{Spencer Cooks} Vegetarian Mushroom Bao

IMG_6620-1-1

I love baos (steamed buns) of all sorts! It’s the one thing I would order when I’m at yumcha. So when I got saw a recipe to make these mushroom looking vegetable buns, I leaped at it!

Before having Spencer, I would never think about making the dough for the steamed buns. But it was just easy peasy and I loved how it turned out! Soft and fluffy, and these are perfect if you’re a vegetarian! I might or might not have stopped at one. haha

IMG_6616-1

How cute do they look? hehe You would not believe what is the ingredient that the buns are dipped into before steaming them. Any guesses?? COCOA POWDER! I was a bit hesitant to do it, as I wasn’t sure if that would turn the buns sweet. But they didn’t! I couldn’t really taste the chocolate at all. Magical! I was totally amazed!

So here’s the recipe. I hope you’ll try them and let me know what you think!

Vegetarian Mushroom Buns (Recipe by Janice Tung)

Ingredients :

For the filling:

15g vegetable/olive oil

2-3 pieces dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and diced (marinated with 2 tsp of sesame oil, 1 tsp light soy sauce, 1 tsp oyster sauce and 1 tsp sugar)

30g carrots

1 pc seasoned tofu, diced

80g turnip

30g chives, diced and marinated with 2 tsp of oil & a pinch of salt)

1/2 tbs dark soy sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

For the buns :

130g water

20g oil

20 caster sugar

1 tsp instant yeast

250g pau flour (you can get them from asian supermarkets)

pinch of salt

 2-3 tbs cocoa powder

IMG_6592-1

Method :

  1. To make the filling: In the Thermomix bowl, add the carrots, turnips and chives and chop for 4 seconds/sp 5/ MC on.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients of the filling and cook for 5 mins/ 120C/ Reverse Spoon/ MC on. Set aside. Wash and dry the bowl. IMG_6589-1
  3. To make the buns : Add the water, oil, caster sugar and instant yeast into the bowl. Mix for 1 min/ 37C/ Sp 2/ MC on. Add the pau flour and knead for 2 mins.
  4. Transfer the dough onto a Thermomat/ a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 16 pieces and form into round shapes. Roll into flat pieces. Place 1 heaped teaspoon of filling into each piece and pinch sides together.Wrapping the vegetable bao-1
  5. Have a bowl of water on the side. Dip the bun into the water and then into the cocoa powder. Using a sharp knife, lightly cut a cross (X). Place the buns into the Varoma dish and tray. Allow to proof for 30 minutes. IMG_6600-1
  6. Place 600g of water into the TM bowl, stack the Varoma into position and steam for 18 mins/ Varoma/ Sp 1.

Enjoy it immediately while it’s hot! If you are freezing these, just resteam them for 10 minutes and enjoy them for breakfast or tea!

Follow me on Thermolove to get more inspiration!

Remember to always cook and bake with love!  

{Spencer Cooks} Gula Melaka Kaya

unnamed-12-1-1

For those who follow me on Instagram (@lianneelow) you would know I have a new baby. A machine baby haha My dearest mr has got me the dream machine of my life – A thermomix! I was so so excited when I placed my order and couldn’t wait for it to arrive! I have to admit, I’ve always wanted one. But gave it a pass cos of two main reasons – 1) the cost and 2) I already have a whole range of machines in my small kitchen. But having it for the past 2 weeks, I think I can now sell my other machines (besides my kitchenaid hehe)!

Spencer

So everyone, meet Spencer! (: Don’t ask me how I came up with the name. It just came to me when I got it. So Spencer it is! I’ve not stopped using it since it arrived! And don’t you worry, I will be sharing the recipes I’ve tried (and some original recipes, hooray!) with all of you! hehe

The very first thing I’ve made is  recipe I’ve been wanting to make for ages. I kept it in my “in case I get a thermomix folder” haha Gula Melaka Kaya (Coconut jam)! YUM! Living in Singapore, our breakfast staple is hot and crispy kaya toast with a cup of hot tea/coffee, with a side of half-boiled eggs! Seriously the best start to the day! So I was really excited to make it so we could have that in Melbourne too!

