My Biggest Project : Rainbow Cake

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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

Sugee Cookies : Easy and A Great Gift !

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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! 

Galloping into the Year of Horse with Homemade Bak Kwa

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Happy Lunar New Year my dear readers! (: So sorry for the lack of posts! I’ve been back in Singapore and spending as much time as I could with my family. But I’m back and ready to share lots with you, so please hang in there with me. I promise to make your time worthwhile!

I’m not sure what your traditions are for Chinese New Year, but for me, it’s about coming together as a family and feast on delicious food! Of course it’s not always about food, it’s also about spending time with your loved ones and just reminescing on the good things from the past year, setting goals for the new one!

There are many different kinds of Chinese New Year goodies that we love to eat. Lucky for me, I got to eat my fair share before I flew back to Melbourne. But there is one that I didn’t quite get to have and also sadly, we aren’t allowed to bring it back cause it’s meat. BAK KWA! It’s like a chinese pork jerky that is sweet and salty and just delicious!

homemade bak kwa

Singaporeans really do love their bak kwa, and many would actually queue for hours to get some! So instead of queueing (plus I don’t think I can get any that are similar to those back home), I decided to try making them this year!

The best thing about this is that you can freeze it and just grill it when you feel like having some! Trust me. Once you have a bite, you would definitely want to keep some in your freezer. These are so addictive! So give them a go, you won’t regret it!

Homemade Bak Kwa (adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover)

Ingredients :

900g mince pork

130g caster sugar

2 tbs light soy sauce

1 tbs shaoxing wine

2 tbs oyster sauce

1 1/2 tsp thick dark soy

1/4 tsp five spice powder

Ground white pepper

1 tbs honey

Steps :

1) Marinade the mince pork a day before you intend to make it. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and mix with a pair of chopsticks.

Marinating the mince pork

Stirring the mixture in one direction

2) Make sure you stir it in one direction and until the mixture becomes gluey. Do make sure it’s gluey as it will allow the meat to stay as one piece after being baked. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place it in the fridge overnight or for at least 3 hours.

Gluey mixture

3) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Spread the marinated pork mince thinly onto the baking tray using a spatula.

pork mince mixture spread onto baking tray

4) Bake the pork mince for 15 mins and remove it from the oven. Allow it to cool slightly before cutting it into desired shape and size using scissors or a pizza cutter. If you intend to freeze it, allow them to cool completely before placing them in a zip lock bag and freeze it up to 2 weeks.

baked and cut

5) Turn the grill on at 240 degrees Celcius and grill one side for 5 mins before flipping and grilling the other side for a further 5 mins, until the meat is golden brown or slightly charred on the sides. Let is cool down (it actually tastes better the day after it’s grilled!) and enjoy! (:

homemade bak kwa

So you ready to make some bak kwa? You’ll love it for sure! Have a prosperous year of the horse everyone!!

Remember to always cook and bake with love.

For A Berry Pink Cause – Ski Yogurt & A Giveaway ! {Winner announced}

Lemon & Berry yogurt mini loaf with cream cheese and yogurt icing

Paying it forward. I always feel that we should always count our blessings and do what we can for people around us. As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I was approached by Keep Left PR to be involved in it. Without any hesitation, I agreed!

Ski Yogurt turning pink

If you’ve walked the yoghurt aisle in the supermarkets, you’ve realised that Ski yoghurt has turned pink! In fact, they have pledged a three-year commitment to the McGrath Foundation and have promised a $350,000 donation to fund a McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurse in the community. How amazing is that? I’m so honoured to be ask to be part of this Pink event!

lemon & berry mini loaves

Yoghurt has become part of my daily breakfast and morning tea routine, so I was really glad that I was asked to come up with a recipe that incorporates Ski yogurt!

So as I stood in front of the different flavours in the supermarket, my ideas were just popping up!

Close up

As I got a new mini loaf tin, I decided to make some yogurt mini loaves! Just too cute! But to give it a little bit of ZING, I added lemon zest to it! Mmmm.. berries and lemon do make a really good match! The best thing about incorporating yogurt in your cake is that it makes it really moist!

