Friday, 21 February 2014

It Mayo Shock U - Chocolate and Passion Fruit Lamingtons

I am so glad the home internet is working again... and let's just hope *fingers crossed *touched wood there will be no power shutdown as well today and forever... amen.

For those who don't know, my friend Peter over at Delicious Delicious Delicious blog is back hosting his annual Re-Inventing the Lamington event. It's a lot of fun and there will be a prize to win.  So check out the post here (also the prize you might win) and join in the baking fun!

For my first ever lamington experience, I combine two flavours that go so well together... chocolate and passion fruit. The richness and the sweetness from the chocolate work really well with the sharpness of passion fruit.  Utterly delicious.

The chocolate cake is inspired by and adapted from the brilliant Adriano Zumbo, one of Australia's best known chef.  There's a recipe from his book Zumbo called it mayo shock u, which is a chocolate loaf cake with raspberries.  What fascinates me is the use of Japanese mayonnaise in place of eggs, so I just had to give it a go. The result was... shocking... Not only the cake is super easy to make, but the result cake was incredibly soft and moist too.

You can get Japanese mayonnaise, such as Kewpie at your local Asian grocery store.  Japanese mayonnaise is different than the usual western mayonnaise.  I learn that it has a higher egg ratio and also made with rice vinegar. 

To make it easier to cut and shape into lamingtons, I bake the cake in a square cake/brownie tin.  The passion fruit element for the lamingtons comes from passion fruit curd.  You can make your own if you want to... I just bought a really good one.  Give me a break.

Chocolate and Passion Fruit Lamingtons

For the chocolate cake
145 gr Japanese Mayonnaise
100 gr caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
150 gr plain flour
3 gr baking powder
3 gr baking soda
35 gr unsweetened cocoa powder
140 gr water

Passionfruit Curd
Freshly grated coconut/desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 170 C. Line and lightly grease a 18 cm square tin.

To make the chocolate cake, in a mixer bowl (free-standing or hand) add the mayo, sugar and vanilla bean paste and mix for few minutes until the sugar starts to dissolve.

In another bowl, sift the dry ingredients, the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder.  Then add this to the sugary mayo on a low speed.

Slowly pour in the water.  Don't panic if the mixture gets a little lumpy... just continue mixing and it'll be fine. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let the cake completely cool in the tin.

When the cake is cooled, take it out from the tin, remove the baking paper and cut the cake into 2 x 2 cm square.  Take one square of the cake and add a little dollop of the passion fruit curd then sandwich with another square of cake.  With a pastry brush, brush the cake with more curd on all sides.  Then roll in the coconut.  Continue with the rest.  Thinking about it now, it'll actually be easier if you cut the cake into rectangles, so go do that instead.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Babi Kecap - Braised Pork Knuckle in Sweet Soy Sauce

Hello, friends!! How is everyone doing? I hope all is well and eating deliciously. 

I have had a crazy busy few weeks, from all the baking leading to Chinese New Year, followed by various family visits and more baking in between... so my apologies for the lack of posts and I am very behind with e-mail queries, blog reading list and I look forward to catching up soon. For now, I am just so happy to have a time alone. 

Without sounding like an anti-social, I am also pleased to not have plans to go out for both Valentine's day (I'm single, anyway...) and lantern festival tomorrow. I'm just gonna stay home, and have a Modern Family or Law & Order marathon, still to be decided.

Those of you who are following me on Instagram (@michael_toa), know that I eat embarrassingly loads (just an expression obviously... I'm actually pretty proud of my ability to eat loads) from the pictures I posted. Living in a Chinese household, the past couple of weeks is feast celebration.  Between the baking and social visits, foods everywhere and no gym... which is not good, because I'm going on holiday in few weeks time. My friend Cian and I will be travelling across Java (Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta), Bali and Lombok very soon and I am very excited.  If you have any foodie recommendations, do let me know! :) 

Anyway,  one photo I haven't posted is my mother's babi kecap... and I want to share it with all of you now. It's seriously good and so easy to make.  Often mom would cook this using pork belly, but for the special occasion, and because the family loves it too, this time (as pictured below) is pig's feet/knuckle... yum.

Not a lot of spices here to be honest... none actually... just a simple homey dish we grew up eating.  Start with gently frying finely chopped shallots in a little vegetable oil in a big pot that comes with a lid.  Then add the cleaned and cut up knuckle or use pork belly and continue frying until they brown up a bit.  Pour in enough water/chicken stock/combination of the two to cover the whole thing... add the rest of the ingredients: fried tofu, hard-boiled eggs, lots of garlic (whole and unpeeled)... the garlic will become sweet and soft and in my family, everybody fights for it... and last but not least the sweetened soy sauce. Let it comes to boil and simmer with the lid on until the pork is very tender. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

You can eat the pork straightaway with rice, but what I would suggest if you have the patience, the braised pork, like many other stews tastes better the next day or even few days after the cooking... after it's been cooled and reheated again.  And because I like to get rid of some of the grease; in the fridge, the fat rises to the top and solidifies, making it easy to scoop out.

Last thing I want to tell you is, my wonderful blogger friend, Peter from Delicious Delicious Delicious blog is back hosting his famous re-inventing the Lamington event.  You can read more about it here if you want to get involve.  I have an idea of the kind of lamington I want to bake.  I now have to test it and hope that it'll work, so watch this space!