Singapore thus far has treated me wonderfully... except in my efforts to try Asian desserts.
I've had some pretty epic fails, especially as a vegetarian.
In my personal experience, Chinese carrot cake is not a delightful slice of grated carrot folded into a pleasant cake batter with raisins and pineapple chunks. It's some sort of moulded-into-a-square concoction with carrot, potatoes (maybe?), and ham. Yes: ham. I should have known when they offered me chilli sauce.
NEVER, EVER, try cookies from a street vendor that are in the same section as savoury dishes. You will end up eating some sort of fish-bean mixture baked into a flakey shell. If you like fish, maybe it's cool, but if you're looking for a sweet red bean cake, not so good.
Always opt for green tea ice cream. It's pretty stellar.
(Nothing to do with desserts, but:) ensure that everyone understands you when you REALLY MEAN shrimp doesn't count as a vegetable.
No hard feelings: everything else has been WONDERFUL. (Singapore actually is populated with the nicest human beings ever.)
But, after a rough day of testing everything in China Town, and attending a Singaporean black pepper crab dinner (thank god for bean curd!), I needed a small break the next day. My friend and I made pizzas for lunch, got a salad for dinner, and cleansed everything with a good bottle of wine.
In the spirit of avoiding adventure for oooonnneee more day, madeleines were made.
This recipe is delicious and pretty fail-proof. And on a high note, these madeleines definitely, DEFINITELY, don't contain ham. Plus: you have two variations! A simple lemon version (that is used as the base)... OR if you're up for a bit of adventure, a delicious matcha green tea version.
Some things are looking up in life! (Unless you ask my Chinese palm reader : / !)
Lemon madeleines - What you need:
- 125 grams of butter, melted and slightly cooled (this is approximately a half cup and 1 tablespoon of butter)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- zest of one lemon
- optional: 1 1/2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder
Lemon madeleines - What you do:
Melt the butter and set it aside.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together for around 3 minutes, they should become larger in volume and light in colour. Add the lemon juice, combine well. Add in the flour and salt, combine well.
Using a spatula or large spoon, fold in the butter. This step may take a few minutes, but make sure all the butter becomes completely incorporated into the madeleine batter.
Finally, fold in the lemon zest.
Stop here if you're content with a nice, simple lemon madeleine.
I halved the madeleine batter, and then added 1 1/2 teaspoons of matcha green tea powder. If you are making the entire batch into a matcha flavour, add 1 tablespoon of matcha green tea powder.
(Other dress up ideas: seeds from a vanilla pod, splash of bourbon, or even a tablespoon of poppy seeds!)
Refrigerate the batter for around 2 hours prior to baking.
After the batter has chilled out in the fridge, preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius (around 390F). Coat the madeleine pan with a light layer of butter. Optionally you can dust it with flour as well. Spoon in the batter until it fills up the madeleine moulds about 3/4ths of the way.
Bake the madeleines for 12-15 minutes. The tops should be slightly golden and humped.
This makes 18 madeleines.
Allow the madeleines to cool before enjoying.
And - I'm still failing on the vegan madeleine front for all you vegan-baking-fiends out there! But, believe me, I'm working on it again as soon as I return to Paris!
As for these ones, the inside is a bit airier than a cake and perfectly moist. The outside is still soft, but with a bit of a bite around the edges. The lemon flavour is delicious, yet subtle, and if you choose to add the matcha green tea powder, the two pair perfectly.
Now I'm off for a week for a random bus trip around Malaysia... hopefully I'll get luckier with my sweet tooth over there!
Baking soundtrack - Tunes to inspire your inner baker:
JJ has a new album coming soon... holla!