Let’s Bake! (Ensaymada Edition)

Let’s Bake! (Ensaymada Edition)

I haven’t done a post like this in ages! I have done lots of baking, but nothing I felt like sharing on the blog. I should have taken photos of the russian fudge I made last week as I got lots of questions about it. I’ll keep it in mind for next time!

So Ensaymada was first introduced to me by a Filipino parent at the centre I work at. He brought these in during a family xmas party and I loved it. It’s a light, fluffy little muffin thing, covered in buttercream and topped with lots of cheese. It is so good, so I decided I wanted to try make some.

Anyway, I followed this recipe from Foxy Folksy, a blog run by a lovely couple. I had never worked with yeast before, so I was nervous but I had always wanted to try. So once the dough was all made, I left it in the kitchen for a few hours to see if it would double in size. It did!

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I didn’t have a before photo, but it was way less than what you see above. The next step was the most fun. Lots of rolling and kneading to get 16 pieces, which is how much the recipe makes. Then you roll out those pieces again and coil them up to get the shape.

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They don’t take too long to bake, and the house smelt so good while they did. After 20 minutes, they were all golden, so I took them out to let them cool.

Little pillowy buns! I whipped up some buttercream then grated some cheese. All these final touches took around half an hour, then we dug in! It was delicious, before we ate more though, I wanted to take some pretty pictures.

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Yummy! These ones were not as light as I had tried before, it was a little more denser. More like a muffin texture, but it was still delicious. Both sweet and savoury at the same time, each one felt like a mini meal. Breakfast was set for the next few days!

Have you baked during the lockdown much? I’ve loved trying out new recipes, and also pulling out old trusty ones too!

Angela.

 

Let’s Bake! (Lemon Drizzle Cake Edition) – Collab with Hannah

I haven’t done a baking post in so long! This one is a collab with Hannah at Just Another Day. We decided to both do a baking post where we would swap traditional recipes form the UK/NZ respectively. Hannah decided to bake some Hokey Pokey Biscuits, and I decided to try my hand at Lemon Drizzle Cake!

The recipe I used can be found here.

lemon cake 01

  • 225g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • lemons (to zest and juice)

lemon cake 02

Mix together the butter and sugar.

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Add the eggs one at a time, and slowly mix together. Add lemon zest, and sift in flour.

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Pour the mixture into a loaf tin and bake for 45-50 minutes at 180 degrees. It’s ready when a toothpick comes out clean. For me this took around 50 minutes. It was a little burnt around the edge, but I wanted to make sure that it was completely done.

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It smelt so good when it came out! As I was waiting for it to cool, I made some glaze from lemon juice and caster sugar. I poked holes all over the cake and poured the glaze on top. That way, it sinks into the cake, and has a nice crunchy topping once the glaze sets.

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Not gonna lie, this tasted amazing!! Rory and I have had quite a few pieces already, and I’m definitely bookmarking the recipe for another day!

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Be sure to check out Hannah’s post as well to see how her Hokey Pokey Biscuits came out!

Angela.

Let’s Bake! – A Collection of Recipes

So today’s isn’t a new recipe. In fact, it’s a collection of all the recipes I’ve tried! You guys may know that I love baking (especially cookies). I aim to try at least one recipe a month. I’ve been doing this since pretty much the beginning of my blog, so I thought it would be fun to link them all in one post.

So instead of having to search through all of my food category when I’m looking for a recipe, I can just look at this one. Also, it’ll be fun to look back at all the things I’ve made and taken photos of.

Cookies

Ah, my bread and butter. I love cookies you guys. It’s my go-to when I want to bake something easy and quickly. There’s so much variety to choose from. Half the recipes I share on here are pretty much cookies.

Cakes, Slices and Pies

There’s more to make than cookies obviously, and I sometimes branch out. I’d like to try more of these in the future.

