29 April 2012

Mini Cheesecakes

I have a soft spot for anything mini.

Minis are just so pretty and dainty.
(Just like me! hehe)

Ok, serious now. 

There's nothing special to making minis.
The recipe doesn't change.
Ok, well, maybe the baking time changes, but that's about it.

For these minis, I used the same recipe as my Rum & Raisin Cheesecake, except that I left out the rum and raisins, and reduced baking time to just 20 min.
(Recipe makes about 20 mini cheesecakes in large cupcake liners about 2.5" diameter.)

28 April 2012

Cheese-less Crust-less Quiche

What? No cheese? No crust? Can you even call that a quiche?

First, let me tell you why it's crust-less...
I was simply too lazy to make pastry dough. (I'm sure many of you out there are guilty of this too. Right?)  So I pulled out some tortilla wraps from my freezer, searched my drawers for a suitable sized bowl, and delicately pressed one wrap into each bowl.

Now, why is it cheese-less?
Because I plain forgot. Yes. Forgot. Silly reason, but I'm sure it happens to all of us as some point.

Nevertheless, despite the laziness and the boo-boo, it still turned out ok.
Quite pretty in fact, if I may say so  :)  And certainly less sinful than a traditional buttery crust.

Serves 2.

2 tortilla wraps
A handful of cherry tomatoes
3 rashes of bacon, sliced into 1cm strips
Some broccoli, chopped to small pieces
1/2 tsp dried basil
150ml milk
2 eggs

Press tortilla wrap into a greased oven-proof bowl.
Slice tomatoes in half and scatter onto wrap.
Cook bacon in a pan for about 5 min, then add the broccoli and cook for another 5 min till broccoli has softened slightly.
Scatter on top of tomatoes and sprinkle the basil over the top.

Combine milk and eggs, then pour on top of filling.
Sprinkle with pepper and parsley flakes if desired.

Bake at 170*C for 25 min.
Carefully remove from bowl and cool on a wire rack for about 5 min.
Serve while still warm to hungry tummies, in the hope that they won't realise that the dish is missing some cheese.

15 April 2012

Maple Cinnamon Rolls

I wish there was a way to multiply the time we have in a day.
There are just so many things to do but so little time.

As I've resolved not to get lazy and neglect my blog, I thought I should at least post the recipe for those of you who might find it useful.

The photo really doesn't do justice to the rolls (I used my iphone to take this shot).  And don't be fooled - the rolls are mini size, less than 2 inches each. Somehow, minis seem less guilty than regular size ones :)

Maple Cinnamon Rolls 
Makes 32 mini rolls (using two 8" pans).

320ml milk, lukewarm
80ml oil
50g sugar
1.5 tsp instant yeast
350g + 40g plain or bread flour 

1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
100g butter, room temperature
100g brown sugar
2 tbs cinnamon powder
1/4 - 1/2 cup raisins, according to preference
maple syrup, for drizzling 

Combine milk, oil, sugar, yeast, and 350g flour. 
Knead with dough hook for about 10 min. 
Cover and let rise for at least 1 hour. 

Combine 40g flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
Add to batter and knead till fully incorporated.  
The dough will be rather sticky; don't worry. Chill the dough in the fridge for a few hours (up to 2 days). This will firm up the dough. If it starts to overflow, punch it down.   

Dust your work surface generously with flour. 
Roll the dough out thinly into a rectangle.  
Spread the butter over the dough. 
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon, then spread evenly over dough. 
Distribute raisins evenly. 

Tightly roll the dough into a log, pinching the seams to seal the edge.  
Cut the roll into 16 equal pieces and place them in a greased baking tray. 
Leave some space between the rolls to allow for expansion. 

Cover and let the rolls rise for 20-30 min or till they fill up the pan. Bake at 180*C for 20-25 min till golden brown. 
While still hot, drizzle maple syrup over the rolls.

Best served warm, with a cup of coffee or tea.

14 April 2012

Rum & Raisin Cheesecake

Who likes Rum & Raisin?

Whoever thought of this flavour combination is a genius!!

This is a great way to jazz up a classic cheesecake.
See the little raisins peeking out the side of the cake? 
Now, if there was rum & raisin cheesecake ice cream.... 

You can basically take your favourite cheesecake recipe and just add rum & raisins.
But to give this cake maximum flavour, soak the raisins in rum at least 3 days in advance.


Makes an 8- or 9-inch cake.

200g Digestive biscuits, finely crushed
100g unsalted butter, melted

Mix crushed biscuits and melted butter till well combined.
Press evenly into springform pan. (If you are not using a non-stick pan, grease the sides of the pan.)
Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.

1kg cream cheese, softened
200g white sugar
30g flour
5 eggs
80ml whipping cream or sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon juice (optional)
80g raisins, soaked in 80ml dark rum for at least 3 days

Beat together the cheese, sugar and flour with the paddle attachment on medium speed. 
Do not beat on high speed; you just want to combine the mixture, not introduce air, which would only cause cracks in your cheesecake.

Add eggs one at a time, ensuring that the batter is thoroughly mixed.
Add whipping cream, vanilla, lemon juice and the rum drained from the soaked raisins. Mix well. 
Gently fold in raisins.

Pour filling on top of crust.
Bake at 140*C for about 60 min or till edges are set but centre still looks a little wet and wobbly.
Many recipes will advise you to bake cheesecake in a water bath. But because I used a springform pan, I didn't want to take the risk and just placed a tray of hot water on the lower rack while baking. Alternatively, you can wrap a wet towel around the pan; this would have the same effect as a water bath.

When the cake looks done (wet and wobbly in the centre), turn off the oven and let the cake cool in the pan, in the oven with the door closed for at least the first 30 min or so. This very slow cooling process will ensure that there is no sudden temperature drop that would cause cracks in the cake. And because the oven is still warm, it will continue cooking the cake so that by the time it has cooled to room temperature, the centre of the cake would have been done just right.

When the cake has cooled to room temperature, cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. I prefer to bake cheesecake at least a day in advance so that it has at least 24 hours for the flavours to mature and develop before eating. Trust me, freshly baked cheesecake does not taste as good as 'matured' cheesecake.

handful of chocolate chips
1 tbs rum (or whipping cream)

Melt chocolate chips bain marie, gently stirring till smooth. 
Stir in rum.
Transfer to a piping, then snip a tiny bit off the end before piping any design you like.
Dust with cocoa powder if preferred. 

09 April 2012

Pink Cupcakes

Just for the fun of it, I thought I'd add some pink colouring to my cupcake batter.
I skipped the usual cupcake frosting as I personally don't fancy the sweet stuff. Instead, I topped the cuppies with an assortment of cornflakes, peanut butter, jam, and nutella.

I can't decide if I like it or not.
Seems odd biting into pink cake. Other than that, my favourite topping was the peanut butter and jam (the cupcake right in the middle.)
Would you eat pink cake?

Recipe can be found here.
The only difference is the addition of pink food colouring to the batter.

The intensity of the colour faded after baking. So if you're making coloured cakes, you might want the batter to look one shade darker than your intended colour.