Baby Ho’s Gender Reveal

photo 2-2-1-1

It’s time! I’ve been waiting all week for this (: Since it was the holidays, I gave myself a little project to do which involves my two favourite things : baking and surprises!

I started going onto Pinterest looking for ideas on how to reveal my bub’s gender and there were so many I wanted to do! One of which was a piñata cake! But it wasn’t easy finding blue sweets, I had to buy packets and packets of lollies and sieve them out. haha Which wasn’t too ideal, cos I’m not huge on lollies, and they will go to waste!

Inside of the cake

So I decided to make an inside surprise cake instead! The first time I made an inside surprise cake was for my dearest mother on Mother’s Day 4 years ago and it was one of the biggest projects I’ve ever done but also the coolest! It was a hidden heart in the middle of a cake! Since it was so long ago, I thought it would be perfect for the revealing of Baby Ho’s gender! Also inspired by I Am Baker, I decided that the inside of the cake would spell the gender of our dearest bub!

Chocolate cake

I used a chocolate cake recipe for letters inside the cake, and just like making a cake pop, I made my favourite cream cheese frosting to combine them together!

Cake toppers

I also tried to look for cake toppers that would be perfect for the purpose of the cake and found heaps of printable ones! Cut them out and stuck them onto lollipop sticks! hehe I have to say, I went a little crazy with the cake toppers haha So addictive to make them!

photo-6

Then I placed the letters into a white cake batter and baked it in a loaf before frosting it with just a basic buttercream frosting! I do apologise for the messiness of the coloured frostings. I wasn’t too sure how I wanted to do it, but decided to go around piping different sized pink & blue frosting around the cake. I tried to bring out the artistic side of me. Free form. haha

Pink or blue?

To make the coloured frosting, I took two heap tablespoon of frosting and place them in separate bowls (I heap tablespoon in each bowl) and added food gel colouring to create the pink (for girl) and blue (for boy) frosting. I have to say, I love how so many people commented on Instagram that I might be having twins! hehe But nope, one heartbeat! One bub! hehe

So here comes the BIG REVEAL! Is Baby Ho a girl or a boy? *drumroll*

He's a BOY!

I am proud to announce that we are having a boy! (: Cutting through the cake to reveal the letters was really scary to be honest! I wasn’t sure if the letters would stay the way they were moulded or they would become one big mess! Thankfully, they could still be deciphered! PHEW! But yes! We are having a boy and we cannot be more excited! The mr already has plans to bring him to the gym and lift some weights! haha

We are having a boy!

Thank you everyone for the constant care, love and support through the past 23 weeks and I cannot be more blessed to be surrounded by you guys! Just slightly shorter than 3 months to go and we can’t wait to see our baby boy and hold him in our arms!

Thank you for being so patient with me this week! Remember to always bake and cook with love!

Till the next post, xx

HUON Smoked Salmon Bouquet Quiche

IMG_9891-2-2

I’m late, I’m late, I’m late! That was the only thing on my mind when I was trying to come up with something to make for the HUON Blogging Challenge as the post is due tomorrow! I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant to take up the challenge as we had to use smoke salmon and the only way I could have it is cooking it!

HUON smoked salmon banquet rolls

While looking at the HUON Reserve Selection range and deciding on what I should get, I was drawn to the banquet rolls immediately! If only I could have them as is, cos I would love to have man a roulette out of it! Oh wells! haha Have to concentrate on what I can have!

ingredients used

So I did what I usually do to get inspirations for the dish I want to make – walk down the aisles of the supermarket! It’s seriously the best place to come up with ideas for what to cook! Absolutely love doing it. hehe So I decided to make a quiche, for the first time! I know, what’s so exciting about a quiche? Well, I decided to make it look very different from a usual quiche, turning the salmon rolls into bouquet of flowers!

