Saturday, 19 April 2014

pizza in a cuppa

I don't know what has got into me when I googled using the key words 'pizza muffins'.

I have some left over cheese, ham and pineapples after making a seafood pizza and a hawaiian pizza. Not knowing what to do with the leftover ingredients, I surfed the net for recipe ideas. Nothing much inspires me when I searched using the words such as 'ham and pineapple'. A silly thought suddenly came to my mind and I typed 'pizza muffins' in the search box. I wasn't expecting anything at all...but to my surprise, pizza muffins is actually nothing new!

It took me no time to decide on this Hawaiian pizza muffins by Donna Hay since I have most of the ingredients on hand. I halved the recipe and adapted it slightly as I needed to substitute a couple of the ingredients.

These delicious savoury muffins smell just like pizzas when they are baking in the oven! They are great for afternoon snacks and certainly a great way to use up any left over pizza ingredients :)

Hawaiian Pizza Muffins

(makes 9)

225g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs (optional)
105g grated cheddar (divide into 60g and 45g portion)
100g ham, chopped
100g chopped pineapple, drained
80ml vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (I replaced with 2 tablespoons pasta sauce)
1 egg
120ml milk

  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Sieve flour, baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add salt, mixed herbs (if using), 60g of the grated cheese, ham and pineapple, mix to combine. 
  • Place the oil, tomato paste (I used pasta sauce), egg and milk in a bowl and whisk to combine. 
  • Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture, with a spatula mix until just combined. 
  • Spoon into 1/3 cup-capacity (80ml) paper muffin cups and sprinkle top with remaining cheese. 
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. These muffins are best served freshly baked. Any leftovers can be stored in air tight containers. Warm them in the oven before serving. 
Recipe source: adapted from Donna Hay.

Monday, 7 April 2014

kinako chiffon

This is a much delayed post. I have made this Kinako Chiffon cake on several occasions but only managed to take pictures of it when I baked one again recently.

Kinako is roasted whole soy flour commonly used in making Wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery) such as dango and mochi. I find kinako tastes bland on its own, but it has got a very nice nutty fragrance, somewhat like roasted peanut powder, or similar to the familiar whiff of an open jar of peanut butter. It is a healthy, gluten-free wheat flour with a high nutritional value, full of vitamin B and protein. It is easy to incorporate kinako into one's diet...sprinkle some over buttered toast bread with sugar or honey; dust it over ice cream, yoghurt or mixed it with soy milk or cow's milk for a nutritious beverage. Kinako also works well in baking recipes such as pancakes, cookies and quick breads.

Although the recipe from the cook book 'Okashi – Sweet treats made with love by Keiko Ishida' states 'brown sugar' I used dark brown sugar. As a result my chiffon cake has a much darker shade. Dark brown sugar has more molasses, this gives the cake a deeper, richer flavour. The texture of the cake is light and airy and has a nice 'peanut butter' fragrant.

I served the cake with banana slices sprinkled with kinako powder and a drizzle of homemade dark brown sugar syrup. I got the idea from this famous Chinese blogger, Carol, when I stumbled upon her post 黑糖蜜黃豆粉香蕉 (banana with dark brown sugar syrup and kinako). It only takes a little extra effort to turn the cake into a delightful sweet treat that my family enjoys :)

Kinako Chiffon Cake (黃豆粉戚风蛋糕)

(makes one 7" cake)

3 egg yolks (use large eggs)
15g dark brown sugar
40g vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
40g water
30g cake flour
30g kinako (roasted soybean flour)

3 egg whites (use large eggs)
30g caster sugar
6g corn flour

  1. Place egg yolks in a mixing bowl. With a balloon whisk, whisk the yolks a little. Add in brown sugar and whisk to combine. Add in vegetable oil gradually, whisk to combine. Add the water, whisk to combine. Sieve over the flour and kinako, whisk till the flour is fully incorporated. Do not over mix. Set aside.
  2. Mix the 30g caster sugar with the corn flour.
  3. In a clean, dry mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer on low speed until mixture becomes frothy and foamy. Add half of the sugar and corn flour mixture and turn to high speed and beat the mixture. Continue to add in the remaining sugar mixture and beat until the egg whites reaches the soft peak stage.The soft peak stage is reached when the peaks of the whites curl over and droop slightly. The egg whites should appear smooth and glossy. (Do not over beat the whites still stiff, it is better to beat the whites still soft peaks for easy folding with the yolk batter.)
  4. Add the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk batter in 3 separate additions, each time folding gently with a spatula (I use a balloon whisk) until just blended.
  5. Pour batter into a 7" chiffon tube pan(do not grease the pan). Tap the pan lightly on a table top to get rid of any trapped air bubbles in the batter.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 degC for 30 mins, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, when lightly pressed the cake will spring back. Invert the pan immediately and let cool completely before unmould. To remove the cake from the pan, run a thin-bladed knife around the inside of the pan and the center core. Release the cake and run the knife along the base of the pan to remove the cake.
Serving suggestions: Serve chiffon cake with sliced banana, topped with 1 tablespoon kinako and a drizzle of dark brown sugar syrup*.

*to make dark brown sugar syrup: Place 25ml water and 50g dark brown sugar in a pan. Heat the mixture till the sugar dissolved. Remove from heat. Add in 1/2 tablespoon honey, stir to combine. Leave to cool before using. (Double or triple the recipe accordingly to yield more syrup).

Recipe source: adapted from Okashi – Sweet treats made with love by Keiko Ishida