  • Carrot Cake – A cake I used to hate and now love. A tart cake with gooey frosting.
  • Carrot Cake Balls – Carrot cake but in bite sizes, covered in white chocolate and cookie crumbs.
  • Lolly Slice – A kiwi classic. A sweet chewy slice filled with marshmallow treats.
  • Apple Pie – A classic pie. Flaky pastry encasing sweet apples.

Muffins and Cupcakes

After branching out from cookies, the next step was muffins and cupcakes. You again get multiple bite sized pieces, but a bit more filling.

Themed Desserts

I love playing with themed desserts. What people can come up with and share online is awesome! From creepy to cute, there’s no end to the creativity! I love to try my own hands at these. Most themed desserts I try are from my Nerdy Nummies cookbook!

  • Star Constellation Cookies – I made these for New Years, and these tiny bite sized lemon-glazed cookies were so good! It’s hard to try eat just one..
  • Smart Cookies – The mascot of Nerdy Nummies bring the chocolate chip cookie to another (adorable) level.
  • Chocolate Heart Cupcakes – Turning chocolate cupcakes into sweet love hearts.

You know, seeing all of these in one list makes me think I may have kind of a baking problem. I mean, these are all spread out over a year, so it’s not like I went and had a baking spree one weekend. I have been loving trying all of these new recipes and sharpening up my baking and decorating skills. It’s also been fun for playing more with food photography and close ups. All in all, it’s become one of the bigger sections of my blog, and I hope to keep trying more recipes!

What’s your favourite thing to bake?

Angela.

Let’s Bake! (Apple Pie Edition)

I haven’t baked anything new in a while, so here we are! I looked through my trusty Nerdy Nummies cookbook, and one of the basic recipes jumped out at me. I’ve never made Apple Pie before, and since we’re currently in between Fall and Winter, it felt appropriate!

Here’s what you’ll need:

apple pie 01

For the dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks cubed butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water

For the filling:

  • 3 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

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I had fun rolling the dough together. Mix together all the dry ingredients, then add a little bit of ice water until the dough gets to the right consistency. Then, separate the dough into two disks, and refrigerate for an hour.

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The filling was easy enough to make as well. Just cut up the apples and mix in all the flours, sugar and spices. Once it’s all mixed, add the lemon juice and mix it together again.

I love rolling out dough. It’s like playing with playdough again (which, I do fairly often at work anyway). So one of the disks, you want to roll out and place in the dish to be the base. Add in all the apple filling, then place the second dough on top. I have no idea how to do that cool pie edge crimp thing, but I tried. Add some slits on the top, and cover in egg wash to get the crust to go that nice golden brown colour. Bake it for around 15 minutes at 230 degrees, then for another 40 minutes at 180 degrees.

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I forget that the sun sets at 5pm now, so the lighting isn’t great in the photos from here on out. That being said, our house smelt so good while the pie was baking! Once it was out, we let it cool and then had a slice.

It was so good!! For my first go of making anything pie related, I’m really happy with how this came out! I would have spent more time trying to take better photos, but I really just wanted to eat pie!

What’s something you’ve baked recently?

Angela.

Japan Wrap Up

I’ve been spending the last two weeks talking about our Japan trip and I’ve been loving writing these posts! It’s been such a nice way of reliving our recent trip. To end all of this, I wanted to share some food photos we took and just share some general thoughts.

food 01
Noodles and tempura – our first lunch in Tokyo

Arriving late afternoon at Narita airport in Tokyo was pretty overwhelming. We had just finished a 10 hour flight so we were already feeling weird, and now we were miles away from home in a different culture where everyone spoke a different language. I’m really glad that my friend Chris met us at the airport. She got us onto the subway and to our hotel that first night. If she wasn’t there, Rory and I both agree that we weren’t really sure how we would have gotten to our hotel at all.

food 02
Milk pudding from 7/11, I loved it so much!

