Thursday, March 31, 2005

Easter Chocolates Part 1:
Easter Bunnies and Easter Eggs

Easter Bunnies Protecting Sacred Easter Eggs
♥ 3 Easter Bunnies protecting Sacred White Eggs
It's almost a week since Easter and you know what, I haven't the heart to go and chomp all the cute easter chocolates down. I mean, who would be cruel to devour such a cute looking bunnies looking at you with its glittering eyes?

.......*silence*.......*sweats*.......*bigger sweats*......

Er, alright! Alright! I admit I am the utterly cruel being who successfully captured one easter bunny and the egg it was trying to protect and chomped it down. Yes, just like that. Opened my mouth and chomp, chomp, chomp!

So you ask, where do these kawaii bunnies come from? hmm it's top secret! :p

No secret really. These cute bunnies who are protecting their Bunnyland's sacred egg came from Northside Produce Market I visited just a week before the Easter Weekend. Three bunnies and three eggs for A$10.

One Bunny
♥ One Easter Bunny
So here's a clearer view of the cute bunny. Somehow I have the urge to call it Buster. Not so sure why that is so.

One Bunny's Side
♥ Easter Bunny with cute pom-pom
And the bunny comes with cute ears and a cute bum, er, I mean tail.

The Three Bunnies
♥ The Three Bunnies Soldiers
On my mission to capture the easter bunnies and their sacred eggs, I came face to face with three (very cute) bunnies soldiers. They were all tensed up and ready for a bite or fight when I approached the hiding place of their sacred eggs.

Three Kawaii Bunny Bums
♥ Three Kawaii Bunny Bums
But I was quick and got around to their backs. Awwww, look at how cute their bum-bums are. Hey! I was not deceived by their cute looks and managed to capture them *yay* I was very tempted to order them to do a bunny-bum dance too.

Sacred White Easter Eggs
♥ The Three Sacred White Eggs
Alas, I had to fulfill my mission first - to find and bring back both the bunnies and the sacred eggs from bunnyland. So here, the beautiful sacred easter eggs. Comes with cute pink ribbons tied around it too!

What's Inside the Sacred White Egg
♥ Chowing down the Sacred Eggs
Mission accomplished and the horrible Pinkcocoa chomped down the sacred eggs which was supposed to give long life, and enjoyed the creamy liquored filling. Not sure what liquor it was though. I was too busily observing other easter eggs when I was at the Easter Eggs stall at the market.

Please kindly and patiently await the arrival of another two easter chocolate posts. :-)
Continue Reading Easter Chocolates Part 1:
Easter Bunnies and Easter Eggs


Friday, March 25, 2005

Hot Cross Bun on Good Friday

Hot Cross Bun
So I have just learnt that hot cross bun is traditionally eaten on Good Friday and during the Lenten period. From what I understand, the Lenten period is the days preceding the Christian holy day of Easter ie. the day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and you have to give up something you like (ie. fasting) from the day the Lenten period starts - Ash Wednesday.

Shamed to say, I don't really know much about Easter tradition even though I had spent several years studying in a Christian school. I still have a faint memory that the school would hold a service on Ash Wednesday. And one by one, we would go up to the front to receive blessing (?) and the bread which is really a small round piece of rice paper. We simply put it onto our tongue and gently let the rice paper dissolved away.

Then comes my first memory of hot cross bun being offered toasted and spread thickly with butter by my homestay. I never really fancy anything with dried fruits inside until the day I had my first hot cross bun. I was transformed and ever since then I like raisins and sultanas in my bread. Of course, I had no idea what the significance of hot cross bun until er, recently. *blush*

Anyhow, we haven't had any hot cross bun this year yet and I had to rush to the shopping centre just before they closed last night to grab some hot cross bun to enjoy on Good Friday.

♥ tabeshimashita @ home on 25 Mar 2005 - good friday!
Bakers Delight
♥ Bakers Delight
I had wanted to get the more gourmet type of hot cross bun. But seriously, just any hot cross bun would do me fine especially when it's last minute shopping. So I headed to Bakers Delight which offers 4 types of hot cross buns: the normal spiced and fruit-filled hot cross bun, the plain hot cross bun with no fruits inside, choc cross buns with choc chip and something new this year called choc-coconut-cherry cross bun.

