Sunday, 12 August 2012

butterflied roast chicken

I first saw this honey sesame roast chicken over at Min's blog, and was reminded again when I hopped over to Jessie's blog a couple of days ago. The recipe came so timely, as I had planned to roast a chicken over the long weekend =)

I have no intention to post this up as I knew I would have problem taking photos in the evening. When I was plating the dish, my elder son came over to ask whether he could take a picture of the roast chicken. He told me he could adjust the camera settings to compensate the poor lighting, and so I gladly hand over the role of photographer. His brother was happy to be his assistant, trying his best to bounce some light to the subject from his touch light to my baking tray (^^") I didn't expect anything decent since we do not have any external flash and it was already very dark. Fortunately, the picture quality was good enough for me to post his photos here, at least no one would mistake the chicken for something else ;)

I butterflied (or spatchcock) the chicken before roasting hoping that the chicken would brown evenly. Yet, some parts tend to brown faster so I had to cover it with foil to prevent it from getting burnt. I roasted it for close to an hour, turning it over in between and basting it with the marinate before returning to the oven.

The original recipe calls for honey, but I replaced it with maple syrup since I did not have any honey on hand. Nevertheless, the roast chicken still tasted as good as I had expected or imagined, it was tender and juicy. I had it with rice while the rest were having a good time wrapping up the chicken meat with tortilla wraps. The roasted vegetables were really good, especially the roasted sweet potatoes and onions! I would gladly eat the veggies even without any chicken. There is no doubt about it...this is going to be a regular visitor on our table. Thanks to Min and Jessie for sharing their wonderful recipes!

Monday, 6 August 2012

quick bread from my kitchen

It was love at first sight when I came across a Chocolate and Banana Bread while flipping through Linda Collister's book, Cakes and Bakes from My Mother's Kitchen. After a quick run through of the ingredients list, I had it bookmarked right away. Here's a quote from the author:

'This is a real treat for children everywhere or the big kid in all of us. Use milk chocolate and a banana~ or chocolate flavoured yoghurt for children or really dark chocolate and natural yoghurt for adults. This bread does improve with keeping - even for just a day.'

I am sold.


I would think most home bakers would try to bake something with bananas only if they were left with over-ripe bananas sitting on their kitchen counters begging to be used. For me, I specially bought a bunch of bananas and waited patiently for days, for them to turn black ;)

I stick closely to the original recipe and even took the trouble to measure my baking pans to make sure it fits the description of a '450lb size loaf pan'. I also bought a bag of self-raising flour just for it although I could easily do a substitution with plain flour and baking powder. I have bookmarked a few other recipes from this same book, and most call for self raising flour, so I am certain that it will be put to good use soon.

The finished loaves didn't look exactly like the illustration in the cookbook and that was largely my fault as I have replaced grated chocolates with baking chocolate chips. So, instead of a chocolaty, rustic loaf, I got a chocolate chips studded 'golden pillow' instead. I couldn't decide whether to love or hate the look of the finished loaves...from one perspective they were so awful but from another angle, I thought they looked cute and rustic all at the same time ;)

I encountered some mishaps when preparing the batter for this quick bread. Till now, I am not sure whether there is any typo error as I still can't believe that the amount of butter used is just a mere 55g? With so little butter compared to the amount of sugar and eggs, I was really skeptical that the batter would be 'fine'. Indeed, I had a busy time trying to cover the mixing bowl with my free hand to avoid having butter and suger splatting all over my counter. Fortunately, perseverance pays off, the heat from beating the butter caused the mixture to come together, from a bowl of 'sugary crumbs' to something I am more familiar with whenever I creamed butter and sugar together. I took extra care when adding the eggs, knowing that curdling would be quite unavoidable. True enough, the mixture did curdled into a mess of 'tau-huay' (bean curd), but not upon adding the eggs, but after I dumped in the yoghurt all at once. What a blunder!

Of course, I went on to add in the rest of the ingredients, keeping my fingers crossed all the time...hopping it wouldn't fall into that 'totally-waste-of-ingredients' category. Despite the blunders I made, the finished bread turn out to be deliciously moist and full of banana goodness. These bread loaves were truly flavours and fragrance-packed, since I took the liberty to add in some vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. Tell me, who can refuse a slice that is packed with banana, chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla? The author suggested to serve it thickly sliced with chocolate and hazenut spread (aka nutella), but I think it is really not necessary, but of course, no one will stop you or any kid from doing so :)

Chocolate Chips Banana Bread

(makes two loaves, pan size: 17.5cmx9cmx6cm))

55g unsalted butter, room temperature
150g light brown soft sugar/ light muscovado sugar (I cut down to 120g)
2 large eggs, beaten
100g natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not included in original recipe)
350g over-ripe banana, mashed
300g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (not included in original recipe)
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g semi-sweet chocolate chips (original recipe calls for 200g milk or dark chocolate, coarsely grated)

  • Line base and sides of 2 loaf pans with parchment paper. Sieve together flour, ground cinnamon and salt, set aside.
  • With electric mixer beat butter and sugar until well combined. Gradually beat in the eggs, little by little, followed by the yoghurt (add in gradually too) and vanilla extract.
  • With a spatula, stir in the mashed banana. Fold in the flour mixture, followed by the chocolate chips until just combined. Spoon batter into prepare loaf pans, level the surface. Tap the pans on the work surface a few times to remove any trapped air bubbles.
  • Bake in preheated oven at 180degC for 40~45mins or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. (Optional: to ensure a nice crack upon baking, remove from oven after 15mins. With a knife, make a slit lengthwise along the centre of each loaf, return to oven and continue to bake until done). Leave to cool in pans for 10mins. Unmold, remove parchment paper, transfer to wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  • The loaves are best if wrapped in baking paper and kept for 1 day before cutting. Store in airtight container and consume within 4 days. Serve in thick slices with nutella spread, if desired.
Recipe source: Cakes and bakes from my mother's kitchen, Linda Collister