Something that I still can’t get over is the sheer amount of people around when we were just wandering around, especially in Tokyo. 13 million people in that one city. In Wellington, we only have around 200,000 people. In New Zealand, all together it’s 5 million, we’re pretty small. So being surrounded by so many people was overwhelming.

food 03
Sea Urchin (did not taste good) and Salmon Eggs Sushi (fishy but good!)

It never felt crazy though. Everything is pretty structured and ordered. At the stations, there is marks on the ground to tell you where to stand as you wait to get on the train, as well as markings for people getting off the train. Everyone waits for everyone to get off, before getting on. The only time it felt a bit much was when we travelled in rush hour. People would pack themselves into trains as tight as possible. We got smooshed in once and didn’t really care for it. So after that, we decided to just wait for the next train. Which came in 2 minutes and was much emptier. I do love their public transportation system, it’s so organized and so many trains come every few minutes!

food 04
Typical Fast Food – rice with chicken, green onions and egg – so good!

Another thing that I get asked about is the language barrier. Rory and I don’t speak Japanese. We did learn a little before we went, but once you’re over there, you realize that you know nothing. The thing that worked in our favour is that Japan is quite tourist friendly for English visitors. In all the major cities, like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka (which we visited), the signs will have both Japanese and English on them. On the trains, the automated voice would say something in Japanese, and then in English. Also, just the amount of signs in general was so helpful. Sometimes we would have to change trains, and that meant leaving the station and going to another one. This was made fairly easy by the sheer amount of signs pointing us in the right direction!

food 05
Ice cream from a vending machine

In the hotels, workers typically could speak in both English and Japanese. Some people we spoke to on the street or in shops could also speak a decent bit of English. I’ve since learnt that they learn English in grade and high school. So the base knowledge of the language is pretty well known. This came in handy when we wanted to ask for help. There was a few occasions though (like in a cafe) where no one could understand each other but we got by just using gestures. So all in all, the language barrier didn’t really stop us from much.

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So much food for our lunch on the Mt Fuji and Hakone Tour

We did use some Japanese though, as we wanted to make an effort. Here are some of the phrases that came in handy. “Ohaio” (which means good morning), “Konichiwa” (hello), “Arigato” (thank you), “Arigato gozaimas” (Thank you very much), “Sumimasen” (Sorry/Excuse me), “Wakarimasen” (I don’t understand), “Hai” (yes), “Ie” (no). Finally when you wanted to turn a word into a question, you would add “Des ka” to the end. So if we were wanting to make sure that the train went to Shibuya, we’d ask someone “Sumimasen. Shibuya des ka?” while pointing to the train. The person would normally say yes or no, and that helped a lot.

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Banana, caramel, and vanilla ice cream in a crepe

Another interesting thing about our time in Japan is that everyone uses cash. No one really used cards except for the hotels we stayed at. It’s expected that you have bills and coins on you. Chris told us about that and I’m glad she did, because she was right. From shops, to food, everyone just dealt with cash. The money itself was confusing for us. There’s so many coins! The smallest bill is 1000, and that’s easy enough since the number is on it. The coins break down in to 500 yen (silver coin with 500 on it), 100 yen (silver coin with 100 on it), 50 yen (bronze coin with a hole in the middle with 50 on it), 10 yen (silver coin with 10 on it), 5 yen (bronze coin with a hole in the middle), and 1 yen (silver coin with 1 on it). The 1 yen coins tend to build up over a while, same with 5 and 10, so I kept trying to get rid of them but then they’d come back. We were also quite slow at differentiating the coins from each other, that sometimes I just gave a handful to the person and they were way faster at pulling out the correct amount.

