25 December 2014

Meg's Pastry Studio - 4th Q orders

Merry Christmas! It's nearly the end of 2014 and Meg's Pastry Studio is officially closed for the year!

This has been a fulfilling year, never expected to receive a steady stream of cake orders throughout the year. Well, not really a lot, but at a comfortable pace that I can handle confidently.

Big thanks to all my customers and friends, some of them even ordered cakes repeatedly. Really appreciate the trust, given that I'm just a homebaker without any retail shopfront. Nevertheless, I make sure that the ingredients I used are of quality and no preservatives or additives are added.

For the final quarter of the year, besides the ever-popular rainbow cake and ombre cake, I had orders for chocolate cake as well. At the moment, I'm only baking the super rich, dense and heavy Valrhona Chocolate Cake. Hopefully I could explore more recipes next year and come up with a light, tender and moist chocolate cake; and also other types of cakes.

Looking forward to a brand new year ahead! Please continue to support Meg's Pastry Studio! For orders and enquiry, please drop me an email at megtan@singnet.com.sg.

The largest size (in terms of area) of cake that I'm able to bake, this was 5 layers (can go up to 7 layers or more). Rainbow-coloured vanilla sponge cake with chantilly frosting, sandwiched and topped with assorted fruits.

Sweet looking cake ordered by a loving mum for her daughter's birthday celebration. A 5-layer ombre vanilla shortcake, decorated with lots of marshmallows and ribbons.

Valrhona chocolate cake ordered by the same mum who ordered the marshmallow ribbon cake. This cake was for their private celebration and birthday girl requested chocolate cake. Did rosette piping to make the cake look prettier.

Ordered by a friend who requested for "Minecraft" theme cake. After researching on various versions of "Minecraft" cake, came up with this version. Basically put together with 3 layers of chocolate cake and white chocolate buttercream tinted green and brown.

Ordered by son's Childcare Centre Director for one of the teacher's wedding celebration. Made a chocolate cake with white chocolate buttercream and piped rosettes for a pure and romantic look.

For a friend's daughter one-year old birthday. The cake fitted just nicely with the party decorations put up by my friend.

Another birthday cake ordered by the same friend for her elder daughter's birthday. Proposed the chocolate cake with rosettes. This time the rosettes were tinted in 3 gradual shades.

Ever-popular rainbow lychee cake.

Rainbow fruit shortcake ordered by my Uni/hostel friend, for her housewarming cum christmas party. Decorated with some simple store-bought christmas decor.

My friend also ordered a Sticky Date and Toffee Bundt cake, which was very apt for Christmas.

My final 3 orders for the quarter, Christmas log cakes. Hadn't intended to bake but 2 of my customers asked if I could bake any Christmas cakes. So came up with something simple and elegant. Vanilla genoise sponge with chantilly cream frosting and decorated with some christmas decor.

Thank you to everyone for all the support given! See you next year :)

22 December 2014

Homemade Yuzu Marmalade

Did I mention before that I'm crazy over Yuzu? I love Yuzu Mitsu ゆず蜜 (from Sugi Kohoen 杉養蜂園), Yujacha (Korean Citron Tea), Yuzu cakes and any food with yuzu...my lip balm is yuzu flavour (from Yojiya) and if I could find, yuzu shower gel (Muji used to carry it, Afternoon Tea Japan carries it from time to time). LOL!

Earlier this month, I was in Tokyo and managed to find fresh yuzu! Yuzu is only available during winter period which is around Dec to Mar. The box on the left was from Tsukiji market, 13 yuzu for 2527 yen, very plump and smooth surface. The ones on the right was from a mini supermarket next to my hotel in Shibuya, 3 yuzu for 378 yen. These were slightly smaller with rougher texture, colour shade was a tad darker as well.

We rarely get to see them in Singapore (probably Isetan or Mediya but mark-up would be 3 times; so far I have never seen them, probably snatched-up very quickly). Now that I think of it, I should have brought more back!

After sharing them with my foodie friends who love yuzu as well, I had 7 of them left. I missed yuzu chiffon very much so used up 3 pcs for one chiffon cake (half quantity of recipe). (Used the zest and juice for the cake and peel/membrane to marinate pork - waste not!)

Shared some with hubby's colleagues and left about 6 slices for myself to devour them slowly (clingwrap, store in airtight box and chill or freeze). It was sooooo fragrant and yummy!

As for the remaining precious 4, I couldn't decide what to do with them. I'll be travelling again very soon so wanted to use them up quickly. Initially wanted to make Yuzu Sorbet after seeing Just One Cookbook's recipe, but I wanted something that creates more mileage and I could "preserve" for a longer period of time. Then saw Rumbling Tummy's recipe on Yuzu curd and was also very tempted! Finally what sold me was my Japanese friend N who commented that her mum made Yuzu jam and Yuzu Daikon. Bingo! I could make Yuzu marmalade, which would last me at least one to two months (hopefully).

Searched the internet for suitable recipes and came across two particular blogs, She Who Eats and Wild Heart with a Soft Spot that provided very detailed instructions. I particularly loved the recipe from She Who Eats because it's exactly what I'm looking for, not as "set" as the traditional marmalade, is bittersweet and low in sugar, resembling those Korean Citron tea.

The whole fruit was used, the juice, peel (sliced thinly), pulp/membrane as well as the seeds. Cooking time was relatively short as well.

