Archive for the ‘baking teensy’ Category

baking teensy: edition 6 (the NZ lolly cake disaster)

April 30, 2010

Well, my streak of bad luck seems to be never-ending. I should have known from the beginning that my attempt at participating in an extracurricular activity would be thwarted. I have never really had much success with group activities.

You know how I wrote here about making some sweet NZ treats to sell today at the International Food Festival at Feng Chia University?

Well, I decided to only make lolly cake. I asked a creatively inclined friend and fellow teacher to draw a cutesy border on a piece of paper within which I was going to print the recipe to give out with each piece of cake sold.

I bought all the ingredients from Jasons. I couldn’t find Malt Biscuits so used Digestives. I also couldn’t find anything like eskimos so I used some tiny marshmallows my mum sent me from NZ and some soft jelly lollies. It’s pretty easy to make, you just put everything in a big bowl and stir it together.

With very sticky hands, I made the mixture into a log shape and rolled it in the coconut flakes. I covered it in plastic wrap and went to put it in the fridge. The fridge didn’t seem very cold, though. Then, I looked in the freezer. Everything was melted: the ice in its trays, the (no longer frozen) peas, the ice cream…

Our fridge had broken down.

So, at 11.30 pm at night, we had to throw out all of our food, of which we had a lot, and it meant that I couldn’t set the lolly cake. I admit to shedding a tear or two over the incident. I’m really not good at dealing with disappointment.

In a desperate attempt to salvage the situation I decided to place the lolly cake (not)-to-be in the freezer which was still a little cold. I left a quickly softening ice pad (the blue thing in the picture below) in there to see if that would keep it cool. It didn’t. Don’t you think the cake looks like a giant poo?

I went to bed, hoping for no nightmares of being crushed by giant lolly cake logs.

When I woke, I checked on the cake. Not set, still squishy. It’s now in the bin.

So, with my hopes dashed, I went to the food festival anyway, expecting to be cheered by the sites and smells (and purchases) of global flavours. However, the event which I thought began at 10 am actually didn’t start until 12 pm. I had to leave at 12 pm for a Skype meeting at one.

Was today a good day? No sir, it was not. I am now waiting for the electrician to arrive to fix the fridge. Our land agent promised one would be here before 4 pm. It is now 3:44 pm.

Does any one else have any group activity nightmares they want to share? If so, post a comment. It might make me feel better to bask in other people’s failed attempts at participating in extracurricular activities.

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baking teensy: edition 5 (chocolate and crunch Kiwiana)

April 21, 2010

I made these today.

Afghan Biscuits are, as far as I know, a solely New Zealand invention, first appearing in the iconic Edmonds Cookery Book. They are basically chocolate cookies with the strange but truly wonderful edition of Skippy Cornflakes to give a crunchy texture. I, however, used Special K because I couldn’t find cornflakes.

I’m not sure if you can see in the picture above but there are two different colors of icing. That’s because the icing is actually pure cooking chocolate, and because the first batch I made I melted it in a bowl in a pot of water. I managed to put too much water in the pot and some of it leeked into the bowl. This makes the chocolate go all weird and dark and bitsy. It still tasted like chocolate though, so I used it anyway. The next batch I made I took out some of the water; problem solved.

While I’m admitting to my baking errors, I also managed to burn the bottom of the biscuits and had to spend about ten minutes scrapping the burnt off with a serrated knife. Does anyone have any tips on how to not burn the bottom of biscuits when cooking in a toaster oven? Please post them here because I’m not sure if I can work it out.

I will be making these Afghan Biscuits and New Zealand Lolly Cake to sell at the International Food Festival being held at Feng Chia University next Friday. Come along, bring your friends. At my stall alone there will be food and drink from New Zealand, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia, and there is a whole floor of stalls!

Actually, a quick side note, my Thai classmate just made me aware that there is a small Thai market somewhere near Tunghai University. When I find out more, I’ll pass it on to you.

The International Food Festival will on from 9 am to 3 pm on Friday 30th April. Come to the fourth floor of Administration Building II, Feng Chia University, No. 100, Wenhwa Rd., Seatwen, Taichung. Here’s a campus map.

I just realised, this is the first baking teensy I’ve posted on something sweet. Weird.

To make your own Afghan Biscuits, here’s the recipe I used.

To make your own New Zealand Lolly Cake, here’s the recipe I will use.

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baking teensy: edition 4

February 3, 2010

A roast vegetable salad which makes the most of seasonal spring produce.

The weather is warming up. That means it’s time for an inter-seasonal dish like a cold roast vegetable salad. I used cous cous sent from New Zealand via the amazing international postal service but you could use brown rice.

