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Hazelnut Praline Ice Cream

Hazelnut praline

My family is ice cream fanatic.  Thankfully I make my own ice cream and not buy them because if I do, I would certainly go BROKE!  I’m not kidding…every night after dinner, the first thing my kid would say is: “Mummy, can I have ice cream”…very shortly, I hear a parrot-like voice “Can I have ice cream”.  Yes, both the older children have sweet-tooth, just like my husband.  Is that a good thing? Definitely NOT! I’m not in favor of having sugar down-ed into my kids’ body (especially since I’m researching on Diabetes and know about all the “harms” of the condition).  So instead of consuming store-bought ice cream, I get them to eat homemade ice cream, which I have to say has only honey, thank goodness, and very little of that!

Anyway… I have made the plain ice creams for a long time, like vanilla, chocolate, blueberry, strawberry, peppermint, chocolate chip, vanilla with marshmellow, chocolate with nuts, and seriously, it’s getting boring! Even for me, who hardly consumes the ice cream.  It’s about time that I venture into the more exotic flavors.  But, I can’t seem to find recipes that intrigue me enough to make those ice creams.  For weeks I’ve been searching until recently, I came across thelittleloaf blog. My eyes lit up when I saw the Hazelnut Praline Ice Cream because I had all the ingredients needed!  I literally sat up in my chair and after looking at the recipe, I knew this was the next flavor of ice cream that I would make!  No regrets completely!

For those who do not drink (like myself), please go easy on the alcohol because even with the amount that I put in the recipe, I felt a little dizzy after having my ice cream (No kidding!).  My help started flushing right after finishing the ice cream and even felt a little quizzy.  But it was a hit with my son, thankfully he didn’t have more than just 1 spoonful of ice cream, else I really wouldn’t know what’s going to happen to him!  For a hubby with a love for alcohol, the ice cream was way too mild for him, though he liked it nonetheless.  Basically, for people who like alcohol, you can tune up the amount used in the cream for sure.  For those who would just like a very slight kick, the amount I used was sufficient.


Hazelnut Praline Ice Cream Recipe

Hazelnut praline

100g golden caster sugar
100g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped (this is way more than what was recommended by thelittleloaf, but being a nut lover, this was just sufficient)

1. Melt the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over a medium heat. Keep stirring the melting sugar to ensure that all the sugar melts evenly.  Remove from heat once all the sugar has melted (be careful not to burn the sugar, else it will start to taste bitter).  Once the sugar is a deep amber colour, then remove from the heat and stir in the chopped hazlenuts.

2. Pour the nutty praline in an even layer over a lined tray and leave to cool and harden. Once completely cool, blitz it coarsely.


Ice cream

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cup milk
6 medium egg yolks
1 round tablespoon honey
4 tb Amaretto
1 portion of hazelnut praline (from above)
1/3 ts vanilla essence

1. Warm milk, heavy cream, honey, Amaretto.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heat-proof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer and stir (over an ice bath) until cool.

4. Add in vanilla essence

5. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge (preferably overnight). Freeze the mixture as per the instructions on your ice-cream maker.  Freeze.  If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, fret not.  Click here to find out how.

6. Just before the ice cream is ready, add in the praline and allow to churn until well mixed. Pour the ice cream into your desired container and let it freeze before serving.

Note: Because there is alcohol in the ice cream, it might not “harden” into the same texture as ice creams without alcohol.  But do not worry, it will still be nice and soft despite it being straight from the freezer.

Enjoy =)

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Homemade Berries Jam

Nothing beats having yummy jam with pancakes!  Just think about how the jam will trickle down the sides of the pancakes that had been stacked up…oh…the gewy, sweet & sour jam with the bite of the blue berries and seeds of the raspberries…oooohhhhh…now that is making me really hungry…I should stop that right now!

I had made blueberry jam previously, but berries jam is totally different.  The key thing is to know which berries disintegrate quicker so that you’ll know which ones you should start boiling first.  Well, I didn’t know better (but now I do)…so I just threw in all the berries at the same time.  Not the smartest thing to do, but still it worked out pretty well. And did I mention it’s so easy as well?

