Saturday, May 7, 2011

Green Tea Swiss Roll II

After the success of my 1st attempt on swiss roll, I have been waiting for a perfect time to try it out a 2nd time. Opportunity came when my parents were down here in KL with me. I told my mom about me making swiss roll and I could see signs of disbelief showing on her face. That was the time I knew I really had to bake one right under her nose. The cake turn out great. It was softer than the one I first baked (could be even softer). As usual, I spread a huge slab of cream on it. My mom was lamenting on the thick cream and that I've gone too far on this. Well, I love biting into the cake and have the cream oozing out from the side. This is something I cannot get it from any swiss roll that I've bought so far.

To get the recipe, please click here .

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Holiday Villa Beach Resort & Spa Langkawi

I was in Langkawi in year 2008 and posted my review for this hotel in Tripadvisor. I thought it's a good idea to share my review of this hotel in my blog. I booked this hotel via website and was rather skeptical when I read so many mixed reviews on this hotel. Nevertheless, I decided to go ahead with it. And the verdict?? Generally, this is a good hotel. I have to be fair when it comes to judging a hotel. One simply cannot compare an apple with an orange. I booked the Superior room which is the cheapest room possible, facing a garden view and on the ground floor. The workmanship of the flooring and tiles didn't deserve any star rating but what do you expect from a hotel which has been built for quite sometime. The pool was excellent because it was huge, the design was somewhat interesting( unlike the rectangular olympic pool), it has a jacuzzi, child pool, plenty of beach bench, pool bar, great beach and place for beach volleyball. Other amenities include 3 well maintained tennis courts and 2 ping pong tables. The bed was not so soft, aircon was cold and room comes with safebox and hair dryer. My room was not carpeted but I aint' too sure about other more expensive rooms. So, bring along your bedroom slippers for cleanliness and also to avoid stepping on cold flooring. Bathroom was huge and comes with a bathtub. All rooms comes with a balcony with 2 chairs. TV channels provided are quite ok and comes with remote control The only not so good thing about this hotel was the breakfast. Choices were limited.

I strongly recommend future Langkawi goers to stay in hotels located either in Pantai Tengah (where Holiday Villa is)or Pantai Cenang. There are plenty of cheap or expensive food outlets/stalls, souvenir shops, beach clothing shops and spa/massage parlour. Most of these shops are located in Pantai Cenang but if you stay in Pantai Tengah (where Holiday Villa is), it is just a stone throw's away. You can rent motorbike or a car and move around. These 2 Pantai (Beach) to me are the best simply because it has more activities, lively and extremely convenient. However if you are looking someplace which is extremely quiet, isolated, then perhaps The Datai and The Andaman is the right place for you. Both hotels are expensive and located in Datai Bay which is far far, very very far away from the Kuah Town or Pantai Cenang(where all the shops are). Just stay away from Datai Bay or Burau Bay is you want to be close to all the shops and activities. For me, location is as important as hotel standard. Oh yes.. Holiday Villa is very close to airport, about 15 mins ride.

For foreigners, liquor, cigarettes and chocolates are horribly cheap because they are truly duty free. Don't buy them in the airport !!! Buy them in Kuah Town where you will find numerous Duty Free Shops. So.. make sure you bring extra bags for fill your goodies.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Apple Gallete

I've run out of new recipes to bake. Oh.. ok, let me rephrase : I've run out of easy, hassel free but nevertheless yummy recipes to bake. I was doing my usual browsing of recipes and came across the category on apples. I've seen these frozen puff pastry in some of the bakery shops before and was tempted to buy on many occasions but of course, I never once did.  And so, when I came across this Apple Galette Recipe which to me was pretty easy to try out and it was asking for frozen puff pastry. Fantastic. The part of cutting the puff pastry into numerous cut sounded rather intimidating but I was lucky to get this frozen pastry already cut in a square size. So all that was needed of me was to either place several layers of the already cut puff pastry on top of each other, or I could just slice the pastry into half and place them on top of each other. I tried both ways. The entire house smells really good of  freshly baked buttery and cinnamon aroma. When I first bit into the flaky puff pastry, it felt wonderful in my mouth.  I adore the frangipane, the puff smells good, and the slight sourish taste of apple cum cinnamon makes the entire pastry so tasty and yummy.  This Apple Gallete was definitely a hit with hubby.

Frangipane (Almond Cream):
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (42 grams) almond meal (flour)
1 tablespoon (12 grams) all purpose flour

1 pound (454 grams) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

2 pounds (900 grams) Granny Smith Apples
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar
Softly whipped cream (optional)

Method :

Frangipane: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the almond meal and flour and beat until it forms a smooth paste. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Puff Pastry: Once the puff pastry has been defrosted, as per manufacturer's instructions: Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface and cut the sheet into thirds with a sharp knife. Then cut each third in half. Repeat with the second layer of puff pastry. Place the pastries (you will have 12 altogether) on a parchment lined baking sheet. Then, with an offset spatula or large knife, spread a thin layer of frangipane (about 1 heaping tablespoon) on each pastry, leaving about a 1/4 inch (1 cm) border. Cover and refrigerate the pastries for about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven

Peel and slice the apples into 1/4 inch slices. Place in a large bowl and toss with the sugar and ground cinnamon. Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator and lay the sugar coated apple slices on top of the frangipane, overlapping the slices.

Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the apples are slightly browned and tender and the puff pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.

Preheat the oven broiler and move the rack to the top shelf of the oven. Lightly dust the tops of the apples with confectioners sugar (powdered or icing) and place under the broiler until the tips of the apples start to caramelize. Watch closely and move the pan as needed. Serve warm or cold with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (I did away with this entirely because I don't have the oven broiler function).

My cooking tips : I stacked 2 or 3 layers of puff pastry on top of each other and in between, I spread a layer of frangipane. I did that because I wanna try to have a taller and 'puffy' puff.