Gula Melaka Chiffon Cake

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I have not baked chiffon cake for a long time and the other day suddenly had an urge to bake and eat one. While flipping through my cook books in search of the flavour to bake, I recalled having some good quality gula melaka in my pantry, gifted by Alan of Travelling Foodies who hand carried them back from Melaka few months back. Aha, Gula Melaka Chiffon Cake sounds really appealing and I could already imagine the aroma of gula melaka filling my kitchen!


After searching on the internet and comparing recipes, I realised that most of the recipes (Passionate About Baking, Baking Taitai, My Baking Cottage, Through the Kitchen Door, Baking Diary ) are very similar to one another. Since it is proven to be the "standard" having tried and tested by so many bakers, I have to give it a try too, but with some slight modifications.


My modifications:
  • Instead of using packet UHT coconut milk, I used fresh coconut milk.
  • Instead of 140g of plain flour, I used 135g because that's all I have left.
  • I used 3 tbsp of grapeseed oil and replaced 1 tbsp with coconut oil.
  • I also added a tsp of rum, because I think rum complements gula melaka well and would enhance the overall flavour of the cake.





Gula Melaka Chiffon Cake
(makes one 22cm cake)

Ingredients
  • 100ml fresh coconut milk
  • 150g gula melaka, shaved
  • 135g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp rum (optional)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Steps
  1. Preheat oven to 150 degree celsius (top/bottom heat). Prepare a 22cm chiffon tube pan (wash and dry thoroughly, do not grease).
  2. Heat coconut milk and gula melaka in a small pot over low heat, stirring continuously till all the gula melaka is melted. Set aside to cool down.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add the egg yolks, grapeseed oil and coconut oil, whisk till blended.
  5. Gradually pour in the gula melaka coconut milk mixture, whisk till blended. If desired, add rum and whisk till blended.
  6. Stir in the flour mixture and mix gently until just incorporated. Set the batter aside.
  7. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar till foamy (medium high speed), gradually add the caster sugar and beat till stiff peak.
  8. Add 1/3 of the egg white meringue into the batter, fold gently till just incorporated. Then add another 1/3, again fold gently till just incorporated.
  9. Pour all the batter back into the mixing bowl that contains the remaining 1/3 egg white meringue, fold gently till just incorporated.
  10. Pour the chiffon batter into the chiffon pan. Gently shake and then tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles.
  11. Bake at 150C top/bottom heat for 50-55mins.
  12. Once baked, remove from oven, turn over the chiffon pan and let it cool down completely before unmoulding the cake.
  13. The cake is best eaten the next day (for flavours to develop).

I must say I really enjoyed the cake! It was moist, tender and fluffy with rich flavour and alluring fragrance of gula melaka and coconut milk. The hubs also liked it, but somehow the kiddo didn't like it (he didn't even want to taste it, probably coz the cake didn't look visually appealing?).


Always, the recipe is a keeper and I'm definitely baking it again when I have cravings for chiffon cake.

Strawberry Jelly Hearts Cheesecake

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It was the kiddo's 6th birthday yesterday and I have been cracking my head on what cake to make for him since December!

For the past 4 years, we have celebrated his birthday at his school and this year was his final year as a preschooler. Wow, looking back (at the photos) brought back lots of memories. For his 2nd birthday, I baked a strawberry shortcake for family celebration and individual strawberry cupcakes for his school celebration. For the 3rd birthday, I baked my first ever rainbow cake (which was a white-cake recipe). For the 4th celebration, I moved on to rainbow fruit shortcake (using a genoise sponge recipe) which has since become my main baking order item. And last year, his 5th birthday, a simple red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and Decor-It-Yourself Vanilla and Chocolate Cupcakes for his school celebration, which turned out to be a big hit with his classmates.

Now, this year, I ran out of ideas. Should I stick to the same old cakes that I've been baking, like rainbow and ombre cakes or try new recipes? I see that Korean strawberries are in season; the strawberries are pretty good-looking and going for quite a good price ($3.80 a punnet which is cheaper than last year!). Initially thinking of strawberry shortcake or ombre cake but feeling kind of lazy to bake :p


Finally the lazy mama decided on a no-bake Strawberry Jelly Hearts Cheesecake! Well, the kiddo loves cream cheese and strawberries, this cake looks pleasing to the eye, and very easy to serve. Each kid will get fair and square piece of cake (pun intended) with 3 different flavours and textures along with a strawberry heart! Woohoo!

