16 February 2007

Sugar High Friday #28: Sweet Seduction

Valentine's Raspberry Flan, originally uploaded by cherryleader.

I got back from holiday on the Valentine's Day. The boyfriend and I had been apart from each other for three weeks and we've been missing each other so much that one more day of waiting would probably drive both of us nuts. I arrived at the coach interchange at 4:30pm. Before I even walked out of the coach, I could see him standing right there, holding a big bunch of flowers, looking anxiously. I jumped out of the coach and almost rudely ran through the people in between of us. Finally the both of us held each other in the arms tightly, grinning like idiots.

I've been planing making this flan weeks before the day. But I didn't get the chance to make it on that day. For dinner, we went to Tosolini's and sat at a table near the street, watching couples dressed nicely walking by. We each had a Roman style pizza square, and shared a piece of Tiramisu in the end. The weather was nice and cool, with a little of breeze once in a while to add a bit chill into the air. The night was almost perfect.

Except for a piece of Valentine's Day baking goods freshly out of the oven. So when I finally got the chance to bake, I made this Valentine's Raspberry Flan. I saw the recipe a few months ago in this website. I didn't do much changes to the original recipe, except for using all raspberries rather than raspberries and strawberries.

I told the boyfriend that I baked a Sweet Seduction for him in the kitchen. Half an hour later he texted me: I had a piece of the thingy, and I'm successfully seduced.

Valentine's Berry Flan

1 1/4 cups plain flour
2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz / 250g cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 cupsfresh red berries
GLAZE (optional)
1/2 cup seedless strawberry jam (I used raspberry jam)
1 tbsp lemon juice

  1. CRUST: Preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Combine flour and icing sugar.Cream butterand gradually blend in flour mixture. Work with hands to form a smooth dough. Pressevenly on bottom and sides of 9" (23 cm) fluted pan with removable bottom; prick withfork and chill 15 minutes.Bake for 7-10 minutes or until light golden. Cool thoroughly in pan on rack.

  2. FILLING: Beat cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla together until smooth.Whip creamuntil stiff peaks form and fold into cheese mixture. Spread evenly in baked crust andcover attractively with fruit, making a heart shape.

  3. GLAZE (optional): If desired mix jam and lemon juice together until smooth and brushover fruit.

Serve flan immediately at room temperature for maximum flavour.

Big thanks to Jasmine at Confessions of a Cardamom Addict for hosting this SHF, and Jennifer at Domestic Goddess for creating the original SHF.

11 February 2007

The reson to get up early on Sundays

It's been a ritual for us not long after we started dating. Every Sunday morning at 8, we'll meet up and walk 20 minutes to this local bakery to have three pieces of toast and spread of your choice. The boyfriend usually has strawberry jam or honey, and I always have something different from last time. My recent favourite is a thick layer of vegemite.

The toast is seriously addictive. Freshly homemade giant bread sliced into pieces is evenly toasted and coated with a thin layer of melted butter. It smells absolutely fantastic. Have a plateful of these and a big glass of cold milk in summer (for a milk addict like me) is one of the best treats I could ever imagine.

A sidenote: among the large collection of pies and tarts that they also sell, the apple pie is the most popular of all. The pastry, the sugar coated apple dices inside, together with the whipped cream on top, have made this little pie disappear from the shelf every single day before everything else in the bakery.

Havn't had it for 3 weeks, I've already had my mind gone wild with all the memories there. Cannot wait to taste the yummy toast n vegemite again on a sunny Sunday morning.

Bunda St
Canberra City 2601.
(02) 6257 5966

9 February 2007

Banana cream cheesecake

I came across this recipe when I was browsing Recipezaar as a means to kill time during this summer. The outcome was absolutely amazing. It has become our all time favourite. I've made it for his parents, for my supervisor's BBQ, and for his lab's group meeting. And single time the look on people's faces after they had a bite of the cheesecake just made me fall in love with baking a little bit more.

The original recipe is enough to make a 22cm (8.5in) cake. But I've halved the recipe to make a small 7in cake as a trial and it was still delicious. The small cheesecake's easily set, while for the big one, overnight chilling is absolutely necessary if you want a even texture across the whole cake.



20 vanilla cream-filled sandwich style cookies (I use a package of oatmeal cookies, 200g)
1/4 cup margarine, melted


24 ounces cream cheese, softened (I usually just use 2 x 250g)
2/3 cup granulated sugar (tighly packed brown sugar)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 eggs
3/4 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large ones)
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
shredded coconut, for topping (optional)

  1. Finely chop the cookies. Add margarine and blend until they are well combines.
  2. Press the mixture into the bottom of a springform pan and smooth it out. Refrigerate the crust while you make the filling.
  3. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until creamy. Beat in sugar and cornstarch followed by the eggs (one at a time). Beat in bananas, whipping cream, and vanilla.
  4. Pour mixture into crust. Place pan on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350F/185C oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 200F/95C and bake an additional 75 minutes, or until center is almost set. Add coconut on the top and return to cheesecake to the oven for another 20 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool completely before removing rim of pan. Before removing the pan, run warm water over a knife and slide a knife around the edge of the cake to separate the cake from the pan cleanly.
  7. Refrigerate cheesecake, uncovered, at least 6 hours. Overnight is highly recommended.

Cherry ripe cheesecake

This is the very first post I'm making here. I'd like to start it with one of the best cheesecake I've ever made. It's also very special to me 'cos it'll always remind me of the first real Christmas in my life.

The recipe is from an old issue of Australian Women's Weekly.



250g packet chocolate ripple biscuits, finely crushed
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
100g butter, melted
65g Cherry Ripe bar, chopped, to decorate


4 x 65g Cherry Ripe bars, chopped
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup thickened cream
3 drops pink food colouring
2 x 250g packets cream cheese, chopped, at room temperature

  1. In a medium bowl, combine biscuit crumbs, coconut, condensed milk and butter.
  2. Press mixture firmly onto base and sides of a 22cm springform pan, using a flat-bottomed glass. Chill 20 minutes, until firm.
  3. FILLING. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt Cherry Ripe over low heat 4-5 minutes, until smooth. Add sugar, cream and colouring, stirring over heat until well combined. Cool.
  4. In a small bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in Cherry Ripe mixture until combined.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared shell. Chill for 3 hours, or overnight, until firm. Serve topped with chopped Cherry Ripe bar.

8 February 2007

New Year's Resolution

It's been years like this, that I don't think a new year has started until the CNY has officially passed. This means it's still not too late to write down my resolutions for the coming new year.

So for 2007, I would like to

  • learn to relax, no matter how stressful the study becomes
  • look after my fragile spine and build up leg muscles by doing cardio every day for at least 30 min
  • be friendly and kind to everyone; always keep a smile on the face
  • be a good friend who writes emails constantly and remembers their birthdays
  • be the favorite girl of my boyfriend

And of course, most importantly, I would like to improve my baking skills, so that I can

  • relax by baking
  • reward myself for doing exercise by baking
  • be less cracky to others because I've baked what I want to
  • bake birthday cakes for my friends
  • bake all kinds of yummy goodies for my boyfriend

Basically, baking is the key to everything. So there you go. This little blog is gonna be the witness of all my adventures in the world of baking, in this coming, exciting new year.