Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Do You Know The Donutman?

"Do you know Ginger?", an adorable yet a chubby girl in her kindergarten pinafore asked in a polite manner, while assuring us that she knew Ginger in her life with her convincing expressions.

"Oh well, Ginger... The ale Ginger, my dead Sharpei named Ginger or the human Ginger?", we questioned back sarcastically as response.

"Oh goodness gracious, you know, Ginger! Don't you know who Ginger is?", she fumes while stomping her feet profusely.

"Okay, wait a minute young girl. Let's play this. Knock, knock", we said cheekily.

"Duh, who's there?", she rolled her eyes and that was real sarcastic, so wanna pinch her fat cheeks.

"No! You lead us! You'll start of with that knock knock thingy", we exclaimed impatiently.

"KNOCK KNOCK!", said the chubby lady in a loud voice.

"Who's there?", we questioned back.

"GINGER!", she scowled.

"Ahhh~ Ginger who?", we said in a melancholy tone.

"GINGER THE BREAD MAN!", she backfires in a fierce and high-toned voice, with that annoying glare that she used to give us.

Yes, that glare, like the prosperous owl above (The very tame and photogenic owl was found somewhere near a park, and we were so lucky to get some shots out of this gorgeous fat bird). Boy, that hits us hard to the rock-bottom of our self-esteems. That was a very good one indeed. We have never know kids nowadays are that good at riddles, jokes and knock-knock's. We were embarrassed by how the knock-knock riddle turned out, and ginger the bread man? Oh gosh. That hits us real hard. We should not have suggested knock-knock's at first.

We were not satisfied by how the kid managed to come up with a rather sarcastic answer, which made us in awe, made her stand out within, outshining other kindie kids. But, it was so unethical to run us down publicly with spoken words, just in seconds. In seconds! We wouldn't even mind if it was in the period of an hour or so. Killing our dignity within seconds is just too overrated and so untrue. ;P

Enough of ginger, the bread man. The word kept popping and wandering in our hollowed minds while we were prepping for a doughnut dough. Mixed feelings and highly possible; the feelings of anger and being embarrassed gradually faded after letting go by releasing our anger on the doughnut dough. Light punches and blows, followed by quick and consistent jabs were thrown onto the poor and innocent doughnut dough. It worked! The tension were released. The dough was doing just fine - no bruises but partly deformed. We then let the dough rise by proofing. After the dough doubles up in size, we proceed to dough-cutting, using a doughnut cutter.

As we were rushing and in a hurry, gingerbread man cookie cutter (pardon us, did we just heard ginger?) was simply used to hasten
things up. We managed to come up with a doughnut shaped gingerbread man. As weird as it sounds, let's put it this way - donutbread man; gingerbread man's blood-related cousin.

The doughnuts taste just like how doughnuts ought to be. The sticky dough produce a lighter and fluffier bread texture, which is perfect for tea breaks. The dough that was ready to be dipped into a pool of hot oil will be handled gently before it gets into the oil. After frying, the golden brown and tanned donutbread man will be powdered by sifted powdered sugar, and best eaten while it's hot - Ouch!

Donutbread Man

500g plain flour
1-1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
50g softened margarine
40g sugar
1 medium egg

1. Place all the stated ingredients in a big bowl. Knead till soft dough are formed. Roll dough into a large gigantic ball.
2. Leave the dough in the bowl and cover it with a piece of plastic sheet. Scrutinize the dough, let it rise for about an hour, where you'll see a double sized dough by then.
3. Next, roll dough into the size of +/-1cm thick.
4. Cut the dough with a small gingerbread man cookie cutter and place them onto greased tray. Cover with a plastic sheet.
5. Scrutinize them closely for about 40 minutes. As long as these uncooked doughnuts rise again, they can be cooked just in no time!

6. Heat oil in a deep pan. Fry the doughnuts in the preheated oil till golden brown.
7. Dip the hot doughnuts into a plate of sugar (granulated or caster will do, brown sugar perhaps?). If you prefer coating the doughnuts with royal icing, chocolate or buttercream, or even icing sugar, coat them after cooling them for a few minutes.

Knock, knock,
Who's there?
Donut who?
Donut, the bread man.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Creme Brulee : The Westernized Egg Tart

In most Asian countries, egg tarts rules when Creme' Brulee tries to invade. However, it goes sideways when it comes to the Western countries, be it urban or sub-urban areas. The chinese egg tart; with flaky and crispy puff pastry, always remain as one of the best egg dessert among the Asians. Moreover, it is commonly served during breakfast; which is during the chinese Dim Sum session. Best eaten while it's hot, and accompanied by a freshly brewed chinese tea.

