Shortbreads

IMG_1690

This is my last post for 2014. So I would like to finish this year with some festive recipe that can be made to give to your love ones. Most of all it involves having fun with the kids. I love to keep my kids busy and spent a lot of time with them because they are growing very fast each day. My older boy Eric just turned 5. My little Aaron is turing 2 in a few days. My niece Chloe who I love as my daughter also just turned 3. The kids love each other very much and always long to see each one another. In particular Miss Chloe really loves to cook and help out in the kitchen.

This shortbread recipe is a keeper for me. There are many recipes online for shortbreads, but I decided to pick one that I have all the ingredients. They turned out very good and yummy. The extract of the recipe is from the Thermomix Community posted by Erica Noble. Thanks Erica. I have modified the recipe slightly to suit my liking.

What can I say, the kids had so much fun cutting the dough with different shapes. If you are looking for something to do with your kids, why not give these shortbreads ago?

Wish everyone a safe and merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Recipe for Shortbreads

Time: 20 mins preparation, 30 mins rest, 15 mins baking
Makes: approximately 40 shortbreads

What you need:
50g caster sugar for sprinkling (optional) – I didn’t use it because I don’t like to overload my kids with sugar
110g caster sugar (less if you do not like sweet)
200g butter at room temperature, cut into cubes
1.5 tsp vanilla essence (I used vanilla pod, gives much better vanilla flavour)
300g plain flour
Extra flour when cutting

Process
1- Line two baking trays with baking paper

2- If using mixer, beat butter, vanilla and sugar till pale and creamy on medium speed for about 15-20 seconds. If using thermomix, use speed 4 for about 15-20 seconds. Do not overbeat. The texture should look like a smooth paste rather than light and fluffy like you want it for making a cake

3- Add flour to the mixture and mix them till just combined. If using thermomix, knead for 10 to 20 seconds using the spatula through the lid whole to assist

4- Dust a clean dry surface with some extra flour. Tip the mixture onto the surface and knead lightly by hand till smooth. The dough should be very soft but shouldn’t be sticky. Knead in extra flour if necessary

5- Rub rolling pin with flour and roll out dough to about 1cm thick using rolling pin. If you do not have rolling pin, just flatten the dough with your palm. I did that even if I have a rolling pin. It is much faster.

6- Now the fun part begins: give different cookie cutter shapes to your kids and let them help cutting the dough. Dip the cutting shapes into flour first before cutting will help remove the cutters easily from the dough

7- Place shaped doughs onto lined tray with the help of thin spatula or a palette knife, spacing them out as they will expand slightly when in the oven

IMG_1670

8- Sprinkle with caster sugar (optional)

9- Chill them in the fridge for about 30 mins. I cheated and put them in freezer for about 5 mins

10- Preheat the oven to 160 degree celsius

11- Bake for 10 to 15 mins until just lightly golden. Depending on your oven, you may need to rotate your tray so that your shortbreads are evenly cooked

12- Remove from oven and let them cool for another 5 mins then move them to stand on wire rack to cool off completely

IMG_1673

13- Store in a tight container or packed in gift bags and spread the love

IMG_1680

Sweet Potato Rice Donut Balls

IMG_5809

This recipe idea started from a catch-up lunch with a few of my Cambodian friends who worked near me in the CBD. My friend Shirley bought some Thai sweet potato donuts from Chat Thai and shared them with everyone. They were very delicious and addictive. I just couldn’t stop eating them. Shirley laughed at me as she had the same crush for these donuts. I told her the texture of the donuts were very similar to the Cambodian deep fry balls called Nom Krauch, except it didn’t use sweet potato and Nom Krauch had sweet mung bean filling and was coated by sesame seeds. I challenged myself and was determined to replicate these delicious balls.

I searched for the recipes online, but didn’t seem to find anything that matched what I was looking for. My in-law has Nom Krauch recipe, but that does not use sweet potato. If I could not find anything I will use her recipe and add sweet potatoes and adjust accordingly. However after more searching, I came across a Korean blogger called Holly from Beyond Kimchee blog. Her recipe was the closest to what I was looking for. By adding my small twist to it, I got the balls that I was so addicted to eating.

Holly’s recipe is different to other donut recipes because it uses glutenous rice flour which gives that chewy texture to the balls and not the typical donut texture. Because of my root as a Cambodian, I replaced milk with coconut cream. I know hey, it already sounds exciting. According to Holly, rice flour does not absorb as much oil as wheat flour, another motivation to make these balls. The dough also freezes well, so when I feel like my sweet potato donut fix, I can quickly deep fry them.

Let see if you can recreate this at home and become another addict.

