Saturday, 28 April 2018

Mia Bakes: Lemon Curd Tarts


Oh well, yet another #bakingtrio project with J and CL following Cupcake Jemma's awesome recipe (for lemon curd)! But before we get to that, let's get over with the ingredients!

For 10 tarts, you'll need:

For sweet shortcrust pastry (tart shell)
125g plain flour
62g COLD unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp castor sugar
large pinch of salt
milk (if required)

For lemon curd
110 ml lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
110g castor sugar
5 egg yolks
2 eggs
60g unsalted butter, COLD and (preferably) CUBED
lemon zest (of 1 lemon)

First up, let's make the lemon curd! Into a heat-safe bowl, add in the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, eggs and egg yolks. Give it a quick mix and set it over a bain marie (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into direct contact with the simmering water) and just keep stirring until it thickens up, which should take you at least 5 minutes. Then, take the curdled mixture off the heat and dump in the cold butter (helps to cool down the mixture) and stir until all the butter has been incorporated. The mixture may be a little lumpy, but fret not. Just push it over a sieve and tadaa~ a beautiful bright yellow and smooth lemon curd is done!
This recipe will give you way more than the amount required for 10 tarts, so do store the extra into a proper container and keep them in the fridge. You can have them with some scones, toasts, or even make some lemon curd muffins later on!

And after we have the lemon curd out of the way (and chilling in the fridge), it's time to get the tart shells done!
In a bowl, add in the dry ingredients and give it a quick whisk to make sure they're well combined. Then, cut in the cold butter cubes, either with a pastry cutter, a fork & knife combination, food processor, or simply by just rubbing with your fingertips until they resemble coarse crumbs. Then, add in the egg yolk and LIGHTLY knead/pat until the mixture comes together into a dough. If your mixture is way too dry and just cannot form a dough ball, add in just enough milk for the dough ball to form. Then, wrap the dough ball in cling wrap and set it in the fridge to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. 

After the dough has rested and get slightly chilled, roll it out to 1/4 inch thick and cut out 10 circles using a big cookie cutter (the cut-out should be bigger than your tart tins/muffin tin wells) and press them into your tart tins/muffin tin wells. The ends should preferably extend just a little beyond the edge of your tins, as they will shrink as they bake. Then, poke a good amount of holes on the base of the tart shells (with a fork) and set them to bake in an oven pre-heated to 180 degree Celsius for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until the shells turn a lovely golden brown colour. 
You may set a small piece of baking paper into each tart shell and add baking beans or rice on top to prevent the tarts from swelling up while they bake. We didn't, and they did puff up abit. But since it's going to get covered in lemon curd in the end, it really didn't bother us. 

So after all the tart shells has cooled COMPLETELY, spoon your desired amount of lemon curd into each tart shell and add any topping you desire (blueberries, mint leaves, or even just a sprinkle of icing sugar). 


And these are SO GOOD, the tart shell is extremely fragrant, crumbly and tender and yet holds up well to not just disintegrate as you bite into it. The lemon curd is smooth and with a strong sourish kick. I've used the rest of the lemon curd to make some lemon curd pound cake the following week and they were great too! 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Hokkaido Travelogue: Day 9 - Takinoue & Yubetsu

Well, day 9 of our Hokkaido trip started off pretty early once again with an almost 2 hours' drive to Shibazakura Takinoue Park!


There should be a 500 yen entrance fee, but since it was already off-peak (no more festival) when we visited during early June, it was FREE, as we couldn't find anyone/anywhere to pay the admission fee to. 

The back of snow capped Daisetsuzan Mountain Range should be clearly visible from the park, and there's ALOT of walkways snaking all over the park for visitors to explore the scenic views. There's one humble looking eatery located at the rightmost corner of the park, and also stalls selling Shibazakura Soft Serve and a souvenir shop located at the right side of the car park. 


As it's already the start of their off-peak season, bare patches of green are already beginning to show. 


But that shouldn't stop you from taking tons and tons of #ootd shots!


Taking a mandatory shot with the shibazakura-milk mix soft serve. I guess the shibazakura flavour is a must-try, only because you're already at a shibazakura park. Similar to lavender, there's this distinctive floral scent to it, paired with a sharp sourish taste that didn't really go too well with my palate. I'll highly recommend to go for the mix flavour so that the milk will kind of neutralise it. 

If you wish to be fully immerse in the purplish pink of shibazakura, do check out the dates of their shibazakura festival (usually starting early to mid May and last for 1 month) before you drop by, whereby there will also be stage performances and a 5-6 minutes helicopter ride for about 5000 yen per adult. There's no illumination as the park, hence opening hours will more or less depend on natural daylight (7am - 6pm daily). 

For more information, visit their official website HERE

And as the small eatery at the park doesn't look that appealing to us (plus we weren't all that hungry, yet), we headed off the Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park, which is another 1 hour and 15 minutes drive away, and found a random standalone eatery by the road enroute for lunch!


