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Archive for April, 2008

Last week, Ryan showed me this online cooking demonstration video teaching how to make roasted chicken drumlets. The recipe looked really interesting and he said he wanted to make it if he had a chance to. Hhhmm…since I had chicken wings in the freezer (which I was still trying to figure out what to do with), I decided I’d make it instead. Mine here has been modified to fit whatever ingredients I have at home. Finger lickin’ good are the only words to describe them! Easy to make, time efficient and so very tasty! :)

Ingredients:

  • Chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Fresh tarragon
  • Roasted sesame seeds
Method:
  • Mix balsamic vinegar, honey, soy sauce and a couple of sprigs of tarragon leaves together in a large bowl.
  • Put chicken wings into a large freezer bag then pour the marinade into the bag with the chicken. Massage the chicken well and leave it to season for 2 hours. 
  • Preheat the grill. Line a tray with foil and arrange chicken wings. Grill till brown and cook.
  • In the meantime, place marinade into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat till it thickens. Roast sesame seeds for garnishing.
  • Remove chicken wings from grill and brush with thickened sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and tarragon leaves. Plate and serve. 

 

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This is what I had to complete for April’s DB Challenge – Cheesecake Pops. My first reaction when I read April’s challenge was “Are you serious? Cheesecake can actually be presented this way?”. I could feel adrenaline pumping through me as it was exciting to try something different for a change – something I’ve never heard of. Then began my “brain overworking” journey…night after night I would lie in bed thinking how best to present it, how to decorate it, what flavours to use and so on and so forth. 

Alan loves cheesecake but I knew he wouldn’t like this cos he’s such a traditional eater. When it comes to sweets, he will only eat the classic of the most classics – eg: milk chocolate – absolutely hates any flavoured chocs, classic tim tams, vanilla ice cream – you get the picture. I knew he wouldn’t like this because it looked nothing like the traditional cheesecakes. Since my only fan wouldn’t like this, I had to have a reason to make it. The original recipe uses 5 blocks of cream cheese (but I halved my recipe here) – and that’s not exactly cheap. It’d be a waste of money if I were to make it for no reason cos it would just end up in the bin. Aarrgghh!! What am I going to do? Procrastinate…procrastinate….delay…delay….finally – Jess, one of my closest friend in Tassie sent me a text inviting me to her birthday party – and no less a dessert party! :) Coincidentally, it was today – perfect timing! So, you probably can deduce by now, my creation was completed today – challenge posting date. Hehe! :)

        
I had heaps of fun making these cheesecake pops. It was a real sticky, messy affair. I initially wanted to make a flower basket but sadly was unable to get any small, cute baskets from the discount shop. Lucky for me, I found this cute little metal flower pot. I had this splendid idea of using my flower mould to stamp out flower shapes. But…as we all know…things don’t often go as plan. The cheesecake was not “stampable” as it was too soft even after refrigerating it. In the end, I could only opt to mould it into various odd looking shapes with my hands. I actually made 3 different looking shapes but after coating them they all look like they are of the same shape! Haha! :) At the end of it all, I felt as if I’s eaten a whole cheesecake by myself – thanks to the constant licking of the leftovers on my palm and fingers from the moulding of these little darlings. *Big grin* I was meant to use lollipop sticks for them but I couldn’t find them from the shops here hence decided on skewers. Plus, skewers were easier as they’d be long enough to be stuck through the floral foam and the height could be adjusted easily. I knew all along that I was not gifted in floral arrangement, and this pot here proved me right! Haha! :)
Ingredients:
  • 5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Boiling water as needed
  • Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
  • 1 pound chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • Assorted decorations
Method:
  • Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.
  • Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
  • When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.
  • When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.
  • Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.
  • Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.
  • Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

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I went cookie crazy this week! I’ve been craving chocolate cookies for a couple of nights and was dreaming of them night after night. I am one of those who would crave and crave and then when I can’t take it anymore, I’ll lookup recipes and make some to fix my craving. Seeing that Anzac Day was coming, I decided to try bake a batch of Anzac cookies. Since I was gonna bake cookies, I might as well bake chocolate ones to fix my craving. 

Anzac Day is like the most important public holiday in Australia. Many Australians consider Anzac Day the National Day of the country. It is celebrated to commemorate members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Cops (ANZAC) during World War I. On this day, marching parades attended by veterans from past wars, current serving members of the defence force, cadets, scouts, guides and other uniform bodies are organised in capital cities and towns nationwide. There will then be social gatherings whereby everyone gets together for a drink or two. 

There are many variations to the origin of Anzac biscuits. I like the version about Australian and New Zealand women who made these cookies for the ANZAC soldiers during World War I. I think it is really patriotic and shows how war can bring people closer together. You don’t have to be a frontliner to serve your country, what matters most is your heart. I’ve never truly embraced the Anzac Day culture maybe because patriotism is something I learnt, while growing up, that it is not even worth my time. I’ve come close to holding my Australian permanent residency status for 2 years and think it’s about time I learn something about the Australian heritage and start considering how that is going to shape my future. I don’t particularly favour Anzac biscuits as I’ve often found it a bit too crunchy. This recipe however was perfect for me as the biscuits were chewy and just nice. Ryan being bored and having loads of free time took photos for me and compiled them into a short video. :)
Anzac Biscuits:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 125gm butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Method:
  • Preheat oven to 160C. Line baking trays with non-stick baking sheet.
  • Sift flour into a large bowl. Stir in oats, coconut and brown sugar. 
  • Put butter, syrup and 2 tbsp water in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda. 
  • Pour butter mixture into flour mixture and mix well to combine. 
  • Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and flatten slightly with your palm. Place 5 cm apart on tray.
  • Bake till golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool.
Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies:
Ingredients:
  • 125gm butter, chopped
  • 200gm milk chocolate
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tbsp self-raising flour
  • 1 cup roasted hazelnuts
Method:
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Line baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  • Melt butter and chocolate together in a bowl. Cool slightly.
  • Stir in cocoa powder, eggs and sugar. Sift flour over mixture and mix well. 
  • Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and flatten slightly with your palm. Place 5 cm apart on tray.
  • Bake till tops are slightly cracked (10-12 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool.

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