Smoked salmon bouquet quiche

I was super nervous making it because I’ve never made a quiche before, and I didn’t know if the shapes were going to last through the baking process! Thank goodness, the flowers were still “blooming” when I took it out of the oven. HOORAY! It worked! hehe The mr and sister-in-law really enjoyed it too! That’s always a plus! (: So here’s the recipe! Hope you will enjoy it as much as we did!

Smoked Salmon Bouquet Quiche (Serves 4-6 people)

For the sour cream short crust pastry : (Recipe from Maggie Beer)

125ml sour cream

250g plain flour, extra for dusting

200g butter

For the filling : 

200g HUON Reserve Selection banquet rolls

1 leek (white part, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced)

8 mushroom cups, sliced

10g chives, finely chopped

6-8 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped

1 tbs olive oil

10g unsalted butter

salt and black pepper, to season

200ml thickened cream

150g shredded cheddar

4 eggs

Steps :

Kneading the dough into a ball

1) For the short crust pastry : Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Dice the butter then pulse it in a food processor with the plain flour till it resembles bread crumbs. Add the sour cream and pulse it further till it resembles a dough.

Rolling out and dough and blind baking

2) On a clean surface, dust a bit of plain flour and knead the dough into a ball. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and allow it to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Roll the pastry out to 3-5mm thickness and roll it over 24cm quiche baking tin that has been oiled. Blind bake the pastry for 10-15 minutes, or until it’s lightly golden. Allow it to cool while preparing the other ingredients.

Lining the tin with the pastry

2)  For the filling : Heat a large heavy-based pan on high and add the olive oil. Fry the leek till soft and fragrant, then add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and allow the mushrooms to fry till slightly caramelised. Add the butter and fold in the mushroom mixture. Set it aside and allow it to cool before placing it in the pastry case. Sprinkle the chives and sundries tomatoes evenly around the pastry case.

Frying the leek and mushroom mixture

3) Cut each banquet rolled salmon into half and place them in a shape of a flower. ( I did 3 large flowers, and 3 small flowers. But you can do as many as you like! Bring out your artistic side! )

4) Combine the thickened cream and eggs in a bowl and mix them till well combined. Pour it slowly into the case and around the smoked salmon, careful not to get any on.

eggs and cream mixture

5) Top the quiche with shredded cheddar, once again avoiding the smoked salmon.

6) Reduce the oven to 190 degrees celcius and bake the quiche for 35-40 minutes, or until the egg mixture is set and the top is golden brown.

Smoked salmon bouquet quiche

7) Serve with a side of salad with your favourite dressing and with extra sour cream to go with the quiche! Indulgence! ENJOY!

Quiche with a side of salad

I have to say I really enjoyed making those flowers out of the smoke salmon rolls! To make it look more like flowers, I piped stalks and leaves using the sour cream and fill the leaves with chopped chives! hehe I’m no artist, but I think this is the best I could do!

Hope you enjoyed the recipe, and do give it a try! I didn’t get to eat the smoked salmon on it’s own (before cooking), but the mr and sister-in-law said it was delicious and not as salty as the others they’ve had! Which is always a plus! Have a great weekend everyone!

Remember to always cook and bake with love! Till the next post, xx

My Biggest Project : Rainbow Cake

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Layer cakes were never a specialty of mine, but when the opportunity came up to make something special for a first birthday, I just couldn’t resist! If you follow me on instagram (@lianneelow) I’m sure you’ve seen endless photos of Paige who turned one last year. I love her like she’s my own, so I wanted to do something special for her as well!

Stacking the layers

Rainbow was the theme of her party, so inevitably, the only cake I could think of was rainbow cake! Being ambitious, I also wanted to make all 7 layers out of natural colouring and flavouring. So after much research, I came up with the flavours and decided to give it a try. As much as I wanted natural colouring, the colours of the fruits just didn’t stand out as much as I wanted to after being baked, so for the actual cake, I decided to put a drop or two of colouring paste just to make it pop!

