Marshmallow chocolate brownies

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A couple of posts ago, there was a recipe for a hazelnut marshmallow fudge cake. The cake was demolished in a day and I was left with half a pack of mini marshmallows staring at me every time I opened  my store cupboard. I know from past experience that if you leave a pack of marshmallows around in a cupboard, they will harden and then you will have to throw them away. They are not fit for man, woman or bake.

Flipping through pictures of bakes with marshmallows did not help. Plenty of recipes for s'mores, grasshopper pies (no creme de menthe), cakes and more cakes. And then a picture of marshmallows baked in a brownie. That looked interesting but the recipe seemed complicated. So with light bulbs going off in my head, I found my simplest brownie recipe and decided to experiment.


The recipe was an easy one, no need to use heavy duty equipment aka the Kitchenaid. No need for an electric mixer. Just a wire whisk and hand power.

Oh, this was getting better. The butter did not have to be brought to room temperature, so it was warmed over a water bath along with the chocolate. The flour was weighed along with the cocoa, sugar and eggs whipped along with the flavouring. The batter was dense, dark and chocolatty. Once the batter was ready, the marshmallows were stirred through. With the addition of the marshmallows, the batter became slightly thicker, probably due to the presence of cornflour on the marshmallows.

When baked, most of the marshmallows had kept their shape but some had melted and spread their white gooeyness over the surface of the brownie.

Wait for the brownie to cool down to room temperature, then use a hot knife to slice the brownie into bars. It tastes divine - gooey, light and like pizza cheese, stringy. Sublime!




Marshmallow chocolate brownies

Ingredients
120 gm flour
50 gm cocoa
A pinch of salt
200 gm butter
100 gm cooking chocolate, chopped
400 gm sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
120 gm mini marshmallows

Method
Sift flour, cocoa and salt into a bowl, keep aside.
Melt the butter over a water bath, stir in chocolate pieces, stir till chocolate is melted.
Place sugar in a mixing bowl, break eggs into it and whisk along with the vanilla extract.
When foamy, stir in the butter and chocolate paste and stir gently to combine.
Fold in the flour and cocoa mix, add the marshmallows.
Turn the mixture into a 9"x 13" baking pan that has been lined with grease proof paper.
Bake at 180°C for about 20 minutes.
The centre of the brownie should be just firm.
Take out of the oven and leave to cool completely in the pan.
Use a sharp knife and slice into 32 pieces.

Marshmallow chocolate brownies







Fish sambal with coconut milk rice

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One of my favorite foods in Singapore is nasi lemak. Many food stalls sell it in banana leaves wrapped into a cone shape. Cut open the raffia tie and the aroma of coconut and pandan escapes. Inside, you will find a mound of fragrant rice, slices of cucumber, fried anchovies and peanuts, a thick and spicy sambal (sauce) and half a boiled egg. The stall near my home includes a crisp fried fish as well.

Coconut milk rice is pretty simple to make, though for an authentic taste, you need to use pandan leaves. Coconut milk adds richness to the rice, I prefer to use thin coconut milk.

Coconut rice

Ingredients
450 gm basmati rice
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1" piece ginger, peeled
4-5 pandan leaves
200 ml thick coconut milk
Water
Salt to taste

Method
Wash and soak the rice for about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, julienne the garlic and ginger.
Wash the pandan leaves under running water then run a fork through them.
Tie the shredded leaves into a bundle.
Drain off the water from the rice and put it into the rice cooker along with the pandan leaves, garlic and ginger strips.
Mix coconut milk and enough water to make a litre of liquid.
Pour it over the rice. Add salt to taste, stir well and switch on the cooker.
(You can add more of the thick coconut milk and less water if you prefer a richer taste.)

This is what the rice looks like at the start of cooking


 After 25 minutes, the cooking process is well underway

 A pot of hot and fragrant coconut milk rice   

After the rice is cooked, allow it to sit undisturbed for about 15 minutes. Fluff up the rice, discard the pandan leaves and plate up.

I served this with fish sambal. This is the same recipe as the prawn sambal, except that I made it with 750 grams of king fish fillets instead of prawns. Marinate the fish with 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt for about half an hour. Shallow fry the slices in 1/4 cup of oil, drain them well and then carry on with the rest of the recipe.




On a Roll

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Strawberry white chocolate mousse gateau

I had another order for the strawberry and white chocolate gateau, this time for a pair of twins who were celebrating their 10th birthday. And instead of strawberries to decorate the top with, I dipped fresh cherries into melted chocolate for a different look.


There are some 6 layers to this gateau. Slices of Swiss roll, also known as jelly roll, are arranged along the outer edge of the gateau.

Swiss rolls are easy to make but a challenge to a lot of folks, mainly because they have a tendency to crack whilst being rolled up. As with most sponge cakes, this roll needs only a few ingredients and no oil or butter in the batter.

Swiss roll with strawberry jam

Here's the recipe for a supple Swiss roll.

