Friday, 29 June 2012

Super Oatmeal Cookies


I just needed a bit of home, can't find chewy, raisiny oatmeal cookies in Japan. Actually, good old Quaker oats is quite difficult to find - I miss that pot-bellied happy old man.


Ingredients:
170 grams softened butter
210 grams brown sugar
1 egg
105 grams flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
260 grams oatmeal
200 grams raisins


1. Mix the butter with a whisk until softened. Add in the sugar and mix well. Add the egg.
2. In another bowl, whisk the flour, salt & baking soda.
3. Add the flour mixture to butter mixture. Use a spatula to mix together. Add in the oatmeal - then add raisins.
4. If you have time, put the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so it becomes firm.
5. Roll dough into small balls and put on a baking sheet. I made each piece about 25 grams in size.
6. Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes.



Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sweet Spicy Curry Chicken Salad

If you are looking for something different for sandwich filling, try this one.  The recipe can also help save on calories if you use light mayonnaise and boil or steam the chicken.


Instructions


1. Depending on how many you need to feed, use 3 - 4 chicken breasts and lightly fry or boil the meat.


2. After the meat is cooked, put in a food processor and lightly mix in mayonnaise, curry powder, mango chutney, salt & pepper. You will need to adjust the taste as you like it - especially for the curry powder & mango chutney.


3. Remove from the food processor and mix in  raisins. Not too many, just enough to add flavor. You can also add a few chopped walnuts to really dress up  this recipe.


For the bread, I made these rolls. If you are going to use the rolls for sandwiches, I wouldn't add dried fruits.


Lunch is on!
I found this brand in a local store - not sure
what will be in your supermarket

Friday, 22 June 2012

Tasty Onion Tart

A tasty addition to any dinner party
If you need to dress up a dinner party, here is your answer. 


The onions on top on this tart are slowly fried to bring out the sweetness in them. They top a tasty dough made with olive oil and then baked. The black olives added after baking give just the right amount of saltiness and tang to this tart.





Dough


150 grams flour
5 grams baking powder
1 egg yolk
50 grams water
3 grams salt
35 grams olive oil

4 large onions thinly sliced for the filling

1. Mix the egg yolk & water.
2. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together. Add the egg mixture to the flour. Mix with a spatula. Add the olive oil.
3. Mix the dough with your hands to mix well. Cover with wrap and put in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before using.
4. Thinly slice the onions and put in a large frying pan on medium heat with some olive oil for frying. Stir often while cooking. You can add a little bit of water if the onions become too dry. The onions should cook until lightly browned and very soft.
5. Roll out the dough on a floured board and place inside a tart ring. Cover the dough with cooking paper and fill with baking beans. Bake at 190 degrees Celsius for about 15 - 20 minutes. 
6. Remove the cooking paper and baking beans. Fill with the onion mixture. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes.
7. Slice some black olives and decorate the tart before serving.



Sunday, 17 June 2012

Almond Caramel Bars

Great cookies for an afternoon break
Here is another recipe that is quite easy but has a sophisticated look & taste.


The bottom of the cookie is shortbread and topped off with caramelised almonds.


These bars will only take about 45 minutes to complete. Since they are quite rich, you don't need to cut large pieces for your guests.

Ingredients:

Shortbread:
170 grams butter (soft)
100 grams powdered sugar
1 egg
340 grams flour
pinch salt


1.  Whisk the butter until it is soft. Add the powdered sugar & salt. Mix well.
2. Mix in the egg.
3. Sift the flour and add to butter mixture. Evenly smooth the dough in a baking pan.
4. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes.

Smooth dough using a bench scraper
before baking

Almond Caramel
85 grams honey
100 grams  fresh cream
3 grams salt
40 grams sugar
30 grams butter
150  sliced  almonds

1.  Combine the honey, cream, salt, sugar & butter in a sauce pan. Heat until about 110 degrees Celsius. Turn off the heat and add the almond slices. Mix together well. 
2. Spread evenly on top of the baked shortbread. Time the cooking together so that the shortbread  finishes  about the same time as this. 
3. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes - do not let it get too browned.

After baking, the cookies brown further
Mixture will become light brown
Do not over cook

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Cupcakes didn't take off in Japan as much as they did in the U.S. over the last couple of years. 


Sex in the City, was not so popular  here either. Only a small portion of the female population tuned in and followed the sequels.  Tokyo definitely has all of the glitz of NYC, and more, but lifestyles are different. I think everyone is too tired working to enjoy -- anything!


I am not usually a fan of traditional baked cakes, but this recipe is quite good.


Ingredients:
60 grams unsalted butter (room temperature)
150 grams flour
1 large egg (mixed)
10 grams cocoa powder
red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
120 grams buttermilk
150 grams flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line a cupcake tin with paper cases.
2. Place butter and sugar in a bowl and mix until light & fluffy. Slowly add in the egg and mix until well incorporated.
3. In a small bowl, mix the food coloring, cocoa powder and vanilla extract until it makes a paste. 
4. Add the paste to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until the color is mixed evenly through the batter. Be sure to scrape down any batter on the sides of the bowl with a spatula. The batter should be a deep rose pink/red color.
5. On slow speed, slowly add the half of the buttermilk until well mixed then add half of the flour until well mixed. Repeat for the remaining milk and flour, mixing until batter is smooth.
6. Add the salt, baking soda and vinegar - turn up the speed and mix for a couple of more minutes.
7. Spoon batter into each paper case until no more than two-thirds full.
8. Bake at 20 - 25 minutes or until the top of a cupcake bounces back when lightly touched.
9. Once the cupcakes have cooled lightly in the baking tray, remove them and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Icing:
300 grams powdered sugar
50 grams unsalted butter (room temperature)
125 grams cream cheese


1. Mix the powdered sugar and butter until well mixed.
2. Dice the cream cheese into small pieces and mix into the butter until well mixed. Use a hand mixer to whip so that it is light & fluffy. Add a small amount of milk if it too dry.
3. When the cupcakes are cooled, pipe the cream cheese top using a pastry bag to make a nice decoration.


