Wednesday

Brownies Ratio Analysis


I work in an investment fund and we look at financial ratios and other boring stuff all day long. So when I walked into the office with a box of brownies and said "I couldn't sleep last night so I was experimenting with ratios -" before I could finish my sentence, my colleagues gave incredulous "why would you do that in the middle of the night?!"

Hehehe I was working on the ONLY ratios that matter - the fat to flour content in determining the texture of brownies you get.

So in my attempt to find my absolute favourite brownie recipe, I decided to make all 3 variations to test them with various friends, family and colleagues and let them decide which one is best.


In making brownies, what determines it being cakey or fudgy is the amount of fat (chocolate and flour) versus the amount of flour that you put into the batter. Obviously, more fat means more fudgy, rich and wet, and vice versa.

Then, tweak yet another variable - the type of sugar - and you get chewy brownies!

The ingredients themselves don't change, but the ratios do and so to make it easy for you I've put the recipe in a table:


The winner for me though, definitely fudgy brownies! Especially when they're warm and paired with a glass of cold milk. YUM! 


Monday

Ricotta Apple Cake


I was meant to do a bit of a brownie experiment this weekend - had planned it out perfectly except for one thing... I forgot to buy eggs. What the hoohay? So I had only 3 eggs on hand and a hankering to bake this evening and quickly pivoted from the brownie experiment plan to make this stunning cake I had seen on Food52's instagram. It's called Louisa's Cake, an elegantly simple recipe to pull off yet yields such wonderful results.


It's made with just a small bundle of ingredients, and chances are you will only need to run to the shops to get just two items - a fresh crunchy green apple and a tub of ricotta. It's also so easy, that I made two this weekend! One for Kak Yati's birthday, and another to bring to dinner at my sister-in-law's place.

I'll save the brownie experiment for another night this week, and I'd really still like to do it before I fly off this Thursday for my 30th birthday weekend getaway. Oh well, who needs sleep? I'm still in my 20s, I'm sure I could pull it off! Hehehe


Recipe for Louisa's Cake or a Ricotta Apple Cake
From Food52
  • 117g butter, room temperature
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g fresh ricotta
  • 1 large green apple, peeled and shredded (and squeezed of excess moisture)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 160g all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 9" springform tin with parchment paper 
  2. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy, then add the eggs in one at a time while mixing on low speed
  3. Add the vanilla then beat in the ricotta, apple and lemon zest and continue to beat the mixture until combined (1-2 mins on low speed)
  4. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and fold in with a spatula until the dry ingredients are just wet then pour the batter out into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes (fan) 
  5. Cool the cake in the tin for about 10 minutes then move to a wire rack and cool completely before dusting with icing sugar and then cutting a slice out to "photograph" but really it was just in time for the hot mug of coffee you just made. 

Wednesday

Tomatoes, mozzarella and toast!


I've been seeing a lot of pictures of tomatoes on burrata on Instagram and Pinterest lately, and I'm not sure if it's just having a revival at the moment or the interwebz is reading me again. But after days and days of seeing variations of these flavours every time I check my social media, I had to have it.

Only problem is, I couldn't find burrata anywhere! Dagnabbit! This wasn't going to deter me, though, so mozzarella it is!

Here's a recipe I love to make for my husband and I when we can't decide what to have for dinner, or for a weekend lunch.

Braised tomatoes on mozzarella with toast 
(serves 2)
  • A healthy glug of olive oil
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • A fistful of roughly chopped basil
  • 4-5 smashed cloves of garlic
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 2 balls of mozzarella
  • Crusty toast 
  1. Heat the olive oil in a braiser or pan, doesn't have to be fancy, add the tomatoes, basil, garlic and sea salt, cover and simmer on low-medium heat for 20 minutes. 
  2. Uncover, pop in the oven under the broiler on medium heat for about 5 minutes
  3. Remove from the oven, and pour over the mozzarella (or even better if you have burrata!) in a bowl and serve warm with toast 

Easy peasy, and super satisfying!

Saturday

Jeera Rice (Cumin Rice)


I come from a multiethnic family - with a strong influence by my Indian paternal grandmother, as she is the matriarch of our large and boisterous family. This influence shows itself a LOT through our food preferences - dad to this day can't go 3 days without having dhal (the special dhal recipe Nini passed down to all of us, not just any old random dhal you can get at a Mamak store in Malaysia), and my absolute favourite food in the whole wide world is tandoori chicken. With all the trimmings.

So when it comes to cooking, as much as I love cooking western food, the most common type of Asian food I would cook is Indian food - not only is it familiar and therefore easy, it's also damned delicious! I'm about to share a series of different Indian food recipes (as Nini makes them) in the next few posts, but I'll start with the easiest and most basic of all - rice. There are many types of rice that you can cook, but this is my favourite as it also uses the best spice in the world - Cumin.

Jeera Rice
Serves... 2 if you're hungry, 4 if you're on diet

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water, room temp


  1. Heat a tbsp of coconut oil (or vegetable oil, doesn't have to be fancy) in a saucepan and add all the spices once hot. Toast the spices for about 3 - 4 minutes. 
  2. Add the rice and stir to mix with all the spices, and continue to toast for about 2 - 3 minutes - I don't know why, it may have something to do with how the flavours mix together. Add the water and pinch of salt, cover and keep on a low heat for 15 minutes. 
  3. At the 15 minute mark, remove the lid, turn off the heat and fluff up the rice with a fork. You can keep the lid on to retain heat or serve immediately with a garnish of chopped cilantro and your favourite curries. 

Easy no? I also do this with quinoa when I'm feeling extra guilty. The trick to using quinoa is to ensure you wash it thoroughly before cooking and also to toast it (step 2) for slightly longer (4 - 5 mins) until you hear a soft popping sound and a nutty smell arises. Then add the water and cook for 15 minutes too.