Poppyseed Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

A friend asked me recently where she could find good basic cupcakes recipes which led me to think about the cupcakes that I have baked and their creators.

There are many bloggers out there who do an excellent job in this area. Just look at the nominated list of bloggers in my previous entry; I spent quite some time deciding who to vote for in the various categories!

So, this cupcake is from one of the nominees. I like the crunchy feel of the poppy seeds when you take a bite. I’m fond of cream cheese but quite detest icing sugar and just used a portion of it, about 3/4 cup instead of the suggested 1.5 to 3 cups. Taste for yourself the degree of sweetness that you want. For me, I want the cream cheese and butter flavour to stand out.

And then, of all times, the multi-card reader failed on me and I have to take the pictures using my Lumix. Sigh…

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More notes on puff pastry

In the recent puff pastry class, Chef told us that whatever leftover dough that we had (and if we wanted to keep it) should not be crushed into a ball but should be stacked in layers. With that, I brought home mine together with the almond filling that we made for the Pithivier.

Coincidentally, The Sunday Times featured the making of a chicken, mushroom and leek pie using the puff pastry for the layer on top and I decided to make a slightly different version of it, based on what I had in the fridge.

The steps are still similar – browning of chicken thighs (remember not to crowd them!) and then cooking of the bacon. I added Chinese sausages to it and while letting it simmer, tossed in broccoli and coriander. Having a good supply of home-made chicken stock at hand is always helpful for many dishes.

Lastly, I topped it up with the remnants of the puff pastry dough from the baking class and there you are, my own version of humble pie!

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More notes on puff pastry from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook:

Set aside plenty of time to prepare puff pastry; chilling the dough and letting it rest is very important and should not be rushed. The gluten needs time to relax after rolling or the dough will become tough and difficult to work with. Keeping the dough cold will ensure that the butter layers are even.

When rolling out puff pastry, make sure that your work surface is well dusted with flour. However, before making any turns in the dough, brush off any loose flour with a dry pastry brush. Excess flour can make for tough puff pastry.

To keep puff pastry from sticking, lift the dough periodically while rolling it out. If you can see part of the butter package through the dough, flour that area heavily and continue rolling; the excess flour will act as a natural patch for the dough. Just be sure to brush off the excess before proceeding.

If you will not be using your puff pastry dough within a day, cut it into 1-pound pieces (preferably square). Tightly cover the dough in plastic wrap, and freeze it for up to 3 months. Defrost frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator; this will take about 4 hours (you can allow it to defrost overnight if you wish). Don’t leave puff pastry in the refrigerator for more than 1 day or it will lose its ability to puff properly in the oven.

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Vote wisely.

I’m not good with politics, whatever politics it might be. I steer clear of it.

But this coming election makes me sit up to want to know more.

I’ve watched some of the speeches, read the thoughts of many, disgusted and touched by their reflections all at the same time.

Be wise, impartial and let not emotions rob you of the opportunity to make Singapore a better home for the citizens. Make informed decisions. In a way, the future of this nation lies in that ONE vote that you are entitled to and we pray for honest and committed politicians in the government, to fight for the good of our fellowmen so that we could advance as ONE nation.

Remember: ONE people, ONE nation, ONE Singapore.