Monday, December 27, 2010

Gingerbread Cake

Singlish Swenglish Gingerbread Cake

This may be a little bit late but I made this for our annual Donald Duck Fika - 3pm Swedish time when they started showing classic Disney cartoon snippets, and a few new ones in the end. It's how the Ljungströms do it every year before the Christmas dinner and I've come to love it, especially this year when the dogs (Disa and Wiki) chasing each other around the room proved to be more interesting during the not so exciting parts of the cartoon medley.

It's quite surprising to me(still) how the simple combination of spices intensifies so much after you bake the cake. The addition of lingonberry jam makes the cake slightly moist and sticky, a good thing I reckon.

I got this recipe from my mother-in-grace, which I think comes from some Swedish newspaper or catalogue some time, but its the same one as the one from Anne's foodblog, but I used quark and vanilla yogurt instead. Try it if you like the gingerbread taste, it's really good for winter tummy warmer, like our sweet ginger soup.


100 g butter
100 ml lingonberry jam
2 eggs
200 g sugar
75 ml quark
75 ml vanilla yogurt
180 g flour
1.5 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Singlish Swenglish Gingerbread Cake


  1. Melt the butter and when slightly cooled, add the lingonberry jam and stir well. 
  2. Mix the flour with the baking soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and salt. 
  3. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and sugar until very fluffy. Add the quark and yogurt, mix well before adding in the flour mixture, and finally the butter-lingonberry mixture.

    Singlish Swenglish Gingerbread Cake
  4. Pour everything into a buttered cake pan and bake at 175°C for about 20 minutes or until your cake skewer comes out clean when you try stick it in the middle of the cake.

    Singlish Swenglish Gingerbread Cake
  5. This can be frozen and serve when you have an impromptu fika session. 

Singlish Swenglish Gingerbread Cake

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Swedish Gingerbread Cookies! eller Pepparkakor

Singlish Swenglish Pepperkakor

Just four more days to Christmas! This year it's especially special since we are spending it with full Swedish Christmas works and I fulfilled a promise to myself from last year to make my own gingerbread dough from scratch, and I draw the recipe from Anne's foodblog who declared this to be the best recipe for gingerbread cookies. I think I will agree with her :) The key about baking this cookies is to roll them really thin, because they will rise and become a bit chewy rather than crunchy if you have them too thick. And this recipe really makes a lot, I even gave away some dough for my friends who came over for my Sugar-High Christmas baking session and here's some other goodies we conjured up last Sunday:

Pepperkakor milkshake
Gingerbread Milkshake by Rachel

Nuts Brittle
Pecan, Peanuts and Sesame Brittle by Yaqian & Pan Wen

And there's a heavenly sticky toffee cake which Rachel made too that I forgot to take a picture of, but I will definitely try to make it again (soon!). On Thursday, I will try making the Swedish Knäck and Saffron buns again for the family who's coming over for Donald Duck fika at our place before the Christmas dinner.

300 ml cream (35-40% fat content)
300 ml golden syrup
700 g granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon, in powder form
1.5 teaspoons cloves, in powder form
1 teaspoon cardamom, in powder form
1/2 teaspoon bitter orange peel, in powder form
2 teaspoon ginger, in powder form
1.5 tablespoon baking soda
1 kg plain flour
  1. In a large bowl, mix the cream, golden syrup and sugar together well, until it becomes this golden sugary mix.
    Singlish Swenglish Pepperkakor

    Singlish Swenglish Gingerbread mix
  2. Add the spices to the sugar mix and blend well.
    Singlish Swenglish Gingerbread mix
  3. Add the flour gradually until a nice supple dough is achieved, it shouldn't be too sticky but it should  hold together well on its own.
  4. Divide up into portions and wrap in plastic wrap, keep it in the fridge (not freezer) for a week or two for the spices to intensify.
    Singlish Swenglish Gingerbread dough
  5. Roll out the dough thinly, cut with cookie cutters and bake at 160°C for 7-10 minutes until golden brown and crunchy.

    Singlish Swenglish Gingerbread

    Singlish Swenglish Pepperkakor

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spicy Stir Fry Zucchini with Crispy Dried Shrimps

Singlish Swenglish Zucchini Stir Fried Chinese Style

西葫蘆 or Zucchini or courgette is something I've never eaten or seldom cook though it is readily available here in Sweden. It looks like a cucumber but it does not have as much water content and the flesh is that of an aubergine when you cut it. The real surprise is that when you Wikipedia it, botanically it's an immature fruit and the ovary of the female flower.(Bet you didn't know that!)

