONE particular type of dessert that will win him over and that would be the Molten Chocolate Cake. Even if he is stuffed, he will always find room in his tummy for a good Molten Chocolate Cake! To him a GOOD Molten Chocolate Cake is the type when the gooey chocolate flows out when you cut the cake into half. 🙂

It’s been a while since I made him his fave dessert, so I decided that this will be the perfect ending for our stay-in dinner on a Saturday evening.

As I happily shared the pics of a rather successful Molten Choc Cake on twitter and Instagram, Crystal from Expat Bostanions asked for the recipe, so here I am now sharing it all with you all. 🙂

Molten Chocolate Cake
(Serves 2 – 4 depending on size of ramekins)

Ingredients:
– Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate: 56.5 g (or 2 ounce)
– Butter: 56.5g (or 2 ounce) plus a little more to grease ramekins [bring butter to room temperature]
– 1 egg
– Caster Sugar: 37.5g
– All-purpose flour: 20g

Method:
1) Pre-heat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
2) In a double-boiler, melt the Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate. Once chocolate is melted, it will give off a shiny sheen. Remove bowl from heat and add in the butter. Mix well until butter melts fully and set aside mixture to cool.
3) In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg and sugar until light and fluffy (for about 3 mins by electric mixer). Add in choc-butter mixture, all-purpose flour and mix till flour and choc-mix is well-incorporated into the batter.
3) Butter bottom and sides of ramekins and pour in batter until it’s 3/4 filled.
4) Bake in pre-heated oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. Shorter baking time if you like the inside to be goey and longer baking time if you prefer the inside to be a little harder.
5) Remove cake from ramekins.
6) Serve immediately with a little icing sugar dusted on top OR with a scoop of your fave ice-cream.

Enjoy!! 🙂

Bejewelled bites

Got busy in the kitchen again.  Not mine, but I hopped over to my cousin’s place one afternoon to teach her how to make macarons.  While I realised that it can be rather challenging to make macarons in Singapore given the high humidity that our tiny island has but I also picked up a couple of new things from my genius-of-a-cook cousin.

Thanks to my cousin, we were blessed with a little ‘beginner’s luck’ when I taught her to make her very first batch of macarons.  They actually had feet!!  She had just made some lemon curd with lavender so we used that as a filling.  For the shells, we went for a very basic shell in a pretty shade of Tiffany Blue.

Looks like I’m getting the groove back on baking in the kitchen.  Missing the peeps and my lil’ Style Princess from Geneva though, I know that they would love to have these.