Monday, January 11, 2010

Blowtorch fun

                I've been having this insane craving for lemon meringue cupcakes ever since I had some at Marmalade Pantry not too long ago. It was a good mix of sweet and tart, with an airy sponge in between. In fact, I believed it to be mostly sweet with a slight tartness. I couldn't be sure because I believe the minute the cake made contact with the mouth, the " delicious" button in my brain started a flashing and savouring was not a function that was available when I operate in this mode. It was more like a NOM NOM NOM.
            After much net trawling and cross referancing, I decided to follow Martha Stewart's Lemon Meringue Cupcake recipe. You can get it here:

            I suggest watching the video because she does show you what it means to beat the butter and sugar till its "light and fluffy", something which always eludes me. I just pretend I know what it means and cross my fingers when the cake is baking.

        WARNING: The recipe doesn't dictate exactly what she is doing in the video. Like making the curd in the baine marie( doube boiling method) as opposed to just sticking everything in the saucepan. I was cautious, I used the double boiling method. I also did the cone method (digging out a little circle of cake and filling the hole with the curd then capping it back with the cut out circle) and filled each cupcake with half a tablespoon of curd as opposed to smearing one tablespoon. I halved the recipe and got 16 cupcakes. In any case the end result is delicious. Although it differs greatly from the ones served at Marmalde Pantry's,it still  leaves one feeling satiated.

           I reckon its a cultural thing as well, since us asians don't really have a lot of lemony tart desserts and so almost every asian person (save for myself) found the curd too tart and did the scrunched up face when they hit the curd. I guess it was then that it oc-curd(couldn't resist) to them that they should have eaten the cupcake as a whole and not in parts. The gorilla and good friend (both hailing from the uk) thought it was just the right amount of tart. I personally am a fan of lemon meringue pie and cookies so I loved the tartness. But you have been warned!  Now I present to you my labour of love:

And here's another shot:

Don't they look yummy? I was experimenting with ways to end the tip of the cupcake. I think short and straight looks best, don't you think?


Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

       Welcome 2010! This year can only get better as I enter the new year all geared up with fun culinary presents such as a chef's torch (given by the gorilla), a cookbook by Delia Smith( given by gorilla's mom), a decorating book that covers basics of decorating with fondant( given by my sister) and an autographed photograph of NIGELLA LAWSON! AHHHHHH!! My gorilla rocks! 

        So what better way to ease oneself into the new year than by cooking a nice big lunch on the first weekend of the new year? It was my last Sunday off for many months to come ( I work weekends. Woe is me) so I thought it would be nice for me to make a nice big lunch for the gorilla and I.

         First up, for starters I made Sasuage and Cheese Bundles! This time, I took some process shots since I had some leftover filling and skin the following day and thought it would be fun to post them on my blog.

         The filling: Browned sausage meat mixed with green peppers, spring onions,cheese and a dash of black

The yellow liquid you see is the cheese that melted. I suggest waiting for the meat to be COMPLETELY COOLED to avoid this culinary disaster. I also suggest making this fresh on the day as this loses flavour very very quickly and did not taste as good as it did the day before. Sigh

Next, I wrapped them up in wonton skins.

Tip: Flour your pan and hands and sprinkle a little in between the dumplings. Usually this is not necessary but I did so because of melting cheese problem. Yes, I was well cheesed. Hur Hur.

Then, I fried them in very hot oil( read: you have to do the "float" test. Drop a tiny bit of wonton skin into the oil and if it floats up within 2 seconds, your oil is ready.)

Serve them hot with some salsa. The recipe says so but the gorilla and I both felt they tasted better on their own. Some sour cream might do the trick too!

 Now, lets move on to the main course shall we? For the main course, I simply whipped up my all time favourite, Mushroom Saffron Risotto.

Sorry, no process shots for this one. I was too busy trying to fry the dumplings while making this. The gorilla helped by helping me stir the risotto and adding more stock! And dissolving the saffron into the broth! Go gorilla!
       After the gorilla left for home to have dinner with his family, I got lonely in the night. No amount of Futurama, recipe book reading or cuddling with the cat could fill that void. I was falling apart. I decided it was time to call on an old lover.

   It was 11.15pm at night. I was desperate, restless and lonely. I knew I had to have it. My body craved it. Its smell, its taste, the tingles it sends through my body. CHOCOLATE.( HA! Shame on all of you who thought I was refering to something other than a chocolate fix. Tsk tsk) After much rummaging of the fridge kind, I managed to come up with this:

            A sinful crepe filled with dark chocolate then topped off with a chocolate liquer sauce and fresh strawberries

Not bad for a late night snack eh? It took less than 15 minutes and I was quite satisfied.

I confess. I did it the express way. I used an instant crepe. *Gasp* Oh please. Nigella has a whole show dedicated to "express" methods. As long as it gets the job done and the chocolate quota fulfilled, I'm not going to be padentic this time. Come on, its a Sunday and its not a bloody day of rest if I have to struggle more than 15minutes in the kitchen just to whip up something that will be gone in 10minutes or less.

Happy New Year! May 2010 bring many wonderful and delicious things to your life!