Lemon & berry yogurt mini loaf with a cream cheese yogurt icing

In all honesty, the icing didn’t quite turn out the texture I wanted. I wanted to be able to pipe rows. hehe I tested it out, but it went everywhere! haha So i decided to go with the flow (literally) and let it have some free form! It worked out well, don’t you think so? hehe The addition of the fresh raspberries just made everything pop, giving a subtle tinge of pink reflection on the icing. Without trying to over do the self-praise, I have to be honest and say that this was one of my best cakes I’ve made to date!

mini loaves - light reflection

So here’s the recipe and my humble contribution to the Breast Cancer Awareness Month! (: Hope you all enjoy!

Lemon & Berry Yogurt Mini Loaf with Cream Cheese Yogurt Icing (an original recipe of Food Made With Love)

Lemon & Berry Yogurt Loaf :

1 1/2 cups plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

300g Ski Wild Strawberry yogurt

1/2 cup castor sugar (plus 1/4 cup for syrup)

3 large eggs

Lemon zest  of 2 lemons

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup frozen mixed berries

10 mint/basil leaves, washed and pat dry

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius. In a clean bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

yogurt, sugar and lemon zest

2) In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, 1/2 cup of sugar, lemon zest and vanilla bean paste. Mix till well combine then add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each one is well incorporated before adding the next.

3) Add the dry ingredients slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, and make sure it is well combined. Be careful not to over mix.

4) Pour the olive oil into the mixture, and using a spatula, slowly fold it in until everything is combined. Add the frozen berries and fold them in. Don’t worry if they start to “bleed”, just gives the batter a nice swirl of pink/purple!

5) Coat the mini loaf tin with olive oil (I used the olive oil spray) and dust with plain flour. Carefully fill the tin 3/4 way up. Drop them a few times on the bench to even the top and place them in the oven. Bake them for 25 mins, turning them half way to that they are evenly coloured.

6) While the cakes are baking, pour the lemon juice and add the 1/4 cup sugar into a small saucepan. Add the basil/mint leaves into the pot and allow it to come to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 mins. Take it off the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

Pouring the lemon mint/basil syrup on the cakes

MIni loaves cooling and soaking up the lemon syrup

7) Once the cakes are done, allow them to cool in the baking tin for 10 mins. Slowly and carefully pour the lemon syrup on the cakes and allow them to absorb completely. Let it cool in the tin completely before taking them out.

Cream Cheese and Yogurt Icing 

1 block of Philadelphia cream cheese, cold

2/3 cup Ski Wild Strawberry yogurt

1-1 1/2 cup pure icing sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

Fresh raspberries, to garnish

Steps :

1) In a mixing bowl, whip up the cream cheese till smooth, then add the yogurt and mix till they come together. Don’t worry if it looks clumpy. Add the icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and taste as you go (YUM!). Stop adding when you feel the sweetness is right! Add the lemon juice and mix until smooth.

2) Using a tablespoon, drop the icing in the middle of the loaf and allow it to flow down. You could use the back of your spoon to help shape it the way you like. Garnish the loaves with fresh raspberries. ENJOY!

Finished product

I had mine with a small glass of intense berry smoothie! hehe and I thought I would share with you my favourite smoothie recipe since it also uses yoghurt! (: So bear with me. The giveaway is up next!

Intense berry smoothie

Intense Berry Smoothie

150g Ski Wild Strawberry Yogurt

150g coconut water

100g frozen mixed berries

Step :

Place all the ingredients in a blender and whizz it up! Easy peasy!

GIVEAWAY TIME!

And now for the part you all have been waiting for! So sorry for the super long post and thank you for being so patient! Keep Left PR has very kindly offered a giveaway! It’s a set of super pretty and cute pink silicone Scullery kitchen utensils worth $47.73! How can you resist?

giveaway

Giveaway

Yes! All 7 items! How awesome is that? I love the striking shade of pink! Ladies, start commenting. Men, start commenting too so you could win these for your loved ones! hehe

How do you get these you ask? Easy!

