Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Mia Bakes: Maccha Roll Cake & Cloud Bread

Yup, and it's another baking session with the girls!
This time we're challenging the impossible, the ROLL CAKE.

With tons of fresh strawberries! HAH, kidding. These were eaten in the course of baking the cake, but none actually went into the cake (we used another packet of korean strawberries instead).

So, let's get started with the ingredients!

for the sponge cake:
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated.
170g caster sugar (about 3/4 cup)
70g cake flour (about 3/4 cup)
2 tbsp fresh milk
2 tbsp bakeable green tea powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
16" by 12" baking tray
(try not to go any smaller or your cake might be too thick)

for the filling:
250ml whipping cream (cold)
2 tbsp icing sugar 
1 tbsp bakeable green tea powder
fresh/canned fruits, sliced/chopped. 
(we used sliced korean strawbrries & cut canned peaches)

First up, mix all the dry ingredients together and pass them through a sieve. You may repeat for up to 3 times, but just once will do if you're really that lazy. 
Then, separate out the yolks and egg whites carefully. Make sure there's absolutely no traces of yolk in the whites, else you won't get your meringue. 
Beat the egg whites on high using a mixer (you may your hand-held whisk, but be prepared for some serious aching arms) until it turns foamy and then gradually add in half of your sugars, beating until you achieve stiff peaks and a glossy finish. 
Stop once you achieve that, do not overbeat!
In a separate bowl, beat the yolks and remaining sugar until it turns pale and creamy. If you're using the same mixer, remember to get your meringue done before you beat your yolks (by doing so you won't need to wash them). 
Add in milk and beat until well mixed before adding in the sifted dry ingredients and mix well. 
Then, add in 1/3 of the meringue to temper the yolk mixture (you may use your whisk to mix at this point). 
After the mixture turns more or less homogenous, add them into the rest of the meringue (depends on which bowl is bigger, you may add the meringue to the yolk mixture too) and fold gently using a spatula until there's no more big lumps of meringue. 
Do not over mix, else you'll deflate your meringue and your sponge cake won't turn out fluffy. 

Once done, pour the mixture into a greased, lined baking tray and bake at 220 degree Celsius for 10 to 12 minutes, until the top brown slightly and is springy to touch.

And while the cake is still warm roll it up in the parchment paper and cover with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave it to cool like that while you prepare the filling.

Making the filling is simple, for you just need to pour the cold whipping cream into a mixing bowl, add in the icing sugar and green tea powder and beat till stiff peak is achieved.

When the cake has cooled completely, unroll and peel back the parchment paper. It doesn't matter that the cake is crinkly and ugly as this will be rolled inside while the pretty side on the parchment paper will be outside. 

Spread your whipped cream onto the cake and pop in cut fruit of your choice. Remember to leave at least half an inch space on the sides and 2 inches at the end. Else, you'll just waste all the cream as they ooze out while you roll the cake back. 

And since the cake was pre-rolled while it's warm, rolling it back will be a breeze!
Wrapping it back in the parchment paper, pop the entire roll into the fridge for it to set for at least 30 minutes. 

And of course, we split the cake evenly between ourselves!

I'll say that the choice of strawberries with canned peaches is a great combination for the syrupy sweet peaches not only even out the bitterness of the green tea flavour, but also neutralises the tangy-ness of the strawberries. 

Next up, it's something I'll advise that you do not waste ingredients and time trying it out. These no carbs, gluten-free "cloud bread".

Ingredients can't be any simpler, for you only need 3 eggs, 3 tbsps of cream cheese and 1/4 tsp of baking powder (or cream of tartar). 
Optional ingredients for flavour can be honey or your favourite herbs. We wanted to use rosemary but couldn't find any, so settled for oregano instead. 

Separate the yolks and whites and beat the egg whites with baking powder until stiff peaks form. In the other bowl, mix the yolks and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Temper the yolk mixture with 1/3 of the meringue before folding in the remaining 2/3 until you see no more lumps of egg whites. 

Drop the mixture freely onto a parchment paper lined baking tray and sprinkle your choice of herb over it before baking at 160 degree Celsius for 17 to 20 minutes and then broiling for 1 minute to brown the surface. If you do not have a broiler, just baking them for the full 20 minutes will work, too.

These are hardly like bread at all being all flat and tasting extremely eggy. They'll pass off as pancakes with no issue though. Perhaps we've deflates too much of the meringue during mixing which is why the flatness. But just judging on the taste itself, it's a definite NAY from me.

Till then,
Mia Foo

Friday, 11 March 2016

Mia's Taiwan Travelogue: Swiss Garden & Carton King

First up, if you haven't read part 1 of my day 5 travelogue, please hop over to read about my virgin snow experience at He Huan Shan & sheep feeding at Cingjing Farm HERE

And so, after bidding the sheep at Cingjing Farm goodbye and filling in our tummies with some winter comfort food (hotpots!), we continued our walk down towards Little Swiss Garden located at Misty Plaza. 

Without the fogginess like the night before, we finally got to know how the garden really looks like, It's a pity that there's no beautiful lighting to further omph up the feel.

But since the ducks and geese are all awake, we had some fun feeding them!

This greedy goose got 'tricked' by the bf and had its beak caught for a few seconds. 

Despite the cold winter, there was a greenhouse located in the garden and hence you still get to enjoy lots of pretty, colourful flowers! 

And then, came the bf brilliant idea of a shot with fallen leaves in the foreground...

Which basically ended up as a major, hilarious flop.

If you follow me on IG you probably have seen this picture and I captioned it in Chinese. So let me loosely translate it into English for you here.
"Phototaking. Daydreaming. Auntie passing by while buying groceries."