Cupcake pops

On a side note (just cause the word pop reminded me haha), I also made some cupcake pops for the party! Though it was time consuming to make them, I enjoyed every single moment – from molding them into their shapes, dipping them into melted chocolate (like yummeh!) and to sprinkling them with 100’s and 1000’s! Could totally imagine a kid doing it as a fun activity too! Hehe

plan drawn

So here’s a draw up of my plan: 7 flavours and all stacked and iced with my favourite cream cheese frosting! Mmmmm!

I wasn’t too worried about baking the 7 individual layers, I was more worried about constructing it and how high it would actually be! It was definitely the highest cake I’ve made in my life!  The only thing I was really worried about was transporting the cake to the party as I was going to be driving alone! I think my life was shortened about 10 years in that 10 minutes of driving! Haha

It was all worth it though, to see the faces lit up at the party and hearing all the compliments from the guests! Definitely made my day! The next thing that made my heart beat really quickly was the cutting of the cake and revealing to see if there were 7 distinct layers. And….

Revealing the layers inside

TADAH!!! (: I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! I’m sure I let out a loud sigh of relief the moment I took the first slice of cake out and served it! A happy dance was definitely in order! Hehe  I have to admit, there were some layers that I was probably a bit too heavy with the colouring towards the end (was going colour happy haha), cause I really wanted the colours to stand out. But please know that you can always cut that down to your own preference, or you can just cut that out too!

Rainbow Cake 

Ingredients : (20 cm round baking tin, repeat 7 times)

120g plain flour

80g caster sugar

40g unsalted butter, room temperature

120ml milk

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla paste

1 egg

Wilton icing food gels (I used a toothpick to add the colours)

For the different layers : (add food gel colouring till desired colour or leave it out if you wish)

Red – 3/4 cup fresh raspberry, mashed + red food gel

Pink – 3/4 cup fresh strawberries, mashed

Purple – 3/4 cup blackberries, mashed + purple food gel

Blue – 3/4 cup blueberries, mashed + blue food gel

Green – Zest of 2 limes, 3 tbs juice + green food gel

 Yellow – Zest of 2 lemons, 3 tbs juice + yellow food gel

Orange – Zest of 1 naval orange, 3 tbs juice + orange food gel

Steps : 

1) For each layer of cake : Grease and line the baking tin with baking paper. Preheat oven to 165 degrees celcius.

2) In a medium bowl, combine the plain flour and baking powder. In a mixing bowl, add the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla paste and mix till pale and fluffy. Alternate the flour mixture with milk (flour,milk,flour) until well combined.

3) Fold in the flavouring and colouring for each layer. Careful not to over mix.

the red layer - raspberry

4) Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and tap it on the counter to allow all the air bubbles to come to the surface. Bake for 18 mins or until the skewer comes out clean. Allow the layers of cake to cool completely before assembling.

The yellow layer - lemon

Cream Cheese Icing (From the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

900g icing sugar

375g cream cheese

150g unsalted butter, softened

Steps :

1) Beat the icing sugar and butter in a mixing bowl until well combined.

2) Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium high, and beat until it’s light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Do not over beat as it will turn runny.

Cream cheese icing

3) To assemble : Place the red cake layer at the bottom, place 2 heap tbs of cream cheese icing on the cake and spread it out uniformly using a palette knife. Place the orange layer on top and repeat the process. Once you reach the top layer (pink), frost the top and side of the cake till it’s smooth and even.

Rainbow cake success!

Enjoy! (: I love how I could actually taste the fruits in every single layer, and they actually do work well together although it’s impossible to fit all 7 layers in one bite! haha

Paige eating the cake

It was such an honour that my cake is the first cake Paige has eaten (:  How pretty is her dress!

Happy 1st birthday Paige

It is many months after the actual birthday, but happy 1st birthday Paige! Can’t believe how quick it has been and she’s such a big girl now! (:

Paige and Us

I can’t wait till I am able to make my own bub’s cake and I will definitely be more than happy to make this cake again!

