Saturday, 19 September 2015

Pancakes | Recipe

Pancakes are one of my favourite breakfast foods ever- they're so easy to whip up and they're so delicious too. Growing up, I would wake up to a huge stack of pancakes that were drowned in maple syrup and so every time I make these, I immediately recall the happy moments of my childhood. Furthermore, these pancakes don't require a mixer to be made- just a whisk and a bowl! Since these pancakes are so foolproof, this has since become my go-to recipe for whenever I crave warm, fresh pancakes. Everybody needs a go-to recipe, and I guarantee you that this will soon become yours too! The thing I love about pancakes too is that they're so versatile- just like bread you can serve them sweet or savoury. For a savoury dish, serve with bacon and maple syrup, or for dessert, serve warm with a big scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream along with a heavy dose of chocolate syrup- yum!
Pancakes Recipe                                                                                              Recipe by iSaamuel 
135g of all purpose flour,
1 teaspoon of baking soda,
2 tablespoons of sugar,
140ml of milk,
1 egg,
2 tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter,

extra butter if your pan isn't non-stick

1. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Whisk in the sugar.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and the melted butter.
3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk briefly until it's just combined. Make sure no lumps of flour remain.
4. Heat your skillet/pan on low heat. Add a tab of butter and spread it out evenly across the pan if it isn't non-stick.
5. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop a dollop of the pancake batter on to the skillet. Using the back of the ice cream scoop/ladle, gently spread out the batter into a circular shape.
6. Cook the pancake for 30 seconds to 1 minute on the bottom, and only about 30 seconds for the other side.
The pancake is ready to flip when the top appears dry and bubbles are formed throughout its surface.
Tip: After you've flipped your pancake, make sure you do not press down/flatten it down with your pancakes in hopes of trying to cook faster- it won't. All it does is it flattens the pancake into a dense and chewy one. So with this in mind, be delicate with them!
7. Once your pancakes are done, stack them on top of each other and serve with a big tab of butter and lots of maple syrup. Garnish with fresh berries and bananas for a great, indulgent breakfast.

Feel free to incorporate chocolate chips into your pancake batter, or why not add fresh blueberries for a refreshing burst of flavour and texture!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Scones | Recipe

Buttery, flaky and light, these scones will definitely impress anyone who comes over for afternoon tea. Best served with clotted cream and jam and a cup of tea to experience the real British experience.
Make this for your next tea party!

Scones Recipe                                                                                                  Recipe by iSaamuel 
250g of all purpose flour,
1 tablespoon of baking powder,
50g of cold, cubed, salted butter,
50g of sugar,
1 egg,
100ml of milk,

1 beaten egg,
1 tablespoon of milk for the egg wash

1. Sift flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar until well combined.
2. Add in the butter and using your fingertips, rub until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Make a well in the centre and add in the egg and milk. Stir with a spatula until a soft dough forms.
4. Gather the dough together. Flour your work surface and pour it out onto it.
5. Roll the dough until it is an inch thick throughout. Using fluted cookie cutters, cut out the scones.
6. Place the scones on a lined baking sheet and brush on the egg wash for a golden brown finish.
7. Bake at 180c for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. The scones should be well risen and puffed up.
Let the scones cool before serving with clotted cream and jam. Meanwhile, you can make your cup of tea!

Feel free to replace the milk in this recipe with buttermilk to make buttermilk biscuits which you can then serve with homemade sausage and gravy for a Southern twist. Enjoy!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Coffee and Walnut Cream Cake (Father's Day) | Recipe

These delicious coffee scented sponge cakes paired with softly whipped cream is just so perfect. The toasted walnuts add a crunch which contrasts starkly against the soft and fluffy cake. Try this out to see what the hype is about. Treat your dad to this delicious cake in place of his morning cup of coffee on Father's Day for his hard work throughout the year and he'll be surely impressed!

Coffee and Walnut Cream Cake Recipe                                                                                                                                          Recipe by iSaamuel 
4 egg yolks,
130g of sugar,
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract,
5 tablespoons of vegetable oil,
6 tablespoons of milk,
140g of cake flour,

2 tablespoons of instant coffee,
2 tablespoons of hot water,

4 egg whites

375ml of heavy whipping cream,
5 tablespoons of sugar,
toasted walnuts

1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale.
2. Add in the vanilla, oil, and milk and mix until well homogenised. Sift in the cake flour and stir gently until well combined- don't overmix.
3. Dilute the instant coffe with the hot water and add this mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
4. In another large bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
5. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in different increments so that they get mix in thoroughly.
6. Pour this batter into two lined 7 inch cake tins. Bake at 180c for 17-20 minutes or until they become nicely golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool before decorating.

