Category Archives: Desserts and baking

The happyness muffin with blueberries

These evolved from a class of students that Moi used to teach at Whitireia Poytechnic , in New Zealand /Aotearoa. Ive eaten muffins all over the world and truly these were so awesome moist, and chock full of berries or you could replace them with something else..

While we are on that topic, there was a muffin place called M#ff^in break( of all the things), which were some of the worst ive ever eaten. i counted 5 berries in one, like they kept one person on slave rates to count the nos of frozen berries to chuck into each little muffin cup.

So this recipe makes 12 medium sized ones or could make smaller mini sized ones about 30 odd..the cooking time for those is about 60% so about 12 -14 minutes, you have to check its not an exact science.

  • Flour sieved 200 g
  • Cornflour sieved with above -40 g
  • baking powder sieved with flour and cornflour together- 10 g

ok stop , before going any further, preheat your oven to 180 C on fan assisted mode and get your muffin tin and cups ready( muffin cups even the disposable ones need t be sprayed or brushed with some oil)

  • Butter 48 g
  • oil 48 g melt together
  • Eggs 2 large sized 6–65 g each
  • Sugar 180 g
  • vanilla essence – enough to take the egg smell off
  • milk -100 ml
  • Blueberries –120 g atleast, so you get a good mouthful in each bite

The way forward is quite easy…Whisk the eggs , sugar and essence together over a bowl of hot water till thick and foamy. you could do this the old fashioned way with a good whisk or use the electric hand blender, dont worry i wont judge you.

then slowwwwly add in the melted butter oil mix , and milk and dont whisk. Use a spatula or spoon ti mix gently so all the aeration isnt lost. Then pour in your flour/cornflour/baking powder blend, the one which had been all sieved togther.( to blend well , remove any bits of paper/ plastic or glass which could go in..and also make the mix lighter).Put on the greased cups/ yes even the disposable baking cups so the batter doesnt stick horribly. Bake at 180C fr 8-20 minutes turning midway once or twice.

Take these out and take a bow, your kids will love you forever( well atleast till the muffins last). I will make a batch with my happy kids tomorrow and post a pic..

Turkish pide /Tanzhong style

This remains one of my favourite breads to eat…like a few dozen other, but truly a nice pide/ or its relative the barbary naan bread are sooo good with a stew or a grilled chicken kebab , to mop up some curry, or even simply like in a panini s/w.

will update more when im riding the train today in Sydney…

And what can be more fun than juggling a cup of latte ,praise the Lord for cups with lids.

So we first need to the make this sticky paste which is called tangzhong in china and shokupan in Japan where you cook some starch with a liquid and then use that as a base for your bread .this allows for the bread to absorb more water , which allows for the bread to stay cottonsoft for a lot longer without any other additives .

So for that first I took

Milk 300 ml and cooked it with 30 g of flour and butter to make a kind of a bechamel or white sauce. Keep 1 spoon separately.Cool that down till you can touch it with your fingers and add about 100 ml water .( Very important that it’s not too hot or you going to kill them yeastie babies

Then to that you add 6 g of yeast, and 10 g sugar and 10 g salt mix lightly and add flour 400 g( I used 50 g spelt, 200 whole wheat and 150 regular. I then just lightly mixed it up .

Then I proofed it in the fridge with some plastic wrap so it doesn’t get dry.

Then you knock it back , gently and divide into 4.round it up and leave it for a few minutes.

Then you sort of elongate the dough and make it into a rectangle shape . Dimple the top and proof again.

Test the side by touching the side.if it springs back immediately it’s not ready to bake just yet.

Prrheat your oven to 200 C and brush your bread dough with diluted bechamel+ 30ml of olive oil which you have saved in the first step…didn’t save it..Curses ..

Then top it with sesame seeds ,Nigella and I used some fennel too with some cracked salt.

Bake for approximately 14-16 minutes turning midway through the cooking process .brush with olive oil when done and serve..

Pumpkin Pie!!

This is a very american Thanksgiving dessert, and sometimes not that popular with the rest .Partly i giess due the texture and the colour.But properly made it can be very satisfying and nice, alomst with a cheesecake type consistency.

so for this we need

  1. Flour 120 g
  2. butter-60 g
  3. sugar – 30 g
  4. Egg – 1/2

This wil give you enough pastry to make one pie and have a bit to spare.Crumble the butter sugar and flour with your fingertips .Add the egg and knead very lightly to form the dough. /line your pie tin with the pastry evenly and rest for atleast 15-30 minutes before par baking .Par bake at 170 C for 15 minutes.