Hot Cross Bun
♥ Traditional Hot Cross Bun
I had wanted to try the choc-coconut-cherry cross bun. It sounds so divine but the Bakers Delight I visited didn't have them so I opted for the traditional hot cross bun instead.

Hot cross bun is simply a spiced bun full of wholesome sultanas. I believe there is also a version that is just full of other wholesome dried fruits. The cross on top of the bun is a symbol of Christ or a symbol of the Crucifixion.

Inside Hot Cross Bun
♥ Fruit-filled Hot Cross Bun
This hot cross bun is filled with quite a lot of sultanas, just the way I like it. The more the better! :p

Choc Cross Bun
♥ Choc Cross Bun
Of course being a chocoholic, how could I not get the choc cross bun! It is just a normal bun with choc chip inside. Or should I say, with chocoloate chips all over. Oh and the cross is made of chocolate too instead of custard on the traditional hot cross bun. *yum*

Inside Choc Cross Bun
♥ So full of Chocolate Chips
And this bun is just so full of chocolate chips, inside and outside, left and right, top and bottom! It's just so good to be able to start the day by digging into chocolate. Just if you would really like to know, I had the choc cross bun with hot chocolate! :-D *yum*

Happy Easter, people!!
I shall post about chocolate eggs soon. *cheers*
Continue Reading Hot Cross Bun on Good Friday


Thursday, March 24, 2005

IMBB 13: Volcano Muffins!?

My Little Muffin Tower
♥ My Little Muffin Tower
I was still feeling the itch to do more baking after my cupcakes adventure so I decided to do another IMBB contribution. This time, I thought, I might make muffin since Maki of I was really hungry regards muffin as sort of a nude cupcake. So yup, I am going to make muffins after cupcakes as my second IMBB13: My Little Cupcake (or Muffin) project .

I had wanted to do a pandan (screwpine) muffin with kaya (coconut jam) filling ever since I acquired a bunch of pandan leaves (10 leaves for A$2) from the fruit market. But as usual, I got lazy and couldn't be bothered with blending the pandan leaves and squeezing the juice.

The pandan muffin idea was scraped. I still wanted to make a green colour muffin. Don't ask me why I suddenly had a particularly fondness to the colour green. I just feel like I had to make a green muffin. Hmm, maybe it's the after effect of St Patrick's day? So I thought I was being very clever and came up with a different green muffin that comes with a filling too. Yes, I was obsessed with fillings in my muffin these few days.

ShinChan has actually asked me to do a green tea muffin after seeing a green tea steamed cake recipe and I agreed to do it because the green tea powder (maccha powder) will give a bright green colour to the muffin so I can get a green colour muffin. Good. The muffin flavour solved.

And on to the fillings. The moment I took out my maccha powder, I thought of having green tea ice cream together with black sesame ice cream. *yum* It was clearly another lightbulb above my head moment: why not have a black sesame fillings! You know the black sesame fillings you get in tang yuan (chinese glutinous rice ball). The type that is soft and liquidy and oh-so-moreish.

♥ tabeshimashita @ pinkcocoa's kitchen on 24 Mar 2005
I decided to try another method of muffin making after trying the creaming method and the muffin method. This third method is probably a collaboration of the creaming method and the muffin method? I am not sure. I used a recipe from baking cookbook for beginners by Yasuyo Shida.

IMBB - Muffin Resources
♥ Pinkcocoa's Baking Resources: book & powder
The cookbook is originally in Japanese I believe and was translated into Chinese for sale in Taiwan and Hong Kong. On top of the book is the black sesame powder I used. I bought it from the Asian supermarket. It comes in a zip-lock pack and has a very nice black sesame aroma on opening.

