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Easy Korean Beef and Broccoli with Garlic Pickled Cucumber

This Korean Beef and Broccoli is my new savoury favourite – the juicy beef mince takes on the perfect blend of sweet, salty and spicy and goes so well with a bowl of rice! It takes the simplest Asian cooking approach and has the aroma from garlic, ginger and spring onions. If that doesn’t sound good enough yet, let me tell you it uses the simplest ingredients (mostly staple) and takes only 15 mins to whip up as a super quick dinner! If you like simple Asian dishes like this, do check out my most popular Japanese Salmon Fried Rice.



 

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Korean Beef and Broccoli Rice Bowl

Born and raised in Hong Kong, I was lucky enough to try cuisines from all over the world easily in the “Food Paradise”. Korean is one of my favourite Asian cuisines as I realised that their savoury dishes tend to lean towards the sweet side, which definitely hits the spot for me. The sauce for this Korean Beef and Broccoli is intense and packed with flavours. I modified the recipe so that it is well-balanced that the sweetness, and saltiness and spiciness can work together without being overpowering. Spoon the sauce over your fragrant, fluffy rice and I guarantee you will keep coming back for more because the sauce is THAT good. To keep the beef tender and soft, try to just cook the beef just enough in the saucepan to let it absorb the goodness of the sauce without being overcooked.

Korean Beef and Broccoli Rice Bowl

Korean Beef and Broccoli Rice Bowl

Chilli Garlic Pickled Cucumber

To pair the main dish, I made a garlic chilli pickled cucumber salad that is THE perfect side dish – it is so refreshing that it got the right kick from the garlic and chilli but still cuts through the intensity of the meat. This side dish is usually available in traditional Chinese restaurants but I thought it’s a good fusion idea. All you have to do is to mix all the ingredients to make the sauce and coat your cucumber well with it. It is best to prepare this dish the night before to let the flavours sink in. I hope you will enjoy this easy recipe. Please let me know your thoughts! Cheers.



Ingredients:

Korean Beef

  • 1 kg regular beef mince
  • 3 garlic colves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1 – 1.5 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • Sesame seeds, for garnishes

1 Broccoli Floret, cut into pieces

Garlic Chilli Pickled Cucumber 

  • 1 cucumber, cut into pieces
  • 2 tbsp Laoganma Chilli Sauce (you can substitute with other brand’s chilli sauce found in asian groceries store if not available) 
  • 2 tbsp chilli oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil

Instructions:

Korean Beef with Broccoli

  1. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, water, sesame oil, light brown sugar, black pepper, dried chilli flakes. Set aside.
  2. Wash and cut the broccoli into pieces. Prepare a pot of hot water with 1 tsp of salt to cook the broccoli.
  3. In a large sauce pan, heat up 3 tbsp of oil on medium high heat and cook ginger and garlic until fragrant. Around 2 mins. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. Turn the stove to high heat, add the beef mince in one go and continuously break the meat down with your spatular or wooden spoon while cooking.
  5. Add in the pre-mixed sauce and bring to boil. Turn the stove to medium heat and simmer for 2 mins.
  6. Now it’s the time to cook the broccoli. Boil the broccoli pieces in the prepared hot water for around 3-4 mins, depending on your preferences. I like to reserve the crunchiness of vegetables. Drain and set aside to serve.
  7. Add in spring onions and sesame seeds to the beef before serving.

Garlic Chilli Pickled Cucumber 

1. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 30 mins, preferably overnight.

Korean Beef and Broccoli Rice Bowl

Korean Beef and Broccoli Rice Bowl

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Creamy Avocado Pesto Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto




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This avocado pesto pasta with crispy prosciutto is super creamy, delicious, and full of nutritional values; basically, the addition of avocado takes the pesto game to a whole new level.

This avocado pesto pasta with crispy prosciutto is super creamy, delicious, and full of nutritional values; basically, the addition of avocado takes the pesto game to a whole new level. The buttery, sweet taste of avocado goes incredibly well with the salty parmesan cheese, and of course, a generous amount of basil leaves would freshen up the overall taste. I made this pasta a while ago but never got the chance to photography it properly. Luckily, this Sunday afternoon, I got my own personal space without school and work and simply enjoyed playing with food in the kitchen (although my peace of mind got disrupted when I accidentally broke my wok’s lid and all the all the glass shattered into a million of pieces..). Oh well.



