Pink Grapefruit Lemonade

Hello Everyone! It’s the last of Juicy January and I’ve got a nice, refreshing drink for you that you can also add a little twist if you want something naughty for all that healthy juicing you’ve (I’ve) been doing for the past month. It was just a normal Sunday morning when I went grocery shopping with my Mom and sister. I saw these lovely, plump, fresh grapefruits on the shelves and Schweppes’ Apple & Pink Grapefruit Mineral Water that I always, or well, most of the time, had in my fridge when I was still studying in Australia, came into mind. So I grabbed these fruits, some lemons, and mint, and decided that I was going to make a Pink Grapefruit Lemonade. When I got around to making them, I realised that I had some strawberries in the fridge that were on the verge of becoming overripe, and so I decided to slice them up and add them to the drink as well.

Grapefruits vary in hue from white or yellow to pink and red and can range in taste from very acidic and even bitter to sweet and sugary. Grapefruits are low in calories but are full of nutrients, and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. These fruits support clear, healthy skin, can help to lower our risk for many diseases and conditions, and may even help with weight loss as part of an overall healthy and varied diet. To read into more details on how, for example, grapefruits can aid in weight loss, click here.

Pink Grapefruit Lemonade

Mix the juice of one grapefruit together with the juice of a lemon and you’ve got yourself and juice that’s rich in many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E,  copper,  calcium, iron,  magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, protein, and the list goes on. The health benefits of lemons include the treatment of throat infections, indigestion, constipation, dental problems, and fever, internal bleeding, and high blood pressure, while it also benefits hair and skin care. They also help to strengthen your immune system, cleanse your stomach, and it is considered a blood purifier.

Throw in some roughly chopped mint leaves for a fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste. If you happen to have strawberries in your fridge too, or if you actually bought them to try this out, throw them in too for an extra added nutrients and antioxidants, offering a wide range of health benefits that may surprise you – click here for more information.

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 650ml cold water
  • 1 punnet (125g) fresh strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 1 large grapefruit, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 large lemon, juice squeezed
  • 1/2 bunch of mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbsp white sugar

Optional:

  • 2-3 tbsp white rum

METHOD

  1. Add the white sugar and boiling water to a large pitcher. Stir until the sugar has full dissolved.
  2. Add the lemon juice together with the cold water, mint leaves, sliced strawberries.
  3. Juice the grapefruit using an electric juicer and then pour into the pitcher. Give it a good stir.

Pink Grapefruit Lemonade

If you’re feeling a little bit cheeky, throw in a few tablespoons of coconut rum (that was the only thing I had available at that time) or just plain white rum, tequila, or vodka – whatever tickles your fancy that is! 🙂 Enjoy and happy juicing!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: POPULAR POPCORN PARFAIT

In Asia Restaurant & Bar

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! I think I will keep the introduction short today just because you’re about to dive into a 2200 word review below and I’m already tired of typing and spinning words out of my brain at this hour of the night. Seriously though, if university essays were this easy to write in less than 4 hours, I’d never hate writing essays (most probably)…

About three months or so, I actually don’t remember, I attended a talk organised by General Assembly on the Business of Food Blogging. It was there that I met Brendon D’Souza from brendonthesmilingchef, and he was indeed a happy smiling chap. Last week he invited me and a few other bloggers for an Instagram Meet Up at In Asia Restaurant and Bar in North Strathfield. He told an interesting story about how he came to know about this restaurant; basically he and his family were driving along looking for a place to hold his graduation dinner. They came across In Asia and I think he pretty much fell in love with the food here and even said that the Popular Popcorn Parfait dessert sold it for him. He met the owner of the restaurant and talked about organising a food blogger’s event to basically build up a social media presence of the restaurant. I’m really glad that Brendon organised this event because it was definitely a great experience for not just me, but for everyone else who was a part of the night. I met a lot of other food bloggers, and shared a few laughs over the night as we all started getting a bit tipsy from the drinks.