  • Leave a comment and share with me your favourite way of having yogurt, and what part of the day do you usually have it?
  • This giveaway is only open to Australian residents! (Sorry international readers!)
  • Please join me on my journey! Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
  • You may re-enter daily! One entry a day! (Oh yeah!)
  • Winners will be announced on the 31st of October, Thursday at 8pm!
  • Winners will be picked via random.org and notified on this blog post and via email.

Disclaimer : This post is sponsored by Ski Yoghurt & Keep Left PR. I tasted the Ski’s D’lite Wild Strawberry yoghurt  with compliments of both sponsors, however, the review, opinions are honest and based on my personal taste and preference. The recipe is a Food Made With Love original.

Ski Pink

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

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The winner is…..

TINA! Congrats dearie! (: I will be contacting shortly through email!

winner- random org

Winner

Hope you like your pink kitchen utensils!!! xx

Hazelnut Olive Oil Cake

Hazelnut Olive Oil Cake

Hooray! It’s the weekend so let’s celebrate with cake! What better way yes? heh I don’t think anyone can really resist cake, even more so when it’s a gluten free and (almost) healthy one!

Is there a particular cake that you will never get tired of and would always go-to cause you know it will not fail you? I definitely do! This is one cake that I know that would definitely be a crowd pleaser! The chocolate olive oil cake by Nigella Lawson is simple, delicious and did I say delicious? Whenever I need to make a birthday cake for a close friend, I always turn to this recipe, top them with fresh raspberries and dust with icing sugar and viola! All ready to be consumed and put smiles on people’s faces!

All along, I’ve made it using almond meal, but I few weeks back when I needed to bake a cake for a close friend’s 21st, I had a eureka moment. Why not use hazelnut meal? It would be like a fudgey and moist… nutella cake! How good does that sound? I was so so excited to give it a try!

And it came out just the way I envisioned it to be. Soft, really chocolatey, and so fudgey and moist! OOhhh la-la! It can definitely make one of the sexiest and most decadent chocolate dessert that I’ve ever made! The hazelnut meal elevated it to a whole new level! Definitely gonna stick to using hazelnut meal now. hehe One slice is never enough!

So give this a shot if you love nutella. You will definitely be hooked! It’s gluten free and if you are on a paleo diet, just change the sugar to 1/3-1/2 cup honey and you’re good to go!

Hazelnut Chocolate Olive Oil Cake (adapted from Nigella Lawson)

150 ml regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)

50 grams cocoa powder (good quality, sifted)

125 ml boiling water

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

150 grams hazelnut meal

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

170 grams caster sugar (or 1/3-1/2 cup of honey if you want it to be paleo)

3 eggs, room temperature

1 small punnet of fresh raspberries (to top the cake)

Icing sugar, to finish

Steps :

1. Preheat your oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Grease your springform tin with a little oil and line the base with baking parchment. Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.

2. In another smallish bowl, combine the hazelnut meal with the bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt.

3. Put the sugar (or honey), olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream. Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in you can slowly tip in the hazelnut meal mixture.

4. Pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very centre, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.

5. Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its tin, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the tin. Leave to cool completely and place the whole punnet of fresh raspberries neatly on the cake and dust with icing sugar. Serve with a side of freshly whipped cream or a scoop of your favourite ice cream!

Have a chocolatey and hazelnutty weekend everyone! (: Be warned that you won’t be able to stop at a slice for this one! hehe

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

Being Bold – A Recipe & Hudsons Giveaway ! {Winners Announced}

Be Bold

Good afternoon my dear readers! Happy weekend! (: Hope it’s going well and you have lots of fun and yummy things planned ahead of you! Since it’s the start of Spring, I thought it would be a good time to make some new goals!

“Freedom lies in being bold” – Robert Frost

Being bold is about making each day count (be it today, weekly or even for the year), so why not step out of your comfort zone and express your boldness to the world right? hehe The first BOLD thing I’ve decided to do is trying my hardest to make a change in my life – Being healthier and fitter ! My goal couldn’t come in a better time, as Hudsons Coffee also decided to BE BOLD with their launch of a new Barista’s  Choice Blend – A rich and intense flavour with caramel undertones. YUM!

