Cakes and Cookies, Desserts, Western

Victoria Sponge Sandwich

To celebrate the nation’s 55th birthday, I decided to make this red and white cake. It’s meaningful actually. It’s symbolic of the historical ties we had with the UK and it was also the first cake I learnt to bake! I was only a Sec 1 13 year old girl then, and they made us do this for our Home Econs practical test. I still remember this so vividly. I was so scared of the gas oven back then, and made my partner turn it on most times. For the exam, I remember asking my mom for a dollar so I could get a purple orchid to decorate my piece. I put my purple orchid in a small vase on the tray. I never knew how much I got but I will never forget baking this cake for the exam. 😂

And now decades later, I’m baking this again. I don’t have my Sec 1 Home Econs book anymore so I scoured the net and settled on Mary Berry’s recipe. How very British. 😄

However, after this was done, I must say this recipe is really good! The cake was very moist and very soft! I couldn’t bake it as long as suggested because mine was done ten minutes earlier. But the result was perfection! Another trick I got was to buy one of those cake liners with handles! I reckon I’ll be baking now more because of these liners I got from Amazon. They were amazing and come in various sizes. You can get them here: Cake Liners

Look how they fit so perfectly! This is the best thing I ever thought of buying!
The batter is so easy peasy! Just cream butter with sugar and then the eggs and flour. Oh, I did tweak a bit by adding a teaspoon of vanilla. I wonder why vanilla was not in the recipe.
Bake baby bake!
Not bad for a novice baker!
After that, I inverted one cake and placed it on a plate. Then I added whipped cream first then the strawberry jam (because of the national flag). And then put the second cake on and dusted powder sugar all over.
That beautiful plate? I got it from a UK seller on Etsy. So pretty, don’t you think?
Check out that lava filling! Now, one would think I was overzealous and slathered too much. And maybe I did but believe it or not, when we started eating, we wanted more cream and jam! 😂 There’s never a thing as too much.

I really recommend Mary Berry’s Recipe. And to my country, Majulah Singapura! 🇸🇬

Meat, Snack, Western

Shepherd’s Pie

About two weeks ago I went to the butcher and got two packets of minced lamb. I didn’t realise how expensive it was! So I kept in the freezer and waited for the time when I would make good use of this expensive purchase!

Well, the time came yesterday. My Maris Piper UK potatoes got delivered and so it was the perfect time to make shepherd’s pie.

Maris Piper potatoes are wonderful! Unlike russet potatoes (the potatoes easily available here), they’re fluffier and more rounded in taste. After boiling and ricing them fine, I seasoned with salt, black pepper, butter and cream.

For the minced lamb, it was simply ensuring they cooked slow and well. I added only some oyster mushrooms chopped small and seasoned with a beef cube, a heaped tablespoon of tomato paste and salt pepper.

Seafood, Sides, Snack, Western

Smoked Mackerel Pâté

I’ve had two packets of smoked mackerel pâté for a few months now. They keep very well in the freezer but I never knew what to do with them. I think when I bought them I had some idea to make croquettes but never had enough inspiration to do anything with them.

Until today that is. Suddenly inspiration came as I was scouring YouTube and the Internet. I decided on making pâté because I had a beautiful loaf of sourdough gifted to me by my generous sister.

It’s so easy to make! I improvised after watching a few videos and tasting until I like what I tasted.

In a food processor, add 450g of smoked mackerel, 100g butter, 130 g Philly cream cheese, 1/4 finely diced purple onion (or one whole shallot), one heaped teaspoon of ground black pepper. Whiz till very very smooth and add half a lemon worth of juice. Don’t add salt! Well, unless you like it salty. I find the smoked mackerel salty enough. Best eaten super chilled and with very good toasted sourdough slices.

This is 500g I’d smoke mackerel. I took away one piece of that for decoration and for future use (thinking of scrambled eggs with smoked mackerel).
Whiz whiz whiz. Make sure it’s very smooth.
Italian, Noodles and Pasta, Western

Spaghetti Primavera

I remember when I was a young Uni grad working part time at this Italian restaurant. And on the menu was spaghetti primavera. All I remembered was simply pasta with a whole lot of vegetables.

And since I am on a mission to feed myself and the family more vegetables, I decided to make my own version of it by adding more vegetables then I could remember in that Italian restaurant version!

I first sautéed garlic in olive oil and then added sliced shiitake mushrooms. Cook till browned. And then added zucchini slices and blanched broccoli followed by cherry tomatoes. And then I added my cooked spaghetti in and toss to mix. The last was from my fridge, I had a glass container full of my oven baked capsicum and slices of garlic in olive oil slices. I added about two huge tablespoons including some of the oil into the mixture. Season with sea salt and black pepper and a handful of grated Parmesan. To serve, sprinkle some red pepper flakes.

I am happy that the family ate this up. Lots of goodness in a plate. If you want to add more vegetables in your diet, I strongly recommend this simple yet delicious and nourishing dish!

Bread and Batter, Italian, Snack, Western

Pinwheel Pizza

I saw a recipe on GoodFood magazine for pinwheel like bread dough with pesto sauce. But since I didn’t have a jar of ready made pesto, I decided to make pizza filling instead. I used Tastemade pizza dough recipe but instead of using plain flour, I used bread flour.

It’s so simple and delicious!! Especially when just out of the oven and the cheese is all gooey and melty. And the best past is that this recipe is really good for making use of leftover cheese!

The dough recipe I used was, in a mixer with the dough hook, put in 4 cups of bread flour, one packet of active dry yeast, two pinches of salt. I’ll use more next time, maybe three pinches of salt. On slow, mix the dry ingredients together. Then add in 1 and a half cups of warm water. To form it into a pliable dough, add a splash of warm water so it comes together, about one teaspoon. Don’t add in too much! Let the machine do its thing. I let it run for about two to three minutes, the form it into a ball, let it to rest for an hour and voila! A puff of billowy dough. Once it’s risen, lightly punch it down and roll.

I used ready made pasta sauce from a squeeze bottle, and all my leftover cheeses from previous bakes – 1/2 packet of cheddar, 1/2 packet of parmesan, 3/4 packet of mozzarella cheese. Then the leftover handful of chives snipped fine. I added 6 slices of chicken honey thin ham and rolled it all as tight as I could.

Using a sharp knife, cut and lay flat but tuck in the end into the center of the dough piece so that it won’t unravel when baking.

Delicious! I’m happy with Sunday breakfast today. 😊