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When it comes to savoury, I am all about taste and efficiency, and this pasta dish is no exception. To make the avocado pesto sauce, all you have to do is blend all the ingredients in a food processor until it reaches the consistency you want. I personally wouldn’t go too far on that, because I want to have some texture left to bite on. Toss the sauce with the cooked pasta and you are good to go. To give my pasta little bit of crunch, I also made some crispy prosciutto that complements well with the sauce. Yeap, that’s pretty much it. So if you’re quick, this pasta can be done in 15 mins. Try this recipe and let me know about your thoughts! 🙂 Thanks for reading.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 servings of bowtie pasta

Toppings

  • a few pieces of prosciutto
  • Fresh basil leaves to garnish

Pesto

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 lemon, juice of
  • 1 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nut
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to package instruction. Reserve some pasta water. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, cook the prosciutto in a sauce pan on medium-high heat until fragrant and crispy. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, put all the pesto ingredients (except salt and pepper) in a food processor or blender. Blend until generally smooth (you can retain some texture if you want). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce in the sauce pan. If the sauce is too thick, thin it out by adding some reserved pasta water. Serve immediately with the crispy prosciutto and some fresh basil leaves.

Yum




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Sundried-tomato Basil Sausage Pasta in White Wine Cream Sauce




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This sundried-tomato basil sausage pasta in white wine cream sauce is deliciously creamy, cheesy, and full of the beloved Italian flavours – I guarantee you that it’s gonna be your new favourite pasta recipe! The flavours of basil, mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes marry perfectly together as you can imagine, and the indulgent meaty white wine cream sauce  is just spot on. And what is the best part of all these? This pasta recipe literally takes minimum effort to make – start to finish 20 mins – so it could save your life in one of those tiring days.

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I made this pasta a couple days ago as my lunch before I headed to school, which means that I had to cook something as simple as possible. I don’t know about you, but I am the kind of person who feels on top of the world when a recipe idea pops up in my mind and realise I have all the ingredients I need. BEST FEELING EVER. But now things got reversed – as I am living on my own now, I always try to finish everything in my fridge to minimise wastage; that said, I come up with my recipe with the ingredients I got in hand. Surprising, cooking spontaneously gives me a sense of satisfaction and achievement that I didn’t experience before, and it definitely improves my cooking skills and creativity. So, I guess  I should be thankful about living on a budge ey.

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Try this easy recipe out and I hope you will like it!

Ingredients:

  • 200g pasta of your choice
  • 2 sausages of your choice,cut into small pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomato strips
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and drained  
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook for time per packet 2 mins less than the required time (as the pasta will continue cooking when you cook it with the sauce).
  2. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta for laster use.
  3. Meanwhile, in a pan, sauté the sausages on medium-high heat until golden brown and the sausage’s fat comes out. Keep the fat in the pan.
  4. Turn the heat to medium. Add onions and garlic. Cook for 3-4 mins until onions become translucent.
  5. Add cream, and white wine, sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Stir to help the cheese melt, let it simmer for 2 minutes until it reduces slightly.
  6. Add basil leaves, paprika, garlic powder, dried basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add pasta and toss gently in the sauce for about 1-2 mins. Evenly coat the pasta with the sauce as it thickens. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little reserve pasta water. Enjoy!

Yum




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Japanese Salmon Fried Rice




Happy Mother’s Day!



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With the aroma of spring onions, garlic and ginger, this salmon fried rice is packed with Asian flavours and it is so flavourful, delicious, and deeply satisfying as a quick-mix meal. Also, it uses minimal ingredients and takes little time to make – excluding the time to cook rice, it takes literally less than 30 mins to finish. Funny enough, this Japanese Salmon Fried Rice was made because I overcooked my salmon fillets one night; just before I surrendered and decided to eat the salmon anyway, my body refused and the idea of breaking the salmon into small pieces to make fried rice popped up. That’s when magic happened.  

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I came up with this recipe taking reference from Just One Cook Book. People usually say it’s best to use leftover rice to make fried rice so that all the grains can remain separated. However, let’s face it – sometimes making fried rice is a last-min decision just because WE CRAVE FRIED RICE AND WE WANT IT TODAY. If that’s the case, you can simply reduce the amount of water used to cook rice ( 85% water :  100% rice) and quickly pop them in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of ingredients.