Piggy currant buns with kaya

Lochlan was super lucky and loved to get some delicious soft and fluffy piggy buns from The Bakeanista (check her blog out! She makes the most amazing bread!) and I too had some with the kaya that I made! Perfect combination! Mmmmmm (:

So here is the recipe for the Gula Melaka Kaya that Spencer made!

{Spencer Cooks} Gula Melaka Kaya (Coconut Custard Jam, Recipe from Thermomix Recipe Community)

250g Gula Meleka

3 egg yolks, large

1 whole egg

250g coconut cream (I used Kara carton)

3 fresh pandan leaves, tied into a knot

Steps :

Milling the gula melaka

1) Break the gula melaka into ice-cubed sized pieces before putting them into the thermomix. Mill the gula melaka, speed 10/10secs.

Milled gula melaka

2) Add egg yolks and egg, mix speed 3 until the sugar has dissolved. Using the spatula, scrape the base to make sure all the sugar has dissolved.

Add the egg and egg yolks

3) Cook for 10 mins/90 degrees/Speed 3.

4) Add coconut cream and pandan knot into the mixture, cook for 45 minutes/100 degrees/reverse/Speed 3. Leaving the MC out allowing the steam through.

Adding coconut cream and pandan knot

5) Check the consistency of the kaya, it should be thick, glossy and smooth. If it’s not thicken, repeat step 4 for another 10 minutes. Allow it to cool then place into glass jars/jam jars and keeps well  in the fridge for 2-3 weeks!

Kaya ready!

I was surprised that it wasn’t the deep dark brown kaya I was looking for. But it was still thick, glossy and absolutely delicious! I have also collected more kaya recipes and will be trying them again soon! So stay tuned for the comparison!

Piggy currant bun

Remember to have it with some toast/bun and a cup of hot coffee/tea! (:

Have a great Hump Day everyone and remember to always cook and bake with love!

Hero – New Kid On The Block

Hero Soft Launch

Good evening dear readers. Hope you had a good weekend! Sorry for the long pause in between posts! Been a little busy and finally have the time to sit down and share with you a new place in the city! Are you a student who studies in the city and need lunch on-the-go? Do you work in the city and need a quick and delicious bite? Then you’re in luck! I’ve got a perfect place for you to go to!

Hero

HERO!  Inspired by the hero-style sandwiches made famous in and around Brooklyn-Queens, New York, Elena & Michael decided to open this Brooklyn-style sandwich store behind RMIT in the city! They may sound familiar to some, as they are the same people behind the Reading Room and the Grain Store.

The menu

I was lucky enough to be invited to the soft launch to try their subs with the mr and sis-in-law! As there were 3 of us, Elena suggested that she would make for us 6 different half-size heroes and a side of chips! It was perfect, as we got to try almost all the subs on the menu besides one!

Our six half subs

When it arrived, the first thing that hit me was the beautiful colours that just pop! hehe Of course, soon after the smell of the delicious subs filled my nose and I couldn’t wait to tuck in! So these are the 6 that we tried :

#BRKLYN

#BRKLYN : 10 hour pulled lamb that just melts in your mouth goes perfectly with the tartness of the pickled beetroot. I have to admit, I’m not a lamb fan, but I still gave it a try! The Mr really liked it and finished the whole thing! hehe Great flavours in the lamb too!

The mr eating the sub

I just love bringing the Mr to events, cause he loves food as much as I do! hehe

#bythehour

Next up, #bythehour ! When everything was brought to the table, this was one that caught my eyes immediately cause of the colourful corn salsa! hehe The 12 hour bbq pulled pork was just amazing and soft, which went perfectly with the crunchy corn salsa and apple cabbage slaw!

