Birthday Picnic! πŸ₯³πŸ₯³πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

Happy birthday to my dear friend @wellnessbyyana! We were truly blessed with glorious weather β˜€οΈ β˜€οΈ this weekend in the U.K., which made it perfect for a birthday picnic in the park! πŸ˜‰πŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ

At the request of my dear friend, this trifle is dairy-free, refined sugar-free and loaded with extra shots of rum ready for the party! πŸ’ƒ πŸ’ƒ πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽŠπŸŽŠ The trifle consists of a rum and berries jelly at the bottom, layered with a banana sponge cake (soaked with more rum!), strawberries, blueberries and raspberries- all covered with a soya milk custard with a plant-based whipped cream. What a perfect day to celebrate the end of lockdown! πŸ₯³πŸ₯³

Dairy-free refined sugar-free rum and berries trifle

Ingredients:

For the jelly:

250g mixed berries (e.g. raspberries and blueberries)

30g honey

25ml water

2 tsp lemon juice

3 shots of rum

2 1/2 gelatine leaves

For the banana cake:

190g self-raising flour

1 1/2 bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

2 ripen bananas, mashed

20g honey, plus extra to drizzle on the sponge

90ml vegetable/sunflower oil

60ml plant-based milk (e.g. soya/almond)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 shots of rum

For the custard:

350ml plant-based milk (e.g. soya/almond)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp elderflower/lemon extract (optional)

4 egg yolks

30g honey

15g plain flour

15g cornflour

For the whipped cream:

Any dairy free double or whipping cream

For the fruits:

Strawberries

Mixed berries (e.g. raspberries and blueberries) to your likening

For the decorations:

Toasted almond flakes (optional)

Goji berries (optional)

Method:

1. Start with the jelly by making a fruit purΓ©e. Heat the berries, honey, water and lemon juice in a saucepan. Crush/blend the fruits as you are cooking.

2. Pass the purΓ©e through a sieve to get a smooth purΓ©e and place it back into a clean saucepan.

3. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water.

3. Add the rum and heat the purΓ©e gently.

4. Squeeze the water out of the soaked gelatine and add it to the purΓ©e. Stir under heat until the gelatine is fully dissolved.

5. Pour the purΓ©e into a clean glass bowl. Let it cool before putting it in the fridge for several hours, or until the jelly is fully set.

6. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

7. Make the banana sponge cake by passing the flour through a sieve. Mix in bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon.

7. Mix the mashed bananas, honey, milk, oil and vanilla extract together until well-combined. Then fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until well-combined.

8. Pour the mixture into a parchment-lined cake tray and bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

9. Remove the cake from the tray and cool on a wire rack.

10. For the custard, heat the milk and extracts gently in a saucepan without it boiling.

11. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg yolks by hand with the honey until pale. Sieve the flours in and mix until well-combined.

12. Slowly pour about half of the heated milk into the yolk mixture, whisking vigorously as you pour. Then, pour the mixture back into the remaining milk in the saucepan.

13. Cook the custard gently over heat, whisking continuously as it cooks until you have a smooth, thickened mixture. (If it doesn’t thicken, add about a tablespoon of cornflour.) Set aside and let the custard cool.

14. Slice the strawberries in halves to prepare for assembling.

15. Cut and layer the banana sponge over the set jelly in the bowl. Drizzle the sponge with more honey and soak with shots of rum.

16. Place the sliced strawberries over the sponge to surround the bowl. Add the remaining fruits in the centre. (You can add more rum at this stage if you want!)

17. Pour the cooled custard over the fruits and use a knife to spread it out evenly. Place back into the fridge to set.

18. Use an electric whisk to whip the cream until stiff.

19. Layer the cream over the set custard and again use a knife to spread it out evenly, filling to the top of the bowl.

20. Spread almond flakes and goji berries over the top to decorate the trifle before serving.

As Long As There’s Christmas

Happy Christmas Eve! πŸŽ„β˜ƒοΈπŸŒŸ Almost a week into tier 4, but funnily enough I am still enjoying my time away from work and being left to my own devices. 😌 Obviously this Christmas is a lot quieter than previous years, but I think it’s good to find some peace in these uncertain times.

