Hello everyone! I know, I was away from this space for awhile (again…), but actually I do have a good reason this time. My house is currently undergoing a major makeover and for the time being, we have to stay over at somewhere else, literally living out of the boxes. So no oven, no kitchen aid, no big chopping board, no blender even. We did some light cooking though. Well, we have to eat right?
When I first got serious into baking, I relied mainly on Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking from my home to yours. I am proud to announce that my copy of this thick, heavy and educative book is torn, tattered and smells like stale butter now.
I really learnt a lot from her through the book and so when I read that she had partnered with her son, Joshua Greenspan to set up a little cookie store named Buerre & Sel sometime in late 2012, I became jealous of those who made it to the store.
One of their most popular cookies were the jammers. A perfect round flaky sable with a rim of buttery crumble that lace around a pool of glistening jam. So when I found the recipe for these jammers here, I thanked God profusely.
The result of the cookie was exactly how I had imagined it to be and I am soooo glad. It was deliciously buttery, soft yet with a nice crunch, and the jam which got even more jammy and intensely flavourful after been baked, adds a really nice fruity balance to the luxurious butter shortbread.
The good thing about the recipe is, you don’t need a custom-made cookie ring which Buerre & Sel used to achieve their signature round shape because the same can be achieved by just using your regular muffin pan.
About a year after the opening, I read that Buerre & Sel has ceased their business. Though not sure of the reason but thank God we have this recipe and could still enjoy the HIGHLY ADDICTIVE cookies.
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Some mornings, I would drop my mother off near her workplace. During the 35 mins morning drive, we would tune in to her favourite radio station FM97.2 and chat about random things like her job, my job, the neighbours or laugh at the DJ’s jokes. On this particular morning just few days before the actual Mother’s day, DJ #1 of the morning show caught my attention when he talked about a listener who wrote in to share her mother’s day wish. At first, the listener’s wish sounded weird, as her wish was simply: “Not to have chicken rice with her children, but rather, to eat “no-chicken rice” 无鸡饭 with them.” Puzzled, DJ #2 then asked the same question that I had on my mind, so did she mean she just would like to have the plain rice without any chicken with her kids? But why? Was she on some kind of diet? So DJ #1 explained that she actually didn’t mean the actual chicken rice which in mandarin is called Ji Fan 鸡饭 (“Chicken Rice”), but rather she actually meant Ji Fan 机饭 (“Appliance Rice”).
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FIVE MONTHS. That was how long I neglected this space. I know there is no perfect excuse so I shall not persist on explaining my disappearance… LOL… So let’s head straight to the recipe I’m sharing in this “comeback” post.
I found the recipe through this Japanese blog called The Last Order , a site that I visit frequently to marvel at the mouthwatering photos and to find inspirations. Looks like the guy behind this blog, Masaki Higuchi, is also the author of a few Japanese cookbooks that focuses on vegetables which I am really keen but unfortunately, I don’t understand a word of the language. The recipe for the muffins was not posted on his blog though but can be found here from Marie Claire Style JP. He seems to be the regular contributor for the magazine as there were a string of recipes published on the magazine site.
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I found this cake of Sicilian origin from The Guardian, when I was looking for an orange cake recipe. The original recipe was from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes. This recipe was based on a traditional butter cake proportions, flavored with freshly-squeezed orange juice and its zest. Here, I had gone a little further by adding a splash of Grand Marnier which I believe it deepened the orange flavor in the cake.
The recipe calls for self-raising flour which I don’t always keep stock for, so I made a substitution by mixing all-purpose flour and baking powder. It works perfect. I also upped the orange juice by a little, which contributed to a nicely moist crumb. When it comes to traditional butter cakes, I always prefer to use salted butter, a tip I learn from my dad, who bakes the best Hainanese butter cake in my world. You could use unsalted but I would recommend adding a touch more salt to the batter. It alleviates the taste of such dense butter cakes.