I only knew how to use it in the Korean Dough Noodles, I've made Zucchini Muffins (will post it soon), and I've seen my mother-in-law use it in her Ljungströms grönsaker mix (green things mix, basically a mix of root vegetables that goes very well with slabs of meat). My current favourite, however, is this dish which I tasted when a fellow PHD colleague, Yaqian cooked it for her birthday meal which I was honored to be invited to. The meal was delicious but this was a dish that made me went back for seconds. She learnt it from her mom who is a great cook (auntie I was to try your cooking one day!) and who produced a good disciple :) Yaqian is also one of my faithful fans at this blog and Singlish Swenglish Facebook page. I've made a slight addition of crispy fried shrimps and it just seals the deal for me, but it is good without it as well.

The beauty about mandarin is that is only takes a few lines to describe how to make this dish but much longer in English:

先热油 然后放花椒 等有香味后 把花椒捞出来扔掉
再放干辣椒 和葱段
有香味后 放zucchini 炒一炒
然后加生抽 和糖 再放醋和蒜末 最后放点盐和味精 就好了(Direct quote from Chef Yaqian)

1 zucchini/courgette, washed, cut lengthwise into half, then sliced it thickly into semi-circle pieces
1-2 spring onions, white-green parts only sliced into 3cm sections
1 clove of garlic, minced
Small handful of dried shrimps, washed and dried
4-5 small dried chili, cut into halves and remove the seeds
2 teaspoons of Szechuan peppercorns, whole  
Soy sauce, sugar, chinese vinegar and some chick stock granules for seasoning
Oil for cooking

Singlish Swenglish Spicy Stir-fry Zucchini with crispy dried shrimps

  1. Heat a pan and without adding any oil, stir fry the dried shrimps first to remove any moisture. Add about 1 tablespoon of oil subsequently to fry over low heat until it is crispy. Remove and set aside for use later.
    Singlish Swenglish Zucchini with crispy dried shrimps
  2. Add in about 2-3 tablespoon of oil to the pan over medium heat and add the Szechuan peppercorns until you smell the fragrance and the peppercorns turns slightly brown and remove it from the oil. Be careful not to burn it! The pan should not be smoking.
  3. Next, add the dried chili and spring onions, stir fry until the spring onions are slightly wilted before adding the minced garlic.
  4. Fry for another 5 seconds and add the zucchini to stir fry until they just turn soft. If the flesh are translucent, they are already cooked all the way, so this part depends a bit on your own preferences if you like it slightly crunchier or with a slight bite. 
  5. Just before they are done, add in about 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon vinegar, a sprinkle of chicken stock granules, the dried shrimps and mix it up well, taste and adjust accordingly. There's no need to add water at any stage because the zucchini should produce just enough to coat all the ingredients. Serve hot, goes very well with rice!
    Singlish Swenglish Zucchini Stir-Fry with Dried Shrimps


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Saffron Bread Cake / Saffranskrans med vanilj

Singlish Swenglish Christmas Bake - Saffron bread cake

The first weekend of December in Sweden always makes me feel good because that's when people starts putting up the Christmas stars and candles at their windows and it makes the dark winter days/nights seem just a tad warmer. 

I also decided to make my apartment a little warmer by baking this, saffron buns but in a cake form. Saffron buns are typically eaten during Christmas in Sweden and this version is much richer than the normal saffron buns which are just sweet plain buns with a saffron addition. This one is kinda of made like a cinnamon bun and then squeezed into a round mould and baked and it feeds quite a few people. This was taken from the local supermarket free Christmas baking magazine.

Ingredients (makes 10-12 pieces of buns)
50g butter or margarine
1 packet of saffron (about 0.5g)
2 dl or 200ml milk
15g fresh yeast for sweet dough or equivalent amount of dried yeast
1/2 dl  or 50ml of quark/curd cheese
1/2 dl granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5-6 dl plain flour

75g softened butter or margarine 
1/2 dl granulated sugar
1-2 teaspoon vanilla sugar
Almond paste (optional)

1 egg
Pearl sugar

  1. Crumble the fresh yeast in a bowl. Melt the butter/margarine in a small pan and add in the saffron and milk and stir together and warm/let it cool to 37°C before pouring and mixing well with the yeast.