Let’s get straight into their menu and what I thought of their awesome dishes:

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - COCKTAILS: SUGAR FLOSS MARTINI
COCKTAILS: SUGAR FLOSS MARTINI
Vodka, fresh strawberries and limes, with candy floss ($16.00)

I remember seeing one of the blogger’s ordering this drink across the other table. Rachael and Angela, who were seated in front of me, bolted over to take a picture of this very photogenic drink that looked like a fluffy unicorn. I wasn’t bothered to get up, only because I was sitting on the inside of the booth(?), not sure what kind of seating it was, but it meant that I had to ask people to get up for me, slide over, and then get out. When the girls returned, we decided to all order a cocktail each and share so that we could get a taste of what In Asia had to offer. I really liked this drink, mainly for the fairy floss and vodka combination, but you can’t really go wrong with strawberry and lime.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - COCKTAILS: TOBLERONECOCKTAILS: TOBLERONE
Baileys, Frangelico, Kahlua, cream, chocolate syrup, and Toblerone shavings ($16.00)

This was something that I’ve not actually seen before elsewhere, but then again, I’ve only been to how many bars in my life? Yeah, not a lot. Anyway, this was by far my favourite cocktail of the night; alcohol and chocolate? Don’t mind if I do! I’m not a heavy drinker myself, but I’d definitely have 2 or 3 more glasses of this. For me, I couldn’t really taste the alcohol, but that’s okay because it tasted more like a chocolate drink to me, and I like that!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - COCKTAILS: FINE LYCHEE DAIQUIRI
COCKTAILS: FINE LYCHEE DAIQUIRI
Bacardi, Soho Lychee Liqueur, fresh lychees, and lime ($16.00)

I am currently obsessing over lychees so this drink was also a favourite of mine that night. Loved the sweetness of the lychee paired with a tangy lime. I very much enjoyed this drink and would definitely come back for more of this… And the two above as well *cheeky grin*

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - ENTRÉE: PAN-SEARED CANADIAN SCOLLOPS
ENTRÉE: PAN-SEARED CANADIAN SCOLLOPS
with chilli purée and lime sauce, fresh pear ($15.00)

I love love love love LOVE scollops. Have I told you how much I really love scollops? Well, as you can tell for my love of scollops, it is without a doubt that this was my favourite entrée of the night. The scollops were cooked perfectly and surprised me with that great kick of heat. I say surprised because I wasn’t expecting it to be that big of a kick to my mouth. I found it quite spicy to my liking at first, but loved it as I had more of it. The pear was a nice touch of freshness to the dish as well.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - ENTRÉE: BARBECUED CALAMARI
ENTRÉE: BARBECUED CALAMARI
with pickled papaya, fennel, cashew nuts, and crispy pork crackling ($15.00)

I honestly cannot remember what my tastebuds were going through when I had this dish. I mean, it was not a bad dish, but I feel like I didn’t have an overwhelming reaction towards the dish like I did with the other entrée dishes. The calamari was cooked well, and the salad was dressed nicely too. I like how they’ve added the crispy pork crackling in the dish for that added crispy element, but they were all gone before I could get any onto my plate (yes, most of the bloggers who I shared the dish with picked most of the crackling out)!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - ENTRÉE: BETAL LEAF OF POACHED PRAWNENTRÉE: BETAL LEAF OF POACHED PRAWN
with roast coconut, crushed peanuts, ginger, chilli, lime, and caramel sauce: 2 pieces ($12.00)

As soon as this dish hit the tables, I was flabbergasted by its presentation. Loved the shot glasses. Moreover, I was impressed with the flavour combinations in such a little piece of betal leaf wrap. You’ve got the roast coconut, crushed peanuts, together with the ginger and caramel sauce I presume, that is topped with the tender, melt in the mouth poached prawn topped with roe and a tangy hit with a thinly sliced piece of lime, all wrapped in a peppery betal leaf that gave a nice fresh crunch to everything. It was a bit of a guessing game on how many bites you should take with this; it feels a bit big for one bite, but not big enough for two if you get what I mean. I tried two bites, but then you’re left with just the coconut and peanuts at the bottom without the prawn for your second bite. So I just went for it in one bite for my second serve. I find it quite expensive though because that means that one betal leaf wrap if $6.00; it’s quite a spectacular dish, but I don’t know if I’d pay that much for it.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - ENTRÉE: SEA SALT AND BLACK PEPPER CALAMARI
ENTRÉE: SEA SALT AND BLACK PEPPER CALAMARI
with wasabi mayo and sweet chilli sauce

