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Archive for November, 2013

I got a bag of organic dried sliced plantain bananas from Costco just to give it a try, but found out they are quite chewy and dense. Great... now I’m stuck with a big bag of chewy dried bananas! What can I do with it? What can I do with it??… I know! Banana chocolate scones! It’s quick and easy to make, and a new flavor for the family.:-)

Results: Even I added 1 tbsp of rum to soften the bananas, I could’t taste any alcohol at all after baking. I didn’t want the taste of bananas take over the overall taste of the scones, so I just coarsely chopped. As a result, there are bites of the scones that comes with the sweet fragrance of banana, but no bananas in those bites at all… interesting!

Banana Chocolate Scones

Banana Chocolate Scones

Banana Chocolate Scones (makes 12 small scones)

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter– cut into pieces
1/2 cup toasted walnut– chopped
1/2 cup bitter-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup dried banana slices– chopped, and soak in 1 tbsp golden rum for at least 1 hour– see note below
2 eggs
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, stir flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine. Rub in butter until the mixture resembles of coarse crumbs. Add walnut, chocolate chip and chopped dried banana. Toss to mix well.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla extract and milk (or cream) in a small bowl, whisk to combine. Scoop out 2 tbsp to reserve for glaze. Pour the egg mixture all at once into the flour mixture. Use a spatula gently stir until the dough comes together. Do not over mix or the scones will be tough.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently 4-6 times, then divide the dough in half. Pat each half into 6 inch circle, then cut into 6 small wedges, for a total of 12 wedges.
  4. Place scones on a lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart, and chill in freezer for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 400°F.
  5. Brush scones with reserved egg wash and bake for 15-18 minutes, until the center is baked through and golden brown on the edge. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Dried banana slices: The banana I used are dried sliced plantain banana that I got from Costco. They are a bit sticky, chewy and a bit dense in texture, so I added 1 tbsp of rum to soften up a little (and rum makes it more flavorful, you can’t taste the alcohol at all after baking). you can substitute rum with water.

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Yes, century eggs! The egg white part looks like clear brown jelly sometimes with needle marks like snowflakes, and it tastes like harden jelly, a bit rubbery with a very mild flavor. The  greyish yolk, however, carries a pungent smell and more flavorful. Sometimes the yolk is a bit soft in the center, as you slice through the gooey yolk will stick to the knife. For preserved eggs, I like salted eggs better than century eggs. However, one time when I tried this cold appetizer at a Hunan restaurant and I fell in love with it. It is quite easy to make. The combination of roasted peppers (sweet and spicy) and century eggs blends pretty well; a great side dish to go with just a bowl of steam rice. If you can take spicy foods and century eggs, try it out.

Roasted Peppers with Century Eggs 燒椒皮蛋

Roasted Peppers with Century Eggs 燒椒皮蛋

Roasted Peppers with Century Eggs 燒椒皮蛋 Recipe

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers
6 fresh jalapeno peppers
2 century eggs

seasoning:
1 tbsp black rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp peppercorn oil 花椒油

Method:

  1. Cut bell peppers in half, remove stems and seeds. Drizzle with little oil and roast in the oven at 375°F for about 30 minutes. Cool then peel off the skin. Cut into strips.
  2. Fire roast jalapeno peppers directly on top of flame until the skin turn black completely. I always put jalapeno peppers on a skewer, and roast them directly on the flame on my gas stove top. At first the skin will make little crackling sound then it will start blacken, but hardly any smoke.  When the peppers are blackened, remove from flame and cover them with a paper towel for a couple of minutes. Use the paper towel to rub off the blackened skin and remove the seeds. Cut into strips.
  3. For century eggs, remove the shells and cut into thin wedges.
  4. Put bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, century eggs and seasoning a bowl. Toss gently to mix the flavor well. Serve immediately. Do not mix in seasoning if serving the dish later as it will becomes watery.

Regina’s Note:

  • Only mix in seasoning a few minutes before serving or the dish will get watery the longer it sits in the seasoning sauce.

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Geez… I think I’m in a muffin land lately can you tell?! It all started with a day with zero breakfast food for the family, so I decided to make rum and raisin muffins AND blueberry muffins on the same day– and this just happened few days ago. And now I’m making rum raisin muffins again (perfecting recipe) and strawberry muffins!

There are several ways to make muffins, but I like this method that I’m using– which uses melted butter and the folding technique (vs. other method that calls for creaming butter and beating eggs and mix in flour). I find this method works pretty fast, and makes fluffier muffins.