Roast Vegetable Salad
for two to three people

what you need:

1 medium potato – diced

1 carrot – diced

1 medium sweet potato – diced

1 medium onion – cut into wedges

A handful of mushrooms – halved

A handful of cherry tomatoes (red or yellow is fine)

Dried or fresh rosemary

Dried or fresh parsley

A salad base like cous cous or brown rice

Extra virgin olive oil

Runny honey

White wine vinegar or the juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper

how to do it:

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Place the sweet potato, onion, potato and carrot on a oven tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and the rosemary. Place the tray in the oven to roast for about 1 hour until nearly soft. Add in the cherry tomatoes and the mushrooms. Roast for a further 20 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, cook the brown rice or cous cous according to the packet directions. I get my brown rice from an organic store near Carrefour on Chongde Road in Taichung. Leave to cool.

When the vegetables are done, combine them with the brown rice/cous cous in a large bowl. Drizzle over some more olive oil, the white wine vinegar/lemon juice, the honey, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and the parsley.

Eat it!

teensy tid bits:

I get my mum to send cous cous to me in the post from New Zealand. I haven’t found it over here yet. If anyone knows where to get it, please let me know. Brown rice also tastes amazing in this dish so it’s a great substitute. In fact, you could use a spiral-type pasta, or lentils, or any other nutritious filler you like. Experiment!

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baking teensy: edition 3

December 6, 2009

Taiwanese winter has hit. It is cold. Well, it’s cold when compared with Taiwanese summer. Which is killer hot.

I decided that, since I officially dusted off the scarves just the other day, it was cold enough for a casserole. A lovely, steaming, goodness-filled vegetable concoction designed to instil a feeling of warmth and security in its indulger.

So, here it is.


Vegetable Casserole
for two or three people

what you need:

This casserole has no need for a fancy smancy title. As you don your oven mitts and slide it out of the oven, place it on the bench and lift the lid, you will see it speaks for itself.

1 big carrot, diced

1 medium onion, diced (I used half of a really big one)

A handful of fresh green beans, chopped

2 potatoes, chopped roughly

A handful of mushrooms, halved or quartered

Fresh or dried herbs to taste, as always fresh is better (I used dried oregano, parsley, rosemary and basil)

1 cup vegetable, mushroom or chicken stock

3 tablespoons plain flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

A dash or three of red wine

Olive oil

how to do it:

Prepare all the vegetables as above and put aside. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. As you know, I have a tiny Taitung toaster oven so that’s what mine cooked at. Yours might be different. Experiment.

Heat a little olive oil or butter in a big saucepan and put in all the vegetables. Stir them around over the heat for 5 minutes or so then add the flour. Cook this for around 1 minute and then take off the heat.

Tip the vegetables into a medium sized ceramic casserole dish and pour over the stock and the wine. Add the herbs and salt and pepper. Turn it all with your trusty wooden spoon to get everything all mixed together.

Put into the oven and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Or there abouts. Don’t forget to check and turn it once or twice.

teensy tid bits:

You can use any vegetables you like for this recipe. I think pumpkin and sweet potato would be really good. Oh, and celery is always nice. Chop up a couple of fresh tomatoes and add those.

Add a can of red kidney beans, broad beans or any other kind of legume to make it a little more hearty. I’ve noticed that some Welcome supermarkets sell canned kidney beans or try the Mitsukoshi supermarkets for other types of canned beans.

If you want to make a meat or seafood version just brown the meat or seafood of your choice in the same way I described for the vegetables. Remove from the saucepan and then brown the vegetables. Then put it all in the casserole dish together and pour over the liquids.

Experiment with different red and white wines. The better the quality of the wine, the better the flavour of your casserole.

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baking teensy: edition 2

November 30, 2009

We ran out of gas this week. I was going to treat my second half with scrambled eggs on toast for his birthday. I had begun to sauté the onions when the gas burner said, “Phut!” The bright blue ring of flames disappeared.

First, I threw down my spoon and looked tearfully into the pan. This is generally my first reaction in any crisis, pathetic as that is. After a few minutes I recollected myself and thought back to past breakfasts in Melbourne. What can I cook in an oven? Then, it came to me: Baked Eggs.

I don’t own any ramekins here yet (must get some), but I did have some tinfoil pie dishes left over. Improvisation was the key in this situation. So I got to buttering, cracking, adding milk, herbing and S&Ping.

Baked Eggs
for two people

what you need:

Four eggs (2 per dish)

Milk or cream (cream is yummier but milk is healthier)

Dried herbs (or fresh if you can find them – how I wish I had a garden)


Salt and pepper

how to do it:

Butter the two dishes you will use to cook the eggs. I used two tinfoil small-sized pie dishes. I got them from

Crack two eggs into each dish.

Pour about a tablespoon of milk or cream into each dish. Don’t stir it in or mix the eggs and liquid together.

Sprinkle over the herbs and salt and pepper and put in the oven. In my oven I put the dishes on the wire rack in the middle and had the temperature at 220 degrees C. My oven is tiny so if you have a “real” one then you may want to adjust the temperature to suit.

When ready, serve over some beautiful ciabatta or wholegrain rye topped with some grated parmesan. Baked tomatoes or mushrooms make a nice addition to the plate also – see the recipe below this one. I get my rye bread from Finga’s here in Taichung.

teensy tid bits:

You can add pretty much anything to these eggs. Saute some onions and red peppers and place them in the bottom of the dish with some feta cheese. Crack the eggs over the top and add the rest of the ingredients as above. Yum!

