Category Archives: Recipes – lunchbox ideas

Hong Kong Paper Wrapped mini sponge cakes 紙包蛋糕


Hong Kong Paper Wrapped Sponge Cake

Hong Kong Paper Wrapped Sponge Cake

Hong Kong Paper Wrapped Sponge Cake

Hong Kong Paper Wrapped Sponge Cake

After having regular checkups at the Orthodontist in the past 2 years, J’s finally ready to be fitted with braces. With that, we need to have a think about our meals with her new requirements in mind.

Soft foods, easy to eat. No super crunchy or hard to chew things that will risk breaking the brackets glued to her teeth. This is especially for the few days straight after each 6-8 weekly checkup where they adjust the individual brackets, and when her gums will be a bit swollen.

We talked about the different things we can have in her lunch box, and this easy sponge cake came up in the conversation. Soft and pillowy, this is perfect for her.

This one is a nod to my childhood, where fancy buttercream or fondant cakes weren’t prevalent, with a good sponge cake being the absolute gold standard for all occasions. Specifically, layered sponge cakes dressed up with whipped cream and seasonal fruits (think about all the mango cream sponges and berries and cream cakes!) They are still popular in Hong Kong, and very much part of the food cultural fabric.

To make those cakes you can easily use this recipe and bake it in a normal cake pan, add whipped cream along with seasonal fruits. Easy. We’ve made after-school-snack-portions here with tall moulds, just like the ones in my childhood days, and you can also use other baking tins, just find something that is quite tall and deep. Perfect lunch box item – sans cream of course!

Ingredients:

Makes 8

  • 55g unsalted butter, melted (Lewis Road Creamery)
  • 60ml milk
  • 100g low gluten flour
  • 5 eggs (size 7)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 80g caster sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Separate egg yolks and whites into 2 separate bowls.
  3. In a large bowl, place melted butter and milk together, whisk lightly.
  4. Add sifted flour, vanilla extract and egg yolks to the butter mixture. Mix well, ensuring there are no lumps.
  5. Using an electric whisk or stand mixer, whisk egg whites till foamy and add in cream of tartar. Continue whisking, then slowly rain in the sugar. Whisk until the whites form stiff peaks.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg whites into the flour batter to loosen up the mixture. Fold in 1/3 of the beaten whites into the batter, then the second third and then the last of the whites.
  7. Pour into lined cake tins, only filling 2/3s of the pan (it will rise quite a lot) and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Cool on a wire rack and keep in an air tight container.

Hong Kong Paper Wrapped Sponge Cake

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

Swedish seed cracker “KNÄCKEBRÖD”


knäckebröd – literally knäcke to break and bröd, bread.

I have them for breakfast with butter, tomato, cottage cheese and loads of pepper. I can totally see these on the next party platter with the best Chicken and Sage Terrine by L’authentic, smoked salmon or salmon gravlax and cream cheese. That’s if I manage to keep some for home after my husband tried them and said he’s taking them to work! They are so easy to make and so easy to make flavour variety too.

This version takes a bit longer to make (baking time) compared to another recipe I sometimes make, without oats and less water. I prefer this one more, as it creates crackers with less uniformity and texture, giving it more personality.

Ingredients
  • 220 g flour
  • 220 g rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 100 g sunflower seeds
  • 100 g sesame seeds
  • 75 g chia seeds
  • 70 g pumpkin seeds
  • 700 ml water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Cumin seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 130C.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and add the liquids. It should have a porridge-like consistency.
  3. Line 3 cookie sheets with baking paper and pour the mixture onto the sheets.
  4. With a large spoon, spread the mixture as thin as possible (like 2-3mm) and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove sheets from oven and slide the baking paper onto a chopping board. Cut each sheet of cracker into rectangular pieces – small cracker size (for dipping) or larger rectangles (for serving). Having different sizes are good! Put back in the oven and bake for 1-2 hours until they are golden and crisp.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


DSC_7713

What kind of chocolate chip cookie do you dream about when a craving surfaces? Mine’s soft and chewy, buttery and chocolatey all in the same bite. Warm out of the oven, I can never resist sneaking one before it has cooled down. I especially love having multiple kinds and sizes of chocolate bits in it with it all melting differently, resulting in gooey chocolate yumminess. 

How flat they go will depend on how warm the butter in the mixture is – the colder it is, the rounder and perkier the cookies will be. Better even, leave the dough in the fridge for 48 hours before baking and they will be perfect. You can add any nuts, chocolate or goodies you like to this recipe – just be creative!

Ingredients

  • 250g butter, unsalted (room temperature)
  • 1½ cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2 eggs, size 8 
  • 2½ cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped up good quality chocolate (into a variety of sizes) 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200c fan bake.
  2. With a stand mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar and vanilla until well combined.
  3. Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is well combined.
  4. Sift flour, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.
  5. Add flour mixture to the stand mixer and mix well.
  6. Stir in the chocolate bits.
  7. Using a small ice cream scoop, portion and place cookie dough about 5cm apart on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  8. Place dough in the fridge for a minimum of 30 mins and up to 48 hours to firm up. (You can even freeze them!)
  9. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. If using two trays at the same time, switch the trays around half-way through to ensure even cooking.
  10. Cool the biscuits on the tray for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Eat them warm then make some more!

DSC_7712

They are good as ice cream sandwich cookies too!

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.