Give me cake or give me death cookies.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Dulcey Sake Kasu Cheesecake with Raspberry Cream – Recipe

For the final recipe of 2016, I wanted to acknowledge one of the best and craziest things to happen to me ever that happened at the beginning of this year: winning the first Gekkeikan Masters Cooking Competition and being sent to Kyoto to learn how to brew sake. What better way than to create something using some of the sake kasu I brought back from the trip?

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Sticky Toffee Chocolate Bomb – Recipe

I've been meaning to make a chocolate bomb for a while – what better excuse for a showstopping dessert that Christmas?

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Yuzu Old Fashioned Cheesecake – Recipe

I've been trying not to get into the world of whisky. Quite frankly I have enough hobbies and interests to juggle to add another one. Even so, I couldn't help reading up about the different types after the classic Old Fashioned cocktail crept up my list of favourite cocktails recently. Since I've also spent a lot of time in Japanese restaurants recently, I've come across the much-acclaimed Japanese whisky Nikka quite often, especially Nikka From the Barrel. Since I'm a fan of Nikka and Old Fashions, I decided to give them the Tashcakes treatment.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Cheat's Shiro-an / Nerikiri – Recipe

I absolutely love wagashi and Japanese sweets in general, particularly nerikiri – little moulded white bean paste cuties. Cuties being the official technical term, of course. They're perfect with a cup of bitter matcha, tea ceremony-style. Unfortunately, unlike anko (red bean paste), ready-made shiro-an (white bean paste) is unavailable to buy in the UK. Which means if you want to make nerikiri, you have to make shiro-an yourself. Since it takes hours to boil beans from scratch, I decided to cheat and use canned white beans in water.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Mini Mont Blanc Cakes – Recipe

I had some chestnut flour floating around that I impulse-bought a few months ago and never used. Since Christmas is coming and chestnuts are coming back into foodie fashion, I decided to do what I do best: turn it into cake.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Easy Canelés de Bordeaux – Recipe

Canelés or Cannelés? The spelling seems to be interchangeable. Either way, these crunchy-on-the-outside, custardy-on-the-inside bakes are extremely underrated. Having said that, I'm beginning to see them a bit more frequently in town... so I thought I'd have a go at making them before the trend explodes, just so I can say I knew about them first. Sad, right?

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Vegan Coconut Pudding with Fresh Mango – Recipe

I love the coconut pudding you sometimes get at dimsum houses. There are usually two kinds: the jelly type made with agar (the most common type), and then a more custardy type. My favourite is the latter, which I've created here with cornflour as a thickener. Plus my recipe's vegan-friendly, too.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Brûlée Baked Cheese Tarts – Recipe

Baked cheese tarts have been high on my to-make list, but when I received my very first cook's blowtorch for my birthday I knew I had to use it in my recipe. Unfortunately, the weekend after my birthday, when I was meant to use it, I came down with stomach flu. Yeesh. Luckily another week on I'm as right as rain, and here we are.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Matcha Drip Cake – Recipe

It was my birthday on Thursday: of course I had to make either something rainbow or matcha-related. Since I've done rainbow several years in a row, I decided on matcha. Although of course I had to make it, well, a bit mad too.

Monday, 10 October 2016

No-Proof Pizza Dough – Recipe

I was craving pizza today, but it was already an hour into lunchtime: and I definitely wasn't about to wait for hours to proof a yeasted dough. Being the stubborn person I am, I decided to go ahead and make an unyeasted dough and hope for the best. Actually, it turned out pretty great.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Coconut Chilli Ice Cream – Recipe

I've been obsessing over the idea of chilli ice cream – something that's hot and cold at the same time. Being the mad foodie scientist I am, I ate raw chillies to get the heat balance just right, so you don't have to. Thankfully, the result was extremely worth it.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Matcha White Chocolate Tartlets – Recipe

I've been meaning to make matcha white chocolate tartlets for a while, but never got around to it. Since I was really short on time last weekend, I decided to forgo pastry-making and whip some easy ones up with premade tartlet cases. The matcha ganache itself takes minutes to make and pour into the cases: super easy.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Umeshu Jelly with Raspberry Panna Cotta – Recipe