Have a good mid week everyone! (:

Remember to always bake and cook with love! Till the next post, xx

Celebrating a Marriage : Anada

Karen's big day!

A couple of weeks back, I was lucky enough to attend a friend’s special day and it was beautiful (: After the ceremony, we went for a small celebration and I was asked to find a place that would be fitting for the occasion. I think I found the perfect place!

IMG_9612-1-1

Anada has been on my to-go list for the longest time, and I was so glad we headed there to celebrate their beautiful day! It’s such a cosy place and the ambience was perfect! Not to mention how delicious the food was! I’ve not had spanish food ever since I came back from Barcelona, and that was almost a year back! How time flies!

We were seated at the long table by the window and I was seated at the sofa seats, facing the restaurant. I love being able to see the hustling & bustling of the kitchen, staff and the bar. Just makes the night even more interesting!

Drinks of the night

Of course, I couldn’t have any drinks that night. I stuck to my water. But our friends ordered a couple to try! You can’t really go wrong with ordering Sangria at a Spanish restaurant. The cava sangria had a good balance of cava and citrus, just what a sangria should be! The newly weds ordered the cocktail – papa doble. It was refreshing and had a really good citrus flavour! Definitely something I will try once I can have a drink (or two haha)

As for the food, we decided to order some tapas, a main and a couple of paellas to share among the 6 of us. We were actually quite filled up by the end of the night!

fried cauliflower

The first tapas we had was the fried cauliflower with zataar and house yoghurt. This was my favourite tapas of the night! The cauliflower was nicely caramelised on the outside, soft and tender on the inside. Together with the tangy house yoghurt, it was absolutely delicious!  Wanted to order one all for me (and bub)! hehe

fried aubergine

Next up, the fried aubergine with a dollop of labne, chilli and mint! This was really flavourful but would have been even better if the aubergine was slightly warmer. It went really well with the labne though!

Bone marrow on toast

The last tapas we ordered was the bone marrow on toast with wagyu cecina. I’m not a huge fan of bone marrow and I couldn’t have the cecina, so I gave this a miss. However, everyone else said that it was a very delicious small treat! They definitely enjoyed this a lot cause they were still talking about it at the end of dinner!

Crispy pork belly

This, ladies and gentlemen, is hands down the best dish of the night! Crispy pork belly with meat that melts in your mouth, sitting on a bed of smokey aubergine. I was definitely in pork heaven after my very first bite! The crackling was so crispy and perfectly seasoned, I wanted more!

Chicken and seafood paella

After all the tapas and pork belly, we were definitely looking forward to the paellas! Haven’t really had good paella in Melbourne so I was really hoping this place would be it! And it sure didn’t disappoint! The chicken and seafood paella was flavoursome and the rice was al dente, just the way it should be!

arroz negro paella

The squid ink paella was also really delicious, and there is just something sexy about the black rice against the seafood. haha but it might just be me thinking that! I have to admit though, I do prefer the chicken and seafood one. I think it might be because I have a constant craving for tomatoey food! hehe

Anada

We definitely enjoyed ourselves at Anada, and I can definitely say that I will be back again for the fried cauliflower and the crispy pork belly! Can’t wait!

Añada on Urbanspoon

Would just like to congratulate Karen and Patrick on their beautiful marriage. May you have endless years of love for each other, and may it continue to grow every single day! (: Hope your week is going well dear readers, remember to always cook and bake with love! Till the next post, xx

Osso Bucco in A Rich Tomato Red Wine Sauce & Creamy Parmesan Polenta

IMG_9684-1-1

Being pregnant, I cook according to what I crave these days, or some might like to say, according to what the baby wants! hehe To be honest, most of the things I cook are food I miss from home, but currently, my daily cravings are anything tomatoey and cheesy! Mmmmm (: How can that go wrong?