I had a look back at their main menu and didn’t see this dish so I can’t say how much it’d cost you to order this. There’s nothing much I can comment on this only just because it’s salt and pepper calamari; I mean you can practically get it anywhere you go. Nothing special, but I did like the tender calamari, however not a big fan of wasabi myself.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - SALAD: TEA SMOKED DUCK BREAST
SALAD: TEA SMOKED DUCK BREAST
with roasted rice, chilli, lemongrass, Vietnamese mint, and tamarind dressing ($22.00)

I felt like it’s quite similar to a Thai dish known as Nam Tok in terms of flavour, but anyway this was a very innovative dish and the flavours were a nice accompaniment to the duck. I actually wouldn’t have been able to tell that the duck was tea-smoked, but nonetheless, the duck was delicious and I wanted more!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - STIR FRY: WAGYU BEEF
STIR FRY: WAGYU BEEF
with asparagus, shallots, and onion with hoisin sauce ($28.00)

Again, this was nothing special for me because I know how to make a mean beef stir-fry myself. I mean, it’s a good, simple, and humble dish, but nothing really as innovative as what I’ve already covered from this point on their menu.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: CRISPY SKIN SALMON
MAIN: CRISPY SKIN SALMON
with IN ASIA’s spiced Kumara mash, cashew nuts, sweet potato chips ($27.00)

I wasn’t a fan of this dish for several reasons: firstly, I thought that it was a curry-based dish because of the ‘sauce’ and then I was surprised when I re-read the menu again at it was actually kumara mash. In my opinion, it was a bit thin for a mash. I like my mash creamy no doubt, but this felt like it took creamy to a whole other level. Secondly, though the salmon lived up to its crispy skin, it was however overcooked to my liking; it was a bit dry on the inside for me. The only thing I liked on this dish was probably the sweet potato chips. Sorry!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: CRISPY SKIN ROASTED DUCK
MAIN: CRISPY SKIN ROASTED DUCK
with tamarind sauce, pumpkin mash, and navel orange

This I liked better than the salmon dish, and I loved the pairing of the duck with the navel oranges. Though the skin wasn’t as crispy as I thought it would be, it was still a very good dish, and that’s also mainly because I love duck no matter how it’s cooked (just not overcooked of course). You may have noticed as well that there is no price – same what I mentioned above for another dish, I couldn’t find it on their actual menu so sorry to say I can’t make out how much this dish would cost if you want to order this dish.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: KOREAN STYLE BARBECUED WAGYU BEEF
MAIN: KOREAN STYLE BARBECUED WAGYU BEEF
with grilled pear, black sesame, pickled radish, and ginger ($28.00)

This dish wasn’t actually on the pre-planned menu that the restaurant had for us. One of the girls, as she called herself, “that annoying person who just doesn’t like seafood”, ordered this off the menu as the owner of In Asia suggested that she did as he felt bad for having pretty much a seafood-heavy planned menu for the night. I am actually glad that she got to order off their menu and shared a little bit of her food with everyone else because this was a really REALLY lovely dish. The wagyu beef was cooked perfectly and was very tender. The grilled pear, I mean, where do I even begin with this pear? It was so good and paired so well with the beef. It was a match made it heaven.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: CARAMELISED TWICE COOKED PORK BELLY
MAIN: CARAMELISED TWICE COOKED PORK BELLY
with crispy panko egg and sweet tamarind sauce ($23.00)

This was another dish that was ordered off the menu, and yet another great dish that made me happy that she doesn’t like seafood. This was actually my favourite main dish of the night. The pork belly was crispy and sweet, and that panko egg was just lovely. I honestly wanted more of this dish, but since we were only sharing, it made me sad that I could not have more that night. I would definitely recommend this dish if you’re ever thinking of dining here. It is a must! I would definitely go again if it weren’t so far from where I live!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: MONKEY SNICKER
DESSERT: MONKEY SNICKER
with banana pudding, passionfruit curd, pandan foam, pandan granita, shredded coconut, and coconut ice cream ($12.00)

Finally on to dessert! This was probably not one of the best desserts of the night just because I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other dessert that you’ll see below, both in terms of presentation and flavour. This didn’t really wow me that much I’m sorry to say!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: MRS B'S FIRST KISS
DESSERT: MRS B’S FIRST KISS
with organic banana lightly battered in shredded coconut and fried, palm sugar caramel, tapioca sauce, and rice puffs, served with passionfruit sorbet ($14.00)