This cake used to be very popular in SG few years back. I've made it back then at a different dimension, so this is a good time for revision as well. The cake is 9" by 9", with 25 strawberry hearts. To serve his school of 40 children plus teachers, I made 2 cakes over 2/3 days (celebration on Friday, first cake on Wed/Thu, second cake Thu/Fri). While this cake is quite easy to make, time management is the key here in order for the cake to set properly.


First up, prepare the tray. In order to have a smooth full cake (without the necessity to trim the sides), I used a 9" square pan with removable base. Wrap the removable base with aluminum foil, and line the sides of the square pan with clear film (sold in a thick roll at Phoon Huat).

* For my first cake, I forgot to line the sides of the pan and had to run a knife along the sides of the cake when unmolding the cake from the pan. It still works out fine, just not as smooth.

** A normal baking pan (without removable base) should work fine as well, just have to line the base and sides of the pan with foil and be extra carefully during unmolding because the cookie base of the cake is heavy.



Ingredients (A) - Cookie base
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 300g digestive biscuits
Next, prepare the cookie base.

Heat unsalted butter over hot water bath till melted and let it cool down. 

For the cookie base, I use digestive biscuits. Just place the biscuits in a ziplock bag and crush/roll using a rolling pin till the texture resembles coarse sand. Alternatively, grind the biscuits using a food processor. The texture of the cookie base will then turn out finer. I prefer the cookie base to have slightly more crunch.

Add the melted butter into the crushed cookie and mix well.


Transfer the crushed cookie mixture into the square pan and use a bench scrapper to level the cookie base evenly.

Then I use a lapis press to press the cookie mixture firmly to compact the cookie base. Repeat several times till base is solid and compact. This is important to hold the entire cake together.

Transfer the pan into fridge to chill.


Ingredients (B) - Strawberries and cream cheese
  • 25pcs strawberries 
  • 4 tsp gelatin powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 50g icing sugar
Meanwhile, prepare the strawberries. Korean strawberries tend to be smaller, so I bought 3 punnets (for 2 cakes) and select the plumper and bigger strawberries. If the strawberries are too small, the heart-shape may not be apparent after submerging the strawberries into the cheese filling.

Wash and pat dry the strawberries. Half them and use a heart-shape stamp to cut the strawberries. You can use a knife to cut a v-shape at the top of the strawberries but I prefer the stamping which makes the heart-shape more uniform. I love munching on the scraps while stamping the hearts :p

Place the cut strawberries on a piece of kitchen towel and cover with another piece.


Next, the cream cheese filling. First, melt gelatin powder (the fish one from Phoon Huat) with boiling water and let the mixture cool down.

Then, place the cream cheese and icing sugar in mixing bowl and cream till light and fluffy. Add the cooled gelatin liquid into the cream cheese mixture slowly and mix till well-blended.


Sieve the cream cheese mixture to remove any lumps. Remove the cookie base from the fridge, use a fork and gently poke 9 holes in the base.

Pour the gelatin cream cheese filling into the cookie base.

Place the strawberry hearts into the cream cheese filling, pushing them gently downwards. This is also important step because while making sure the heart-shape is still visible, the strawberries must be embedded properly otherwise they may float up after the jelly layer is added.

Let the tray sit at the counter for 30 mins (to set the strawberries and cream cheese slightly), thereafter cover and transfer the tray into the fridge to chill for 3-4 hours.


Ingredients (C) - Jelly
  • 3 boxes Tortally brand Strawberry crystals
  • 350ml boiling water
  • 350ml cold water
An hour before the strawberry and cream cheese layer is ready, I prepare the jelly. I use 3 boxes of the Tortally brand jelly strawberry flavour, add hot water to the jelly crystals and stir till dissolved. Then add cold water and mix well. Let the jelly mixture cool down completely which takes about an hour. Stir the mixture once in a while as some jelly may set and sink at the bottom.

Once ready, remove the tray from the fridge and gently pour the jelly into the tray. Use a toothpick to remove any air bubbles. Cover and transfer the tray to the fridge to chill overnight.

Finally the unmolding!

