Gong Xi Fa Cai and a Happy New Year! Pineapple Tarts Recipe

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As I mentioned last week, this weekend was Chinese New Year which is a very important thing to the locals here in Singapore and across Asia where many traditions are carried out. When we lived in Switzerland, it was me who was more exposed to the local ways and traditions, here in Singapore that seems to have changed and my Fiancé is the one who is bringing home new foods and goodies for me to try. Chinese New Year was no different, with lots of goodies being bought into our home although some of which I am not sure I will try, like birds nest drink!

SCC CNY Goodies

Some of our Chinese New Year goodies that my fiancé received from work including birds nest drinks, bak kwa, pineapple tarts and goji berries.

One of my favourite things I have tried are Pineapple Tarts, although he didn’t bring too many of these home as I am sure they were devoured before he left the office! These are eaten here like Mince Pies are eaten at Christmas back home in England and they are a yummy tropical version. You can buy them from many stalls and shops around Singapore often in clear plastic pots with red lids as seen above in the middle of the picture. Last week I thought I would give my own pineapple tarts a try. A quick search on google came up with Poh’s recipe which looked easy enough so off I went to Cold Storage to buy a few additional ingredients I needed. I followed the recipe using the tinned pineapple option rather than fresh. It would have been more useful if I had made the jam first rather than the pastry as the recipe suggests as it took so long to cool down I had to leave it for a few hours before I could continue with the recipe. After draining my pineapple chunks I put them into my liquidiser until they were a smooth puree. I probably should of cooked the jam for longer as I didn’t have the right consistency to be able to make balls but a dollop of the jam on top of the pastries worked fine. I also didn’t have the small star shaped cutter they ask for to top the tarts but I don’t think that was the end of the world. They turned out great and really tasty although I had to wait for the man of the house to have a taste as he seems to be the expert of them now! 

SCC Pineapple Tarts in Pot

 

They turned out great! The pastry was really tasty. This was the first time I had made my own pastry since moving here as it is normally so hot but it won’t be the last. Using my food processor made it so much easy and quicker so the butter didn’t melt too fast and the jam, although not as photogenic as Poh’s Pineapple Tarts, made the perfect balance. I had one of the red lidded pots in my cupboard from the one batch that did make it through the front door, perfect for storing my authentic pineapple tarts in!

 

SCC Pineapple Tarts

Gong Xi Fa Cai and a Happy New Year to you all, May you gallop and leap into fields bursting with prosperity and success this year of the Horse!

 

 

Madeleines

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I love french supermarkets, in fact I love any new, foreign supermarket. Snooping around all the local produce and all the new brands, seeing what is to offer. When we lived in Geneva, we used to occasionally pop over the boarder into France to do our food shop. We didn’t do this too often as my fiancé hates food shopping (and the Swiss wouldn’t let me drive so he had to come), but if we wanted to buy more than a couple of boxes of beers then it would be worth the trip (for him!). Whenever we would pop into Carrefour, he would always pick up a bag of madeleines, the kind where you have a huge pack of about 50, each individually wrapped. They have a sell by date of about 6 months and one would expect them to last at least half that time . Well they never saw the end of a week in our home!

Cold Storage, our new local supermarket, do stock both Carrefour and Casino produce for the french expats and francophiles of Singapore. But until they start stocking his favourite little cakes it looks like I’m going to be pulling out my madeleine tray and switching on the oven. For my recipe I turn to Michel Roux Jr. He has a great madeleine recipe that is easy to follow in 3 simple steps. And his wine pairing suggestion? Prosecco. Do you need further tempting to give this one a try and pop open a bottle of fizz? Unfortunately it was 11am when I made these and I was home alone so some suspicions would have been raised should I have opted for the bubbles rather than a mug of coffee to go with my share.

The first batch I made looked a tad on the golden side and a little crisper than desired. I decided to turn down my oven a tad, it is the first time I have baked cakes since we moved here so I am still getting used to where the hot spots are and what temperature works best. It also doesn’t help that the temperature dial shows 160 degrees at 5 o’clock and 180 degrees at 7 o’clock, I don’t trust that anything in between these two is very accurate as the spacing is too big compared to the others. Anyway, back to madeleines. The second batch turned out much better. I had enough mixture to pour a little more into each cup leaving just a couple of millimeters space at the top.

I whisked the eggs and sugar together with my electric whisk to make them nice and frothy quickly

I then used my hand whisk to combine all the other ingredients

I then used my hand whisk to combine all the other ingredients so as not to over beat them, it looks a bit like frothy custard at this stage

Both batches cooling. Which one do you think looks best?

Both batches cooling. Which one do you think looks best?

Close up, although my camera decide to focus on the drooling pug - bless

Close up, although my camera decide to focus on the drooling pug – bless!

You can see here how light batch 2 look in the middle

You can see here how soft and light batch 2 look in the middle

Michel says they should be eaten within an hour of removing from the oven – well if he insists, it would be rude not too. Lets just not tell my fiancé I made madeleines today….

All Butter Welsh Cakes

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Happy Saint David’s Day!! Daff

 

Although I am English, I’ve always felt a connection to Wales. My Grandad on the Mothers side grew up in Merthyr Tydfil and with his family, moved to Wolverhampton with the decline of the steel and coal industries. There he met my Nan and the rest as they say is history. It was by coincidence that after being born in Wolverhampton, I ended in a South Wales Secondary School where I picked up a slight version of the gorgeous Welsh accent which, although long since replaced by my London tones, to this day still reminds me of home.

 

Although my Nan was not from Wales, she made the most amazing Welsh Cakes! Unfortunately her recipe departed with her a few years ago but here is my version. It is not quite accurate as after searching my local area for lard, it seems you can’t buy it in Geneva so I have replaced it with butter. Also, instead of using the traditional flat griddle pan I have used a heavy based frying pan as my Nan’s griddle is at my parents house over 600 miles away but they still tastes delicious, or as we used to say at school ‘that’s lush that is’!

 

What you need…

 

220g plain flour

85g caster sugar (plus a little extra for dusting)

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

100g butter, cut into small pieces plus extra for cooking (please do use 50g lard and 50g butter if you can get your hands on some lard and the extra for cooking should also be lard)

80g currants

One beaten egg

A drop of milk

Welsh Cakes Recipe

 

 

Start by putting the flour, sugar, mixed spice, baking powder, salt and butter into a mixing bowl and rub in the butter until it’s a crumbly consistency then stir through the currants. Gradually add the beaten egg blending together the crumbs. If you still need more moisture once this is done, add a little milk but not too much. The dough should be like shortcrust pastry dough. Roll out onto a floured surface and using a pastry cutter, cut into rounds. I used a 6cm cutter which made 12 cakes. Heat the butter or lard over a medium low heat in a traditional griddle pan, a heavy based frying pan will do if you don’t have one, and cook on both sides until golden brown. This should take about 4 mins each side. Remove and dust with sugar to serve. These are delicious warm or can be served cold but either way I like mine with a hot cup of ‘coffi’. Archwaeth da!!

 

SCC Welsh Cakes Finish