Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chicken Chickpea Pie

Yippee! I'm going home.. in ONE WEEK's time! My 6 months stint in Malaysia is coming to an end. I would not say that it flashed by, I missed home so much. However, it's been relatively quick. Work has been time-consuming, colleagues have become friends, weekends were filled with gym sessions, baking classes and grocery shopping. Pavilion, KLCC, Midvalley are my favourite haunts. I've visited more cafes these 6 months than combined in the prior 6 years. (this is probably an overstatement but I've not yet had to repeat any cafes here so far. Such is the width of cafe outlets here). My favourite - Plan B!

Other than monthly trips back to SG, I've squeezed in a Pangkor Laut beach holiday, a vacation trip to Taiwan, day trip to Melaka and 2 visits to Klang so far. My grand plans of Penang, Cameron Highlands, Langkawi, Sabah and Genting remain as future plans, albeit from SG but gladly so.

Since I spend alot of time trawling the aisles of Jusco, Cold Storage and Carrefour, it also means the fridge and pantry are well-stocked and with 1 week left, my cooking/baking frenzy began. It started with a red bean longan sweet soup with peanut tang yuan last week. Last night, I used all my whole wheat flour, half a slab of butter, a tub of yoghurt and made a small dent in the seasalt box. Today, I defrosted all the chicken and fish, opened a stewed whole-tomato can, drained out a can of chickpeas, blanched half a bag of frozen spinach, boiled a big carrot, roasted a huge sweet potato and chopped up 12 cloves of garlic and 2 big onions. Here's the resulting mish mash of food - vaguely disguised as a Chicken Chickpea Pie!

Pie Pastry Recipe: (Makes about 8 individual pies)
150g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
250g whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon fine-grained sugar
1 egg yolk
Pinch of fine sea salt (or flakes)
1 teaspoon of herbs (your preference)
100g non-flavored yoghurt

In a big wide bowl, mix all above except yoghurt, and rub together until it resembles breadcrumbs. (A food processor can also be used to do this) Add yoghurt and mix in to form a dough. Do not over-work the dough.

Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 min. I tend to make this 1 night before.

The filling for the pie can basically be anything you like. Since I was clearing out my fridge, the mixture is pretty random. I've used a mushroom cream base previously which pairs even better with the pie crust.

The tomato filling I used here:

One big fat sweet potato until tender but not mushy - around 30 minutes at 200C

Stir Fry:
Garlic and Onion in hot oil until fragrant
Add cubed chicken and sauteed with pinch of salt and black pepper (I added chilli flakes too)
Remove from heat when chicken is just cooked

Boil in a pot:
1 can of chickpeas in water
1 can of stewed tomatoes (for mushroom cream base, replace canned tomatoes with 1 can of mushroom soup and add lots of slivered fresh mushrooms)
Add boiled carrot cubes and stir-fried chicken
Thicken the sauce with a teaspoon of cornflour, dissolved with a bit of water
Simmer and add additional condiments to taste (I added a generous dose of a very spicy chilli sauce)

To assemble:
Lightly brush pie moulds with melted butter
Roll dough thinly, cut and line pie moulds
Add filling and sweet potato cubes
Cut circles of dough and cover top of filling. Pinch the seams together to seal.
Cut a cross onto top of pie crust for steam to be released. Brush with egg wash.
Bake at 180C for 30 minutes - Rotate the pie trays halfway through baking.


Note: I had alot more filling left, probably enough to fill another 6-8 tarts. So, double the dough recipe or halve the quantity in the filling.

Monday, May 14, 2012

3rd time bananas!

Chocolate Banana Chiffon Cake
3rd consecutive banana post. Are you convinced that I love bananas, by now? =)

It's my 31st birthday yesterday.. Thank you to all my frens who sent their lovely greetings (FB is indeed the social norm!). Thank you to my family. Thank you to my dear husband who took a 5.5 hours coach ride to KL for a dinner and breakfast with me before another 5.5 hrs back to SG! Thank you to my lovely colleagues (and frens) who brought me out for birthday tea yesterday and a birthday lunch today! Thank you to my another dear fren who thought of me and got me a yummy bday cake. It's lovely to feel such love as I am outstationed on my own in a neighbouring country.

OMG. I'm 31! with not much to my name, not a career in food biz and nowhere near my dream of a bakery cafe... Time to reflect on myself.

Ok..That was out of point.
So... I had the evening free yesterday and 2 bananas with many many freckles. I decided to bake myself a birthday cake! A dark chocolate chiffon (which I under-baked slightly, not intentionally of cos), with fat slices of sweet sweet banana, and coated with a med-sweet chocolate ganache.

Dark Chiffon Cake:
Adapted from here

150g chopped 70% cocoa chocolate (trusty Cadbury Old Gold or Carrefour housebrand)
90ml water
100ml corn oil
25g cocoa powder
65g cake flour
1/2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
6 egg yolks
30g sugar

7 egg whites
70g sugar
Pinch of salt

Pre-heat oven to 175C.