Volcano Muffin
♥ Pinkcocoa's Volcano Muffin from er, Japan...
I adapted the chocolate muffin recipe inside the cookbook by substituing the cocoa powder with maccha powder instead. The cookbook is definitely perfect for beginners because it comes with step by step photo instructions. ;-)

♥ Maccha Muffin
based on muffin recipe from My First Sweet Baking Book by Yasuko Shida

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature*
120g caster sugar
2 x 50g eggs, at room temperature and beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
40ml milk
1 tbsp low fat natural yogurt**

dry ingredients
115g cake flour
25g maccha powder
20g almond meal (don't have this so I substituted cornflour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt*

  • Preheat oven to 180c. Grease muffin pan or line it with muffin liners. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients evenly together then sift twice.
  • Using an electric beater, beat butter until soft and creamy. Beat in sugar until the colour is pale and the mixture looks soft and fluffy.
  • Add 1/3 of the egg mixture and mix until just combine. Repeat this process twice.
  • Mix in vanilla extract.
  • Mix in milk and yogurt. At this stage, you might find your batter has started to cuddle, simply add in 2 tablespoon of the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth again.
  • Sift half of the dry ingredients over the batter. Lightly fold in the dry ingredients by using a spatula, scraping from the bottom.
  • Once it is evenly mixed, sift in remaining dry ingredients and fold using a spatula as before.
  • Fill muffin pan*** up to 1/2 full and spoon a teaspoon of black sesame filling (see below) on top. Fill up the muffin pan until it is just full.
  • Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until the skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan for 5 minutes then turn onto rack to cool.

Black Sesame Filling
25g butter, at room temperature
25g black sesame powder
25g icing sugar
1 tsp caster sugar

  • For the filling, simply mix all the ingredients together until you get a soft paste. Taste it and adjust the sugar amount to your liking.

♥ Pinkcocoa's Notes:

* I used reduced fat margarine and omitted the salt in the dry ingredient. If you use salted butter, omit the salt.
** I wanted a rather moist muffin so I added in extra yogurt. The result was not great because the muffins are a little too moist.
*** I used a 6 x 1/2 cup muffin pan, and found there is more batter than required to fill up the pan. So I spoon the remaining muffin batter into mini muffin pan and place a tiny amount of black sesame filling on top. I then used a skewer (or chopstick) to do a tiny swirl to mix up the
batter and the filling.

IMBB - Muffin Batter
♥ Green Muffin Batter
So I thought I was being very clever to add black sesame filling to my muffin. See how the batter looks so perfect before going into the oven?

IMBB - Muffin out from Oven
♥ Disaster Strikes!
And now have a look after 30minutes in the oven. Disaster! The black sesame filling somehow has oozed its way out from the muffin. I was horrified and very disappointed. They looked like volcanoes erupting! *yikes* My stupid idea. *shucks*

I think this probably had to do with me filling up the muffin pan to 2/3 full before adding the filling. So there was only a mere 1/3 amount of muffin batter to protect the fillings. I should have just fill up the muffin pan to 1/3 full. *sigh*

Volcano Muffin Top
♥ The ugly looking green and black muffin
Oh well, I did get a very dramatic looking muffin. Apart from its ugly look, the black sesame filling did produce a very nice nutty aroma. It smells wonderful together with the green tea.

IMBB - Inside Volcano Muffin
♥ Black Sesame Filling inside
Here's how the black sesame filling looks like inside the muffin. And now you see why I had blamed the disaster with incorrect proportion of top and bottom batter. Too much batter at the bottom and too little on top!

Anyhow the black sesame filling is rather chewy. Those fillings that have been exposed actually hardens a little to a chewy and sticky state once cooled. Those still hiding inside are wonderfully soft. I was worried I couldnt get the liquidy texture but the butter melted in the oven, given a soft and slightly liquidy filling. I think I might have to add more butter next time to get a super liquidy result.

Volcano Muffins Tower
♥ Mini Muffin Tower
The mini muffins on the other hand, fare much better than its bigger siblings. It looks cute and there is no ugly oozing of black coloured fillings. The black sesame swirl, in fact, looks wonderful on the mini muffin. Perhaps I should have done the same thing with the bigger muffins.