#bythehour

This was one of my favourites of the day, but it was a little difficult to eat cause all the salsa fell off with every bite! Don’t worry I picked all the corn up and still ate it all! haha

#paradise

#Paradise was like a caesar salad in a bun! hehe If you love your caesar like me, you will love this!

#catcher

The #catcher had panko crumbed shrimp with slaw and thousand island dressing. This didn’t stand out as much as the others, just cause the prawns were a little small compared to the big buns! Having said that, the shrimp were fresh and have a light batter! I would love a whole bowl of those crumbed prawns hehe Omnomnom!

#throwback

#throwback would definitely be a crowd pleaser. Wholesome veal & pork meatballs in a homemade sauce. Can’t really go wrong with meatballs can you? The buns takes the place of the usual pasta, and goes really well as a whole! It was definitely my second favourite for the day.

#kidroyale

This my dear readers was the winner of the day! The hero of the day if you would like. The #kidroyale was the favourite for all of us! The slow roasted beef had a smokey hickory rub and was so tender and absolutely tasty! Went perfectly with the sweetness of the onion jam and the subtle kick of the honey dijon. And the piece de resistance were the crispy fried onion rings on top! AMAZEBALLS! A definite must try when you’re there!

Shoestring fries with hero secret spice

The shoestring fries with hero secret spice was so addictive! We couldn’t stop eating it! Really crispy and fried to perfection! Mmmmmm!

Hero cookie

After all the savouries, of course we needed some sweet to balance it out. There’s 2 dolce on the menu and we wanted to try both! First up was their homemade cookie! It was huge! almost as big as my hands hehe Love how they imprinted their logo on the cookie! and they were fresh out of the oven, and we all gave it two thumbs up! There were chocolate chips with every bite! And I took the one with the X cause for those who don’t know, my name in mandarin is Xin Lian hehe So i deemed the cookie mine! haha

Hot ball donuts

Next, Elena gave us 3 freshly made hot ball donut! Love how the filling was oozing out of the donut. Couldn’t wait to try them!

jaffa chocolate hot ball donut

I took the chocolate jaffa one and it was so damn good! I usually am not a fan of jaffa, but the orange flavour wasn’t overpowering and the main thing I tasted was still chocolate! Which I LOVE! hehe The donuts were soft and fluffy and oh-so-delicious!

hot jam ball donut

Melissa had the hot jam donut! It has a bit more dough but it was still soft and fluffy! It took a while before she found (or bit into) the jam, but when she did, it was good! But I preferred the chocolate one! hehe

Hero subs

So the next time you’re thinking of where to have lunch, head to Hero and give their subs a try! You won’t regret it!

PS : They are having a special lobster tail sub at the moment and they only make 6 a day! So get in early and quick so you don’t miss out!

Disclaimer : We were invited by Elena and Michael as guests to have lunch at Hero. All thoughts and opinions are based on our experiences at the time of the visit. 

Hero on Urbanspoon 

Eggless & Vegan Banana Bread

Eggless and Vegan Banana Bread

Banana cake. Who doesn’t love a thick slice of warm banana goodness?? I could have it for breakfast, tea or dessert! Actually, I could have it at any time of the day. I have done my fair share of baking different kinds of banana bread. Looking back on what I’ve shared, I’ve done a walnut, chocolate and maple banana bread and a sour cream maple banana cake. One that I never thought I would try is a vegan version of banana cake!

Eggless & vegan banana bread

To be honest, I never thought of making a cake without eggs before! But after I saw the post on OvenHaven (super duper talented, check her blog out! hehe) I knew I had to give it a try! What more when it’s actually really healthy? hehe This would be perfect for your kids and children with or without allergies! hehe The cake came out so moist, soft and light! It was just filled with banana with every single bite! Absolutely divine!  Especially when it’s warm! I had mine with some butter and also I had it for dessert with a scoop of my homemade salted caramel ice cream! Yummi-li-cious!!! So give it a try if you’ve never made anything eggless or vegan like me, and be delightfully surprised! hehe

Eggless and vegan Banana Bread (Adapted from Veg Recipes of India)

4 ripe large bananas

1 1/2 cups plain flour

2/3 cups olive oil

1/2 cup fine brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Steps :

1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease a bread/loaf tin with some olive oil.

