Embrace the love day.

February 10, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Valentines day will be here in less than a week. People generally fall on two sides of the Valentine’s day spectrum; you have those who love the holiday and then, there are those who hate it.

Well, I embrace February 14th. I think that I have said this before but I truly believe that Valentine’s day is a day to enjoy. Some people might argue that it is a hallmark holiday and I suppose one could interpret it as such. However, I view it as a day to show your loved ones how you feel. In today’s society, people tend to get caught up in activities, work and, even, play which leaves little time to vocalize the love you have for the one’s around you.

At my household we don’t buy cards; we make them. There are no chocolates bought– no cakes, no sugary confectionaries, nothing of the sort. Everything we do is made from scratch and with love (I realize that is cliche but aren’t many aspects of life cliche?).

So for those of you who detest Valentine’s day, I ask you to take time and express your feelings to the one’s you love. Take time. Don’t rush the process. Make yourself happy and others happy.

And, that is what Valentine’s Day is about.

As a special treat for my children and husband I made Mini Melon-pans. While the average North American might not be familiar with the baked good, it is quite popular in Asia. They are comprised of sweet yeast bun that is covered with a cookie like crust and, in my opinion, quite delicious. So delicious in fact that I have submitted this recipe to YeastSpotting.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone–may your heart be filled with love.

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Mini Melon-Pans (adapted from Happy Home Baking)

Ingredients
(makes 12 mini buns)

Dough Ingredients:

  • 160g bread flour
  • 30g cake flour
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 10g milk powder
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 100ml water
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
  • A few drops of red food colouring gel

Pastry Ingredients:

  • 45g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 10g milk powder
  • 70g cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
  • A few drops of red food colouring gel

Method:
Prepare Bread Dough – Place water, egg yolk, salt, sugar, bread flour, cake flour, milk powder and yeast in the pan of the bread machine (according to the sequence as stated in the instruction manual of your bread machine).

Select the Dough function of the bread machine and press start. After about 8mins of kneading (the ingredients should form a smooth dough by now), add in the 15g of butter. Let the machine continue to knead the dough. After the kneading cycle has stopped (20mins), Stop and Restart the machine. Continue to let the machine
knead for another 10mins. Stop the machine and remove dough from the bread pan. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions (about 120g each). With lightly floured hands, take one portion of the dough and knead in cocoa powder, until the cocoa powder is fully incorporated into the dough adding flour if dough becomes too sticky. Repeat the same for the other dough with food colouring. Leave the third dough plain. Shape each dough into a smooth round and place in separate lightly oiled mixing bowls, cover with cling wrap and let them rise till double in volume about 50 ~ 90mins.

Prepare Pastry Dough –

With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream butter & icing sugar till pale and fluffy. Add in egg yolk gradually and beat until combined. Add in milk powder and cake flour. Fold with a spatula and gather the mixture to form a dough.

Divide the pastry into 3 equal portions. Knead in cocoa powder, red food colouring separately into two of the portions, leave the 3rd portion plain. Divide each pastry dough into 4 smaller portions. You should have 12 doughs in total.

Cover with cling wrap and leave it aside for 10 mins. When ready, remove bread doughs and give each dough a few light kneading on a lightly floured work surface.

Press out the trapped air as your knead. Divide each dough further into 4 smaller portions (about 30g each) and shape into balls. Flatten each pastry dough into a round disc. Wrap each bread dough with it’s corresponding pastry dough. Wrap the pastry dough over about 2/3 of the bread dough, leaving the bottom 1/3 unwrapped.

Place doughs in paper muffin cups, cover loosely with a damp cloth or cling wrap and let dough proof for 25 – 30mins or till the dough reaches almost to the rim of the paper cup.

Bake at preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 18 mins. Rotate the buns halfway into baking to ensure even browning. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

A gung hay fat choi Valentine’s day fusion

February 14, 2010 at 9:13 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Today is Valentine’s day and Chinese new year. I absolutely love both holidays and I am so happy that they fall on the same day this year.