I apologise in advance because I cannot comment on the flavour of this dish, and I will tell you why. So when the desserts arrived at the table, everyone went nuts for this dessert, as well as the one below because of their spectacular presentation. It was almost too beautiful to eat! So I got my pictures, and then I had a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. I thought, okay I’ll go to the bathroom quickly since the other bloggers were still busy taking pictures of the desserts. Came back about 2 or 3 minutes later and this dish was completely demolished. Lesson of the night? Hold it in, no matter how urgent it is. It’s not worth it especially if dessert is concerned and you’re sharing one dish with about 12 other bloggers. I was so sad!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: POPULAR POPCORN PARFAIT
DESSERT: POPULAR POPCORN PARFAIT
with IN ASIA’s crushed corn flakes, caramel popcorn, grilled sweet corn, and caramel jersey cream ($14.00)

Okay, at least there was a good quarter or so of this dessert left when I came back from nature’s calling. Thank goodness because this dessert was the absolute bomb. I loved the flavours and different textures that you got in each mouthful of the dessert, and I didn’t think that grilled corn would be such a great compliment to the overall dish. The presentation was on point as well. Well done In Asia for this dessert!

There were some ups and some downs with the dishes that we had over the night, but I can safely say that the positives overpowered the negatives greatly. There was really only one dish that was a let down for me, and the others that had minor issues based on just my personal opinion and palette is nothing major to say that it was a bad dish. I’d rate the food of the night a solid 9.5 out of 10; the food really blew me away and clearly the definition of modern (kind of, sort of fine dining) Asian cuisine. For me, it’s sort of somewhere in the middle like it’s not casual but not extreme fine dining either. Not only did the flavours and textures impress me, the presentation of some of the dishes, mainly the entrées and desserts, really blew me away. The service was great as well, though I wasn’t sure why it took quite possibly close to 30 to 45 minutes for the light menu (which were the tea smoked duck salad and the barbecued calamari salad) to come out to the table after entrées – I wasn’t complaining though because I had a pretty hefty entrée to begin with. I’d give the service an 8 or possibly 9 out of 10 anyway. Now, value for money – the dishes here are pretty pricey to be honest but I guess you can say that you actually do pay for what you’re getting. If you’ve got the money to spend, definitely spend it here, otherwise it’s not really a place you can just rock up to if you don’t have the money or for a casual dine.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar
181 Concord Road
North Strathfield, New South Wales
Australia, 2137

– Ally xx

Cherry Ripple Black Forest Cake

Cherry Ripple Black Forest Cake

Hello Everyone! Yes, I know it is a Sunday which for those of you who are new to my blog, I don’t normally post on a Sunday – but I wanted to get all the Noche Buena recipes up before the New Year because I’ll probably have another batch of recipes to post from a New Years Day Lunch (maybe dinner depending on how energised I am to cook after a long day/night out the previous night) that I am planning to host – a small one though with probably 2-3 dishes maximum. Noche Buena was hectic and I don’t want to have a repeat that’s a week apart from each other. I won’t be doing Media Noche because I will most likely be camping out the whole day/night for a good spot by the harbour to view the Harbour Bridge Fireworks at midnight.

Cherry Ripple Black Forest Cake

Anyway, tonight’s recipe is from our Noche Buena dinner that Jialing and I hosted on the Eve of Christmas. This Cherry Ripple Black Forest Cake is one of the many desserts we had on the menu for the night. When deciding on a cake to make for the festive dinner, we found it difficult to decide on a cake that felt festive – besides a Yule Log. Even though I wasn’t too fond of a Black Forest cake, that is what we decided on. The reason why I am not fond of it is because every time I indulged in a store bought Black Forest cake, they ALWAYS use those horrible canned/tinned/jarred Maraschino Cherries that I absolutely hate. Not for our Black Forest cake NO! I was determined to use fresh cherries and if I had to use cherries from a can, at least not the maraschino ones!