1. Whip cream with sugar until soft peaks form.
Use this to decorate the cake

1, Spread 1/3 of the cream on top of the 1st layer of cake. Sprinkle on some toasted walnuts.
2. Place the other layer of cake on top.
3. Use the rest of the cream to cover the whole cake, while leaving some behind to pipe decorations according to the occasion you are make it for.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Chocolate Mousse Cake | Recipe

Who doesn't love chocolate? This cake takes it to another level- it has three forms of chocolate (chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and chocolate ganache all combined) and it's so easy to make! The soft and moist chocolate cake compliments the airy mousse well, along with the ganache that adds depth to this recipe. This cake is so delicious that I may or may not have eaten half of it already (oops!) Give this recipe a go and let me know how it turns out.

Chocolate Mousse Cake Recipe                                                                                   Recipe by iSaamuel 
3/4 cup of all purpose flour,
3/4 cup of sugar,
3/4 cup of cocoa powder,
1 teaspoon of baking soda,
1 teaspoon of baking powder,
1 cup of milk,
1/2 cup of vegetable oil,
1 egg,
1 cup of hot water

Chocolate mousse
100g of semi-sweet chocolate,
250ml of heavy whipping cream,
2 egg whites

50g of dark chocolate,
150ml of heavy cream

1. In a large bowl, sift the flour cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. Add in the sugar and whisk well.
2. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredient with a spatula and add in the egg, milk and oil.
3. Whisk together briefly. Add in the hot water and stir with a spatula until a thin batter is formed.
Tip: Adding the hot water thins out the batter creating a moist cake with a tender crumb.
4. Pour batter into two 7 inch cake pans lined with parchment paper.
5. Bake at 180c for 20-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool thoroughly before decorating.

1. Chop the semi-sweet chocolate with a knife, into small pieces.
2. Heat the cream until it simmers on medium low flame. Do not boil.
3. Pour the cream on top of the chocolate and leave this for 5 minutes without stirring.
4. Stir with a whisk after 5 minutes until no lumps of chocolate remain, and you'll be left with a smooth ganache.
5. Transfer into a large bowl. Using a mixer, whisk until soft peaks are formed.
6. After, gently heat up the egg whites using a water bath while whisking constantly to ensure it doesn't cook.
7. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Fold this into the chocolate/cream mixture until no streaks of egg whites remain.

1. Repeat steps 1-4 as above for the mousse.

1. Place half of the mousse on top of the first layer of cake. Spread evenly.
2. Place the second cake on top and place the rest of the mousse on top of that,
3. Spread evenly, decorate with whipped cream and pour the ganache as desired.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies | Recipe

These soft and chewy cookies will be a crowd pleaser at any party. The sweet, vanilla cookie compliments the buttery and crunchy macadamia nuts. Furthermore, these cookies aren't overly sweet unlike the ones found in many bakery shops. Enjoy!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies Recipe                                                         Recipe by iSaamuel 
115g / 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (at room temp.),
1/4 cup of white sugar,
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar,
1 egg,
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract,
1 cup and 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour,
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda,
1/4 cup of macadamia nuts,
1 cup of white chocolate chips

1. Mix together the butter, white and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix until the mixture becomes pale. (Takes about 3 minutes using a mixer).
3. In a small bowl, combine the baking soda in together with the flour. Pour this into the butter mixture.
4. Mix briefly either by hand or using a mixer on the lowest setting- do not overmix or you'll have dense, hard cookies.
5. Stir/fold in the macadamia nuts and chocolate chips using a wooden spoon or spatula.
6. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop even amounts of cookie dough onto a lined baking sheet.
7. Bake at 180c for 10-15 minutes or until the cookies are just lightly brown, and the centres should still be soft.
8. Let cool and serve warm with a big glass of cold milk.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Pineapple Buns (菠蘿包) | Recipe

One of the best things about visiting Hong Kong is getting to eat a fresh pineapple bun from a local bakery. These sweet treats are so addictive! The sweet, crispy topping along with the soft, fluffy bun is such a great pairing. To make these as authentic as I can, the top must be crackled just like the traditional ones. In order to achieve this, we must use baking ammonia in the topping- although this is such a minute amount, it gives it such a beautiful, authentic look and that crispy, crumbly crunch. I know that baking ammonia may not be readily available in your country, so here is

where you can buy it:
As it is such an important ingredient, I therefore would not recommend you substituting or omitting it in this recipe if you want to make this as authentic as possible, so please use the above link if you cannot purchase it wherever you live. That said, enjoy this recipe!