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To me, the essence of the seasoning of this fried rice has to be sesame oil. Confession: I love adding sesame oil whenever I make Asian dishes, because its strong nutty taste enriches and brings out all the flavours of the dish. Also, I’d recommend using tamari soy sauce as it comes with a stronger taste and aroma.

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If you are an international student like me who loves food, you’d understand how essential it is to do meal prep cost-effectively without sacrificing taste. In Australia, a pack of salmon fillet costs me approximately AUD13. Yes, compared to other meat types like chicken, salmon still remains a luxurious option. But when you think about it, this salmon fried rice can possibly be splitted into 4-5 portions to freeze, so budget-wise it’s not too bad at all :). Thanks for reading and have a great week ahead!

Ingredients :

  • 3 cup cooked rice
  • 460g salmon fillet
    • Marinade: 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper)  
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced  
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • white pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line the baking pan with aluminum foil. Prepare the marinade and coat the salmon fillets evenly with it. Place the salmon on the foil and loosely wrap it to prevent it from drying out in the oven. Bake for 15-20 mins until cooked through. Let cool and break the salmon into small pieces for later use.
  2. While the salmon is cooking, add 1 tbsp of oil to the wok and heat the wok over medium high heat. When the wok is hot, add the eggs and mix with a spatula until the eggs are almost cooked. Take the eggs out and set aside.
  3. Add another tbsp oil to the wok, add spring onions, ginger, and garlic. Stir-fry until they’re nicely coated with oil and you can smell their aroma.
  4. Add the rice and break the chunk of rice with your spatula. Stir fry until the rice is nicely separated and well mixed.
  5. Add the prepared eggs and salmon pieces to the rice and break them into smaller pieces as you continue to stir fry.
  6. Season the fried rice with sesame oil, soy sauce, white pepper, black pepper and salt. Enjoy while it’s hot.






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Chinkiang Vinegar Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs (鎮江糖醋排)




TIME FOR SAVORY! I know, I know, I’ve been sharing dessert recipes to the point that my life appeared to consist of nothing but sugar and butter (aka a standard baker’s life). Well, I do cook as well. So if you’re looking for an easy Chinese dinner recipe for a family feast, you found the right place.

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The reason why I finally decided to post a savory dish on my blog is that it means something more than just one of my favourite chinese dishes. It is a dish that represents the start of my true cooking journey. This dish was among the very first dishes I made on my own for a purpose: international dinner, a “tradition” that everyone had to follow in our shared student apartment to showcase our own home cuisines way back during my exchange. I had panicked so much due to my lack of cooking experiences at the time (I tried to look up as many Chinese/HK recipes as I could online and I felt as f lots of my brains cells died in the process haha). But, phew, I did a pretty good job in the end and my friends were all impressed! Many had asked me why I became so passionate about cooking, and now you know why.

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Back to the actual food. To me, hands down, the thing that I like the most about Chinese cooking is its extensive use of “Sweet & Sour” – I know you feel it too, it is truly addictive. The proof is its popularity in the Chinese take-outs in foreign countries. Honestly, as someone who was born and raised in Hong Kong, I still can’t resist ordering sweet and sour pork every single time I dine in a Chinese restaurant.

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Regarding the dish, please don’t worry about the sauce being overly sour, because the sourness of the Chinkiang (or Zhenjiang) vinegar will be nicely balanced by the sweetness of sugar to become the yummiest sauce ever. Just prepare yourself a bowl of rice to have with it and you’re so good to go. I made this for my family and fingers crossed that they’ll like it. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pork ribs, each cut into 3 pieces
    • Marinade:
      • 2 tbsp corn flour
      • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
      • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 small ginger piece, cut into thin slices
  • 4 garlic cloves, cut into thin slices
  • 2 shallots, cut into thin slices
  • 1 large onion (or 2 small onions), cut into small chunks
  • 1 1/2  tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) Chinkiang  vinegar  
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • 1 rock sugar (but if you don’t have it, use 4 tbsp raw sugar instead)
  • some roasted white sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Wash the spare ribs under running water, drain and dry well with kitchen towel.
  2. Cut each spare rib into 3 sections
  3. Marinade the spare ribs with corn flour, light soy sauce and white pepper for at least an hour.  
  4. Heat your pan with medium high heat. Add in spare ribs, cook each side for 2 mins until golden brown.
  5. Add in gingers, garlic, and shallots, stir well and sauté until they become fragrant.
  6. Add Shaoxing cooking wine, dark soy sauce, and sugar, stir well.
  7. Add Chinkiang vinegar, water, and sugar, stir well.
  8. Bring to boil, braise over low heat for 30-45 mins until ribs become tender and sauce thickens.
  9. When served, sprinkle roasted white sesame seeds on top.
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C for Celebrate – Flourless Mocha Pistachio Cookies