Recently I was lucky enough to be invited to an umeshu seminar run by the Japan Centre and Shoryu, and since then I've been a little bit obsessed with the Japanese plum wine. I finally managed to segway it into a new recipe.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Matcha Cupcakes – Recipe (BONUS: Cupcake Sandwiches)

I wasn't going to post this recipe and so I didn't take many 'action shots', but since they went down well at the picnic I baked them for why not.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Strawberry Baijiu Charlotte Russe – Recipe

I accidentally added some sponge fingers to my online grocery order recently, and decided there were only two things to make: a tiramisu, or a Charlotte russe cake. I decided to go in between, and make a sort of strawberry tiramisu spiked with baijiu, made up to look like a Charlotte russe.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Puteri Ayu – Recipe

Puteri ayu are sweet little steamed cupcakes flavoured with pandan and finished with a slightly salty coconut topping. Southeast Asian desserts have been doing the salty-sweet thing waaay longer than the West, don'tchaknow.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Mascarpone-Stuffed Orange Blueberry Friands – Recipe

It's been a crazy-busy week and I've been out every night since last Saturday. Definitely time for an easy recipe, and despite the long and complicating-sounding name, these stuffed friands take under an hour to make.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Red Bean-Stuffed Matcha Brownies with Mascarpone – Recipe

Brownies are made with dark chocolate, but these are made with white. Blondies are made with white chocolate. But these are neither brown or blonde. Should I call these matcha brownies... or matcha blondies? Or even greenies?? These are life's questions.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Chicken & Mushroom / Red Bean & Chocolate Zongzi – Recipe

It was officially 端午节 on Thursday (Duānwǔ Jié, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival). Traditionally everone eats 粽子zòngzi during this festival, glutinous rice dumplings with various fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves. I've never made them before, but after a friend in China mentioned them, I got food envy and felt inspired to give them a go.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Kung Pao Chicken for Wimps – Recipe

I have a friend who absolutely loves Sichuanese food. Not the standard takeaway kind: I mean real laziji, ma-la hotpot and other dishes that are extremely delicious, but so hot they make you literally sweat and cry.

After accompanying her on plenty of Sichuan food adventures, I've become used to this intensity of spice and heat... but unfortunately my family have not. I created this recipe so they could enjoy the flavour of Sichuanese food without dying.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Blueberry Marbled Mirror Cake – Recipe

I know, I've jumped hard on the mirror cake bandwagon. Of course I've made mirror cakes in the past... but it was the crazy marbled creations that have been popping up that intrigued me. So I decided to try the marbled effect myself.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Pandan, Ube and Strawberry Craquelin Profiteroles – Recipe

I kept seeing these crackly-topped profiteroles on the internet, but it wasn't until recently when I stumbled upon a how-to video on Youtube that I discovered how to make them. You know those pineapple buns / melon pan you can get in Chinese or Japanese bakeries? Same concept: you have the dough base, and then a sweet biscuity outer coating that cracks when it's baked (which is the 'craquelin').

Of course this is me, so I added some colours and flavours when I made them for myself.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Coconut Custard Mochi with Ube Ganache and Ice Cream – Recipe

Every so often I'll make a massive mistake while creating a new recipe for this blog. Very rarely, that mistake will turn out to be a good mistake. This one turned out to be one of the best mistakes ever.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Kuih Seri Muka – Recipe

It took me two attempts to get this recipe right. The first attempt tasted right, but the green pandan custard was too firm. And, to be honest with you, due to rushed cooking and therefore cracking, it looked pretty darn fugly: not something you want when the literal translation of 'kuih seri muka' is 'beautiful face cake' in Malay. Thankfully I nailed it second time round.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Pistachio Cake with Mascarpone and Passion Fruit - Recipe

A forgotten packet of pistachios fell onto my head when I was rooting around for something in the cupboard the other day. This is literally the reason why I decided to make a pistachio cake this week.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Grandma's Cheesecake with Banana Crunch and Rum Fudge – Recipe

I think I was 17 or 18 when Grandma gave me her favourite cheesecake recipe. She'd found it in a magazine and the part-bake part-chill method became her go-to cheesecake method – and over time it became mine too.