The owners here (an elderly couple) doesn't speak English at all, but they do have Chinese Menu (instead of English, I don't know why either) if you can understand them. Prices here are extremely affordable, mostly around SGD $10-ish with food quality way better than the restaurants here in SG charging you at least $18 and up for the same dish. 


BF went for their Tempura Udon.


While I had their Katsudon. <3

So with our full and satisfied tummies, we continued our journey down to Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park.


Admission fee during the Tulip Fair will be 500 yen per adult, but since we've visited after the festival is over, it was free admission for us again! But I would highly recommend that you check out the dates of the festival and DO NOT visit during off-peak seasons. We were only late by 1 or 2 days for the tulip fair and they're already in the process of cutting away all the tulips. About 50% of the area was already bare when we're there. 



And so we just gotta make the best out of what we're left with. HAHA!



I'm very sure the park look damn awesome when full of all these brightly coloured (and not miserably half-wilting) tulips. Apparently, the tulips at the southeastern fields are for sale during the fair, and you can dig the flowers up by yourself for 100 yen per tulip! How fun would that be! There will also be live performace of street organ. custom ordered all the way from Netherlands right in front of the windmill. During the fair, there will also be a 12 minute tour bus (Tupit Bus) available at 300 yen per pax. 

Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park is opened daily (during Tulip Fair) from 8am to 6pm. For more information, visit HERE


At the car park of the tulip park is a huge signboard pinpointing out the major tourist attractions of Yubetsu Town. And since we still have tons of time left for the day, we decided to just check out a few of the places that's marked out on the guide. 

And now, just let the picture do the talking. First stop of our super impromptu itinerary for the day, Ryugudai Scenic Park.



Over here, you'll get to see the infinite line whereby the sea meets the sky. There's absolutely nothing else but sand, the sea, the sky and us (and a hell lot of crazily chilly wind too). Definitely an experience you simply cannot get in Singapore. 

Next up, it was Ai Land Yubetsu.
Which, actually wasn't open... Or perhaps, isn't even in operation anymore?

And Kerochi Traffic Park is actually right beside it, which is also seemingly abandoned and has nobody in sight. 


Hence, we decided to steal a Rombus 2000 and try to catch up with Harry Potter and gang. HAHA!


And on the way over to Lake Saroma, we decided to our luck at the Skunk Cabbage Colony, after stumbling upon a travel blog raving about it. But of course, their season is in April and it's already early June when we're there. So absolutely nothing was growing. 

So after a few more random shots with the lush greenery, we hopped onto the car again and headed for our last destination in Yubetsu, Lake Saroma! 

And let's just let the pictures do the talking, shall we? 










Viewing the sunset here is absolutely breathtaking, as NOTHING will block your view of watching the sun disappearing down the horizon over the sea lake. But you really have to watch the time, as there is no illumination over here, once the sun has set, you'll probably be engulfed in darkness while literally in the middle of nowhere. 

Well, initially the plan was to return to Asahikawa and find Jiyuuken for dinner, but having overstayed our time (for the sunset) in Yubetsu and with a 2 hours' drive back to our hotel, we decided to shelf Jiyuuken for the next day and just randomly found an eatery along the road in Asahikawa that's still open for business at 9 plus, almost 10pm. 

And guess what's for dinner?


KIMCHI CHAHAN (fried rice)! 
I must be that weirdo who keeps eating non-Japanese food while in Japan. 

Day 10 (final episode!) of my Hokkaido Travelogue, in Biei and Furano, is up HERE! So do check it out!

Till then,
Mia Foo


Saturday, 14 April 2018

Mia Bakes: Matcha Mochi Roll Bread

While the whole world is all about going dirty (#dirtybuns), I still prefer to stay clean! And after stumbling upon Amanda's youtube video recipe on her soft European bread, I decided to give it a try! 


So to get 6 buns, you'll need:

For the bread dough
50g wholemeal flour
180g all purpose flour
15g vital wheat gluten
5g green tea powder
15g sugar
25g unsalted butter (soften)
1 egg
130ml water (room temperature)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast (about 3g)

For the mochi
80g glutinous rice flour
20g corn flour
40g sugar
2 tsp vegetable oil
170ml milk

Filling (Optional)
Pitted and chopped dates 
(I used kurma dates)
Raisins 
Or any other fillings of your choice
I also made just 1 special bun with my leftover dark chocolate chips & salted caramel chips. 

I made the bread dough in my Mayer BM, but you can always do it by hand or in a standing mixer with a dough hook. 

Add all the ingredients (except for butter) into the machine, making sure that the yeast and salt do not come into direct contact with each other. Start the machine on mix dough function and let the machine do its work. When the dough starts to come together to form a ball, add in the soften butter and mix until the cycle is completed. 

The dough may be extremely wet and sticky (though still able to form up a shape) but that's okay. Turn the dough out into a greased bowl and cover with a clingwrap and set it into the fridge overnight (about 12 hours) for bulk fermentation. The dough should at least double in size when it's done fermenting. 

