Tag Archives: fbcigers

Baked Pears

Our fall weather has been kind of cold. It seems like we had summer, lots of rain, then winter is here …..Do you ever crave for a nice warm dessert after dinner on a cold night ? My daughter and I certainly do ! And often we want something that’s slightly healthier.  Here is one very simple recipe. You can just put it together just before having dinner, put it in the oven and it’s ready when you finish !  You can serve them with some vanilla yoghurt….or ice cream ! Well, I think that’s still pretty healthy….. 

Makes 4 servings

  • 4 ripe Anjou pears
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
  • 3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Cut pears in halves and remove cores
  3. Mix together walnuts, cinnamon and maple syrup
  4. Spoon fillings into pears
  5. Sprinkle and drizzle with more cinnamon and maple syrup
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes until soft
  7. Serve warm with vanilla yoghurt if desired 

 

Blueberry Tarts

I feel like I need 48 hours a day ! I seriously do. I have so many things I want to do, so many things I have to do but just not enough time…..I know I sometimes over-schedule myself, but at the same time, I feel the most productive this way….So yes, this post was done much later than I planned, but at least I manage to do it before the end of July! 😅

How can I not make something out of blueberries in the summer! We are so lucky to have some locally grown blueberries and I would buy at least 20 lbs of them! This is a super easy recipe. You can make the tart dough ahead of time and freeze it until use. Try to spoon the fillings in just before serving so the tart shells won’t get soggy.

Makes about three 4-inch tarts or six to eight mini tarts

For the tart shells

  • 120 g cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 180 g cake and pastry flour, sifted
  1. Mix together cold butter and sugar using a wooden spoon until no more lumps
  2. Add egg yolk, mix until blended
  3. Add flour all at once, mix with the wooden spoon, then transfer onto a table or counter and gently knead dough together (just work until ingredients are mixed in)
  4. Wrap with plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350ºF
  6. Knead dough until pliable
  7. Roll dough out to about 1/8 inch in thickness on a floured surface, dock with a fork
  8. Place inside slightly greased tart molds, trim off excess dough
  9. Bake for about 12 minutes till golden, let cool

For the blueberry fillings

  • 300 g fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 15 mL lemon juice
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 15 g corn starch
  1. In a non-stick pot, heat blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest over medium heat
  2. When mixture starts to boil, sift in corn starch
  3. Mix until thicken, then let cool

Right before serving, spoon blueberry fillings into cooled tart shells

Berries and Tofu Smoothie Bowl (Vegan)

Over the past year, I have been trying to eat less meat and more plant-based proteins. I was never a big meat eater, so the transition was pretty easy. To me, the change has been beneficial, especially for my gut. I have a lot less indigestion and heartburn. Trying to cooperate these ingredients in recipes has been fun too. Tofu is my favourite, I mostly use it in savoury dishes or soups, but I can also make it into a simple and nutritious sweet treat, like this smoothie bowl ! You can use any berries and toppings of your choice. For a thicker smoothie, freeze some of the berries first. Look at the beautiful and vibrant colours ! It’s definitely a treat for your eyes and your tummy !  

Makes one serving

  • 150 g mixed berries (I used fresh raspberries, frozen blueberries and blackberries)
  • 150 g soft tofu
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to sweeten (optional)
  • Toppings of choice (other fruits, seeds and nuts)

Blend all ingredients together then add toppings 

Vanilla Cake with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Sorry! I was one day late for my Mother’s Day post ! Well, but I think we can treat our moms (and myself) any time of the year, and we should ! It doesn’t have to be just Mother’s Day, right ? This cake is very simple, and the blueberries give it a stunning, beautiful color that you don’t need to do much decorations ! I added some freeze-dried blueberries.  If you cannot find them, just add a little more puree to enhance the blueberry flavour. (Just a little otherwise the frosting may become watery). The cream cheese frosting is quite soft, so you should keep it in the fridge until serving. I use vanilla cake as I find it very versatile. You can pretty much pair it  with any flavour, berries, citrus, caramel, chocolate,etc. Once you have a good recipe, you are set and good to go. You can also use this recipe to make cupcakes, just decrease your baking time to about 18-20 minutes. 

I hope all moms had a good Mother’s Day yesterday ! I got a nice surprise from my daughter. She made me some Blueberry Chocolate Bark !  How sweet !

Makes one 6 inch cake

For the vanilla cake

  • 300 g cake and pastry flour
  • 6 g baking powder
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 180 g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 180 mL buttermilk
  • 120 mL milk
  • 10 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 100 g unsalted butter (melted)
  • 100 mL vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Line the bottom of two 6 inch round cake pans with parchment paper, lightly oil and flour the sides
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside
  4. Whisk together eggs and sugar until pale
  5. Mix in milk, buttermilk, vanilla, butter and oil (it’s ok if batter is lumpy, the butter may just be solidifying)
  6. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix until just cooperated.
  7. Pour batter into the cake pans and bake for about 40 minutes
  8. Cool completely  before assembling

Tips:

To keep the cake moist and evenly baked, you can bake them in a hot water bath. You can also use cake strips, which you soak in water for a few minutes, squeeze out excess, wrap it around the cake pans and bake.

For the frosting

  • 270 g unsalted butter (soften)
  • 225 g soft cream cheese
  • 120 g icing sugar
  • 45 g blueberry puree (store bought or homemade) 
  • 20 g freeze-dried blueberry powder (optional)
  1. To make the puree, blend fresh or frozen blueberries (you may need more than 45 g of whole blueberries) 
  2. To make the blueberry powder, grind freeze-dried blueberries with food processor until fine
  3. Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth
  4. Sift in icing sugar, beat until light and smooth
  5. Add blueberry puree and powder, mix well
  6. Refrigerate until use

To assemble

  1.  Trip top of cakes to flatten
  2. Layer cakes with frosting in between
  3. Coat side and top of cake with more frosting
  4. Decorate as desired
  5. Keep in fridge until ready to serve

 

You can get the cake strips through the Amazon website by clicking the link below. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item. 

