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Hi! Thanks for visiting my humble blog :) My name is Alice. I'm a mother of two, a girl and a boy, married to just one man LOL! I love food, I love cooking, I love baking, and it has been growing even stronger with my ultimate love for my family - they're my best customers :) This blog is my e-recipe book, a means of sharing and learning one another. To connect, I'm just an email away: ilove.icook.ibake@gmail.com... Have a great day!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Italian Easter Bread

It's been more than a week I haven't posted anything
Have been feeling sick, down with flu - again! Can't believe I just had flu one month ago and now it happened again :(
Anyway, I am feeling better since yesterday, still in recovery resting at home while DH brought the kids out

Itchy hands led me in the kitchen with an excuse that it's a must to bake in all occasions, including Easter LOL
Hot cross buns was in my mind at first, but having baked them for the past two Easters, I decided to try Italian Easter bread

Contemplating whether to use the recipe from Laura Vitale or Brown Eyed Baker (BEB)
Basically both recipe are really similar, so finally I decided to try out the latter, since I saw some orange juice used. It's also possible to add on orange juice when using Laura's recipe, just replace the water with orange juice, and soak the yeast in warm milk instead - will give it a try next time :)

Please don't laugh. I failed in shaping the bread to a beautiful braided ring like what Michelle from BEB did.
Look at that! Why it's not round? Where are the lines from the braid? I wonder...
FYI, that was the fourth attempt of shaping, but still it's far from satisfactory hiks...
But not too worry, failure like this is always accepted on my side as a challenge. Will definitely give this a try everytime I bake bread!

Okay, aside from the weird braided ring bread you just saw, look below and you'll agree by just looking. This bread is soft, fluffy and yummy with a hint of orange taste
It's should be better if it's a little sweeter to my liking. But Nutella spread helped my that only complaint :)

What you need:
(I made only 1/4 recipe below, slightly modified)

320g bread flour
90ml fresh milk
25g sugar
1 medium orange, zested and juiced (about 50ml)
1 1/8 tsp dry yeast
57g butter, melted
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
a drop of anise oil (I skipped)

This recipe used glaze which I skipped (I believe this explained why I felt the bread was not sweet enough):
1/2 cup icing sugar
15ml fresh milk
colourful sprinkles (I used chocolate rice)

  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is warm to the touch, but not hot. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the temperature of the milk should be about 45degC
  2. While the heat is warming, place the sugar in a small bowl and add the orange zest. With your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar until it is completely incorporated and the sugar is moistened
  3. Once the milk reaches the correct temperature, stir in the sugar and zest mixture, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the yeast, stir, and let sit for 10 minutes
  4. I used my breadmaker to do the kneading. I poured in the yeast mixture in the pan, followed by orange juice and eggs. And then pour the dry ingredients - flour and salt
  5. Let it knead for 5 minutes and then add in melted butter and let it knead for 30 mins
  6. Take out the dough from the pan and on floured surface knead a little more, about a minute or two (I added a bit more bread flour)
  7. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat, and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a draft-free area and allow to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  8. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside
  9. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and divide in two. Roll two pieces of dough into about 15-inch long ropes. Loosely twist the ropes together. Transfer the braided rope to one of the prepared baking sheets and bring the ends together to form a ring, twisting and pinching the ends together to seal. Brush the tops of each with melted butter, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 45mins
  10. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 180degC. Just before putting in the dough into the oven, plant one raw egg in the centre hole. Brush all over with fresh milk. Bake until golden brown on top, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely
  11. Once the bread are cooled to room temperature, you can glaze them (if you desire). Whisk together the powdered sugar and the milk, adding more if necessary to reach the desired consistency. Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze onto the top and sides of the bread, and decorate with sprinkles. If you have leftovers, wrap well in plastic wrap

And there you go, your Easter bread is done :)
Now, look below, see my weird looking bunny? I saw this idea from yoyomax 12, she baked a cute bunny buns. I followed by making just one using 1/3 of the dough and I got one alien-like bunny LOL

Just roll the dough into 1 long rope, cut into three parts - long, medium and short
Shape the short one to a ball and you get the tail. Shape the long one to a circle and you get the body (with small hole at the centre for the egg). Shape the medium one to something similar to bunny face and ears. Attach all three together using beaten egg
Just before baking, place a raw egg at the centre of the body, brush all over with fresh milk and bake. When it's warm, I pressed one chocolate chip for the eye, and drew eyelashes, nose and lips using edible marker. Sprinkle icing sugar on the tail
My poor bunny nose was stuck at the pan's side, hence the flat nose hahaha...
You may view the step by step HERE She has tons of ideas. One of my favourite Youtubers bakers I follow :)

This poor bunny with a fish-like body need a nose job LOL

Soft and delicious. Texture a little bit changed the next morning, but it's back after warming up in the microwave for 15 seconds. Just like when it's fresh from the oven! :)
Oh and the eggs? It's perfectly cooked just like any other hard boiled egg :)

And since this bread is using orange as one of the ingredient, I am submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up organised by Bake For Happy Kids, and My Little Favourite DIY, hosted by Ann of Anncoo Journal at this post 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