The next morning, let's start off with making the mochi! In a clean bowl, add in all the ingredients (both wet and dry) and stir to combine into a watery flour mixture. You can either microwave it (if you have one) for a few minutes or steam it for 20 minutes. When the watery mixture has solidified into a soft and sticky dough, the mochi is cooked. While it's still steaming hot, use your spatula or a wooden spoon to give it a few mix/kneads before setting it aside to cool down. 

While the mochi is cooling down, remove your overnight bread dough from the fridge and punch it down before turning it over a well floured surface. The dough should be extremely sticky (sticks ALL over your hand) so add more flour and continue kneading the dough until it warms up to room temperature comes together into a smooth dough ball. Cut the dough ball up into 6 equal pieces and set it aside for about 10 to 15 minutes to rest while you prepare your fillings. When the mochi has cooled down enough for you to handle, cut it up into 6 equal portions and set aside. You may dust your work surface with some glutinous rice flour if the mochi gets too sticky to work with. 

After the bread dough has rested, take 1 of the balls and rolled it out on a slightly floured surface to your preferred size. We're going to roll it up eventually, so the bigger you roll, the more layers you'll end up with in your bun, so just play around with the size according to your own liking. Then, take a piece of the mochi and roll it out to match the size of your rolled out bread dough. The mochi should be slightly smaller than your bread dough, with about 1/2 cm gap around the perimeter. I find it much easier to just give the mochi a few rolls with the rolling pin to roughly flatten it out, then you place the mochi over the bread dough and stretch it out to size with your hands. 

Then, sprinkle your choice of filling on top of the mochi and then starting from the end that's closer to you, roll it up into a bun. Pinch the ends together tightly to seal and set them on a baking paper lined tray for 2nd proofing in a warm place (or in your oven if yours have a proofing function) until it doubles in size. Mine took about 25 minutes in my own with a proofing setting. 

Then, send your buns to bake in an oven pre-heated to 190 degree Celsius for 25 minutes. Check that the bread is done by tapping on the top. If it sounds hollow, it's done!

You may use a sharp knife to slice out patterns on the surface of your bread after 2nd proofing before baking, but I just didn't bother to. 


And because today is Sunday and Sunday is my cheatday, I've specially made just ONE with a mixture of chocolate chips and salted caramel chips as the filling, and it's so good! The bread is soft and fluffy, mochi chewy and gooey and the chocolate filling molten and oozing. 
THIS IS JUST SO WORTH ALL THE WORK!

Do let me know if you've tried out this recipe and tell me what fillings did you use for your versions!

Till then,
Mia Foo

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Mia Bakes: Calico Butter Chiffon Cake

Yes, when I said "Calico", I meant this cat. 


You know, I've been wanting to bake this cake ever since I watched kafemaru's video recipe of her calico cat inspired chiffon cake. And finally after finding a packet of extra dark (black) cocoa powder at Phoon Huat, I decided that it's time to do it!

Do note that I'm not following Kafemaru's recipe, but using the Roux Method Marbled Butter Sponge Cake recipe to re-create this recipe. So to get a small 5"4 chiffon cake, you'll need:

60g unsalted butter
40g all purpose flour
5g black cocoa powder
5g cocoa powder
50g castor sugar
30ml cold milk
3 eggs (whites & yolks separated)
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp butter oil extract (optional)

First up, melt the butter in a pot over the hob and stir in 35g of all purpose flour until well combined. Then, take the pot off the heat and stir in cold milk (to bring down the temperature) until well combined before mixing in the egg yolks, salt and extracts. Divide the yolk mixture into 3 equal portions and set them aside.

In a clean bowl, add the egg whites and cream of tartar and beat on high until the mixture turns frothy. Then, add the sugar in 3 additions while beating on high until stiff peaks form. Likewise, divide the meringue into 3 equal portions. 

Combine each divided portion of the yolk mixture and meringue with 5g of all purpose flour, black cocoa powder and cocoa powder respectively. First, add the dry ingredient into the yolk mixture and mix well, before adding a small portion of the meringue in to loosen the yolk mixture up before folding in the rest of the meringue until just combined. The addition of cream of tartar should help to stabilise the meringue greatly, but still you should take note to not deflate your meringue while you fold the mixture. 

Then, it's time to assemble! Spoon each colour of the mixture randomly into your prepared chiffon tin (ungreased and unlined) until all the 3 colours of the mixture are used up and give the tin a few knocks against the counter to ease out any air pockets before baking in an oven that's pre-heated to 160 degree Celsius for about 25 minutes (but do start checking at the 20th minute) or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Then, invert your chiffon tin over a bottle (or anything else that can help to balance your tin at the centre tip) and let it cool down completely to minimise shrinkage before de-molding it. 


Tadaa~ Isn't it cute and really resembles a calico cat? 

Till then,
Mia Foo

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