Yelly Eats

Chocolate Guinness Cake

I made this cake yesterday to bring to work today.  We were having a buffet for someone’s leaving do.  I thought as I wanted something chocolatey and the person was Irish (or at least I think he is), I thought an Irish-themed cake would be a great idea.  So I went and baked a chocolate guinness cake!

The recipe was from Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days cookbook.  I’ve made this several times now and one thing that I completely love about the Hummingbird Bakery books is that if you follow the recipe to the letter, the cakes turn out beautifully!

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Yelly Eats

Baking is the best medicine?

I called in sick today because I got up and my head was absolutely pounding and I felt absolutely horrible.  Nevertheless, I soldiered on.  I jumped into the shower and went through the motions and got ready for work.  30 minutes into my morning rituals, I just sank into bed and said to myself that I was well and truly too ill to even finish getting ready.  I got back into my bed clothes and dived back into bed.  I got up after a couple of hours and only to call in sick.  I didn’t feel human until nearly lunch time.

I forced myself out of bed and tried to just sit up.  I knew that the longer I stayed in bed, the more I would feel horrible.  I knew my body well enough.  If I gave it a chance to wallow in illness it would wallow until it was well and truly pruney!  So I got up.  I thought I’d do a spot of baking because baking always made me feel better.  Although, as an afterthought, I was breaking an unofficial rule that I followed: never to cook or bake when I’m not feeling well (whether it was illness or just a general tiredness)!  I thought doing a spot of recipe development would help me feel better.

I’ve been trying to develop this base recipe.  So far, it’s worked for banana bread, blueberry cake, and apple sauce cake.  I recently baked a lemon and poppy seed cake and had a few leftover lemons and loads of poppyseeds so I thought I’d bake another lemon and poppy seed cake.  I had this great idea that I’d try making mini lemon and poppy seed bundt cakes using my lovely mini-bundt cake tin.  I’ve only used it once, making my Lola Lucing’s torta cebuana (which reminds me, I need to try  making them again!).

So off I went and baked.  I think they turned out quite well, except the seemed to be a tiny bit drier that I wanted them to be.  I think the tweak needs to be that the temperature needs to be a bit lower and there needs to be more syrup for the cakes to soak in.  But otherwise, they looked adorable!  I didn’t necessarily feel better after baking because I felt even more shattered if that was at all possible.  I’m not exactly going to complain though because I made 12 beautiful mini bundt cakes and 4 cupcakes as a result!

Yelly Writes

Happy birthday Abbadabbadoo!

 

 

It’s my Abba’s birthday today.  He’s in the Philippines and miss him terribly.  I miss our chats and the jokes that we share (our weekly Skype sessions help though!).  And everytime I think back to my childhood, I think, my goodness, I have the coolest dad!  Not only is he Jewish, he’s a geneticist too!  This was the man who helped me make a science project about electical circuits without going to the hardware store.  We made everything from recycled materials!  This happened even before recycling was the fashionable thing to do!  And, while I always laugh at him when he does his version of the Bill Cosby father dance, I think it’s very cute!

As I grow older I appreciate more and more everything that he has done for us, given up for us and taught us so that we could be the best that we can be.  I did follow most of the advice almost blindly at the time but only now do I understand why he would tell me to do certain things a certain way.  He’s been through a lot of things and he has always wanted his children to not make the same mistakes he’s made, that’s why he insists that we do things his way.  When I think about the times when I thought I was being smart and independent by doing things MY way, I just shake my head.  I should’ve listened and did things my way.  I would’ve saved myself a lot of heartache!

Thank you for everything Abba.  Without you, quite literally, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  Happy birthday!  I love you!

Yelly Eats

Rum baba, yum baba!

One of my favourite sweet treats is a rum baba!  I had one in Manila AGES ago and never forgot how good it was.

Alan had this waiting for me when I got home from work on Friday.  My tummy thanks you very, very much for the lovely surprise! ♥

I saw Paul Hollywood make this on the Great British Bake Off masterclass this week.  And, of course, because I love it, I’m going to HAVE TO learn how to make them myself!  I HAVE TO!

Yelly Eats

Sweet and sour fish!

I few weeks ago, I finally managed to go to Hung’s in Chinatown in London, upon the recommendation of  London foodie, Helen Pang.  Helen has never recommended anything that has disappointed.  She was the one who introduced me to Gelupo Gelato and Gelupo is now a mainstay of my London trips–whatever the weather.  So when Helen recommended Hung’s, I made a mental note to try the food there.  I’m still, sort of, mourning the loss of Tai Ka Lok and I was still sort of looking for a restaurant to replace it in my list of absolute London Chinese restaurant maintstays.  The first visit to Hung’s was so amazing that when we went to London again a few weeks later, it was a definite must-go-to.

We had a lovely supper: braised mushrooms and pak choi, a portion of crispy pork, sweet and sour fish and boiled rice.  The sweet and sour fish was absolutely divine!  The fish was lovely and sweet and it kind of melted in your mouth!  I’ve been dreaming of Hung’s sweet and sour fish that I had to do something similar at home.  It was a pretty good idea because I had frozen basa fillets lounging in my freezer!

My mom used to make sweet and sour sauce from scratch, Filipino style, but I wanted to see if  I could make something closer to the Chinese style of making the sauce.  I googled it and found a recipe that was so similar to my mom’s that I knew it was going to taste really nice.  You can find the instructions for the recipe here.  It cooks in 5 minutes and you can add anything you want to it.  You just put together all the ingredients and cook it until it’s as thick as you want it to be.

  • 1/3 cup white or rice vinegar (Note: rice vinegar gives better results)
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 4 teaspoons water

I breaded the fish before I fried them.  I sort of love breading anything really.  I do a little conveyor belt of the elements bowls of  seasoned flour (or cornstarch), beaten egg and breadcrumbs.  Depending on what you’re making, seasoned flour to me usually just means salt and pepper mixed in with the flour.  One tip I learned from either Nigella or Ina Garten (it was so long ago that I can’t remember!  It might even be Giada de Laurentis!) was to use just one hand so that you kept the other hand clean because breading things can be quite gluggy!

After breading the fish, I fried the fish to a crispy, lovely golden brown.  Make sure that you rest them on kitchen paper so that the excess oil is absorbed.

Then while the fish was cooling, I cooked the sweet and sour sauce.  Instead of adding the cornstarch right away, I added sliced onions and chopped red and yellow bell peppers and allowed them to cook slightly.  I added a few cubes of pineapple out from a tin.  A slight variation from the recipe, instead of using 4 teaspoons of water, I added 4 tablespoons of the pineapple syrup from the tin to dissolve the cornstarch and added that to the cooking sauce.

Once the sauce is at the thickness that you want it to be, you can assemble your dish.  To keep the fish lovely and crispy, I suggest just pouring the sweet and sour sauce over it.  And voila!  You have sweet and sour fish!

Yelly Eats

Tired?

I’m absolutely exhausted today!  I found myself dozing off while on the train this evening, on my way home tonight.  It wasn’t too dangerous because my stop was the last stop on the line anyway.  But I think it’s a lot safer if I stayed wide awake during the journey home.

I did, however, manage to bake a lemon and poppy seed cake tonight.  All in the name of baking!

Yelly Writes

Post mortem on The Great British Bake Off

 

Congratulations to John Waite for winning this year’s Great British Bake Off.  But my question is, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ON TUESDAY EVENINGS NOW?!?

From left: John Waites, GBBO Series 3 winner, Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry, James Morton, GBBO Series 3 runner up, and Brendan Lynch, GBBO Series 3 runner up