Sunday, October 25, 2015

Banana-Macadamia Sponge Cake

This banana cake is very similar to my previous Banana Sponge Cake but with added macadamias in it and a crunchy topping of macadamia brittle to make it extra special.

Macadamia Brittle:
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp water
50g macadamia
pinch of salt
  • Place caster sugar and water in a frying pan over medium heat.
  • Swirl the pan occasionally (do not stir) until sugar dissolved and light golden.
  • Add in macadamia and salt, spoon around to coat.  When nicely golden, pour onto a sheet of baking paper to set.
  • Once cooled, pound the brittle finely using a mortar and pestle.

Ingredients for the cake:
3 eggs
45 g coconut sugar
35 caster sugar
200g mashed bananas
20g sour cream or yogurt
zest of an orange
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g corn oil
150g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
50g macadamias, chopped roughly
  • Preheat oven to 180 deg C.  Line the base of a 7" x 7" square pan.
  • Sift flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
  • Whisk eggs and sugars with an electric beater on high speed until pale and thick and reaches ribbon stage (when the whisk is lifted, the batter should falls back slowly onto the surface, leaving a trail).
  • Reduce speed and beat in oil in a slow and steady stream.
  • Add in mashed bananas, sour cream, orange zest and vanilla extract.
  • Fold in flour mixture and macadamias.
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan and drop the pan onto the benchtop to eliminate any large air bubbles.  Then sprinkle crushed brittle over the batter.
  • Bake for 20 mins at 180 deg C.  Then reduce oven temperature to 160 deg C and continue to bake for 35 mins.
  • Drop the pan onto the benchtop to prevent the cake from shrinking.
  • Cool the cake in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pulled Pork Sliders

This is a fuss-free recipe which is perfect for a relaxed get-together with family and friends.  And no cutlery required - that means less washing and cleaning! Remember there is a saying about good food tastes better when eaten with the hands?   Just get lots of napkins ready and wrap your hands around these mini burgers and dig into the tender and juicy pork loaded with crunchy coleslaw. 

This is a very simple recipe that uses 4 main ingredients - pork shoulder, root beer (I substituted with Sarsaparilla), onion and garlic.  Put everything into a slow cooker and let it braise for at least 6 hours and you'll have the most tender and juiciest meat.  This no-fuss recipe makes enough to feed a crowd of 7 - 8 people.

1.5kg pork shoulder
375ml Sarsaparilla (equivalent to Sarsi in Asia) 
1 big onion, cubed
3 cloves garlic, smashed
freshly ground black pepper
salt, to taste
375ml barbeque sauce (of your favourite brand)
20 mini buns (or any bread roll of your choice) 

  • Sear the pork in a frying pan until brown on all sides.  
  • Place the pork, onion and garlic into the slow cooker and pour Sarsaparilla over the meat.  
  • Cover and cook on High heat for at least 3 hours then turn down to Low heat and let it cook until the meat is tender.
  • Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred it using 2 forks.
  • Drain liquid and set aside (to be added into the shredded meat if it is too dry).
  • Return shredded pork into the slow cooker and stir in barbeque sauce. 
  • Continue heating on Low heat for a further 30 - 45 minutes.  Or keep warm until serving time.

1/2 head of red cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
dash of pepper
  • Toss everything together.
  • Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Hawaiian Bread Rolls

Pineapple Bread Rolls
Pineapple Bread Rolls
Pineapple Bread Rolls
Pineapple Bread Rolls
... after final proofing
Hawaiian Bread Rolls
... with egg white glaze
Pineapple Bread Rolls
... with pineapple puree glaze


Tangzhong:  *  (Refer here for instructions on how to make tangzhong)
25g high protein flour or bread flour
125ml water

Main dough:
400g high protein flour or bread flour
70g plain flour
100g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
15g milk powder
6g instant yeast
1 egg (54g without shell)
220g crushed pineapple or pineapple puree
15g desiccated coconut
all the tangzhong *
35g olive oil

beaten egg white
3 tbsp pineapple puree + 1 tbsp honey
  • In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all the main ingredients except olive oil.  Add in tangzhong and knead until well combined.  Then add in oil and continue to knead until dough is smooth and elastic and leaves the sides of the bowl.
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and allow to rise until double in size.  
  • Punch down the dough to release trapped air.  Divide dough into 20 equal portions.  Cover and rest for 10 minutes.
  • Roll each portion of the dough into a ball and place onto a baking tray.  Cover and leave them to rise until almost double.
  • Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
  • Brush the rolls with egg white and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove rolls from the oven and brush the surface of the rolls with pineapple puree, then bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove rolls from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Steamed Pork Spare Ribs


