Buttermilk Pancakes

Pancake day last year: I made American pancakes with bananas, bacon and maple syrup for a picnic with friends, and constructed the stack out in the park just outside school. Things get a little unpredictable when you’re photographing outdoors, so as I was pouring the maple syrup from a height, the winter/spring wind blew the lovely stream of maple syrup right into Yeewon’s (my pancake model) beautiful long hair.

Pancake day this year: I thought I would make something different and swap out the milk for buttermilk. As a result, the buttermilk pancakes turned out slightly fluffier than the American pancakes. Since I had enough to make two stacks, I dressed up one with layers of peaches and whipped cream, topped with more cream and a peach “rose”, then drowned in homemade vanilla bean bourbon caramel sauce.

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The second pancake stack was simpler compared to the decadence of the first stack, with a Japanese inspired flavour profile – layers of matcha (green tea) chantilly and azuki bean paste (red bean paste) in between pancakes, garnished with a matcha chantilly quenelle (looking a bit flat due to the cream not being cold enough) and a handcrafted azuki rose, drizzled with honey and dusted with icing sugar.

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Butter Cookies

I had left over dough from the coconut passionfruit thumbprint cookies so I just rolled them into little balls and baked them without the jam. These bite sized cookies are buttery, crumbly and much firmer as the jam tends to make the thumbprints a lot softer.

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What I like about this cookie is that it’s extremely versatile. With the same base dough, you could make various types for all sorts of occasions: fun thumbprint cookies filled with any jam or ganache you may fancy, simple round cookies flavoured with coconut for Chinese New Year, or decorated spritz cookies for Christmas.

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Coconut & Passionfruit Thumbprint Cookies

Trips to the Selfridges Food Hall always result in me bringing home a jar or two of interesting flavoured jams, the stuff you can’t find in your regular supermarkets. There’s one flavour in particular I can never resist – passionfruit – and if you put it in cakes/ tea/ yoghurt etc, I’ll be like “HERE, TAKE MY MONEY”. That was basically what happened when I first laid eyes on a jar of Nicolas Vahe’s passion coconut jam. Since then, I’ve finished two jars because the jam is that good. And I don’t think I say this often enough, but I’m absolutely in love with Nicolas Vahe’s range of jams and everyone should go out and get one now.

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Putting my huge jam collection to good use, I’ve selected three different fillings for these coconut thumbprint cookies: Nicolas Vahe’s passionfruit and coconut jam, Awani Bali’s pink guava jam, and Fortnum & Mason’s lemon curd. You can pretty much use whatever jam you want. The flavour pairing possibilities are endless.

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Miso Caramel

Caramel is such a simple yet versatile thing of beauty. With a basic dry caramel, you could pretty much add any flavour and it’ll work wonderfully like mango caramel, chocolate caramel and the ever so popular salted caramel. Miso caramel is somewhat like salted caramel, whereby the saltiness of the miso is perfectly balanced out by the sweetness of the caramel. You can make jars of this stuff and keep them for use on cakes, pancakes, waffles, brioche, icecream… the possibilities are endless.

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Dark Chocolate Baileys Tart

Somehow along the way I’ve discovered my love and passion for baking, and as an amateur baker I used to bake occasionally for the fun of it. But it was towards the end of my accounting and finance undergraduate degree when I started to seriously consider a career as a pastry chef instead of crunching numbers at a desk. This fall, I started the Patisserie Diploma intensive course at the Le Cordon Bleu to master pastry techniques, and to learn the art of chocolate and sugar. Time flies by really quickly when I have a busy school schedule (I started in September and I’m almost half way through the second term :O) and there isn’t time or energy left in me to formulate, test recipes and update the site as frequently as I would have liked.

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I wasn’t intending to make a tart but there was an empty tart case just sitting at home waiting to be filled (I made it in school as part of a skills test). So I settled on something easy to make – chocolate ganache. This particular tart is something for the adults, slightly bitter and alcoholic, and it wouldn’t suit everyone’s taste. That’s why I’ve included a few variations on the ganache (no sugar added/ no alcohol).

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