22 March 2007

How French is French Toast?

As a kid, I always looked forward to eating anything sugar-coated. Well, actually I still do, though I wouldn't consider myself a kid anymore. I don't know if it was just me or was every other kid in the universe, I would, before eating, make a mental note on which were the sections with the most white, crystalline substance (I do mean sugar) on it. Why? Well, so that I could eat the rest of the "not so delightful" portions and savour the sweetest at the end! I was the type who saved the best for the last. After I emptied the plates, the next procedure was naturally to ensure that I had as much of the sugar cystals as possible in my mouth. This was easily achieved by a quick lick of the spoon or fork or chopsticks or fingers. It didn't take KFC to get my fingers lickin' good.

Among all the sugar-sprinkled treats, french toast was one that really appealed to me, even more than Danish cookies and sugar rolls. I'm not sure why, but I was very attracted to the "cheap but good" stuff (I'm low maintenance). Even though I only knew about one of the many ways of enjoying french toast: simply served warm from the pan with a generous sprinkling of sugar; it was always amongst my favourite. I have since discovered many other ways of eating this simple bread dish, courtesy of the many food blogs I read.

French toast is also an excellent way of finishing up whatever remnants you have in your fridge. The last two slices of bread but sick of plain, old toast? Make french toast. The remaining 1/4 cup of milk; not enough to drink but too much to dump? French toast is the answer. Left with only one egg but not in the mood for a sunny-side up breakfast? Crack it, beat it and soak bread in it for french toast. So, who's not loving french toast? It's easy, it's quick, it's delicious and most importantly, it's French!

Ok, maybe I'm not so sure about the last one...

I don't think you would need a recipe for french toast, and there would probably be certain "secret" ingredients you like to add in your french toast's bath. I usually beat up an egg with a couple of tablespoonfuls of milk and half a teaspoon of sugar, add some ground cinnamon when I feel like it, even ground nutmeg for added spice. Leave slices of your favourite bread to soak for a couple of minutes, sizzle some butter in a pan, and let the magic begin! Because I still had extra custard from the last batch of tartlets , it didn't take me long to decide to spoon dollops of it over warm french toast and have it melt with the heat. Extra magic!

Don't forget to be generous with the sugar! I bet whoever came up with french toast did not have a scrooge in mind.

21 March 2007

State of Mind

I had the urge to put up a post, but didn't know what to write about. So I think the picture very aptly describes what my brain is feeling right now, though maybe my brain isn't green and yellow.

18 March 2007

Do you get it?

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

16 March 2007

Baked White Chocolate Cheesecake, Two Ways

Ever since I baked my first cheesecake, I've been looking forward to the time when I can beat up some cream cheese in my very old, vintagey, electric mixer again. Peabody, who's very much a cheesecake fan I believe (look at the number of cheesecakes in her archives!), has chosen cheesecake as the theme for HHDD #10. Ah! Perfect timing! What's a better excuse to have that sinful thing baking in my oven other than participating in an event?

Firstly, I think if cream cheese were a person, he/she would definitely be the one who always ends up in the limelight no matter how much the others try to steal it from him/her. I don't know if it's a good or a bad thing, so I'll leave it to you to decide.

I had liked the combination of white chocolate and cranberries that I previously tried for my cupcakes and had tried to replicate it in the cheesecake, though not very successfully. The delicate flavour of white chocolate was overshadowed by the very distinctive taste of cream cheese. Nonetheless, the cream cheese and cranberry jam pairing worked perfectly for me, though my mother did say there was too much jam.

Somewhere between removing the baby from its springform tin and spreading the whole cheesecake with tons of cranberry jam I got bored. So I changed my mind, cut up the lonely, pathetic kiwi that was sitting in the fridge and arranged it over half of the cheesecake and pulverised the remains into a sauce to be drizzled over the green half.

To be honest, the kiwi didn't taste much like one alongside the overtly egoistic cream cheese. The green half photographed really well though, credits to the beautiful kiwi.

P.S.: As usual I couldn't decide on which photo to post, so I'll just post everything! Well, almost everything. Yes, I'm indecisive! And yes, I'm greedy!