With the removable base and clear film at the sides of the pan, it's quite easy to unmold the cake, simply push the base upwards. Unwrap the aluminum foil from the metal base, place the entire cake over a 11" square board and gently slide the metal base out. Peel the clear film from the sides of the cake gently. Lastly, wrap the aluminum foil around the 11" square board.

Overall, the sides remain quite smooth (except for some edges as I was careless when unmolding), I didn't have to trim the cake.


Strawberry Jelly Hearts Cheesecake
(makes one 9" x 9" cake)

Ingredients (A) - Cookie base
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 300g digestive biscuits
Ingredients (B) - Strawberries and cream cheese
  • 25pcs strawberries 
  • 4 tsp gelatin powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 50g icing sugar
Ingredients (C) - Jelly
  • 3 boxes Tortally brand Strawberry crystals
  • 350ml boiling water
  • 350ml cold water
Steps
  1. Prepare a 9" square pan with removable base. Wrap the removable base with aluminum foil, and line the sides of the square pan with clear film.
  2. Prepare the cookie base. Heat unsalted butter over hot water bath till melted and let it cool down.
  3. Place digestive biscuits in a ziplock bag and crush/roll using a rolling pin till the texture resembles coarse sand.
  4. Add the melted butter into the crushed cookie and mix well.
  5. Transfer the crushed cookie mixture into the square pan and use a bench scrapper to level the cookie base evenly.
  6. Then use a lapis press to press the cookie mixture firmly to compact the cookie base. Repeat several times till base is solid and compact.
  7. Transfer the pan into fridge to chill.
  8. Prepare the strawberries. Select the plumper and bigger strawberries. Wash and pat dry the strawberries.
  9. Half them and use a heart-shape stamp to cut the strawberries.
  10. Place the cut strawberries on a piece of kitchen towel and cover with another piece. Set aside.
  11. Prepare cream cheese filling. Melt gelatin powder with boiling water and let the mixture cool down.
  12. Place cream cheese and icing sugar in mixing bowl and cream till light and fluffy.
  13. Add the cooled gelatin liquid into the cream cheese mixture slowly and mix till well-blended.
  14. Sieve the cream cheese mixture to remove any lumps. Remove the cookie base from the fridge, use a fork and gently poke 9 holes in the base.
  15. Pour the gelatin cream cheese filling into the cookie base.
  16. Place the strawberry hearts into the cream cheese filling, pushing them gently downwards.
  17. Let the tray sit at the counter for 30 mins, thereafter cover and transfer the tray into the fridge to chill for 3-4 hours.
  18. Prepare the jelly. Add hot water to the jelly crystals and stir till dissolved, then add cold water and stir to mix again. Let the jelly mixture cool down completely. Stir the mixture once in a while.
  19. Once ready, remove the tray from the fridge and gently pour the jelly into the tray. Use a toothpick to remove any air bubbles. Cover and transfer the tray to the fridge to chill overnight.
  20. Unmold the cake by gently pushing the base upwards. Unwrap the aluminum foil from the metal base, place the entire cake over a 11" square board and gently slide the metal base out. Peel the clear film from the sides of the cake gently. Lastly, wrap the aluminum foil around the 11" square board.
The boy is pleased with his cake and finished one piece of it in no time.


Happy birthday to my kiddo!

Meg's Pastry Studio - 4th Q Orders

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Oh wow, Year 2015 is almost coming to an end soon! And Meg's Pastry Studio is officially closed for the holidays :) No Christmas bakes at all this year as I'm setting off for a vacation, yippeeeeeeee!

For the last quarter of the year, once again I'm blessed with a comfortable number of cake orders. Most of the orders were from referrals and existing customers who have ordered my cakes before, as well as a couple of new customers. And once again, they are all rainbow and ombre cakes, considered my niche now? LOL!

Really appreciate their trust in me, an amateur homebaker :) Apologies to a number of customers whom I had to turn away because of my travels :p

While I enjoy baking cakes, making sure each and every order turns out nicely, there are times when I doubt myself whether I should continue doing it, especially when the cakes didn't turn out well, accidents occurred or I'm dissatisfied in general and I simply had to re-work the cake or part of the cake.

Then again, all these are part of a learning experience and even though I have baked so many of these cakes, every time I still learn something new. Every cake still excites me. I'm always more relieved than happy when customers tell me they enjoyed my cakes. So I guess the stress during baking, decorating and delivery is worth it? Oh well, we shall see how things go next year, perhaps rainbow/ombre cakes will go out of fashion, probably I will get sick of it?