IMBB - Black Sesame Lava
♥ Black Sesame Filling Oozing out
So how does the maccha-black-sesame muffin taste like? I like the bit where there's black sesame attached. Green tea and black sesame sure works together wonderfully. The maccha muffin alone tasted a little, should I say, droughty? Yet it is a little too moist. I guess that's because of the extra tablespoonful of yogurt I added. I shouldn't have been kaypoh (hokkien meaning busybody) and cleverly added liquid more than required!

I have found maccha powder a little hard to work with because if you add too much, the product becomes bitter. Too little, you cant taste the green tea flavour. I have also found that maccha powder gives the product a rather rough or droughty texture. This is how my muffin tasted like. It has this droughty texture but then it's quite moist - a rather weird combination.

I guess I might do better next time I come up with weird ideas in baking. This one is rather disastrous. I was devastated at first but somehow I managed to cheer myself up by calling this muffin volcano muffin! I guess this is another kitchen disaster that produces a rather good (and surprising) result.

Continue Reading IMBB 13: Volcano Muffins!?


IMBB 13: My Little Chocolate Surprise Cupcake

My Little Cupcake
Time really flies. Has it really been 2 months since I last participated in my first ever Is My Blog Burning(IMBB), a very clever and original foodblog event created by Alberto of Il Forno?

As a sweet and sugar enthusiast, I of course would jump at every single chance (and a very good reason) to yet indulge myself in dessertland. So I was thrilled to find out the theme for the 13th IMBB kindly hosted by Maki of I was just very hungry is My Little Cupcake (or Muffin)! Just another reason for me to play with butter, flour and sugar in the kitchen. *grin*

Cupcakes bring back memories about my highschool days in Australia. I baked my very first cupcake in highschool for a friend's 18th birthday. It was in fact my very first baking experience after a few months of cookbooks and recipes studies. If only I was that hardworking when it comes to school works!

I have been scratching my head these few days to decide what sort of cupcakes to make. Initially I had intended to use the steamed sweet potato muffin for IMBB but instead I teamed it with caramel and submitted it for SHF. So, what exactly should I make?

Lately I have been having craving for chocolate cake. With all the chocolate easter egg around, it's hard not to think about chocolate. It's not just any chocolate cake that I craved for but the chocolate cake that a friend's homestay had made using an Australia Women Weekly's recipe. That was, again, back in highschool days. So you see, I am having a tiny nostalgic food moment of my highschool days in Australia.

IMBB -Chocolate Cupcake Bite
♥ Dead-easy Chocolate Cupcake
I don't have the chocolate cake recipes of my friend's homestay but I came across a Dead-easy chocolate cake recipes when I was browsing through my newspapers cutting. This is a recipe that the author of the newspaper article (recipes section from 2May 2004 Sunday Life Magazine of the Sun Herald) has obtained from Peter Bennett, a home cook and regular entrant in the cooking section of the Royal Melbourne Show.

♥ tabeshimashita @ pinkcocoa's kitchen on 24 Mar 2005
With Sydney Royal Easter Show being held now, I thought this recipe might just be the perfect adaption for my IMBB contribution.

♥ Dead-easy chocolate cake
from Recipes section of Sunday Life Magazine in The Sun Herald on 02 May 2004
based on Peter's Bennett recipes

200g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder, sifted
250g brown sugar
125g butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
160ml water

  • Preheat oven to 170c. Brush a 20cm round cake pan with melted butter to grease and line the base with non-stick baking paper. I used muffin pans and lined it with muffin cases.

  • Place all cake ingredients in a large bowl and beat with electric beaters on high for 2-4 minutes or until pale and silky smooth.

  • Pour into prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. I baked for around 35-40 minutes in my muffin pan.
  • Stand in cake pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

Serves 8 -10.

♥ Pinkcocoa's Notes:
* I made half a batch of this recipes by halfing all the ingredients and baked them in 6 x 1/2 cup muffin pan. It took around 40 minutes to cook.
* After spooning the batter into 2 muffin holes, I decided to make a variation of the cake by adding round about 1/3 cup of rum-soaked raisins to the batter. So in the end, I had 4 chocolate surprise (rum & raisin hidden inside) cupcakes and 2 original chocolate cupcakes.