Grandma passed away on Friday at the epic age of 92, and was buried today. An epic age for an epic lady: one of the kindest, most generous people you could ever hope to meet. Even during her last days she was concerned about visiting family members having enough biscuits to go with their tea.

The original recipe was for a plain vanilla cheesecake. Here, I've turned it into a banana cheesecake, with banana chips for old time's sake.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Haphazard Chicken Ramen – Recipe

I set out to cook ramen for lunch this afternoon, and succeeded... but was also left with a mountain of chicken leftovers.

Not that that's a bad thing, though!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Baked Sweet Potato Dough-Nekos – Recipe

If you follow me on Instagram, particularly during the time I was documenting my adventures in Kyoto, you'd know that I promised to make these after trying a rather disappointing version in Japan.

Matcha Parfait – Matcha Kuzumochi and Dango Recipe

Once you make the matcha kuzumochi and dango, all that's left to do is to assemble your parfait with ice cream, sweet red beans and other stuff you like.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Lost in Kyoto: My 5 Travel Rules

Rule Number 1: Get lost.

Rule Number 2: Climb dodgy stairs.

Now I don't mean 'dodgy stairs' as in 'stairs Health and Safety would have a heart attack over', or 'stairs that lead you to somewhere you could get arrested'. I'm talking about the mysterious-but-mostly-harmless kind of stairs you'd discover while out for a walk. See, this is my theory for Rules 1 and 2: if you stray from the path once in a while, you might find something awesome.

I questioned this theory (and my sanity) while lost halfway up Fushimi-Inari, at 10 in the morning and nothing but bamboo for company.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Tashcakes Travel Update

I'm back! For like, today and tomorrow. I leave for Kyoto on Sunday, I can't believe it's actually happening. I've been re-learning basic Japanese and plotting out a rough itinerary on my 'free days' when I'm not on the sake brewery course. In fact, I've booked a taiko drumming workshop for myself just hours after I land on Day 1. Yes, I must be mad and I'll be tired after the journey, but what better way to wake myself up??

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Birthday Cakes and Baking Breaks

Tomorrow morning I leave for Kota Kinabalu, to return on Friday 19th. And then on Sunday 21st I fly right back out again to Japan for a week. I get home the following Sunday and go back to work on Monday.

Anyone got any tips for epic jet lag?

Sunday, 24 January 2016

The Gekkeikan Masters Cooking Competition Finals

So this happened.

I think I still need that pinch.

(Now updated with official competition photos!)

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Strawberry Sake Mousse 2 . 0 with White Chocolate Shell – Recipe

Remember my original Strawberry Sake Mousse recipe for the Gekkeikan Masters Cooking Competition? And that I'll be taking part in the live finals in a week tomorrow? Well as it turns out, I won't have six hours to make that recipe: I'll only have about two.

Also, I won't have access to an oven.

Challenge accepted.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Fruit Sushi for Breakfast & Gekkeikan Sake Competition News!

Frushi anyone?

We have 'breakfast Friday' every week at work, and it was my turn to provide the goods last week. Since a lot of people are watching their diet after the holidays, I made raw cocoa chia energy balls, sugarless fruit bread, fruit salad with plain bio yoghurt and honey, and a whole lot of fruit sushi, as you can see above. The yellow ones have thin slices of mango on the outside, and the rice is cooked with coconut milk. These are pretty easy to make – the only thing to note is you still need to use sushi rice, as it's sticky enough to handle being spread out, rolled up and sliced.

In other news, I'm a finalist in the Gekkeikan Masters Cooking Competition! I entered last October with my Drunken Hainanese Chicken Rice and Sake Strawberry Mousse recipes, and was notified recently that I've gotten into the final live cooking round. This will be on Sunday 24th at Shoryu Liverpool Street, I'm so excited. Even better, one of my friends also got in with her recipes, so I'm really proud of both of us. We'll both be competing with another five contestants for a trip to Japan: that's seven people cooking up their dishes for the top prize. Exciting times!

Friday, 1 January 2016

Sugar-Free Date Cake with Pistachios, Cranberries and Coconut – Recipe

Happy New Year! I kicked my workout regime up a notch last month by joining a better gym and going more regularly, and now I'm starting 2016 sugar-free and eating clean(ish). Sugar-free January, let's do this!