Recipe for Sweet Potato Rice Donut Balls
Made: approximately 40 balls
Time: 20 mins preparation, 15 mins cooking

What you need:
0.5 kg sweet potatoes
2 cups glutenous rice flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour (can omit for gluten free)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup hot coconut cream
oil for frying
Extra sugar for coating (optional)

Process:
1- Cook sweet potatoes with skin on in any method you prefer. I just use microwave according to its instruction. It took me about 8 mins

IMG_5791
IMG_5793

2- Halve the cooked potatoes and scoop the flesh out to a bowl. Mash them well

IMG_5795

3- In a large bowl combine all other dry ingredients. (If you have a thermomix, add all in bowl and mix on speed 3 for 5 seconds)

4- Add the mashed potatoes to the rice flour mix and start rubbing them together with your hand. Be extra careful as the potatoes may still be hot. You will soon see them forming fine crumbs. (In thermomix, speed 4 for 5 to 10 seconds then knead for 1 mins)

5- Add half of hot coconut cream first and use spoon to mix them till well combined. Add more coconut cream according to the texture of the dough. You do not want it too wet as it is hard to roll them into ball. The dough should be similar to bread dough. (In thermomix, add warm coconut cream through the lead whole bit at a time and knead for 2 to 3 mins till well combined and get to required consistency)

6- Roll dough into small size balls (smaller than golf balls)

IMG_5798

7- Heat oil but not overly hot. I used low to medium heat and adjust it according to your stove. If the oil is too hot it will burn the outside and the inside is still uncooked

8- Deep fry the balls as needed and freeze the left over. You need to roll the balls around in the hot oil using metal strainer until they become evenly brown and crispy outside

IMG_5800

9- Strain the balls and place them on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil

IMG_5801

10- Place extra sugar in a bowl or plate and coat the balls with sugar (Optional, skip this if you do not like sugar)

IMG_5802

IMG_5807

Tips: you can hide a surprise inside the balls. Maybe chocolates, or caramelised shredded coconuts, or sweet mung beans. I have tried it wrapping the dough around a piece of taro coated with sugar and it is quite yummy. Holly’s recipe used cinnamon sugar to coat the balls like the actual donuts. I prefer the taste of raw sugar.

Cambodian Banana Pudding with Toasted Mung Beans (Chek Khtis)

IMG_2377

Last weekend my mother in law gave me a tier of Cambodian banana, called Namvar. She has a lot of banana trees at her backyard which give plenty of fruits through out the year. There are many types of bananas in Cambodia. I am most familiar with two types: green long one called Chek Ombong (similar to the common yellow ones found in Australia, but not as starchy and much sweeter) and the sweet short fat ones called Chek Namvar.

Chek Namva

Chek Namva

Namvar is very popuar one and is used in many Cambodian desserts. I love to eat them as fresh fruits like the Australian bananas, but because we have so much of them and they are getting very ripe and sweet, I thought I made banana pudding with coconut cream, tapioca pearls or sago and toasted mung beans. There are multiple versions of this dessert, some do not use mung beans but my mum always used the beans and I love the toasty nutty flavour they give to the dessert. I have not tried using the Australian banana, but I do not see why it cannot be used. The cooking time depends on how ripe the banana is, but it should be a very quick dessert. My kids love this dessert (they are my biggest fans especially Aaron). It can be served as it is or on top sticky rice.

I hope you enjoy making and eating the dessert and drop me a line to see how you go.

Recipe for Cambodian Banana Pudding with Toasted Mung Beans (Chek Khtis)
Serve: 4 to 6
Time: 5 mins preparation, 15 mins cooking

What you need:
100g or 1/3 cup mung beans (these beans have been halved with skin removed. You can leave this out, if you do not have them, but highly recommend from me)
1/4 cup tapioca pearls or sago
400g or 6 small ripe bananas
200ml coconut cream
2 1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp sugar ( or 6 if you like your dessert very sweet)

Optional topping
200ml coconut cream
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar

key ingredients

key ingredients

Process
1- Boil the water in a cooking pot

2- Heat up the frying pan on medium heat

3- Start peeling the skin off the bananas

4- Toast the beans in the hot frying pan and keep stirring till golden and you can smell the toasty fragrance (not burn). This should take about 2 to 3 mins

toast mung beans

toast mung beans

after a few mins, when they  become golden

after a few mins, when they become golden

5- Pour the toasted beans into the cooking pot with the water and cook for about 5 mins on medium heat till the beans are almost tender. Please do not walk away because if the heat is too high, the boiling water may spill from the pot. (Note if you do not use mung beans you can skip step 4 and 5)