Continuing my spree of festive baking, I decided to make a traditional Yule Log today. The filling is a whipped cream with raspberries, wrapped in a chocolate sponge coated in dark chocolate ganache and decorated with tempered chocolates. πŸ˜‹ It’s very straightforward, and I had such a fun time making it because I just love doing tempered chocolate work. πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ And to finish, all it needs a little dust of icing sugar to bring it to life! ❄️❄️

Time to Chill

Sorry to not have posted in a while. Work has started to pick back up again, so I have been doing various things over the past weeks. πŸ˜… My first week back to work just happened to coincide with also the hottest week in the UK. β˜€οΈπŸ”₯πŸ”₯ (Literally right now can’t survive without a constant supply of ice cream haha!🍦🍦) Not sure if it was the weather or the lack of moving around in the past months, but the walk to work had been strangely exhausting. 😢 Having said that though, it was nice to be back in a familiar setting in some form and enjoying a change of scenery for the first time in months! 😁

The heatwave has obviously made more people going out to parks and beaches to enjoy the sunshine. Perhaps I am just a bit more wary, so meanwhile I am still trying to avoid crowded places and keep to social distancing. Doesn’t necessary help though that my apartment can get very steamed up during midday from the heat (even with all the windows wide open!) πŸ₯΅πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ So I took some time to make sure that there is something cool and chilled to enjoy at home. πŸ˜‰

This Oreo and strawberry chilled, no-bake cheesecake is very easy to make. It is done by simply whipping up cream cheese and double cream using an electric whisk. Cookies and cream. πŸͺ Strawberry and cream. πŸ“ You have them all in one package! ❀️

One Day

A year ago exactly today, I started my first blog post here. It feels much longer than that though, given how so much have happened in between these times. I am certain that no-one a year ago would have predicted the circumstances we are currently in right now. I started this blog as a mean of an β€˜escape’ from life (as I was feeling extremely demotivated at work). I wasn’t sure where this was going, but it gave me a sense of hope in the future, something that I feel we need ever more now. As easing of the lockdown starts to begin, I feel a mixture of uncertainty and anxiety (and also annoyance at the events over the past few days), but I remain ever so hopeful about the unknown. Goods are definitely on the horizon. β™₯️

My first post on the blog was on an angel food cake that I made long ago, and I thought it would be so fitting to do that cake once again after all these times. 😊 An angel food cake is a light, fatless sponge made from primarily whisked egg whites. The lightness of this cake goes perfectly well with whipped cream and fruits (I chose mango in this caseπŸ₯­)- which makes this one of my favourite cakes of all time. πŸ˜‹ (As fate would have it, I also overwhipped my first batch of cream like last time, so had to start over. Funny how things are sometimes! πŸ˜‚) Happy anniversary! πŸ₯³πŸ€£πŸŽ‰

It’s Mango Day Every Day! πŸ’›

Still getting used to being back to work after the long holiday. πŸ˜› Right now the dark winter sky in the UK is really not giving me enough drive to work in the evening. 😴 (Where has all the motivation in the new year gone lol!?) Does anybody else feel the same?

At this point, I will be dreaming about a tropical island 🏝 in a far land and wishing I am there instead. 😝 However, for now, a mango lover like me can survive with a mango and cream cake. At least, I can taste the tropic right now! πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‚ I realise it has been a while since I posted a recipe, so I hope you all will enjoy this cake as much as I did! πŸ’›

Mango and Cream Cake

Quantity: 1 cake

Ingredients:

5 eggs, separated

80g caster sugar

60g flavourless oil

70g warm water

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g self raising flour

250ml double cream

1 mango, diced

Mango pulp

White Chocolate, tempered (optional)

Pistachio, chopped finely (optional)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.

2. Whisk the egg white with half the sugar until stiff.

3. Mix the remaining sugar, egg yolks, oil water and vanilla together until well-combined.

4. Sieve in the flour and stir until well-combined.

5. Fold in half of the whisked egg white into the flour mixture. Then, pour the mixture back into the remaining egg white and fold until evenly combined.