Ingredients
115 gm plain flour 
115 gm sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp boiling water
Strawberry jam for filling
A 10" x11" Swiss roll pan (you can use a 9"x13" also), lined with greaseproof paper

Method
Sift  the flour three times.
Place sugar and break the eggs into a mixing bowl.
Also add in the vanilla essence.
Use an electric beater and beat till very thick and fluffy.
Fold in the boiling water, then fold in the flour in three lots. Fold in gently so as not to knock out the air.
Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared tin.
Spread the batter into the edges of the pan and level the surface. 
Drop the pan onto the counter top to knock out the larger air bubbles, place in a preheated 190°C oven for about 13-15 minutes.
While the roll is baking, cut a sheet of greaseproof paper that is a little larger that the baking pan. 
Dampen a kitchen towel, then place the greaseproof paper over it and sprinkle some sugar over.
When the cake is done, it should be firm to the touch and would have shrunk a little from the sides.
Take the pan out of the oven and turn it over onto the sugared paper, peel off the lining paper and discard.
Quickly spread a thin layer of jam over the top, then with the longer side facing you, roll up tightly, using the paper to guide you. (Don't roll the paper along with the sponge!)



Roll the sponge in the kitchen towel and keep aside for about 30 minutes. 
When the roll is cool, remove the wrappings, sprinkle sugar or icing sugar over the roll.
Use a sharp knife and a sawing motion to slice. 
And why was sugar sprinkled on the sheet of greaseproof paper? It was to prevent the surface of the roll from sticking to the paper.




Cupcakes!

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What is it about cupcakes that evokes so much of interest? The size? The flavour? The colours?
Cupcakes have been around for ages, longtime bakers would have had a couple of orders  for cupcakes coming in over the years.


These are the cupcakes I made yesterday.






All of them chocolate with buttercream frosting.

July birthdays

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Difficult to believe that half the year is over. Another six months and then it's Christmas!
This chocolate ganache cake is dedicated to all those born in the month of July. Happy birthday to you all.



Lamb lasagna


Tonight's dinner was lamb lasagna. I prefer buying pasta sheets, the home made ones tend to overcook and result in a pasty mess. The no cook lasagna sheets make this dish such a breeze.


I lifted the topmost layer a little to let the filling peek out . And I guess you can see my little secret- I ran out of mozzarella cheese and had to use processed cheese. Of course, this cheese doesn't melt. Oh well! Tasted fantastic, anyway.
One of these days, I shall post the recipe. And make another lasagna, this time with the right cheese.

Hazelnut marshmallow fudge cake

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Living in a hostel during my college days, I was perpetually hungry. Food in the mess was so tasteless, most of us spent the greater part of our pocket money in the canteen. Not that the food in the canteen was any better.

Hostel residents used to look forward to getting food parcels from home. Girls from Kerala would get parcels filled with all kinds of pickles, banana chips, diamond cuts, cake, cookies and coconut chutney powder. If you were a friend of one of these parcel recipients, they would be kind enough to share it with you.

My parents would send me a parcel once a year. From the time they posted it, my friends and I would eagerly wait for it to arrive. And when it finally did, its appearance would give us all a shock - a once sturdy cardboard box lined with corrugated sheets would be reduced to a shapeless lump of edges and corners. Did it really come by air or did it roll all the way to Madras? Well, we didn't care as long as the contents inside were safe.

There was always Mum's home made biscuits. She had a biscuit press and a fantastic biscuit recipe. My dad's packing was so good that not one of those biscuits would break during the journey. Then there would be Mum's chocolate cake which she would bake in a Danish butter cookie tin because the tins had lids. Just opening the tin would evoke oohs and aahs from the assembled group as the smell of chocolate would waft up through the air.

Then there would be a few local treats like love letters - thin crispy biscuits and most of them broken. Not a problem for us, a spoon would materialise and we would scoop up the crumbs and relish the taste of the coconutty flakes. A few packs of soup powder, Milo sachets, condensed milk sachets.... What I looked forward to the most would be a couple of bags of marshmallows...


I had a packet of tiny marshmallows in my store cupboard and have been hunting high and low for a recipe. And then I found this one. The recipe was quite similar to a recipe for a chocolate sheet cake with frosting that I have been using so I had a good idea of how the cake would turn out. For a twist to the taste,  I have incorporated hazelnut paste into the frosting, and made a few changes to the original recipe. I do not like using a measuring cup unless strictly necessary so I have converted most of the measurements to metric. This cake is baked in an 8" square pan.


Hazelnut Marshmallow Fudge Cake

Ingredients
240 ml water
180 gm flour
30 gm cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
300 gm sugar
125 gm soft butter
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1/4 cup yoghurt
2 eggs

Frosting
55 ml milk
15 gm cocoa
300 gm icing sugar, sifted
80 ml soft butter
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
50 gm hazelnut paste (or Nutella)
1 heaped cup mini marshmallows (or cut regular sized ones into quarters)

Method
Heat oven to 180°C. 
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan.
Grease an 8" square cake pan.
Sift flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder into a mixing bowl.
Add in the sugar and butter, then the boiling water.
Beat with electric beaters for a minute, add in vanilla paste, yoghurt and the eggs.
Beat again for another minute, pour into the prepared cake pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes.
About 5 minutes before the cake is done, make the frosting.
Bring milk to a simmer, remove from heat and whisk in cocoa.
Add icing sugar in batches, stirring till it is smooth.
Add in butter, vanilla paste and hazelnut paste (or Nutella).
Add in the marshmallows.
Take the cake out of the oven and pour the topping over.
Make sure the entire top surface of the cake is covered by the frosting.
Allow the cake to cool for half a day (as if such a thing is possible!) to set the frosting.


 
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