Pandan Chiffon Cake

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My mother has been baking a lot recently and she’s only been baking this chiffon cake. She likes to perfect a cake before moving on to the next cake. So if she’s on to chiffon cake, it’s going to be chiffon cake for the next few months.

Anyway, I’m not really complaining because this pandan chiffon cake is leagues ahead of the store-bought ones. And it’s a local flavoured kind of cake so it’s popular amongst everyone, especially the elderly.

I’ve been feeling a bit down lately and in the midst of my unhappiness, I felt that I wanted to make other people happy so I decided to bake two cakes for the cleaners in school to eat for their tea break. I’ve always wanted to do something to show my appreciation for their hard work and also because most of them are old and cleaning toilets isn’t the easiest thing to do. The least that I could do was bake them something to show that someone actually appreciates what they do πŸ™‚

Some aunties were quite lukewarm towards my gesture but some aunties were overjoyed and I guess even if I could only make one aunty smile, baking the cake would have been worth it πŸ™‚ No words can describe the joy that filled my heart when I saw how genuinely happy the aunty was. I’m thankful that I can be a blessing to others through the talents God has blessed me with. I hope that in the midst of all our busyness, we remember to be a blessing to others!

Anyway, here’s the recipe for the Pandan Chiffon Cake! It’s a really easy cake to bake, takes less than 30 minutes, so there’s no excuse to not bake this for the people you love! πŸ™‚

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Ingredients
5 egg yolks
20g of sugar
100g cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
100ml coconut milk
2 tbsp pandan juice
3 tbsp cooking oil

5 egg whites
60g sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Directions
1. Whisk egg yolks and 20g of sugar until thick.
2. Whisk in coconut milk and pandan juice.
3. Whisk in sieved flour and baking powder.
4. Whisk in cooking oil. Set aside.
5. In another bowl, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar and 60g of sugar until stiff peaks.
6. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the flour mixture.
7. Repeat until all the egg whites have been folded in.
8. Pour into mould (you can buy from Phoon Huat!) and place in preheated oven of 145 degrees Celsius.
9. Bake for 25 minutes or until the cake has separated from the middle ring.

Cucumber, Tomato and Feta Greek Salad

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School’s tiring and sometimes you need to self-declare a school holiday even though it has only been a week since school started πŸ™‚ So on self-declared school holidays, I cook my own lunch and today I made pita breads stuffed with a mint yogurt grilled fish, roasted harissa carrots and a greek salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese. I absolutely loved the greek salad because it had the right balance of sourness (from the cider vinegar), sweetness (from the honey) and saltiness (from the feta cheese). You can just eat it straight from the bowl or stuff it in some pita breads.

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Serves 4
Ingredients
1/2 cucumber, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey

Directions
1. Mix the cider vinegar, olive oil and honey together
2. Pour the dressing over the vegetables in a large bowl and serve πŸ™‚

Courgette Cucumber Yogurt Dip

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In my last visit to London in June, Sandra and I met up with Esther and before that meeting, she texted me and warned me to leave enough luggage space for her birthday present πŸ™‚ I was super excited to meet her (not just cause of my birthday present but also because I haven’t seen her in a year) and I was overjoyed that she remembered to buy a present for my birthday. I didn’t buy a present for her though because she was miles away ): Anyway, she surprised me with a Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook :))) And as always, my luggage did not have enough space so I had to hand carry it onto the plane back to Singapore hahaha.

So as part of her birthday present (since I didn’t give her any), I invited her over for lunch and I cooked her a meal of Shakshuka (refer to previous post) and this courgette cucumber yogurt dip to go with the homemade pita breads.

I loved how refreshing this dip was. It was especially needed on that day because it was so hot and humid. Yogurt, cucumber and mint? I’ll say yes to that on any sunny day.

The Kaffir lime leaves were an interesting, exotic addition to this dish. Okay maybe not that exotic considering how almost every single recipe in the cookbook had an ingredient that I had never come across (Dakos?!?). However, I felt that the browned butter added at the end was unnecessary. The dip would work excellent without the butter. So here’s my version of Yotam Ottolenghi’s ‘Yogurt and Kaffir Lime Leaf Spread’

Serves four
Ingredients
1 small courgette
1/2 cucumber, grated
6 large fresh Kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped
250g Greek yoghurt
2 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp shredded mint leaves
1 garlic clove, grated
salt

Directions
1. Mix the courgette and cucumber in a colander with 1/2 tsp of salt.
2. Leave to drain for about 20 minutes then squeeze them to remove as much liquid as possible.
3. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
4. Add the lime leaves, mint, grated garlic and yogurt and mix well.

