Monthly Archives: October 2012

Cardamon Spiced Hot Chocolate

My current obesession is to burn scented candles. I have recently bought 2 Woodwick Candles.  One was vanilla scented for my bedroom and the other one was the delicious cinnamon chai. Oh yeah, I like my scented candles to be on the sweet side..just like moi ha! :P (Just kidding…)

I love my house to smell like dessert. I almost bought the Bakery Cupcake scented one. But my friend thought that I will be reminded of cupcakes and be craving for them all the time. She knows me too well. ;)

For those who knew about the Woodwick Candles, they create a sound of crackling fire as they burn. If you enjoy having a fireplace at home but don’t have one, this may be a temporary fix. To create a total cosy ambience, the light setting in my living room has been on dim pretty much all the time lately. And yes, hot beverage is a must to complete the cosy ambience. I have been rotating between stovetop spiced chai and spiced hot chocolate. When I say spiced…I meant I added cardomon pods to flavour the milk and it was divine. We all know cardamon and tea is match made in heaven. How about hot chocolate?

You’ll be surprise how complimentary the flavour between the cardamon and chocolate is.  Try it as you won’t regret it! :)

Cardamon Spiced Hot Chocolate

(tweaked slightly from Marie Claire – Drinks by Jody Vassallo)

What you’ll need to fill a big mug:-

  • 2 Cardamon pods (or  1/2 tsp to 1 tsp ground cardamon)
  • 250ml / 8 fl ounces Milk
  • 60ml / 2 fl ounces Cream
  • Sugar to taste *optional*
  • 1 to 2 tbsp cocao or drinking chocolate ( I actually added 3 tbsps  Lindt’s Hot Chocolate Flakes – Dark Chocolate)
  • White marshmallows

Method:-

Crush the cardamon pods (with the bottom of the container if applicable).  Combine cardamon pods, hot chocolate flakes, sugar (if using), milk and cream in a small pot and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat until the mixture is just coming to the boil (you will notice some foaming on the surface). Remove from the heat immediately. Then top with the marshmallows. (Since the Lindt Hot Chocolate comes in flakes form, I sprinkle a couple of flakes as decoration too! ;))

5 Cup Fruit Loaf & Christmas Gift Idea

Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas?

It’s hard not to when the shops and supermarket have already put up the Christmas decorations and everything Christmas related. Oh I’m so excited and full of anticipation! This year is going to be extra special as I don’t have to worry about moving as what I have done for the past 2 years. This means I have more time to plan for Christmas and gifts! Finding gifts for family and friends is part of the fun (when it’s not last minute)!

Since I am surrounded with food enthusiasts, my choice of gifts often revolves around food, naturally. Think Christmas hampers. It is my go-to gift option when I’m not sure what to get for a particular person. Getting Christmas hampers online may be unorthodoxed to some people. I love the thought of surprising family and friends who are residing in different parts of the world by sending Christmas hampers online. If the world wide web works for gifting flowers, it totally going to work for Christmas hampers. So when I came across the Christmas hampers varieties from www.hamper.com, let’s just say I had a “scroll around” ;). The site offers different price packages from budget friendly to luxury Christmas hampers. Although it is a UK based company, it offers shipping to many countries including Europe, non EU Europe countries, USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Australian and UAE.

One of the features I like about this site is you can choose alcohol free, vegetarian or children friendly Christmas hampers. It helps to narrow down the options in case you’re overwhelmed with choices.

In addition to checking out online Christmas hampers, I am also looking to try some Christmas themed baking recipes. I think this 5 cup fruit loaf is a good start. It reminds me a Christmas cake minus the booze which makes this children friendly. It is also super easy to make…seriously just look at the ingredient list below. It’s simply a 15 minute work to mix the batter together…or maybe less.