This may applied on the Westerners as well. A Creme' Brulee would be the one of the hundreds of egg desserts which would score high points and win the hearts of the Westerners. As Creme Brulee has an absolute advantage on showcasing the wonderful color of egg yolks in custard form, overlooking the texture and even the taste of the pastry crust-tart might not be a daunting sight after all.

The scores are in, egg custard work wonders. Just take a look at the evil-looking yet sinful baked cheesecakes which very much resembles the picture and texture of a egg custard with an aroma of full-fat cheese. Eggs play a vital role by adding fats, moisture and also binding the half-set cheesecake by setting up a protein matrix. It is sometimes surprising to find out how eggs consistently and successfully work its magic to the world of baking.

We have always been loyal consumers of chinese egg tarts as we love egg custard pretty much. Thus, not making a Creme' Brulee sounded villainous and silly; of bird brains and pea-sized brains, that is so Homer Simpson. We prepared the Creme' Brulee in 2 sizes, one into medium-sized flan dish and the remaining was as cute as mini cupcake-size.

The medium-sized Creme' Brulee inherits its forefathers' features, which has a slightly burnt top (of burnt and caramelized sugar) while the mini Creme' Brulee replicates the features of the normal sweet-crusted egg tart with no burnt top. We will have the time of our lives downing the egg-bakes one by one, savoring the true delight of Western egg tarts; the Creme' Brulee.

To some, Creme' Brulee might be tad plain to be devoured, but simplicity and the velvety and smooth egg custard filling is the key to a perfect Creme' Brulee. Nevermind the pastry crust first because the egg custard IS the sublime of the entire Brulee tart. It is best eaten while it's slightly cooled to room temperature. While the crust is prepared as thinly as possible, the egg custard on the other hand calls for one who bakes his/her way to generosity. Be generous with the filling. We filled the crust until the egg filling itself leveled with the sides of the crust. Goodness and very luscious brulee we've ever had (Isn't this the first time we had Brulee's?). The full-fat dairy whipping cream and vanilla extract lends a great help, aiding to a very vanilla-ish and silky Creme' Brulee.

The burnt top, made out of burnt sugar or caramelized sugar brought in the extra ummph, which makes the Creme' Brulee tasted pretty good though it's partly cold. The caramelized top can be done by pointing the blow torch towards a pool of brown sugar sprinkled onto the Creme' Brulee's surface. Otherwise, you can caramelized the top by sprinkling a layer of brown sugar on its surface and then, bake the Creme' Brulee in the oven (set at 180"C, lay the Creme' Brulee on the highest rack possible). The mini Brulee's or shall we just name these babies as Creme' Brulee Tartlets, make it to the dinner table while it's half-cooled. Nothing much in comparison except for the caramelized sugar, these Creme' Brulees rocked the dinner tables for good.

Creme' Brulee (Yields: Two 6-inch Creme' Brulees)

For the Tart Crust:
100g butter
50g icing sugar, sieved
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 egg, beaten lightly (for the remaining beaten egg mixture, add into the filling later to avoid wastage)
200g all-purpose flour, sieved

1. With an electric mixer, beat butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract until creamy.
2. Add in the egg and mix until smooth. Add in flour and mix until well-blended.
3. Gather dough and wrap with a cling film. Set aside at a cool area while making the filling.

For the Filling:
4 large egg yolks
50g caster sugar
1/2 tablespoon custard powder, sieved
375g dairy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. With a hand whisk, whisk egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl until pale yellow. Add in custard powder and mix until combined. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, boil whipping cream over low heat. When it starts to boil, remove from heat. Gradually add in whipping cream into the egg mixture in a slow stream, while continuously whisking the mixture. Keep stirring until well blended.
3. Strain mixture into a clean saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon over low heat until the mixture thickens. Remove pan from heat. Add in vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Let cool. This will be the filling for the Creme' Brulee.

