October 25, 2011

Morimoto's White Lily

I fell head over heels for Morimoto's White Lily cocktail last weekend. It was my first time trying Morimoto's signature cocktail and I just LOVE it. What is not to love. There's Calpico (creamy!), lemon (citrusy!) shochu (smooth!) and Yuzu (citrusy!x2). I was able to approximate on how to make the cocktail without any fanfare. It came out pretty good, not exactly the same as Morimoto's but delicious nonetheless.

I don't have a cocktail shaker so I just mixed all the ingredients together in a pitcher. Chilled your ingredients before mixing so you don't have to add ice and dilute the cocktail, unless you have a shaker (the shaker strains out the cocktail from the ice). You can purchase Yuzu juice online or Japanese supermarkets.

1.5L bottle Calpico (original flavor; white)
2.5 tbsp Yuzu juice
1.25 cup barley shochu
Lemon twist, for garnish (optional)

Mix ingredients in a pitcher except lemon twist. Serve on a cocktail glass with lemon twist on the side. Makes 4 drinks. Enjoy!

April 29, 2011

McVities Chocolate Biscuit Cake

All set to watch the wedding of the year? Throwing a viewing party? Perhaps a Royal-themed English breakfast? With William and Catherine walking out of Westminster Abbey this morning, it's time to let the new groom and bride have cake and eat it too! Catherine's wedding cake will be that of a traditional fruit cake while William's groom cake will be a Chocolate Biscuit Cake, a favorite of the prince. Be sure to use McVities Dark Chocolate digestive biscuits, though. Here is the recipe for Chocolate Biscuit Cake (which I deviated a little bit, see below) by Darren McGrady, a former Royal chef.

I've heard concerns about using raw egg in this recipe. Since this cake is not baked, there were concerns of salmonella from using the raw egg. So, instead, I've decided to tweak the recipe by tempering the egg with the melted chocolate. This heat from the melted chocolate will cook the egg slightly (and give a false sense of security that you won't get salmonella!).

A package of McVities Dark Chocolate digestive biscuits comes in a 300g roll (about 10 ounces). I just eyeballed it by taking 4 biscuits out (the remaining is probably around 8 ounces). Look mum ... no measuring!

For the cake:
4 ounces dark chocolate
4 ounces (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter (softened)
1 egg
8 ounces McVities Dark Chocolate digestive biscuits.

8 ounces dark chocolate (for coating)
1 ounce chocolate (for decoration, optional)
½ teaspoon butter for greasing.

Lightly grease a 6 inch by 2 ½ inch cake ring and place on a tray on a sheet of parchment paper. I use a silicone pan so no need to grease and line with paper.

Break each of the biscuits into almond size pieces by hand and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until the mixture is fluffy, about 5 minutes. Whisk egg in a small bowl and set aside.

Melt the 4 ounces of chocolate (using a double boiler).

Spoon a small spoonful of the melted chocolate into the egg and quickly whisk it. It will turn into a lumpy mixture but that's OK. We want to increase the temperature of the egg but we don't want to cook it. Slowly add the egg and chocolate mixture back to the melted chocolate and whisk constantly. Your melted chocolate mixture will be smooth and has a shiny sheen. Good job!

Add the chocolate mixture into the butter mixture. Mix with the electric mixer for another 5 minutes until mixture is fluffy (similar consistency to that of chocolate frosting).

Fold in the biscuit pieces until they are all coated with the chocolate mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake ring. Try to fill all of the gaps on the bottom of the ring because this will be the top when it is un-molded. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least three hours.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it stand while you melt the 8 ounces of chocolate.

Slide the ring off the cake and turn it upside down onto a cake wire. Pour the melted chocolate over the cake and smooth the top and sides using a palette knife (or an offset spatula). I mistakenly used a 9 inch cake pan ... the cake turned out to be more like a cookie!

Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature.Carefully run a knife around the bottom of the cake where the chocolate has stuck it to the cake wire and lift it onto a tea plate.