Baked White Chocolate Cheesecake
(adapted from Sweet Food)

2 digestive biscuits
1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
50g white chocolate, chopped
125g cream cheese, room temp.
30g caster sugar
1 egg

2 tbsp cranberry jam
1 kiwi, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 tsp honey

- Grease the bottom and sides of a springform tin.
- Finely crush biscuits with food processor for 30 secs. Alternatively, put them in a plastic bag and roll with a rolling pin.
- Transfer biscuit crumbs to a bowl and mix with butter to moisten all the crumbs.
- Press biscuit mixture firmly into the base of the tin.
- Refridgerate until firm.

- Preheat oven to 180 degC.
- Melt chocolate using a bain-marie.
- Beat cream cheese until smooth.
- Add sugar and beat until smooth.
- Add egg and then the melted chocolate.
- Pour cream cheese mixture into the springform tin and bake for 30 mins or until just firm.
- Leave cheesecake to cool to room temperature then refridgerate until firm.

- Carefully remove cheesecake from the tin.
- Warm jam in a saucepan adding a little water to get the right consistency, if neccessary. Spoon generously over half the cheesecake, allowing some to drip over the sides.
- Arrange kiwi slices over half the cheesecake. Process the remaining kiwi and honey in food processor for 10 seconds. Drizzle over the cheesecake.

*This makes a 4-inch mini cheesecake and is only 1/4 of the book's recipe. And because I did only half of each variation, I would serve 2 slices, 1 of each flavour to each guest, thereby serving 4. For an 8-inch cheesecake(serves 10-12), I would quadruple the recipe.

Patience, my dear

Baked Mini Cheesecake

Coming Soon...

14 March 2007

A Mouthful of Delight: Rose-Infused Cream

Pink Rose Buds

I had been wanting to make some rose-infused cream for a while, but hadn't had the time on hand to substantialise what was going on in my head. Now that the chance to put on my oven gloves has come, it didn't take me long to finally get out my bottle of dried rose buds.

It didn't occur to me that I was making something that had medicinal benefits to the heart, even though the sales personnel did mention that rose tea would help reduce blood pressure. But all it took was 10 secs in Google (the wonders of the internet!) and I got a list on what good these small little beauties do for you! Though these medicinal properties of roses might not be 100% true, won't the scent of roses in these little tartlets be a lovely surprise and bring a smile onto your face? That, in itself, is a good thing, isn't it?

P.S.: Do excuse the grainy photos. It was really dark today. ^^

Tartlets with Rose-Infused Cream

Rose-Infused Cream (Adapted from La Tartine Gourmande)

375ml milk
8 dried rose buds
50g sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp butter

- Beat sugar, yolks and cornstarch with an electric mixer until thick and light in colour.
- Bring milk and rose buds to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
- When milk is boiling, remove from flame and pour through a strainer to remove rose buds.
- Gradually add milk to egg mixture while beating on low speed.
- Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan to cook over low heat.
- Stir constantly until mixture thickens.
- Stir in melted butter and let cool.

- Spoon cooled cream into pre-baked tart shells.
- Garnish with additional rose buds or petals if desired.
- Serve chilled.

12 March 2007

Sorry to say this, but

I don't need luck. I depend on myself.

Alright, I change my mind. I'm not sorry.

04 March 2007

Standing Up

I choose to protect myself. It's time to be not as nice as everyone else thinks you should, or wants you to, be. I am not going to be the always obliging one anymore. Because more often than not, people take you for granted and in the process of being obliging, you have done something that ultimately results in the penalising of your own self. I don't see why I should help people take advantage of me. I do not see why I should very kindly hand a dagger to the other party and let him/her stab me in the back with it.

I'm not saying I won't be helpful; just evaluating the extent of help that should be rendered and performing the kind act. I have, my right to decline. Especially if I deem the favour unright and undeserved.

What? Is that "selfish" I hear coming right at me? From you? Do you have the right to say that? Why don't you reflect on your own selfish, yes you read it right, selfish acts that had me thinking about all these in the first place?
What have you done today to make you feel proud?

02 March 2007