520g spare ribs
1/2 tbsp corn flour
1 tbsp grated garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp black beans, rinsed
1 tbsp fermented soy beans (tau cheong)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1/2 tbsp raw sugar
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
ground pepper
2 tbsp water
1 red chilli, sliced
coriander leaves

  • Add all the ingredients (except chilli and coriander leaves) into the spare ribs and mix well. Set aside to marinate for at least an hour.
  • Place spare ribs onto a steaming dish and top with sliced chilli. 
  • Cover with foil and steam over high heat for 30 minutes or until done.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves before serving.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Nescafe Swiss Roll

coffee swiss roll
 coffee swiss roll
 coffee swiss roll


4 egg yolks, room temperature
10g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
25g oil
8g milk
65g plain flour
5g corn flour
1 tbsp Nescafe 
4 egg whites, room temperature
45g caster sugar

Filling: (Beat thickened cream and icing sugar together until light and fluffy)
95g thickened cream
10g icing sugar

  • Preheat oven to 160°C.  Brush a 22 x 32 cm Swiss roll pan with melted butter and line with baking paper.
  • Sift plain flour, corn flour and Nescafe together.  Set aside.
  • Using a hand mixer, beat egg whites in a clean, dry mixing bowl until foamy. Gradually add in sugar and beat until until soft peaks form . Set aside.
  • Using the same hand mixer, beat egg yolks, salt, sugar and vanilla extract until pale and thick. Beat in oil and then milk.  Fold in flour mixture.
  • Pour one third of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture using a hand whisk.  Then gently fold in the remaining meringue in two additions using a spatula. 
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tray.  Spread evenly using a scraper.  Knock the tray on the benchtop to remove air bubbles trapped in the batter.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the sponge feels springy to the touch.
  • Remove from pan.  Cover with baking paper and place on a wire rack to cool.

How to roll up a Swiss Roll:
  • Flip the sponge onto a baking paper larger than the sponge and peel away the lining paper.
  • Trim off the stiff edges with a sharp knife. 
  • Slice out a small strip of sponge on a 45 degree angle on both ends.
  • With one of the shorter edges of the sponge nearest to you, score a line approximately 2.5 cm away from the edge, cutting right across the sponge, making sure the cut is not too deep; this will help you when you start to roll the sponge.
  • Spread evenly whipped cream over the sponge.
  • Starting with the short edge and using the baking paper as a guide firmly roll up the cake.  Wrap in baking paper and place, seam-side down, on a baking tray.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set. Cut into slices to serve.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Neapolitan Marble Sponge Cake

Today I woke up thinking about making a colourful cake and instantly neapolitan came to my mind.  This is a fun and festive-looking cake although it looks a bit naked without frosting ;-)   Anyhow, this cake is moist, soft and fluffy.  And it is so light that I gobbled up a few slices at one go (what a pig! Oink! Oink!)


75g plain flour
10g corn flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

5 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
80g caster sugar

5 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g Rice Bran oil
85g coconut milk

pink food colouring
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

  • Preheat oven to 160 deg C.  
  • Sift all ingredients (A) together twice.  Set aside.
  • Beat egg whites until frothy, add in cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.  Gradually add in sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.
  • Mix egg yolks together with vanilla extract, oil and coconut milk until well blended.  Sift in flour mixture.
  • Lighten the batter with a quarter of the meringue using a balloon whisk. Then pour the egg yolk mixture into the meringue and fold gently.
  • Divide the batter into 3 portions.  Add in food colouring to one portion to tint the batter pink.  Sift cocoa powder into the second portion and stir to combine.  Leave the third portion plain.
  • Drop large spoonful of each mixture alternately into an 8" (or 20cm) round cake pan.  Repeat with remaining batter, placing colours alternately on top of the first layer.  
  • Bang the cake pan on the kitchen bench to remove large air bubbles.  Then, using a chopstick, swirl through the batter to create a marble effect.
  • Bake the cake for 50 minutes or until cake is done.
  • After removing cake from the oven, drop the pan onto the kitchen benchtop (this is to prevent cake from shrinking).
  • Leave the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before unmoulding the cake.

NOTE:  I am using a removable bottom cake pan, so I didn't grease or line the pan at all.  If using a fixed bottom cake pan, just line the base.

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