Before Jialing and I went to do our groceries for the dinner, we talked about how we haven’t been seeing any fresh cherries at the local supermarkets. But when we got to Coles, we saw that cherries were on special and looking very fresh! I was so happy! Also, please do check out the original recipe over on Taste. Like how I’ve probably been describing over and over again in my previous posts, the recipe says to use a little more than 1/4 cup of Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon, but I didn’t want to buy a 700ml bottle for $30 for that amount. So from the leftover vodka I had from the East Orange Frosting I made for my Gingerbread Men, Jialing had the idea of infusing that into the cherry syrup for that boozy touch. Also, our sponge didn’t rise that much to be able to cut it into three layers, so we ended up having a two layer cake.

Cherry Ripple Black Forest Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 20 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the chocolate sponge

  • 1 & 1/4 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cocoa powder
  • 200g dark cooking chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large free range eggs

For the cream-jam filling

  • 1 can (425g) pitted black cherries in syrup, drain and reserve syrup
  • 300ml double cream
  • 250ml thickened cream
  • 1/2 cup black cherry jam

For the choc-cherry ganache

  • 100g dark cooking chocolate, chopped
  • 60ml thickened cream
  • Vodka-infused cherry syrup*
  • Fresh cherries
  • Chocolate curls

*Add the reserved syrup to a small sauce pan together with about a tablespoon of vodka to the reserved syrup and bring to a simmer to infuse the flavours. Use this to brush onto the sponge cake layers and in the chocolate ganache.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease the sides of a 20cm round springform cake pan with melted butter and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Chocolate Sponge Cake: Sift the flour, almond meal, and cocoa powder into a medium sized bowl. Whisk until combined and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar using an electric handheld mixer until pale and creamy. Beat in the melted chocolate and eggs, and fold in the dry ingredients and buttermilk until well combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside to cool slightly before transferring the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Choc-cherry Ganache: While the cake is baking in the oven, stir all the ingredients (leaving about 1/4 cup of the vodka-infused syrup for brushing) for the choc-cherry ganache in a small saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes or until the chocolate has melted and is smooth. Set aside cool slightly.
  6. Cream-jam Filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the double and thickened cream in a large bowl until firm peaks form. Then fold in the jam to create a swirled effect.
  7. Assembly: Cut the cake horizontally into 2 (or 3 if you can) even layers. Place the cake base on a round cake board and brush the cut surface with half of the vodka-infused syrup and spoon over the cream-jam mixture. Dip each pitted black cherry into the ganache and place on top of the cream filling. Brush the vodka-infused syrup on the cut surface with the other half of the cake layer and top over the base. Pour the choc-cherry ganache over the cake and decorate with fresh cherries and chocolate curls. Sprinkle with a bit a icing sugar for a Christmasy finish.

Cherry Ripple Black Forest Cake

Cherry Ripple Black Forest Cake

Cherry Ripple Black Forest Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Hello Everyone! I apologise in advance for not posting yesterday as scheduled. Long story short, I didn’t write my post yesterday (I have my reasons) and I just wanted to go to bed when I got home from a work event yesterday. Anyway, if you read my last post on the Gingerbread Muffins, you would’ve know what tonight’s recipe will be about. I wanted to do something nice for my colleagues in the office for my last week before the Christmas/New Year holidays, so I decided to bake batches of Gingerbread Cookies. Actually these cookies inspired me to try out and bake Gingerbread Muffins on Monday to stick to the festive theme. I packed them into little plastic bags and tied them up with Christmas tags that I bought from the Christmas Markets at The Grounds of Alexandria.

Gingerbread Cookies

I think, if not all, most of them loved my cookies. My boss had the best reaction hands down when he saw his bag of goodies on his desk when he came into work; he let out what seemed like a squeal of excitement. I also managed to change my manager’s view on gingerbread – she normally doesn’t like gingerbread, but mine were an exception. I genuinely believe that she wasn’t just saying that because I was there; she apparently went on for about 5 minutes about the cookies to her sister. Also, one of the interns didn’t come in at all so he didn’t get his bag of goodies, so the other manager said that he was tempted to just open his bag for more. Towards the end of the day I saw the bag closer to his desk and opened. Yesterday I asked him if he ate all of the other intern’s cookies, and he said he gave some to his housemates!