I could talk about both holidays but I have decided to focus this post more on Valentine’s day.

Many people say that you either love Valentine’s day because you have someone, you despise it because you don’t have anyone or you hate it because you deem it as a consumer holiday.

The way I view Valentine’s day is just a day of love–a day to express to everyone the love you have for them. I know that many people say we should express our love everyday and we don’t need a holiday to do it. But, the reality is that people our busy and get caught up in their day-to-day life (or at least that is what I find).

Valentine’s day is a time where you are forced to recognize the loved one’s in your life. I feel that Valentine’s day is for those with significant others and those without.

Growing up I never had a Valentine. I actually didn’t have my first Valentine until four years ago and that was my husband. And though I never had a special sweetheart, I relished in the love the day brings.

The love I have for my mother; the love I have for my father; the love I have for my brother; the love I have for my friends and family; the love I have for humanity.

It didn’t matter if I had someone or not. What mattered was that I recognized that the world was celebrating a day of love.

To this day, my husband and I don’t buy cards for each other. Instead, we make cards. We show our love through affection and not presents. I make my family a meal out of love, which really isn’t any different than usually but you get the picture.

And that, I think, is what Valentine’s day is really about.

Here is a recipe for a dessert that I made for my family. I call it an international cheesecake because it combined Japanese cheesecake and american cheesecake together–perfect for a Chinese New Year’s valentines! If you want to make the Japanese cheesecake by itself you can too.

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International Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For Japanese Cheesecake:

  • One 7oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature and seperated
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp cake flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

For White chocolate American Cheesecake:

  • 1/4 cup white chocolate
  • One 7 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

For raspberry sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cup frozen raspberries (or fresh, I just had frozen on hand)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp sugar or more depending on your taste

For garnish:

  • Raspberries
  • White chocolate, melted

Method for cheesecake:
Prepare a 9 inch cheesecake pan by greasing it; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment beat together cream cheese and milk until smooth. It is important to get the cream cheese smooth at this point so that you do not have to overbeat the mixture later which will result in the cheesecake cracking.

Once the mixture is smooth add the sugar, egg yolks, flour, cornstarch, vanilla and cocoa. Beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with an electric hand mixer until eggs become foamy. Slowly add the sugar and cream of tartar while constantly beating on high. Beat until soft peaks appear (8-10 minutes).

Slowly and gently fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture until combined.

Pour mixture into prepared cake pan and now start on the american cheesecake batter.

Place white chocolate in a microwavable proof dish. Put white chocolate in microwave and do the following: heat for 30 seconds; stir; heat for another 30 seconds; stir; heat for 10 seconds and stir until chocolate melts. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment cream together cream cheese and sugar. Cream on medium-high until smooth.

Beat in one egg at a time making sure that each egg is fully mixed in.

Turn mixer to slow speed and then and beat in chocolate, milk and vanilla.

Remove bowl from mixer and pour into cake pan on top of Japanese cheesecake mixture.

Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes or until centre is set.

Once done turn off oven. Leave cheesecake in oven with door ajar for one hour. Then remove cake, cover with tinfoil and place in fridge overnight.

Method for raspberry topping:

Mash raspberries together. Place in a saucepan over medium high heat with sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Cover saucepan and reduce heat to low and allow raspberries simmer for 20 minutes making sure to stir ever so often.

Taste raspberries as the cook adding more sugar if you find them too tart. I personally enjoy the raspberries semi tart as I find they play off the sweetness of the white chocolate.

Remove saucepan from from heat and pour into a bowl. Place in fridge and let chill for about an hour.

Assembling:

Remove cake and sauce from fridge. Pour sauce over cheesecake and spread with spatula. Garnish with raspberries and if you want put melted chocolate in a sandwich bag, cut the tip and write a lovely message.

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