Anyways, here's a summary of my orders for the 4th Q :)



This was an order by a lady celebrating her friend's Bachelorette Party. She specifically requested for green ombre colours for the cake layers as well as buttercream rosette decoration. Same design as a previous order that was in pink and very well-received. I think green shades turned out just as lovely as pink!


Ordered by a friend for her daughter's 2th birthday, and last year I did the 1st birthday cake too! Really appreciate her continual support.


This must be my craziest and largest cake ever! Customer had specifically requested for bright rainbow cake, 2 tiers of 7 layers each, that's 14 layers in total, as well as rosette buttercream piping! Thinking back, couldn't imagine how I did it. It was really challenging, glad that the cake didn't topple and turned out decent enough, visually appealing albeit the cake layers didn't taste as nice (because this was white cake, not sponge cake). Not sure if I will ever do it again, though it was a good learning experience.


Repeat order from a customer. Her family preferred cakes that are less sweet with less cream, and enjoyed the cake done previously. So this time, we went for minimal rosette buttercream (less sweet) decoration.


This is a small size cake suitable for small family of 4-6. Smallest cake available is 4.5", good for 3-5 pax. I love petite size cakes, but actually the effort to bake and decorate is not much difference from larger cakes. Haha.



These 2 cakes were ordered by a mum with twin girls (she was referred by my friend who ordered 2 cakes before) and she requested for 2 different designs and flavours. Good thing that the Korean strawberries are finally in season and readily available. The punnets I bought looked plump and fresh and of good uniform size.

Rainbow/ombre cakes that are "exposed" showing the layers is quite popular, but they do require much more effort than the regular frosted ones. First of all, the cakes must be baked larger size and after frosting has set, the sides are then trimmed off to expose the visually appealing cake layers. Therefore, there is actually some "wastage" of cake (well, they were not wasted per se, they went into my family's tummy :p). To protect the sides of cake from drying/damage, a thin transparent film is used to cover the cakes.

More customers are requesting for this design/look and I may considering increasing the price due to additional ingredients and effort involved.



Last but not least, this cake was ordered by a friend's sister who had tried my cake previously and enjoyed it. She requested for this marshmallow decoration as her son liked the texture of the marshmallow. I like this marshmallow too, it's sold at Phoon Huat :)

______________________________________________________________________________

Goodbye 2015!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy 2016!

P.S. I will be busy/travelling a lot in the 1st quarter of 2016, please note the closure dates and send enquiry to megtan@singnet.com.sg as soon as possible! 

Mini Egg Tarts 一口蛋挞

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Few days ago, I had this huge craving for egg tarts. While it's easy to just hit the stores and buy them off the shelf, I know I should make them on my own so as to customise to my taste and size.


Since I'm feeling lazy busy, I wanted something quick and easy, so decided to stick to my tried and tasted recipes (tart pastry from Hokkaido Bake Cheese Tart and fresh milk egg filling from Hong Kong Flaky Egg Tart) which I'm very familiar by now.


Using the exact recipes, managed to yield 13 mini egg tarts, with a little bit of egg filling left. Probably coz my tart pastry was a little thicker, could probably make 14 or even 15 tarts.

Borrowed the below pictures of making tart pastry from my Hokkaido Bake Cheese Tart page coz I was rushing and didn't have time to take photos.


 (A) Tart Pastry

  • 100g plain/cake flour
  • 20g icing sugar
  • 50g salted butter, cut into cubes, cold
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp fresh milk
1. Sift flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add cold salted butter cubes.
2. Using finger tips, break the butter and rub the butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles bread crumbs.
3. Add an egg yolk to the mixture.
4. Use a scrapper to mix the egg yolk.
5. The mixture will come together and thereafter, use the hands to form the mixture into a dough.
6. Add fresh milk, the dough will become very soft and pliable.
7. Knead the dough gently into a ball. Place on a piece of clingwrap.
8. Wrap the dough and place in fridge to rest for about 1 hour.

 (B) Egg tart filling
  • 100g Fresh Milk
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 drop Vanilla Extract
While the dough is resting in the fridge, prepare the egg tart filling. Mix all the ingredients together till the sugar is melted. Sieve the mixture.



