Sunday, October 02, 2016

Baking Experiments: Blackout Brownies, Roasted Vegetables, Baked Eggs, Berries with Yoghurt, Pizza & Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts

For the past few months I have been experimenting whenever time permitted. The success rate was somewhat mixed but I am just happy that I completed them and eventually someone ate them up.

Blackout Brownies

I always seem to choose the "right" time for everything. On the night that I chose to make my first brownies, what better could have happened but an electricity blackout halfway right before I had to mix mixture A into mixture B! Since one of the mixtures contained eggs, I had to put store it in the fridge while waiting for the power to come back on. Long story short, the power came back on around midnight and I managed to complete baking the brownies in the wee hours of the morning.

brownies with skin layer
Blackout Brownies
Mum commented that it was a bit too sweet (I had already cut down the sugar and I only used brown sugar, rather than castor sugar). Dad said it was not bad. My colleagues said it was not sweet enough. So, mixed reviews.

Roasted Vegetables

This attempt I was rather over zealous. I've always had the intention of eating healthier. So what better way than to roast our veggies (instead of frying). So we chucked in all the roastable veggies we had and poured a generous amount of olive oil for the flavours to seep into. Some parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper for taste and roasted the whole lot in the oven.

sweet pea tomato potato onion sweet bell peppers
Roasted Vegetables for sides with aglio olio linguine and pan fried salmon
Verdict - it was ok... the potatoes were underdone though. Perhaps next time I need to pre-boil them so that they can cook at the same rate as the other vegetables. However, I would still like to have the vegetables have that charred edges - not too sure if that needs some sort of grill or pan-frying.

Baked Eggs

This one, we had leftover spaghetti tomato sauce and tonnes of fresh shiitake mushrooms in the fridge. And since mum was out and I was lazy to drive out for dinner, I tried my hand at baked eggs. I pan-fried the mushrooms with onions, garlic and olive oil until they were nearly done. Then added the tomato sauce and transferred all into a Corning ware bowl, cracked 4 eggs in, seasoned and popped it into the oven to bake.

shiitake mushrooms and eggs
Baked Eggs from leftover spaghetti sauce

I guess the politically correct term for this should be fake baked eggs. Taste-wise it was not bad but the sauce texture could use some thickening. I shouldn't have added water to the sauce when pan-frying the stuffs. Dad ate half of it, so I guess it's edible.

Berries with Yoghurt

Occasionally I have cravings for the berries parfait in Franco. It's made of layers of cream cheese, digestive biscuit pieces, strawberries and blueberries, and vanilla soft serve ice cream. So I had that for dessert after helping mum out with the kindergarten concert. And the next day, I made my own 'healthier' version of the parfait.

breakfast for champions
Berries with Yoghurt

Of course the taste would not be exactly the same as having soft serve ice cream! But the sourness of the yoghurt can substitute that of cream cheese. And for the biscuits substitute (because I don't have digestive biscuits at home), I added in my Biscoff biscuit spread! I think peanut butter would have done the trick as well. But maybe that will be for the next time.


I have this habit of spring cleaning the fridge and freezer. We have had these 2 boxes of frozen pizza base which mum had bought on a whim, sitting in the freezer for a couple of months. And we had some leftover spaghetti sauce (again!). So it was easy to put two and two together to come up with our dinner. I added all the other toppings which I could find in our stash and dashed a little peri-peri sauce on the pizza to give a little zing.

fake bake pizza
Pizza for dinner

Honestly, the ones with the peri-peri sauce tasted better. I made one without the sauce for dad who doesn't fancy spicy food. This attempt was rather good - although the base was not really great la.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts

So about 2 weeks ago I went for another baking class. This time around it was a sweet tarts class. We made 3 types - lemon curd tart, salted caramel chocolate tart and rustic plum & lychee tart. Our group's output didn't look as nice as some other groups but taste-wise I think we were there.

rustic plum and lychee tart salted caramel tart lemon curd tart
Sweet Tarts Class

I got to use that mini flamethrower thingy that I don't know what's it called but it's usually used for flambe. I didn't know that we had to sprinkle a layer of castor sugar on the tart filling to have that caramelize effect with the direct flame. Thinks to self: so... this is how creme brulee has that burnt skin thing!

Being a "good" student, I decided to practise to make perfect what I had learned. So when it was supposed to be dinner time, I started making the salted caramel chocolate tarts and it extended till midnight (as I was also planning my trip with CY online) and I fell asleep halfway and thereafter only continued with the chocolate ganache topping. I substituted the cream with butter for the chocolate ganache recipe (because I don't like my chocolate watered down by milky stuffs). It's now cooling in the fridge and I haven't had a taste yet. See how it goes tomorrow.

sea salt diy caramel
Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts

So, in conclusion, I think my investment in my oven has really paid off. To more experiments in the future!

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