Tuesday, January 31, 2012

citrusy yogurt semolina cake

Chinese New Year came and is almost over soon, but I hardly had the time to fully soak in the atmosphere. It was so hectic..... I was busy preparing to get back to my hometown and hubby's hometown with baby for the 1st time, worrying about him adapting to all strangers (relatives actually) and preparing him for infant care starting tomorrow, as well as worrying about him adapting to more strangers (teachers at the centre).

With all that going on and more (my iPhone 3 almost blacked out on me), I was actually surprised that I managed to bake 2 cakes within the time frame of 2 weeks, despite the fact that they are both yogurt semolina cakes.

A pack of semolina flour had been sitting inside my cabinet since after Chinese New Year last year, when hubby suddenly felt like making sugee cake. But he didn't get to make any at all. And this year, I suddenly felt like making semolina cake before Chinese New Year, and using that pack of flour, I made not only 1 but 2 cakes :) .

I experimented with fresh orange for the 1st trial and fresh lemon & almond for the 2nd. My personal preference is orange flavour as it is less tangy and has a more robust taste. I also find that the almond bits (I used 1/4 cup) do not add much flavour to the cake, in fact they kind of dilute the clean fresh fruity taste. I think this recipe is so versatile that it will turn out great regardless of what type citrusy fruit you choose to use.

Citrusy Yogurt Semolina Cake

1 & 1/2 cup semolina flour
2 cup plain yogurt (low fat if you like)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 sugar (increase to 1 cup if you have really sweet tooth)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp lemon zest (or zest of whatever citrusy fruit you like)
a pinch of salt

for the syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 fresh lemon juice (or juice of whatever citrusy fruit you like)
1/2 cup sugar

1. Beat yogurt and sugar until the sugar dissolves
2. Add oil, zest, baking soda and salt.
3. Once the wet ingredients are mixed well, add the semolina flour.
4. Mix and let stand for at least 2 hours (according to achefsmelody, this enables the semolina to soften and the cake to turn out fluffy)
5. Pour the batter into a greased tray and bake in oven preheated at 175 degree C for 25-30 mins or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 15 mins.
6. In the mean time, prepare the syrup, heat the water and sugar until the sugar dissolve.
7. Turn off heat and pour in lemon juice.
8. Pour the warm syrup on the warm cake evenly.
9. Let the cake rest for half an hour to fully soak up the syrup.

Recipe adapted from achefsmelody.

This is how the cake looks like fresh out of oven.

This is with all the syrup poured on. Don't worry about it not being absorbed immediately.

This is how moist the cake looks like after all the goodness of the syrup has gone into the cake.

The cake is really moist and very flavourful. It is best eaten on the day it is made, served warm just after the syrup has been absorbed fully by the cake. If you have leftover to keep for the next day, remember to wrap it with cling film to preserve the moisture. I didn't do that for the lemon cake and the top become slightly dry the next day.

Monday, January 9, 2012

low fat banana chocolate chip quick bread

I simply just looove this recipe.. it is so easy to put together, smells so aromatic while baking, tastes so yummilicious and best of all, absolutely healthy for a sweet treat... all the qualities I look for for a home-baked recipe :)

Low Fat Banana Chocolate Chip Quick Bread

1 large very ripe banana (mashed)
85 ml honey (I used clover honey)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 cup flaxseed (optional)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven at 180 degree C.
2. In a bowl, whisk together banana, honey and olive oil.
3. In another bowl, sift all dry ingredients.
4. Gently whisk in the flour mixture into the banana mix, until just combined.
5. Pour into a greased loaf tin and bake for approx 30 mins or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
6. Cool in the baking tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

This recipe is adapted from the food coach.

This quick bread is really moist and soft, without being too dense (like those commercial banana bread or cake) and the flaxseeds add a nice contrasting crunch to it. It is definitely a good option for breakfast over a cup of nice coffee.. or to have with tea in the afternoon. Add a scope of vanilla ice cream, and you have a fabulous dessert ready instantly. Now, that's versatile for me :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Colours of Spring

With Xmas just passed and the calendar just flipped to 2012, another festive occasion is already waiting around the corner ... It's less than a month to Chinese New Year !!

I am all excited about this Chinese New Year. It will be the first time we are introducing our little one to families in Penang & Alor Setar :). At the same time, it is quite nerve wracking too, considering that we are really not sure how he will respond to those new environments for 10 days!!

Part of CNY is about the preparation: spring cleaning, cookies making, food buying.. and of course, house decoration too!

This year.. I stir away from the traditional RED and made some colourful pastel origami cherry blossom flowers. I know, cherry blossom is not exactly Chinese but .. hey.. who says these aren't plum blossom? Further more, they make such wonderful addition to the window/wall and they exude such happy vides. Isn't CNY about celebrating cheerfulness and looking forward to the brand new year??

These are the individual petals, stacked and waiting to be glued together. The steps to make these can be found here.

These are the completed flowers, waiting to be put up.

This is how the finished window/wall looks like. Some of the items look familiar? Yes, the balls and the glittery loops are recycled from Xmas deco :).

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