The only thing missing from this post is the one for pancake.  I should use up my buttermilk before it turns into cheese….so that I can enjoy it with my jam.  Can’t wait for the morning to come by quicker now…

 

Homemade Berries Jam Recipe

1 punnet raspberry
1 punnet blueberry
2 1/2 tb maple syrup
1/4 ts lemon zest
1/4 ts orange zest
Dash of nutmeg & cinnamon powder

1. Thoroughly wash the raspberries and blueberries.

2. Throw them into a small pot and turn up the heat (but don’t put it on high because it’ll start burning the berries).

3. Once the berries start bubbling and sweating, turn the heat down so that they won’t burn =).

4. When the berries have burst and are bubbling away, add in the lemon and orange zest, followed by the nutmeg and cinnamon powder.

5. Add the maple syrup when the berries have more or less disintegrated. Yes even for the blueberries.  Basically, you want the blueberries to flatten somewhat, but still whole.

6. Once the mixture starts to thicken, off the heat and strain the mixture into a nice air-tight bottle.  This is to remove all the seeds from the raspberry…else it’ll be more crunchy than jammy.  I happen to like my blueberries whole and not mushed up, so I removed my blueberries from the strainer and drop them into the bottle.  Afterwhich, I used a spoon and stirred around the strainer so help the mixture strain quicker.  It is really slow since the mixture is rather thick.

7. When cooled, refrigerate.

You now have a great bottle of jam that you can enjoy with yogurt, on bread or just as a spoonful of snack!

  

  

 


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Black Sesame Ice Cream

Eversince I had my first black sesame ice cream at a japanese restaurant, black sesame ice cream has a special place in my heart.  The interesting thing about black sesame ice cream is that there’s a very unique taste to the ice cream – a little roasted flavor to go with the sugary cream.  What a winner.  Since then, I’ve never failed to have black sesame ice cream whenever I have space left over at Japanese restaurants and if they have the flavor available.  Hmm…hmm…hmm…  About a year ago, I found that Haato, an ice cream palour opened at Thomson and guess what, they sold Black Sesame ice cream! Their Black Sesame ice cream is good….not too sweet and very creamy.  They have all the plus points.  The only issue I have with them is that the ice cream is not cheap at all.  It’s almost $5 for just 1 cup of ice cream.  When I’ve been good, I do treat myself to their ice cream, but I can safely say that (being thrifty), I’ve only allowed myself to splurge on their ice cream 3-4 times.

Since I started making my own ice cream, I never did dare to even think about making Black Sesame ice cream.  I dont’ know why.  But when I found a recipe for this ice cream at Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings, I jumped at the opportunity to make it!  The only unfortunately thing was that I could not find the Black Sesame paste from Phoon Huat as he’d suggested, since they no longer carried this product.  =( …now I wouldn’t be able to make this ice cream.  After multiple trials, I think I’ve finally mastered my favorite version of this ice cream!

Black Sesame Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
8 tb black sesame paste
1 tb honey
1/4 ts salt
6 egg yolks


Black Sesame Paste

1 packet of black sesame seed
Butter
Sugar

1. Toast the blended black sesame seeds in a saucepan until you smell the fragrance bursting from the seeds.

2. Cool the toasted seeds.  Grind the toasted seeds as fine as possible.

3. Cook the black sesame powder with butter and add sugar to taste.

4. Keep working on the mixture until it becomes a paste.

Ice Cream

1. Warm milk, heavy cream, honey, black sesame paste and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heat-proof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer and stir (over an ice bath) until cool.

4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge (preferably overnight).  Strain the black sesame seeds and freeze the mixture as per the instructions on your ice-cream maker.  Freeze.  If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, fret not.  Click here to find out how.


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3D Thomas the Train Cake

I think my mum deserves a huge round of applause for creating this cake just by looking at a Thomas the Train toy.  She actually did this “free-hand”, without any cake moulds or any sort of help!  Kudos to her completely!  Escher was estatic to have a “Choo- choo- train” cake!  He was delighted, and of course could not wait to blow off the candles and cut the cake.  He even ate an entire piece of cake on his own…enjoying every single bit of the homemade cake!  Thank goodness he didn’t get a sugar rush and was able to settle straight into bed at 9pm that very night!

3D cakes are the way to go these days…they are not only pleasing to the eyes, but very challenging to cut out.  It’s a pity that I’m not a big fan of baking.  Or rather, I’m so poor at baking that  70% of the time, my cake/baked products come out short of successful.  I should definitely learn from my mum when it comes to baking, but I also believe that I don’t have a pair of baker’s hands.  Maybe I should just stick to making ice creams and savory food.  At least I have a better feel of the taste and flavors and success rates are definitely much higher.