2) Mash the bananas and place them in a mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, vanilla bean paste and sugar  and blend till well combine.

3) In a separate bowl, combine the plain flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add it into the mixing bowl, 1/2 cup at a time. Slowly mix them till well combined.

4) Pour the mixture into the prepared bread/loaf tin and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted to the middle of the bread comes out clean.

5) Allow it to cool for 10 minutes in the bread/loaf tin before you turn it out onto a cooling rack. Slice and serve warm with butter or a scoop of ice cream. ENJOY! (: Cling wrap the rest of the bread and keep it in a tupperware in the fridge.

eggless and vegan banana bread with salted caramel ice cream

The next time I make these, I’m gonna put some walnuts, sunflower seeds and maybe some chocolate chips! hehe There’s nothing better than the combination of banana and chocolate! Do give this a try! I am very sure you will love it! Have a great and blessed Sunday! (:

Remember to always cook and bake with love! 

Shrooms Delish

Shrooms Delish

Happy Mid Week dearest readers! (: I hope your week has been going well and we’re not too far from the weekend (and a long one for those in Melbourne & Tassy! Woohoo!) I’ve got some exciting news to share with all of you! I was recently contacted by Keep Left and was asked to be part of this fun recipe campaign with Bakers Delight! Without much hesitation, I agreed to it! Fortunately the time line wasn’t too rush, so I had the weekend to try out what I wanted to create.

Ingredients

We were allowed to create a recipe for lunch with our choice of any Bakers Delight bread and I decided to head to their website to see what they had to offer and the choices were endless! There were SO MANY different kinds of bread and I haven’t really said this before, but my weakness is definitely freshly baked bread! Mmmmm (:

Pipe loaf (wholemeal)

After much consideration, I decided to go with the pipe loaf! It totally got my attention cause it was my first time seeing a loaf in a shape of a cylinder! How cute is that??? I tried to think of what I could do with it, but couldn’t really visualise until the bread loaves were delivered! The moment I saw it, I knew exactly what I wanted to make!

top view : shrooms delish

Many of you would know that brunch is no doubt my favourite meal of all time so of course, I decided to make something that could be enjoyed for both brunch or lunch. I walked along the aisles of the supermarket (and thankfully I was given a $20 Coles voucher to get ingredients! hehe) and I decided on something a little different from my usual choices, I decided to go meatless! Don’t get me wrong, I still love my smoked salmon and crispy bacon, but I decided to try something a little different, plus I was craving for some mushrooms!

top - fried egg and crispy enoki

Instead of just the usual white button mushrooms, I decided to buy a whole variety of them! I didn’t stop at just shiitake mushrooms, I wanted to have some asian influence in the dish as well. It’s amazing how many varieties there are in the mushroom area at all the supermarkets now, and even the asian ones! I couldn’t be happier! (:

middle - mushroom ragout and avocado salsa

To add a little freshness to the dish, I decided to top with some avocado salsa as well!

bottom - wholemeal pipe loaf

To top it all off, I added a fried egg (with a runny yolk) and some crispy enoki mushrooms for some crunch! I am one who loves dishes with different textures, so the crunchy enokis were a must! hehe And of course, all these sat on a nice thick slice of the wholemeal pipe loaf which was so soft in the middle, and had a good crust after being toasted for 5 minutes in the oven! Of course, you could easily do this on any other thick toast, but I thought the round dimensions made the presentation a little prettier. hehe and yes, the plate from Made In Japan helps too! I’m really lucky that the Mr bought me some during the recent sale.