    Singlish Swenglish Christmas Bake - Saffron bread cake
    Butter/margarine, milk and saffron mixture (looks like curry I know!)
  2. Add in the quark/curd cheese, sugar and salt and blend well. Gradually add all the flour except for some to be used when working the the dough later. Work the dough until it comes together for about 5 minutes in a machine or 10 minutes by hand. It should be a soft, but not sticky dough. Cover with a towel and let it proof for 30-45 minutes in a warm place in the kitchen.

    Singlish Swenglish Christmas Bake - Saffron bread cake
    Before proofing

    Singlish Swenglish Christmas Bake - Saffron bread cake
    After proofing
  3. Prepare the filling by mixing the butter/margarine, sugar and vanilla sugar together in a bowl. It helps if the butter/margarine has been soften quite a bit. Grease the cake mould (24cm) and line the bottom with baking paper.

    Singlish Swenglish Christmas Bake - Saffron bread cake
  4. On a floured surface, roll out the dough out to a rectangle about 25 X 50cm. Spread the filling equally and roll it up from the longer side. Cut into 4cm bits and put them in the cake mould flat side up.

    Singlish Swenglish Christmas Bake - Saffron bread cake
  5. Cover the cake form with a towel again and let it proof for about 40 minutes. The buns should filled up the cake mould nicely by now. Preheat the oven to 200°C during the last 10 minutes.

    Singlish Swenglish Christmas Bake - Saffron bread cake
  6. Brush with eggwash and sprinkle the pearl sugar over before baking at the lower rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes. Cool before serving.
Singlish Swenglish Christmas Bake - Saffron bread cake

Singlish Swenglish Christmas Bake - Saffron bread cake

Friday, December 3, 2010

Korean Mee Hoon Kuay / Korean Dough Noodles

Singlish Swenglish Korean Mee Hoon Kuay

Nothing warms the heart or a cold body more than a pot of pipping hot noodles in soup, and this is a healthy (in my opinion) version of the popular Mee Hoon Kuay. This was being made while we were learning the fine art of kimchi making with Ajin, who's back in Korea right now, but soon will be joining the team of Doctors without borders program in pursuit of her passion.

The thing about Korean cooking is not just about using natural ingredients but that they celebrate the colors of life, which is why many of their food are so cheery and colorful. the combination of carrots, potatoes and zucchini in this manner is for me a strange one at first but definitely one I came to like very much. I bought the Korean stock ingredients at the Korean store at Bencoolen Street and Cineleisure. They were not very cheap but can last for quite a while.

Ingredients (for 2-3 servings)
Peeled and finely grated carrots (about 2 small or 1 medium)
Plain flour, about 300g, or as you see fit for two servings
Half a zucchini, peeled if preferred
2 small or 1 large potato
3-4 pieces Korean anchovies (they are the XXL version of what we normally eat for chinese/malay dishes, innards intact)
3-4 pieces Korean dried shrimps (also large version)
Dried Korean kelp sheets or Japanese Kunbu, about 3-4 squares
Salt and pepper to taste

  1.  In the same manner you would mix the dough for mee hoon kuay, just add in the grated carrots into the flour, add a bit of salt to taste and add cold water gradually till the dough comes together without feeling sticky.

    Singlish Swenglish Korean Mee Hoon Kuay
  2. Cover the dough and let it rest for about 20 minutes, it will make it easier to stretch the longer you rest it. Set aside while you prepare the stock.

    Singlish Swenglish Korean Mee Hoon Kuay
  3. Bring a pot of water to boil, about a liter and placed the anchovies, shrimps and kelp in a stock bag (you can get those at Daiso or supermarkets in Singapore) and add it to the boiling water and turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes. The longer you let it simmer, the better the stock will be, the same as if you were to increase the stock ingredients. It should be a light clear stock.

    Singlish Swenglish Korean Mee Hoon Kuay

    Singlish Swenglish Korean Mee Hoon Kuay

    Singlish Swenglish Korean Mee Hoon Kuay
  4. Peel the zucchini, or like me, I peel it in alternate stripes so some skin are still left. Peel the potatoes completely though, and cut them into large chunks of equal sizes and add it to the stock. Let it simmer till the vegetables are al dente before taking the dough and stretching it with your hands into bite size pieces and dropping it into the stock.