To assemble:
Portion of tart crust
Portion of fillings
1/4 cup brown sugar
Baking beans (Red beans or green beans can even be used; for blind-bake)

1. Preheat oven to 190"C. Grease the 6-inch flan or pie moulds with melted butter.
2. Divide the pastry dough into two portion as you will need to lay the pastry dough onto 2 of 6-inch flan or pie moulds. Roll out the pastry with a rolling pin to about 2-3mm thick and line onto the pie moulds.
3. Prick the pastry with fork to release air bubbles. Line the pastry moulds with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Bake at preheated oven of 190"C for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and bake for another 5 minutes. Set on wire rack and let cool.
4. Spoon the filling into the already baked pastry crust until the filling is leveled with the top sides of the pastry crust.
5. Refrigerate the tarts into the refrigerator for at least 5 hours, best for overnight.
6. Remove tart from from refrigerator. Sprinkle the brown sugar on th surface of the tart. Using a blowtorch, caramelize the sugar.
7. Refrigerate for extra 2 to 3 hours. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and strawberry sauce to enjoy the euphoric moment.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


An Idea To Art
By R.L. Danner

As I walked my path through life
My body being my temple of ideas

I wanted to express myself, my own way

Walking into the shop that day
I found my expression waiting for me
Custom drawn just for me in black line art

I made my way into the studio in the back
My nerves dancing in my skin and mind

As I sat down in the chair I knew this was it
Forever in my skin it would lay

As the artist prepared the machines
I watched in awe of his precision and care

The time had come and that buzz and click began
My flesh was prepared to receive its gift
As the razor slid down my back I closed my eyes

It was time to lay the idea into my skin
With artist vision the hands and steel became one

Flowing over my back in defined motion
A picture became a living portrait of life
As the minutes passed I felt the ink be laid
Into my skin like a humming bird kisses a rose

When all was said and done I stood once more
This time to see my idea frozen in time

As a portrait of vision in my skin
Laid in brilliant color for the first time

Now I understand the meaning of a

Model: Arisa

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Easy Breezy Chilled Lemon Cheesecake

After rounds of bake sale which is mostly baked cheesecakes, we managed to steal time and came up with a chilled cheesecake (no baking/oven involved). As for the bake sales, we are now planning to venture into online bake sales, which is something we have planned months ago. To jump start the venture, we are now happily baking cakes, cheesecakes and tortes for try-outs besides than prep-ing the ready-made baked goods for a cheap photoshoot. May things go well, considering that we're great procrastinators.

As of the chilled cheesecake, we went back to the basics. How about a chilled lemon cheesecake, something simple and flavorful, we reckon? Speaking of the truth, we have always been alienating chilled cheesecakes especially the plain ones, as we find it rather disgusting due to the uninviting aroma of gelatine - think of liquid glue. Things are different when there are more flavorsome and appealing aroma that will overcome the gelatinous smell or best yet, empower the entire chilled cheesecake.

Since our helpers and the kids can be categorized as ardent lemon lovers, why not a chilled cheesecake flavored lemon? Though we would love to have a green tea infused chilled cheesecake at first. At least, the chilled lemon cheesecake will be wiped off clean from the serving plate just in 2 days compared to the green tea, thanks to the natural citrus flavor in lemons. Like how democratic countries worked, the majority wins. Green tea cheesecake will only cost us more leftovers and extra pounds as the intensified ones tasted rather bitter and smelt grassy.

The chilled lemon cheesecake tasted not as jelly-ish and gooey as we have already stereotyped on most chilled cheesecakes. The lemon flavor was just right, identifiable flavor which is not intensified. One of my helper, which is an even straight arrow person, claimed that it was a creamy cheesecake, and ended with a but. But. Here goes the usual but from her, which sometimes prickle us off. And that is what we wanted to hear, because there is always a room for improvement.

Pleased, and at the same time, confused, she mumbles as she was spooning the chilled cheesecake away from her serving bowl. Standing still impatiently as we waited for her to finish half of the serving slice, we stared foolishly at the sliced-up cheesecake. What is wrong with the chilled baby? Minds pondered. It's either the gelatine cum glue-ish aroma, or it might be the coarsely chopped lemon zests, we thought for awhile. We soon stared strangely back at her; one of our helper and asked for unravel reviews that she had planned to give us. "The lemon aroma was there, but I can hardly taste it".

That's it! The lack of lemon juice. Which brings us to a more subtle lemony cheesecake. It was quenchable and creamy, just like how texture of mousses are, with a hint of cream cheese. We doubled the digestive crust for the extra crunch, as to blend in with the mousse-like cheesecake. The topping were made out of lemon juice, water, gelatine, a tiny bit of sugar and yellow coloring - a jellified layer which looked pleasant and tempting on the chilled cheesecake.

Before the jellified layer was set, the arrangement of sliced lemon were aligned decoratively onto the surface of the cheesecake. The sliced lemon were somehow too sour and hard for human consumption. If there's another quickie to be done the next time, we will definitely forgo the lemon slices though the chilled lemon cheesecake looked simply divine with it.