♥ Gooey Icing on my cupcakes
The next step is of course the icing! It's the icing that makes cupcakes so desirable. It is fun and you can be as creative as you want on decorating your cupcakes.

For the chocolate surprise cupcake, I decided to make icing for the alcoholic:
♥ Rum Icing
75g icing sugar, sifted
1.5 tbsp white rum (replaced with other liquer if preferred or with other non-alcoholic liquid)

  • Mix the sugar and rum together until you get a slightly runny paste.
  • Wait until the cupcakes are completely cool before spooning half a tablespoonful of icing on top. Let the icing run down the sides for that Donna Hay effect. Top and decorate with whatever you like eg. chocolate chips, coloured sugar, sweet sprinkles, thousands & thousands.
Chocolate Cupcake with Rum Cocoa Icing
♥ Cocoa Rum Icing & White Rum Icing
After icing 2 cupcakes, I decided to make a variation to the icing by adding about a teaspoon of cocoa powder to the remaining icing mix. I have also added about 1/4 teaspoon of white rum to the mixture because the icing mixture was a little hard after adding cocoa powder.

Cupcakes with Facial Expression!
♥ Easter Egg Cupcake decoration?
For decorations, I used fine dessicated coconut, M&M speckled easter eggs, sugared flower sprinkle, silver metallic edible sprinkle and icing sugar.

IMBB - Pretty Cupcakes
♥ Pinkcocoa's cupcakes
taaa-daaaa~ Here's my cupcakes decoration. I am a novice when it comes to cake decorating. I don't know how to use a piping bag too. Something I would love to learn one day. So I opted to do very simple decoration that will be easy for even a beginner like me. Just remember the golden rule to cake decoration: less is more!

IMBB - Shiny Cupcake
♥ Simple Cupcake Decoration
This is the simplest form of decoration. Drizzle the cupcake with icing and then sprinkle some store-bought mini edible metallic balls. I actually thought this would looks good on a wedding. :p

IMBB - Chocolate Flower Cupcake
♥ Simple Cupcake Decoration
Another simple decoration. Drizzle cocoa icing then place a few cute flower sugar on top. I love how it is so colourful. And the cocoa icing is just great for a chocoholic. I bet a chocolate glaze or ganahe would be even better.

IMBB - Monster Cupcake
♥ Monster/Clown cupcake!?
Okie. This looks rather scary but funny too. It looks like the cross between Elmo and Cookie Monster. What I did was sprinkle dessicated coconut over the icing then use M&M as eyes and nose.

Flower Cupcake
♥ Even simpler decoration
Remember I have 2 original chocolate cupcakes? I decided not to decorate them with the rum icing as I want to keep this cupcakes alcohol-free.

What I did was I place a flower-shaped cookie cutter on the cupcake then sprinkle icing sugar over it. Then decorate with the mini flower sugar. I did stuck a little normal icing (icing sugar mixed with water) on the back of the flower sugars to make them stay. Simple but cute!

Valentine's Cupcake
♥ Sweet Heart Cupcake
This I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter and placed a rose (for rose tea). Looks perfect for valentine's!

IMBB - Chocolate Rum Raisin Cupcake
♥ Chocolate Surprise Cupcake
Here's my chocolate surprise cupcake. You can't really tell from the outside that this little cupcake in fact has many raisins full of the wholesome flavour of white rum! The rum icing together with the rum raisin makes this a very grown-up cupcakes. You can hardly tell the devil hiding inside this sweet little cupcake!

More Cupcakes
♥ More Cupcakes!
Looks like we are having a little cupcake party there, aren't we? ;-)

Oh I forgot to mention about the chocolate cake. It's quite light and slightly spongy and soft too! The chocolate flavour is just right. I can see myself making more of this cake. It's just so easy. And yes, it's almost like my friend's homestay's chocolate cake!

