Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pandan Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cake brings a bundle of childhood memory for me. My late grandma used to bake cookies and cakes for us every week without failed. She was a good baker (she was baking teacher at church), and chiffon cake was one of her forte (her best one was chocolate chips flavour). Pity I never find anything like hers in Sydney. Well, there are 2 shops that sell chiffon, but they are a bit dry for my liking and at around $5-8 per slice, of course I am not happy. I decided to make my own and this is how my Pandan Chiffon lab started. I was telling myself, I am sure I have a bit of my grandma's baking gen on me, how hard will this be? It was not an easy journey I can tell you that...but is not hard once know the tricks. My Pandan Chiffon project was not that smooth, I tried 4 different basic recipes, and I modified each of the recipe too, so if I multiplied the no. of recipes x my modifications = a lot trials (I kinda lost count). I had great ones and I also had failed ones as well - hard as rock, the sinker, the raw, you name it. 

My recipe is adapted from Cookingcrave, I just love her recipe, the facts that I dont have to waste any egg yolks and she gave good tips too. Some recipes ask you to use more egg whites and to be honest I cant tell the difference when I use more egg whites. Plus what am I going to do with the remaining egg yolks? I dont think I can use egg yolks for my face mask right....A friend suggested making hair mask (mixing egg yolk with avocado & olive oil) thanx. So far this recipe works best for me, soft, fluffy and not dry..and sinker no more. Shape wise it still needs some work coz it's still a bit bended on the side. But it's ok for me, I prefer flavour and texture than shape. When I took my chiffon cake to my friend's birthday during the weekend, they loved it and one of the lady asked me for the recipe coz her son loves it. Woww...not bad at all!!

Original Recipe:

My Adapted Recipe:


(A) Coconut Milk + Pandan extract mixture:
  • 150 ml coconut milk
  • 10 pandan leaves (they are approx. 40-50cm long)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pandan essence (I use koepoe koepoe brand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
(B) Egg Yolks Batter:
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 6 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 140g plain flour
(C) Egg Whites Foam:
  • 7 egg whites
  • 15 gr corn flour
  • 75g caster sugar


      1. Make (A) Coconut milk + Pandan extract mixture:
  • Pandan leaves – wash, wipe dry with paper towel, cut ugly bits (yellowish part), cut into pieces
  • Put pandan leaves + coconut milk in food processor – squeeze out
  • Remeasure mixture again, ensure total liquid = 165ml (from 150ml coconut milk + pandan leaves extract)
  • Add salt and vanilla essence
Fresh Pandan leaves
Pandan leaves pulp + coconut milk = green coconut milk
      2. Make (B) Egg yolks batter: 
  • Hand whisk egg yolks with sugar
  • Add mixture (A) coconut milk + pandan - hand whisk, mix well
  • Add cooking oil, mix well
  • Fold in plain flour slowly until it forms batter and no lumps
  • Set aside
      3. Make (C) Egg whites foam:   
  • In another bowl, beat egg whites till it form soft peak
  • Gradually add in sugar till it finished (it will be white, glossy & stiff)
  • Add in corn flour and continue beating at high speed till stiff peaks form
Egg whites foam - stiff and glossy
     4. Next steps:   
  • Gently fold mixture (C) egg white into (B) egg yolks
  • Pour batter into ungreased chiffon pan (with removable base). I use 25 cm diameter
  • Tap top side/ side of the pan a few times to get rid of air bubbles (dont bang to the table as the batter might run wild if slip from the base)
  • Bake in preheated oven at 160c for 30-40mins or until it is cooked.
  • Remove cake from oven, immediately invert cake
  • Wait until it is completely cooled before removing it from the mould
  • Approximate time required: about 2.5 hours (including preparation)
  • Pandan is also know as screwpine
  • 1/2 recipe can make about 12 cupcakes. If you are making cupcakes, then it's ok to bang to the table after you poured the batter into the mould
  • Use fresh eggs at room temperature
  • Use 60gr egg for this recipe
  • To extract coconut milk + pandan juice mix, use cheese cloth for best result (I used strainer and it was not that great)
  • Mixing bowls have to be dry
  • Dont overwork your egg yolk batter & when mixing mixture (B) to (C)
  • Some recipes do not recommend greasing the pan, however, I always grease my pan then lining it with good baking paper (Glad) & it makes washing up much easier
Where to buy Pandan leaves & Pandan essence: 
Pontip (Thai grocery store)
  • 16 Campbell St, Haymarket (Chinatown), Sydney
  • Phone.(02) 9211 2208
Lucky Thai (Thai grocery store)
  • 50/40 Campbell st, Haymarket (Chinatown), Sydney
  • Phone.(02) 9211 3163
Chiffon pan with removable base
Shape aint perfect yet but it tastes great for me...
Pandan Chiffon Cupcakes version

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tea Crazy

During the long weekend, I was cleaning my cupboard and found bits and pieces of my tea collection everywhere. I placed them on the table & start to wonder how am I going to finish all of them? This is way too much and will last me for at least 1 year. I then realise I have different brands, functions, tea bags/ leaves, different countries, etc. From night time, cleansing, warmth, detox, calming, increase stamina etc, I have them all. I stored some at home and some at work. I am not a tea connoisseur but I do appreciate great taste and quality. I really don't mind spending a little bit extra for good tea coz I know they taste great, aromatic and it will taste like real tea, not like diluted mud water euuwww... (not that I have ever tasted mud water). I just cant have bad tea. Life is too short to drink bad tea.