So here’s my recipe for my creation : Shrooms Delish ! Hope you all will enjoy it as much as the family did! (:

Shrooms Delish (a Food Made With Love original creation, serves 4)

For the mushroom ragout :

6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

150g pearl mushrooms

8 white button mushrooms, quartered

1/2 leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

50g butter

2 tbs water

5 sprigs of fresh chives, finely chopped

2 tbs creme fraiche

salt & pepper, for seasoning

For the crispy enoki mushrooms :

100g enoki mushrooms

vegetable oil, for deep frying

For the avocado salsa :

1 ripe avocado, roughly chopped or mash

1/4 red onion

4 pieces of sundried tomatoes, finely chopped

1 tbs olive oil

4 eggs, fried sunny side up

Pipe loaf, sliced into 1-inch slices

1 clove of garlic, peeled and left whole

Truffle oil, for garnish (optional)

Steps :

1) For the mushroom ragout : In a heavy-based pan, melt half of the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and leeks, and allow them to sweat and soften, stirring continuously. Do be careful not to burn it, as it will turn bitter. Add the mushrooms and fry till they get soft and tender. Add the rest of the butter and water, allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes and until the flavours have developed, and the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper, then turn the heat off. Add in the chives and creme friache and stir it till well combined. Set it a side while preparing the other components.

2) For the crispy enoki : In small pot, add the vegetable oil and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the enoki mushrooms (in batches) and fry till they are golden and crispy. Remove from the oil, and place them on some paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

3) For the avocado salsa : In a large bowl, add the avocado, chopped red onions and sundried tomatoes with the olive oil and give it a good stir. Season with salt and pepper and set a side.

4) For the toast : In a preheated oven, toast the bread for 5 minutes, or until the bread is nice and crispy on the outside with a little golden brown on top. When you take it out of the oven, rub the clove of garlic on the bread, so that you have an instant garlic bread base!

5) To plate : Place the thick toast on a plate, then add the mushroom ragout, followed by the avocado salsa. Slowly place the fried egg on top of the stack, and top it off with some crispy fried enoki mushrooms. I garnished with a sprig of chive and season with salt & pepper. Just to be a little more indulgent, I drizzled a bit of truffle oil on top, but it’s totally optional.

Shrooms Delight

Hope you enjoy my creation! (: Have a great week and weekend ahead!

Remember to always cook and bake with love! 

PS : I want to thank Bakers Delight & Keep Left PR for this amazing opportunity! 

Banana-rama

There is just something magical about banana bread. By now, you would know that I am obsessed with banana anything. So far, I’ve made them in a few forms – muffins & cakes. So now it’s time to add on to the list! Recently, Miss D posted her 100th post that had 2 banana bread recipes. I was lucky enough to taste test one of them and got hooked to it ever since!

So when I had time on a Saturday morning and some very ripe bananas lying around in the fruit basket, I decided to get my bum out of the sofa and get the baking going. I was so glad I did! The house was filled with the yummy smell of baked banana bread and it’s the best smell in the world! Can’t have enough of it!

Though I was having hayfever, it just felt good being able to be in the kitchen and think about nothing but bake! The kitchen is definitely my remedy. hehe The Mr absolutely loved it! Cause I gave 3/4 of the first one to the weightlifters, the mr only had a small piece to himself. He asked me to make another for him. So I made it twice over the weekend. It was really moist and fluffy. Perfect with a cup of coffee or tea (: Will definitely perk me up in the afternoons!

Walnut, Chocolate and Maple Banana Bread (Adapted from Never Too Sweet For Me & Taste)

125g unsalted butter, room temperature

115g caster sugar

2 tbs maple syrup

2 eggs, room temperature

3 large bananas (about 1 cup), mashed

70g chopped walnuts

50g dark chocolate chips

3/4 cup plain flour

3/4 cup self-raising flour

1/2 tsp bi-carbonate of soda

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease the loaf pan well with butter.

2) In an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and maple syrup until light and fluffy. (Don’t rush this step to ensure a smooth batter)

3) Add eggs, one at a time until just combined. Then add the mashed bananas and slowly add the flours and bicarbonate of soda. Mix until just combined, be careful not to over mix it or it will not be fluffy.