Chilled Lemon Cheesecake

For the cheesecake:
300g digestive biscuit (we used McVities)
150g butter, melted
250g Philadelphia cream cheese, thawed at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 egg white
80g caster sugar
1-1/2 tablespoon gelatine powder
3 tablespoon water
3 tablespoon lemon juice (we used 2-1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and thus the subtle cheesecake)
1 tablespoon lemon zest, finely grated
225g whipping cream (measured at 225g before whipping, whipped until firm peaks, let chilled)

1. Finely crushed biscuits - either with a rolling pin or a blender with sharp blades. Combine finely crushed biscuits with melted butter. Press into the base of a 8 inch round springform cake pan.
2. Using electric mixer, in a bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add in egg yolk and sugar. Beat until well combined. Set aside.
3. Mix gelatine with water in a small bowl. Stand the bowl in hot water until gelatine has dissolved (the mixture will look ooey gooey and sticky!)
4. Add the gelatine mixture into the cheese mixture. Mix well. Add in lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix until well combined.
5. Mix in whipped cream with a rubber spatula.
6. Beat egg whites until firm peaks formed. Fold gently into cheese mixture with a rubber spatula until well combined.
7. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Chill for about 2 hours before proceeding to the topping.

For the jelly topping:
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon caster sugar
250g water
2 teaspoon gelatine powder

1. Mix all the ingredients above. Boil on a saucepan over low heat till sugar and gelatine powder dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool until slightly warm.
2. Pour onto cheesecake. Put into fridge and let to set. Happy baking!

Some blur poochie shots (dated months back) to indulged in. There's a huge difference in photo editing, which is pretty bad. Bear with us. ;)

A grown-up and untrimmed Miniature Schnauzer, with pepper coat.

Months-old young Miniature Schnauzer, yawning continuously during a cat nap.

A young Beagle posing macholy.

Beagle Pose.

Last shot of the young Beagle.
Enjoy! ;)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Banana + Toffee + Pie = Go Figure ;)

Lo' and behold, our most unforgettable yet favorable sum of all; banana + toffee. You need to add, and please, do not subtract for the sake of the quote 'live to eat' in order to get the exact jargon that is implied in here. Now, do the math. Tell us, what can you conclude with the unresolved stated sum? A rather positive answer which we all would mostly agree and love to have during sugar high weekends? Or was it a negative account? You be the judge. It was decades ago since this combo flavor was invented; the bananas and the toffees. Partly dumb, we have always mistaken caramel for toffee and toffee for butterscotch, vice versa. Ever since we laid our eyes on the Toffee Sundae from McDonalds which has a blend of bananas and toffee sauce, we knew that there's no point of return. We need TOFFEE and BANANAS for brunch! And something tarty too!

So, let's settle down with the very delish mathematic equation;
  • Banana + toffee = Ban(offee) = Banoffi
  • Banana + toffee + pie = Banoffi Pie

That does make real sense. Banana and toffee, which will be called as one; Banoffi, when merging occurs. In case, one may wonder, who is the mastermind behind this particular heavenly creation with the luscious perfect combo? It is absolutely a bullseye, really did hit the nail on the head. The humble and generous man who has nailed the divine-looking Banoffi Pie was Ian Dowding, the man who we have no doubts that he's in the D.T.E category. D.T.E; which ambiguously stands for down to earth.

It was known that the the very first Banoffi Pie was served at The Hungry Monk in Jevington, East Sussex during the year 1972, and that was baby Banoffi's birthplace. From other sources that we found in the world wide web, it stated that the banoffi pie recipe was devised by Ian Dowding and Nigel MacKenzie.

From the article titled "I invented Banoffi Pie" by Ian Dowding, from July 2007's Reader's Digest, he said it is her sister who told him over the phone on the steps to making soft toffee by boiling a can of unopened condensed milk in water for several hours. From there, he resurrects Rusell's; Blum's Coffee Toffee Pie. With Nigel MacKenzie, they were on the hunt for a newer dimension of the toffee pie, trying out from apples to mandarins. They knew they had cracked the secret code when bananas were used.
Thus, the invention and the crown.

We boiled around 3 cans of condensed milk for the toffees too, with the aid of Ian Dowding's Banoffi Pie recipe. The first can didn't make it (shot above). It was just too watery and light in presence, thanks to the young minds involved; who can't wait too much longer and claimed that they should go on with the can opener. The verdict; that is just so not the toffee that we wanted because the recipe has assured us that the consistency of the toffee will be something spreadable.
We boiled for the extra 2 hours and things flowed smoothly thereafter. Lumpy and spreadable toffee in cans! Here's the way how the boiling method works, hailed from Ian Dowding's website.

