Monday, January 5, 2009

Sugee Cake

Sugee cake is a very rich, buttery, almondy cake with a grainy texture. Its sort of a traditional Eurasian celebration cake, and often makes its appearance at events such as weddings and christmas. Semolina, which is granulated wheat flour is the special ingredient in the cake is what makes the cake texture so special.

I made this cake using my husband's family sugee cake recipe. When the cake was baking, the aroma of the cake filled my kitchen and diffused into my hall and I couldn't wait for it to be ready. After it was done, the cake was warm and tasted slightly dry, however, after sitting for a day to let the flavors blend and merge, the cake was perfect!


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Pasta with Braised Duck Sauce

I have seen this recipe on Chubby Hubby's blog and have been wanting to try it. I'm very selective of the type of meats that I eat, and I'm not a fan of duck, having tried versions which were for very "ducky" for the lack of a better word. But I read positive reviews of this from reputable blogs, and I could picture in my mind, how the flavours of the celery, onions, carrots and tender duck meat would blend together. I decided that this one will make it to my "Recipes to try list". I hunted for duck legs, and found them at the frozen food section in Carrefour at Suntec city. Bought a 1 kg bag and scaled down the recipe by a third for dinner for two.


Verdict: The duck was extremely tender and flavourful after being stewed for two hours. The tangy tomato taste was subtle and well balanced with the basey duck meat. The sauce rested on a bed of spinach fettucine, cooked till al dente of course. This would be a dish I would serve up if I entertain, as it taste great and looks very presentable. Finish up the meal with a nice chilled sparkling Muscato. La Dolce Vita!

Recipe adapted from Chubby Hubby's Blog

Chef Roberto Galetti’s Braised Duck Sauce

180 gr celery, julienne
180gr carrots, julienne
180 gr onion, julienne
1 kg duck legs
400 g of stewed whole tomatoes (SW brand, I used the whole can)
250g red wine
500 ml chicken stock
2 bay leaves
Pinch of Salt
4 Dashes of Black Pepper
Salted lurpak butter
Parmesan Cheese
Italian Parsley

In a big pot, sauté the vegetables with olive oil.
Meanwhile flour (with corn starch) the duck legs and then pan-fry them until golden. (The excess corn flour also helps to thicken the sauce later)
Put the duck legs into the pot together with the vegetables.
Then add the wine, the bay leaves, and the tomato. Crush the tomatoes into the pot with your hands. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring everything to a boil. As soon as it boils, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, separate the meat from the sauce. Remove excess fat and skin. Then debone the duck legs, mixing the meat back into the vegetables and sauce. Leave some meat in chunks. Leave to rest.

Cook the pasta till al dente. Then reheat a portion of the sauce in a pan with butter, black pepper, and salt. Add some of the boiled/cooked noodles and toss. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and Italian Parsley over the pasta and serve immediately.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Carrot Cake



Cordon Rose Banana Cake

I guess anything that indulges our senses, smell, sight, taste can bring us back to a a memory, be it a happy or sad one. I have always liked banana cake. I think it has something to do with the smell. The sweet scent that reminds me of family, comfort and it does tug at your heartstrings.

Having read very good reviews on this banana cake from Rose Levy Beranbaum's "The Cake Bible", I decided to purchase the book and this recipe was the first one that I would try. I had some bananas which were grown organically in my mother's garden, and gave it a go.

I used the Nordic Ware Bouquet Pan, which gives me two roses, two daises and two sunflowers. The little cakes rose in the oven and erupted in the center! I had to adjust the baking time as the time in the recipe was for a normal sized cake. After they were cooked, I flipped the pan over and placed it on a wire rack for about 3 minutes, placing some pressure on the pan so the erupted dome would retreat and I would get a somewhat flat bottom. It worked and here's a photo of my rose.

Cordon Rose Banana Cake (adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible)
2 large ripe bananas, at room temperature
120g sour cream
2 large eggs (about 60g with shell), at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g sifted cake flour
170g caster sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
142g unsalted butter, softened
Icing Sugar for Dusting

Preheat oven to 175C.
Using a food processor, process bananas and sour cream till well combined. Add eggs, lemon zest and vanilla in. Process till smooth and set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar using an electric mixer for about half a minute. Add butter and half of banana mixture in, beating batter on low speed till just combined. Increase speed to medium and beat for about a minute and a half. Add remaining banana mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds on low speed after each addition.
Pour batter into prepared Nordicware Pan, filling each mould till about three quarters full. Bake for about 22- 25 minutes or till skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and then from pan and let cakes cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle Icing Sugar before serving.