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Edible Potted Moss

26 Feb

Honestly I had been planning this dessert for years. The idea was first planted in my head when I watched the TV show of Heston Blumenthal making potted plant Tiramisu a few years ago. At the time Heston’s recipe was intimidating for me. I didn’t even think to try it. Last year when I saw the flower pot ramekins in the shop, Heston’s creation came back to my mind again. I bought the ramekins and thought I would put them to use one day. After that I didn’t have a clear idea of what I was going to make, also because I didn’t have much time, I put the ramekins in the cupboard and forgot about them completely. Until recently I bought a new toy – whipping siphon gun, a clear idea was formed in my mind and I finally decide put it into action.

My idea was to make a dessert with elements – chocolate mousse, chocolate soil and matcha sponge. I started searching recipes for those elements. Because the idea was inspired by Heston I particularly looked for his recipes. To my surprise he only used water and chocolate to make chocolate mousse. I was intrigued by his recipe since I have learnt water will seize the chocolate. Water in the chocolate is always a big no-no. After I watched his video I decided to give it a go. The result was interesting – water didn’t seize the chocolate but created a smooth and creamy texture. However I am not sure if it is he chocolate I used or the ratio issue, my chocolate mousse wasn’t thick enough. Even tough I had been whisking it for a long time, the mousse was like the custard consistency. If you are interested please find his recipe here.

To make the chocolate soil I adapted Heston’s Tiramisu recipe and replaced some ingredients with something else that I can find. It was tasty and it can be added to any dessert for some texture.

Chocolate soil

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 80g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (70% cocoa solids)
  • 1/4 cup puff rice
  • 60g white chocolate
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Put 75 ml cold tap water and the sugar into a saucepan and place the pan over a high heat. Bring to the boil and continue to heat until the syrup at the side of the pan begins to colour.
  2. Remove from the heat and immediately add the chopped dark chocolate. Whisk to incorporate, continue to whisk until the liquid has completely crystallised.
  3. Pour the dark chocolate crystals onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and allow to cool.
  4. To caramelise the white chocolate, preheat the oven to 190ºC. Place the white chocolate on a baking tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven for 15 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, begin to stir the chocolate every couple of minutes until fully caramelised. Remove it from the oven and let it cool. Don’t turn off the oven.
  5. Put the puff rice int a baking tray and toast in the oven until they are lightly brown with some nutty flavor.
  6. Blend the crystallised dark chocolate and caramelised white chocolate with the cocoa powder, toasted puff rice, and the salt in a food processor until they are crumbly.

Macha Sponge

  • 1 Egg
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 10g plain flour
  • 25g butter melt
  • 60g milk
  • 1/2 tsp matcha powder
  1. Whisk all ingredients together and put the mixture in the whipping siphon gun.Charge with the gas and shake vigorously. Leave it for 2 hours.
  2. Squeeze the mixture from the whipping siphon gun into a plastic or paper cup. Microwave it on high heat for 40 seconds. Take it out from the microwave and let it cool (the cakeshould be very airy  and spongy).

To assemble

Chocolate mousse should be set in the ramekins in the fridge for a few hours. To serve, add the chocolate soil on top of the chocolate mousse. Tear a piece of matcha sponge and add it on top. Tadda does it look like a real moss plant? 🙂
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Strawberry and Coconut Cake

6 Jan

Strawberries are in season again! This year we have picked the biggest strawberries ever! They were juice and sweet.My 22 moth old daughter not only enjoyed running in the strawberry field but also enjoyed eating the delicious strawberries. 🙂

We have picked almost 3kg strawberries. Apart from eating fresh a great way to consume the strawberries is to use them in baking. This recipe is adopted from a magazine, but I bumped up the volume a little bit to make a thicker cake. Yes because I had too many strawberries! However I must say I was too generous on strawberries and also cut them in big pieces, so they sank to the bottom of the cake. You might cut down the amount of strawberries or cut them smaller. The cake was moist and fruity. The strawberry cream cheese icing was sweet and delicious. This cake brought the sunshine on the plate!