6. Grease the cake tin, then transfer the cake mixture into it.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

8. Let the cake cool briefly in the cake tin, then remove the cake from the tin. Leave the cake on a wire rack until completely cooled.

9. Whisk the double cream until whipped and smooth.

10. Slice the cake evenly across to create two layers. Sandwich the sponge layers with whipped cream, mangoes and mango pulp.

11. Cover the sides and the top of the cake with the remaining whipped cream. Drizzle more mango pulp at the top of the cake. Decorate with more mangoes, pistachio and tempered white chocolates to finish.

The Night Before Christmas

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! πŸŽ„β„οΈπŸ’«β€οΈβ€οΈ It’s so nice to be back home in the holiday, isn’t it? (I certainly am, since I am posting this whilst setting up a bath lol! πŸ›€)

Hope you all are enjoying your holiday, and I am sorry if this post dampens the festive mood for you but I have thought long and hard before writing this… My break didn’t start off well when I found out three days ago that my family home was broken into. Losing valuables was one thing but I am just glad that no-one was hurt. However, I am upset by the fact that someone feels they have the rights to violate the place that holds so much happy memories to me. Here I am, a few days later, taking a picture of this cake at the exact same spot where it was broken into… I still feel a little uneasy around the house, but hopefully over time it will heal. ❀️ Though I am not going to let this stops me celebrating Christmas with a smile on my face! 😊

So happy with how this cake turns out β€˜cause I’ve never done something like this before! The cake is just a simple vanilla sponge covered with a smooth whipped cream, and topped with flakes of chocolate. However, the iced biscuits are actually shortbreads as my family and I are not particularly fond of gingerbread, so I made a break away from the tradition lol. πŸ˜› (A tip: Make sure to always rest the shaped biscuits in the fridge or freezer before baking. This is to prevent the butter from melting too fast during baking so that the biscuits don’t lose the shapes you probably spent some time painstakingly trying to cut out! πŸ˜‚)

Can’t wait to be binge-watching Christmas TV all day tomorrow! Merry Christmas and best wishes to you all! πŸŽ…πŸŽ„β„οΈπŸ’«πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽŠπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Last Christmas πŸ¦Œβ„οΈπŸŽ„

Christmas baking truly marks for me the beginning of the seasonal festival. There are so many things I love about Christmas, from the beautiful lights in the streets of London to a crazy time in the Winter Wonderland whilst listening to the best Christmas tunes. It’s truly the best time of the year! β€οΈπŸ’šβ€οΈπŸ’š What are your favourite things about Christmas? 😊

Last year, I decided to make a Yule Log after seeing it done in the Great Christmas Bake Off the year before, and I was so happy with how it turned out in the end! πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ‘ Swiss roll was the first ever bake I learnt to make so it does bring back a sense of nostalgia to be making that back at my family home. ❀️

(P.S. A couple of days after that, I also made a Christmas croquembouche! πŸ˜†)

Now, what should I make this Christmas? πŸ€”πŸ˜—

One Ice Cream a Day Keeps the Hot Weather Away

As we are now firmly in the month of August, the warm weather here in the UK might be approaching to its end (now I might just have jinxed myself with the unpredictability of British weather lol.) With the scorching hot weather, I have completely lost count with the number of ice creams I had eaten in the past months. πŸ˜›πŸ¦πŸ¦πŸ¦ But, have you ever tried to make your own ice cream at home? With homemade ice creams, you are free to create any flavours you can imagine and the sky is the limit!

Ice cream is essentially a flavoured, frozen custard, and it is actually a lot more straightforward and easy to make than one may think otherwise (at least in my case lol.) All you really need is a plastic box and a freezer, alongside some stirrings to do and a bit of patience. The first flavour I made is one of my absolute favourite – mango! πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹ You can check out my recipe below, and it is also adaptable for other ice cream flavours!

