Chocolate Never Disapppoints

The thing about keeping up with social media is that you tend to go through everything you wrote or uploaded in the past decade or so. While things I’ve written in my adolescence have since been buried, I think I only grew up in the last three years or so.

I used to write a lot. I wrote my heart out. I wrote my mind out. Writing kept me sane and my mind vibrant. I was always on a verbal diarrhoea. Writing was my way of communicating, even as a child. I was always told to keep my mouth shut, so I turned to writing. As I grew older however, I learned to keep quiet – even in my writing.

You see, I discovered photography. I discovered that life will always be throwing rotten lemons and tomatoes at you. I realised that no one really gives a hoots ass about what you have to say. Whatever struggles or cause you’re fighting for, there will be others who say you’re in no position to say the things you write about. I just gave up with writing because I could not deal with the naysayers.

Photographs, on the other hand, are amazing. They say a picture says a thousand words, which means with all of my photos combined, I would have published 10 papers or perhaps 3 novels. In another life, I could be a children’s book author if I had not been told that my stories were too wild, imaginative and far fetched without a local context (this happened to me when I was eight). In another life I could have been a journalist, if I had not been told that I don’t fit the bill as one. In another life, I would not have been the me I am today.

Perhaps I will continue disappointing those around me, or maybe I was meant for the thug life. Nothing good ever comes easy, am I right? I’m far from the success I want for myself. It’s not fair for someone else to tell me that I’m done and or that I should slow down. I will walk even faster, run if I must (though I literally hate running), just to prove a point that nothing good ever comes easy, and that time truly heals all wounds.

Just when we think we’ve figured things out, the universe throws us a curveball. So we have to improvise. We find happiness in unexpected places. We find our way back to the things that matter the most. The universe is funny that way. Sometimes it just has a way of making sure we wind up exactly where we belong.

– Grey’s Anatomy

I do find happiness in unexpected places. Some places, morbid. Others, bright and cheery. Whatever curveball the universe sends to me, I’ll be ready in a heartbeat.

Very Fudgy Chocolate Muffins

Adapted from Bright Eyed Baker

fudgychocmuffins-2

Ingredients

2 cups plain flour

1 cup natural cocoa powder, sifted

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1 1/4 cups caster sugar

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)

1 1/2 cups sour cream (I used 1 1/2 cups milk with 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

10 1/2 ounces chocolate chips and/or chopped chocolate (I didn’t measure the amount of chocolates I used!)

Method

  1. Beat oil, sugar and vanilla together till fluffy.
  2. Add in eggs and yolk, gradually.
  3. Add in all the dry ingredients except for the chocolates, and alternate with the sour cream.
  4. Beat until well combined.
  5. Add in chocolate chips and mix well.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  7. Serve with ice cream!
Advertisements

Sea Salt Chocolate Tart

I miss baking. I had to force myself to get off my lazy arse to bake this. And that’s only because I had chocolates and some cream lying around in the fridge which I had to use before the expiry date. I’ve been very productive with my photography business, and I cannot thank God enough for making it happen for me.

If you noticed, I uploaded a few of my older articles onto this blog. I figured rather than let the articles go to waste, I should be letting you all read them! Sigh, blogging is so much more difficult now that there’s Instagram and Twitter. Wait, do people even use Facebook anymore?

This shall be a really quick post because as much I would love to share what’s been going on for me, I think I’ll let the photos do the talking again. Have fun with this recipe! It was major yums anyways.

Sea Salt Chocolate Tart

seasaltchoctart-1

Tart base (Taken from BBC Good Food)

225g plain flour

100g unsalted butter

A pinch of salt

3 tbsp cold water

  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Stir in the salt, then add 2-3 tbsp water and mix to a firm dough.
  3. Knead the dough briefly and gently on a floured surface. Wrap in cling film and chill while preparing the filling.

Chocolate filling (Adapted from Jamie Oliver)

300g double cream

2 tsp caster sugar

A pinch of fine sea salt

200g 70% chocolate

  1. Heat the oven to 180 deg.
  2. Roll out the pastry made earlier onto a floured surface.
  3. Cover with baking paper, fill with dried beans and bake blind for 10-15 minutes, remove beans and bake again for 15 minutes until golden.
  4. Put the cream, sugar and salt in a pan and bring to the boil.
  5. Remove as soon as the mixture boils up.
  6. Off the heat, add the butter and chocolate. Stir until blended.
  7. Pour the chocolate onto the tart, and chill at room temperature for 2 hours before refrigerating it.
  8. Chill overnight. Sprinkle sea salt before serving.

Let There Be Cake

Last week’s Masterchef Junior Episode saw the little kids baking a layer cake for the elimination challenge. Watching them cook and bake would put many of us to shame, really. These kids are 8 to 13 year olds, mind you. Naturally, I got reminded of  my first layer cake which I made when I was fourteen. After the first successful attempt, my best friend asked me for help to make her mum’s birthday cake. I brought along my baking tins over to her place and we made the cake, albeit it wasn’t so pretty. And I only got my baking tins back about 3 years ago. (I still love you Hannah :P)

So since I haven’t baked in a while, I decided to bake today. This is a spin off to the first layer cake I made. If I’m not wrong I used the Hershey’s Celebration Chocolate Cake back then. Fast forward 9 years and here I am using Valhorna instead of Hershey’s! Talking about improvements!