 

food 08
One of the limited edition coke bottles in Tokyo

So yeah, it wasn’t really that much of a culture shock or anything in Japan. We were definitely a bit lost the first 48 hours there, but we were lucky to have a friend there who eased us into it. By the time we were left on our own for the final week of our trip, we managed really well. Again though, Tokyo is very friendly to tourists. If you’re holding off on visiting Japan because of the language barrier, don’t. You’ll be fine. Do make a little effort to learn some of those key Japanese phrases though, it makes things a bit easier. Plus, they did seem to appreciate our attempts at Japanese. Although our accents were so bad, most people would smile and respond to us in English cause we’re obviously tourists!

We only saw a tiny bit of Japan and if I’m being honest, I’m dying to go back and see some more of it! It’s definitely a bucket-list worthy place to visit!

Angela.

Trying Snacks From the UK (Collab with Vintage Tea Rose)

This has been my favourite collab for a while, partly cause it involves food!

I collabed with two lovely ladies and they both sent me UK snacks to try, and I sent them some kiwi snacks to munch on. In this post, I’ll be trying the huuuge selection of snacks that were sent to me by Sarah from Vintage Tea Rose. I’m sure many of you guys already know her. She blogs about a mixture of DIY, lifestyle, and beauty. I’m posting my side of the collab early as I wanted to get this up before we leave for Japan. So keep an eye out on Sarah’s blog, as she’ll be trying some kiwi snacks that I sent over!

If you can take 12 minutes out of your day to watch this, that would be really cool! If you just want to know what snacks were sent and my reactions, I’ll include a brief summary and timestamps, just for fun:

  • Yorkie Bar (0:50) – Solid pieces of plain milk chocolate. Not bad, but I prefer chocolate with stuff in it.
  • Magic Stars (1:30) – Tiny chocolate stars with faces on them. They’re better just cause they’re mini!
  • Jaffa Cakes (2:20) – Thought it’d be an actual cake for some reason. They are very soft like a cake, but they look like a biscuit. Since filming though, I’ve really started to like them.
  • Blue Riband (3:20) – Wafer chocolate bar. It’s amazing and I ate all of it.
  • Curly Wurly (4:25) – Sticky caramel covered in chocolate, and will glue your mouth shut.
  • Jelly Tots (5:00) – Tiny gummies covered in sugar. Very snackable.
  • Flumps (5:55) – Marshamallow! Enough said.
  • Party Rings (6:10) – Small donut looking cookies that melt in your mouth. I ate both packs!
  • Parma Violets (6:40) – This both smells and tastes floral. It’s very strange.
  • Drumstick (7:25) – Raspberry and milk flavoured chew bar on a stick. Don’t bite it.
  • Refreshers (8:00) – Delicious lemon chewy bar.
  • Werther’s Original (8:19) – Chewy, soft caramel treats. Similar to our own Werther’s we have down here!
  • Flying Saucers (9:00) – Cute alien ship design, with a sherbet explosion inside! I also ate the whole pack.
  • Double Dip (9:30) – The stick is okay, the sherbet is delicious and also makes a mess.
  • Space Raiders (10:25) – Alien shaped chips with a pickled onion flavour. Kind of too strong for me.
  • Monster Munch (10:55) – Monster shaped chips, also with the same strong flavour as above.

Seriously, thank you Sarah for going above and beyond and sending me so much amazing things to try!

Since filming this video, I’ve also received the other food swap package from another blogging friend! That will be up later in the day!

Angela.

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Making Candy Sushi

Near my work, there’s an Asian Food store I often stop by to get snacks. While wandering the aisles, I saw a whole bunch of these Popin Cookin Kits. You could make tiny sized, candy versions of lots of different foods. There was donuts (which is next on my list to try), burgers and fries, pizza and so much more. The sushi one jumped out at me so I decided to try it first.

One Sunday afternoon, I sat down  and decided to try it out. I should point out that all the instructions and materials are in Japanese so I had no idea what it said. Luckily, there was also pictures on the instructions so I figured I could work it out. I decided to film me trying it as I thought it would make for a fun video!

Here’s the end results! They look pretty close to the real thing! I was so happy with how they ended up, I’m so keen to try out more.

candy sushi 01

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Have you guys ever tried one of these kits?

