Category Archives: Party food

Easy Bagels


Bagels

Bagels

Bagels

As the markets are now closed due to the COVID19 lockdown, we haven’t been able to enjoy some of our favourite products for weeks. Specialty dumplings, sauerkraut, gozleme… and also bagels. I happen to have high grade flour, peacefully bought before the lockdown, so I set to work over Easter.

These didn’t require much work at all, and turned out pretty fun as well. Each proof was only a measly 20 minutes and a tiny amount of yeast was called for. Try make them bigger (into 6) or smaller (into 10) and that will serve as lunch or for snacking. A pretty good lockdown recipe I would say, considering how flour and yeast are such a hard-to-come-by-commodity at the moment.

I’ve played with 2 types of toppings here, a homemade ‘everything’ topping and one for the onion and cheese lovers. Feel free to scale up for future bagel action.

Ingredients

Makes 8

Dough

  • 3/4 tsp instant dried yeast
  • 240ml water, luke warm
  • 450g bread flour (also known as High Grade flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Bi carb soak

  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • Large pot of water

Everything bagel sprinkle

  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds

Cheese sprinkle

  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated

Method

  1. In a small bowl, add luke warm water and yeast and set aside.
  2. Add flour, salt, olive oil and maple syrup to a standmixer bowl. Add in the warm water with yeast. Mix together and then knead with a dough hock attachment for 5 minutes. The dough should be springy to the touch.
  3. Remove dough and divide into 8 pieces. Roll into smooth balls and cover with an oiled cling film. Leave to proof in a warm place for 20 minutes.
  4. Push a hole with your fingers through the middle of each ball, stretching as you go. This forms a dough ring.
  5. Cover with oiled cling film and let them proof for another 20 minutes in a warm place.
  6. Preheat the oven to 250C.
  7. Into a large pot of gently boiling water, add the baking soda.
  8. Place bagels, 3 at a time, into the bi carb soak. Cook each side for a minute. Remove and drain on a cooling rack.
  9. Sprinkle the bagel toppings on the bagels, pressing them in if you need to. Alternatively, you can place the sprinkle ingredients in a shallow bowl and dip the bagels in. You’ll need to beware of the heat though.
  10. Repeat until all bagels have had a soak and toppings added.
  11. Place bagels on a lined baking tray and bake for 8 minutes.
  12. Reduce the heat to 225C and bake for another 6 minutes.
  13. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with cream cheese, salted butter for breakfast or as a snack. These are freezable too!

Bagels

Spring onion pancakes


Chinese Spring onion pancakes 葱油餠

Sometimes we just crave simple food that brings back memories. For a simple meal, we often make rice congee and have stir fry noodles with it. The rice congee would take some time to prepare, in order for the rice grains to break down enough to be creamy. While that’s going, I can also prepare Spring Onion pancakes to go with the meal. They do not resemble the western pancakes though, as these are not light or fluffy. Instead, they are chewy and most definitely savoury in taste (you can also make sweet versions with red bean paste filling, another stunner!).

By bringing back this oldie, I’m creating memories with my daughter too. J loves rolling these out, and have recently discovered via the Woks of Life a shortcut to these crispy delights: using round store-bought wonton pastry, create 6 layer stacks of pastry, oil, salt and spring onions. Roll these out and pan fry on a dry pan. Super quick and I hope that she will remember these and make them in the future, be it traditional way or the shortcut!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Oil for the pancakes
  • 2 tsp fine salt
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • Rice bran oil for the pan

Dough Instructions

  1. Mix flour with water until it forms a smooth dough. Knead by doubling the dough over and pressing it down repeatedly, until the dough is shiny, smooth and very elastic. Coat this ball of dough lightly in oil and put it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.
  2. Finely chop the spring onion. (I use both the green tops and the white parts.) Set them on your work surface along with a small bowl of salt.
  3. Time to roll out the dough – Cut the dough into 4 equal parts. Roll out one part of the dough on the board. Roll until it is a thin rectangle at least 20 x 15 cm.
  4. Lightly brush the surface of the dough with sesame oil, then sprinkle it evenly with chopped spring onions and salt.Chinese Spring onion pancakes
  5. Starting from the long end, roll the dough up tightly, creating one long log of rolled-up dough.
  6. Cut the dough log into two equal parts.
  7. Take one of these halves, coil into a round dough disc. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes and ideally longer, while you repeat this process with the rest of the dough.Chinese Spring onion pancakes
  8. With you hands, press down a rolled dough disc into a flat, smooth, round pancake. Flatten it further by rolling with a rolling pin.Chinese Spring onion pancakes
  9. Chinese Spring onion pancakes
  10. Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Place the pancake dough in the dry pan and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes.
  11. Flip the pancake over and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes on the other side, or until golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the pancake dough rolls.