Continue Reading IMBB 13: My Little Chocolate Surprise Cupcake


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Very Different Banger and Mash

Salmon Sausage with Mashed Sweet Potato & Wilted Baby Spinach
♥ Salmon Sausage with Sweet Potato Mash & Wilted Baby Spinach
And so we gobbled up the pack of salmon sausages from Northside Produce Market over the weekend. Yes, we were just so glutton. Sorry the sausage in the pic looks a little like a fat crawling worm but don't let the look fools you!

And now you ask how good were these sausages from the sea? It's absolutely divine!

My first ever decent western meal in Aussie was actually a large plate of banger and mash in Handorf, Adelaide Hills. The fat and succulent and juicy sausages together with super creamy mash topped with gooey gravy instantly becomes one of my favourite angmoh (a Hokkien phrase refering to Caucasian, which when directly translated takes to mean red hair) comfort food.

♥ tabeshimashita @ pinkcocoa's kitchen on third weekend of Mar 2005
I haven't had banger and mash for a while so I thought why not give banger and mash a tiny twist: salmon sausages served on top of sweet potato mash with wilted baby spinach on the side. I am not sure how twisted this banger and mash is but I sure know this is fair healthier. I made the creamy sweet potato mash by adding a dash of skim evaporated milk and a pinch of salt and I grilled the sausages.

Delicious Salmon Sausage
♥ Simply Divine Salmon Sausages
I really don't know what to say about these salmon sausages. The sausages were stuffed full of delicious salmon, onion, parsley. I think I have missed out this other ingredient. Oh well, who cares. As long as it's yummy, I am not complaining. :p

The salmon filling was already well seasoned so we enjoyed it without any sauce. And the sweet potato mash was a nice companion to the salmon sausage. It's a little sweet and probably serves a little like palate washer? Just one tiny thing: the sausage has a very, er, salmon-fishy taste. So I guess if you don't like salmon, you won't like this.
Continue Reading A Very Different Banger and Mash


Monday, March 21, 2005

Northside Produce Market - March

Northside Produce Market

I think I have a thing for markets. Not just any markets but markets associated with food. My new found passion for the year 2005 is probably food shopping at growers markets! The markets are the only incentive to shove me out my comfy doona that early (think 7am) on a Saturday morning. It's really the atmosphere and all the delicious food tasting that gets me super excited. :)

It was not long ago that I visited the Pyrmont Growers Market. And here I was, at yet another food market. This time at Northside Produce Market which I have visited numerous time. Okie. Maybe it's only my third time but I vowed to try to head there on the third saturday of each month.

This time I found the market more flamboyant and lively than my first visit in January. There were more stalls, more people and more food to taste! *yay* The following are just a few food pics that I managed to snap while my hands and mouth were not busy doing some food tasting.

♥ tabeshimashita @ Northside Produce Market on 19 Mar 2005
♥ Salmon!
I missed out on their salmon sausages (5 sausages for A$10) last time at Pyrmont Growers Market. This time we were there early and yup, we managed to grab hold of one pack. The sausages are so yummy that we finished it the weekend we bought it! Salmon sausage post to follow up, I promise.

Smoked Food
♥ Smoked Food
Can't quite remember the name of this smoked house. They have really delicious looking sausages, bacons, chorizo. I so wanted to get some but we already bought a pack of salmon sausages. Maybe next time....

♥ Greens and Vegetables
As usual, the greens and vegetables are so fresh that many couldn't wait to get their hands on some. The vegetables at the markets are not necessarily cheaper than those from suburban fruit markets but they are certainly gleaming fresher, greener and crispier to me!

Kei's Ginger Bud
♥ Kei's Kitchen Ginger Bud
We love Kei's Kitchen Almond Miso! And their noodle dressing. *yum* The kind Japanese lady that we talked to had already been in Australia for 30 years. They planted these ginger buds themselves. They also planted their own gingers and yamaimo! And I thought I couldnt find yamaimo here in Australia.

Kei's Bonsai Baby Yam
♥ Kei's Kitchen Bonsai Yam or Baby Yam
It was the first time we saw such a cute yam! The baby yam was rather crunchy and slightly bitter. Apparently it is good when cooked with rice.