Taylors Estate Pinot Noir

It is the time of the month again when I’m so lucky to receive a couple of bottles of Taylors Wines! I know, I know. Please do not worry, I’m not drinking! I also make sure that I cook it long enough to get all the alcohol content out of the dish, leaving just the intense flavour of the wine. hehe So you can take a deep breath! hehe I decided to ask for Taylors Estate 2012 Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir. This medium bodied wine has flavours of ripe cherry and the freshness of berries. It’s soft on your palate and has tones of subtle spiciness. I knew immediately what it would be great for – Osso Bucco!

Tomato and red wine cooked osso bucco with creamy parmesan polenta

This was one perfect dish for satisfying my pregnancy cravings! Melt-in-the-mouth beef pieces cooked in a thick, luscious tomato and red wine sauce and served on a creamy parmesan polenta! I’m not a huge fan of marrow, but the mr is, so it was also a winner with him! hehe

So here’s the recipe, hope you will enjoy it as much as I did! (:

Osso Bucco in a Rich Tomato & Red Wine Sauce with Creamy Parmesan Polenta (serves 6-8)

For Osso Bucco :

8 pieces of osso bucco

salt & pepper, to season and to taste

hot paprika, to season

plain flour, to season

4 tbs olive oil

2 red onions, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds

2 stalks of celery, finely sliced

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 large chilles, deseeded and thinly sliced

2 anchovy fillets

1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)

1 cup passata

1 cup Pinot Noir

1 cup beef stock

aromatics chopped up

For creamy parmesan polenta :

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup finely grated Parmesan

2 tbs unsalted butter

1/4 cup thickened cream

Salt & ground black pepper, to season

For Anchovy Gremolata (optional)

4 tbs flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

9 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

Steps :

1) For the osso bucco : In a heavy based frying pan, add the olive oil and heat it on medium heat. Season the osso bucco pieces with salt, black pepper, hot paprika and flour on both sides. Fry and seal the osso bucco and place it on the plate, set it aside while preparing the sauce.

Season the osso bucco

Sealing the osso bucco

sealed osso buccos

2) Add the red onion, carrots, celery, chilli and garlic into the pan and fry till soft and fragrant.

Frying the ingredients till fragrant

3)  Add the red wine and allow that to reduce till 1/4 left.

adding the red wine

4) Once the red wine is reduced, add the tinned chopped tomatoes, passata, anchovies and beef stock. Allow the mixture to come to a boil then carefully add the osso bucco.

Slow cooking the osso bucco

5) Cover and allow it simmer on low heat for 2-31/2 hours. The meat should separate from the bone.  Give the pan a shake every 30 mins, to make sure it’s not stuck /burnt at the bottom.

6) For the polenta : In a medium sized pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Reduce to medium heat, and slowly add the cornmeal, whisking continuously with a whisk to prevent lumps. Switch to a wooden spoon and continue stirring until the mixture thickens (about 10 mins), season with salt and black pepper. Make sure you scrape the bottom to make sure nothing burns or stick. Take it off the heat and add the parmesan, butter and thickened cream.

7) For the anchovy gremolata : Mix the chopped parsley and anchovy until well combined.

8) To serve : Place the osso bucco on top of a bed of creamy parmesan polenta and top with more tomato and red wine sauce. Scatter the anchovy gremolata on the osso bucco and ENJOY! (:

Osso bucco served

Thank you Taylors Wines once again for the beautiful Pinot Noir, and although I can’t have a glass (or two), I’m so happy I’m still able to have them in my food! hehe Have a great mid week everyone! Remember to always cook and bake with love! Till the next post, xx

{Giveaway} Savour Singapore 2014

Good afternoon dear readers. So sorry for the lack of posts! I’m still trying to get back into the pace of blogging after the long rest I had when I went back to Singapore. Plus, if you haven’t already heard, we are expecting our first bub and thus I’ve been a little more tired of late. So please forgive me! I will come back with more posts soon, I promise!

Savour 2014 Giveaway Logo

There is something exciting I want to share with you, and this is exclusively for those readers in Singapore! I’ve got a giveaway that would definitely get you foodies on your feet! Savour is back and I’m sure many of you would love to go! Fortunately for you, and thanks to Nespresso Singapore, I have been give 2 tickets to giveaway to a lucky winner to attend the largest gourmet festival in Singapore, SAVOUR!