To Serve
Cut the pancake into wedges with a sharp knife, and serve immediately. Serve with your usual dumpling sauce (soy and vinegar).

Recipe Notes
Oils: This recipe calls for oil in two different places: Once to make the filling, and once to fry the pancakes. For the filling, any neutral oil will do, but tasters (and I!) prefer sesame oil.

Make-Ahead Tip: If you would like to make a few pancakes but save the rest for later, you can save the dough in the fridge for up to 3 days and in the freezer. Just make sure the dough is oiled and well-covered. You can also roll out individual pancakes and stack them between well-oiled layers of baking paper.

Chinese Spring onion pancakes 葱油餠

Marshmallow


Marshmallow, homemade, freeze dried fruit
Home made marshmallows are fun bites to have at any party and as gifts. These squishy bites are cloud-like and melts in your mouth! Perfect for cake decorating or donut-adorning. By adding the fruit powder you prefer, a multitude of flavours can easily be made.

I used Fresh As’s blackcurrant powder here, to give the beautiful purple hues. Check out their range: strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, mandarin, mango, passionfruit, lime…even kaffir lime! Try variations with cocoa powder and freeze dried instant coffee powder too.

Ingredients:

  • 10g gold strength gelatine leaves (about 5 sheets)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 60g water
  • 70g egg whites (about 2 size 7 eggs) 
  • 10g caster sugar
  • 15g Fresh As Blackcurrant powder

Mallowpowder for dusting:

  • 50g icing sugar
  • 50g corn flour

Directions:

  1. Mix the ingredients for mallowpowder.
  2. Line a small tray (15cm x 10cm) with baking paper. Dust a thin layer of mallowpowder on the paper with a fine sieve. Reserve the rest for dusting later.
  3. Soak gelatine sheets in a container with cold water.
  4. In a small pot, combine 200g sugar and water. Place a candy thermometer in, making sure it touches the sugar. Bring to a boil, till it reaches 130C.
  5. In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites and 10g sugar together until soft peaks.
  6. Once the sugar water reaches temperature, pour it into the egg whites in a thin stream, all the while whisking. Keep whisking for 3 minutes.
  7. Squeeze excess water out of the soaked gelatine sheets and add to the marshmallow. Whisk till it is combined.
  8. Add fruit powder and whisk for a further 5 minutes to cool the mixture down.
  9. Spread onto prepared tray and use a pallet knife to smooth the top. Leave to set for 4 hours or more. 
  10. Dust mallowpowder on your knife before cutting, and cut in downward motion for clean cut sides. Dust cubes of 3cm x 3cm with more mallowpowder.
  11. Store in a tight lidded box. 

Sugar is ‘water loving’ so it might get sticky if you leave it at room temperature for too long. Try freezing the marshmallow cubes to add to hot chocolates and coffees later on. 

      Marshmallow, homemade, freeze dried fruit

      Gluten Free Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Bar with Cocoa Puffs


      IMG_20170522_084318_039

      Finally! A gluten free version of my most requested hazelnut chocolate crunch bar for you all! Be warned: it is as addictive as the normal version and super easy to make. No baking required.

      DSC_6441

      What makes these chocolate bars so irresistible? Two things: the hazelnut taste and the cocoa pops crunch. I tested many different type of gluten free cocoa pops before I was finally satisfied with the taste and texture. I settled on Hubbards’ Thank Goodness Gluten free cocoa puffs. These stayed completely crunchy!

      Regarding the hazelnut-chocolate combination, you can certainly change it to suit your latest cravings. Think peanut butter, salted caramel, macadamia butter, almond cacao and also peppermint to name a few.

      You can dress the bars up with whatever you like: a dusting of cocoa powder; hazelnut; hazelnut praline crunch; fresh-dried berries. Or left naked. Your options are endless which makes this an ideal ‘bring-a-dessert’ that *potentially* satisfies everyone.