Now for the making of the egg tarts. Roll the dough to desired thickness, mine was about 3mm. Stamp a piece of dough using a fluted cutter (7cm). Repeat till all the dough is used up.

Place a piece of cut dough onto a tart case (5cm). Push it downwards and using finger tips to mould the dough into the tart case. It's not necessary to brush the tart case as the dough itself is quite buttery so no problem in removing the egg tart from the case once baked.

Use a small fork to prick some holes at the base (not too hard else filling will leak) of the dough. Fill with the egg tart filling almost to the brim.

 Before and after.

From the pictures, can see that during baking, the egg tart filling will have a nice dome shape, unfortunately, the filling will sink a bit after it cools down. To prevent the tart filling from sinking too much (due to difference in temperature), I left the tarts to cool down slightly in the oven before removing them. If anyone knows how to retain the nice dome shape of the tart filling, please let me know!

Place the tray of egg tarts at the bottom most rack of the oven. Bake at 200C (top and bottom heat) for 15 mins. After 15 mins, bake at 180C for 10 mins. At this point, can see that the egg tarts will have a dome shape. After 10 mins, slightly open the oven door, slip a cloth or oven mitt by the door and let egg tart bake in residual heat for another 10 mins. This is to prevent the filling from sinking too much. After 10 mins, remove the tray from the oven and let egg tarts cool slightly before removing the tarts from the casing.
 

I adore these cute little pop-in-the-mouth egg tarts! Although it's small enough to pop in the mouth, I still take it in two bites, more ladylike :p. To satisfy my craving, I ate three at one go. My kiddo loves it as well and ate two at one go after dinner!

These are best served warm. The tart pastry is the "short" and slightly crisp type and not the cookie crunchy type, I like it this way. The filling is fragrant and not too sweet. The tarts will turn slightly soft the next day, I just pop them into the oven for a few minutes and they are good to eat again.


Mini Egg Tarts
(yield 13-15 mini egg tarts)
    (A) Tart Pastry

    • 100g plain/cake flour
    • 20g icing sugar
    • 50g salted butter, cut into cubes, cold
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1/2 tsp fresh milk
    1. Sift flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add cold salted butter cubes.
    2. Using finger tips, break the butter and rub the butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles bread crumbs.
    3. Add an egg yolk to the mixture.
    4. Use a scrapper to mix the egg yolk.
    5. The mixture will come together and thereafter, use the hands to form the mixture into a dough.
    6. Add fresh milk, the dough will become very soft and pliable.
    7. Knead the dough gently into a ball. Place on a piece of clingwrap.
    8. Wrap the dough and place in fridge to rest for about 1 hour.
     (B) Egg tart filling
    • 100g Fresh Milk
    • 50g Caster Sugar
    • 2 Eggs
    • 1 drop Vanilla Extract
    1. While the dough is resting in the fridge, prepare the egg tart filling.
    2.  Mix all the ingredients together till the sugar is melted. Sieve the mixture.
     (C) Assembly
    1. Preheat oven to 220C, top and bottom heat.
    2. Remove dough from the fridge, roll to desired thickness, about 2-3mm.
    3. Stamp the dough using a fluted cutter (7cm). Repeat till all dough is used up.
    4. Place a piece of cut dough onto a tart case (5cm). Push it downwards and using finger tips to mould the dough into the tart case.
    5. Use a small fork to prick some holes at the base of the dough. Fill the tart with the egg tart filling almost to the brim.
    6. Place the tray of egg tarts at the bottom most rack of the oven.
    7. Bake at 200C for 15 mins.
    8. After 15 mins, bake at 180C for 10 mins.
    9. After 10 mins, slightly open the oven door, slip a cloth or oven mitt by the door and let egg tart bake in residual heat for another 10 mins.
    10. After 10 mins, remove the tray from the oven and let egg tarts cool slightly before removing the tarts from the casing.
    11. Best served warm.

    Chicken & Veggies Wrap and Cabbage & Seafood Chowder

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    The weather is certainly turning chilly as we approached the end of the year with frequent thunder storms. At times like this, I would crave for a hot bowl of hearty soup that's creamy yet not too heavy.