Enjoy!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Boston Cream Pie

Another nostalgic recipe that never goes out of style

Cake:

30 grams butter
170 grams sugar
200 grams flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
140 grams milk
3 grams salt
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

1. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together.
2. Whisk eggs & egg yolks with sugar until yellow & fluffy. Put bowl over warm water while mixing if needed.
3. Heat milk and butter together just until the butter melts. Put in a bowl and cool.
4. Add the milk to the egg mixture. Mix together and then add the flour. Mix well.
5. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 - 40 minutes.
6. Be sure to prepare round baking pans coated with butter and flour before preparing the cake.

Custard Cream Filling:
150 grams milk
20 grams sugar
2 egg yolks
25 grams custard powder
3 grams gelatin
1. Mix the egg yolks and sugar then add the custard powder. Heat the milk until just boiling. Add to the egg yolk mixture and mix - add back to the sauce pan and heat on low heat until thickened. Remove from the heat.
2. Soften the gelatin in water and to the custard mixture. Pour into a bowl and cool.
3. Do not overheat the egg mixture!

Putting Things Together:

 1. Ensure bottom cake is cut evenly on top. Trim each cake so that the height is not too high.
 2. Spread the cream filling (should be pudding texture) on top of the cake to the edges. Put the other layer of cake on top.


 
Chocolate Topping:
25 grams fresh cream
50 grams milk chocolate
1. Cut the chocolate and put in a bowl.  Heat the cream in a sauce pan and pour over the chocolate and mix with a small whisk to melt the chocolate. Lightly warm the bowl to melt the chocolate completely. Cool until the consistency is like pudding.

Spread the chocolate on top of the cake and put in the refrigerator before serving.

Ready for Dessert!


Peanut Butter Cookies

I know, these cookies have nothing to do with Japan -  just need a remembrance of home. Peanut butter is not very popular in here, in fact, it is hard to find in supermarkets. There is something called 'peanuts cream' here, but it is mostly butter/shortening and some peanuts.  I have never seen peanut butter cookies in the store so I need to make my own.
Got Milk?

Makes about 40 cookies

Ingredients:

312 grams flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
200 grams peanut butter
150 grams butter
75 grams granular sugar
75 grams brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
2. Soften the butter with a whisk and add in the eggs. sugar, peanut butter & vanilla - one at a time. Add in the flour mixture - mix together with a spatula.
3. If you have time, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
4. Use a spoon to divide dough into about 25 gram pieces. Roll into a ball first and then flatten with a fork to make a nice design.
5. Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes.

These cookies don't spread too much so no need to worry. They puff up very nicely during baking.
Found the infamous Skippy in a local supermarket
Have to travel far & wide in Tokyo for foreign goods

Use a fork to make the signature mark

The finished product - enjoy !!


Chocolate Chip Cookies

We all need to have a chocolate cookie recipe ready for entertaining emergencies. I did a bit of recipe browsing before putting this together. This recipe probably has a bit less sugar than most.  Makes about 23 cookies.

Ingredients:
120 grams butter (softened)
50 grams granular sugar
100 grams brown sugar
1 egg (room temp)
235 grams flour
2 grams salt
3 grams baking soda
200 grams chocolate chips
75 grams chopped walnuts

1. Mix the butter with a whisk until softened. Add in the sugars and mix. Add the egg.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, & baking soda.
3. Add the flour mixture to butter mixture. Use a spatula to mix together. Add in chips and chopped nuts.
4. If you have time, put the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so it becomes firm.
5. Roll dough into small balls & put on  baking sheet - I made each piece 25 grams in size.
6. Bake at 170 Celsius for about 20 minutes.

Keep dough pieces the same size so that
the cookies bake evenly together

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Simple Sophisticated Chocolate Cake

Simple and sophisticated 
You should keep this recipe in your Top 10 file and use when  guests are coming or when you need to bring something. It is simple, yet elegant. If you add an extra topping such as blueberry sauce it will truly be unforgettable.

Ingredients:
340 grams chocolate (use 66%)
60 grams butter
285 grams egg white (about 8 eggs)
100 grams sugar
2 egg yolks
60 grams flour
30 grams almond powder

Mix in egg white to the chocolate in portions
1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water. Chop the butter into small pieces and gradually add to the chocolate. Mix using a spatula. Make sure the butter melts each time before adding more.

2. Sift the flour and almond powder together in a bowl.

3. Whip the egg whites and gradually add the sugar in portions. 

12 cm baking circles on top of silicon sheets
4. Add some of the egg white to the chocolate mixture and mix with spatula. Add the yolk and mix. Add flour mixture. Add in the remaining egg white and mix thoroughly. 

5 Pour into a baking pan. I have used baking circles on top of a silicon sheet. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 8 minutes then reduce to 180 degrees Celsius for about another 15 minutes.  Adjust baking time based on the size of the pan you use. 
Don't let the cakes become too browned


Sprinkle with powdered sugar before slicing