Christmas is just around the corner, and it means BAKERS GOTTA BAKE. Therefore, the upcoming posts are going to be Christmas-themed. These flourless Pistachio Chocolate Cookies are possibly the easiest baked goods that you can give to bribe your friends and family *smirk* . They cannot be simpler to make. Also, there’s something about pistachio that makes these cookies look extra festive. The pistachio crumbs are like sparkles; just a small amount of them already gives the cookies a vibrant character and another layer of luxury.

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I made these cookies for a party with a newly met friend who’s also crazy about baking (we literally forgot to have lunch that entire afternoon). She’s very passionate about vegan baking and feel free to check her works out here . I am not sure if you can relate, but It felt amazing to me to work with another baker in my kitchen; when we baked, we understood each other’s mind pretty well and fast that things were finished in no time. Looking back, I realise how many precious friendships have developed and been improved due to my fervour for baking and food in general. How funny things work huh?

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Back to the star of this post. This recipe is adapted from the chocolate crinkle cookies by Anna Olson.  As always, I decreased the cookies’ sweetness to suit the taste of my friends and family. And I also added coffee and coffee liqueur as the favour booster. In my opinion, these cookies taste best when freshly taken out from the oven, as the chocolate would literally melt in your mouth. However, if you intend to pack them nicely for others, it’s alright, because when they’re cooled, they’d simply turn to some fudge-like cookies that are equally addictive. Make these cookies. Make people around you happy.

: )

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Ingredients:

Make 24 cookies (around 25g per cookie)

  • 270 g 70% dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 whole eggs + one egg yolk at room temperature
  • 30g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp coffee liqueur (or vanilla extract)  
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder, ground, melted in 2 tbsp hot water
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup (130 g) icing sugar, plus extra for rolling cookies
  • ½ cup (60 g) cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp (7 g) cornstarch
  • ½ tsp (2.5 g) salt
  • 50g pistachio, chopped

Instructions:

(adapted from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJmewcEnlJY):

Baking directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 ºF (190 ºC). Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

2. Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl placed over a saucepan filled with an inch of barely simmering water, stirring gently until melted. Set aside.

3. With electric beaters or in a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the eggs with the granulated sugar, coffee liqueur, coffee mixture and milk  until frothy and light, about 3 minutes (it doesn’t have to hold a “ribbon”). Whisk in the melted chocolate.

4. Sift in the icing sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt and stir in by hand until well combined. The batter may seem very soft at first, but just give it a minute – it will tighten up.

5. Place some icing sugar in a shallow dish. Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop the batter and drop it directly into the icing sugar (I measured each cookie as 25g and it’s a good size), rolling to coat each scoop fully. Arrange these on the prepared baking trays, leaving 1 ½-inches (4 cm) between them. Gently press each cookie flat with the palm of your hand. Press pistachio crumbs onto the cookies. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes (do not overbake) and cool the cookies on the tray just until they can be lifted off (1-2 minutes) then cool on a rack.

Yum




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Sunflower Love – Japanese Mini Cheese Tart with Milo Crust




Good news – there are finally some good tarts made in Charlotte’s kitchen!! I haven’t updated the blog for nearly two weeks, because 1) life outside was so eventful that my kitchen lost its allure to me temporarily (trust me it’s really big thing for someone like me who always prefers to stay home) and 2) I had been trying to figure out the best method of making these little japanese cheese tarts so that I can share this recipe with you guys.

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If you are a fan of Japanese desserts, cheese tart shouldn’t sound unfamiliar to you. People are crazy about it, but who can blame them? Taste wise, the tart marries sweet and salty brilliantly. Texture wise, the contrast between the buttery crispy crust and the lava-like cheesy filling probably creates the most unforgettable tart eating experience. I once tried it in Japan, and I simply couldn’t get over it ever since.

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My take on this tart overall is pretty straightforward, except that I added some milo powder into the crust for a little malty, chocolate twist. If you follow the instructions carefully, making the tart filling shouldn’t be hard either – it basically resembles making custard with the use of a double boiler, so that things can be cooked evenly and gently without cooking the egg. The cornflour and egg will thicken the mixture considerably so that you can easily brush egg yolk on it before baking.