Toffee (by Ian Dowding, from http://www.iandowding.co.uk/)
Ian Dowding: "Over the years I have become increasingly concerned about the danger of boiling cans of condensed milk. There is no danger of them exploding unless the water in the saucepan boils dry. If this does happen the result is terrifying and can scald anyone close to it. It has happened to me once and that was enough. Because I now teach and demonstrate a lot I like to make sure my instructions are safe so I have devised this method."

1. Find a deep saucepan or casserole that will go in the oven.
2. Put into it as many tins as will fit. (THE TINS MUST BE UNOPENED). It worth doing several at a time to save on power.
3. Cover the tins with water and bring to the boil.
4. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven set to gas mark 1 / 140 C (less for fan assisted).
5. Cook for 3 ½ hours.
6. This way there is no danger of the water boiling dry and being in a more controlled temperature you get a more consistent result.
7. Lift the cans from the water, cool and store.
8. An unusual bonus comes from storing these tins over a period. After some months sugar crystals begin to form in the toffee and you get crunchy banoffi - mmmmm.

Banoffi Pie
(by Ian Dowding, from http://www.iandowding.co.uk/)
You will need a 10 x 1½ inch (deep) loose bottomed flan tin
Oven temp: 180 C / gas mark 4

For the pastry:
250g / 9 oz plain flour
25g / 1 oz icing sugar
125g / 4½ oz butter
1 egg and 1 egg yolk

1. Place the flour and sugar in a bowl, cut the butter into cubes and then rub it in to the flour / sugar until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Work in the egg to form a paste.
2. Chill for half an hour then roll out to the thickness of a pound coin and line the flan tin.

3. Prick the base, line with parchment paper and weigh down with dry beans (we go full force with grains of rice)
4. Cook for fifteen minutes then remove the beans and paper.
5. Put the pastry case back into the oven and cook until it is evenly golden.
6. Remove from the oven and cool.

To assemble:
1 ½ tins of banoffi toffee (see note below on boiling the tins or click here)
5-6 ripe bananas
425 ml / ¾ pint of double cream
1 teaspoon of instant coffee
1 dessertspoon of caster sugar
A pinch of ground coffee

1. Carefully spread the toffee over the pastry base.
2. Peel and split the bananas lengthways and arrange them on top of the toffee, (see how they fit the curve of the pastry - that’s why God made bananas curved).
3. Whip the cream with the instant coffee (if they are granules they will dissolve as you whip the cream) and the sugar until it just holds its shape - take care not to over whip it.
4. Spread the cream over the bananas right up to the pastry edge then sprinkle sparingly with the ground coffee.
5. If you are not serving it immediately cover first with some baking parchment or greaseproof paper directly onto the cream and trim the edges then wrap in cling film.
6. It does not lend itself to being frozen.

The final outcome was a blast. Bananas will never (ever) go wrong with toffees. Speaking of the tart which is also known as the pastry itself, it remains its tartness though left overnight in the ice-cold refrigerator. It was slightly crunchy and dry, which blends in well with the fluffy yet pillowy coffee cream. The toffee was the sublime of the grand pie. This is definitely a keeper, the only thing that bugs us out is toffee-making, which takes time. But it was worth the time-consumption, as we are all toffee's die-hard fans. Divine and delicious, enough said. =)

The very last month, we hooked up with The Loaf's public favourites; U Hu! Hu! Cheesecakes. The cheesecakes were the latest sensation from Japan, and these lovely babies are now our latest BFFs. Ehem, doughnuts, cupcakes, anyone?!

It was worth buying, since we don't really go for wholesome cheesecakes. Light ones will just do more than enough. Each costs us RM5, and by purchasing 6 cheesecakes, you will only be paying for the price of RM25. Let's just put it this way, buy 5 free 1.

It was not as cheesy as we've expected, it tasted more like a light and fluffy cheese souffle which melts in your mouth. Something people would go for as refreshments, okay, maybe it's just us. We wanted more, but our bulging belly stopped us spiritually. We ordered 3 of the wide-range cheesecakes.

The cheesecakes on the display area were distracting, we can't stop drooling over the cash-counter. Gosh. We had a lemon cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake and the delished longan cheesecake.

Longan cheesecake (or was it lychee) was flavorsome and fluffy. The toasted almond flakes lend a great help by creating an addictive crunchy top for the pillowy soft cheesecake. The biscuit base was annoying as it kept falling onto the ground after one bite. Overall, we've gone u hu hu after downing the cheesecakes. Yum!

The Loaf (Pavilion Kuala Lumpur)
Lot 3.13.00 & 4.12.02,
Level 3 & 4 Pavilion,
Kuala Lumpur,
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur.