Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quick Proofing Yeast Dough ,,,,,, in the Microwave!!

The other day I did some experimenting in the kitchen again while making some cinnamon rolls. I wanted to see if I could try to quicken the time spent proofing the yeast dough so that it would double in size but with less than a fraction of time then the usual hour. 

Whenever I make anything which involves using dry active yeast I know I will have to leave it in a warm place for about an hour or an hour and a half to let it raise and double it's size. In the past I've heated up the oven to about 180C for about 3 minutes and turned off the heat to enable the oven to generate enough heat just to get it warm so that I use that warmth for my proofing. Having placed the dough in an enamel mixing bowl I would use a damp towel and leave my dough in the oven for about an hour and it would double it's size. It works without a  hitch and I've always found that this method is the best for me but I wanted to see if I could some how make that time shorter. Less time proofing and the faster I could turn out whatever I was baking. 

Getting back to basics whenever I make anything with yeast is to check if the yeast is still active. If it's going to work or not is the most important thing when you make bread. Now I'm not an expert at making bread but I know if the yeast is not working out than the bread is just not going to raise and you won't get that yummy fluffy soft bread. So for starters I've always put in one teaspoon of sugar whenever I proof my yeast with warm water and I've found that it always works.

Mixing and kneading just works the dough before you leave it to rest and final proofing or final fermentation to let it raise and double it's bulk. This is the part that takes the longest and this is what I wanted to see if I could fasten the time. So my experiment takes place here: 
How to quicken the time for the yeast dough to proof?

So I proofed my yeast till it was foamy and mixed it in with the bread flour and after a good 10 minutes of kneading I was ready to proof the dough. And how did I do this .... the microwave of course! Yes, the microwave..... I know not the most traditional method of proofing but it can generate quick bursts of heat and it actually works.
How do you Microwave proof dough?
Okay this is how it works. I placed the dough in an ungreased microwave proof casserole dish (Corningware casserole in my experiment), uncovered and microwaved it for 3 minutes at low heat. Then I left it to rest for 3 minutes and microwaved it again for 3 minutes at low heat. I let it rest this time for 6-8 minutes but placed a cover over the dough..... and guess what happened it actually doubled in size! It worked and in roughly less than 20 minutes I managed to proof the yeast dough with the microwave and this would have normally taken me an hour. 
I'm not sure if this works for all types of bread but give it try and see what happens.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pizza Time

This is a post from my other blog This side of the island.

It's been a pretty gloomy sort of day today, dark clouds cover the sky and predictable afternoon down pour of rain. It rains and it rains. No, I'm not complaining about it at all,  I actually love the rain. 

It's one of the better times of the year when the afternoons and nights are cooler and you can huddle up in bed and sleep in the cool breeze. This time of the year is a nice time to just stay at home and curl up with a good book or just lazy about in front of the tv and watch a movie. It's the closest thing to a season, apart from the all year round of summer that we have and I suppose you could call it our tropical "winter". 

So for some it's not the best time of the year, especially when it can cause flash floods and all outdoor afternoon activities are cancelled. No swimming for the kids in the afternoon or walks along the beach to watch the sunsets. It's time for the indoor stuff!

Indoor stuff.... to keep the kids busy today, I got them to make dinner. Yes, it was my night off from the dungeon in the kitchen (only kidding I love to cook) and time to put my kids to work. And so tonight Ashley and Tristan were set loose in the kitchen to make pizzas from scratch for dinner. Right from making the pizza dough, rolling it and making their version of pizza.
Rolling out the dough.... 
They both had a go at making their own pizza.... a few nibbles at the cheese by Tristan.

Pepperoni & Ham Pizzas!!! Our little food stylist was fast asleep during the pizza making!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chocolate Custard Ice Cream

I did a little custard experimenting with my adventures in the kitchen today. Thought I'd try and make a quick ice cream with what I had on hand.... custard powder, milk, sugar and cocoa powder. All the ingredients I needed for an experimental go at making chocolate ice cream. 

Now I wasn't too sure how this would turn out so I only made a small batch, just a little over half a litre. I guess a little can go a long way if it taste good tonight. 

I've looking through some of the ice cream posts on Foodbuzz lately and I have to say that an ice cream maker is way up high on my wish list. I saw a few makers when I was in Sydney and didn't really think much about buying any, but oh now I wish I did. Can you imagine being able to whip a batch of any flavour of ice cream within an hour or so. Any flavour... vanilla, mango, banana, just mix in any fruit of the season and you have got yourself some seriously yummy ice cream. 

Well, here's my spin on my ice cream making skills ....without the ice cream maker.
... all ready for the England match tonight!

Chocolate Custard Ice Cream

570 ml full cream milk
2 1/2 tbsp custard powder
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
5-6 tbsp sugar, to taste

1. Using a saucepan, combine all the ingredients and mix throughly until it is smooth. Constantly stir the custard and heat it over medium heat until the mixture has thicken. Remove from the heat and set it aside until it cools. 
2. Place the custard into a container and stir it. Put the container into the freezer and  stir it again in the next hour. Repeat this again for the next 2 hours. The constant stirring will prevent it becoming too hard. It should be ready to serve after about 3-4 hours in the freezer.

Jacob and Tristan enjoying their ice cream.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Treat

This Father's Day I thought I'd treat hubby to his choice of dessert and so I asked him what he wanted me to make for him..... Cheesecake! Well, I had to perfect cheesecake recipe I wanted to try out and this was that special occasion for it. 

I found this Oreo and Yoghurt Baby Cheesecakes recipe posted by Denise @ Quickies On The Dinner Table. She made this delicious and oh so yummy treat for her son's 12th birthday and I've been wanting to make it ever since I saw it on Foodbuzz.

So thank you Denise for making our dessert time a special treat. We ate it all and planning on making another batch real soon.... This was Jacob's first time eating chocolate cookies and he had a real blast eating some of the remaining Oreos....Oreo crumbles and everything!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Big Football Bite

I'm struggling to keep up with all the matches and keep in tune with my fav teams Holland, Australia and England. I think I need nourishment and plenty of it to keep my cheering lungs strong for the matches tonight. Holland vs Japan followed by  Australia vs Ghana.

It's a long night and I've planned it well with a supply of meaty Hamburgers with a choice of beef patties or chicken patties all on a crusty bun. It's got to big enough and filling for hubby and enough choices for those fussy eaters who like to a variety of patties and fillings. I made my own hamburger buns with a good crusty Italian bun recipe courtesy of What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine , a beef pattie, freshly cut tomato, homemade BBQ sauce and we are ready for GOALS!!!

Juicy Beef Hamburger

300 g beef mince
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1 egg
1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp homemade BBQ (tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, coriander, cayenne pepper, paprika)
salt and ground black pepper
plain flour for coating

Tender Chicken Hamburgers

300 g chicken thigh fillets, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1/2 tsp thyme
1 egg
1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp homemade BBQ (tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, coriander, cayenne pepper, paprika)
salt and ground black pepper
plain flour for coating

1. Using separate mixing bowls for each mixture, combine all the ingredients. Divide the mixture into quarters and shape it into balls. 
2. Roll the balls into the flour and flatten them out into patties and place them on a plate. Refrigerate the patties until they are ready to served.
3. Heat about 1-2 tbsp of oil in a sauce pan and cook the patties, alternating each side until cooked. Serve on an Italian bun or any hamburger bun with freshly cut tomato, sauted onions and a splash of BBQ sauce.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Teddies at the Footy

I know that you wouldn't normally find Teddies at the Footy but this World Cup they had first row seats at our place while we watched an earlier game, New Zealand vs Slovakia. I'm happy to say that both teams played well and had a draw at the game, 1-1.