Hudsons Coffee Barista's Choice Blend

I was lucky to receive a a pre-ground take home bag of the new blend and I couldn’t wait to try it! Ever since my brunch at Three Bags Full, I have started a liking to french press coffee! This one wasn’t overly strong on the palette and not too sharp or acidic either! Smooth and a subtle taste of caramel, which the mr loved!

Barista's choice

While enjoying my glass of coffee, I had a eureka moment! I really wanted to use it to bake! One particular ingredient came to mind – Banana! So I decided to combine the banana cake with some espresso, and to add some texture to the cake by adding a pecan streusel on top! I have made lots of banana cakes in the past, but never one with a coffee kick! This is me BEING BOLD (number 2) cause I don’t usually bake coffee cakes! So was really excited about this.

Banana Espresso Pecan Streusel Cake

While making the streusel, I couldn’t stop sneaking teaspoons of it, cause it was so addictive! The combination of pecan and oats were just delish! hehe It could easily be turned into a mixture for granola too!

close up

Although I am trying to get healthier and fitter, I still deserve the occasional treats yes? hehe So I added some dark chocolate chips in the cake to make it more indulgent! Anyway, dark chocolate is suppose to be good for you. I’m pretty sure there’s some scientific findings to back me up on this. haha

Slice of banana espresso pecan streusel cake

This cake was moist, full of flavour, and I just love having the bursts of chocolate and the crunch of the streusel top! Definitely one cake I would bake over and over again! You don’t need a very big piece to enjoy it, as it is quite rich. A small piece with a cup of tea or coffee is perfect!

Banana Espresso Pecan Streusel Cake (A Food Made With Love Original Recipe)

For the streusel :

1/2 cup + 2 tbs plain flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp salt

85g unsalted butter

3/4 pecans, roughly chopped

Steps :

1) Mix the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar and salt in a medium bowl.

Adding the dry ingredients to make the streusel

2) Add the butter and rub with your finger tips intul the mixture holds together (my favourite thing to do actually, find it very therapeutic! haha).

3) Add the chopped pecans, mix and set aside in the fridge.

Pecan streusel topping

For the cake :

200g unsalted butter

170g castor sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

4 tbs milk

5-6 tbs espresso (I used the Barista’s Choice Blend from Hudsons Coffee)

2 cups + 3 tbs plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

1 tsp baking powder

3-4 bananas, mashed

3/4 – 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Prepare a 26cm by 26cm square tin by lining the bottom and greasing the sides. Set aside.

2) In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3) Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until well combined. Add the vanilla bean paste and the mashed bananas. Mix till it is evenly mixed.

4) Mix the espresso and milk in a measuring cup and add it alternately with the plain flour (dry-wet-dry-wet-dry sequence). Careful not to over mix.

5) Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and tap it a few times on the bench to make the top even. Sprinkle the streusel and bake for 1 hour or until the top is golden and the toothpick comes out clean. Cover the cake with foil after 30 mins if it browns too quickly.

Ready to go into the oven

6) All it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and remove it from the tin to rest it on the cooling rack.

all baked and cooled, ready to be sliced and enjoyed

Enjoy! (: It was my very first cake I was confident enough to bring to work and share with my colleagues, and they loved it! (: I brought it in during recess and it was gone by lunch! The feedback was that the cake was really moist and they really liked the surprise of the chocolate chips! Yippee!

So here comes the exciting bit! Tell me how you are going to BE BOLD and take that first step of making a positive change in your life! I’ve taken two, the first one will be on-going and the second one is completed, so I would love to hear your side of the story!

Hudsons Gift Package

Hudsons Coffee and Keep Left PR has been so generous to provide me with two packs of goodies to give away. Similar to what I received, each pack includes : 2 packets (50g each) of pre-ground Barista’s choice beans, 1 (12 oz) Hudsons Keep Cup and a  $10 voucher to enjoy a hot cuppa when you’re around a Hudsons store! So how do you win this awesome pack?