For the filling we will use.

  1. Pumkin puree – 250 g
  2. eggs -1.5+ use up the half leftover from the pastry.- no waste
  3. brown sugar-150 g
  4. cinnamon- pinch
  5. dry ground ginger – large pinch
  6. allspice- pinch
  7. melted butter- 20g
  8. evaporated milk -240 ml

to make the filling whisk eggs with sugar and then add the rest of the ingredients.use a stick blender to blend all of it smooth.

Pour it into your par baked pie crust and cook for 10 mins at 1170 c, and then lower temperature to 130 C for a further 30-35 minutes.the filling should be barely set.

allow to cool down and then refrigerate and serve.

Shokupan/ aka Hokkaido milk bun

There is a kind of pull apart bread we eat in Mumbai / Bombay called pav .this recipe doesn’t taste anything like that.

What the$#@&-++, you must be thinking , why bother mentioning it then . because the Hokkaido milk bun hmb for short looks like pav ladi we get in India but tastes far better and is akin to a pav wearing foundation and make up sitting in a fancy car.

So the way to make it is also diffferent slightly more complex. We take a small amount of flour and milk and cook it to a paste. What this does is allow the rest of the dough when finished to get more soft and fluffy.( Because of complex chemical reactions..,you dont want to know all the details.

  • Flour 450+50 g
  • Milk 225+100 ml
  • Sugar 10 g
  • Salt-10 g
  • Yeast active dry-10 g

so now once we have weighed our stuff ,we measure out flour and take 50 g separate and cook it with 100 ml milk till it gets to be like a gel and gluey. This is called Yudane in Japan and tangzhong in china.we are not going to sit and examine which one came first or why they even work. Suffice it to say that they do.

Then you add the rest of the liquid ( milk ) in this case to the gluey mix and whisk it up .cool it till gets blood warm then add the sugar salt flour and yeast in that order.dont change the order otherwise you could kill the yeast.Also don’t put in yeast in hot dough which also is the way of the seppuku( honorable suicide ), because yeast will die above 50 odd degree and you will be left with a stone to pelt at your enemies .Bam blam..whiz..

Add 20 g of butter and 20 ml oil to dough and knead it in

Ok so we have arrived at that happy moment where the dough has been amalgamated and yeast is ready to multiply and make CO2 to make holes and allow your dough to rise. For this at home what I do is heat up water in the microwave and keep the dough next to it .( In a bowl).

Then preheat your oven to 190 deg C…the USA guys have to do a google search to find out what temp they need to achieve. Ok sorry it’s about 425 F.

Then the big piece of dough you knock back or de gas and divide into 20 pieces ..

Shape them into round balls and elongate them slightly.

Put back in the microwave with water till they get nicely proofed.

Then brush with milk and melted butter butter and bake for approximately 15-18 mins

Rich Fruit cake- syrup style

makes one medium sized cake about 8 inch round cooking time about 45-50 mins , preparation around 15 , depends on how organised you are

  • Flour-90
  • Almond powder 10 g( I’ve said 10 but you could higher and reduce the flour a bit )
  • cornflour-10 g
  • cinnamon powder- 2g
  • dry ground ginger- 2 g
  • Allspice- 1 g
  • Nutmeg- pinch
  • Baking soda- 4 g
  • salt- 1 g
  • mixed nuts- 125 g(Almond, walnuts, cashews)

Ive separated the dry from the wet ingredients. so as to create a demarcation.

  • water-90 ml
  • mixed dry fruit(raisins, dates, apricots, dont buy a ready mix)-200 g
  • brown/ raw sugar- 110 g
  • oil- 45 g( yes by weight)
  • butter -45 g
  • eggs -2
  • vanilla extract- a little
  • brandy or dark rum- 45 ml+ a bit more to brush on or baste after baking
  • Ok now to begin the process.First preheat oven to 170 Cand prepare your cake tin( this you always do first, REMEMBER THIS)
  • Heat the water with the oil, butter and fruits and sugar . Take off the heat and add brandy and vanilla. ( you can also put grated orage zest if you like.COOL DOWN before you add the eggs or you will have scrambled eggs which are ok, but not in a fruit cake.
  • Add the eggs , mix well and fold in the dry ingredients, and combine well.
  • Pour into your prepared tin and tap on the bench to make it even.
  • bake for about 45-50 mins till it is cooked but not dry.
  • when it comes out of the oven , hold in the tin for a few mins then demold and brush with some more alcohol.(its worth it, Truly.) The photo of the cake below has been cooked with kaffir lime infused rum and basted with bourbon