Angela.

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Let’s Bake! (Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes Edition)

One of our cupcake flavours during the wedding was Choc Peppermint. As my last wedding anniversary celebration post, I wanted to try recreate one of our desserts! I settled on Chocolate Peppermint.

I found the recipe online here. It makes 18 cupcakes.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 225g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp peppermint essence
  • 100g baking chocolate
  • Frosting
  • Green food colouring
  • Dark chocolate for decoration

choc mint 01

In one bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.

choc mint 02

In another bowl, mix together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and mix each time.

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Gradually add in the flour mixture and mix some more. Add in the mint essence and melted chocolate.

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Spoon the mixture into the tins. Bake it for around 25 minutes at 160 C.

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They rose up a lot in the oven. But because of that, they sank a lot in the middle. I’m not sure what I could do to stop that. It was a bit tricky to work with.

Once they were cooled down, I made the frosting and added a drop of green colouring to change the colour. I piped it on, and added a piece of dark chocolate on top for decoration. It came out pretty good!

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I think I should have added a few more drops to the frosting to make it more greener. It comes off yellow in the pictures which is funny. It was a very light green in real life, I swear!

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I had fun taking some photos and then I dove in and ate one. It was quite sweet, and I think I prefer the other chocolate cupcake recipe I made a few months ago. I always love giving a new recipe a try though!

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What cupcake flavour do you like?

Angela.

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Let’s Bake! (Red Blood Cell Cupcakes Edition)

Welcome to another baking post! As always, I’m delving into my Nerdy Nummies book. I can’t help it, there’s so many cute and creative things I want to make. This time, I went with a Science-themed one. Although it also came out kind of creepy and horror  themed in the end. Either way, making and eating it was fun! Unlike my previous baking post, this one took a while to make. A few hours, but it was worth it!

Here we go!

For the Red Velvet Cupcakes, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 stick butter (room temp)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 tbsp red food colouring

For the Red Blood Cell decorations, you’ll need:

  • Red Fruit Chews (Starburst Fruit Punch)
  • Little bit of red frosting
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

cupcakes 01

You need multiple bowls for this bit. In one bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, beat together the bitter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and continue whisking together.

cupcakes 02

In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream and milk. Alternate the dry mixture and wet mixture into the large bowl. Add the red food colouring in early and continue mixing.

cupcakes 03

Pour the batter 2/3 into the muffin liners. Bake at 180 C for 18 to 20 minuntes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean from the centre. Mine took just over 20 minutes.

cupcakes 04

I decided to cut off the excess liners from my muffins to make them easier to decorate. Time for the blood cell decorating! So in the Starburst packs, take out all the red ones.

cupcakes 05

Unwrap the chews, and cut them into quarters. Then you roll them into circles. The last step is to indent them in the middle to get them to look more like blood cells. Ro suggests using a circular fondant tool, but I don’t have one. I used a baking bead, it worked really well. This part tooked the longest out of the whole process.

cupcakes 06

Use a small dab of the red frosting to use an adhesive and place the cells on the cupcakes, however you like.

cupcakes 07

Now it’s time to make the raspberry puree. Ro suggests just using red buttercream icing for this part if you’re in a rush, but I wanted to do the original recipe. In a pot, combine the water, sugar and raspberries. Boil it then simmer for up to 30 minutes. After this, pour it through a sieve to get rid of the seeds.

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Return it to the post and gradually add cornstarch to thicken the puree. Remove it from the heat and let it cool down.

cupcakes 09

Now to add the final bloody touch. My puree was a bit watery, but I like the effect it made. It was bleeding all over the cupcakes. Which is why mine ends up more horror themed than science.

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Still, it looks awesome! I’m so happy with it!

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What do you think of them? Is it more of a science themed treat, or maybe horror? I like to look at it as a mix of both!

Angela.

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