As you can see my inspiration for the past few days has been the FIFA World Cup and my little Gingerbread Bears have been turned into football playing bears. I really wanted to do some icing and have them in our favourite teams; England, Australia and Holland but I thought about it again and it would have been too much work and too much of a sugar overload. 

My football playing Gingerbread Bears!!!

I've posted my Gingerbread recipe before but I've added a bit of mixed spice to this one.


125 g butter, soften
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cup plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup golden syrup
1/2 tsp mixed spice

Preheat oven to 180C.
1. Beat the butter & sugar until light and creamy.
2. Add egg yolk and beat until combined.
3 Sift the dry ingredients and stir into the butter mixture with the golden syrup.
4. Mix into a light dough and knead gently onto a lightly floured surface.
5. To shape the gingerbread you can either roll the dough in between 2 sheets of baking paper or hand shape it. The dough should be roughly 3 - 5mm in thickness for biscuit cutting. For a quicker way to shape the gingerbread I would smooth out a handful into my palm and use a flour biscuit cutter to cut out the shape rather than on the floured surface. The dough can be very sticky so be careful when using the rolled out method and remember the flour the biscuit cutter before you cut. You can use a variety of biscuit cutter so to make it interesting.
6. Bake for 10-12mins  or until lightly brown. The gingerbread should be soft and chewy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Wholemeal Wonderbread

So we are now on day 3 of the World Cup and I'm still recovering from that devastating game that Australia played. It wasn't very good but I still have hope for them...... but today is a new day and I'm happy to say that our household are also big supporters of the Netherlands. Why I hear you ask? Well my younger brother was born in Holland so we have been given our support to the Oranje.

And I'm happy to report that they played well and Holland won against Denmark. Yeah!!! We won!!!!

Well, getting back to World Cup snacks I've came across this really great wholemeal bread mix. I didn't make it from scratch myself but it's from this place that's known for it's bread so I hope that  counts... good bread. 
The kids love it, especially Tristan who doesn't really like any kind of "brown" bread but he was won over by the bread and he actually asked me to make it again. Now that totally won me over. 

So anyway I'm just going to share with you my little secret.... It was so easy to make. Just add dry yeast and cold water. I didn't even have to proof the yeast!! It's also very cheap and in terms of buying a 600+g loaf of bread, which would cost you about RM3.40 to RM5.60, this whole pack made two large 600+g loaves. 

Although it was easy to make, it hasn't taken away my interest in making bread from scratch. I'll still be experimenting with my bread making ..... successes and flops.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Socceroos Fever.... Aussie Aussie Aussie

The moment is here: Australia vs Germany at the FIFA World Cup!!!!!

Go Aussie Aussie Aussie!!!!!!

The game starts at our time 2.30am and back in Australia it will start at 4.30am. I'm pretty sure all football fans in Australia are draped in tour national colours of green and gold, flying the Australian flag, fans singing Waltzing Matilda and Advance Australia Fair, all decked out with scarves, replica shirts or just anything to show our pride for our Aussie team. 

Getting into the spirit of it all is what we'll be doing over here too. Although I'm miles away in Malaysia I'm still rallying up behind my country and cheering on my team. I know my brothers will be watching them as will many more as luck has been given to our home with the Queen celebrating her birthday so granting Aussie a well deserve day off. 

I know it may be a long shot with all expectations for a win by Germany but just wouldn't it be nice for the underdogs, Australia to come in a take it all away with a win! I'm just hoping and praying for that win! 

I know for tonight's snack I should have made something more in tune with an Aussie flavour like a good old Aussie Meat Pie, a sausage roll but I've settled for spring rolls. We'll be needing that extra spring in their kick to our win for tonight!

.... whatever the outcome I know Australia will play at their best and that will be all I could ever ask for.