To enter this giveaway :

  • All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know : What kind of BOLD change(s) you want to make in your life. Remember it can be a daily, weekly or even a year long goal! Come on and let’s #BEBOLD together!
  • This giveaway is only open to Australian residents! (Sorry international readers!)
  • Follow me on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter, and let me know when you’ve done it!
  • Follow Hudsons Coffee on Facebook,  Instagram & Twitter as well!
  • Winners will be drawn on the 22nd of September 2013, Sunday at 8pm!
  • You may re-enter daily, one entry a day (Woohoo!)
  • Winners will be picked via random.org and notified on this blog post and via email.

Good luck and have a great weekend ahead! (:

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

Disclaimer : This post is sponsored by Hudsons Coffee & Keep Left PR. I tasted the Barista’s Blend coffee with compliments of both sponsors, however, the review, opinions are honest and based on my personal taste and preference. The recipe is a Food Made With Love original.

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And the winners are…..

Iron Chef Shellie & Bonnie-Kate !! Congratulations!!!! I will be contacting you through email soon! x

Winner number 21

winner number 21 -  Comment

Winner number 18

Winner number 18 - Comment

Congrats again you two and hope you both enjoy your packages! Thank you everyone for your comments again and till the next post, x

Silks Mid-Autumn Festival Banquet

Just a couple of weeks back, I was invited to a Mid-Autumn Festival banquet at Silks Crown by Chef Tsang, and it brought back lots of fun memories! Being away from home, I rarely get to celebrate mid-autumn festival anymore. But it was a yearly event in my family when I was much younger. We used to have lots of food, endless mooncakes and after all the feasting is done, we would light up a paper lantern and walk around the neighbourhood! Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face! hehe

8 course dinner banquet

I love love love when I get my own personal place card. hehe I know it’s a small thing, but just makes me feel important haha Just for the night (: The banquet menu included 8 delicious courses and I couldn’t wait for it to begin!

steamed scallop  and vermicelli with garlic

The first dish was the perfectly steamed, plump and juicy scallops with vermicelli and garlic. This was so so good and one of my favourites of the night! There’s just something about chinese cooking where it looks simple, but the balance of the sauce is what’s critical to the dish. This was a perfect balance of sauces and was delicate enough to go with the scallops. Amazing!

Double boiled chicken consomme with dried scallops and mushroom

The second dish for most chinese banquets is soup. No ordinary soup, it’s soup that has been simmered for a long period of time to extract every single flavour from the ingredients. Every sip was just so flavoursome and I could just have a huge bowl of this for the night and I would be a happy camper!

Giant coral trout enrobed in minced shrimp

This third dish definitely wowed my sense of smell, sight and taste! I was definitely intrigued and super excited when it was placed in front of me. A crispy prawn head and tail, and in the middle is a piece of coral trout enrobed in minced shrimp! How amazing is that?? I was sitting next to the amazing Zeboy & Ms I-Hua and we were saying how difficult that must be to do!

inside the enrobed coral trout

See how the layers were so distinct? The best part was the crispy skin of the fish! I seriously wanted more and wished the Mr was there with me, so the prawn head didn’t go to waste! Any prawn head lovers out there? This was fried till every bit of it was crispy, but I still couldn’t bring myself to eating the shell! haha

Sauteed lobster with black bean sauce and pine nuts

This brought smiles on many faces! The lobster pieces were all cooked perfectly – still tender and juicy and went so well with the black bean sauce. It’s not usual that pine nuts are used in chinese cooking, usually it’s cashews or peanuts. But pine nuts worked equally as well, and it’s good for u too! hehe There’s always a huge packet (from Costco) in my pantry cause I love to add them in my sautéed vegetables (cauliflower, Jerusalem artichokes) ! hehe

diced beef tenderloin with mixed mushroom in gravy sauce

The fifth dish was melt-in-your-mouth beef tenderloin with mixed mushrooms in a terriyaki sauce. A little sweet for my liking, but I absolutely loved the texture of the beef. Not sure how Chef Tsang did it, but the beef was juicy and really tender!

chicken fried rice with XO sauce

The last savoury dish was chicken fried rice in XO sauce. Every rice was coated with egg and you could see the glorious yellow grains in the bowl! It had a chilli kick to it as well, from the XO sauce. I could never fry rice like this, never turn out to be this delicious. Think I need to invest in a wok! hehe