I adapted Nigella’s chocolate cake recipe and Kak Rima‘s chocolate ganache recipe. These two will never go wrong, trust me. Just pardon the ugly frosting and piping. I’m still working on that.

Image

Nigella’s Chocolate Cake

For the cake:

400 grams plain flour

250 grams castor sugar

100 grams brown sugar

50 grams best quality cocoa powder (I used Valhorna as it IS the BEST!)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

142 milliliters/small tub sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

175 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled

125 milliliters corn oil

300 milliliters chilled water (I used milk instead – it’s way nicer!)

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
  • Butter and line the bottom of two 20cm sandwich tins
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and salt. In another bowl or wide-necked measuring jug whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until blended. Using a freestanding or handheld electric mixer, beat together the melted butter and corn oil until just blended (you’ll need another large bowl for this if using the hand whisk), then beat in the water. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix together on a slow speed. Add the egg mixture, and mix again until everything is blended and then pour into the prepared tins.
  • Bake the cakes for 50-55 minutes or until a cake-tester (toothpick or satay sticks) comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache

200 ml double cream with at least 30% fat content (I used Millac – 38% fat)

250 g dark chocolate, chopped finely (I used Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips)

50g unsalted butter

a pinch of salt

  • In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and add in cream and butter till all is well combined
  • Cover the bowl with cling wrap, making sure the plastic touches the top of the ganache
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, then place in room temperature for 30 mins before piping or frosting

Cafe Hopping: Max Brenners

I finally have my weekends back, although it’s only this week that I can happily go out and recharge myself after a whole month of working every day. I still need to edit the photos of 2 weddings and a graduation shoot, though. But I did manage to steal some time off earlier today to catch up with a fellow Temasekian junior. The last time we met was 6 years ago, and I still remember him as the small cute little 13 year-old. He’s now taller than me. Sigh.

It all started when he instgrammed asking his followers if anyone would like to accompany him to Max Brenner. Me, being shameless and with no plans for the weekend (okay I lied I had my friends over last night), messaged him on Facebook and voila, Max Brenner here we come!

I knew what I wanted right from the start. I order the churros fondue after much hype over it all over social media. The churros were delicious and not too sweet, but I don’t recommend eating this as your lunch. We were there at 1pm, and it was quite empty, only to realise the crowd came in at 2pm, AFTER lunch. It kinda makes sense, just that we were two greedy idiots who wanted all the chocolate in the world for lunch.

He had the crepes (we debated on the actual pronunciation, and decided to pronounce it as craps, as in shit crap) which were divine. Caramel sauce was not too overpowering and the bananas and strawberries let you pretend you’re eating healthy.

Image

Churros. Simply perfect.

ImageHe had the kangaroo cup thingy which is actually a macchiato.

Lesson learnt for my friend – put sugar in the macchiato.

Overall, the service was so-so (I had to keep asking for refills of iced water), but the ambience is cosy. Although try to come before the crowd comes in, which means eat chocolate for lunch.

Max Brenner’s I12 Katong

Phone: 63450616
Hours: Sun – Thu: 10:00 – 23:30, Fri – Sat: 10:00 – 01:00

Fudgy Brownies

It’s the morning of my first exam for my almost final semester in university, and I’m pretty darn excited for it. I just cannot wait to finish the exams and start baking again. I have, over the past two weeks, baked out of stress, out of the need to release the tension. But they have resulted in flat cakes and dry cupcakes. Well, at least I got to spend time in the kitchen.

This is another recipe off my tumblr. I made it sometime in February this year, for fun and decided to give them away to random uni-mates I bumped into in school. Las year, I did a fundraiser with a group of friends and sold close to thirty boxes of these babies. Trust me, they are super delish, and cheap too if you ask me!

I got this recipe from the Joy of Baking. It’s the same brownies recipe I used for the bake fundraiser I had last year. I altered the recipe a bit and trust me, this is the best brownie recipe evaaaa.

Ingredients:

5 ounces (150 grams) Dark Chocolate (I used Cadbury Old Gold cos they were on sale!!)

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons (15 grams) cocoa powder

1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar

1/2 cup (100 grams) caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

3 large eggs

3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or spray with a nonstick cooking spray) an 8 inch (20 cm) square pan, and line the bottom of the pan with parchment or wax paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a large stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder and sugar . Next, whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Finally, stir in the flour, salt and chocolate chips (if using).
  3. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out witha little batter and a few moist clumps clinging to it. Do not over bake. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled. These freeze very well.

I have to make do with updating this space slowly with old content, but I’m hoping to try out some new recipes and take new photos once the exams are over. And boy, I am so excited! Happy Monday everyone! And for those of you taking your exams, may the odds be ever in your favour! 😉