1. Melt chocolate - bain marie way, remove from heat. Add in cornoil and water slowly, stirring all the time till smooth.
2. Beat egg yolks with 30g sugar until thick and pale (ribbon stage)
3. Whisk flour, cocoa powder and baking soda together. Mix into the chocolate mixture. Fold the beaten yolks slowly into the mixture, taking care not to deflate the mixture.
4. In a clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites till frothy, add sugar gradually, then pinch of salt and beat till stiff peaks. (Test - Egg white will stay in mixing bowl when overturned)
5. Fold egg white into egg yolk mixture over 3 parts. Do not deflate the mixture.
6. Pour into cake pan and bake for 40 - 45 minutes. If top turns too brown, cover lightly with a layer of foil.
7. Invert cake and cool completely. Prepare the ganache.

Chocolate Ganache:

150ml thickened cream
150g finely chopped chocolate
(the % of cocoa depends on the level of sweetness desired. Since the chiffon base is 70% cocoa, I would use around 50% cocoa for the ganache to balance against the slight bitterness of the cake base)

Heat the cream in a thick pot until it just boiled. Do not let it curdle nor boil for long.
Remove from heat, pour over chopped chocolate and stir to mix thoroughly.
Let it cool to room temperature before using.


Unmould the cake, slice into 2 horizontal layers.
Cover the bottom layer with the banana slices.
Generously slab chocolate ganache over the banana slices.
Cover with top layer of cake.
Coat with cooled chocolate ganache.

Chill in fridge until the ganache has set. Before serving, leave the cake out to cool to room temperature for the cake to soften a little, before serving.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Banana Sponge Cake

Did I mention I love bananas? Inspired to bake something banana-y again! Maybe tml..or maybe Sunday.

Anyhow, I chanced upon this banana sponge cake recipe.. It's light, it's spongy and it's easy to make. One-bowl-mix!

Loving this.

Banana Sponge Cake - adapted from here
  • 3  Eggs
  • 100g Sugar
  • 3+1 Banana, lightly mashed
  • 150g Cake Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking soda
  • 100g Corn Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
 Preheat oven to 160 degree C. I used cupcaker liners but it led to shrinkage, so it may be better to use a baking pan or hard muffin cups.

1. Sieve flour, baking powder and baking soda together 2 times.
2. In another bowl, beat eggs, sugar and 3 large banana at maximum speed till stiff/ribbon stage.
3. Fold in flour mixture and mix well.
4. Slowly swirl in oil and mix till batter is shiny and flowing.
5. Pour into baking cups and drop a slice of banana into each cup of batter.
6. Bake for 20 minutes if making muffin-sizes cakes or 40 - 45 minutes if using cake pans.

I happened to have some lemon cream cheese frosting and piped a swirl on each cake. Yums!

Lovely, bouncy sponge with chunky banana bits!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Banana Oatmeal Muffin

Banana! It's one of my favourite fruits and I swear by Dole. They are best enjoyed when ripened with tiny freckles on the skin; however we could never wait long enough for them to reach this stage. So, whenever I feel like having a banana-y cake, I always had to approach the aunty fruit-seller and ask if they have ripened bananas. Usually they stash them under the table, thinking that no one will buy them! Hidden gems, indeed.

This banana muffin recipe is easy and delicious. It's my husband's favourite..when topped with sweet cinnamon struesel. Mine too but I try to go for the lesser evil and top them with cinnamon and rolled oats for some crunch. Not the same but well.. it means u maaaay be able to reach for the 2nd muffin without the additional guilt.

Banana Oatmeal Muffin
Adapted from here
  • 195g all-purpose flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or sub with 1 cup normal milk + 15ml lemon juice, let stand for 10 min)
  • 4 ripe bananas, yellow-skinned with many many freckles. Even those with browned skin is gd.
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower/canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 190C.
#1. In a large bowl, mix  flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda together.
#2. In another bowl, whisk buttermilk, 3 mashed banana, oil, egg and vanilla together.
Pour #2 into #1, stir just until blended. Do not over-mix. It's fine to see some bits of flour still seen in the mixture.
Pour batter into cupcake liners. Drop a chunk of banana (cut from the 4th banana) into each and press them into the middle of the cup. (I tend to grease the muffin pan and fill up to 95% of the cups so it creates a spill-over muffin top. Be sure to grease the pan for easy removal of muffins or the tops may break away.)

Mix rolled oats with cinnamon and spinkle generously over each muffin. Add some walnuts if you like.

go all out and mix up some streusel topping and pour them even more generously over each muffin.
Streusel Topping (100g self-raising flour, 100g brown sugar, 70g cold butter, cinnamon powder)

Bake for around 15 to 20 minutes. Cool and enjoy!