Spring Rolls

300 g chicken fillet
1 packet of spring roll wrappers, small to medium about 50 pcs
5 stalks of coriander, chopped roughly
1/4 cup carrot, finely sliced
1 cup cabbage, finely sliced
1 packet rice vermicelli
1 cup hot water
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce, or to taste
1 tbsp fish sauce or to taste
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 - 2 cups of oil for shallow frying

1. Finely slice the chicken fillet leaving the skin on. Heat up some oil in a wok, add the onion, garlic, chicken, coriander, fish sauce, soy sauce and black pepper. Stir until cooked and add extra fish sauce or soy sauce to taste. Add 1/2 cup water if dry. Remove and set it aside.
2. In a  bowl, add the vermicelli and hot water and soak until the noodles have soften. Remove the water. Add the remaining ingredients and stir throughly to coat all the ingredients.
3. Open up the spring roll packet and peel off an individual sheet. Using a dinner spoon, place the filling in the upper corner of the sheet and fold over the top corner followed by the sides and moisten with water the bottom corner before rolling to seal the roll. Repeat and set aside on a plate.
4. Heat the oil in a wok until it is hot enough to fry the rolls. Fry the rolls in batches and turn over to evenly cook. When the rolls are golden, remove and drain over paper towels. They should be crispy and golden, serve with Thai sweet chilli sauce or any sweet chilli sauce.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Snacks for the Big Night!

So tonight or should I say this morning is the BIG day in our house.


In a few moments this household is going to be glued to the tv watching the live telecast of the much anticipated game since 1950. The time when the US defeated England in the FIFA World Cup. And today we are going to be watching a rematch in this opening game for  Group C at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in a place so far away from their homes. They will be the first teams amongst Slovenia and Algeria and will be fighting to win to make it to the finals of the World Cup. Just who will win?.... My prediction is ......England!!!!

Well, let's just watch the game and enjoy it..... It is after all just a "game"!!! (My hubby won't be pleased to hear that!) But really no matter what the outcome I've prepared the nerves and excitement for today with some snacks... Toasted Cinnamon Roll Chips and Cinnamon Rolls

Toasted Cinnamon Roll Chips

Cinnamon Rolls and some Milo Cinnamon Rolls

I'm a huge fan of cinnamon and I couldn't think of anything better than to make some Cinnamon Rolls for tonight's game and give it a bit of a twist by making some Toasted Cinnamon Roll Chips.

Cinnamon Rolls

7 g dry yeast
1/2 cup of warm water
1 tsp sugar
80g butter, melted
1/2 cup hot milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3 3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
3 tbsp Milo for optional topping
50 g butter

1. Using a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and yeast into the warm water. Leave it for about 10 mins or until is becomes foamy. I always find it's better to add a bit of sugar to get the yeast going.
2. Using a larger bowl, combine the hot milk, butter, sugar, egg and salt. Stir it until it is well combined and then add the yeast mixture. Add the flour and mix it until it forms a dough. Add extra dough it is too moist. Knead the dough onto a floured surface for about 8 mins or until it more elastic. Grease the bowl with some oil and place the dough back into it until it becomes doubled, about 1 hour. I would normally turn the oven on at 180C for 3 mins and turn it off and then place the bowl with dough, covering it with a damp cloth and leave it there to proof, but this will only work with a metal bowl!... my mixing bowls are all enamel so this makes it easier.
3. Remove the dough once it has doubled and punch it down on a floured surface. Knead it again for about 5 mins and divide into 2. Roll it out into a rectangle and spread butter over all over it. Mix the sugar, walnuts and cinnamon and sprinkle in onto the butter dough. I added Milo to the other half of the dough just to try it out. 
4. Roll up the dough and divide it into 12 equal 1inch slices and arrange them onto a baking tray. I use a 4' x 8' baking tray but you could also use a round baking pan. Sprinkle with some extra sugar on top. Repeat for the other half of the dough and bake them at a preheated 180C oven for about 25mins or until golden brown. 