5 Cup Fruit Loaf

(tweaked very slightly from Bestrecipes.com.au)

What you’ll need:-

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup mixed fruits (if you can’t find them in the supermarkets, try your local health food stores. Mine was gifted from a friend who used to own a online health food store) or you can substitute mixed fruits with raisin as per the original recipe.
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1  cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 + 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • Cooking oil to grease area which isn’t covered by the baking paper

Alternatively, you can replace 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 +1/2 tsps baking powder & salt with 1 cup of self-raising flour.

I feel it can do with a little touch of spices such as ground cinnamon and nutmeg to make it more Christmassy.

Method:-

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C/ 320 degrees F. Line a baking paper on a loaf tin and grease area which isn’t covered by baking paper with some cooking oil. I diced the mixed fruits as mine was a little on the chunky side. If you use raisins, you can skip this step. Mix all the dry ingredients together including the mixed fruits with a fork. Then add milk and whisk the wet and dry ingredients until well combined with a fork. (Please note the batter is a wet mixture). Bake in the preheated oven for an hour or until the cake tester comes out clean.

This post is brought to you by Clearwater Hamper.

Easy Egg Tarts & Groupon Giveaway Winner!!

Unless you are allergic to eggs or simply a non-egg eater in general, I think egg tarts are a favourite for people of all ages, no? I fell in love with egg tarts ever since my first visit to a Chinese restaurant for dim sums when I was a child. I was always on lookout for the dessert cart in anticipation of those teeny tiny egg tarts. Let just say decades later, the same anticipation still remains when it comes to egg tarts. This is definitely a case of old habits die hard eh? :P

You may find my version of the egg tarts didn’t really look like the ones you see in the Chinese restaurants. Well, these are the Portugese version…and they seemed a little more on the rustic side. But hey, they are super fuss free to make! Don’t worry about rolling or using a cookie cutter make the tart shell consistent. The egg custard is super easy to make. No heavy cream is necessary, thanks to the recipe I discovered from NotQuiteNigella. This recipe is a keeper if you want a quick fix for egg tarts.

Easy Egg Tarts

(adapted from NotQuiteNigella)

What you’ll need:-

  • 2 egg yolks +  1 whole egg
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 115g /4o ounces of caster sugar (fine white sugar)
  • 400ml/ 13.5 fl oz low fat milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 sheet of ready-made frozen puff pastry (I used Pampas Reduced Fact Puff Pastry – measurement about 25cm (10″) x 25cm (10″))
  • Cooking oil to grease the cupcake pan

Side note: Here’s an idea what to do with the 2 leftover egg whites - a macaroon recipe

Method:-

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/ 392 degres Fahrenheit. Light grease cupcake pan with some cooking oil, set aside. Take out a sheet of frozen puff pasty and leave it to thaw. In a small pot, mix together egg yolks, egg, cornflour and sugar using a whisk. Don’t worry if the mixture seems a little lumpy as they will dissolve when the heat is applied. Over the lowest possible heat setting, keep stirring the egg mixture until smooth.Then gradually add the milk and keep stirring at the same time (the process is similar to making bechamel sauce). Once the mixture is smooth you can pour the remaining milk and wait till the mixture to thicken, keep stirring throughout the thickening process though. For first timers, I would recommend you to do it over low-medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken and foam. Then switch to the lowest heat setting and keep stirring until it changes from a thick cream consistency to the custard consistency (when the mixture can holds it shape on the spoon – soft peak whipping cream). Set aside the egg custard to cool. In the meantime, slice the puff pastry sheet into 9 squares. Transfer one square to the cupcake pan to form a tart shell – do the same for the 8 remaining squares. Then use a spoon to scoop the egg custard to fill the shell. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the filling is slight brown. Leave them to cool in pan for 5 minutes and transfer to a plate. Best serve warm.

And congrats to Natalie Stoute for winning the $100 Groupon voucher giveaway!

I will send an email to confirm the email address before emailing through the voucher. A big thank you to Groupon Australia for such a wonderful treat! :) Don’t forget to check out the Groupon site for daily discounts and deals!