Pineapple Buns (菠蘿包)                                                                                   Recipe by iSaamuel 
Sponge dough
250g of strong bread flour,
15g of sugar,
1/2 teaspoon of instant yeast,
70g of heavy cream,
18g of egg whites,
80g of milk,
10g of unsalted butter

Main dough
38g of sugar,
15g of milk powder,
25g of egg whites

30g of lard,
1/8 teaspoon of baking ammonia,
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda,
5g of milk powder,
50g of plain flour,
5g of evaporated milk,
50g of sugar,
5g of egg

1. Sift bread flour into a large bowl. Add in the sugar, yeast, cream, milk and unsalted butter. Using a dough hook attachment, mix all of the ingreduents together until a dough is formed,
2. Cover this dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
3. Once risen, tear the dough into small pieces. Add in the sugar, dried milk powder, and egg whites. Knead again for 10 minutes until the dough is elastic. You can do this by hand, but it'll take longer to knead and it might be a bit sticky and hard to work with, but it is definitely do-able!

Tip: The dough had finished kneading if it can stretch out very thinly, creating a transparent film.
4. Cover and let the dough rise again for 50 minutes or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, we can make the topping that is place on top of the buns.

1. In a large, shallow bowl, add in the lard, baking ammonia, baking soda, milk powder, flour, evaporated milk, sugar and egg.
2. Using your fingertips, rub the lard and the other ingredients into moist crumbs. Gather crumbs to one side of the bowl and then push down to form a dough.
3. Keep folding and pushing down until everything is well combined, but do not knead,
4. Place the topping dough onto plastic wrap and wrap well. Set aside in the fridge.

Meanwhile, we can get back to the bread dough.

To test whether the dough has risen enough, place a floured finger into the dough and if it stays indented, it has.

1. Divide the dough equally into 6 portions (or 8 if you want more). Shape each portion into a ball by pulling and stretching the dough. (Watch video).
2. Place the dough balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover and let them rise for a final 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, flour your work surface. Divide the topping into 6 equal pieces.
4. Flatten each topping piece into a circle that is as thin as possible (without breaking). If the dough becomes so thin that a hole forms, gently seal it back together.
5. Place topping on top of each risen bread dough.
6. Brush the buns with a beaten egg for that golden finish when they come out of the oven.
7. Bake at 180c for 15-20 minutes until the top is crackled and golden brown and that the bun is throughly cooked.
Eat straight out of the oven while the top is still crispy and the bun is still soft, Enjoy!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Fruit and Cream Birthday Cake | Recipe

Have a friend/family member's birthday coming up and trying to look for that perfect birthday cake? Look no further- this cake is sure to impress! It consists of two light sponge cake surrounding a layer of fresh fruits and cream. On top of the cake, I've decided to decorate with half of a fresh mango, strawberries and a really cool sugar decoration, but feel free to use your favorite fruits that are in season. Not only is this cake impressive and elegant, it's also soooo delicious!

Birthday Cream Cake Recipe                                                                            Recipe by iSaamuel
4 egg yolks,
55g of bread flour (sifted),
3 tablespoons of milk,
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract,
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (or any other flavourless oil)

4 egg whites,
50g of sugar

Sugar decoration
100g of sugar,
2 tablespoons of water

450ml of heavy whipping cream,
3 tablespoons of powdered sugar (more or less according to taste)

1. Mix together the egg yolks, milk, vanilla extract and oil together with a whisk until well homogenised.
2. Sift in the bread flour and whisk for about 2-3 minutes or until gluten strands form and the mixture becomes thick. Set aside.
3. In another large, clean bowl, add in the egg whites and start whipping it until frothy.
4. Once frothy, gradually add in the sugar and whisk until soft, glossy peaks are formed.
To test if they're ready, tilt the bowl with the egg whites and see if they move around. If not, they're done- they should be nice and firm.
5. Fold the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Start off with a 1/3 of the egg whites and whisk this in to lighten up the egg yolks.
6. Add the rest of the egg whites in, but this time, folding gently so as not to deflate the air bubbles we worked so hard for (while whipping).
7. Once the batter is well mixed and that there are no more streaks of egg whites, pour this mixture into two 7-8 inch lined baking cake tins.
8. Bake at 180c for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of both cakes come out clean.
Let the cake cool before decorating.

Sugar decoration
1. Heat the sugar and water on medium low heat until it becomes light amber in colour.
2. Take it off the heat immediately once it reaches this stage and set up a bowl with two knives on top. (See video)
3. Using a fork, dip it into the caramel and drizzle on top of the knives rapidly from left to right to form thin sugar strands.
4. Once you have made enough, gather the strands and form a sugar ball. (See video)

1. Whip the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form.
Use this cream to decorate the cake.

1. Place the cake on a cake turntable lined with 4 pieces of parchment paper on either side of the cake. (We remove these pieces of parchment paper at the end for a clean finish.)
2. Spread cream and add fruits on top before covering with the 2nd layer.
3. Cover the whole cake evenly with cream. Smooth with a palette knife, pipe and decorate as you wish.

For a decoration idea, watch the video.