IMG_2254

6- While the beans are cooking cut the banana diagonally into small pieces as below

IMG_2252

7- When the beans are almost tender (after step 5) Add sugar and salt and stir well

8- Add bananas and cook for another 3 mins or so depending on how ripe the banana is. You want the banana to cook through

IMG_2257

9- Add 200ml of coconut cream and stir well and then add the tapioca and stir again

IMG_2260

10- When the mixture just came to the boil, turn the heat off. The tapioca will continue to cook till they become clear. This should take a few mins

IMG_2261

The dessert is ready to be served as it is, but I like to add salty coconut milk on top of my dessert. If you want to try, follow the next step

11- add the extra 200ml coconut cream to a clean cooking pot and cook it in medium heat. Add 1/4 tsp of salt and 1tbsp of sugar and stir till it has little bubble and then turn the heat off

12- To serve, spoon the banana pudding into a small dessert bowl and top it with the salty coconut cream…. I am going to eat mine now. Bon appetite!

Tip: if you serve this on top of sticky rice, add more sugar to the pudding. Double the trouble I know.

IMG_2291

The best ever scones

IMG_2330

My second post, yey! I cannot believe I am doing this, but I am loving it. Today is Sunday. The good news is that it is still weekend, the bad news is tomorrow is Monday. Our normal Sunday routine is taking the boys to swimming lesson in the morning and then lunch and then nap time. After nap, we do something together, either cooking, craft or outing to the park or go for a train ride. This Sunday is different. I hosted a get together with some of my high school girlfriends of more than 14 years. Since I became a mum, I do not get to go to most catch-up events the girls organised. So I decided to invite them to my place and had some afternoon tea. I was very excited about today as I haven’t seen and had any long chat with them for ages. The girls offered to bring in some snacks and I would provide tea and some sweets.

I have decided to bake some scones as they sound easy and do not take so much effort. Yep this is my first time baking scones. I love eating them but I just never had a chance to make them myself. So this is it. I googled for scones recipes using Thermomix as I have the luxury to own one. I found this recipe from the Thermomix community called “The best ever scones” and has a lot of good reviews and the recipe is very simple. Less than one minute in the machine, I got the dough ready to shape into scones. My four year old Eric was helping me cutting the scones and place them on the baking tray. While the scones were cooking in the oven, I started laying out the plates and tea pots and cups for the high tea. I got some daffodils from the nursery yesterday and it made a perfect centrepiece.

IMG_2306

The scones came out so perfect, light and golden and delicious. They were the best scones I have ever eaten. Being fresh from the oven made them even tastier. They were served with jam and fresh thick cream, yes I was lazy and did not have time to whip it. I also baked some short breads the weekend before so I reheat them in the warm oven. I also made some Japanese steam cakes earlier this morning. The tea I used was jasmine green tea from T2. The girls and my boys and I really enjoyed the scones and everything else. It was such a good catch up.

Below is the extract of the recipe for the scones from the Thermomix Community, although it could be easily made without thermomix. Happy scones making and let me know how you go.

Recipe for best ever scones
Made: 12 scones
Time: 15 mins preparation, 10-15 mins baking time

What you need:
400g self raising flour
20g butter at room temperature
30g sugar
125ml milk
125ml cream
1 egg
extra flour for dusting
extra milk for glazing

IMG_2329

Process
1- Preheat oven to 220 degree Celsius

2- Line baking tray with baking paper

3- Place flour and butter in the thermomix bowl and mix for 8 to 10 seconds on speed 9 until bread crumb consistency. For non-thermomix, place flour and butter in the food processor and turn on high speed for 8 to 10 seconds until bread crumb consistency

4- Place the rest of the ingredients in the mix and mix for 5 to 10 seconds on speed 4 till the mixture is combined. For non-thermomix, turn on medium speed for 5 to 10 seconds

5 – lightly knead the mixture till all well combined. For thermomix, knead for 30 seconds on interval speed

6 – Pour dough mixture onto well floured surface and lightly pat dough into 3cm thickness. NOTE: dough will be very light and sticky – this is ok

7 – Cut into rounds with scone cutters (or any round shapes. I do not have scones cutter so I used my baby formula bottle lid)

8 – Place scones together (touching each other) on to lined oven tray

9 – Glaze with a little milk and bake in a very hot oven at 220 degrees celsious for 10 to 15 mins. For my oven, it took 10 mins and I had to rotate my tray half time

IMG_2295

10 – Cool in a clean tea towel on a wire rack

10 mins after….

10 mins after….

Happy afternoon tea!

Afternoon high tea

Afternoon high tea