Sweetened walnut soup with glutinous rice ball

After 6 savoury dishes, I was so stuffed. But there’s always room for dessert, yes? Absolutely! When I saw what we were going to have for dessert, I was a little apprehensive, cause I never had walnut soup before. Plus the only other nut-soup I tried (and didn’t like it much) was almond soup. So I was a little worried about how it would taste. But I was so wrong. This was so smooth and delicate and absolutely divine. For a cold night, it was really comforting as well! Perfect winter warmer! I would head back just for another bowl of walnut soup. hehe

black sesame glutinous rice ball

Within the soup was a hidden treasure – a glutinous rice ball with black sesame. Absolute love! How sexy is the black sesame oozing out from the middle after a bite? hehe Rich but not overly so. Did I say it’s perfect? Cause it was!

Wing Wah white lotus seed mooncakes with double yolk

To end our banquet on a even sweeter note and what is seen as a symbol of mid-autumn festival – Mooncakes! This one is the famous Wing Wah mooncake from Hong Kong! The white lotus seed paste was smooth and not overly sweet and had two salted egg yolk! While I grew up opting for the no-yolk mooncakes, I have to say the combination is starting to grow on me. But I still like mine without yolk hehe

After the amazing banquet, Chef Tsang came out of the kitchen to say hi to us and answer some of our questions. It’s no wonder his food was absolutely delish cause he was from the two Michelin stars, Ming Court in Hong Kong! He’s been in Melbourne and Silks for 6 months now and is still working on a in-house recipe for mooncakes. hehe

So if you’re want to take part in some Mid-Autumn festivities, Crown is holding one from 9th to the 22nd of September, and there is something for everyone! Do check out their website for details of the events as they will be converting the Atrium into something spectacular!

Wing Wah moocake

We were so lucky to receive a box of mooncakes from Wing Wah to bring home! The Mr and Melissa couldn’t be happier when I took it out of the bag! hehe And yes, they finished one whole mooncake that very night! heh

Thank you so much Silks Crown, Chef Tsang and Media Moguls for organising this scrumptious banquet! Great food and was so good to meet and catch up with everyone! So do head to Crown and check it out and try some mooncakes if you haven’t had any yet!

Lianne @ Food Made With Love attended the Mid-Autumn festival banquet as a guest of Silks Crown and Media Moguls. Thank you so much for this yummy opportunity! 

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Milo Brownie Pound Cake

Milo Brownie Pound Cake

MILO. Just the thought of it brings me back to my childhood. Milo was something I grew up drinking. A cup everyday and even when I was older, I would still love drinking it. And yes, eating it by spoonfuls too! Don’t be shocked! I’m sure lots of you do it! heh I remember when we had to do the yearly cross country run (more walk than run to be honest haha), the one thing that we all look forward to was the milo van at the finishing line!

milo brownie pound cake

These days, what I would sometimes crave for when I’m back home in the heat is some ice milo or even milo dinosaur, which is pretty much ice milo with a whole heap of milo powder on top. Can you say YUM?!! Can’t get enough!

Milo brownie pound cake

So when I came across this recipe of a milo cake on Pencil Kitchen, I couldn’t wait to start baking to taste it! I have to admit though, I probably overbaked mine cause it didn’t come out as gooey and light like hers, but after warming it up before eating it, it was still pretty delicious! Definitely tasted like having a warm cup of milo! So definitely gonna make this again, but cutting down my baking time!

milo brownie pound cake

Milo Brownie Pound Cake ( Recipe closely adapted from Pencil Kitchen )

175g butter, room temperature

150g caster sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

200 ml milk

200g milo powder, extra 50g for dusting

a pinch coffee granules

40g cocoa powder

200g all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 pinch salt

1 tbs salted butter, melted

Steps : 

1) Preheat oven to 175 degrees celcius.  Prepare a 9×9 inch springform baking tin by lining the bottom with grease proof paper and lightly coating the interior with olive oil.

2) Dissolve 100g of milo powder and coffee granules in milk. Heat it a little to allow it to dissolve quicker. Set it aside and allow it to cool completely.

3) In a large bowl, sift the flour, 100g of milo powder, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

4) In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and beat till just combined. Stir in the vanilla bean paste.

