Saturday, May 21, 2011

Egg Custard Tarts Recipe

Egg custard tart
Egg custard tarts are really simple to make, and delicious if done well. These tarts are particularly popular in Hong Kong where it is also called Hong Kong style egg custard tart. Portugal has a version called pasteis de nata. These are popular in other Asian countries as well. Even KFC in some Asian countries has custard tart on its menu.

The recipe below is for the basic version using milk and eggs. There are many variations that use cream, evaporated milk or condensed milk. I am sure these will be even more delicious but I decided to stick with the basic milk version since milk is easily found in most pantries.

As you can see I didn't roll out the dough very well. Its not the prettiest looking tart but delicious to eat nevertheless.  

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
2/3 cup butter (or mixture of lard and butter)
4 tablespoons of hot water

Custard Filling:
2 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup sugar
Vanilla extract (optional, authentic Hong Kong version does not use it)

1.       Heat oven to 160 degrees
2.      To prepare the pastry cut the butter, add flour and work the butter flour mixture with the tips of your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
3.      Add hot water, one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. You may need more or less water
4.      Cover the dough and refrigerate
5.      To prepare the custard lightly beat the eggs, making sure not to incorporate any air bubbles.
6.      Stir in the milk and the sugar
7.      On a floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 3 to 4 mm thick
8.      Use a pastry cutter to cut out 18 circles that are 8cm in diameter
9.      Fit the circles into the tart shells and pour the filling into the shells
10.   Bake until the custard is cooked and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean (about 35 minutes)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Easy 4-Ingredient Coconut Cookie Recipe

Easy 4-Ingredient Coconut Cookie

Ever had a date with someone drop dead gorgeous and wondered how someone so gorgeous was so easily available. Once you make these cookies you will ask yourself how something so delicious could be so easy to make. 

As the name suggests these cookies are really easy to prepare, and it uses 4 ingredients only. And no, cake or cookie mix is not one of them. The cookies turn out to be very crispy and coconutty.

The recipe is in parts instead of specific measurements. I used a coffee spoon for measuring the ingredients. You can use any spoon, cup or holding vessel. 

You can use either butter or oil. I used oil and it worked perfectly. If you use oil I suggest that you add a small amount of milk or water to the oil so that the water/milk content is about 10-15%. If you don’t add water or milk the cookies will still be very delicious but it will be very very crumbly. Butter already has 20% water content while oil is 100% fat. Instead of water or milk you can add golden or dark syrup. The cookies will be crunchier and slightly chewy.

If you don’t have self raising flour, a substitute is 1 cup flour, 1½ teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.

1 part sifted self raising flour
1 part sugar
1 part desiccated coconut
‘Enough’ melted butter or oil (about 1/2 part)

1.       Mix all the dry ingredients
2.      Add enough melted butter or oil to form a dough of the right consistency
3.      Bake at 180 degrees until golden brown and delicious, about 10 minutes

Easy 4-Ingredient Coconut Cookie

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Salmon Pudding (laxpudding) Recipe

Salmon pudding
Salmon pudding is a traditional Swedish dish. It is really simple to prepare and requires just a few ingredients, like most Swedish dishes. The recipe is quite versatile, it can be varied to suit your tastes. I substituted milk with yogurt because I didn’t have milk at the time I was making this. I also used lighter (low fat) cream and reduced the amount. The pudding was not as rich and creamy but it was fine with me. Perhaps richer and creamier pudding will be better during the colder months.

The recipe suggests using salt cured salmon. I didn’t have time to do this and used raw salmon instead. It worked.  

It is recommended that the pudding be served with melted butter. I skipped this and served with tomato salad instead. I also had it with salmon roe. This is optional but nice. 

The recipe below is for 4-6 servings. Source:

400 g salt-cured salmon
1½ kg unpeeled potatoes
4 eggs
300 ml heavy whipping cream
300 ml milk
2 onions
1 large bunch of dill
Salt and white pepper

1.       Boil the potatoes and peel them once they have cooled
2.      If desired, presoak the slices of salmon in milk or water for a few hours to draw out the salt
3.      Peel and slice the onion and sauté it in a little butter until it softens, without browning
4.      Grease an ovenproof baking dish, cover the bottom with potato slices, spreading half the onions on top and then half the salmon and chopped dill. Cover with a new layer of potato slices, then the rest of the onion, salmon and dill. Finish with a layer of potato slices
5.      Beat together milk, cream and eggs plus salt and pepper. Pour this mixture on top of the salmon pudding and finish with a few pats of butter
6.      Bake at 200 degrees celsius for 45–60 minutes, or until the pudding feels firm. Serve with melted butter.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Coconut Cornflake Cookies Recipe

Coconut cornflakes cookies
These cookies are crispy, coconutty and cornflaky. And of course delicious and addictive.

I toasted the coconut to get a more intense flavour. This is optional. I also used dark syrup. This is optional also. I like using syrup since it deepens the flavor and makes the cookies even more crispier. I find coconut, cornflakes and syrup to be a wonderful combination. If you don’t use syrup and find that the cookie dough is a little dry, add milk, a small amount at a time until you get the right consistency.

The recipe recommends butter. To make the cookies healthier, or should I say less unhealthier, I used half butter and half neutral oil. It worked perfect. If you are conscious about using too much butter, try substituting half oil and the difference will be hardly noticeable.

What I usually do is either scale down the recipe or freeze part of the dough and bake it another day. The problem is that if I bake all the cookies at once it will disappear in no time and I will feel really guilty afterwards. The good thing is that cookie dough freezes pretty well. I find that it does not really affect the flavor or quality.