Strawberry and Coconut Cake

  • 150g butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cup plain flour
  • 1½ tsps baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • finely grated zest 1 orange
  • 2 Tbsps orange juice
  • 18 medium strawberries, hulled and quartered

Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

  • 150 g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 100 g butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 3–4 strawberries, hulled and crushed with a fork
  1. Grease a 22cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C bake.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and pale. Whisk the eggs together and gradually beat in until very well combined. Mix the flour, baking powder, cardamom and the coconut together. Gently fold into the butter mixture along with the buttermilk, orange zest and juice and the strawberries.
  4. Pour into the tin and smooth the top. Bake for about 1 hour until golden and the cake is pulling away from the sides of the tin. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
  5. Let the cake cool completely before removing from the tin.
  6. Icing: Beat the cream cheese until smooth, then add the butter and beat again until light and fluffy. Beat in the icing sugar. Beat in half the strawberries, then add enough of the remaining pulp to make a thick but spreadable icing. You may not need to add all the strawberry pulp.
  7. Spread over the cake and decorate with shredded coconut and fresh strawberries.

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Peanut Butter Bliss Balls

1 Jan

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I just want to share something simply but delicious on the new year’s day. Do you want some sweet treats require no baking, no cooking or no fuss, so you have more time to enjoy this holiday season? Read on.

This is my take on my aunt in law’s bliss ball recipe. She called them “bumble bees” – what a lovely name! I chose a healthy approach by removing butter, refined sugar but using medjool dates, coconut oil and peanut butter instead. Medjool dates have slightly higher level of sugar than the normal dates, therefore I don’t need to add more refined sugar. Peanut butter not only adds flavor but also acts as a binding agent. These bliss balls are sweet, crunchy and delicious! They are gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free. Last but not least, they are very easy to make. A jar of these little gems was a great Christmas gift. 🙂

Peanut Butter Bliss Balls

  • 1 1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates
  • 2 Tbsps peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsps coconut oil
  • 2 cups puffed rice
  • 2 Tbsps shredded coconut, plus more for coating
  1. Blend the dates in a food processor until they are pasty.
  2. Add peanut butter, coconut oil, puffed rice and shredded coconut and then hit pulse for a few times until all ingredients mix well and form small clusters.
  3. Use hands to shape the mixture into balls, coat with shredded coconut. If the coconut doesn’t stick on the balls, then use your hand to slightly squeeze the shredded coconut and the ball together.
  4. Keep the bliss balls in the freezer for a couple of hours so they can firm up.

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Lemon and poppy seeds mini loaves

8 May

I love anything with lemon flavor and I love using lemons in cooking and baking. They are so versatile – can be used in savory dishes or sweet dishes. I have made the lemon mini loaves for a few times and they were adored by everyone who ate them. This time I have added some poppy seeds which added some texture and crunchiness. They are soft and moist, perfectly balanced between sweet and sour with a strong lemon flavor. No more to say just to show you the recipe right away! 🙂

Lemon and poppu seeds mini loaves
Ready in 30-35 minutes, made 8 loaves
  • Butter 250g
  • Caster sugar 1 cup  for the syrup
  • Egg 4
  • Plain flour 2 cups
  • Baking powder 3 tsp
  • Lemon zest and lemon juice 2 lemons
  • Poppy seeds 2Tbsps
Lemon syrup
  • Caster sugar 1/2 cup
  • Lemon juice 1/2 cup
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Cream butter and sugar until pale, then add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
  2. Fold in sifted flour and baking powder, then lemon zest and juice, poppy seeds. Spoon into baking paper lined mini loaf tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
  3. To make the syrup, heat lemon juice and sugar in a pot until sugar dissolves. Pour syrup over hot loaves. Cool in tins.
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