Saturday, February 27, 2010

Recipe: Madeleines au Matcha

I love to buy baking hardware on the spur of moments but many times, they are left neglected in the kitchen somewhere, forgotten. Once in a while, I like to go through the kitchen cabinets and rediscover my kitchen tools and get inspired to bake.

These madeleines au matcha were the result of yet another (re)-discovery episode. Think of it, I had bought this 9-count silicon madeleine mould more than a year ago from a warehouse sale! Since this was my first attempt, I decided to just use the simple recipe attached to the mould.

These shell-like cakes were eggy and the matcha flavour quite mild. However the texture was slightly heavy. I would like them flufflier but they somehow did not rise much. I wonder if it was because this recipe did not use any other rising agent other than yeast. As I was surfing the web for other recipes as a reference, I noticed that baking soda is commonly used as the rising agent. The next time I make madeleines, I would try a different recipe and definitely add a little more green tea powder to intensify the flavour.

Nonetheless, these were pretty decent. I brought a few to my colleague's place this morning when I visited her newborn baby and she loved it.

(I made about 14)
2 large eggs
75 grams fine granulated sugar
90 grams unsalted butter, melted but cool
90 grams all purpose flour
2 tsp green tea powder
pinch of salt
3 grams yeast
a few drops of vanilla essence
zest of 1/2 a lemon (I obmitted this because I didn't have lemons on hand)
10 grams of honey

1. Whisk sugar with eggs until fluffy.
2. Add sifted flour, green tea powder, salt, yeast and zest until smooth and well-mixed.
3. Add melted butter and honey and stir thoroughly to mix.
4. Rest mixture in fridge for at least 30 minutes, or overnight if you are making it ahead.
5. Preheat oven at 160C.
6. Fill moulds with batter, almost to the brim.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
8. Turn out to cool on a baking rack.

By the way, the history of madeleines is a pretty neat story. You can read it from Wikipedia

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ideas for a Dinner Party: Appetizer

This was an appetizer that I made recently at a dinner party. Because it is quite a simple recipe, easily prepared ahead of time, looks beautiful and has a refreshing taste, I thought I will share it with you.

Prawn, Roasted Corn salsa and Avocado

(makes 4 appetizer portions)

12 XL large fresh prawns (or 16 large ones)
2 slices of ginger

2 ripe avocados, diced and tossed with dressing (recipe below)

Roasted Corn Salsa
1 tomato, seeded and diced
2 ears of fresh corn, coated with butter and then roasted until cooked

juice from 2 lemons
equal amounts of olive oil

tomato puree

1. Poach the prawns in a pot together with the ginger slices. About 10 minutes over the fire and then another 5 minutes in the pot. Drain the water and then shell and de-vein the prawns. Dice them. Set aside.
2. Make dressing by firstly juicing the lemons and straining the pitch, seeds, pulp, etc. Mix equal amounts of olive oil and add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. I like to put all the ingredients into a bottle and shake them all up.
3. Prepare the avocado by dicing the avocado and then tossing a bit of the dressing with it to prevent the avocado from oxidizing too much. Set aside.
4. Prepare the corn salsa by slicing the corn off the cob, mixing in the tomatos. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside.
5. Using a mould ( I used a stainless steel ring about 3 inches in circumference), stack with avocado followed by corn salsa and then finally the prawns. Top off with a bit of coriander leaves.
6. Optional: I used tomato puree to make dots around for presentation.