Homemade Yuzu Marmalade
(yields about 670g; reference from She Who Eats and Wild Heart with a Soft Spot)

  • 400g Yuzu (about 3-4 pcs of yuzu depending on size)
  •  250g granulated sugar
  • 150ml water (for final cooking)
  1. Cut the yuzu into halves, squeeze the juice and set the juice aside. 
  2. Remove the seeds. Wrap them into a muslin cloth and set aside.
  3. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the membrane. Set the membrane aside.
  4. Slice the yuzu peel into very thin pieces and soak the sliced peels in a bowl of ice water.
  5. Place the membrane in a small pot, add 300ml of water and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 5 mins. Off heat and set the pot aside.
  6. Squeeze as much water from the sliced peel as possible. Place the peels in another pot, add water enough to cover all the peels and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 5 mins. Off heat, strain and set the peels aside. *Reserve the water used to soak the peels and water used for boiling the peels - the water smells great and could be placed in the fridge or wipe tabletops for nice aroma
  7. In a large pot, add the yuzu peel, membrane (together with the water that's used to boil it), yuzu juice, the bag of seeds, 150ml of water and 1/3 portion of the sugar. Bring to boil and simmer for about 20 mins, stirring constantly and removing scums on the surface. Add the remaining 2/3 of the sugar gradually in 2-3 additions during the 20 mins.
  8. While the marmalade is cooking, sterilise the glass bottles with boiling water.
  9. After 20 mins, off heat and let the marmalade set for about 10 - 15 mins.
  10. Scoop the marmalade into the sterilised glass bottles, screw tight and place in fridge overnight.

Managed to yield 670g of yuzu marmalade! Yeah =D

I love how the yuzu marmalade turns out, slight tinge of bitterness and not too sweet, I could just eat spoonfuls of it like that!

When I was cutting the yuzu peel, the whole house was filled with the intoxicating fragrant of yuzu. I preserved the water used to soak the yuzu peel and left them in the fridge and now my fridge also smells lovely!

They are many ways to enjoy the marmalade. Eat it on its own (like me), spread them on toast or eat them with yuzu chiffon. Simply toast the chiffon slightly and the chiffon will have a crispy exterior and tender and fluffy interior; top with some marmalade and I'm in Yuzu haven!

 I could also make it into a drink, just like the Korean Citron Tea or Yujacha!

Or for a more luxurious drink, add some soda water, mint leaves and lots of ice for a cool Yuzu Mint Soda!


10 December 2014

Japanese-style Beef Stew

It's been 3 days since my return from Tokyo, I already missed it terribly and yearning to return once more. Is it the weather, the food or just the overall atmosphere? Each time I visit the city, despite doing mostly the same old (shops, food), somehow I still managed to discover new areas and things. Hope I would get down to blog about it soon.

To cure my love-sickness for Japan, I cooked a Japanese-style Beef Stew yesterday and had it for both lunch and dinner. This recipe is from a NHK programme  きょうの料理 that I watched while I was in Tokyo and I managed to retrieve the recipe from their website.

 Very interesting stew because the method used is slightly different from the Western-style, and the sauces/seasonings used for the gravy is quite different as well. Besides red wine, demi-glace sauce is used, and seasonings like ketchup, tonkatsu sauce and worcestershire sauce. As usual I brought back some root vegetables (yes I'm a weirdo who buys groceries from Japan every time I visit) and used my precious carrot and potato for the stew.

Ingredients - potato and carrot (from Japan), swiss brown mushroom, white onion (recipe uses the small type of Japanese onion which I didn't buy), beef, garlic, bay leaves and celery.

Sauces - the key ones are red wine and demi-glace (I bought the Heinz packet from Japan. demi-glace sauce can be homemade as well); ketchup and tonkatsu sauce. Recipe also calls for worcestershire sauce which I substituted with balsamic vinegar, fish sauce and sugar.

Japanese-style Beef Stew
(serves 2-3 pax, adapted from NHK Kyounoryouri

  • 430g Beef shoulder, cut into 2-3cm chunks
  • 5 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 stalk Celery leaves
  • 1L Water
  • 150ml Red wine
  • 200g Demi-glace sauce
  • 20g Unsalted butter
  • 2pc White onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 190g Carrot, peeled and cut into 1cm thick rounds
  • 180g Swiss brown mushroom, remove stem
  • 300g Potato, peeled (I use baby potato)
  • 1 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Tonkatsu sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste 
  1. Marinate the beef chunks with sea salt and pepper and coat thinly with flour.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil in a cast iron pot, add garlic slices. Once fragrant, add beef chunks and sear all the sides till browned.
  3. Add 1L water, bay leaves and celery to the pot, bring to boil and then lower heat, simmer for about 50-60 mins till beef is tender.
  4. In a separate small pot, add red wine and cook on medium heat for 5-6 mins, till wine is reduced by half. Add the demi-glace sauce and cook on low heat for 3 mins. Off heat and set aside.
  5. In a frying pan, melt the butter then add all the vegetables. Sauteed for 5 mins. Off heat and set aside.
  6. Once beef is ready, add the vegetables from (5) to the pot, bring to boil then turn down the heat. Scoop and discard any scums from the soup. *I use the "Akutorishito" (something like a fine mesh cloth) bought from Japan to help absorb the scums and excess oil. Cover the lid and simmer for 10 mins.
  7. After 10 mins, remove the lid and add the red wine and demi-glace mixture from (4). Simmer over low heat for 30 mins, stirring occasionally. The gravy will thickened and reduced.
  8. For finishing, add the ketchup, tonkatsu sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

This dish is best served hot with rice or crusty bread. I had mine with rice because didn't have time to make any bread. The cook recommended sour cream to go with the gravy as well but I was too lazy and didn't bother didn't have the ingredients.

I love the gravy! Although the gravy looks very rich, the taste is mild and not overwhelming on the palate. The texture and taste of beef, onion, carrot, potato and mushroom complemented each other very well. Certainly a comfort stew for the cold weather. This recipe is definitely a keeper and I'm already looking forward to cook this dish again, this time with sour cream and homemade crusty bread.