♥ Mirrabooka Farms' Peaches
We had been buying lots and lots of peaches from Mirrabooka Farms. This was their last batch of peach for the year. They are now busy picking apples (red delicious!) so we can expect to see quite a bit of apples next month. They also have fairly priced figs at A$0.50 each!

♥ Tropical Fruits Gift Pack - Rambutan
I was delighted to see rambutan but disappointed at the price. It was just too costly (at least in my standard). The punnet there, I think was selling for A$15. To think I could buy a large bunch by the roadside back home for S$1. Anyhow, I shouldn't really compare because rambutan is considered as exotic fruits here so I guess the price was still fair in some sense.

Gumnut Florentine & Cookies
♥ Gumnut's Florentines and Cookies
I love their florentines!

Gumnut Chocolate
♥ Gumnut Chocolate
But I love their chocolate more! The furthest left is chili truffle chocolate. The middle one is just boxful of mixed truffles and the one on the right is Easter special only - Cinnamon Hot Cross Bun Chocolate. There was also chocolate easter eggs. I managed to grab the last pack of the eggs (5 cute eggs for A$12)

♥ Breakfast at Northside
After some shopping and food tasting, we were a little tired and hungry again! So we grabbed a alrge mug of hot chocolate to share, a slice of banana bread from Shepherd's Bakehouse (I love their fruit buns and three sisters chocolate ganache at the Spring Picnic last year) and soy chocolate ganache in coconut shell from Rowie's Cakes.

Some disappointments at the market though. Apparently we were still late and didn't manage to grab any hot cross bun for Good Friday! Aiya...

Northside Produce Market
Every 3rd Saturday of the Month at:
200 Miller Street
North Sydney NSW 2060
ph. 02 9922 2299

♥ Pinkcocoa's Related Post

Continue Reading Northside Produce Market - March


Friday, March 18, 2005

SHF#6 - Bailey Caramel Sauce over Steamed Sweet Potato Muffin

Steamed Sweet Potato Muffin with Bailey Caramel Sauce
♥ Bailey Caramel Sauce over Steamed Sweet Potato Muffin
I know I have already missed 5 editions of Sugar High Friday (SHF), a clever (and exciting!) monthly food blog event created by Jennifer from The Domestic Goddess. Being a girl with a passion for sweet things, I have no idea why I would let myself missed out on 5 chances to get my hands dirty and have fun in the kitchen with sweet sweet things.

Hosted by Debbie of Words to Eat By, the theme for the 5th edition of SHF is Stuck on You and the ingredient is of course the sweet sticky chewy oh-so-more-ish caramel. Oh! Sweet caramel. How can one not like the sugary syrupy burnt sugar in amber colour? I particularly love the burnt caramel on creme brulee. *yum* The first thing that sprung to my mind when I knew of caramel as the main ingredient was candied sweet potato from Taiwan. It's sweet potato (or kumera) that's been cooked in a mixture of sugar and maltose and enjoyed hot. I was going to make that but I didn't have maltose at home besides I had a craving for something spongy.

So what did I come up with? It sounds a little strange and perhaps even weird. It's a combination of the East and West muffin with bailey caramel sauce.

♥ tabeshimashita @ pinkcocoa's kitchen on 18 Mar 2005
I came upon a steamed banana muffin recipe by SeaDragon. It's really smart of SeaDragon to spin together the West and the East and created a fusion muffin! I would never have thought of doing that.

I was thinking about the steamed muffin even in my sleep but I was also dreaming about the soft sweet slightly burnt aroma of the syrupy caramel ever since I learn of caramel being the 6th SHF ingredient. I guess I might as well combine the two together since I have been drooling about the two. Perhaps you can call this "killing 2 birds with one stone"!

The original recipe calls for banana which I substituted with sweet potato (or kumera) instead since I didn't have any banana on hand. I have also reduced the sugar to about 50g since I will be having the muffin with some luscious syrupy sugary caramel sauce. Besides, sweet potato has a certain level of sweetness in itself.