    Singlish Swenglish Korean Mee Hoon Kuay

    Singlish Swenglish Korean Mee Hoon Kuay

  5. Cooked it until the dough noodles are done (they should float up and look softer and more 'gooey'). Add some salt and pepper to taste and serve hot!

    Singlish Swenglish Korean Mee Hoon Kuay
    Singlish Swenglish Korean Mee Hoon Kuay

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Green Tea Cheesecake

As promised in my post on Japanese Cotton Cheesecake, here's a green tea version which I like very much with a cup of Earl Gray Tea. The fragrance of green tea in this bitter-sweet cake is a perfect teatime accompaniment anytime for me. Besides the use of green tea powder, this differs from the cotton cheesecake in the number of egg yolks used. I brought the green tea powder from Phoon Huat when I was back in Singapore and this is one of my favorite from Alex Goh's Fantastic Cheesecake book.

Singlish Swenglish Green Tea cheesecake

Singlish Swenglish Green Tea Cheesecake
200g milk
100g whipping cream
1 tablespoon green tea powder
125g cream cheese, soften
30g flour
30g cornflour
3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
100g sugar

  1. Grease and lined the botton of a 23-cm cake form and wrap the outside in foil because it will be baked in a water bath.
  2. In a bowl which can be put over a pot of boiling water, mix the milk, cream, green tea powder together before adding the cream cheese to combine well together.

    Singlish Swenglish Green Tea Cheesecake
  3. Place over a pot of boiling water to stir until thicken. Let it cool.

    Singlish Swenglish Green Tea Cheesecake
  4. Add in the flour, then the corn flour until well-blended and set aside while you prepare the egg white mixture.
  5. In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy before adding the cream of tartar, and then the sugar gradually and continue whipping until soft peaks are formed.

    Singlish Swenglish Green Tea Cheesecake
  6. Fold the egg white mixture into the cheese mixture and pour into the cake form and bake at 160°C in a water bath for 50-60 minutes or until set and golden brown.

    Singlish Swenglish Green Tea Cheesecake
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and from the cake pan to cool, as the cake will shrink much more if you leave it to cool in the cake pan.

    Singlish Swenglish Green Tea cheesecake

Monday, November 22, 2010

Black Bottomed Cupcake

Singlish Swenglish_Black-bottom cupcakes

This was a recipe given by Sylvia a while ago, but I didn't try it until when I met up with Evelyn and Sylvia recently in London and Evelyn gave her endorsement to it (she's a professional ;) So I had to try it! An unusual ingredient is vinegar in the batter (I used a 5% distilled vinegar) but I read that it's because vinegar reacts with baking soda to provide the carbon dioxide needed for rising the cake. So now, I know and you know :) The other thing I found unusual about this recipe is the use of chocolate chips in the cheese mix, which makes it outstanding. Just see this picture of the chocolate chip melting within the cake:

Singlish Swenglish_Black-bottom cupcakes

The recipe seems to come from a book called 'Classic cupcakes':

Ingredients (makes about 12, american size muffin cup)
225g flour
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda
3.5 tablespoons cocoa powder
275g castor sugar
250ml water
5 tablespoon oil (should cooking oil which is neutral in smell like sunflower or rapeseed)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g cream cheese, soften
1 egg
150g dark chocolate chips

  1.  Preheat the oven to 180°C. Shift together the flour, bicarbonate soda, cocoa powder and stir in 200g sugar.
  2. Mix the oil, water, vinegar and vanilla together in a cup and pour into the flour mixture and mix well to form a smooth batter.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese, egg and sugar together till smooth and then stir in the dark chocolate.

    Singlish Swenglish_Black-bottom cupcakes
  4.  In a lined muffin pan, pour the chocolate flour mixture up to 2/3 of each paper cup.

    Singlish Swenglish_Black-bottom cupcakes
  5. Drop a dollop of cheese mixture with a spoon right in the middle of each chocolate batter filled cup.

    Singlish Swenglish_Black-bottom cupcakes
  6. Bake for 25 minutes until firm to touch, leave it to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it to cool on a wire rack completely. You can store in the fridge and it can last for up to a week.

    Singlish Swenglish_Black-bottom cupcakes
    Singlish Swenglish_Black-bottom cupcakes