Posts tagged Cookbook

Roses and Pearls


Mother’s day is just around the corner, and it can be hard to find just the right gift. The most common thing to get is a bouquet of flowers – roses, carnations – but I really don’t like the idea of flowers wilting in a vase on the dining table.

So why not an edible bouquet of flowers?

The idea is simple: cupcake base with buttercream frosting piped into a rose. But what kind of cupcake and what kind of buttercream?

Part of the charm of the rose is its glorious smell, and not to mention the flavour. So that’s the butter cream done. And I think Earl Grey cupcakes will go fabulously with it. So…

Earl Grey Chiffon Cupcakes with Rose Buttercream Frosting

[For the Cupcakes]
Adapted from Allrecipes
Makes about 30 cupcakes

7 large eggs, separated.
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup cold Earl Grey Tea (Make it a strong one!)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp baking powder
2 cups sifted cake flour (I used plain)
Cupcake cases, preferably high sided so the chiffon can rise

Preheat your oven to 160C (150C fan forced)

Whip your egg whites, cream of tartar and salt to stiff peaks.

In another bowl, whisk together your egg yolks and sugar till pale. Whisk in your vegetable oil – creating your emulsion – and then slowly add in your cold tea. Mix in your vanilla extract, then fold in your sifted flour and baking powder.

Next – and this is important because you want to retain as much air as possible – add in just a third of your whipped egg whites to the batter to loosen it. Then gently fold in the rest of the egg white mixture, and fill the cupcake cups to 2/3 full.

Bake on a tray till risen and brown. Do not open the oven door for the first 20 minutes, then do the skewer test to see if it’s done. Opening the oven door will cause it to sink and you to have a dense chiffon. Don’t worry if it’s not as airy as you want it though – it still makes a delicious, soft cake!

[For the frosting]
Adapted from My Cupcake Addiction

5 cups Icing Sugar
250g Unsalted Butter
2 tsp Vanilla extract
3 tbsp rose water

Cream softened butter till light and fluffy. It should take on a lighter colour and a slightly pearlescent finish. Aerate that butter!

With the mixer running – or you could do this by hand – incorporate the icing sugar little by little. If you add it all at once, you’ll be coughing up icing sugar because it’s poofed up you’ve breathed it all in. Once it’s completely incorporated and dissolved, mix in the rosewater and vanilla.

Add a couple of drops of red/pink food colouring, and you’re ready to go.

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, you can just pipe the buttercream frosting on top. Yes, it goes against my cupcake to frosting ratio per bite because buttercream can be a bit heavy, but it’s a special occasion. You could always fill the cupcakes because the chiffon will have a bit of give, but it’s a challenge enough to try and pipe the roses on. (Apparently a Wilton 2D tip is all you need, but it’s out of stock everywhere!!!!)


As a final touch, I think pearls go very well with roses, and I’ve been very lucky to have conveniently received Queen Soft Sugar Pearls from Beyond the Square.


The white ones are just perfect for this, and it’s an elegant solution to filling up any gaps on the side of the roses because my piping skills are terrible. I considered using cachous, but they are hard and like jawbreakers, while these taste heaps better.

So go on, bake a few cupcakes and throw a party for Mum!


From Spiders to Water Lilies


Ooh look what I got in the mail!! =)

I was very excited to get send a copy of From Spiders to Water Lilies, a collection of Cambodian recipes of food that’s featured in Romdeng, a restaurant that is a project of Friends International, and that is run by children who were picked up off the street.

First of all, let me say that I would have bought this beautifully printed book even if I wasn’t sent it because I believe in the cause. I believe that food is not just nourishment for the body, but also nourishment for the soul, and when children are placed in unfortunate circumstances, food can definitely be used as a tool to help them reach for whatever future they would like to reach for.

Secondly, I can’t believe just how yummy the food is!!!! I’ve never been to Cambodia, and I knew that because of the geographical proximity, there will be certain elements that are similar to many South East Asian food. But what I didn’t realise was that – even though in some recipes there are elements of sour, salty, sweet – the combination is just so new and absolutely delicious!

And so, I’m very happy to share with you…


Spicy Mushroom Dip:
Recipe taken from From Spiders to Water Lilies: Creative Cambodian Cooking with Friends, Pg 28.

1 tsp Fish Sauce
2 tbsp Sunflower Oil
4 Garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp *Chilli Paste
80g Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
1.5 tsp Palm Sugar
1 tbsp **Tamarind Paste
3 tbsp stock
Salt to taste
Thai basil leaves, thinly slices, for garnish

Wash the mushrooms under cold water then soak for 20 min in hot water. Discard stems then finely chop the remainder. Heat oil and stir fry garlic till fragrant. Add chilli paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, mushrooms and tamarind paste. Fry for 5 min and season with salt. Place in a bowl, top with basil leaves and serve with vegetables and bread.

*There is a recipe for chilli paste in the book, but if you don’t have the time (or are afraid that your clothes and house is going to smell like chilli for a while) then I think that sambal (the fried kind, not the fresh kind) is a good and convenient substitute.

**I used a mixture of bottled Tamarind paste and lime juice.


I found the recipe relatively easy to do. I made my own chilli paste, but ran into a few issues – I forgot to deseed the chillies, and for some reason, my chillies simply refused to rehydrate to the level that I needed. As a result, the dip didn’t seem as fiery red as was shown in the picture in the book, but it was still delish!

I toasted some multi-grain wholemeal bread and Sean practically scoffed the whole lot. And that is coming from a person who does not like mushrooms. At all. I very happily had it for lunch the next day, and the guys at the office seemed to like it too.

In all, I adore the book. I love that it’s for a good cause – the proceeds of the book goes back into Friends-International projects – and it is beautifully photographed and printed. The recipes are nicely broken down, and most of them are relatively quick. Yes, there are quite a few ingredients that are foreign or hard to find, but the book has a great section both in the front and the back of the book that tell you about substitutions that you can use.

Definitely a book that makes me want to go to Cambodia and try the food first hand.

Tammi of Insatiable Munchies was given this book by the lovely people at Beyond the Square Communication.