200g butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1½ cups dessicated coconut
1½ cups sugar
1½ cups plain flour
1 cup crushed cornflakes
1 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoon (60ml) dark or golden syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon baking powder

1.       Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
2.      Add egg, vanilla essence and syrup and mix thoroughly
3.      Mix together sifted flour, baking powder, rolled oats, coconut and cornflakes
4.      Stir into creamed mixture. Add milk, a small amount at a time, if the dough is too dry
5.      Place small balls on a baking tray and flatten slightly.
6.      Bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown and delicious

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Afghan Cookies (Biscuits) Recipe

Afghan Cookies

The timing of this recipe is not intended to be related in any way to recent events (Osama Bin Laden getting caught), it is just sheer coincidence. I had been planning on making Afghan cookies for some time. The delay was due to my inability to take into possession one of the key ingredients, cornflakes. 

Afghan cookies are made with cornflakes and cocoa. You must wonder what the connection is between cornflakes, cocoa and Afghanistan. Corn and cocoa do not grow in Afghanistan and neither do these ingredients feature in Afghani cuisine. You are probably thinking that external influence or occupation resulted in cornflakes and cocoa being introduced into Afghani cuisine. Answer is no. Afghan cookies have nothing to do with Afghanistan, or any country near or related to Afghanistan. These cookies were born in New Zealand many decades ago. I tried to find out why it is called Afghan cookies but to no avail. Nobody seems to know, even wiki does not have the answers. 

Afghan cookies are chunky, crunchy and slightly crumbly. And just like ANZAC cookies which are also from New Zealand and Australia, Afghan cookies require just a handful of ingredients and are very easy to make.

The cookies on its own are not very sweet so the icing is definitely needed. In the recipe I have presented two options for the icing – a richer (original) version and a lighter alternative. I used the lighter alternative.

The recipe is from the Edmonds Cook Book available online at TVNZ

200g butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
1¼ cups flour
¼ cup cocoa
2 cups cornflakes
Walnuts, optional

Chocolate Icing (richer version)
200g dark chocolate
½ cup cream
25g butter

Chocolate Icing (lighter alternative)
1 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa
3 tablespoons water

1.      Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  
2.      Sift flour and cocoa and stir into creamed mixture. Fold in cornflakes.
3.      Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto a greased oven tray and press down lightly. 
4.      Bake at to 180°C/360°F for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and firm.
5.      When cookies have cooled, ice with chocolate icing and decorate with a walnut piece if you like
6.      To make the icing (richer version): break chocolate into top of a small bowl. Add butter and cream. Set over hot water and heat, stirring constantly, unit it has melted and smooth. Alternatively, microwave on medium power for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.
7.      To make the icing (lighter alternative): Mix all of the icing ingredients together in a bowl until a thick paste is formed.
Afghan cookies

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

One lovely blog award

Engineer and an oven has given me a "One Lovely Blog' award. I feel honored. However the award is not handed out without obligations. The blogger receiving the award is required to:
1. Post linking back to the person that gave you the award
2. Share 7 random things about him/herself
3. Award 15 recently discovered blogs
4. Drop them a note and tell them about it.

Here are 7 random facts about me:
1.      I like number 3, hence the reason my other blog is called three-cookies
2.      This leads to the second fact – I love cookies
3.      From memory the first cookies I made was shortbread
4.      I could eat rolled oats each morning and probably never get bored (I haven’t gotten bored yet)
5.      My professional background is in finance and law, quite unrelated to cooking and baking
6.      I have interest in, and worked in, some of the riskiest countries in the world. Risk = challenge = interesting = I am crazy!
7.      Nobody who knows me personally is aware that I have blogs so none of my friends and family are reading my blogs (or reading it and not knowing its mine!)

The next stage of accepting the award is to award 15 other recently discovered blogs. If the list is incomplete I will complete it eventually. The blogs are in no particular order. They are the blogs which I recently discovered so in case your blog does not appear on the list, please don't take it personally. I still like you but (un)fortunately I discovered your blog earlier:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Armenian Nutmeg Cake recipe

Armenian Nutmeg Cake

The Armenian cake is like an upside down version of the crumb cake. The crumbs are at the bottom, giving it a crunchy base. This two layered cake is really easy to make, requiring just a few ingredients and you don't need to make two separate batters. 

You are probably thinking Armenian cake comes from Armenia. Pretty much all the recipes that I came across are connected with Australia in some way. Armenians do seem to use nutmeg in their sweets. My guess is that the Armenian cake with two layers originated in Australia, using a single layer Armenian nutmeg cake as inspiration. I won't be surprised if you are unable to find this cake in Armenia.  Its no different from Afghan Cookies being from New Zealand, not Afghanistan.

I preferred to eat this cake 'naked' without icing.  Lemon or even plain butter cream icing will go well with this cake

The recipe requires self raising flour. A substitute for self raising flour is 1 cup flour, 1½ teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt

Adopted from Best Recipes


2 cups self-raising flour
½ cup butter
1½ cups brown sugar
1 egg
¾ cup milk
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg


  1. Mix flour, butter and sugar until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Either use your fingers or food processor
  2. Press ½ the mixture into a greased 20cm baking tin 
  3. In a bowl beat egg. Add milk, bicarbonate of soda and nutmeg to and mix well.
  4. Add this liquid to second half of the flour mixture.
  5. Mix well and pour on top of mixture in the baking tin.
  6. Bake at 180°C/360°F until done, about 40-45 minutes
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