4) Spoon mixture into the buttered loaf pan and smooth the top. Place in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the toothpick comes out clean after being inserted. Allow it to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning it out on a cooling rack.

Serve warm and enjoy with a hot cuppa and if you want to be more indulgent, drizzle it with more maple syrup and with a small piece of butter (:

PS : For step to step pictures, head over to Miss D’s post! Thanks dearie for sharing the recipe! 

Remember to always cook and bake with love! 

Wonderbao

Melbourne. There is a new obsession in town. Buns, hot steaming buns (bao/包) to be exact. I am totally sucked into the fad and loving it! (: I think it’s one thing I love since young. I’m like my dad. We both love baos and till this day when we go for yum cha, char siew baos and salted custard buns would definitely be on the table! Even on Sundays when we do go out, we would come back with his favourite chicken baos. NOMS! Just thinking about it is making me crave for some now!

Of course, since I’ve had baos since I was little I have to admit, my expectations of a good bao is quite high. The dough has to be soft but not too thick and there must be enough filling. I went to meet the mr for lunch in the city in my last week of break so we decided to go give Wonderbao a try! How cute is the name? Love it!

Wonderbao

Address : Shop 4/19-37 A’Beckett St. Melbourne, VIC 3000

Phone : (03) 9654 7887

Wonderbao is hidden in a lane under a block of apartments in the city and is a small cosy little shop. I love how they steam the baos in huge steamers and that’s the first thing that greets you when you step into the shop. Because the menu was quite small, the mr and I decided to order one of each bao (besides the sweet ones) to try! It totally looked like we haven’t eaten for days! haha But the staff were really nice, and told us that they would serve half of what we ordered and serve us the other half so that they won’t turn cold! Perfect! (:

I don’t really know what gua bao is. But the buns remind me of those used in the kong ba bao! It’s like a bao made into a U-shape to hold the ingredients! The two gua baos are my favourites of the day! I have a feeling it’s because the filling is fatty pork! (: The first one we had was braised pork belly accompanied by pickled mustard, coriander and crushed peanuts. The pork belly was perfectly cooked and melts in your mouth! The mr and I was beaming after each bite. haha Fatty pork really do make us happy!

The other gua bao was stuffed with roasted pork belly, cucumber, pickled carrots, daikon and hoisin sauce. In our minds, we were expecting crispy crackling with this! So we were a little disappointed when it didn’t. Cause who doesn’t love crackling, right? But the combination was really quite yummy so all was good! (: We still gobbled it down within minutes!

There were 2 big baos offered in the menu. A big pork bun as well as a big chicken bun. They both had a slice of egg and shiitake mushroom in them. The meat was juicy and really tasty! The bao skin is soft and fluffy and besides the top being a little too thick, there was a good proportion of meat to bun!

The chicken bao had a bit more dough and not as much filling. But the chicken was still juicy and yums!

Another of my fav of the day was the choi bao (vegetable bun). It reminded me of the cabbage kueh my mum always buy for me when I’m home. It had shiitake mushrooms, tofu and veggies! Really yums (:

The char siew bao was quite disappointing though I was really hoping it would be better! There was only a thin layer of char siew and sadly the colouring of the char siew was seeping into the bao skin. Though I have to say, the char siew itself was yummy! Would love to have more.

I love chinese sausage. So when I saw this on the menu, I couldn’t wait to try it! Although it was just a sausage wrapped in some dough, I have to say sometimes, simple is best! The mr and I had it and we think the taiwan sausage is handmade cause it’s not the usual size! It was just the right amount of sweetness, and not as much fatty bits! Was really delicious! I could easily have it on it’s own! hehe

After we tried all the baos, we were tempted by the homemade soy milk and bought a cup of cold soy milk each! *slurps!* Really refreshing especially since it was a really hot day that afternoon. I will definitely return for more gua baos and the choi bao! But just note that they are open for breakfast and lunch (Mondays to Fridays) and only lunch on Saturdays!

So, have you been pulled in to the bao trend yet? (:

Wonderbao on Urbanspoon