Some of my cookies ended up on Instagram as well:

Gingerbread Cookies on Instagram

Like the little gingerbread men that was featured on Tuesday’s post, I made my own cookie cutter using aluminium foil, which meant that each time I pressed it on the rolled out dough, it would slightly deform. I would then reshape it, but that meant that I had men that differed in shape – some were fat, some skinny. Some had one leg longer than the other, one arm higher than the other, big heads, small heads, etc. but to quote Jialing (as well as from the previous post), “everyone is different in their own way and we don’t discriminate!” Also, a special thanks and shoutout to my main girl Jialing for decorating my cookies while I frantically tried to do some many things at once in the kitchen. They look absolutely stunning!

Before I move onto the recipe, please do visit the site where I originally got the recipe from: Food Network. As usual, I used slightly different ingredients only because some I didn’t have on me – or I wasn’t up for buying let’s say a bottle worth $30+ of orange liqueur when I only needed half a teaspoon of it. Making my own orange liqueur crossed my mind, but then I only thought of a week before making these cookies. I still wanted to add a hint of booze to my frosting though, so I ended up getting a tiny bottle of vodka for this. Again, I didn’t want to buy a big bottle of vodka because I don’t drink vodka. If you are making these for the little ones, just remember to exclude the vodka from the frosting!

Gingerbread Cookies Ingredients

Gingerbread Cookies Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 8-10 MINS | MAKES 3 DOZEN

INGREDIENTS

For the gingerbread dough

  • 4 cups plain flour (plus 1/2 cup additional for rolling, if needed)
  • 170g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 large navel orange, zested
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 & 2/3 cups caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses (or honey in my case)
  • 1/4 cup milk*
  • 1 tablespoon ground dry ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

For the easy orange frosting

  • 1 cup soft icing sugar
  • 1 large orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp vodka (optional)

*I don’t know what I did wrong but when I was rolling out my dough after I had chilled it in the fridge for about 15-20minutes, my dough it felt a bit dry and crumbly. I fixed it by adding some milk and putting it back into the fridge before rolling it out again. It seemed to have worked this way! I’m not sure if I did something wrong or just looking at the recipe, maybe the ratio between dry and wet was a bit out of proportion.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Add the unsalted butter, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl and beat using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle at medium-high speed until smooth; about 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, dry ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Whisk to blend and then set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, molasses (or honey), and lemon juice.
  3. When the butter and sugar mixture is smooth, lower the speed of the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Then add the egg mixture until well blended. At this point, if you feel your mixture is too dry or crumbly, add the milk in.
  4. Divide the cookie dough in half. Wrap each half with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes. This step will make it easier to finish rolling out the dough when it has chilled. It will also mean you only have half of the dough getting warm as you roll it.
  5. Lightly flour a flat surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the first half of the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Lightly flour the cookie cutter(s) and cut the shapes, making as few scraps as possible. Got scraps? Form the scraps into a ball, press it flat and chill in the refrigerator. These cookies may be a little more “tough” because the dough will have been worked a little more than the others.
  6. Transfer the cut out cookies to a tray lined with baking paper. Leave room between the cookies as they can spread a little. You’ll end up having to bake them it batches depending on the size of your cookies and how many can fit into a single baking tray. Bake until brown around the edges; about 8 to 10 minutes. While your first half of your batch of dough is cut and baking/waiting to bake, work on your second half of cookie dough. Once your cookies are done, set them aside to cool down and get started on making your easy orange frosting.
  7. Easy Orange Frosting: In a medium bowl add all of the ingredients and whisk together to combine. If the consistency is too thick, add a touch more orange juice (or vodka if you prefer) to thin it out. Transfer the frosting into a party bag (or if you are like me and don’t have one, you can use a zip lock bag and cut a hold at the tip, OR even use a ketchup bottle as you will see in one of the photographs below).
  8. Work on and decorate the batch of cookies that went into the oven first as these would have had enough time to cool down before the others. The work your way through the batches of cookies.

