Category Archives: #12 february: childhood memories

february: lisa’s cranberry and blueberry scones

As a kid, and even until now, I have always been an early riser. When I think back to when I was living at home, I remember always being the first one out of bed, the first one downstairs in the kitchen, sneaking into the pantry and thinking what to make for breakfast. Pancakes were the normal fare, and then I got into making bread from scratch. My mum got me a cookbook on baking all different types of breads, and then out flowed the brioche, cinnamon rolls and even crumpets!

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I remember making scones quite often – probably because they didn’t require too many ingredients and were relatively quick and simple. But there is also this memory of going to a garden nursery in Terrey Hills on the weekends, where we would go walk around the grounds and then sit down and have devonshire tea afterwards. The sweet, fluffy little scones with a smear of strawberry jam and a dollop of whipped cream was heavenly. I always looked forward to go to the nursery just to taste these (of course I had no interest in plants!).

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When I first started making scones, they were delicious fresh out of the oven, but became quite hard after a few hours, after they had cooled down. I was asked to make a traditional high tea for one of my friend’s weddings a few years ago. Of course, scones needed to be on the menu, but my challenge was how to make them early in the day and keep them soft and fluffy hours after. I did some research and found that the best way is to trap the heat and moisture in after baking. You can do this by wrapping the warm scones in a few tea towels immediately after baking, and store them like this until ready to eat. So simple, yet so effective.

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So for this month’s challenge, I have made cranberry and blueberry scones. The basic scone recipe is very versatile – it is possible to swap out the cranberries/blueberries for any other dried fruit (eg. sultanas, mixed fruits, dates), or omit them altogether to make perfectly fluffy vanilla scones and serve with your favourite jam or marmalade. Dried fruits are good to use because it doesn’t make the mixture too wet. Also the ingredients are simple, pantry staples, which makes this easy to create anytime. Enjoy!

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february: jasmine’s cinnamon buns

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This month’s theme was perfectly timed with my trip back home to visit family in Canada. My love of baked goods, and overall love of food and cooking, is from my childhood and significantly influenced by my mother and grandmother.

During my visit back home, my mom and I baked up a storm. We made apple pie, coconut tarts, butter tarts, biscuits, custards, jellies and Asian desserts such as mochi, sesame paste and red bean buns.

For this month, the recipe I am sharing with you is my mom’s home-made cinnamon buns! I LOVE cinnamon buns and it is something that I have not been able to find in Sydney. I am biased though, even if I were to find cinnamon buns in the shops, I don’t think they would compare to my mom’s home-made version.

This was the first time K had cinnamon buns and he was surprised by how good they were because he had expected ‘bread’. My mom and I baked these one snowy February afternoon and invited her neighbours over for afternoon tea to share these sweet treats. I had forgotten how good these were fresh from the oven. The whole house smelled of cinnamon and yeast.

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Perfect afternoon tea treat :) Crunchy cinnamon and sugar topping and soft pull-apart bread.

february: anna’s multi-colored carrot cupcakes

Cooking genes might be the kind that skip a generation….at least in my family! My grandma loves food and is an amazing cook. She’ll eat any type of cuisine, but only cooks Chinese / Malaysian food. I don’t think she’s ever made a Western dish in her life. Her favorite type of cake is carrot cake, and for as long as I can remember, every birthday, mother’s day or any other event where cake was involved, she would ask us to make it for her! Banana cake comes a close second (anyone detect a fruit / vegetable theme here?) I’ve mentioned before that my mum isn’t much of a baker. Included in her limited repertoire is carrot cake, which she will only frost on really special occasions, and even then, only with a very small amount! The only other type of cake she makes is a plain butter cake, so we ate a lot of both growing up!

I made my own cupcake version for this month’s post using these amazing multi-colored carrots I found at the farmer’s market! They didn’t really taste any different to regular carrots, but they looked good!

Multi Colored Carrots for Carrot Cupcakes

The cake tasted like the type we ate growing up – not too sweet and with extra carrots. The only difference was that I used a good amount of frosting! These cupcakes are even better the second day when the top of the cake has had a chance to absorb a bit of the frosting. So make extra or remember to put a few away :)

Multi Colored Carrot CupcakesFind the recipe here

february: kerri’s childhood ‘afternoon tea’

Starting way back in primary school, if we had been good, my Mum used to take my sister and I out for afternoon tea to different cafes after school about once a month. It was such a treat to look forward to, and felt so special to be sitting in a nice cafe, ordering a hot chocolate and a yummy piece of cake. I still remember we’d often get a slice of Concorde, Choc Rock or Bon Vivant. It was always something chocolate.

In my last year of high school, I decided to actually buckle down and study. I would go straight to my room after school to get my homework and study done before dinner. Every day, Mum would bring me a hot Milo or chocolate with marshmallows and a slice of cake for afternoon tea. She’s great, isn’t she?

So I decided to take that concept and make it into a dessert. Chocolate Pots de Creme with Toast Custard and Chocolate Crumbs, served with a pseudo-lamington.

choc pots de cremeBecause chocolate is the showcase for this dessert, using a good quality dark chocolate is well worth it. This recipe is super easy, and takes no time at all to prepare!

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You can top these which some whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa or chocolate shavings, or serve it with ice cream. I chose to make mine a bit more challenging, trying out Brent Savage’s Toast Custard from a cooking class I attended before moving to Hong Kong. The custard worked, but the toast flavour was much too subtle. I don’t think I burnt the toast enough! So a very lightly toasted sweet custard it was – still yummy, but disappointed that the toast flavour didn’t shine. I’ve included it on the recipe page – maybe yours will work out better :)

For the chocolate crumbs, I had frozen some dough from the chocolate shortbread I made for last month’s post. I baked this up then processed it to crumbs. I put a layer in between the chocolate and the custard for added texture, then dusted some on top for that ‘hot chocolate’ look.

dessert topThe cake base for the pseudo-lamington came from a recipe I learnt in Home Science at school, and quickly became a favourite cake to bake at home. Lamingtons remind me of lamington drives at school, when once a year or so we’d order a tray of lamingtons to gobble down. So with my Peach Blossom recipe in hand (and not having the time to make proper lamingtons), I made pseudo ones with chocolate ganache sprinkled with toasted coconut to serve with my ‘hot chocolate’.

dessert sideYou can find the recipe here.

february: childhood memories

The girl eats ice-cream

This month we’re digging into our not-so-long-ago (hehe, wishful thinking!) childhood memories of our favourite sweet treats and re-creating them for you!

We’ll take you back to those sweet and innocent days when choosing between a cake or an ice cream was such a mighty task. Ah, the joys of childhood!

What was your favourite sweet treat growing up? Check back in throughout the month to see if one of us has one of yours!

*image credit: www.stockfreeimages.com