Strawberry Muffins

Strawberry Muffins

Strawberry Muffins (makes 12 pieces)

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
10 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter– melted
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 eggs– room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shopped fresh strawberries

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line muffin molds with muffin cup liners.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a big bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine whipping, eggs, vanilla extract. Whisk to blend well.
  4. Add cream mixture and melted butter to flour mixture. Gently FOLD the batter with a spatula. FOLD in strawberries.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin molds. Bake at preheated 400F oven for 20-22 minutes, until muffin tops springs back when gently pressed.
  6. Remove muffins from molds immediately. Transfer to cooling rack. Let muffins cool slightly before serving. Best if served warm.

Regina’s Note:

  • Other berries (raspberry, blueberry) can also be used for this recipe.

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Why sour cream? Because that was what I had in the fridge at the moment, and it worked quite well as a substitute for whipping cream. This recipe calls for 10 tbsp of sugar, which is quite a lot for a typical muffin recipe, but surprisingly it doesn’t taste awfully sweet like store bought muffins. I consider myself not a big fan for sweet stuff and I think the amount of of sugar is just right.

Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins

Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins (makes 12 pieces)

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
10 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter– melted
1 tub (8 oz) sour cream
milk– enough milk to combine with sour cream to fill 1 cup
2 eggs– room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line muffin molds with muffin cup liners.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a big bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla extract. Whisk to blend well.
  4. Add cream mixture and melted butter to flour mixture. Gently FOLD the batter with a spatula until just moist. FOLD in blueberries.
  5. Scoop batter into muffin molds. Bake at preheated 375F oven for 20-25 minutes, until the muffin tops springs back when gently pressed.
  6. Remove muffins from molds immediately and transfer to a cooling rack. Let muffins cool slightly before serving. Best if served warm.

Regina’s Note:

  • Sour cream: I had only about 5 oz of sour cream so I added a little more milk to fill to 1 cup (milk is a thinning agent here as sour cream is pretty thick). Alternatively, you can also use whipping or heavy whipping cream alone without combining with milk.
  • Oven temperature: If you want crusty muffin tops that resemble of the crust of a cornbread, you can bake muffins at preheated 400F oven for 20-22 minutes.

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I got this recipe from my auntie’s muffin recipe book last year back in Singapore, but unfortunately I only took a picture of the recipe and don’t know the book cover nor the author. I tried to find the same recipe book online but with no success.

Back then, what caught my eyes was the flavor– rum and raisin! I had rum and raisin ice cream before, and so I thought the same flavor will taste good too on muffin (or even on scones!) The first time I tried out the recipe, I used the full amount of rum as directed in the recipe. And let me tell you it’s very alcoholic– I could smell the alcohol coming out from the freshly baked muffins. Took a bite, the alcohol taste was there, and the rum flavor stayed in the mouth and throat even after eating the muffins. My husband was joking that he can’t drive to work after eating these muffins for breakfast. The original recipe uses muscovado sugar and demerara sugar, but I just used brown sugar. How about heavy cream? Nope, didn’t have that either– I used 2% milk. I think the milk made the batter very liquid-y like pancake batter. The texture of muffins turned out to be a bit dense. The flavor was awesome though.

This time around, I changed cut down the amount of rum to 1/4 cup. Results? Much better. The rum flavor is still there but smooth to the taste. I also increased oven temperature to 400 degree F, just because I like my muffin tops crusty like cornbread. If you like rum and raisin ice cream, you may like this recipe.

Rum and Raisin Muffins

Rum and Raisin Muffins

Rum and Raisin Muffins (makes 12 pieces)

Ingredients:
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup golden rum– for soaking raisins
2 cups flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter– melted and cooled
2/3 cup whipping cream– see note below
1/4 cup golden rum
2 eggs– room temperature

walnuts– for topping

Method:

  1. Soak raisins in 1/4 cup rum for at least 3 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line muffin pan with muffin cup liners.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a big bowl. Add in brown sugar. Mix to blend well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine whipping cream, golden rum and eggs. Whisk to blend well.
  5. Pour cream mixture and melted butter to flour mixture. Fold in the batter with a spatula until just moist. Fold in raisins (including any residual rum that was not absorbed by the raisins).
  6. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Arrange some walnut pieces on the top.
  7. Bake at preheated 400°F oven for 20-22 minutes, until the muffin tops spring back when gently pressed. Remove from muffin pans immediately and transfer to a cooling rack. Best if the muffins are served warm.

Regina’s Note:

  • Whipping cream: You can use whipping cream or heavy whipping cream, or even thick cream like sour cream (combine with milk to 2/3 cup, mix well). If used only milk then the batter maybe liquid-y instead of thick batter, may make the muffins a bit dense.
  • Oven temperature: I like the muffin tops crusty like cornbread crust, so I set to 400°F. If you are not picky like me, baking at 375°F for 20-22 minutes is just as fine.

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