Melt the remaining 1 ounce of chocolate and use to decorate the top of the cake. I decorated my cake with sugared rose petals (Miss you, Diana!). Serve cake at room temperature.

April 24, 2011

Carrot Cake

UPDATE: I made this cake again for Vance's birthday and decided to decorate it with carrot marzipan.

This is one of my favorite carrot cake recipe and it comes from The Pioneer Woman herself. Vance loves this cake but I don't bake a lot so he has to wait until I'm in the mood to make them (when I am not being lazy).

You can bake the cake the day before and let it cool in the fridge before frosting. You should never, EVER, ever frost a cake when it's still warm ... not even lukewarm! Here's Pioneer Woman's recipe for Sigrid's Carrot Cake (click on the link to go to her site!)

P/S - I made this cake using a round cake pan, you can use a sheet cake pan or a Bundt cake pan. I think next time, I'm gonna cut the cake into halves and put some of the icing in the middle as well.

For cake:
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil
4 whole Eggs
2 cups All-purpose Flour
½ teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 cups Grated Carrots (grated finely)

For Icing:
1 stick Regular Butter, Softened
1 package (8 Oz) Cream Cheese
1 pound Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 cup Pecans (toasted), Chopped Finely

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil and eggs together until it looks like a smooth curd. In another bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

Add the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.

Add grated carrots and mix well.

Pour into a greased and floured  9 x 13 sheet cake pan or a 9 inch round cake pan (I used silicone pans so I didn't have to grease ans flour the pan). Bake until done, about 25 mins for sheet cake pan and about 50 mins for round cake pan. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Cool completely before icing.

In larger bowl, mix butter and cream cheese. Cream until smooth.

Add vanilla and sugar. Mix well.

Then add in the pecans.

Spread on cooled carrot cake. Voila! Commence food porn ...


April 16, 2011

Goat Cheese Crostini

This is an easy to prepare appetizer that's quick and simple. Great with wine or as party appetizers. You can prep batches of these beforehand and toast them before serving. Thanks for this recipe, Nate!

1 baguette
Goat cheese, preferably spreadable
Sliced almonds
Truffle oil (optional)

Preheat oven at 400 degrees F. Slice baguette lengthwise, about 1/2 inch per piece.

Brush the top of baguette slices with some truffle oil. Spread goat cheese on top and sprinkle on some sliced almonds. Drizzle with honey.

Toast in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the almonds started to brown. Serve warm or room temperature.

April 14, 2011

Kitty's Fish Cakes (For Cats!)

I wanted to make something special for my cat, Serra, for her birthday and stumbled upon this recipe online. I made a few adjustments from the original recipe because I'm not sure if serving cats brewer's yeast and tomato paste is a good idea. At first I wanted to make this in a cake pan but opted on using cupcake and fish molds so they cook evenly can be stored easily. You can also make these as treats and shape them to balls. If the title wasn't clear enough, this is a recipe for cats ... unless you like to eat catnip.

By the way, my cats loved these fish cakes. This recipe can feed 3 cats for 2 meals. They just wolfed down the leftovers in minutes! You can bake a batch of these and use them as treats.

3 baby carrots
12 oz canned tuna in water
3.75 oz cooked cooked sardines in water
2 tablespoon bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon catnip
1 egg, beaten
A few pinches of bonito flakes and catnip for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a plastic container, cook baby carrots with some water inside a microwave for 5 minutes or until they are soft. Drained and mashed the carrots.

Drain tuna and sardines from the can. Reserve the liquid for use later (as garnish).

Combine all the ingredients and mix evenly (except the garnishes).

The mixture should look like this.

Now, you can either roll them up into balls or cook them inside molds. I used cupcake molds and fish molds. Bake for about 20 minutes or until they are firm. Let them cool completely before serving. Garnish with a sprinkle of catnip, bonito flakes and some of the tuna and sardines liquid to make it irresistible to your kitties!

 Happy Kitties!

Happy Birthday Serra!