5) Add the flour mixture and milo milk alternately, starting with the flour mixture.

Before going into the oven

6) Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and spread it out to make sure it’s evenly spread. Bake the cake for 30-40 mins (nothing more as it will overcook!) and allow it to cool in the tin for 10 mins.

all baked and ready to cool

7) Carefully release the spring and invert the cake onto a cooling rack. Brush the top with the melted salted butter and dust with 50g of milo powder.

milo brownie pound cake

Slice and enjoy it as it is, or zap it in the microwave to have it warm with a scoop of your favourite ice cream! (:

So dear readers, what is your favourite childhood drink? Would love to know!

Till then, remember to always cook and bake with love! xx

Gingery & Coconutty Granola

Gingery & coconutty granola

You and I both know I absolutely love brunch. But during the week, it’s impossible to have brunch due to work and more often than not, I end up having a slice of toast with either peanut butter or vegemite and out of the door I went! But I really wanted to have something healthy and good in the morning to keep me full for most of the morning before lunch so I decided to make my own granola to go with yogurt! Mmmm (:

Granola with greek yogurt

I also wanted to try using something I’ve never used before, but has been on my mind for a while now – Molasses. A dark and viscous by-product of the refining of sugar cane. The health benefit of molasses is its high mineral content. It’s wheat, dairy, lactose, gluten and yeast free! It smells and tastes quite similar to gula melaka hehe I like it!

Molasses

It’s not as sweet as honey, but still makes the granola yummy! (: Had to take that risk, but so glad I did. hehe I tried baking a cake with it, but I think I probably used too much and the taste over took the whole cake, so I’m sticking to sugar for my cakes. haha Or honey! But for granola, it was perfect! hehe

IMG_6373-1

The best thing about this recipe? You could pretty much add what you love and it will still work! hehe I ransacked my whole pantry and took out everything I wanted and tossed it in the mix!  There were a few things I really wanted in my granola this time : toasted coconut and crystalised ginger! It was a combination I came across at the awesome Borough Market in London during my recent trip! hehe So here we go! (:

Gingery & Coconutty Granola (A Food Made With Love original recipe)

1 cup shredded coconut (toasted till brown, set aside)

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup slivered almonds

1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 pistachios, roughly chopped

1/2 cup unsalted cashews, roughly chopped

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tbs olive oil

3 tbs molasses

1 cup raisins

1 cup goji berries

shredded coconut (before toasting)

Toasted shredded coconut

Steps :

1) Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celcius. In a large bowl, place the rolled oats, mixed nuts and cinnamon. Give it a good toss to so that they are well combined.

2) In a small pot, heat the olive oil and molasses on low heat till smooth. Drizzle over the oats mixture and mix till well combined.

3) Pour the mixture on a line tray and bake for about 35-40 mins, stirring every 10 minutes.

4) Remove from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Pour it back into the large bowl, and mix in the raisins and goji berries. Once the mixture is completely cooled, stir in the toasted coconut.

Gingery & coconutty granola

Enjoy on its own (it makes a great snack!) or with your favourite yogurt! (:

Food Made With Love Watermark 3 Black

PS: Did you notice the new logo for Food Made With Love? hehe Hope you guys like it and I just want to thank you for your continuous support and love for my posts! I won’t be here if not for you all, so thank you heaps! x

Have a great week ahead! Till the next post, remember to always cook and bake with love! 

Purple Carrot Cake & Sweet High Tea

Purple carrot cake

Good Sunday afternoon dear readers! I hope you’ve had a great weekend so far! (: I’m about to head to the airport to embark on my adventure to Europe! But before I do, I wanted to share a Sweet High Tea organised by Miss D, at her place, a few weeks ago! We each had to bring a thing or two to share. Oh boy were there heaps of delicious yummies, bother sweet and savoury!

Here’s a quick glimpse of the spread we had!

Freshly baked scones and Momofuku's Bagel Bomb

First up : Daisy’s Country Women’s scones and Julie’s Momofuku Milk Bar bagel bombs! Before I go into details, how cute is the bag? It keeps the yummies warm too! So need to get one. hehe Anyway, back to the food! The scones were freshly baked and so so good with cream and homemade strawberry and fig jam! hehe Julie’s bagel bombs were TO DIE FOR. Omgness. Biting into the bagel bomb was just heavenly. It’s filled with cream cheese, bacon (YES BACON) and spring onion.