What is your favourite ice cream flavour? πŸ˜‰

Mango Ice Cream

Ingredients:

300g single cream

100g caster sugar

350g mango puree

250g double cream

1 tbsp lemon juice

Method:

  1. Heat single cream at a lot heat, the stir in sugar until it has completely dissolved.
  2. Pour the cream in a container, then add in the mango puree, double cream and lemon juice. Mix using a whisk until well-combined.
  3. Place the ice cream in the freezer for about 3 hours, or until semi-frozen. Use a fork to fold the ice cream evenly, starting from the edges.
  4. Place it back to the freezer to freeze overnight, or until it is completely frozen before serving.

Dim Sum and Desserts

It had been so nice this week to catch up with many of my closest friends.😊 But, before I leave London for a couple of weeks, I met up with my best friend for one delicious food date. We (or rather I lol) decided to visit Yauatcha in Soho, a Chinese restaurant that specialises in contemporary dim sum as well as high-end patisserie.πŸ˜‹ Got to say I felt right at home here! πŸ˜‰

Seafood Black Truffle Dumplings
Lobster Dumplings with Tobiko (Flying Fish Roe)
Prawn and Tofu Skin Cheung Fun (Steamed Rice Rolls)
King Crab Xiaolongbao
Spicy Fried Soft Shell Crabs

I really enjoyed the Cheung Fan and the black truffle dumplings (though my friend who didn’t like the flavours of black truffle preferred the lobster dumplings and the Cheung Fan.πŸ˜‚) Not only were the dishes really delicious, but they also filled me with many memories from my childhood growing up in Hong Kong. The Cheung Fan (steamed rice rolls) in particular was a common street food I used to eat regularly back then after school.

Strawberry Zhu: Vanilla and Almond Sponge with Yuzu, Strawberry and Toasted Rice
Mango Lime Mallow: Mango Mousse and Coconut Sponge with Lime Marshmallow and Candied Ginger
Matcha Lychee Pot: Yogurt Panna Cotta with Lychee, Matcha and Watermelon

The desserts though were something that I was the most excited about coming into this place and they certainly did not disappoint. I had the Strawberry Zhu and the Matcha Lychee Pot. I was very impressed by the classic strawberry and cream combination in the former. The flavours worked very well and I particularly enjoyed the surprise of the strawberry-shaped chocolates which were also filled with a strawberry sauce.πŸ˜‹ (I didn’t realise they were not real strawberries until I bit into them.πŸ˜‚) The Matcha Lychee Pot was very light and refreshing, and almost remained me of a granola and yogurt pot but much more refined. The jelly component especially was very delightful to eat.

The only downside here was that this place was a bit expensive. Still, it didn’t stop us going for a frozen yogurt afterwards.πŸ˜‚

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend ahead of you! πŸ˜‰

Late-Night Sausages

About a month or so ago, I visited an American-style restaurant called the Fat Bear here in London. (You can read about my visit here πŸ‘‰ https://tangosbaking.home.blog/2019/06/15/journey-across-the-waters/) I tried their delicious biscuits and gravy, and ever since then, I had always wanted to try to replicate this classic American dish.

Yesterday, I was feeling peckish in the middle of the night. I suddenly had this idea of making some biscuits and gravy to fill this hunger. So, I quickly leapt down to the supermarket (the closet one to me had closed already so I had to walk slightly further), and came back to attempt to make this dish for the first time ever. I followed a recipe by the Hairy Bikers (Link: https://goodfood.uktv.co.uk/recipe/biscuits-and-sausage-gravy/), though I just went all freestyle with the sausage gravy using some good-quality caramelised onion sausages, double cream (that was left from when I made my Oreo cake a few days) and some mixed spices. I also didn’t have any buttermilk, so I made my own using lemon juice and milk by following tips on this article πŸ‘‰ https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/how-to-make-buttermilk/.

I wasn’t entirely sure how the biscuit dough should be like, but I felt it was wetter than it should be, so I did end up adding a bit more flour. I felt the biscuits did come out slightly denser than I would like it, but the sausage gravy was absolutely delicious! πŸ˜‹ (Though it eventually did feel quite heavy as I kept on eating it after… πŸ˜…)

Have you made biscuits and gravy before? Do you have any tips you would like to share? Let me know in the comments below. πŸ˜‰