And then we walked all the way to Old England, planning to have some atas (high class) high tea but because we didn't do our homework, we missed the time by 1 hour. 

And so, with our plans thrashed, we just hung around to snap some pictures of a cute, chillax cat.

And then some selfies as the sunlight gave me awesome looking hair, when in fact it's all dry and faded. 
We were quite lucky to be able share a ride with another couple leaving the hotel to Misty Plaza, hence saved our tired feet from more walking.

And so, as planned the day before, we returned to Carton King for an early dinner!

And we were awed to see that everything inside the cafe was made from cartons/cardboard, even our dining table and chairs! 

So were the menu and cup stands!

Needless to say, we were totally surprised when we realised that our drinks came in a cute carton box as well. And actually the beverage wasn't stored directly in the carton box, but in a normal plastic cup that was then placed into the carton box. 

As we weren't really that hungry, we decided to share 2 bento sets among the four of us - Prawn Bento & Pork Katsu Bento

Each set came with rice, salad, pumpkin soup and pudding for dessert. The pudding (top left) seemed kind of funky and we didn't really dare to try it (the server did her meal introduction to us, but she spoke so fast we couldn't catch most of it). But the lacking of physical appearance aside, it was really sweet and yummy!

Mains wise, I'll definitely prefer the katsu as compared to unshelled prawns. HAHAHA! Absolutely love the rice though. I'm not that much of a rice person normally, but when in Taiwan, I kept stuffing my mouth full with any cooked rice I can find. 

Coming up next - My travelogue day 6 to 8 in Taipei! 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Friday, 4 March 2016

Mia's Taiwan Travelogue: He Huan Shan, Cing Jing Farm

And so, on our 5th day in Taiwan, we woke up slightly earlier than usual (or did we?) and brought Doraemon to see the sunrise

No, not sunrise again, snow! Yes, snow! We're really lucky to bump into "good" weather on the 1st day we're at Cingjing, which deemed our plan of a 2nd try at sunrise-catching on He Huan Shan to be a failure (it was actually cancelled because they're very sure we can't see anything) but gave us a chance to see snow instead!

And so instead of waking up at an unearthly 3am in the morning, we managed to get more sleep and set off from Vienna at 8-830am in the morning on a 1.5 hour car ride up the mountain. The snow tour was slightly more expensive than the sunrise-tour, but the different wasn't too much. 

3 cheers for my virgin snow experience!

And of course, news of the snow arriving at He Huan Shan attracted quite a large crowd, both locals and tourists. 

With scenery like this, it's more of a surprise if nobody rushes up the mountain to take loads of awesome pictures!

But of course, we not only had to battle the icy cold wind, but also the slippery frozen road! That's me and kx slipping around on the layer of ice that has formed over the floor. 

And when I say the icy cold wind, it's actually icy cold strong wind.
 So while you fantasize about you looking okay in all your shots of awesome-beautiful background...

Actually 4 out of 5 shots will end up having you looking like that.... Especially if you're wearing contact lens.

But of course, the freezing cold wind and slippery frozen road will not stops us from snapping more IG-worthy shots!

And of course, who says you can't eat ice-cream with a snowy weather of 2 degree Celsius? 
But I have to admit we were the only ones eating ice creams at the pit-stop area on our way down the mountain. 

And the reason why I wanna eat them is because they're pandas! 

And on our way back, to save the trouble of taking the public bus back up towards Cingjing Farm from Vienna, we got the snow-tour driver to drop us off directly at the farm instead as it was along the way.

After buying the ticket, do rememeber to get a stamp on the back of your hands after you've entered the 'park', as you'll need it for verification to re-enter the farm's premise (there's a break in between the park made up of street stalls).

I would say the main attraction of the farm-park are these sheeps!

You can get a packet of the sheep feed (hay pellets) from the vending machine located near the grass patches where many sheep roam. 

And just give the pellet box a few jiggles and these hungry sheep will come looking for you!

Do not be worried about getting your fingers bitten off by the greedy balls of cotton fluff, they're really gentle with picking up the pellets from your hands even though they're 'fiercely-snatching' with each other. In fact, I find it quite fun, almost therapeutic, to feel the carpet-like lips moving against my palm. Heh!

Saw a cute baby-pony... mini horse... extremely tiny horse... (??) that crapped buckets while being left 'photo-taking duty'. 

And of course, it's time for another set of "let's not look into the camera" kind of posey, music album cover-wannabe shots of the day. 

Other than the farm animals and some random buildings / pavilions here and there, the some parts of the farm-park is actually pretty 'barren'. But then again, perhaps because it's winter time?

At the end of our farm visit, it was the extremely long flight of stairs (was it 137 or 147 steps?) that we were rather thankful that it's descending for us and not ascending. But then again, the meaning of the name to the stairway can be loosely translated into step by step progression, so I wondered if by descending this flight of stairs, we're moving step by step into deterioration? 0.o
Anyway, I believe the main attraction point of this stairway should be the stretch of beautiful plum flowers/trees.

Following the trail downwards, you will come to yet another 'pit stop' area, littered with eateries and some souvenir/chocolate shops, before arriving at Misty Plaza (Swiss Garden). As we were seriously starving, we dropped the idea of lunching at Carton King cafe (at Misty Plaza) and settled down for some hotpot at one of the eatery instead.
As you know it, as long as there's something with the word 'kimchi' inside, I'll eat that! So yup, kimchi hotpot it was!
It wasn't exactly the best kimchi hotpot you can find, but given our level of starvation and the cold weather at that point of time, it was indeed heavenly.

And do stick around for part 2 of my day 5 travelogue, whereby we went to Swiss Garden & Carton King!

Till then,
Mia Foo
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