Shakshuka & Pita Bread

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I always wanted to try making this dish after spotting it at Habitat Coffee but I was missing a key ingredient, Harissa paste. To all Singaporeans, here’s the great news. I found it. The all important, life-saving Harissa paste. It costs $6.50 for a small bottle and is sold in Marks and Spencer. Don’t underestimate the flavour of this paste because adding that one teaspoon transforms the entire dish. It elevates an Italian-like tomato stew to this most amazing North African dish.

After buying the Harissa paste, there was no more excuse to not make this dish. So I invited Esther over for lunch today and she was just as excited to make this dish as I was πŸ™‚ Thank God she tried Shakshuka before in a cafe so she knew what the ideal taste was. For me, I was just making this dish because it looked amazing. So I had no idea how it was supposed to taste like. But damn, I was blown away by the final product.

541A0740You have to eat this with bread or just something to dip with. We made our own pita breads to go with our Shakshuka. We just went all the way with our exotic theme for lunch. Store bought pita bread simply wasn’t good enough. It had to be handmade. It was my first time making pita bread and I was really excited seeing it poof up though a bit disappointed that it was a tad too hard (perhaps I added a bit too much flour). I especially loved tearing my pita bread apart and stuffing the pocket with egg and tomato πŸ™‚ Quite upset that I’m starting my Atkins diet tomorrow. Bye bye pita pockets with Shakshuka ): 541A0726

Shakshuka
Serves 4

Ingredients
Olive oil
3/4 brown onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons of harissa
2 teaspoons of paprika
2 teaspoons of tumeric
200g of crushed tomatoes
3 tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon of honey
60g of feta cheese
3 eggs

Directions
1. Heat pan with olive oil and fry the brown onions till translucent.
2. Add the bell peppers and fry till soft.
3. Add in the garlic and fry for another minute.
4. Add the harissa, paprika and tumeric and cook for another minute.
5. Add the crushed canned tomatoes, diced tomatoes and honey and simmer for 20 minutes, reducing it until the sauce is quite thick.
6. Add the feta cheese and stir through. Add salt & pepper to taste.
7. Crack one egg into a bowl. Make a well in the middle of the tomato paste and pour the egg into that well. Repeat with the other 2 eggs.
8. Place a cover on the pan until the egg whites are slightly set but the yolk is still runny.
9. Remove from heat and garnish with Italian parsley!

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Pita Bread
Makes 8 Pitas

Ingredients
1 cup of warm water
1 tbsp of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

Directions
1. Mix warm water, sugar and baking yeast in a bowl. Leave it to rest for 15 minutes until it has frothed up.
2. Pour the flour and salt into another bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour the yeast mixture into the well and using your hands, slowly mix the flour into the yeast mixture.
3. Sprinkle a little flour onto your clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
4. Oil a bowl and place the dough inside the oiled bowl. Let it rest for 1-2 hours until it has doubled in size.
5. Heat your oven to 230 degrees Celsius with the baking tray in the oven.
6. Roll out the dough into the size you want, making sure its at least half an inch thick so that it can puff up.
7. Place the pita bread onto the baking tray and watch it magically puff up! πŸ™‚ The pita is done when it is fully puffed up, about 2 minutes.

Fluffy Pancakes (2)

Pancakes

I got this recipe from the guys at Morino Lodge who so kindly wrote it down for me after we raved about how wonderful their pancakes were for breakfast. I’ll blog about Morino Lodge in my upcoming post on Central Japan, you have to stay with those guys when you’re in Hakuba. They are the best!

Anyway, these pancakes are fluffy, tasty and everything you want in that perfect pancake you dream about. You can whisk it up in just 15 minutes, let it rest for another 30 minutes and there, you have breakfast ready πŸ™‚

Ingredients
1 cup of self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup of milk
1 large egg
1 tbsp melted butter

Directions
1. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, make a well in the centre.
2. Whisk milk and eggs together until foamy.
3. Pour into well and fold.
4. Add melted butter and fold.
5. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes before frying the pancakes.