Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Macarons with Raspberry Jam Filling


My birthday this year was spent in the hospital, but for a good reason since our son arrived just the day before. So for his first month celebration, I decided to try making macarons again. Yes, I have tried making them before but it wasn't very successful. Since my darling hubby got me an expensive macaron making kit (baking sheet with 'built-in circles and a pipping gadget), what better time to give it a try again. I have to say it's not my favourite dessert but it is very pretty when done correctly. So for my friends who wanted to try it out, here's the recipe and you may have to adjust the temperature and timing depending on the type of oven you have. This is adapted from a Swedish baking book 'Macarons, Cupcakes, Cakepops och andra söta bakverk' from Mia Öhrn, also a birthday present :). So I had a really good birthday this year after all!

170g icing sugar
110g grounded almonds without skin
90g egg whites (about three eggs)
2 tablespoons castor sugar
A few drops of food colouring

for the filling
200ml raspberry jam
50ml syrup

  1. If you can only get almonds with their skin on, you would need to do an extra step of soaking them in hot water and peeling the skin off. Otherwise, try to look for those that has no skin and use a food processor to grind it until very fine or as fine as you can. The book recommend a almond grinder which I have not found, but if you can even get almond flour (100% almonds), good for you! This and the following two process of grinding and sieving is the most tedious I find but necessary if you want pretty products in the end. Sieve the ground almond once.
  2. Weigh the icing sugar and mix it with the ground almond and sieve it through once more.
  3. Whip the egg whites in a clean and dry bowl until foamy, then add in the castor sugar and whip until firm.
  4. Fold in the almond/icing sugar mix into the egg white together with the food coloring if using. Do not overmix, the final result should be like flowing lava.


  5. Pipe it into a fancy baking sheet like I have or on normal baking paper. You might find it helpful to draw the circles first before piping if you are not so good at it. Let it rest for 45 minutes. At this point, if your mixture spreads out from the circle you have piped too much, it may mean you have overmix it previously. Try to have more space between each circle in that case to 'save' your work.

  6. Preheat the oven at 125°C and place your baking tray at the lowest rack and the original time suggested was 20 minutes. I found that to be sufficient for the smaller macarons I made (about 2.5cm in diameter), but about 30 minutes or more for the larger one (4cm in diameter).

  7. Remove from baking sheet while warm.

  8. For the filling, I boiled the jam and syrup until it thickens and piped it on accordingly.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Stir Fried Bitter gourd and Egg

Stir Fried Bittergourd with Egg

I just saw I only had one posting in February. So sorry about that, but now I am adjusting more to parenthood, the postings should be more regular again hopefully!

Some people say the older you get, the more you appreciate things you don't used to enjoy when you are younger. The same can be said for my growing appreciation for bitter gourd. To the point that I recently paid SGD7 for a medium size bitter gourd from the local Asian store. I probably wouldn't buy it again in the near future but the two dishes I made was this classic one stir fried with egg. I like the egg more omelet style so this is my version of it.

1/2 bitter gourd, cut lengthwise and sliced thinly
2 egg, beaten with a little salt and pepper
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
Chicken stock powder to taste

  1. Pan fry the omelet first, I like it a bit brownish and use the spatula to cut it into bit size pieces. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, add about 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and stir fry the minced garlic and shallot until fragrant, then add in the sliced bitter gourd. Cook until the bitter gourd is bright green before adding in the omelet.
  3. Add some water and chicken stock powder to taste. At this stage, you can adjust accordingly to how tender you want the bitter gourd slices to be. I like them soft with just a slight crunch. Have them with rice or some plain porridge, the way my Dad likes it.
Stir Fried Bittergourd with egg