Just before steaming
♥ Batter before steaming
I don't have a proper steamer so I let my trustworthy frypan had the honour of steaming my first ever steamed muffin. The batter was in fact thicker than I thought it would be and it's a little lumpy.

I have also added about 2 tablespoonful more of milk than required because I used wholemeal flour which I believe requires a tad more liquid than the normal flour.

In the steamer
♥ Steaming.....
Here you see the steaming in action. Thanks to my transparent wok-lid, I was able to enjoy the beautiful action of the batter slowly puffing up and turning into a beautiful domed shape.

Muffin is done steaming!
♥ Steamed Sweet Potato Muffin or Chinese Muffin?
I reckon we could call this chinese muffin. It looks so much like muffin yet it also resembles a little bit of the chinese steamed cake (fa gao).

Now about the caramel sauce. This is actually my first time making caramel sauce to be served over cakes or drizzle over ice-cream. I looked through a number of recipes but couldn't find one that I like so I thought I might as well use my woman instinct and do it the agar-agar (estimated) way. I also have some bailey irish creme that needed to be used up of so I thought why not substitute the cream/milk with bailey instead. The combination was rather wonderful. There you have the sinful combination of rich caramel with the flamboyant flavour of milky sweet bailey. This is definitely a caramel sauce for the grown-up!

The recipe is only a rough guide since I didn't exactly measure everything when I was making the sauce.

♥ Bailey Caramel Sauce
3/4C sugar
1C water
1tsp cornflour*
100ml Bailey Liquor + extra if required**

  • Place sugar and water into a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring for about 2 to 3 minutes until sugar dissolves.
  • Bring to the boil. Do not stir from this stage onwards or the syrup might cuddle. Boil for 12 to 15 minutes until sauce reduces and thickens slightly to an amber/caramel colour.
  • Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Whisk together cornflour and Bailey until cornflour dissolves. Add to the slighly cooled sauce.
  • Return to stovetop over low heat. Cook, stirring, until sauce just comes to the boil.
  • Remove from heat and check for a syrupy consistency. If it's too thin, heat over low heat for a little while more. If it is too thick, simply whisk in tiny bits of bailey and check again.
* Cornflour is added as a stabiliser. I think it will be alright if you leave this out.
**You can substitute bailey for any other liquor you fancy eg. cointreau, rum. If you are not after the grown-up caramel sauce, simply use pouring cream or milk instead. For a low-fat alternative, use buttermilk.

Sweet syrupy bailey caramel sauce over sweet potato muffin
♥ Pinkcocoa's SHF6 Submission!
Ta-daaa~ Here it is: Bailey caramel sauce poured over steamed sweet potato muffin. The sauce in this photo is slightly thicker than it should be. I have heated the sauce for too long and the sauce has turned into icing consistency. It should really be more runny. This photo used my first batch of caramel sauce. I had better luck with my second batch but unfortunately, I didn't have time to take a photo of my better sauce.

Seriously, I was actually a little bit sceptical about the combination of steamed muffin with caramel sauce and was worried if the result would turn out bad. Luckily, it worked quite well but I am not so sure if this was a wise combination. We love the muffin and we love the sauce. Just that the combination was not as perfect. But anyhow, I had fun with SHF. I guess if not for SHF, I would never have thought of combining the two together!

I don't think I have mentioned how the muffin tasted like. It tasted a little like sponge cake yet there is a certain chewiness in it. It is also a little bit softer and more moist than sponge cake. It's quite light, not as dense and heavy as its muffin cousin. I quite enjoy this muffin. I bet it's yummy with nutella spreaded on top! ;-)

As with the bailey caramel sauce, it's absolutely divine except it's a little sweeter than I like. This will be nice drizzle over ice-cream, bread and butter pudding and perhaps even as a spread for your toast! Okay, bailey in the morning might not be a good idea but well, if it's just for that tiny little indulgence once in a while, why not?

Round-up of SHF6: Stuck on You
Continue Reading SHF#6 - Bailey Caramel Sauce over Steamed Sweet Potato Muffin