My theory is you get what you paid for, but it does not mean that expensive one is always good. I know a tea shop with branches everywhere in here, charging premium price & their tea is not the best (will not name the brand coz it's just my personal preference). If you are starting to get into tea, keep trying different stuff till you find one that really click with your tastebud.

My old time fave:
  • Peppermint
  • American Ginseng tea (from Eu Yan Sang)
  • Freshly brewed mint leaves bunch + hot water
My current fave brands:
  • TWG (Emperor Sencha, Moroccan Mint & Alexandria)
  • Madame Flavour (White tea with rose petals & Green Jasmine pear)
  • Pukka (Night Time, 3 Ginger, Cleanse)
Some of my mini tea collection ...
Harrods English breakfast loose leaf - Really beautiful, incredible aroma, robust and rich...taste great. I love it for breakfast/ afternoon tea with a slice of cake.
Korean Honey Ginger tea - texture wise it's like jam/ solid with some smooth fibres particle, you just use 1-2 tablespoon & dilute it with hot water. Very practical. A little sweet for my liking though.
Yun-Nan Pu-erh tea from Ying Kee Tea house, one of the legendary tea house in Hong Kong. They are conveniently available in HK airport too. I feel Pu-erh is refereshing, mild and has some detox effect (if you are having some greasy Chinese food or yumcha, Pu-erh seems good to have with). Tea leaves are quite tiny but they expand a lot with hot water.
American Wild Ginseng Tea from Eu Yan Sang (Chinese herbal shop) - great for health especially during winter, increase overall stamina & clear excess heat in your body. It has a subtle bitter taste which is lovely, I really heart this product, I buy them every year. Instructions ask you to infuse it for 10 mins, I like mine to have stronger taste, so I let it sit for about 20 mins.
Pukka brand - Night time, Cleanse, Three Ginger - depending on the weather, mood, need etc, I have varieties to alternate. Three ginger is great for winter time, too strong for summer. Night time ... hhmm this is quite an interesting one for me, I am a sleepy head by nature & I am not sure if this has any effect on me.
Alexandria from TWG - a mix of Morrocan mint, green tea and vanilla. This is great one for after dinner tea, really refreshing and light. Brew for about 5 mins & OMG...superb aroma.
TWG teabags - Emperor Sencha, Moroccan Mint Tea and Alexandria. I love them all, really practical to bring to work/ during travelling. 15 teabags in a box. Generous amount of tea leaves per teabag.
TWG teabag is the only one that I know so far that has hand sewn cotton cloth teabag. It works really well to release the flavour. The only drawback is if you leave it too long, you might have mini puddle of water around your tea mug (the string absorb water & just drip). You just have to make sure you take out the teabag after 2-4 mins.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend Shopping

Saturday, 13/10/2012

A friend was hunting for Santoku knife, and we decided to go to Peters of Kensington to check out their knives range. My friend got Tojiro Santoku knife and knife sharpening steel (looks like a baby stick sword) at the end. And guess who got dragged to spend as well? ME....oh noooo, this is really naughty. I had no plan to buy anything on the day but temptations are just hard to resist. I bought 3 items - food processor, mug and digital scale.

Let me justify my recent splurge...
  • All this long I have been hunting for a mini food processor because my current one is 1/2 dead - I have Breville mini whizz & I dropped the bowl (the plastic bowl was split into 1/2) and too troublesome to get 'just the bowl'.
  • My cheapo scale is so unreliable - and it is really hard to rely on this when I am baking (trust me I really am into baking right now & digital scale will be frequently on air)
  • For the mug ... there's no justification hhmm 'because it's so cute' is probably the reason
I know my pocket is screaming now, oh well, let me treat is as my early Christmas presents. Meet my  new family ... mini food processor, digital scale, and Hello Kitty mug.

Le Micro from Magimix - I just love the size - it's great for making sambal, pesto, sauce, mayonaisse etc in smaller quantity. I know Magimix will not dissapoint me, my mom has one of the bigger food processor & it just last forever.
My new red Digital Scale and Hello Kitty mug ... yayyy
Bye bye BREVILLE and old scale...time to upgrade