      Makes one tray, cut bars sized to your liking. I got 39 (3 rows of 13 bars of about 1.5 cm by 8cm)
      For the crunchy Bottom layer:

      • 250g milk chocolate (33% cacao), melted
      • 100g roasted hazelnut paste (Nocciola from Equagold)
      • 125g (about half cup) chocolate-hazelnut spread (or instead of the hazelnut paste and chocolate-hazelnut spread, you can use the same amount of Forty Thieves’ Cacao Hazelnut butter instead, or Nutella.)
      • 2 cups Hubbards Thank Goodness gluten free cocoa puffs

      For the filling:

      • 400g dark chocolate (70% cacao) broken into small pieces, (I used Solomon’s Gold or Whittakers 72% Ghana.)
      • 400ml cream
      • 65g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
      1. For the bottom layer, line a narrow rectangular tray (or shallow slice box, I used my Tupperware rectangular box) with 2 pieces of baking paper, with the paper hanging over the sides of the tray. (This will help you lift the slab off from the tray effortlessly.)
      2. Melt chocolate over a pot of simmering hot water. Once smooth, add the roasted hazelnut paste and chocolate-hazelnut spread; stir until smooth.
      3. Fold in the cocoa puffs until the chocolate is combined (It should look like a mess!) Scoop the chocolate mixture to the prepared tray. Press the mixture down into a smooth, even layer. Let it chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
      4. To make the top layer, place the broken chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream till it is just simmering and pour over the chocolate.
      5. Shake the bowl a little and let this sit for about 2 minutes, this is so that the chocolate melts smoothly, avoiding any lumps in your final product.
      6. Add the cubed butter and whisk until ganache is smooth. As you whisk, the cream will magically homogenize with the melted chocolate to form a shiny smooth, pourable ganache.
      7. Pour the ganache over the cocoa puffs and smooth with a spatula. Leave in the fridge to set, about 1 hour.
      8. Decorate with whole hazelnuts, hazelnut praline crunch, freeze dried fruits or anything you wish! Place in the fridge to set it a further 2 hours. Slice into bars before serving.

      DSC_6459

      Styled by my little chef.

      Crunchy cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip cookies


      Momofuku cornflake crumb chocolate chips marshmallow cookie

      We had several reasons for cookies coming up and not wanting to make the same old chocolate chip cookie, I turned to the Momofuku recipe book for ideas. Knowing it would be something different, I tested the ideas with Miss 8 first.

      “How does cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip cookie sound?”

      She was sold at marshmallow.

      We proceeded to make the cornflake crunch first. It was the most delicious element since feuilletine and easily made too! I can also vary the flavours by mixing in cocoa powder or malt powder. This is going to be something we have ready made in the kitchen from now on.

      I have adapted the recipe here so that I don’t end up with half a cup of corn flakes at the bottom of the box, and also adjusted the ratio of ingredients to suit our taste. If you want more toffee-like shards in your cookies, by all means add another 15g of marshmallows in.

      Cornflake Crunch

      • 210g plain cornflakes
      • 55g full fat milk powder
      • 55g caster sugar
      • 6g salt flakes
      • 160g butter, melted

      Instructions

      1. Preheat the oven to 130C.
      2. Pour the cornflakes in a medium bowl and crush them with your hands till they are about 1/4 of their original size.
      3. Add milk powder, sugar and salt. Toss to mix.
      4. Add butter and toss to coat. The butter will bind the dry ingredients and create clusters.
      5. Spread the clusters on baking paper and bake for 20 mins till they are crunchy and buttery.
      6. Cool completely before using.

      Cornflake crumb

      These could be folded into ice creams, sprinkled on top of milkshakes, as a crunchy layer in my entremets, as decoration on cakes…nomnomnom.

      Cookie

      • 225g butter, room temperature
      • 250g caster sugar
      • 150g brown sugar
      • 1 egg
      • 1 tsp vanilla paste
      • 240g flour
      • 2g baking powder
      • 1.5g baking soda
      • 5g salt flakes
      • 270g of Cornflake Crunch mix
      • 125g mini chocolate chips
      • 50g mini marshmallows

      Instructions

      1. Cream butter and sugars for 3 minutes.
      2. Scrape down sides of bowl, add egg and vanilla paste, and beat for 7 minutes.
      3. Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt slowly as the mixer is on low speed. Mix for no longer than 1 minute.
      4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in cornflake crumb and chocolate chips and mix for 30 seconds. On low speed add in marshmallows. (It would seem like there is a lot of marshmallows – I have reduced the amount here to keep the toffee taste.)
      5. Scoop with a small teaspoon to form small balls. These cookies spread like no other so keep them small.
      6. Place on trays and freeze them for 1 hour at least. Do not bake without freezing first or they will spread too thinly. These can be frozen for 1 month.
      7. Preheat the oven at 175C.
      8. Place on baking paper-lined cookie sheets, well-spaced. Bake at 175C fan-forced for 16 minutes as they puff up, crackle and spread. Marshmallows should have melted. (Watch as they burn easily.)
      9. Let cool completely on cookie sheet before transfering.
      10. Cookies will be fresh for 5 days and keep for a month in the freezer.