 

Wilton Bake Even Cake Strips, 2 Pieces

Lemon Coconut Muffins

My friends often ask me how I come up with recipe ideas. Most of the time is seasonal, like using berries in the summer and pumpkin in the fall. Sometimes it’s just sort of random and use whatever I have at home. The other day, I was cleaning up my pantry, I found a bag of shredded coconut, some coconut oil and a few leftovers that I’ve only used once or twice ! Then I remembered I had  some coconut milk in the fridge too ! (Wow…didn’t realize I love coconut so much…..) So, I came up with these very “coconuty” muffins ! I added some lemon juice and zest to add fresshness and balance the flavour, and I just love that golden crust on top ! So, if you have some extras lying around, don’t waste them ! Create your own recipes ! You may come up with something really delicious ! You never know !  

Makes about 8-10

  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 3 g baking powder
  • 3 g baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 120 mL unsweetened coconut milk
  • 80 mL buttermilk
  • 60 mL coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 30 mL lemon juice
  • Zest of a small lemon
  • 30 g unsweetened shredded coconut + more to sprinkle on top
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, side aside
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar and egg
  4. Mix in coconut milk, buttermilk, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract and lemon juice
  5. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredient, mix until just blended
  6. Stir in lemon zest and shredded coconut
  7. Spoon batter into muffin tins lined with lightly greased muffin cups, about 3/4 full
  8. Sprinkle top with more shredded coconut
  9. Bake for about 18-20 minutes

Caramel Brownies

Compared to many parts of Canada, our winter in Vancouver has been very mild…..until 2 days ago ! A snow pile just dumped onto us in a matter of hours ! Seriously, I was still jogging in the morning at 9 am, it was cold, but no snow. Three hours later, everywhere was covered in white ! I guess it’s our turn to experience this cold snowy winter ! And what does a baker do when it snows ? Bake of course ! So I made these brownies and also had time to decorate a whole bunch of Valentine’s cookies ! The snow has made me more productive !

I like my chocolate desserts very chocolaty, and I mean VERY……And this brownie is not only chocolaty, but also soft, fudgy and chewy ! Who can say no to that ? Especially if you are making it for your Valentine’s ! Make sure you don’t overbake, in fact, a good brownie is often slightly underbaked. It’s best to serve them warm, reheat in the oven for a few minutes if you need.

Happy Valentine’s Day !

Makes about 10 – 12 brownies
For the batter

  • 180 g unsalted butter
  • 180 g semi-sweet chocolate
  • 40 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 240 g granulated sugar
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 135 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 g baking powder
  • 2 g salt
  • 10-12 caramel candies

For the caramel sauce

Melt together 30 caramel candies (about 240 g) and 1/2 cup of whipping cream in a non-stick pot over low heat until well blended, stirring frequently

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt
  3. Melt butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, let cool for about 5 minutes
  4. Whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale
  5. Mix in chocolate mixture
  6. Add flour mixture and mix until blended, the batter can be quite thick
  7. Spoon half the batter into lightly-greased silicone molds, place a caramel candy in the middle, cover with remaining batter and bake for about 20 minutes
  8. Cool slightly, drizzle with caramel sauce and serve warm

Sweet Sticky Rice Balls (For Lunar New Year) 糖不甩

Chinese New Year is just around the corner ! And this year is the Year of the Pig ! The Chinese Zodiac is a repeating cycle of 12 years. My daughter was born in the Year of the Pig…..which means this little piggy is going to be 12 ! What ?! Where did the time go ?

My fondest memory of Chinese New Year is definitely the food ! Rice cake, turnip cake, dumplings…..and many more ! I used to eat these sticky rice balls every year when I visited my aunt. The Chinese name of this dessert is 糖不甩 (pronounced as “tong but lut”), which literally means “sugar doesn’t come off”. What an interesting but appropriate name ! These balls are soft, chewy, with some sweet and crunchy toppings……just bites of yumminess ! Most of the ingredients are easily accessible in Asian supermarkets. The Chinese brown sugar for the syrup usually comes in a pack of 5-6 sticks. If you cannot find it, regular brown sugar would work too but use a little less, I tried and found it sweeter than the Chinese kind. 

I think it’s really important to pass on traditions to our kids, and doing so with food is the perfect way ! There are so many stories we can tell behind food that we grew up with.  And I am so glad my kids enjoy these traditional treats as much as I do ! Wishing everyone a prosperous Year of the Pig !


Makes about 10-12 balls

For the dough

  • 150 g glutinous rice flour
  • 150 mL warm water

For the syrup

  • 85 g (one stick) Chinese brown sugar (片糖)
  • 2 slices fresh ginger
  • 250 mL water

For the toppings

  • 50 g unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  1. Toast peanuts and sesame seeds in a 350ºF oven for about 5 minutes, let cool, then crush into small pieces
  2. Mix in coconut and sugar, set aside
  3. Prepare syrup by boiling together 250 mL of water, ginger and brown sugar, reduce heat and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes, set aside
  4. Mix glutinous flour with 150 mL of warm water, gently knead until dough is formed (dough should be soft but not sticky to hands, adjust amount of flour and water if needed)
  5. Roll into small one-inch balls
  6. In another pot, boil about 2 cups of water, add rice balls, reduce heat to medium and cook until they float to the top, about 5-7 minutes
  7. Using a slotted ladle, transfer them into the syrup, cook for another 8-10 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking 
  8. Remove from syrup, sprinkles with toppings and serve immediately (drizzle with more syrup if desired)