I guess, if you want it to look more festive you can go with green/red decorations but our local Coles only had blue or pink. Of course, cookies are best served fresh but you can store these cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

Hello Everyone! Another Muffin Making Monday recipe post for all of you tonight, and why not bake these not so little, but cute muffins for the kids or maybe even the adults this holiday season? Just remember to exclude that hint of vodka in the orange frosting when serving it up for the little ones! These muffins are moist and packed with a spicy sweet gingerbread flavour with that touch of citrusy goodness; not to mention they also create a beautiful gingery aroma in the kitchen. As usual with all my baking adventures, I always look to Sally’s Baking Addiction. Her recipes are straight forward, easy to follow, and really require minimal work in the kitchen (as far as I know from the recipes I’ve tried). I also always try to tweak the recipe myself, which I have definitely done here to make these muffins a little more special for this festive season.

Besides tonight’s muffin post, I also baked gingerbread cookies yesterday to bring in and share amongst my workmates. The recipe for these gingerbread cookies will be up on Thursday’s post. From the dough I had,  I made little gingerbread men to stuff into my muffins. I also topped the muffins with leftover orange frosting. I shall call these Hot Tub Gingerbread Muffins! I actually got this idea from the front cover of the December issue of Coles Magazine. The featured cupcakes were topped with frosting and little gingerbread man cookies. I pre-baked the little gingerbread men before baking my muffins, and my plan was to stuff the muffins with the men while the tops were still moist before completely cooked. But forgetting that I wanted to do that, Jialing had already frosted and decorated my little men, and putting them into the oven would basically just melt the frosting off. Also it meant that the gingerbread men would potentially over bake in the oven. So what I did was once the muffins were ready and slightly cooled, I cut a slit in the muffins and inserted the little men. They were a bit large for the muffins, so I ended up amputating their legs just so they would fit snuggly. I remember when I brought a muffin into work today, one of the managers noticed that his legs were missing and asked where his legs went. I told her the sad story.

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

I also by the way, did not have any cookie cutters for these, instead I made my own cookie cutter using aluminium foil following this tutorial on wikiHow. I mean, it wasn’t ideal for the foil kept reshaping itself every time I pressed down on it to cut out my cookies, so as you can see from the image above, some were fat, some skinny. Some had one leg longer than the other, one arm higher than the other, big heads, small heads, etc. but as Jialing said, everyone is different in their own way and we don’t discriminate! And of course, being such a professional baker (sarcasm intended), I don’t even own a rolling pin – but who says a bottle of Jack can’t fix the problem and stand in as a makeshift rolling pin?

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

I went ingredient shopping two days before making these muffins, and unfortunately I could not get a hold of molasses which gives the muffins their deep brown colour and rich flavour. I wasn’t able to look at another grocery store on the Sunday because I had my own little adventure kayaking over the Sydney Harbour, overlooking the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. So I settled with using honey for this recipe, which is one of the various substitutes for molasses. Also, you may notice that the batter is quite thick. Very, very thick. It may make you wonder if you’ve done anything wrong, or if the proportions of this recipe is right. Well, you didn’t do anything wrong, and neither is the recipe wrong. A thick batter helps make a muffin have that beautiful high dome top. So do expect a thick (and lumpy) batter and you’ll be happy with the results of your muffins! In addition, no need to take out your electric mixer for this, because I always dread having to dig for it at the back of the cupboard and cleaning it up afterwards.

Also, just a quick note incase you missed it, the recipe for the gingerbread men will be posted on Thursday – as well as the orange frosting since that came with the gingerbread recipe, so stay tuned for that! Tonight will just be on the Gingerbread Muffins.

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | MAKES 12 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark molasses (or honey in my case)
  • 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large free rage egg
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 220C. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a large bowl and whisk together. Set aside. Add the honey and unsalted butter together in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for about 1 minute in the microwave. Stir until thoroughly mixed together. Set aside. In third bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, egg, yogurt, and milk.
  3. Pour the mixture into the into the honey and butter mixture and whisk until everything is incorporated. Then pour the wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined, careful to not over mix the batter which will be very thick and lumpy.
  4. Fill your muffin cups tins to the very top and bake for about 5 minutes at 220C. Baking them at a higher temperature right at the beginning will help create a burst of steam inside the muffin and rapidly lift the tops. Then reduce the temperature down to 190C and continue to bake for about 15 more minutes. Muffins are finished when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. Once done, remove the muffins from the oven and set aside to cool down for a bit. Cut slits into your muffins and insert a gingerbread man in each. Top with a drizzle of orange frosting. Serve!

Muffins taste best eaten the same day, and can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

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