Baked Tomatoes

Easy as pie. You can use small, medium or large tomatoes. Chop each tomato in half and arrange on a baking tray, seed side facing up. Sprinkle over some dried or fresh herbs, salt and pepper (freshly cracked is best, of course) and drizzle with a good amount of olive oil. Put in the oven (mine was set to 220 degrees C) and wait until the tomato skin is peeling and the tomatoes are just the tiniest bit brown at the edges. You can do exactly the same thing with mushrooms as well. Just make sure the inside, frilly part of the mushroom is facing up. To fancy it up, you can add a square of feta, brie or blue cheese to each mushroom cup.

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baking teensy: edition 1

October 21, 2009

Here is my teensy oven.


I bought it from Carrefour for about NT$1800. The brand is Tatung. I have been baking in it for about two months and it has proved very reliable. Cooking times tend to be a little bit longer than a standard wall oven; I really don’t know why. Overall, however, it is a great little thing.

So far I have baked pies, scones and bread rolls.

Here are some recipes. I have amended them to suit the situation in Taiwan and have included where I found all the ingredients because some stuff proved hard to track down.

P1040037Vegetable and Tuna Pie

I really, really, really miss pies. They are just so tasty and something that I crave often. So I decided to have a go at making one. The result was excellent so here is the recipe for you to try, too.

what you need:

About 7 or so sheets of the square kind of puff pastry (I found mine in Carrefour in the frozen foods section)

1 can of concentrated vegetable soup (I used Campbell’s Creamy Mushroom soup from Welcome)

1 can of tuna in spring water, drained and flaked (both the small or the medium size is OK)

A handful of cheese (you can get small blocks of Mainland Edam from Carrefour or just use the grated cheese that you can find at most supermarkets)

1 carrot, diced

1 onion, diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 sweet potato or ¼ of a pumpkin, cubed and boiled

Asparagus, parboiled (boiled for a very quick time and then rinsed under cold water)

Green beans (done the same way as the asparagus)

A handful of frozen peas (thawed)

Dried herbs (such as basil, thyme, oregano, parsley)

Salt and pepper

how to do it:

Leave the pastry out of the freezer to thaw and preheat the oven to about 200 degrees Celcius.

Use oil or butter to grease your pie tin. I have made pies using one big or four small disposable tinfoil baking tins from Carrefour.

Cook the onion, garlic and carrot in a small amount of oil in a large frypan until the onion is clear.

Add the rest of the vegetables and the dried herbs. Cook for another few minutes.

Add the can of soup concentrate, about half the can of water and the can of tuna. Mix well.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Line the pie tin or tins on the sides and the bottom with one layer of pastry. Spoon in the filling mixture and top with cheese. Brush the top of the pie with a little milk so it will brown nicely.

Place the pie or pies on a tray in the middle of your oven. I cooked mine for around 1 hour but it could take anywhere from 45 minutes to just over 1 hour. Just keep an eye on the pastry and when it’s as crispy as you like it, take the pie out.

teensy tid bits:

You can add any kind of filling you like. Add some cooked chicken for a pie meat lovers will enjoy.

You can also wrap leftovers in the pastry sheets to make small parcels and bake them in the oven for 30-40 minutes. I am going to use leftover pumpkin risotto in just this way tonight.

P1040654Beer Bread Rolls

Mmmmmm, good bread. What a rarity in Taiwan! Can’t find any? Why don’t you have a go at making it yourself? Here is a recipe that is super easy to follow. And you can add in whatever you want to satisfy all of your yeasty cravings.

what you need:

3 cups flour (I used a mixed grain I found at Welcome and an organic wholemeal flour from an organic store)

3 teaspoons baking powder (I found this at Welcome in a pink packet containing very unhelpful separated sachets of powder)

1 teaspoon of salt

1 can beer (made up to 400 ml with water)

1 handful grated cheese

some pumpkin seeds or pepitas

how to do it:

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl with a wooden spoon. Do so quickly.

Spoon the mixture into four small baking tins or into one big loaf of pie tin (about 20 x 10 cm). I used some tinfoil disposable pie tins I found in Carrefour. Save them as you can wash them and use them more than once.

Top your bread with some more pepitas and a little grated cheese.

Put your bread in the oven on a tray in the middle. Cooking time will vary from 35 minutes to 1 hour. My four smaller buns took about 40 minutes. Test your bread is cooked by sticking a thin knife or skewer into the middle of the loaf (or loaves). If it comes out clean of dough then the bread is done.

teensy tid bits:

Try experimenting with different kinds of beer for different flavours. Just don’t use low-alcohol beer as it won’t work.

You can add anything you want to the bread at the mixing stage. I can’t wait to try rosemary, sage, cumin, paprika, sundried tomatoes, olives, granulated sea salt, capers, blue cheese, walnuts… Remember to save a few for the top of your bread.


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Copyright © 2010. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.