Once again there are a plethora of chefs to meet and a spread of different cuisines to try, so it’s one event food lovers wouldn’t want to miss! Foodies who are also coffee lovers will no doubt, not want to miss the brand new custom-built NESPRESSO MAISON, located right in the heart of the new SAVOUR event space in the lush greenery of The Promontory @ Marina Bay. So what can you expect at the Nespresso Maison? Escape to the extraordinary and experience ‘Your Perfect Pleasure’ through the art of bespoke coffee crafting with our very own Nespresso Barista. How exciting does that sound? 

P1060005

 Besides the Nespresso Maison, Nespresso will once again be bringing back their ever popular Coffee Atelier classes, where fans can discover and learn the subtleties, nuances and origins of coffee. Coffee experts will be sharing with fans how to create the perfect cup of coffee. I’ve attended one of these classes before, and even though I won’t categorise myself as a coffee lover, I really enjoyed learning more about the art of making coffee!
This year’s SAVOUR is held at The Promontory @ Marina Bay! It’s a 5 day event, however, the tickets I was given were for Thursday, the 6th of March 2014, between 5-11pm. The tickets will also come with 30 Savour $ each! So if you love your food, and would love to also experience some coffee magic, this is an event you definitely don’t want to miss!
So how do you win these tickets? Just leave a comment telling me who you would like to attend this event with and why! This giveaway will end on Wednesday 5th of March 2012 at 5pm, and the winner will be announced and notified at 7pm (Singapore time). I do apologise for this short period of time to enter the giveaway, but I assure you, it’s an event you food lovers wouldn’t want to miss!

Watch the video to see the highlights of Savour 2013!

So don’t wait any longer, leave me a comment and best of luck! Definitely looking forward to award the lucky winner!

PS: The giveaway is for the residents of Singapore only. Unfortunately, due to the short period of time, we won’t be able to give the tickets to readers overseas, as you won’t be able to attend the event on time. I do apologise! I’m sure there would be other events in the future!

Disclaimer : This is a collaboration with Nespresso Singapore and Crowd SG, tickets were given in compliments of the organisers and I wasn’t paid to run this giveaway. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And the winner is….. ALENA!! Congrats babe! Hope you’ll enjoy the event with your girlfriend! Time to take that break you deserve!! (: x
Winner of SAVOUR 2014 tickets
Winner's comment
Will be emailing you to let you know how to collect your tickets!

Sugee Cookies : Easy and A Great Gift !

photo 2-1-1

Chinese New Year is no doubt a season of sharing food and every year, there is just one thing I love to make for my colleagues and close friends here in Melbourne. Sugee cookies! These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are so addictive, you will never be able to stop at one!

Sugee cookies

The best thing about these cookies are that they are so easy to make, and you don’t even need a mixer. All you need is a large bowl, a weighing scale and a wooden spoon! The you’re good to go! So if you’re thinking of making something that is a sure winner, try and make these! I am almost certain that your friends and family will love these!

Sugee Cookies (makes about 24-30 cookies)

80g almond meal

150g plain flour

100g sunflower oil

50g icing sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

1 egg yolk + a splash of water (for egg wash)

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius. In a large metal bowl, aft all the ingredients except for the egg wash.

Ingredients for the sugee cookies

2) Take teaspoons full of dough and roll them into round balls. Place them on a lined baking tray and brush the top with egg wash.

all ready to be baked

3) Bake for 7 mins and rotate the tray to bake for a further 7 minutes until cookies are golden brown.

packed and ready to be gifted

4) Allow it to cool on a cooling rack before you start popping them into your mouth or pack them in a bottle! Enjoy! (:

Just 4 easy steps to get this delicious bite, so don’t wait any longer! Go go go!

Remember to cook and bake with love!