    I'm a big fan of Soup Stock Tokyo and it's a must to dine at least one meal there when in I'm in Tokyo. This time, I even bought the soup bowl and spoon :p Unfortunately there are only 2 shops in SG and both are far from where I stay and frequent :(


    Anyways, this particular soup is inspired by the one I had in Tokyo last year, the Scallop and Napa Cabbage Yuzu Kosho Chowder. It was creamy and sweetness came from the napa cabbage and scallop, yet light and refreshing because of the cabbage and Yuzu Kosho flavouring.


    Key ingredients are napa cabbage, scallop and Yuzu Kosho. I didn't have Yuzu Kosho and had to omit that. Came up with my own version with clam, dried scallop, streaky bacon, baby cabbage, carrot, onion, chicken stock and clam stock. To replace the Yuzu Kosho, I added a tiny splash of lemon juice and a few shreds of lemon peel just before serving. I must remember to get hold of Yuzu Kosho the next trip to a Japanese supermarket or Japan.


    Cabbage and Seafood Chowder
    (serves 3-4)

    Ingredients
    • 450ml clam broth (made using 1L water and 500g clam)
    • 250ml chicken broth (made using chicken carcass, chicken feet, scraps of vegetables like onion, spring onion, celery, white radish, carrot etc)
    • 1 small onion or 1/2 big onion, finely chopped
    • 80g streaky bacon, diced
    • 30g dried scallop, soaked in hot water for at least 30 mins, then shredded
    • 40g clam meat, precooked (from the clam broth)
    • 2 tbsp plain flour
    • 100g baby napa cabbage (wa wa cai), cut into bite-size pieces
    • 1/2 pc small carrot, thinly sliced
    • 100ml cooking cream
    • Lemon juice, lemon peel 
    Steps
    1.  Heat up a pot with 1 tbsp olive oil, add the chopped onion and fry till translucent.
    2. Add the bacon and fry till fragrant.
    3. Next add the shredded scallop and clam meat, stir fry to mix.
    4. Add the plain flour and stir till mixed with the ingredients.
    5. Add the chicken stock and clam broth, let the soup come to a boil.
    6. Add the cabbage and carrot. Boil on low heat till tender, remove any scums on the surface of the soup.
    7. Stir in cooking cream slowly. 
    8. Just before serving, add a splash of lemon juice and a few shreds of lemon peel.
    9. Best served warm.

    Hmmmmm, this is like a comfort soup to me. Surprisingly adding the lemon juice and lemon peel enhanced the overall taste of the soup, I like! Of course I believe yuzu will be better, next time when I get hold of some fresh yuzu. I added lesser amount of cream than the usual chowder soups because I wanted to keep the soup lighter. Feel free to add more cream.


    To pair with the chowder, I made a simple chicken and veggies wrap. At Soup Stock Tokyo, soups are typically paired with bun or barley rice. But since I have some ready ingredients, decided to go luxe and have a wrap.

    Ingredients are 6 grains tortilla wrap from Missions Food (won in a lucky draw), coral lettuce, carrot, cucumber, small pieces of chicken thigh and some Japanese mayonnaise. The chicken thighs are lightly marinated with sea salt and black pepper and grilled with some olive oil. The wrap is also grilled before wrapping the ingredients.

    Yums! Wraps make a wholesome and hearty meal as well!


    いただきます Itadakimasu!

    Portobello Mushroom & Cherry Tomato with Yogurt Avocado Open-faced Sandwich

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    Continuing with my sandwich/panini craze, this time a different version, open-faced sandwich!

    I had some baby portobello mushroom and cherry tomatoes leftover in the fridge and this idea of making open-faced sandwich just came up. Thought it would be virtually appealing, although quite cumbersome to eat (bits and pieces dropping all over).


    Mushroom, tomato and bread on their own would be a bit too dry, so I got some avocado to add a creamy texture to the sandwich. The avocado cream could also help hold the toppings together.

    Actually making the mushroom and tomato toppings as well as the avocado cream is really simple. For the bread, too lazy to make so I bought some wholemeal walnut bread. Actually any bread is fine, whether rustic country loaf or sourdough.

    The baby portobello mushroom is sliced and mixed with minced garlic, olive oil, sea salt, balsamic vinegar and some fresh thyme. Then I simply used the air-fryer to cook them for about 6-7 mins.


    Same goes for the cherry tomato toppings.