More images of the beautiful cake below…

  


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Coconut Ice Cream

Yes, I’m close to delivery, and hence my constant intake of fresh coconut juice.  According to nurses and massage ladies, taking coconut water during the last few weeks of pregnancy helps to “clean” the baby and reduce the level of jaundice of the baby.  How true?  I have no clue.  But, I love the fresh sweetness of coconut juice, so why not indulge a little?  I’ve been having 1 coconut daily to the point that my fridge is stacked up with coconut flesh!!! Initially, my helper has been excited to have all the coconut flesh.  She’s been making her Philippino-styled coconut snacks using the uneaten coconut flesh.  But having to make it everyday and eat it everyday, everyone will reach their limits.  So she’s decided to just leave the coconuts in the fridge!  What a waste!!!

Besides, after making the red bean ice cream, I still have 1/2 a litre of coconut milk sitting in my fridge.  I figured that I should make use of it before the coconut milk gets bad. So here are all the left overs, and I managed to create a really subtle and nice coconut ice cream! hmm…mmm…the rich creaminess of the coconut milk, together with the fresh coconut pulp was really delicious!  Not forgetting the gula melaka that was added in.  This is the first time that I’m actually using gula melaka, and it turned out that gula melaka is not as sweet as honey, so I ended up putting in more “sugar” than the usual amount.  But, oh, the combination really brought out the taste of the ice cream!  I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as my family did =).

Coconut Ice Cream

1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup gula melaka
6 egg yolks
1/4 ts vanilla essence
3 fresh coconut pulp
pinch of salt

1. Place milk, heavy cream, coconut milk, salt and gula melaka into a saucepan and heat up the mixture.  Warm the mixture to allow the gula melaka to dissolve.  Do not let the mixture bubble because the milk will start to curdle.

2. Whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

3. Stir the mixture constantly over low heat with a heat-proof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer.  Stir in the vanilla essence and let mixture cool.

4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge (preferably overnight).

5. Prepare the coconut pulp by cutting it into bite size.  Dry the coconut pulp as much as possible.  The pulp is usually very wet (having it wet will mean that your ice cream will turn out really icy around the pulp, ruining the texture of the ice cream.  Hence it’s important to dry the pulp as much as possible.  Since the weather has been so hot, it’s great to dry it under the sun!  Just beware of the birds!).

6. Freeze the mixture as per the instructions on your ice-cream maker.  If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, fret not.  Click here to find out how.

7. Just before the ice cream is done churning, slowly drop the semi-dry coconut pulp into the ice cream maker.  This way, you’ll get some pulp with every scoop of ice cream!!! Yum!!!

8. Let the ice cream harden in the freezer for at least 4 hours.

A scoop of refreshing coconut ice cream is perfect for hot summer weathers! Enjoy!

  


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Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake

It’s been a long drought.  I know.  Not that I’ve not done any cooking, but I’ve been so tied down with work, that I hardly had the time/chance to sit down and type in anything.  In fact, I dreaded having to type anything, since I’ve been busy ploughing the keys on my computer to churn out manuscripts. Ok, enough about work.  Now is the time for me to share some of the nice recipes that I’d come up with.  I wish I was recipe creator, but seriously speaking, that is way much hard work.  I’ve been a fan of the FoodNetwork Asia channel and seriously, I wonder to myself how the chefs just keep coming up with new ideas for food EVERYDAY!?!?  Then I chanced upon an article that talked about how chefs have a team of people (minion chefs) who experiment with food flavors and recipes and it’s them who come up with some of the new ideas.  Wow…so behind every successful chef, there are many many minion chefs.  Amazing.  So maybe that is a perfect explanation why I’m not that successful with coming up with new flavors! Haha…ok, but I digress.

This post came up purely as a challenge from my dear old cousin.  We were having lunch at a nice quaint Fusion restaurant and I had ordered Tiramisu desert.  The cream came frozen, and tasted like ice cream.  But you know that it’s cream, it’s not thick, but of course the kids LOVED it to bits.  Then came the challenge “Do YOU know how to make Tiramisu ice cream cake?”  “I’d never tried making it” was my only reply.  It ended right there.  It so happened that we were going to celebrate my son’s birthday.  So, I figured, I’d take up his challenge and make a Tiramisu Ice Cream cake!  So there you go.  I couldn’t get the cake right and had to try it a few times, but the results – WORTH it!  I sure hope that you’ll enjoy the cake as much as my cousin/husband/guests did.  It was certainly a fun experience and now my world of ice cream has opened up to ice cream cakes as well! Yoo hoo…cheers to challenges!

Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake

Cake

4 egg yolks
70g castor sugar

Whisk until ribbon stage (A)

4 egg whites
40g castor sugar
1/4 ts cream of tartar

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add sugar and Cream of tartar and beat until stiff.

80g cake flour
1/2 ts baking powder

Sift together

1/4 cup oil
2 tb milk

1/2 ts vanilla essence

Heat oil and milk in microwave until boiling.  Stir into A with a balloon whist, followed by vanilla essence and sifted flour.  Fold 1/3 of egg whites into this mixture and then fold this mixture into the remaining egg whites.  Pour into tray and bake in preheated oven at the lowest rack (160 deg C for about 50 mins).  When baked, detach the cake from the sides of the tin and turn out.  Place on rack to cool.
Tiramius Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups milk
500g mascarpone cheese
4 egg yolks
1/8 cup honey
2 tb Kahlua

200 g chopped dark chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 ts coffee granules

1. Place milk, mascarpone cheese and honey in a saucepan and heat up the mixture.  Do not let the mixture bubble because the milk will start to curdle.

2. Whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.  Add the Kahlua.

3. Stir the mixture constantly over low heat with a heat-proof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer and let it cool.

5. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge (preferably overnight).  Freeze the mixture as per the instructions on your ice-cream maker.  If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, fret not.  Click here to find out how.

6. While the churning, prepare the chocolate-coffee swirls.  Heat chocolate, heavy cream and coffee granules until the chocolate has completed melted and mixed well.  Let the mixture cool and allow it to thicken.

7. Assembling the ice cream cake.  Line the tin with cling wrap to allow easy removal of the ice cream cake once the cake has set.  Cut the cake into 2 layers and place the first layer at the bottom of the tin.  Spoon the churned ice cream onto the cake layer, followed by the chocolate sauce.  Use a stick to swirl the chocolate.  Repeat the process again.  Cover and place the ice cream cake into the freezer.

8. Before serving the ice cream, remove the cake from the tin, dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder and your guests can enjoy the Tiramisu ice cream cake!  Bon Appetit!!!

Adapted from: Michelle Southan

  

 


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Update: Homemade Bak Kwa (BBQ Pork Jerky)

To all those inspired to make your own bak kwa, I’ve got an update for you!!!  I found another recipe that is MUCH better than the previous one!  Of course, I couldn’t be bothered to find all the stated recipes, so to Bigheadmagicmad, I had to make slight revisions to your recipe… But it was great that I found your recipe…it definitely made the Bak Kwa a lot more similar to what you get outside!

Update: Homemade Bak Kwa

500g of Minced Pork (do not get those that are too fat…the fat burns really easily!)

Marinate
3/4 tb fish sauce
slightly less than 1 tb light soya sauce
1/2 Cup of coarse sugar
1/16 ts 5 spiced powder
1/4 ts of cinnamon powder
1/4 ts of white pepper powder
3/4 ts of rose water
3/4 ts of hua tiao chiew
1/4 ts of corriander seeds powder
Few drops of red colouring
1/2 ts of dark soya sauce

Honey for brushing during the grilling

Directions:

1. Mix all the ingredients except for the pork in a large bowl until the sugar dissolves. Add the minced pork and marinate overnight (this will allow the meat to absorb all the flavors from the ingredients).

2. Spread the marinated minced pork thinly onto a piece of aluminium foil. Note: If the meat is too thick, it feels like you’re eating pork chop, if it’s too thin, it tears really easily. So try to make it about 3mm in thickness…I know it’s challenging, I still haven’t got it perfect yet!)

3. Place the aluminium foil over a charcoal grill.  You have to use the grill to get the same effect as what you do in the shops.  It makes such a difference with the charred smell and taste.  Note: Beware of the fire.  The charcoal cannot be flamming – if the fire is too hot, it will burn the meat really quickly.  The best fire is to have the charcoal glowing, but no flames should be seen.  In the shops, the fire tends to be really big, but remember, they’ve already dried the minced pork.  In our case, the pork has not been dried yet!

4. Once you are able to lift the entire sheet of semi-cooked minced pork from the aluminium foil, flip it over (removing the aluminium foil in the process) and brush a little honey over the sheet of semi-cooked minced pork.  Keep flipping the sheet of minced pork from side-to-side (applying a litle honey to the meat each time you flip it) to prevent it from being burnt and charred.

5. When the sheet of minced pork has dried, consider it done!