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One thing I must remind you here is, that no matter how eager you want to see the result, please be patient to let tart crusts cool and dry up before filling them up. I was impatient before and the tart ended up tragically soggy (yeah you don’t want that). Thanks for reading and I hope you will make them soon!

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Make 10-12 mini tart

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cup (188g) all purpose flour (+ 2 tbsp for kneading)
  • 25g milo powder
  • 1/2 cup (115g) cold butter, cut into small cubes  
  • 1/4 cup (50g) caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • salt

For the filling:

  • 110g cream cheese
  • 110g mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tbsp (28g) butter
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk or heavy cream
  • 50g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 1 egg
  • 12g cornstarch (corn flour) (sifted)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Extra egg yolk for brushing

Instructions:

For the filling:

  1. Using a double boiler, heat and melt cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, butter until smooth.
  2. Add sifted cornflour and icing sugar, and mix well.
  3. Add egg, and mix well.
  4. Stir in milk, lemon juice, and vanilla, and mix well.
  5. Let the custard cool for at least 15 mins before putting them into a piping bag tipped with a round nozzle. Chill it in the refrigerator for later use.

For the crust:

  1. Blend together flour, milo powder, sugar, salt, butter with a pastry cutter or a food processor, until the mixture becomes coarse meal with spea-size butter lumps.
  2. Add egg and vanilla, and stir until incorporated.  
  3. Put the mixture onto a lightly floured surface. Add the extra 2 tbsp flour onto the dough surface. Knead the dough for a few times until the dough is brought together and no longer sticky. Press it into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 mins until firm.
  4. Roll out dough into 3-4mm thick with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface and fit into tart pans. Prick bottom and sides with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Now, Preheat your oven to 375F/190C.
  6. Bake tart shell for 15-18 mins . Let them cool in the pan until they’re cool enough to handle. Take the shells out of the pan and let them cool completely on a wrack.
  7. Now turn up the heat of your oven to 446F/230C.

Assemble:

  1. Pipe custard into the cooled tart shells, brush egg yolk on the surface.
  2. Bake for 6 mins on the top shelf (to facilitate browning). If you prefer a runnier texture, try 4 or 5 mins. Enjoy!

Yum

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Golden Haze – Ferrero Rocher Cupcake with Nutella Swiss Buttercream Frosting

Today let’s forget about going on (or thinking of going on – got you) diet, and just indulge ourselves in these golden goodness. These ferrero hazelnut cupcakes are simply perfect for celebratory occasions, because they’re

  • visually appealing
  • Sophisticated
  • indulgent

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There’s a story behind this creation – my mum’s colleague tried my baked goods at work and asked me to prepare cupcakes for her wedding. As nervous as I usually am, I low-key panicked a little (okay actually A LOT) and have been wracking my brain to think about what I should make in order not to disappoint. Red Velvet? Carrot Cake? Oreo & Cream? As I started to get frustrated this idea suddenly popped up in my mind – thank God – and I decided to go along with it.

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Instead of conventional American buttercream, I opted for Swiss Buttercream for the cupcake frosting. Basically, making swiss buttercream requires an extra step of heating up egg whites and sugar in a double boiler, before you turn the egg white mixture into fluffy, glossy meringue. This method is highly sought-after, because 

1) it in general yields a more delicate & refined texture and taste
2) it does seem that the butter ratio in the frosting is significantly lowered

I followed the instructions given by Tessa on https://www.handletheheat.com/how-to-make-perfect-swiss-meringue-buttercream/with some minor adjustment. If you happen to encounter problems while making your swiss buttercream (it happens), do check this link out http://www.thebrewerandthebaker.com/archives/7640. It was a great help for me.

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For the cupcakes themselves, I tried to incorporate some hazelnut elements into the cake batter, namely hazelnut meals and roasted hazelnut chocolate. And I’d be condemned if I dared to miss using the mighty hazelnut spread, Nutella, for my swiss buttercream, right? To complement the rich nutty flavours and to yield a refreshing and balanced final taste, I added a little bit tangy orange zest as well. I have to say, they brought so much more character and vibrancy to the cupcakes! Psss, If your greedy self wants to bring the cupcake’s luxuriousness to whole new level, edible gold paint is the way to go. Spread joy and love with these beautiful treats, people 😉

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Ingredients:

(make 15-16 cupcakes)

Cupcake: 