ABC April 2014 - Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Thanks to Hanaa, I still manage to participate in this month's Avid Baker's Challenge (ABC)

Cinnamon bread. I always love it. Hence my curiosity in trying this recipe from King Arthur Flour (KAF)

It used white whole wheat flour. Adding with some mashed potato flakes. Interesting
But my luck went to the drain. I couldn't find mashed potato anywhere near my place. Now how weird is that. Something so common was nowhere to be found in three supermarkets!
You know what people always says... It's always there, but when you need it, it suddenly vanished. I can't agree more
So I ended up replaced it with bread flour
The recipe used overnight starter and another unique thing - orange juice (I used freshly squeezed orange juice)
The interesting thing is, there's no orange taste in the bread at all
According to KAF, the use of orange juice is to mellow any potential bitterness in the whole wheat

So, I tried. And yes, it's good!
Definitely not the best looking yeasted bread I ever baked. Somehow mine looks like quick bread. It didn't rise high during baking as mentioned. There's no brown crust on top. I wonder whether I would have it if I didn't tent the dough during the 45 minutes baking as instructed. Perhaps I should try next time, not to tent the dough while baking. That will make this bread look much better with the brown crust dome on top :)

You may view the full recipe HERE and step by side instruction HERE

Please do not expect soft fluffy pillowy bread like those Asian sweet bread we usually love
This is another kind. Something more artisan. But don't worry, you are not eating rock here. This is definitely soft. And yummy, too. So it's really worth trying. And in my case, second try :)
This post is for Avid Baker's Challenge April 2014, a baking event hosted by Hanaa from Hanaa's Kitchen

And since this bread is using orange as one of the ingredient, even though not for the taste, I am submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up organised by Bake For Happy Kids, and My Little Favourite DIY, hosted by Ann of Anncoo Journal at this post 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cinnamon French Toast with Caramelized Peaches (Curtis Stone)

An irresistible breakfast! Yum yum yum....

Recipe is from HERE

What you need:

For the caramelized peach:
1/2 cup sugar
4 peaches, pitted, each cut into 8 wedges
3 tbsp unsalted butter

For the French toast:
6 large eggs
 4 pcs 1/2-inch-thick slices brioche bread (I used thick toast)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp) unsalted butter
1/3 cup crème fraîche, for serving (I skipped)


To make the caramelized peach:
  1. Combine the sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a large heavy sauté pan over medium heat
  2. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a simmer
  3. Allow the syrup to boil over medium-high heat without stirring, brushing down the sides of the pan and swirling the pan occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly, for about 6 minutes, or until it begins to turn golden brown
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the peaches and butter and swirl until the butter melts
  5. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until the peaches are just tender
To make the French toast:
  1. Using a fork, beat the eggs in a 13x9 baking dish to blend
  2. Place the slices of bread in the eggs and let stand for 5 minutes, or until the eggs are absorbed, turning the brioche slices once
  3. Stir the sugar and cinnamon on a large plate, set aside
  4. Melt the butter on a heavy large griddle pan over medium heat
  5. Add the bread to the hot pan and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown on the outside and heated through
  6. Immediately place the hot French toast in the cinnamon-sugar and turn to coat completely
  7. Divide the French toast among 4 serving plates
  8. Spoon the peaches over the French toast, and drizzle the caramel sauce from the pan over the peaches and around the French toast
  9. Top with a dollop of crème fraîche (if using) and serve immediately

 Every bite will definitely make your day! :)

This post it for Cook Like A Star 2nd Anniversary Cooking Party March & April 2014 hosted by Zoe from Bake For Happy KidsMich from Piece of Cake and Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, where we can cook or bake like Donna Hay, Barefoot Contessa, Jamie Oliver, Masterchef, Martha Stewart, Delia Smith, Curtis Stone, Nigella Lawson, Ree Drummond and Bill Granger

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jalapeno Quesadillas (Ree Drummond)

I love quesadillas. This recipe is very easy to make. A delicious snack or appetizer to munch inspired by Ree Drummond :)

Recipe is from HERE
What you need:
6 tbsp butter
4 tortillas (I used wrap)
1 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
3 jalapenos, sliced thinly
250g mushroom, sliced (I used white button)
sour cream and cilantro for serving (I skipped)
  1. Lightly brown both sides of the tortillas in butter, in a skillet over medium heat. Remove to a plate
  2. Add butter to a separate skillet over medium heat, then add the sliced jalapenos. Stir and cook them. Remove from heat and set aside
  3. Cook mushrooms in butter over medium heat until deep golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add one tortilla back to the skillet you browned it in, and top with half the cheese. Top with half the jalapeños, mushrooms, then another tortilla. Cook on both sides, until tortillas are golden and the cheese is melted
  5. Cut into six wedges, then serve with sour cream and cilantro

Yum yum yum...