The inside of the bagel bomb

How good does that look? I wanted more! hehe

Smoked salmon sandwiches

Next up : Smoked salmon sandwiches with cream cheese and capers. These were made by Ling and the smoked salmon were so so good and fresh! She also made some caramel slice! A good match of savoury and sweet! hehe

caramel slice

Broccoli and cheese muffins

Last of the savoury : My broccoli and cheese muffins! I haven’t made this for ages and I’m so glad there was an occasion to make them! Mums who want their children to have veggies should make these! Cheesy goodness and you can barely taste the broccoli! hehe So glad the girls liked them too! hehe

Kuehs by Cltyw

Then came the sweets! hehe My eyes were fixated on these the moment it came through the door! Liz made my two favourite kuehs : kueh dadar and kueh sarlat! Kueh dadar is a thin pandan crepe that is filled with a mixture of gula meleka and coconut! If I haven’t already said this, I am OBSESSED with gula melaka! haha Love it more than normal sugar. hehe If I could flavour everything with it, I would! Kueh sarlat consists of two layers : the bottom is glutinous rice, and the top is a thick pandan custard! It was perfect! I wanted to steal the whole plate back! hehe

Peanut butter cupcakes

In true Sweet Queen fashion, Daisy made something sweet of course! hehe Peanut butter cupcakes with a surprise mini Reese’s peanut butter cup at the bottom! hehe Nothing could be better than the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. It was delish! hehe

Guinness ginger bread

Michele came with two beautiful sweets : a guinness ginger bread that’s so so moist and soft! hehe The ginger taste was subtle and just went perfectly with a cuppa tea! hehe

Eton Mess Cake

She also made a pretty eton mess cake! hehe It’s topped with strawberries and merigue nests and of course, we had it with a dollop (or two) of double cream. Mmmmmm (: That’s the sound we were all making when we had it. haha

Purple carrot cake

Last but not least, it’s my humble purple carrot cake! hehe I love love love carrot cake but I probably haven’t made one in almost close to 5 years now. haha I have to say I’m really brave by baking cakes that I’ve not done in a while. I was soooo relieved when it was moist and crumbly. Instead of the usual orange carrots, I decided to give it a small twist by using purple carrots! hehe The colour turned out purplish blue! To top it, I decided to use the Hummingbird Bakery’s cream cheese icing. It’s one of the best ones I’ve had! Creamy and not too heavy. hehe I have to say I was really happy with it! 🙂

So I just want to share the recipe with you! Do give it a try if you love carrot cake like I do! (I know it seems I love everything, but I really do. haha)

Purple carrot cake

Purple Carrot Cake (adapted from The Cake Mistress)

2-3 large purple carrots, finely grated

I cup packed brown sugar

1 cup olive oil

3 large eggs

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp bicarb soda

2 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, extra to garnish

1/2 cup raisins

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

Cream Cheese Frosting (From the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

300g icing sugar

125g cream cheese

50g unsalted butter, soften

finely grated purple carrot

Steps : 

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

2) Beat brown sugar and olive oil until it gets to a thicker consistency. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well combined.

3) Add salt, bicarb soda, carrots, flour, walnuts, raisins and spices. Mix it on slow speed until everything is well combined.

all scooped and ready to go into the oven

4) Put batter into a well greased baking tray (I used a 12-square loaf tin) and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until its lightly golden and the toothpick comes out clean after inserting it into the middle.

All baked

5) For the frosting : Beat the icing sugar and butter in a mixing bowl until well combined. 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. Pipe onto the cakes (when they are cooled) and top with a small piece of walnut.

ENJOY! (:

Purple Carrot Cake

Hope you’ll give this a try and do let me know what you think when you do! hehe Have a good week ahead everyone! Just letting you know I will be away for the next 3 weeks as I will be in the UK! But I will come back with lots of good food and pictures to share, I promise! So till then, remember to always cook and bake with love! xx