    The avocado cream is even simpler, just blend ripened avocado with Greek Yogurt.



    Do they look like cafe-style food? I always thought food that looks good, help the food itself taste good. LOL. Actually cafe-style food can be easily made at home.


    Portobello Mushroom & Cherry Tomato with Yogurt Avocado Open-faced Sandwich

    Ingredients
    • 2 slices of wholemeal walnut bread (rustic, sourdough)
    Portobello Mushroom topping
    • 3 baby portobello mushroom, sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt
    • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
    • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, remove leaves from stem and tear into tiny pieces
    Cherry Tomato topping
    • 8-10 cherry tomato
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tsp olive oil
    • 1/8 tsp sea salt
    • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
    • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, remove leaves from stem and tear into tiny pieces
    Avocado cream
    • 1/2 avocado
    • 1 tbsp greek yogurt (I use Farmer's Union)
    Steps
    1. Mix all ingredients for mushroom topping and air-fry for 6-7 mins at 180C. Set aside.
    2. Mix all ingredients for tomato topping and air-fry for 5-6 mins at 180C. Set aside.
    3. Blend avocado with greek yogurt till creamy. Set aside.
    4. Heat grill pan at low heat and place a slice of bread in it. Cover with glass top for 30s. Off heat, remove cover.
    5. Spread avocado cream, followed by the mushroom topping.
    6. Repeat with tomato topping.
    7. Best served warm.


    I must say the open-faced sandwich taste really really yummy!

    Really love the mushroom one!! Thought the toppings would drop all over the place with each bite, but didn't! The avocado cream helped hold everything together and really enhanced the overall taste of the sandwich. The portobello mushroom was meaty, sweet and juicy, spiced with bits of garlic and aromatic with the tiny bits of thyme. The balsamic vinegar was a little more subtle, probably more could be added for an enhanced flavour.


    The tomato was more tangy and very juicy, equally delicious. Personal preference is the mushroom but visually the tomato one looks more cheery and appetising.

    Another wholesome and hearty meal, yet quick and easy to make at home :)

    Chicken Salad Panini

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    Another panini sandwich! This time, it's much straight-forward, the chicken salad can be prepped easily (and eaten on its own without carbs) and the panini sandwich assembled with little effort.

    I admit that our household buys white/wholemeal bread sometimes (coz I'm lazy to bake bread or muffins for breakfast :p). The odd thing is, we usually cannot finish the last few slices of bread and they turn a bit hard (or rather not as soft and fluffy). That's when the bread is best to be used as panini sandwich!

    I first grill some chicken fillet that's been lighted marinated with sea salt and black pepper. After the chicken fillet is cooled, just tear them into bite-size pieces and mix with chopped celery, purple onion, spring onion etc with dressing of choice. I use Japanese mayo and yuzu sesame dressing as I have these in my fridge.

    To assemble, place a slice of bread on a heated grill pan, top with a few leaves of romaine lettuce, slices of cucumber, chicken salad and finally another slice of bread. Flip the entire sandwich over, cover with glass top and viola, chicken salad panini is ready.

    Chicken Salad Panini

    Ingredients
    • 70g Chicken fillet
    • Salt, black pepper, mixed herbs (optional)
    • 1 stalk of celery, diced
    • 1/4 red onion, diced
    • 1 stalk spring onion, finely chopped
    • 2 leaves romaine lettuce
    • 1/4 Japanese cucumber, sliced thinly lengthwise
    • 2 tsp Japanese mayonnaise
    • 1 tsp Yuzu sesame dressing
    • 2 slices of bread
    Steps
    1. Marinate chicken fillet with pinch of salt, black pepper and mixed herbs (optional).
    2. Heat up a grill pan on medium low heat and grill the chicken fillet till cooked. Let it cool down slightly.
    3. Tear or chop the chicken fillet into a bowl, add celery, onion, spring onion and dressing. Toss to mix well.
    4. Heat up grill pan on low heat. Place a slice of bread on the pan, place glass top on the bread and grill for 30s.
    5. Place lettuce, cucumber and chicken salad on top of the bread.
    6. Place the other slice of bread and flip the whole sandwich over.
    7. Place glass cover on top of the sandwich to press for 30s.
    8. Best served warm.


     Another easy yet hearty lunch :)


    Yums! Chicken, salad, bread, will not go wrong!