This post it for Cook Like A Star 2nd Anniversary Cooking Party March & April 2014 hosted by Zoe from Bake For Happy KidsMich from Piece of Cake and Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, where we can cook or bake like Donna Hay, Barefoot Contessa, Jamie Oliver, Masterchef, Martha Stewart, Delia Smith, Curtis Stone, Nigella Lawson, Ree Drummond and Bill Granger

Monday, March 31, 2014

Rainbow Swiss Roll

It's pretty. It's easy to make. it's butter-less. It's oil-less. Only 3 ingredients needed for the batter! Eggs, sugar and flour. Of course it's aside from the colors used :)
A good choice to make rainbow cake which is not so troublesome and not feel too guilty indulging in :)

Okay, this is not the best in texture. But it's not bad, either. It's pretty good, in fact. And it's delicious! It's soft and fluffy even though a little too chewy to my liking. Nonetheless, my family enjoyed this cake so much

Recipe is from Cathy's Joy

What you need:

60g egg yolks, lightly beaten
120g egg whites
80g plain flour, sifted
80g caster sugar

I used buttercream

  1. Beat egg whites til foamy. Add in sugar gradually til egg whites is nearly stiff peak
  2. Scoop about 3 heaped tbsp of egg whites and mix with egg yolks
  3. Pour back into the egg mixture. Add in sifted flour and gently fold in til evenly mixed
  4. Divide batter into 6 in separate bowls and color accordingly
  5. Spoon or pipe them into lined baking tray. Bake in preheated oven of 180degC for 15 minutes
  6. Let cool and spread buttercream. Roll tight

It's a pity that this will be the last month of Aspiring Bakers events. It's been a fruitful 3 over years. I've been so much inspired by the wonderful creations from all the participants each month. My big tank you to Small Small Baker for the initiative :)

Thai Style Stir Fry Garlic Prawns

I almost forgot about Little Thumbs Up event where this month we can cook anything with prawns. Prawns is my number one in the list when talking about seafood. I cannot miss it! :)

This simple recipe is from Tin Tin from Cooking Crave
Yummy and it goes so well with rice :)

What you need:

15-20 medium prawns, shelled, left the tail intact
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
7-8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp oil for stir-frying
1 fresh red chili, minced

  1. Remove all of the prawn shell up to the tail
  2. Devein the prawns by running a sharp knife along the spine to remove the black "vein"
  3. Marinade the prawns with oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, lime juice and fresh chili. Stir well to coat
  4. Heat some oil in a wok or frying pan. When it's hot, add the prawns with the marinade
  5. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes, or until shrimp are plump and turn pink. Do not overcook it, or the shrimps will turn rubbery. Serve warm with rice
Squeeze in more lime juice if prefer a more sourish taste and for those who loves spicy food, add in some bird's eye chilli chunks in it

This post is for Little Thumbs Up (LTU) An event initiated by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen from my little favourite DIY, hosted by Moon from Food Playground at this post.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

AFF Indonesia - Soto Ayam Ambengan

Unfortunately, this will be my last post for AFF Indonesia. I wish a month is not only thirty days LOL There are still so many Indonesian dishes I'd like to share with you. Well, it's not restricted to AFF event only anyway. You'll always see me posting Indonesian dishes from time to time in the future :)

Okay, this soto ayam is slightly different from soto ayam Kudus I ever shared sometime back
Soto ayam Ambengan is from East Java while soto ayam Kudus is from Central Java
What makes soto Ambengan special is the prawn garlic powder (poyah) sprinkled on the soto right before serving. Yum yum...

FYI, there are still a few different kinds of soto ayam from both East and Central Java. Hopefully slowly I can share them, too. I guess it shouldn't be too difficult since my family and I love soto :)

Recipe is from HERE

What you need:

For the soup:
1 free range chicken, cut as desired
5 stalks lemongrass, discard the green part, lightly pounded
10 lime leaves, tear
2 tbsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2,5L water
2 tbsp oil to sautee

Grind til smooth:
15 shallots
8 cloves of garlic
6 candlenuts, fry without oil for awhile
1 tsp turmeric powder
2cm old ginger

For the chilli paste:
7 red chillis (you may add bird's eye chilli if you prefer real hot)
1 clove of garlic
salt, sugar

For the poyah:
20g prawn crackers (ready to eat)
1 tbsp crushed fried garlic
a pinch of salt

3 hard boiled egg, sliced
150g cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 stalk of spring onion, finely chopped
50g bean vermicelli, soak til soft

Prepare all the ingredients in the serving bowl

Pour the soup over and sprinkle poyah
  1. Boil water and chicken in a large pot
  2. Heat oil in a wok. Sautee grinded ingredients, lemongrass, lime leaves til fragrant. Add into chicken stock. Add in salt and sugar. Bring to boil and simmer til chicken soft
  3. Scoop out chicken and pan fry for awhile
  4. To make the chilli paste: Boil chilli and garlic til soft. Drain. Add in salt and sugar to the chilli. Blend but not til smooth
  5. Serve the soup with chicken, all the garnishes, poyah and chilli paste

Mix it all up after adding chilli paste... So refreshing. Nom nom nom...

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest: Indonesiahosted by me, Alice from I Love. I Cook. I Bake       


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