Toasted Cinnamon Roll Chips

6 cinnamon rolls

1. Using a bread knife, slice each cinnamon roll into 1cm slices and arrange them onto a baking tray. Bake them in a preheated 180C oven for about 12 mins or until they a golden and crispy. 

I use to love buying this from St. Cinnamon so I was inspired to make them as a snack for the game.

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup Fever

Tonight is the start of the FIFA World Cup and in this household our night time TV has been put on hold for the next 31 days. Yes it's that time again when hubby goes into serious TV mode. You see he's a huge football fan not soccer but FOOTBALL! He's very passionate about his English football club the Tottenham Hotspurs and a huge supporter of the England team since he was a 12 year old at boarding school. 
English Premier League isn't in season so now our nights will be filled with the cheers for our favourite teams England and Australia .... or whoever is playing for the day. So to celebrate these upcoming 31 days I'll be concentrating on purely comfort foods to fuel our cheering lungs with and to keep us going for those 31 days.... 31 days ..... that's a long time to be playing football but I'm getting into the spirit of things so here we go with my opening special. A real treat for my hubby whose a meat and potato kind of man... Meatballs and Mash Potato and thrown in to that a good helping of Beef Garlic Sausages! I served the meatballs with the Bangers and Mash recipe and just drizzled the sauce over the meatballs. 


300g beef mince
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp homemade spicy BBQ sauce
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp basil
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of ground black pepper & salt
1 egg
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup plain flour for coating

1. Using a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients until it is well mixed. Put it in the refrigerator for about 10 mins. 
2. Remove the meat mixture from the fridge and using a heaped teaspoon roll it into meatballs. Dip the meatballs into the flour and place on a dish.
3. Heat oil (about 3 tbsp) in a fry pan. Fry the meatballs in batches and drain on a paper towel. 

Friday, June 4, 2010


Lamingtons were always one of those goodies you would always find at a school bake sale. It's really an Aussie tradition just like the meat pie and pavlovas. I can remember whenever my brother's school had a lamingtion drive our house would be full to the brim with lamingtons. Lamingtons in the cake container, lamingtons in the fridge and lamingtons for later in the deep freeze! 

Now a lamington isn't too bad. Actually is a pretty good cake. A little sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing and coated with desiccated coconut. Sometimes even with a layer of cream sandwiched between the sponges. A bit messy to make, especially with it comes to the dipping in the chocolate icing and coating it in the desiccated coconut but that also can be alot of  fun part. 

The lamington has been around over 100 years and was made in honour of Lord Lamington (Charles Cochrane-Baillie), who served as the Governor of Queensland. It was made accidently when there was nothing to serve to some guest but some leftover sponge cake, and a bit of chocolate icing, and some desiccated coconut. Imagine that!


125 g butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup milk
3 cups icing sugar
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 180C.
1. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar using an electric mixer until it is light and creamy. Add the vanilla essence and mix well. Gradually add each egg on at a time and mix well. 
2. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold it into the butter mixture using a metal spoon. Alternate this with the milk and mix well.
3. Line a lamington tin (20cm x 30cm) with grease paper. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for about 25 to 30 mins or until cooked. Leave it to cool and refrigerate for about 2 hours or overnight.
1. Using a mixing bowl. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa. Add the butter and water and mix well until smooth, and slight runny.
2. Arrange the icing bowl, desiccated coconut in separate bowls. Prepare the cake by cutting it into small rectangles about 24 pcs. Using 2 forks, gently dip the cake into the icing and coat all sides with it. Drain off any excess icing and then roll the cake with the desiccated coconut. Gently pat the coconut onto the cake so that all the side are coated. Place it on a rack or a plate to dry and repeat for the other pieces. The whole process can be pretty messy when you dip the cake into the chocolate icing but the coconut will absorb most of the excess moisture from the icing.
3. When the cakes have been rolled in the coconut, place it in a container and refrigerate to firm it up. It should be ready to serve when it has been cooled for about 2 hours or overnight.


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