  • 1 ½  cup (188g) all purpose flour
  • 100g hazelnut meal
  • ¼  cup (25g) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (115g) butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil ( I used canola oil)
  • ½ cup (113g) caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (60ml) coffee, room temperature (2 tsp instant coffee powder melted in 1/4 cup (60ml) of water)
  • ½ cup (120ml) whole milk
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla
  • 50g roasted hazelnut chocolate, melted (or you can use dark chocolate instead)
  • 1/2 orange, zest of

Nutella swiss buttercream:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 280g chopped unsalted butter, soft
  • 50g Nutella
  • pinch of salt

Topping:

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Ferrero
  • toasted hazelnut, chopped

Instructions:

For the cupcake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175C) . Line pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift and combine flour, hazelnut meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt. Set aside.  
  3. In another mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, oil, and sugar on medium high speed until creamy and smooth. This will take around 4-5 mins.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue beating for 1 min. Add coffee, milk and melted chocolate, vanilla, and cointreau. Continue beating for 30 secs.
  5. In 3 batches, pour the prepared dry ingredients into the mixture, and gently stir with a spatula until incorporated. Don’t overmix.
  6. Fill cupcake liners to nearly full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake’s centre comes out clean.

For the Nutella Swiss Buttercream:

  1. Add  egg whites and sugar to an oil-free bowl. Using a double boiling method, gently heat the egg whites mixture up, while whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140F (60C).  The sugar should have completely dissolved at this stage.
  2. Add the hot egg white-sugar mixture to your electric mixer mixing bowl (oil-free). Whip on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels cool. This will take about 7-10 mins.
  3. Turn to medium-low speed, gradually add the softened butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until a silky smooth texture is reached. Add Nutella and salt, and beat until well combined.
  4. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes with your favourite piping tip, and put a Ferrero Rocher, some chopped hazelnuts, and sprinkle sifted cocoa powder on top as decoration if desired.

Yum




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Coconut Rum Pecan Banana Bread

Present to you my beloved recipe of coconut rum pecan banana bread – a sneaky twist on a classic banana bread. This recipe results in a super moist, delicious banana bread that’s packed with coconut flavours, enhanced with a touch of rum aroma and a nutty crunch.

Coconut Rum Pecan Banana Bread

Do you guys have a favourite thing to make? People around me asked me that many times before and I usually couldn’t provide a definite answer. Yet, I guess there’s been an answer inside my heart all along – quick bread. Quick bread is any bread that can be made in a matter of minutes without necessarily using yeast in the process. In other words, they’re my kind of comfort food; quick and easy. It might be a bit embarrassing to say – at the earliest stage of my baking life, I didn’t have any baking tools except a loaf pan in my student dorm kitchen. To satisfy my hungry soul, what I did was keep exploring and trying out as many loaf recipes found online as possible. This crazy experiment resulted in many delicious loaves coming out of my oven (and inevitably some weight gain as well, but who cares? jk lol).

Coconut Rum Pecan Banana Bread

As you may already know, the key to amouth-watering banana bread is using OVERRIPE bananas. Yeap, if you don’t have them ready at home, you have to wait until all the banana skins have almost turned black and rotten. This is when the bananas have become mushy enough and, of course, the sweetest as most of the starch content is broken down into sugar. Trust me, it is totally worth the patience. Why wait? Provide your friends and family with the best banana experience by serving big slices of this banana bread as their breakfast or afternoon snack.

Coconut Rum Pecan Banana Bread

Coconut Rum Pecan Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt
  • ½  tsp cinnamon
  • ½  cup (100g) dark brown sugar
  • ½  cup (115g) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • ¼  cup (60ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) rum
  • 50g & 1 extra tbsp (for sprinkling) shredded coconut  
  • 80g pecan, roughly chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, or grease it with butter or oil; set aside.
  2. In a bowl, sift in and combine well the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar for 3 mins until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue beating for 1 min.
  5. Add mashed bananas, coconut milk and rum, and continue beating until incorporated.
  6. Pour in the dry ingredients into the mixture in three batches, stirring continuously.
  7. Add in shredded coconut and pecans. Stir the batter gently with a spatula until everything is just incorporated.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle some shredded coconut on top. Tap the pan several times to break any air bubbles. Bake the cake for 50-55 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake’s centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. When the cake is cool enough to handle, remove it from the pan and let it continue to cool on the wire rack before making the glaze; this will take about 30 mins.
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